Thursday, May 24, 2007

Passpack and Clipperz

As promised, I've been playing with Passpack and Clipperz for a few weeks now. And, I have to say, I like aspects of both of them. But Passpack is in the lead, by the narrowest of margins. Since my last report of both services, both have introduced more features or improvements.

Clipperz, for instance, now has a "Clipperz Compact" version of their service. It works in Firefox, and allows you to log into your account from the sidebar. When you want to log into a particular website, you just click on the icon for that website and Clipperz Compact does the rest. Passpack has not yet introduced an autologin feature (supposedly it will be introduced next month).

Clipperz has also improved the interface with new card templates and password strength indicators. The card templates allow you to select what kind of website it is, and it will then fill in appropriate fields for that type of site. And when typing in a password, an indicator just below the field will indicate how good of a password it is.

All of those improvements are a move in the right direction, but it still isn't as easy to use as Passpack. Clipperz is lacking a password generator and a one time password generator. I think a one time password generator is a great idea (and it is "coming soon" for Clipperz). If I happen to use a computer at the Library, or at an Internet Cafe, I can use my one time password without fear that a key logger recorded my account information.

Passpack is best for websites. It's geared for it. It would, however, be nice for it to include the ability to secure other things like Clipperz can do. Like, for instance, a lot of websites are using other questions for forgotten passwords, or extra security. Clipperz allows you to add other fields to the card to track what you put for those extra security questions. This is why I like aspects of both sites.

In the near future I'll do a side by side comparison of the two. Hopefully Passpack will have their auto-login feature released by then.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

MythTV, so far it's just a myth

Well, over the last few days I have been playing with my MythTV box. And it's been interesting, to say the least. Just when I think I have it running, something gets screwed up and I have to start all over again. If I were more knowledgeable with linux, I may be able to fix it without starting over, but since I can't fix it, I start over.

I have a P4 2.5 ghz machine with 512 megs of ram, plenty of hard drive space, a Hauppauge PVR150 card, and an Nvidia Geforce MMX 440 graphics card. The graphics card has a video out, which is nice for easily hooking up to a TV.

A lot of the problems are just mistakes on my part. I installed lirc for the remote control and forget to include a certain word on the command line for installation. It then becomes partly installed, enough for me to think it is installed, but not really. I solved that problem without restarting, but then when I turned it off (graceful shutdown) and moved it to where I thought it would be, it gave me an "unable to start mysql" error when I turned it back on. I searched all over trying to figure that one out, and ended up restarting from that one.

So, the installation went a bit quicker this time and got everything up and running, but forgot to tell the tuner card that I have cable so it was only seeing and looking for the first 13 channels. I changed the setting to us-cable and instead of restarting the machine, I restarted MythTV. It goes to a black screen and nothing else. Acting pretty much like it was dead. So, I turned it off (not a graceful shutdown) and turned it back on. NOW it is giving me a X-server error. It was getting late, so I turned it off and will try to find a fix for it tonight.

I think I'm going to like it once it's up and running. But it makes me nervous about counting on it. I can't have little oddities screwing the system up so easily. I have been using the howto from Ubuntu's site here. It is really well done, and shows exactly what you need to do every step of the way. The way they do it is different than the other howto's I've seen. The biggest difference is that they have you install a command line only version of Ubuntu. It then installs Gnome later in the process. I can understand the reasoning behind doing it this way, but I have to wonder if this is the reason why it hasn't acted very stable for me. So, I think (unless I can figure out how to fix the current problem) I'm going to try the howto from this site. It is using the latest version of Ubuntu, and the full graphical version, as well. I have seen this site referred to by other sites, so it seems to be the one to go with.

I did, however, try it from that site at first. But I really didn't know what I was doing at the time, so I tried the other site as it gave more details about what to do. Now that I know a little more about what I'm doing, I'll give it a try.

More details to come!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I met Robert X. Cringely!

First of all, I realize it's been a while since I posted. I went out of town for a business trip and was lucky enough to have met someone I've admired for sometime now. And I've tried to read and watch anything and everything he's ever done. Robert X. Cringely has written for InfoWorld and has hosted several TV shows on PBS that can be found from the link on his name. I particularly like Triumph of the Nerds where he takes a look at the people who made the computer industry what it is today. Bob is knowledgeable and funny. I have learned a lot from him over the years. And it was a great pleasure to have met him. Here is the proof!

Sorry about the picture being blurry. I wish I had seen it before leaving him. And I'm hoping someone out there that knows something about fixing stuff like that can fix it. Or, maybe I'll get the chance to meet him again. Maybe I'll email him and see if he'll mind it!

He was at the conference I was attending to talking about the future of libraries, and more specifically, the future of technology in libraries. As expected, it was a great talk. I had no idea that he was the one responsible for creating the trash can (for the mac, the recycle bin on windows) that is on your desktop. In fact, I had no idea that he was so involved in the beginning of Apple. Maybe he mentioned it in Triumph of the Nerds, but it's been a few years now and I don't remember if he did. Time to watch it again!

Supposedly there are two Robert X. Cringely's out there according to this. But I'm not buying it. This is just the kind of thing that he'd think was funny. And it is. Be sure to check out everything he does. I'd highly recommend it, and well worth your time. You can find his blog at PBS here, and his blog at Infoworld here.

And no, I STILL can't believe I met him. I have to look at the picture everyday just to believe it!

UPDATE: Okay, I guess I am buying it now (that there are two Robert X. Cringely's out there). Just messing around and searched for Robert X. Cringely on Wikipedia and found this article. I guess I'm not as much of a tech geek as I thought I was. But the good thing is, THIS Robert X. Cringely is the one I knew and admired. So, all is good.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Unlimited Joost invites!

I now have unlimited Joost invites for anyone willing to put a link to my blog in their blogroll or website. Add a comment with your name and email address and a link to you blog or website, and the invite will be on it's way.

Thanks to all who have previously done this!