OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #18: Year End Edition

Another year comes to a close faster than expected. I supposed to do a year end wrap-up or predictions post but I won’t. I’ll stick to the program and just talk about recent stuff. Plenty of wrap-ups and predictions elsewhere.

Microsoft released Windows XP SP3 RC1 and after my success installing the Vista SP1 Release Candidate I decided to give it a try. I wasn’t so lucky with this update. During the install it told me it couldn’t copy a file. While trying to research the problem I received some memory related errors trying to read the files. These were either incorrect or related to a specific resource since I had plenty of free memory. Since this was a release candidate I gave up quickly since I didn’t want to invest the time. I had created a snapshot with Parallels prior to starting the upgrade so I just reverted to the previous snapshot and pretended I never tried to install SP3. Another benefit of VM’s is the easy recovery.

My troubles installing Ubuntu under Parallels continued. Much to my surprise Ubuntu 7.10 Server installed quickly under VMware. I started the install while the Parallels install was copying files (after the Ubuntu install wizard) and it was done first and booted first time. That’s not a good performance comparison since both were competing for the same disk and cpu cycles, but it was promising. I have both Parallels and VMware on my iMac although I’ve pretty much stuck to Parallels. I doesn’t seem worth the overhead to run both at the same time. (I bought a couple VMware Fusion licenses prior to it’s official release when they were dirt cheap) I’ll probably run Ubuntu Server on VMware Fusion and if it works I’ll move my Windows XP virtual machine over to it using the convertor VMware provides.

There is a reason behind my Ubuntu Server installation. The plan is to set up a complete test & development environment for web software on the Ubuntu Server virtual machine. But I want it as a learning experience so rather than let the Ubuntu Server installer install Apache, MySQL and other apps I just did the base install and I’ll do the rest one at a time as I learn about them. While I could set this up on my Mac using OS X I decided to go with a VM. It’s more like having a remote server and I don’t have to worry about screwing up my Mac.

I’m hoping to clear up a small backlog of posts and get those up this week. I installed Mandriva and Fedora under VMware Fusion. I don’t plan on doing much with them but I’ll get the install screen shots up.  I’ll avoid mentioning anything else since some of them may not see the light of day since there never seems to be enough time.

News & Links Windows XP – Disable dumpprep when programs crash – Tip for turning off those error report dialogs that most people cancel when a program crashes. Lifehacker’s 2007 Guide to Free Software and Webapps – Huge list of free software and webapps from End of Support for Netscape web browsers – AOL will be killing the Netscape browser on Feb 1, 2008. Makes sense – I doubt I’m the only one who forgot Netscape was still being developed. AOL paid $4 billion for Netscape back in 1998.

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Security Quest #15: Links & Numbers


Not much happening this holiday week so just some spam numbers and links.

Spam Counts

My primary mailbox (which manages multiple addresses) didn’t get any new spam messages and the 30-day count is down to four from last week’s seven.

My more public GMail address received a bunch of spam messages this past week, all of which was filtered by GMail. The thirty day count jumped to 176, up from 154 messages last week.

This site’s spam comment count jumped to 7,414, up 73 from last week. All were caught by the Spam Karma plugin.

News & Links Malware construction kit authors arrested, to be tried – The Russians have arrested two malware toolkit authors. Problems updating the Flash player in Firefox? Here’s help – The article provides the reasons I hate Flash player. What the rather long article explains is the steps necessary to remove the old, vulnerable versions of Flash Player. WARNING: Google’s GMail security failure leaves my business sabotaged – David has his GMail account hacked due to a vulnerability (since fixed) which led to him having his domain name stolen from him. Security exploit bricks HP and Compaq laptops – Engadget reports on a Polish security researching finding yet more exploits in HP/Compaq products. Antivirus protection worse than a year ago – Heise Security points to a study that shows antivirus effectiveness has fallen from a year ago. One reason given is the “professionalization of the malware scene”. False positive detection – system file explorer.exe – Here’s the Kaspersky fix if you got bit by the false virus detection on explorer.exe Kaspersky inadvertently quarantines Windows Explorer – Kaspersky had a problem with their virus definitions and quarantined explorer.exe as the Huhk-C virus. – Join Our Community… So We Can Spy On Your Every Online Move – Techdirt brings news of a report from CA that’s “community” is really a ploy to get you to install the Comscore toolbar and watch your online moves.

