Random Access

Security Quest #2: PayPal Security Key & Weekly Update

PayPal is piloting a new feature that more financial institutions should consider and every PayPal client should use. They are making Verisign security key fobs available to PayPal users for a nominal cost of $5 each. The cost includes shipping.

The key fob generates a new six digit password every thirty seconds. You enter this, along with your password, when signing onto PayPal. Even if someone gets your password they cannot access the account without the key fob (well, there is an exception).

PayPal’s Security Key FAQ sums up it’s benefits:

Because it gives you an extra layer of security when you log in to your PayPal or eBay account. Most websites keep your online account safe by only asking for your user name and password to verify your identity. The PayPal Security Key gives you an additional security code that only you know about. That makes your account more resistant to intrusion. Plus, the Security Key’s easy to use.

PayPal does allow access if you lose the key or it breaks. The FAQ states they’ll ask you to confirm account ownership. After entering your password you’ll be asked to verify account information (by providing the full account numbers) or by answering your security questions. This method can be used to access your account when you don’t have your security key or to deactivate the key if it’s lost or broken.

Since PayPal is owned by eBay it’s no surprise that the key can also be used with eBay. While key fobs are a great security idea, one key fob per account isn’t feasible. The key fob is issued by Verisign and can be used their Personal Identity Provider (PIP) service which is in beta. PIP is OpenID enabled and can be used at sites that are OpenID enabled.

For information about the PayPal security key logon to your PayPal account and go to

Security Updates

Firefox has been released. The only patch in the update is to fix a critical security vulnerability when dealing with Quicktime media files. The vulnerability bulletin only mentions Windows as an affected OS but the update is for all platforms. The update is being sent through Firefox update and is available for direct download.

Security Software

AVG Antivirus Free Edition has been upgraded to version 7.5.487

Security News, Information & Discussion

The Unofficial Apple Weblog has a good article on using the OS X keychain application to store and locate passwords.

Ars Technica, among others, is reporting that spammers seem to be turning their botnets against anti-spam sites. Speculation is the attacks are from those controlling the Storm worm botnets although it may be customers paying for the attacks.

The Washington Post Security Fix blog is reporting that the RightMedia ad network was serving banner ads trojans. Rightmedia has banned the ads which were served by Photobucket, MySpace and others. RightMedia was recently purchased by Yahoo.

The Spyware Guide brings an update of spammers use Skype for a rogue anti-spyware scam.

There were a couple recent articles about managing spam comments in WordPress blogs:

  • Internet Duct Tape talks about use Akismet Auntie Spam, a Greasemonkey script for Firefox, to manage spam in WordPress.

TD Ameritrade issued a press release concerning an internal audit of their systems. They were investigating stock-related spam and found “unauthorized code” in their systems which has now been removed. They say only contact information was stolen. Ameritrade customers might want to think about new email addresses – and a new broker.

Media Defender, an anti-P2P company, made news recently after over 700MB of their emails were made public. The emails directly contracted the companies public statements over questionable tactics the company was accused of using. Media Defender employee Jay Mars forwarded all his company email to a GMail account. The GMail account was used as the conduit to get the emails. The lesson here is no matter how secure a company tries to make it’s systems employee actions are always the weakest link.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #7

It’ll be a short log this week. While the Quest has been busy this week, most of the work will make it into individual posts during the next week. I’ve been looking at Jungle Disk and Amazon S3 for backing up. I’ve also been looking at Microsoft’s free SyncToy as a simple backup alternative.

Software of Interest

Flying Meat has a new image editor out called Acorn that’s receiving positive reviews. From a feature perspective it seems to be a steal at it’s $40 intro price (no mention when the price goes up). I downloaded the eval and like it’s ease of use. I couldn’t get it to print properly but haven’t had time to dig into it. I’ve only spent about an hour looking at it but it made a favorable impression. With Adobe Photoshop Elements still not a universal binary (and will probably cost more than $40 to upgrade once it is) Acorn has come along at a good time. But it’s going to be a crowded field with Pixelmator in private beta and Iris promised soon after Leopard.

Growl, the open source system notification tool for OS X has been upgraded to version 1.1.

Adobe Lightroom 1.2 was released. The release notes (PDF link). The “upgrade” is a download and install of the full product which is a 40MB download for the Mac.

