Worried about the amount of information you have stored in Google services? Fear not. Just launched today is Google Takeout — which allows you to take a local backup of (so far, some of) the information stored in several of the Google services.
It’s not yet full–featured: it only allows backup from Google Buzz, Contact and Circles, Picasa Web Albums and from your Google profile. But the Data Liberation Front promise to add the ability to back up other Google services over time.
This is their blog post announcing the service. Remember: backup early, backup often.
Using public WiFi is becoming risky, if you pass important information insecurely over it. There are freely available tools out there that will listen in to all the network traffic, looking for passwords — and now there are tools, like Firesheep, mentioned below, that will hijack sessions you’ve already securely logged into.
Takeaway lesson? Any time you’re using a public WiFi spot, encrypt all activities if you can. And definitely encrypt passwords going to your mail server. I’ll be enforcing that last one on my mail server in the next few days.
How to stay safe at a public Wi-Fi hotspot
(from Ars Technica)
It’s not often I’m posting computer or phone-related stuff here any more, but this one is clever and deserves wider attention:
Prevent deactivation of Find My iPhone — Mac OS X Hints:
Currently if you do not have a password on your device a thief (or child) could deactivate Find My iPhone. However most people don’t know that you can prevent this by using a passcode. (This might require iOS 4.2 or later; I didn’t have an earlier version to test it.)
To prevent anyone from turning it off you can do the following steps:
- Open Settings and go to ‘General.’
- Scroll down and tap on ‘Restrictions.’
- Turn on restrictions and enter a four digit passcode and repeat to turn on.
- Under ‘Allow Changes:’ turn both of the switches Location and Accounts to Off.
Now you cannot disable find my iPhone without the passcode. This also prevents changes to anything related to location services and changes made to your email accounts.
Find my iPhone is free. Works for iPads too, of course.
Over the past several years, security compliance requirements have become more restrictive, while the technology infrastructure necessary to meet these requirements has expanded greatly. Despite our strong desire to continue providing the Thawte Personal E-mail Certificate and Web of Trust services, the ever-expanding standards and technology requirements will outpace our ability to maintain these services at the high level of quality we require. As a result, Thawte Personal E-Mail Certificates and the Web of Trust will be discontinued on November 16, 2009 and will no longer be available after that date.
This is a real shame — I’ve had one of these for ten years, and have been verifying other peoples’ identities for them for eight.
The next versions of both OSX and Windows are about to be released, and there are handy infographics to let you know how to go about upgrading from your current version.
First: the Windows version.
The OSX upgrade path graphic is after the jump…
Continue reading “Mac and PC Upgrade paths”
One small problem with OSX is that it does the same thing every time you plug in any camera — starting Aperture, for example. The trouble is, while that may be sensible when you’re plugging in your main camera, it’s a pain when connecting up your iPhone.
Cameras, a free preference pane from Flexibits, sorts out this problem. It allows the action taken on connection to be set per-device.
It’s working perfectly here, and fixes one of my longstanding frustrations with OSX. With it, attaching the various devices I have that take photos now Just Works.
Remove moving objects such as tourists or passing cars from your photos. Take multiple photos from the same scene and the «Tourist Remover» blends them into a composite photo without any interfering elements.
A free service from snampmania.com. I’ve not tried this yet as I don’t have a suitable set to use, but if it works, and I can download the resultant composite image again at decent resolution, I think I’ll be using this a lot.
(Via Boing Boing Gadgets.)
Hackers crack Apple’s iTunes gift card algorithm:
$200 iTunes Gift Certificates are selling for less than $3 in China now that a group of local hackers has circumvented Apple’s algorithm for creating the digital vouchers and built their own gift certificate generators.
This was bound to happen sooner or later. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple are able to counter this — at the end of the day, any mechanism that’s strictly algorithm-based is going to be able to be broken.
I’m a huge fan of Microsoft’s integrated server products — Small Business Server and the new kid on the block, Essential Business Server. They provide an incredibly robust and reliable IT core for any organisation — especially because the in-built monitoring and altering lets you know about potential issues that require your attention. And the integrated products in EBS for email security and network-edge security simplify your network’s configuration, and its cost.
If you are considering migrating or upgrading to EBS (and I’d consider it even if you have an existing multi-server infrastructure,) there have been a number of wizards and white papers released recently which may be of interest. They are:
Windows Essential Business Server Preparation and Planning Wizards
The Preparation and Planning Wizards help you prepare your environment and plan for deployment of Windows EBS by scanning your network environment and identifying issues that you need to correct to be able to deploy Windows EBS.
Windows Essential Business Server Preparation and Planning Guide
This document explains how to prepare and plan for a deployment of Windows EBS into your existing networking environment. This document includes information on how to install and run the Windows Essential Business Server Preparation Wizard and the Windows Essential Business Server Planning Wizard, and it provides planning guidance.
Monitoring Windows Essential Business Server
This document provides guidance to help you monitor your Windows Essential Business Server network by using the Windows EBS Administration Console and by using the monitoring capabilities of Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007.
This last one is, to me, the most interesting and important. Servers do need monitoring and care, but those are tasks that are easily ignored in small businesses with perhaps no dedicated IT staff. Having the server do the grunt work for you itself is very useful indeed — and the main reason I would definitely recommend that EBS is considered carefully for any core infrastructure refresh or renewal in a small company.
Postcodes are an essential part of location services in the UK. However, they’re not free – they are owned by the Post Office, who will charge you a hefty sum in order to get access to the database.
Hampering free and innovative location-based services? Likely. Easy to reverse-engineer? You betcha!
The Free the Postcode project intends to build a public domain database of postcodes, in the same way that the Open Street Map project intends to build a free map of all streets in the UK, thus breaking the Ordinance Survey’s hold on that information.
However, if you have an iPhone, Free the Postcode has a free application that uses the phone’s GPS for location, combined with your submission of the postcode. This link will open it in iTunes. There’s also an app for Android phones.
This is an excellent idea and well worth supporting.
Found on TechCrunch UK