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Security Quest #14: Apple Releases Security Patches

Apple released Security Update 2007-009 for OS X 10.4.11 Tiger and OS X 10.5.1 Leopard on Monday. The Apple support article lists 41 vulnerabilities that were patched. Patched components include Core Foundation, CUPS, Flash Player Plug-in, Launch Services, perl, python, Quick Look, ruby, Safari, Samba, Shockwave Plug-in, and Spin Tracer. The update requires a reboot.

The Leopard update was a 35.4MB download on my Intel Macs through Apple Automatic Update. It’s also available as a 35.6MB standalone download. There are two versions for Tiger. The PPC version is a 15.9MB standalone download and the Universal version is a 27.4MB standalone download.

I applied the update to my iMac, MacBook and Mac Mini. All are running OS X 10.5.1 Leopard on Intel cpu’s. I’ve been running the update for a little over a day without a specific problem but have had some new instability. Not necessarily due to the updates, but they are new problems.

On my iMac Parallels is a bit unstable. Windows XP SP2 is having some network connectivity issues and some keyboard issues. On the network side of things some connections time out through Windows while connecting fine in OS X. There’s so many potential failure points for Internet sites it’s hard to point the finger at the update and be sure. The keyboard issue within Parallels is more annoying. Sometimes the VM starts up in caps mode (while staying lower case in OS X) until I restart the VM. It also buffers keystrokes and falls behind my two-finger typing. But, I haven’t seen any info that others are experiencing the problem.

My MacBook has gotten the gray screen of death once since the update. It was soon after startup and Safari was the only app running. I think that was the first OS crash for the MacBook. It’s been OK since and I’m using it now.

The problems can’t be tied to the update and they aren’t persistent, but my Macs have been stable and the updates were the last change before the problems occurred. That’s usually the place to start.


Spam Counts

Time to start keeping track of my spam again, at least for awhile.

Spam to my primary GMail mailbox (which manages multiple email addresses) has had seven spam messages in the last 30 days. What’s interesting is which e-mail addresses were used. Back in October when I redesigned the web site I decided to stop using two addresses which appeared on the site. I removed one at that time. I missed the second one and it still appears on the web site in clear text/html since I removed the obfuscation plug-in. The one in clear text since October picked up three email messages that are clearly spam. The address that I removed was picked up by a software company and I received three “promotional” emails from them. You could say they’re on topic for the blog but there’s no unsubscribe link and GMail sees them as spam.  The seventh spam email was sent to my Yahoo email which I’ve never given out. I canceled AT&T/Yahoo as my ISP but the email account remains.

A GMail address I use extensively picked up 2 spam messages in the last 30 days, both blocked by GMail. I don’t use this account with places that are high spam risks but I’m actually surprised there’s not more yet.

A third GMail address that gets used almost exclusively where there’s a high risk of spam received 154 spam emails in the last thirty days. This is less than 50% of what the count was in June. On June 24th there were 343 spam messages in the previous 30 days.

Much to GMail’s credit their spam filter works well for me a they didn’t let anything through and didn’t flag anything I wanted.

I use the Spam Karma plugin for WordPress on this website. So far its caught 7,341 spam comments.


News & Links About the security content of Java Release 6 for Mac OS X 10.4 – Apple released a java security update for mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. I don’t have any Macs running Tiger so don’t have any first hand experience. Safari 3 Beta Updated – Safari 3.0.4 beta for Windows XP/Vista.

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Security Quest #13: Microsoft Patch Tuesday

Yesterday was patch Tuesday for December and Microsoft released seven security bulletins. There weren’t any Office updates but there were updates for all supported OS’s – Windows 2000 Professional SP4 to Windows XP SP2, and Windows Vista – along with updates for Internet Explorer 6 and IE 7. All the updates are available through Automatic Updates or the Microsoft web site. Microsoft has said that exploits for the IE vulnerabilities are already being used. Click the bulletin number to go directly to the MS bulletin. I do not mention server OS’s when saying what OS the patch is for, only desktop OS’s and app’s.

MS07-063 is for Windows Vista, including the 64-bit version, and is rated as Important. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution but it’s mitigated by the fact that SMB2 is off by default and not used when connecting to previous OS’s (like Windows XP).

MS07-064 is for DirectX 7 and 8 on Windows 2000; DirectX 9 on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista; DirectX 10 on Windows Vista. The patch is rated Critical on all systems.

MS07-065 is for Windows 2000 Pro and Windows XP. It’s rated as Important on Windows 2000 and Moderate on Windows XP. An attacker that already has valid logon credentials could elevate their privileges.