CyberDuck, the popular open source FTP client for Mac OS X has been updated to version 2.8.

Links & News

Lifehacker is running an unscientific poll of online backup software, At this time Mozy has the most votes and is just slightly ahead of “My data lives on the edge.”

IBM has thrown their support behind It’s discussed at Slashdot.

A great podcast was mentioned on a recent Mac Break Weekly. It’s from a music company and it contains free music without DRM. Image that, a music company views the Internet and podcasts as a way to promote music. The company is Magnatune. Their website banner and podcast intros proclaim “We’re not evil.”. The podcasts are about an hour long and are grouped by types of music. I took the “Everything” feed and get a nice mix of music types and have yet to get a podcast that wasn’t worth the listen.

SCO filed for Chapter 11 last Friday.

Random Access

Security Quest #1b: Microsoft Patch Tuesday

Another month and another Microsoft Patch Tuesday so there’s another set of patches from Microsoft. This month is relatively mild. The only OS Security update is for the old Windows 2000 SP4, nothing for Windows XP or Vista. The Visual Studio and MSN Messenger updates are only rated as “important”. These should still be installed as the rating indicates an exploit that could have serious repercussions. It just means the exploit can’t be used to spread malware without user action.

None of these updates apply to my Windows PCs or VMs so all I got was the malicious software removal tool which doesn’t require a reboot.

MS07-051 is a “critical” update for Windows 2000 SP4.

MS07-052 is a “important” update for Visual Studio .Net 2002, 2003, and 2005, including those versions updated with SP1.

MS07-053 is a “important” update that applies to various versions of Windows Services for Unix. If you run Windows Services for Unix check the bulletin, you probably need to update.

MS07-054 is an “important” update for MSN Messenger 6.2, 7.0, 7.5 and 8.

Random Access

Security Quest #1a: Introduction and Catching Up

I’ve been running another site called the Spam Chronicles which was last updated after Patch Tuesday in August. I’ve accepted that I don’t have time to keep both sites up to date. So, long story short – I’ll stop even thinking about updating the Spam Chronicles and will instead incorporate the new content here when it’s appropriate. The current Spam Chronicles will stay up, no reason to pull it down. (The site has been shut down.) When winter sets in I may find time to do a redesign.

A new feature here will be the Security Quest postings. I plan to do these every Wednesday (or so) since that gives me one easy topic each month – Microsoft Patch Tuesday. Today’s patch Tuesday information is in Security Quest #1b which will follow shortly. This one will serve as a round-up for news and information.

Software Updates

WordPress 2.2.3 is a security and bug fix release.

iTunes 7.4 (now 7.4.1) contained a security update which wasn’t mentioned in the download notification. If you get music files from unknown sources you should apply the update. If you only rip commercial CDs or download from iTunes you can hold off.

Lavasoft recently update Ad-Aware to work with Windows Vista. This includes the free version.

BitDefender recently updated the free version of their anti-virus software to version 10.

Security Information, News and Discussion

Skype is reporting that a worm is being spread through Skype for Windows. The worm spreads through the chat feature. via Wired Compiler Blog

Ars Technica has the story of Swedish security researcher that used TOR (The Onion Router) to collect password for embassy employees. TOR is used for anonymous Internet communication. He ran a sniffer on some tor exit nodes operated by his company. Unfortunately tor users probably didn’t realize their traffic was exposed to tor operators. A little encryption would help.

Ars Technica is also reporting an increase in botnet attacks on eBay users with the goal of stealing their eBay identity.

Mac OSX Hints tells us how to secure our Wireless connection at Starbucks. (Haven’t tried this myself, not being a T-Mobile user) via Lifehacker. has the story of the Quechup social network using questionable techniques to get users. They want to make YOU the spammer. They will ask for you email address and password (for common email systems like GMail) and then send invites to every member of your address book and send them under your name. First, never give anyone your password. Second, avoid Quechup. Hopefully the company will fail.

It’s legal to call spyware “spyware”. Techdirt has an article about a lawsuit against anti-spyware vendors being dismissed.

Slashdot has a discussion of the Ophcrack opensource Windows password cracking program.

Microsoft Patch Tuesday news will be in the next post.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #6

It was a light week here at The OS Quest, caused by some business travel mid-week and catching up after a long weekend.

