Webscraping has always been, at best, a flaky way of gathering data and at worst a legal gray area. With premier sites such as Google and Amazon now offering official webservice interfaces to their data, developers can now add both respectability and reliability to their applications and drop the fragile HTML parsing. This change in focus from using these services at the provided front end to wrapping our own services around them takes a while to get your head around but once you ‘get it’ the possibilities become pretty much endless. Read on →

It was a dark and stormy night, in the corner a Postfix server threatened to buckle under the weight of the Sobig.F worm. On a mailing list not quite in a galaxy far far away an argument a discussion about sudo, history files and information disclosure raged. One of the topics that came up was the information you can glean from the process table as people use commands such as Sudo and su instead of running everything as root. Read on →

Author: Rob Flickenger ISBN: 0596004613 Publisher: O’Reilly & Associates The first time i picked this book up to read i never even made it through the first four pages to the preface, the foreword is provided by Eric Raymond and to be completely honest, does no justice to the rest of the book. While ESR focuses on the abstract details of hackers, in pretty much the same way as all his other writing, the meat of the book is pure, hands on solution. Read on →

“Its only running a single service, we’re fully patched and it has a local firewall that denies by default.” “What happens if i do Ctrl-Alt-Delete?” <h3>Introduction</h3> One of the basic premises of computer security is that it's almost impossible to fully secure any machine to which an attacker has physical access. While we cannot cover all eventualities, we can make some simple changes to catch any use of the more blatant avenues of abuse. Read on →

Update: As you can probably tell from the “Last updated on ‘Tue Aug 22 00:04:12 2006’” I’ve not touched this page for a while. I assume these no longer work so I’ve removed links to the executables and the executables themselves. I've been using <acronym title="Internet Explorer">IE</acronym> almost exclusively on Windows since version 4 was released. It beat Netscape hands down and it was actually quite useable. Unfortunately once Netscape was firmly thrashed (Although i did still have to put up with it on Linux.) the IE team seemed to lose its drive and failed to excite with the bland version 5 and the great gaping security hole known as IE6. Read on →

From the projects sourceforge home: “Dave’s Quick Search Deskbar is an add-on for the Windows Desktop Taskbar that lets you launch searches quickly. With dozens of search engines, a calculator, clock, calendar, and more in one little textbox, it’s monster functionality in a flea-sized GUI” What is DQSD? From the projects sourceforge home: “Dave’s Quick Search Deskbar is an add-on for the Windows Desktop Taskbar that lets you launch searches quickly. Read on →

Googlism is an amusing way of wasting ten minutes of time you’d otherwise spend reading your email. A better explanation from the official Googlism site itself is “Googlism.com will find out what Google thinks of you, your friends or anything!“ A bookmarklet is a snippet of code that adds or enhances a web browsers functionality. They live in the same place as your bookmarks and allow easy access to tasks ranging from the trivial (resizing the browser window or turning images off) through to the more complex (running searches with whichever text you have highlighted as the search term or validating the html and links on the current page.) If you use <acronym title="Internet Explorer">IE</acronym> then you’re in luck, for once. Read on →

Author: Andrew Johnson ISBN: 1884777805 Publisher: Manning If you come from a non-programming background and you want to learn Perl go and buy this book. Now. The rest of the review will wait until you get back. If your coming to Perl from another language and you have basic to intermediate knowledge and experience of programming concepts go and buy this book. If you know Perl well then buy this book and when ever anyone asks you a lot of questions hand it to them and smile as you realise you’ve just done them a favour. Read on →

Authors: Steve McConnell ISBN: 0735608776 Publisher: Microsoft Press One of the things that I used to find puzzling was how Microsoft Press released some of the best books on software engineering and application development while maintaining the level of quality they are famous for. I eventually realised that it was simple, all of the best programmers were writing books instead of code. When your sitting in front of a screen looking at another bluescreen cyou may argue with this being a good thing but if you’ve ever read any of McConnell’s other books such as Code Complete you’ll find the trade off to be acceptable. Read on →

Author: David H. M. Spector ISBN: 1565926250 Publisher: O’Reilly Building Linux Clusters was a book that I had high hopes for. Clusters are one of my hobbies and when I discovered that the same publisher that bought Running Linux to me was behind I saw good things ahead. And then I got it. This book was held back for months from its initial release date. I can understand this since pretty much anything in the Linux word is a moving target and around the release date clusters were a prime example so when I got my copy of this book I was looking forward to reading about a subject I have an interest in. Read on →