MS07-066 is for Windows Vista, including 64-bit, and is rated as Important. The vulnerability could allow the elevation of privileges.

MS07-067 is for Windows XP and it’s rated as Important. It also allows privilege elevation.

MS07-068 is for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista and it’s rated as Critical. The patch varies based of the version of the Windows Media Format Runtime that is installed and isn’t OS specific. The vulnerability can allow remote code execution.

MS07-069 is the always expected Internet Explorer Cumulative update and is for Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista. And also for Internet Explorer 5.01 on Windows 2000. It’s rated as Critical on all desktop OS’s.

I run a basic (no additional software) Windows Vista Ultimate VM and it updated without a problem. The same for a basic Windows XP SP2 VM I also run. The updates were installed through Automatic Update.

News & Links Rating antivirus software: vendors to agree on standard testing guidelines – Software vendors are working to come up with a standard way of evaluating and comparing AV software. SAFE Act won’t turn mom-and-pop shops into WiFi cops – There was a lot of hysteria about this bill in various articles. Mainly saying that it required free Wi-Fi providers to monitor users. Ars Technica has a more reasoned article (as they usually do). Avast AntiVirus Home Edition – Free virus protection for your home PC – Avast has updated their free (or personal use) Anti-Virus software. Data Security Summary – July to December 2007 – F-Secure has published their year-end data security summary in both written and video form.

Google Privacy: Emails, Off-the-record Chats – Continuing the privacy theme, information on GMail and Google chat.

News.Com: Free online service cuts back on catalog clutter – Reduce the snail-mail spam. Grisoft acquires Exploit Prevention Labs – Grisoft adds web page scanning to its tools. 2.3.1 Released – OOo released version 2.3.1 which patches one vulnerability and includes a few other bug fixes. Verizon’s Idea Of Security: We Block Spyware… Unless It’s From Our Partners – TechDirt says Verizon’s security service has some deficiencies. Top 10 Best & Worst Anti-Phishing Web Registrars – Security Fix – Some registrars are better than others when taking down phishing sites. Plus, there’s an effort to standardize the take down process. Windows Live OneCare 2.0 Review – Good review of the latest Windows OneCare version AIM Hack Shows AOL Hasn’t Patched Critical Security Hole – AOL often plugs vulnerabilities in AIM by doing server-side filtering. Google Disables Some Gmail Accounts by Mistake – Seems like Google disabled some GMail accounts for spamming or other TOS violations. It’s all better now, but some mail may have been bounded.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #17: A Virtual Week

This week was almost all about Virtual Machines on the Quest. Parallels released a couple of beta updates and eventually the final production release this week. My biggest complaint about Parallels was that the Windows task bar appears in every space even when Parallels is assigned to one space. But the more I used Parallels the less this was a problem. Not because I didn’t mind the task bar, but because I’m not using coherence mode. I run my VMs one of two ways, either full screen in the Space or in a window. I run Parallels on my iMac with it’s nice big 24″ screen. So it’s nice to have the VM on 2/3 of the screen and something else (like a video) on the other third. Or, I run the app full screen. So, with Spaces coherence mode is irrelevant, at least for me.

Windows Vista has taken a lot of bashing lately, some of it justified, but some of it seems like piling on. I haven’t seen anything in Vista that makes me just have to use it for that feature or application, but it also doesn’t seem like a terrible OS. I’m actually feeling sorry for Vista (is it possible to feel sorry for an OS?) If I was buying a Windows desktop today I’d get it with Vista (easy to say since I’m not getting one). There are reasons not to upgrade, just like there are reasons not to upgrade to Leopard. Not all app’s are Vista compatible. Not all app’s are Leopard compatible (I’m still waiting on SuperDuper!). I obviously don’t think Windows Vista is perfect since I’m a Mac user, but still, is it really as bad as they say? The marketing (how many versions? How much?) and some of the business decisions leave a lot to be desired, but the bits seem OK.

Well, I hope to spend more time in Windows (including Vista) over the next few months so maybe I can get an answer to that question. There’s some stuff that Microsoft is doing that seems really interesting. I’m writing this post in Windows Live Writer. I’ve been using it for about a week and will keep right on using it. It’s great. It’s free. There are some other app’s and services from the Windows Live team that are intriguing and I’ll be looking at when time allows.

Another Microsoft product that’s grabbed my attention is Windows Home Server. I’m so interested I went and ordered HP’s version as my year-end computer purchase. So I’ll leave further comment until I get my hands on it.

