Denise and I were talking just yesterday about trying to get our projects more organized. What do you know - the answer fell right in our laps with Basecamp. Actually one of my customers started using this during one of our projects, so checked it out. Thus far, I'm impressed.
All of the extensions and plugins that I've written (I think) are licensed under the Open Software License. Heck, the site itself is too. This means, in a nutshell, that you can do whatever you want with these things, and I'm not responsible for the outcome. Even if I happen to use something copyrighted - which I wouldn't do intentionally - it's your problem to figure that out, not mine.
In exchange for not being held liable for what it does to your system, you get the right do do what you want with that product, whether it is a plugin, extension or just some random thoughts. I've "washed my hands", as they say. And in general, I have no problem with that whatsoever. It just isn't an issue.
But in recent days, weeks, months or some other indeterminate amount of time, I've decided that perhaps this isn't the best idea.
I've been using the GIMP for a while now. Part of it is that I don't really want to spend a ton of money on something like Photoshop when I really don't need to do image manipulation that often. GIMP has worked wonderfully for me. But yesterday, I needed to read in a PDF file, make some changes, and save it back out (as an image, not a PDF). The problem? When I tried to open it, I received an error saying something like "Error starting ghostscript: Failed to execute child process (Invalid argument) ". What to do?
I just can't. Sure, the interface is pretty. The keyboard navigation is slick, but who really cares, since you'll end up grabbing the mouse on the next page anyway? I'm sure there are reasons to like the integration with Gmail and Blogger, but I don't use either.
Unfortunately, they missed on one important issue: It just takes so long to read!
I ran into another issue where I was trying to use the management console for the Trend Micro OfficeScan software. But as soon as I logged in, it told me that I had timed out and made me log in again. That's just insane - even the fast-talking Micro Machine guy couldn't get anything done that quickly!
So I went browsing around and finally found my way to this page that addresses the issue. This is for the dialog that says Your OfficeScan session has timed out. Please log in again. Obviously, there is a timeout built in (by default it is 30 minutes). If this is your problem, just log in again.
But in this case, it was immediate. It turns out that the problem was that the IUSR_computername user, that is used to run the IIS process, didn't have authority to the TEMP directory, found in the PCCSRV directory under your OfficeScan installation directory. By default, this is found at:
C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\OfficeScan\PCCSRV\TEMP
Once I added the user to the permissions, the console fired right up.
While I like the ability to stream a particular playlist easily, and even do it over the internet if I so desire, I found that the playlist information - song title and such - was lacking when I used software with the Slim Server software. This seemed to be the case whether I was using their Soft Squeeze software, iTunes or even Windows Media Player. So I started hunting again.
For the moment, I've settled on trusty old Winamp, though the lite software doesn't seem to handle AAC playing, even though it says that it should. No problem, however, as I've found an MP4 Input Plugin for Winamp, which handles everything I need. Back in business!
In fighting a particularly nasty trojan, dubbed something like TROJ_DLOADER in a number of instances, I came across the need for two utilities.
The first is called StartupList, and gives you a list of everything that happens during startup. In this case, the startup of Explorer (and by extension, Internet Explorer) was the winner where an "enumerating helper object" loaded a suspicious DLL everytime a window was opened.
Once the file was found, I needed a copy of MoveOnBoot, which allows the copy/move/rename/delete of a file that is used by Windows at boot time - before the object is in use. Simply select the object found in the prior step, select to move it and/or delete it, and restart. Problem solved.
StartupList actually provides a GUID as well, which you can use to search your registry if you'd like to get rid of all traces of the Trojan. Anti-spyware software, such as that from Webroot can also help with this - though it cannot actually remove the file, so you need to have that done first.
While I really like that iTunes allows you to "share" music with other computers, I really don't like two things about iTunes as a "server". First, that the sharing is limited to the local network (at least, I think it is) and second, that the iTunes application has to run on the other system - that is, the user needs to be signed on and iTunes has to be loaded. This may be different on Macs, but it is definitely the case under Windows.
No longer. While it's been out for a while, and I've even known about it for a while, the ultra-cool Slim Server software from Slim Devices resolves both problems in one fell swoop. Now, my music is on a true server - that is, a system that doesn't require a user to be signed on - and I even have remote access to create all the playlists I'd like, be it from a single artist or all of them.
Using Slim Server (a free download no less), I have a service running on that other PC, and to connect to it I can use my web browser to configure the playlists, and I just connect to the stream using my player of choice. I'm using iTunes at the moment, but there's little reason for that - I just happen to have it up and running.
What's more is that this network-centric model means I can access the music simply by using the IP address, making my music available anywhere I choose to get at it. Dunno if I'll do this or not - but I can. Sweet!
Thanks to the recent newsletter from Vonage, I found out about their Click-2-Call software. This is a cool little application that sits in the system tray (Windows only, sorry). When you highlight a phone number on your computer and press the hotkey (F6 by default), it first dials your default number (if you have more than one, you can set one as default), then you pick it up and it connects you to the selected number. Cool!
I just read an interesting post about Movable Type and plugins (specifically Workflow). In a nutshell, the argument is that Movable Type is a product - one which costs money - and having to buy add-ons to provide what is perceived as core functionality isn't a good thing. It's an interesting argument, and one that I can understand as a consumer.