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October 28, 2009

Creating and using a code signing certificate for Windows application development

I recently developed a couple of plugins for Microsoft IE and Firefox/Mozilla Browsers. People these days (myself included) are getting more and more paranoid about software running on their machines. I want to know that any code running on my machine has not been tampered with in any way. In the case of Microsoft IE, it loudly complains if you try to load a plugin that is not digitally signed. We are only going to see more and more use of signed apps now that Microsoft is making it a requirement for 64 bit drivers in Windows 7.

In my travels I’ve gathered a fair amount of information about public key cryptography, document and code signing and specifically (and more usefully) how this is performed for Windows development. I’ll give a brief (for dummies style) intro to signing and a walk through of how to buy and sign code from start to finish. (at least as far as it worked for me) Its my hope that this might be the only article a developer needs to read if they want to produceĀ  a signed executable for Windows.

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Filed under: News,Research,Unfinished — admin @ 3:21 pm

May 22, 2009

MagicJack as a main home phone

I have been paying ~$60 a month for a Verizon home phone line that I almost never use. I have 2 cell phones that I use most of the time. (iPhones are pretty cool, different post). I really like having a phone line other than my cell phone so I can give that number out to utilities and people who I don’t really want to talk to directly. It seems really silly to pay $60/month just for a voice mail line.

I decided to look around to see what my options were. I saw some adds for MagicJack for $40 a year. Installed it about a month ago and canceled my Verizon account.

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Filed under: News,Research — admin @ 8:12 am

Windows 7 RC1

I just installed the RC (Release Candidate) for Windows 7. This replacement for the much maligned Windows Vista is scheduled for full release in 2010 i think.

Its a bit buggy but i must admit i haven’t decided to hate it yet.

I managed to totally avoid all contact with Windows Vista, but i decided i cant avoid Microsoft OS’s forever. XP is getting a bit old and creaky feeling.

I installed W7 on top of an existing XP machine. I did not use the update feature. It nicely copied the Program files, Windows and Documents and settings folders into a folder called ‘windows.old’ and replaced them with the much more sane ‘Users’, ‘Windows’ and ‘Program Files (x86)’ folders. OK, I’m somewhat impressed by how clean that was.

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Filed under: News,Research — admin @ 8:01 am

January 29, 2009

Windows problems that are multiple generations old

Gripe, Gripe, Gripe.

Ok here are a few recurring problems i want to gripe about. Problems that have been in multiple generations of MS Windows that have never really been addressed.

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Filed under: Gripes,Research — admin @ 1:20 pm

August 12, 2008

Building a home server

A have a bunch of computers in my house. They are noisy, hot and consume lots of power. I use them for work, play, controlling my house, answering my phone, lots of stuff. But I just keep thinking that this is not a very optimal configuration.

I remember reading some old scifi books years ago where people had a ‘house computer’ that would monitor their needs and talk to them, take their calls, make sure the house was ok. etc. Is anything like that possible for reasonable money today?

I’m toying with the idea of a trying to build this home server for my next machine. I’ve a number of ideas for it. But lets let the imagination run a bit wild for what this is supposed to do.

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Filed under: News,Research — admin @ 10:56 am

Being an iPhone Joiner

I held out as long as i could, but I finally joined the iPhone club. (Not the Apple/Mac club yet) I just got the iPhone 3G. I waited in line for about 4 hours the day after they were released. Very silly I know.But at least i didn’t camp out overnight. hehe.

Being me, I now have to figure out how every bit of it works.

For anyone looking at phones and is considering an iPhone I’ll try to do a mental dump of what I’m seeing. Ultimately i recommend it but there are some things that might be a turn off for some.

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Filed under: Gripes,News,Research — admin @ 10:53 am

January 2, 2008

Computing Clouds

Google, Amazon and several others have announced availability of renting space on there servers. Not just space as in disk storage space but actual computing time. These systems that allow this are referred to as Computing Clouds (CC)

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Filed under: News,Research,Unfinished — admin @ 2:04 pm

January 2, 2007

Building You Own Computer

I’ve just built a new computer. Back in the old days (~3 years ago) things were much easier. Anyone could build a computer (more or less). Now it seems things aren’t quite so simple. There are lots of new things to go wrong. Technology mismatches can cause sub optimal performance (best case), pointless expense or even cause the system to go up in smoke (worst case). I decided to share my research/results with others who might want to build a modern, high power, yet not too expensive machine (~$650).

Price/performance ratio is a big issue here. As a general rule, 1.5 steps from cutting edge is about where i want to be. Paying extra to get the latest of anything is rarely worth the money. Paying extra for the next .5GHz step in CPU speed is never worth the money. (IMHO)

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Filed under: News,Research — admin @ 11:11 am

August 17, 2006

Virtual Reality in 2006

I’ve been reading (and contributing to) some articles about virtual reality and it’s uses. Check out Doug Mealy’s article at Military Training Technology: Sharing New Technologies. The general idea is that virtual reality can be used for more than just games.

Everyone has seen VR headsets in movies and TV. They have been around since the 80’s. But have you personally ever tried a VR headset or been in a VR ‘cave’? IMAX doesn’t count. Most likely not, unless you have been to Siggraph, E3 or GameDev or some other graphics/game trade show.

I did some research to figure out what the status of some of these technologies really is.

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Filed under: Research — admin @ 10:43 am

July 21, 2006

Problems with USB and Motorola V3m cell phone

I recently bought a new cell phone. A Motorolla v3m from Verizon. It’s about time. I’ve felt a little behind the times not having a cool cell phone i could hack. It has NOT at all been a smooth ride so far. Although this is (mostly) a very boring story, I would love to have read it yesterday before spending hours trying to figure this out. hehe.
The Verizon/Motorola software for using the USB connection does NOT work out of the box as advertised. I plugged the USB cable into the phone and got a message saying it could not find the driver software for the device.

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Filed under: Gripes,News,Research — admin @ 3:01 pm
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