So, while Microsoft seems to be stumbling on the business and public relations side they can still put out good software.

Software Upgrades

There were some software upgrades this week. Yojimbo 1.5 was released. Some people reported problems with PDF imports on OS X 10.4.11 but I didn’t have any issues on Leopard. They said that the PDF’s were converted to plain text when imported. In addition to the enhancements I’ve noticed a significant speed improvement when using the internal search. The release notes mentioned that additional fields in Yojimbo were now indexed and searchable in spotlight. I’d never used spotlight to search Yojimbo but decided to give it a try. Nothing I searched for in Spotlight returned a Yojimbo item. I’m not sure if it’s broken on my iMac or I misunderstood or I’m doing something wrong. It’s not a real concern for me, I tried it out of curiosity and it’ll probably stay that way for awhile.

Panic Software also released Transmit 3.6.3. I’ve only been using it a couple of days so there’s not much to say that wasn’t in my original post. Still my favorite FTP client.


I updated to Path Finder 4.8.3 at the beginning of the week. It was mainly a bug fix release so not much to say here either. The Quick Look panel now passing arrow keys back to Path Finder is a help since there were one or two occasions where this annoyed me but that’s about it.


As previously mentioned at the beginning of this article, there were a couple updates to Parallels, including the official release. Now that Leopard is out and things are settling down I hope to be doing more in Windows and Linux so hopefully this will remain stable. I’ve been running it pretty regularly since it’s release, I’m in it now while writing this article.

Adobe Lightroom also got a minor update but I skipped this one. Even though I like Lightroom a lot there’s no way I can justify buying it. At least until I actually spend more time with my camera and get better at it. By that time everything will have changed. So even though there’s some eval time left I’ve bitten the bullet, moved everything out, and stopped using it. Still, be sure to take a look at Lightroom before springing for Aperture.

Visitor Stats

I updated my visitor stats over on the right sidebar. I started using Mint to collect the stats just prior to the release of Leopard and in the midst of my Leopard posts so I expected it to lean heavily to the Mac. I’ve still been mostly about the Mac so that hasn’t changed much. Mac visitors dropped two points and Windows visitors bumped up three points. The one percent difference is really just a rounding error since the previous total only totaled 99%. Safari usage stuck at 46%, while Firefox dropped by a point and Camino cut in half, down to 2%. Opera dropped off the chart and went under 1%. IE picked up two points and hit 15%.

Pretty useless information in the grand scheme of things, but I find it interesting anyway.

News & Links

There were a couple good articles about Leopard’s Time Machine this week. InfoWorld has one titled “How Leopard Time Machine works, and how it doesn’t” which is more of a technical overview. One important bit of information:

A distraught user might only be interested in the amount of data he may have lost:
If you accidentally deleted a file today, you lose up to an hour’s work
If you deleted it between yesterday and 30 days ago, you lose up to a day’s work
If you deleted it more than 30 days ago, you can lose up to one week’s work, or all of it

MacInstruct’s article is titled “Making the Most of Time Machine” and is more of a tutorial. If your using Time Machine you need to read both articles.

Other news and links: Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop – Microsoft is working to get Windows XO working on the OLPC (One laptop per child). Aperture: 32 Ways To Speed Up Aperture – Some tips for speeding up Aperture. Some are of the “more/better hardware” type but there’s some configuration tips too. Seagate FreeAgent drives not down with Linux? – Lack of official support may be expected, but apparently the FreeAgent drives don’t like Linux. You’d think any USB drive would work but that’s apparently not the case here due to the power-save features. Edit your photos! On Flickr! – Like the title says, you can now edit your photos directly on Flickr