Comcast broadband continues to run well except for some points where it just stops. Since the outage seems to stay in effect until I power-cycle the cable modem I’m assuming I don’t miss any outages. I this case the lock-up always seems to occur when I’ve been uploading for a long time. For example, an overnight backup. Eventually the problem will occur when I have the time and patience to call Comcast tech support. My past experiences with Comcast tech support is in line with the surveys – it’s not good.

Apple’s announcements this week didn’t excite me. Don’t get me wrong, I want one of everything except the iPhone, but my current iPod is just fine for me. But when it dies I’ll have a hard decision – the 160GB data center in my pocket or the slick interface wireless PDA with limited storage. I’m hoping my iPod lives to see the next iPod Touch version which will hopefully have 32GB (I’ve given up on iPod touch with a hard drive). That will still be a tough decision.

Which brings me to my comment to iPhone early adopters. It was worth waiting in line and worth the price when you bought it. It’s technology. It’s always getting better or dropping in price, or both. Wait until you need it or you consider it’s worth the value. Then suck it up. But I have to admit, a 33% price drop after a little more than two months is Apple sticking a finger in your eye, even if the cellphone market is competitive.

In old business – I mentioned in the last trail log that I couldn’t bridge the LinkSys router. Bob Plankers left a comment suggesting just using the Ethernet switch ports to connect. You can check out his own site at The Lone Sysadmin.

Links & News

iStatsMenu 1.1 has been released by iSlayer. This is a free, must-have app for any Mac user who likes stats. In my case, I choose to display memory, CPU usage and network bandwidth used, along with the enhanced calendar/clock on my iMac. For my MacBook I add the temperature. For all the stats in one view I use the iStatPro Dashboard widget.

jkOnTheRun brings news of Virtual CloneDrive which is freeware for Vista. It can be used to mount ISO (CD) images as virtual drives in Vista.

The BBC, among others, is reporting that Sony has new rootkit problems. The problem was originally found by F-Secure. At least in this case the user knows they’re installing software and there’s an uninstall routine. The rootkit is related to biometric security on Sony’s USB memory stick.

UneasySilence has information on how to get your personal information out of Internet search results.

Lifehacker brought news of a posting of 40 Free Windows Apps at the Technology Bites blog.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #5

It was a big weekend here at the OS Quest Data Center so I figured I’d wait for the long weekend (made even longer with a vacation day on Friday) to end.

With my switch to Comcast I have a little time with both DSL and Comcast since the DSL will run for another couple of weeks. A co-worker suggested I keep the DSL as a backup or to increase my bandwidth. Being a router guy he happened to have a Xincom XC-DPG502 router that he sent me. Since it didn’t cost me anything (except time) I figured I’d check it out. Once I packed the Xincom back up I pulled out my new Apple Airport Extreme Base Station and set that up.

Xincom DPG502 Router

While not the typical home router the Xincom is a relatively low cost router ($180) that has two WAN ports that can be set up to load balance or to operate as a fail-over backup. Even ignoring costs I decided keeping DSL and using the Xincom wasn’t for me. Many secure connections (such as https websites or my Mozy backups) can’t bounce between ports so they stay on the WAN port they first get. I found many times my connections were using the slower DSL connection and it was processing 50% of the traffic even though the load balancing said it should use only 10%. I also had a problem accessing some websites through the Xincom although they were accessible through a different router. It took awhile to get there but I eventually narrowed it down to the Xincom even though it didn’t make much sense.

The fail over feature seemed to work well although the connection has to be down hard. You can also set the router up to connect to a server on the Internet and consider the link down if it’s not accessible. The router can also be set up to connect to a server on the Internet and mark the wan port as down when it’s not accessible.

Apple Airport Extreme Base Station

Once I had enough fun playing with the Xincom I packed it up to send back and pulled out my new Apple Airport Extreme base station. I wanted to set up a 802.11n network for my Apple TV, my Macbook and once I get a USB 802.11n USB adapter my Mac Mini. In addition to the extra speed I’m hoping to avoid the interference I always run into since I live in an apartment complex. It also give me gigabit ethernet and the ability to attach a USB drive.

