Thwarted on Cyber Monday

The two big things I was looking for on cyber Monday didn’t happen. I was hoping for a reduced price on iPad apps (like Numbers and maybe the Monkey Island games) and a deal on Storymill from Mariner Software.

Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until next semester and buy them with teaching funds…

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Thanksgiving break!

Grading and moving things around and re-integrating after my six months at AFIT have taken their toll on me and I’m looking forward to the long break at both jobs to help get a handle on things and to clean up all the cruft that’s accumulated over six months of being on the road.

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The passing of Dr. Mandelbrot

I spent a lot of time in my early software development days writing programs to display images of the Mandelbrot set and ray trace images of oak wood grain pretzels stuck in lime jello on a mirror in space. That was back before I wanted to be a writer/teacher, when I thought I could be a mathematician. Every once in a great while I write the code for the Mandelbrot in perl or python, just to recall those days when vector calculus was a recreational pursuit.

Dr Mandelbrot has shuffled off this mortal coil. Here’s a link to the Jonathan Coulton song about him.

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Back from SANS Network Security 2010

SANS 508 Round Metal ObjectI’m back from SANSNS 2010.  I took the 508 Computer Forensics Investigations and Incident Response course.  It was a great course and like all SANS training you get hit with a huge volume of material is a very short amount of time.  I kept my head above water through most of the class and did manage to win the forensic challenge at the end with my friend Bert.  We both received these snazzy round metal objects (a.k.a. coins).

I’m teaching class now, so there is no time to study for the exam.  I’m taking the recommended break between SANS firehousing and sitting for the exam.  I’ll start tabbing out my book and reviewing my notes in November, then I’ll test for the GFCA and be a truly lethal SANS forensicator.

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Macjournal for iPad is out!

It’s finally here. I’ve been waiting for some time to get macjournal on my iPad. I use the mac version of MJ a lot i tried the iPhone version but the keyboard was too small to make long notes.

I had been taking notes in the iPad note app but without folders it turned into one long list of junk… Work notes and school notes mixed in with random to do items and notes from my kids when they took a turn playing with my iPad.

I’m really looking forward to having some more organized note taking and with a sync option and a blog feature. I should be able to consolidate most of my iPad writing in this one app.

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I noticed today that my RSS feed from Version Tracker was empty so I wandered over to the web site and lo and behold, she’s gone.  CNet has gobbled up a piece of Mac history and re-branded it.  They didn’t even bother to redirect Versiontracker to Mac software.  My old bookmark took me a listing of new Windows software.  Lame.

There are other Mac specific places to get details about Mac software updates, will be my new source for the latest updates and patches to Mac shareware and freeware.

Good bye to my old friend Versiontracker and shame on you CNet for what you’ve done.  You’re joining the brand squashing club with Oracle.

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Kingdom Hearts PSP Bundle initial impressions

I got the Kingdom Hearts PSP bundle today at the Gamestop.  First impression is that this is a nice PSP 3001 bundle with a game I’ve been wanting to play for a long time.  I never played the previous Kingdom Hearts becauce before now I’ve never had a Playstation.

I was a little disappointed that this PSP doesn’t have any identifying marks that shows its the special Kingdom Hearts edition, it is just a plain silver PSP.  The Pokemon themed Nintendo was a unique color and had pokemon images on the case.  I was expecting Mickey ears or some kind of Disney iconography on the case.  A Kingdom Hearts theme for the XBM would have been a nice touch.

There was also a bit of confusion about what’s included in the bundle.  The Gamestop website and the Sony PSP page still don’t agree.  Gamestop says you get the game, a 4G memory stick, the silver PSP and a movie voucher.  The Sony web site said the game, the 4G stick, the PSP and 50 songs from the Sony Music Store.  For a week or so Sony listed Madden 11 as part of the bundle, but I think that was just a typo.

The box contains the PSP, the 4G stick, the game, and a SonyMusicPass for 50 songs.  I’m new to the whole PSP and PS3 world so I was hopeful that the SonyMusicPass would be part of the PSN and I could get movies or TV shows but, no such luck.  It looks like I’m stuck downloading songs from a very limited selection at the Sony Music site… bummer.

I hope the game is good…

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Another school years starts at Vermont Tech

And this week saw the beginning of another school year at Vermont Technical College. This is my 9th year with the school teaching Networks. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. If you are a student in the Fall 2010 Networks 1 course, this blog is NOT required reading, you need to head on over to and access the course site.

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Microsoft grants Russia access to Windows source code

In order to continue selling Microsoft products to the Russian government, the Redmond Washington software company granted various agencies of the Russian government access to source code for Windows 7, Server 2008, and other products.

The government agencies listed in the agreement include the former KGB.  The source code access will help the Russian government to find security flaws in Microsoft products.  What the Russians do with this knowledge is unclear.

Ten percent of Microsoft’s $1 billion Russian business revenue comes from the Russian government, according to a Bloomberg web article.

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has allowed foreign governments access to their source code.   They have a Government Security Program to grant source code level access to Microsoft products.  GSP started in January of 2003 as a more formal name for their Shared Source Initiative which started in 2001.

According to the GSP home page:

Microsoft offers eligible, participating national governments no-cost, online smart-card access to source code for the most current versions and service packs of Windows Client, Windows Server, Windows Embedded CE, and Office. In addition, subject to such requirements as U.S. export approval, qualified GSP participants may also obtain access to cryptographic code and development tools. The GSP also provides transparency through disclosure of Microsoft technical information. This engineering-level view of Windows architectural design provides greater insight regarding the platform’s integrity and enhances national governments’ ability to design and build more secure computing infrastructures.

The recent Russian spy story makes this a little sensitive for Microsoft as ghosts of the Cold War resurfaced in the news this week.  I wonder who else has access.  The GSP web pages touts that this no-cost partnership is available in 65 geographic markets.

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Getting write permissions on an NTFS drive in Snow Leopard

I bought a new 1T USB drive to use for storage of vm images and other large files. I need to move between Windows and Mac machines. I knew I couldn’t get a Mac version of a usb drive because those are typically formatted for HPFS which a Windows machine cannot read. I opted for the Windows version of the drive and when I got it home I plugged it into the trusty Macbook Pro. The drive mounted read-only, because it was formatted with NTFS.

At first I figured why not reformat with FAT32, then I could use the drive with Linux as well as Mac and Windows. The problem with FAT32 is there’s a file size limitation. I remembered this after I reformatted and tried to copy a 4.3G vmware image to the drive. Ooops.

Some quick googling resulted in this article:

Using the schell script method I now mount any NTFS partition in read/write mode on my Mac.

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