FOSSwire » Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet – One page Linux commands. Exclusive Lifehacker Interview: Quicksilver’s Creator on the Future of QS – Not happy news about the future of QuickSilver. Schedule Startup Programs with Startup Delayer – Freeware that can be used to delay programs that run during Windows startup. Great Deals On Hundreds Of Mac Products – 20% off of selected software for one day (new deals each day) and 10% off on extended deals. Through December 24th, 2007. Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals– Microsoft has posted info about Vista SP1 including a list of changes/fixes, an overview and deployment guide. Enough here to kill a weekend. Kindle can light up your life – Andy Ihnatko likes the Kindle but not because he likes eBooks. Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 1 Overview and Screenshots – Windows XP SP3 RC1 overview. Lots of fixes, no new end user features. Paul didn’t notice the speed improvement others mentioned but only upgraded one system. Pixelmator 1.1 adds new filters, tablet support and more – Pixelmator 1.1 for the Mac has been released. It’s a $59 image editing program that’s gotten a lot of attention. Although I decided Acorn was better suited for me so don’t use Pixelmator. A Look at Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 1 – Paul Thurrott looks at Windows Vista SP1 : Announcing Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) – Microsoft has made RC1 of Windows Vista SP1 available. If you install RC1 you’ll need to uninstall it before you can install a later version. They say they’re on target for a Q1 2008 release. With SP1, Microsoft plans to ditch the Vista “kill switch” – ZDNet is reporting that Microsoft will kill the kill switch in Vista WGA with SP1 so it works like XP. They article also says that the “Get Legal” prices for Vista are less than many legitimate resellers. They seem comparable to OEM prices I’ve seen.

Random Access

Security Quest #12:Privacy

Facebook caused an uproar over the past week with their new Beacon advertising service. Being the last human not to have a Facebook account I didn’t follow the story too much at first, but then it became hard to ignore. At the very least it was a public relations disaster for Facebook, although I suspect it won’t really affect their membership numbers. Ars Technica has a pretty good summary and includes the changes Facebook made in response to the outcry. But it appears Facebook may still have a ways to go. PC World reports that Beacon tracks non-Facebook users and logged off Facebook users. It appears nobody at Facebook talked to their users and they implemented Beacon without really explaining what it meant before it kicked in for users.

I find it interesting that Google most definitely has as much info about users but tries to keep a low profile. When there’s a uproar about Google it’s what they might do with the data. With Facebook it’s what they were actually doing with the data. Google pulls us in slowly, Facebook wanted it to overwhelm us.

Also in the privacy arena, the November 22nd Security Now Podcast talked about third -party cookies, specifically PayPal’s routing of links through Doubleclick to avoid the issue of browsers rejecting third-party cookies. As the podcast mentions, this could give the Doubleclick advertising access to information about you. I don’t use PayPal a lot, and while I don’t like what they do I won’t use it any less. I use PayPal when a credit card isn’t accepted or I don’t want to give a website my credit card number so it would remain my preferred, if reluctant, choice. It may get me go through the hassle of using a one-time credit card number my bank offers.

Software Vulnerabilities

Symantec is reporting than an active exploit is in the wild for a QuickTime vulnerability that was first reported last week. From the article:

Hamada said the exploit code was found on a compromised porn site that redirects users to a site hosting malicious software called “Downloader.” Downloader is a Trojan that causes compromised machines to download other malicious software from the Internet. Symantec rates Downloader as “very low” risk.

A second QuickTime flaw has also just been reported.

News & Links

Blogger in Draft: New feature: OpenID commenting – Google has begun testing OpenID with their “Blogger in Draft” program. McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008 – complete package Internet security and firewall reviews – CNet review McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008 and rated it 7.3 out of 10 and said “McAfee Internet Security 2008 trounces Norton Internet Security 2008, offering a better designed product with more security tools.”

Google Online Security Blog: Help us fill in the gaps! – Google is asking users to report malicious websites they come across by filling out a online form. Virus experts warn of ‘Google poisoning’ – The Red Tape Chronicles – Info about malware distribution via websites is making it’s way in to the general news. Inviting the hackers inside – article about how Microsoft has taken a more inclusive approach to security. Yahoo, Adobe team on PDF ads – Advertising can now infect PDF files. Windows Live OneCare 2.0 Reviewc- Good review of the latest Windows OneCare version Spammers Giving Up? Google Thinks So – Google says that spam is down (as a percentage of all mail) through their GMail system. Flaw leaves Microsoft looking like a turkey – Vulnerability in Windows that was thought patched 5 years ago still exists under some conditions. Vista is affected too. via

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #16:

I decided it was time to move out of Adobe LightRoom (which I’d be running under a eval license key) and back into Aperture. I found LightRoom easier to use, especially to organize photos, but there’s no way I could justify the $299 price. Since I already have Aperture there’s really no price for which I could justify the purchase.

I figured I’d export from LightRoom and import into Aperture. But I ran into problems exporting from LightRoom even though I told LightRoom to export the original files. I figured this would be more a copy than an export. But several images that had been imported as JPEGs were corrupted when exported. When viewed in Finder the file name and preview image were another file which made me think it was a LightRoom database or export problem. The images worked fine in Lightroom. So I imported the files directly from their location on the disk. I ended up using Smart Folders to get the files for each category I wanted and them importing into Aperture in groups so I could tag them during importing. Tedious but at least I didn’t have a lot of files in LightRoom.