The installation is a bit different in that I had to install the Airport Utility (which required a reboot) on my iMac and then update it through software update before I could install the Airport Base Station. Then I had to update the firmware on the base station once the Airport Utility connected to it. I’m used to accessing the routers through a web browser but in this case it’s done through the Airport Utility.

It took longer than I expected but ended up being problem free.

Linksys Won’t Bridge – 2Wire Will

In order to keep only 802.11n devices on my Airport to avoid degrading the speed I needed to set up a second wireless access point for my 802.11 devices (Tivo, old Windows laptop, occasional work laptop). I figured I could just use my Linksys but that was no go. There’s no Bridge mode and when I found a third party firmware that could do it I ended up not being able to flash the firmware. I then found I could bridge my 2Wire gateway so I was able to set that up.

So now my network consists of the Airport Extreme connected to the cable modem and providing the 802.11n network. It also provides the ethernet cable connection to my iMac and the DHCP addresses for everything on the network. The Airport is connected via ethernet to my 2Wire 2701-HG gateway. The 2701 just provides the 802.11g wireless network and it’s in bridged mode. It’s own wan connection is unused and DHCP to its wireless devices is provided by the Airport.


I’m liking the speed of Comcast. But all is not perfect. I’ve had some problems where the connection just drops and I have to power cycle the cable modem. It usually happens overnight so I don’t notice until morning. Since I’ve been in vampire mode this weekend I’ve been on the computer when the connection goes away and power cycling the cable modem always fixes it. Jumping to another PC also fails to connect to the internet so it’s not an iMac problem. Even though cycling the modem seems to fix it, it does show activity.

New Business

With my move to cable for internet I’m looking into dropping my phone land line completely. Anyone who I want to talk to already has my cell phone number. The only ones who call my land line phone are telemarketers. I want another phone number that I can give to people who I can’t trust with my cell phone (potential telemarketers) so I’m looking into Skype and some other options. I also just came across an offering from AOL which seems like it might fit the bill.

I finally got motivated to head out and take some pictures. My latest camera, Panasonic DSC-LZ8. It’s a SLR-looking point and shoot with a 12X zoom that also shoots RAW. The downside is that OS X doesn’t have a RAW converter for it so iPhoto and Aperture won’t read them. Adobe Lightroom will read them so I installed the 30-day evaluation. When shooting RAW the LZ8 also saves a JPG so I did a quick comparison. I imported a couple of RAW photos and exported without any processing. The corresponding JPG was slightly better (so it was processed by the camera) and of good quality in my opinion. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d like Lightroom. It just seemed more intuitive than Aperture for importing, organization and quick processing.

Links & News

NeoOffice 2.2.1 is now available. NeoOffice is an OS X port of At one time NeoOffice required the installation of X11 but that’s no longer the case. While it’s been awhile, and several versions, since I used it my previous experience was that it was to big, slow and cumbersome for my limited needs (same complaint about at the time).

Lifehacker brought a link to a series of cheat sheets for every character key on a Mac.

BuiltWith is a website that tells you what tools are used on a website.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #4


New Ground

I spent my free computer time this week organizing my photos and moving them from iPhoto into Aperture. The one feature that has me into Aperture is the way it handles edits. The original photo is in Aperture once as a master and any number of edits can be made. Each edit is simply the settings that need to be applied to the master, not a copy of the photo. iPhoto has one edit per photo and the edit replaces the master for all actions (although the master is saved and can be restored). Multiple edits require making copies of the photos.

I also looked at online photo sites. Actually I looked briefly and then spent most of the time digging into Flickr. I like Flickr because of it’s ability to organize photos with tags, sets and collections and also give them various levels of access. I uploaded about 1,000 photos to Flickr but only about 20 of them are public. Another subset are available to Family and a whole bunch are private.

I also looked at Photobucket and Picassa Web Albums. Photobucket’s Album (sub-albums actually) structure seemed cumbersome to me. I also couldn’t find how to do (and view) tagging even though the upload tool I tried supported tags. Picassa Web Albums was also album oriented but supported tags. Flickr just seemed more flexible and a better fit for me.

I found out that I actually had the “Pro” account because ATT/Yahoo is my ISP so if you have ATT/Yahoo check your account page in Flickr. It was news to me.

More Upgrades and Patches

The upgrade/patch cycle continued this week.

