Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trouble with Flash

I’ve been having problems with instability in Firefox, especially when the PC restarts and I reopen all of my tabs. Typically, Firefox has trouble restarting and sometimes will repeatedly crash. If I look at the Task Manager, Firefox’s memory climbs up and up until it hits 1.6 GB and then whammo.

Today, I happened to have my headphones plugged in when I restarted (at work, so no speakers) and heard a cacaphony of voices all at once. I realized that the problem was probably Flash videos in all of those tabs, all auto-playing and starting up at the same time.

So, now I have FlashBlock for Firefox on my PC. Restarted Firefox and it was quick and painless and quiet (and most importantly, crash-free). I already use a Flash blocker at home on my Mac, but had not thought of using one here.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Square, Intuit and PayPal - oh my!

Well, well, well. I see that both Intuit and Paypal are now getting into mobile payments with Square. I wonder how long it will take for someone to build a credit card reader that not only processes the card, but also logs the details of the card to the smartphone (for later use); put a nice MasterCard or Bank of America logo on it and you'll fool most people. Or maybe the right question isn't when, but who's already doing it?

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm back

I still update the tumblr blog, but will be here mostly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

iPhone 4 or iOS 4 features

Three features that I find invaluable - folders, multitasking bar, and strong password. If you don't know how to use them, here is a quickie ...

To create folders, just go into screen edit mode (hold an icon until everything vibrates) and move an icon over another one - they will both be put into a folder. The OS will give the folder a name, but you can rename it. Each folder can hold up to 12 apps, but only the first 9 icons will show. You can remove an app from a folder by dragging it out of the folder. I've heard that some people have put almost everything into folders so they only have one or two home pages.

I had to look up how to get to the multitasking bar -- double-click the home button. A new row of icons will show up at the bottom of the screen. These are your most recently used or currently running apps. Since most apps have not been recompiled to make them pause when you navigate away from them, when you click on an icon, that app will start up just as if you had clicked its icon on one of the home pages. When an app gets recompiled to make it multi-tasking-aware, then when you navigate away from it, it will pause, and then when you click on its icon in the multitasking bar, it will resume right where you left off.

To remove an icon from the list (to to kill it if it is paused), just hold down one of the icons until they all start to shake and click the minus sign to remove it. You can swipe to the left to see more icons. If you are at the beginning of the list and swipe to the RIGHT, you will get quick access to your ipod controls PLUS the hidden orientation lock button.

Finally, if you want more than a four digit passcode, go into Settings, General, Passcode Lock and turn "Simple Passcode" to OFF. It's a bit of a pain, but some of you may want this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Multiple Home Pages

Here is a little javascript trick [if you use NoScript, click here to skip to that section].

I have been using isc.sans.edu as my home page for some time. But today, I wanted my home page to alternate between isc.sans.edu and also infosecevents.net. So, I used a little javascript:

Open Tools / Options, paste this into "Home Page" and click OK:

javascript:var d=new Date();var h=d.getMinutes()%2;if(h==0){document.location="http://infosecevents.net"}else{document.location="http://isc.sans.edu"}

[It should paste as a single line - if not, you may have to copy/paste in pieces]

Now, click on the home page button in your toolbar and see what comes up. Then wait a minute and do it again. Cool, eh?

There are some tweaks you can make:
1. if you want the home page to change less often, you can use getHours instead of getMinutes (or go the other way with getSeconds).
2. if you want to alternate between more than two pages, try something like this (i tried a switch/case instead of the if/else, but it didn't work):

javascript:var d=new Date();var h=d.getMinutes()%4;if(h==0){document.location="http://infosecevents.net"}else if(h==1){document.location="http://isc.sans.edu"}else if (h==2){document.location="http://iamneurotic.com/"}else if (h==3){document.location="http://starnull.blogspot.com/"}

The NoScript section

Obviously, none of this is going to work if you have disallowed javascript (say, if you're using NoScript in Firefox) on the page you're on (which includes the page that opens in a new window). In that case, you can put the javascript into a local file (say, on your desktop) -- this is the equivalent of the previous example:

var d=new Date();
var h=d.getMinutes()%4;
if (h==0) {document.location="http://infosecevents.net"} else
if (h==1) {document.location="http://isc.sans.edu"} else
if (h==2) {document.location="http://iamneurotic.com/"} else
if (h==3) {document.location="http://starnull.blogspot.com/"}

Call it something.htm and double-click it. When Firefox opens, it will not recognize the xxript on the first line, but that is a good thing. Open Tools / Options and click "Use Current Page" under "Home Page" and click OK. Now, go back to your file and change "xxript" on the first line to "script".

Test it by starting up Firefox the way you normally do (desktop icon, quick launch icon, whatever). Ta da. The home page comes up. The only caveat here is that if you're on a page on which you have disallowed javascript and you try to hit the home page button, nothing will happen.

Have fun!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On the BS of Positive Thinking

Barbara Ehrenreich on the BS of "positive thinking" - neat video clip: http://ping.fm/dO0yK. her book "Bright-Sided" is fantastic. (via Twitter @hypatiadotca)