But Aperture wasn’t without it’s problems either. The app crashed several times and pinwheeled a couple of others. I was at the latest version of Aperture and LightRoom and had all the Leopard patches. Both the LightRoom and Aperture libraries have always been excluded from Time Machine backups. All-in-all it was an unpleasant several hours for what I expected to take an hour at most.

Then there were additional frustrations with my Airport Extreme Base Station. Others have reported problems with drives connected to the base stations. But then I started the Airport utility and it didn’t show any drives connected. So I rebooted the base station and the drive appeared in the Airport Utility and in Finder. But then things got worse when I tried deleting some files from the drive. At that point I lost the Base Station completely, including Wireless and Internet. Starting the Airport Utility froze up Finder and the Airport Utility itself. Force quit didn’t work but I was able to shutdown the iMac and then I power cycled the base station. Long story short, the drive didn’t always appear and when it did the base station would freeze up whenever I tried to access the drive, even after trying a different cable and drive. It worked at one time, just not today. I don;t remember using it since the 10.5.1 update although I might have. In a related matter, updates to my Apple TV via wireless through the base station had appeared to be slow. After the base station reboot they were about 10 times faster.

Software Updates

Firefox was updated to version on Nov. 26th and version on Nov. 30th. The first update contained security fixes while the update on the 30th was released to address website incompatibilities introduced in the previous release.

Econ Technologies released ChronoSync version 3.3.6 that contains Leopard related enhancements and bug fixes. I use ChronoSync to copy files between my Macs.

Skype has released a beta version of their software that’s Leopard compatible. I’ll stick with the old version for now. Except for the firewall problems it’s been working fine for me. I prefer the known problems to the unknowns of a beta.

I’m disappointed that there hasn’t been a Leopard compatible update for SuperDuper! but they been updating the progress on their blog and are making progress.

News & Links

Apple – Support – Discussions – BIG issues with 10.4x software update … – It appears the OS X 10.4.11 update doesn’t play well with Boot Camp. At least in some cases. Apple keyboards and keyboard mapping in Windows XP – Map of Apple keyboard to Windows. Apple Boot Camp beta expires Dec. 31 – The Apple Boot Camp beta will officially expire at the end of this year. TimeMachineScheduler – Freeware that provides a bit more control over Time Machine in Leopard. via

Official Google Reader Blog: Attack of the interns: recommendations and drag-and-drop – Google Reader adds Drag-and-Drop and feed discovery features. Discovery uses your web browsing history along with your current feeds. Business Center: Did Microsoft’s Security Focus Hurt Vista Adoption? – Interesting take on MS emphasis on security in Vista.

TUAW.COM: Mac 101: Drag and drop in the Application Switcher – Useful tip for leopard users. Google Gadgets in your OS X Dashboard – I don’t use Google Gadgets or Desktop so it isn’t something I care about. But the next version of Google Desktop will all us to run Google Gadgets in the OS X dashboard. IconGrabber: easy icon extraction – Great little Quicksilver plugin for those of us with the need. There’s also a standalone app for those who don’t use Quicksilver. Even Microsoft Execs Are Confused About ‘Vista Capable’ Claims – Microsoft marketing is even too complicated for its own executives. Yahoo Merchants Toasted By Monday Outage – Yahoo Merchant Solutions suffered outages on “cyber Monday”. Oops Anacron for MacOS – runs daily, weekly and monthly tasks if they were missed because the mac was off or asleep. Updated for Leopard. Freeware. – Expand Your Photography with Specialty Lenses – Good overview of various lens types and how than can be used. Windows XP to get a significant performance boost with SP3? – One of several articles about claims that XP SP3 will offer a significant speed improvement of SP2. While Vista SP1 won’t be speeding things up. WaterRoof ipfw firewall frontend – IPFW firewall frontend for Mac OS X with a GUI interface. Open-source & Freeware. Windows and OS X Software Alternatives – A search site to locate Linux aleternatives to Windows and OS X software. Via Kindle can light up your life – Andy Ihnatko likes the Kindle but not because he likes eBooks. Google Plans Service to Store Users’ Data – Wall Street Journal is reporting (without official Google confirmation) that Google is still working on their online storage offering and “could be released as early as a few months from now…”