WordPress 2.2.2 was released about 3 weeks ago and I finally got around to upgrading my blogs. One benefit of procrastinating waiting is that the Fantastico scripts (used by Bluehost) have been updated and can be used to quickly upgrade. It fixes 10 bugs including a cross-site scripting vulnerability.

iMovie ’08 (a.k.a. version 7) was updated to version 7.0.1. According to the update it “addresses issues associated with publishing to .Mac Web Gallery. It also improves overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues.” I’ve yet to fire up iMovie ’08 but applied the update anyway. It was a 10.4MB download through Software Update for me on my Mac’s. No reboot is needed.

Pathfinder, one of my must have Mac apps, was updated from 4.7.1(385) to 4.7.2(389) awhile back but I didn’t get around to updating it until this week. It’s primarily a bug fix release.

I upgraded, iPhoto Library Manager to version 3.3 which added support for iPhoto ’08 and a few other things. I had been using version 3.2.5 to start the different iPhoto libraries I had, but I avoided using any additional features. I immediately used it to create a library and move photos from an existing library to the new library. I talk about my first use of iPhoto Library Manager here. It’s young and needs to grow, but I’m intrigued.

I also updated to Parallels 3 but already talked about that.

Links & News

  • Wakoopa – I usually find things that track me creepy. And at first Wakoopa fell into that category but I found I liked it and it wasn’t too much information, especially for a website like The OS Quest. Wakoopa is a Web 2.0 social site built around software. I signed up and installed their tracking software on my iMac and iBook so far. It tracks the software I use and sends it to my profile. Profiles can be public or private. I made mine public and it can be viewed here.

…about one of the great wonders of capitalism: It is driven by morons who are circling the drain, and yet. . . it works!

  • Saturday Was Pirate Day – In another shining example of how DRM helps us consumers Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage system suffered an outage over the weekend. Original reports said it may be out until Tuesday but it was back online after a day. There were numerous stories, here’s the one from Ars Technica. Customers trying to validate couldn’t and anyone who needed to re-validate couldn’t. If Vista can’t validate it goes into “Reduced Functionality Mode” (let the jokes begin).
  • MacToSchool is offering $300 worth of Mac software for $50. Worth it if the software is worth more than $50 to you.
  • Dean Robinson is the guy who designed the Redoable theme that I’m using for this site. He recently redesigned his own website and it’s worth checking out. He has some great web designs.
Internet OS

Google Apps for My Domain – Part 1

the Google Apps LogoThis article is obsolete. Images and broken external links have been removed.

I’ve completed my move to Google Apps and now all my mail goes into my inbox there, one way or the the other. In Part 1 I’ll cover the domain setup and IMAP mail migration using the migration tool, while in part 2 I’ll cover the features that are available to all GMail users.

My reasons for moving to Google Apps were:

  • Sometimes they can be a bit creepy but I trust them as much as I trust any other ISP or mail provider.
  • I want to provide email to family members.
  • My current setup has my mail provided by Bluehost as part of my hosting service. This pretty much puts me in charge of the email server. I just don’t want to have to worry about backups and email problems. It was OK when I was the only one using it, but if I’m going to bring other’s on board it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
  • EMail is not tied to an ISP.
  • GMail has the best spam filter I’ve ever used.

Google Apps includes Mail (including Talk & Calendar), Docs & Spreadsheets, Personal Start Page and Page Creator. There are two versions, free and Premium. Free allows 2GB for email and is ad supported. Premium allows 10GB for email and allows the ads to be turned off. Premium also has a 99.9% email uptime guarantee, along with mail migration tools and integration tools a business may look for. My only interest in Google Apps is for email.

I started with the free edition but quickly signed up for the 30 day Premium trial so that I can use the IMAP mail migration tools that’s included.

Domain Structure

The domain I use for email is my primary domain with my Bluehost account but there’s no website associated with it. While I *should* be able to use the same domain as the primary domain with Google Apps I decide to be cautious since I’ve never done this before. I registered a new domain with 1&1 and use it as the primary domain with Google Apps. The domains I’ll use are (not the real names): – this is primary domain with Bluehost and the domain I use with email. I want to use this domain for email addresses. – this is a new domain I’ll register and use as the primary domain for Google Apps. This will be available for email addresses and deliver to the same mailboxes as the other domain, but I won’t hand out the domain name.

