03.05.2002 GnomeREPORT

It's not every day when you discover that your dad is running for the state senate. It doesn't do me any good being in California right now, but still - for those who live in Iowa's District 21, keep your eye out for 'Pirillo.' He's running on the Democratic ticket; I'm not certain why. I've always seen him act on behalf of "the people" - but seldom does he draw political lines. Anyway, he's a nice guy - and if you have the chance to meet him face to face, I'd suggest doing so. I know not all of you live in Iowa, but for those who do, I promised I'd help him get the word out about his candidacy. Candidly, might I add. You can see him in August - no matter where you live. As long as you make the pilgrimage, that is. And for heaven's sake, get your employer to pay for Gnomedex. It's going to be as educational as any other conference - and at a fraction of the cost. Trust me, we'll keep you busy.

Jake's been looking for a small, sweet digital camera. It's about time, right? My recommendation is anything in the Canon line. Kim agrees: "I recommend the Canon PowerShot S-110; it's so dang small and fits in your pocket, but it shoots as high-quality an image as any professional digital cam I have ever used. It includes Photo Stitch Software and built-in panoramic functionality. My only complaint with it is that macro mode range is not really macro. It's more of an extreme close-up range (3 feet plus for best results) - but I'm from the old school of photography. My daytime outside shots have been great. Nighttime shots are good when using a tripod (no blur except when handheld in dim light without the flash). I recommend a spare battery, and also a extra mid-sized CompactFlash card." To each his (or her) own.

Tomorrow, on Call for Help, we plan on showing everyone how to sell something on eBay. To demonstrate, we're auctioning off a "Call for Help" t-shirt complete with autographs from many TechTV personalities: Cat Schwartz, Brett Larson, Leo Laporte, Martin Sargent, Megan Morrone, Morgan Webb, Sumi Das, Liam Mayclem, Kris Kosach, Becky Worley, Erica Hill, Michaela Pereira, and myself. Proceeds will be donated to the charity "Computer for Schools." Bid on the shirt if you're so inclined. Believe it or not, I've never participated in an actual eBay auction before; this will be a learning experience for me, too! I've got a very nice gray suit jacket I should sell (since it doesn't fit me anymore). I shrank a couple of years ago and have yet to make up the difference. Losing weight isn't always cost effective.

See You in August,              
Chris Pirillo       


XnView v1.30 [1.5M] W9x/2k/XP FREE

{View and convert images} This is perfect for viewing your graphics files. Yeah, so? There are thousands of such supportive applications out there. What's even cooler is that it can convert those files to other formats. In fact, it works with over 360 graphics formats. Dude, I didn't even know there WERE that many. If you work with lots of images, you can't beat having this utility at your disposal. The interface is straightforward, so you should have no problem getting the job done. Or, letting it do the job for you (which is, naturally, its primary function). Supports: "ADEX (IMG, RLE), AIM Grey Scale, AT&T Group 4, Access, Aces200, Acorn Sprite, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoParade, Adobe Photoshop, Advanced Art Studio, AirNav, Alias Image File, Alpha Microsystems BMP, Amapi, Amica Paint, Amiga IFF, Amiga icon, etc."

FoSi v1.0.11 [600k] W9x/2k/XP FREE

{No full partitions} Geez, where the heck did all my hard drive space go? Partitions can get full rather quickly, and this program helps you find the folders that might be getting a bit too big for their britches. Of course, most people realize you can use the Windows Explorer to navigate your disk(s), but this doo-dad does it much faster. It shows the size of the folder and all of its subfolders in a nice little graphical chart or table. Sure, you could rely on pulling up a folder's properties, but that will get tedious in 37 seconds. This tool, however, will never wear you out. "Other functions: animate the charts, print them, and/or save them to a file."

Recommend It!


Xenu's Link Sleuth v1.2b [223k] W9x/2k/XP FREE

"[This] is a spidering software that checks Web sites for broken links. Link verification is done on 'normal' links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts, and Java applets. It displays a continuously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time. Additional features: simple, no-frills user- interface; can re-check broken links (useful for temporary network errors); simple report format, can also be e-mailed; supports SSL sites ('https'); partial testing of FTP and Gopher resources; detects and reports redirected URLs; site maps."

Recommend It!


Looking Out for Outlook
Scribbled by Clayton Gore and Furo

I'm not usually one to jump on the "Microsoft is Big Brother" bandwagon, but I saw something this morning that has seriously frightened me and put at least both feet into that camp. I hope you can confirm or deny that this is true. I'm using Office XP Pro on Windows XP Pro. Outlook is my e-mail client for local and Hotmail addresses (yes, I know - a virus waiting to happen). I live on the edge. This morning, I noticed in the Outlook address bar an "http" string when I was looking at my LOCAL email - email that I have either downloaded from one of my Hotmail accounts, or email that I have received via my POP3 account.

So, I was curious enough to copy and paste this into my browser to see what happened. Lo and behold, I saw the entire contents of my local Outlook folder (within IE). Curiouser, I logged out of Outlook and tried it again - this time, I had to enter my password, but still saw the contents of my local folder after doing so.