In addition, while I can change MX records myself with Bluehost I have to go through tech support to change CName records. With 1&1 I can change both MX and CName records. This means I can make changes myself without having to go through tech support. This will be less annoying to me and less annoying for them if I decide to undo changes.

For the subdomains I’ll want to access mail but I’ll use the default URLs for the other tools. You don’t need to use subdomains since Google Apps will give you URLs but I wanted the sub-domain for easy access to the frequently used mail. I can setup redirection for the subdomains of to redirect to the Google App URLs.

There are additional restrictions if you buy the domain from Google, such as not being able to cancel Google Apps for a year. I’ll use my own domain that’s already registered.

Setting Up the Domain

  1. I registered the new domain,, at 1&1 and waited for the DNS to replicate.
  2. Then I registered with Google Apps for Domains. I set up the first user during registration and this will is the admin ID.
  3. Google does create a test address so you can test email before changing your MX records. The address is displayed when you first set up Google Apps.
  4. I need to verify the domain with Google before the services will actually start working. Google provides a couple of ways to do this. Either copy a specific html file to the site or create a CName record. I went the CName record route since I wanted one anyway. Google provides instructions for various domain hosts and I used the ones they provided for 1&1. In the case of 1&1 I needed to create a sub-domain then go in and create a CName record for that sub-domain and point it to I didn’t have to wait for this to replicate before I could continue, although it does need to replicate before email can be fully used.

    Note: It’s a bit hidden in the help but Google also allows a MX record to verify domain registration. So if your mail system is ready to go you can just create the MX record. Remember, mail deliver will go to Google once the MX record is created so make sure all users are created if they have mailboxes on another server. My domain verification seemed slow so I created an MX record and then verification completed immediately. It may have been a coincidence.

  5. The next step is to set up the users which will also create the mailboxes. I already created a user name for myself while setting up Google Apps. So I set up nicknames for all the other mailboxes and forwarding addresses that I had set up on the old
  6. The next step is to change the MX records for the domain. As soon as the MX records are changed all the email will start going to GMail so you’ll want all the users set up before making the change. In my case I have a new domain so I changed the MX records immediately so they have time to replicate. The MX record information provided by Google is here. The setup may vary depending on your domain host. Just make sure the entries are in the order listed by Google and that the priorities go from higher to lower. My setup for 1and1 MX records is shown below (click for full screen).
  7. Since I wanted multiple domains reporting into Google Apps I went into the “Domain Settings” section, “Domain Names” tab and added the domain as an alias. Then I went to Bluehost and changed the MX records. Here’s how to set up the MX records at Bluehost.
  8. Test mail delivery to the users that have been set up. It may take time for the MX records to take effect.

You can use this NSLOOKUP( tool to see if the CName and MX records have changed on your DNS server. Enter your domain in the domain field and enter the DNS server (from your hosting/DNS provider) in the server field, then select the record type from the dropdown list. If you registered a new domain in step 1 it may take time for the change to replicate through the internet. For the first 48 hours the query may show your DNS server has the correct information but the rest of the internet may not know that your domain info is on that server.

IMAP Mail Import

I registered for the free-trial of the premium version so I could use the IMAP migration tool. My Bluehost email was in IMAP mailboxes and was the bulk of my EMail.

The IMAP email migration tool is under the “Advanced Tools” tab (premium edition only). I set up the server connection to Bluehost. For server software I picked “Cyrus” (first choice for trial and error) no security and port 143. Some mail systems may require an “IMAP Path” such as “Inbox”. I told the wizard I’d specify a few accounts and then I entered the user id and logon information for the accounts to migrate. I was pulling everything into my one new GMail mailbox.

The migration took some time, about 45 minutes in my case, and is dependent on quantity and size. A progress bar displays the status or you can click into the details and see how many emails have been migrated. As the mail was pulled in the migration tool added two tags, one was the email address of the old mailbox and the other was the full folder path that the email was in. The tagging was an unexpected and nice bonus.

My AOL My eAddress mailboxes are also IMAP mailboxes. I tried the migration tool on them but always received errors soon after the migration began. I only had about 100 emails in those mailboxes and only a couple of folders. So after a few migration failures I went to plan B. The My eAddress mailboxes were already set up in Thunderbird so I created a new IMAP mailbox on Bluehost, added it to Thunderbird and dragged the AOL email to the new account. Then I used the IMAP import utility to pull it into GMail.


At this point I had GMail working in my own domain. I really don’t have an interest in the other Google App pieces.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • I have two domains. When I set up a user ID it gets one mailbox that is addressable with both domains. So ray -at- and ray -at- deliver mail to the same user mailbox.
  • Nicknames can be set up for users. I consolidated all my mailboxes and forwarding addresses into one GMail mailbox by setting up a nickname for each one.

In part 2 I’ll cover importing mail from POP accounts (such as my other GMail accounts) and consolidating all my email in this one mailbox. All things which are available with regular GMail accounts.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #3

Upgrades – Patches – Please Stop the Madness

It seems like all I did this past week was patch and upgrade. I already mentioned the iWeb ’08 update.

Microsoft released 9 security updates so it took awhile to patch my VMs.

Apple also updated Boot Camp to version 1.4 and I got around to updating it this week.

VMWare Fusion also moved out of beta recently. I’d been running the beta version on my MacBook and finally got around to upgrading it to the final release. I haven’t upgraded to the latest Parallels version yet so it’s not really fair to compare, but I’ve been very impressed with VMWare’s Fusion. The Parallels upgrade is on tap for this week.

CNet’s Crave blog has a comparison of Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMWare Fusion, along with Boot Camp and CrossOver Mac 6.0. From a pure performance perspective VMWare Fusion came out on top although their conclusion was:

All that said, if you all you need to do is run more pedestrian Windows applications on your Mac, such as Outlook or Excel, you are not likely to notice significant performance differences between any of the virtualization options mentioned here–for less resource-intensive applications, the performance of any of these virtulization applications is probably fast enough.

Then there was the iLife ’08 upgrade. So far I’m not overly impressed with the update to iPhoto. I use it mainly as a organizer, not an editor. Some of the features improve organization but at the price of performance. The pinwheel makes a frequent appearance when I’m using the upgraded iPhoto.

I also installed iWork ’08 and fired up Pages enough to know it at least presents a nice clean screen for typing and doesn’t force me into page layout mode.

A couple of other programs I use have prompted me to let me know they have upgrades available too. But so far I’ve held off upgrading them so they’ll be some more upgrades next week too. Wonder if I’ll have time to actually use some software this week?


The last update to MacMozy is still causing me problems. It has a habit of getting stuck in a “Backup started…” state with no files processed. It hasn’t been too much of a problem because I’ve been turning off my iMac during the day when I’m at work and MacMozy usually runs fine between reboots. It’s also fine on my MacBook which gets shutdown after each use. It’s on weekends like this, when my iMac stays on, that I have problems. I’m hoping the problem just goes away with the next update.


  • The addition of Numbers to iWork ’08 won’t kill off Microsoft Office, but it does appear to have claimed Apple Works as its first victim. The AppleWorks page is gone from Apple, redirects to the Support page for Apple Works. So it appears Apple has killed off Apple Works. Apple Works came with my first Mac Mini and as much as I wanted to like and use it I just couldn’t, so I can’t say I’ll miss it.


Software Links

Links to software I’ve come across but haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Post a comment if you have any experience with them.

  • FastApps – Automator actions for Apple software. FastApps includes: FastBackPic, FastMusic, FastDVD, FastWebSite, and FastSlide
  • Lifehacker brought a link to OpenProj. OpenProj is a free, open-source project management application intended to replace Microsoft Project.
  • Lifehacker has a Mac link this time with Drive-In, a DVD ripper for the Mac. It’s currently free in beta form but may stop being free when it leaves beta.
Random Access

Big Waste of Time and Energy Launched

[Update: This site is no longer available.]

I finally opened up my new WordPress blog – Big Waste of Time and Energy (

I’ve been posting to it for a couple of weeks to see what it would turn into and to see if I’d keep posting to it. I really didn’t pick the name as a theme but it seems to have turned into one. Why I picked the name is covered in the first post.

The blog is hosted on so I don’t have to worry about software upgrades and website maintenance. Head on over for a visit and let me know what you think.