Now, I realize that email sent through Microsoft's servers via Hotmail is prone to inspection by them because of the simple fact that it runs through their servers (regardless of what they say, then can read it, we all know that). But here, apparently via their Office Update server for some unknown reason, were copies of my entire local mail folders. So, I forwarded the URL to my work address (where I'm writing you now) just to try it away from my machine - no luck. I try to load the page, but nothing comes up at all.

Please look into this - why would all my personal messages be accessible through the Web for any reason, let alone residing on one of Microsoft's servers? Further, I thought that my Outlook passwords were to protect my local PST - why is their server processing my personal passwords? Are these available for them to see as well? If their thought process is: "We own Outlook - you just rent it - so anything that's done with Outlook is property of us and available for inspection," I'll be finding another e-mail client and possibly Office substitution immediately. I mean, if they operate this way with Outlook, why not with their other products? Is any document I've ever typed and saved on their servers, too? Are they reading all the rants I've written about how I can't wait for Lindows? Microsoft has finally scared me.

Furo explains: It looks worse than it is. This is really no different that the item I mentioned in the Tech Specialist last week about Web sites opening local folders within a browser window. It looks like they've accessed your files, but in reality, the local browser has done all of the interpretation. In the case of this ASP routine, if you look at the code, it's using [unique] parameters as part of the input. These refer to message IDs or other attributes within Outlook that are ONLY available on your local machine. As you discovered, if Outlook is closed, it requires authentication in order to access Outlook data. From another machine, the data is not available locally, so it just goes nowhere.

Seeing your initial reaction to this, maybe my feeling about application integration with the Internet will hit home a bit. I absolutely hate the fact that Microsoft continues to broaden their seamless look and feel of everything they release and .Net will only make this worse. It's confusing, and it blurs the lines between "us and them" - making everything look like it's one big system. You have few options in tearing this stuff apart.

When you're on a dial-up connection, you can easily disconnect and know that you're unplugged, but as broadband, wireless, and other methods of always-on connectivity continue to become more widely adopted, it's not going to be easy to differentiate between what is truly yours and what is potentially available online. I absolutely don't want ANY of my financial information available through Microsoft's systems at any time, and I NEVER will... I repeat: NEVER. Yet, Microsoft Money insists on pestering me about logging on using my Passport every time I open it. If I do sign in, I'd have to do some detective work to see just what is going on behind the scenes and/or by default that I might not want. Is my stock portfolio being pushed up to their systems? How about my checking account balances? You'd better believe that they have a master key, of sorts, and can readily access your information if it's in their system. I don't want that, and it's painfully clear that you don't either, judging from the reaction to this misleading ASP script. Am I wrong?

Discuss This Topic | Recommend It!


Get this streaming audio and video revolution the only place you can - Lockergnome IPCheck Server Monitor monitors a network using various protocols (e.g. ping, http, smtp, ftp) and notifies the staff in various ways as soon as an outage occurs. Webserver Stress Test Tool simulates simultaneous users accessing a web server and helps to streamline your web application. Essential for every web developer, webmaster or web marketer! As the only consumer memory upgrade supplier that's part of a major DRAM manufacturer, we sell high-quality memory that has been qualified and approved by all major original equipment manufacturers. Tired of fiddling with IE to get it to work the way YOU want? Get Research-Desk Web


The Red Kitchen

{Dynamic cookbook resource} Small towns often have women's groups who put out cookbooks, consisting of personal recipes from all the ladies. This blogging effort is bringing that same trend to the Web, and the results are mighty tasty, let me tell ya. They make it real easy to find what you're looking for, too. You can search by month, by author, or by meal category. These are real recipes from real people served up piping hot. It is so difficult to type with these oven mitts on my hands. Yeah, you can submit your own tidbits. Like, my wife just made this tomato thingy with some white sauce. It was good.

Recommend It!


Home networks can be a hassle at times. It took me a few days to figure out how to get Gretchen's computer to recognize my shared (network) printer. Is there an easier way for those of you with two computers - and no router? Lockergnomie Mark Snedecor made the connection. "Some printers give you a choice between Parallel or USB. At work, I have an Epson 777 printer with both inputs. I have my desktop plugged into the parallel port (as has always been the tradition). Now, for the cool bit: I can plug my laptop into the USB port (both PCs on and connected to the printer) and everyone is happy. Though I have not tried a simultaneous print from both PCs, there seems to be no conflict and it saves me from having to crawl under my desk to unplug stuff when using the laptop (and having the urge to produce a hard copy without switching machines). I don't know if this works with all printers with dual ports, but my Epson 777 is certainly handling things nicely." Another discovery I made while playing with my HP OmniBook 6100 on a Wi-Fi connection and Windows XP's Remote Desktop Connection application: click to expand the Options, flip to the Local Resources tab, and place a checkmark in the "Printers" field. Blammo!

Recommend It!

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After you tweak some Windows Settings, why not make yourself nauseous with this week's peek into my personal life. I mean, loft.

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