5df133c41bfcbf3289618ffd525f199a_largeI just read about a free caching solution (Open Source) for your web-server, it sounds like an excellent solution and it seem it has been around for some time.

What it does is basically to cache incomming requests in order to reply rapidly to repeated requests, thus taking a load of your servers and possibly reduce the need for a clustered solution.

Again there are many aspects on solutions like this, but if you “need more power” (as Cpt. Kirk always said to Scotty in Star-Trek then this may be a possible road to go down).

Header from website;

Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known
as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front
of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache
the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It
typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x,
depending on your architecture. A high level overview of
what Varnish does can be seen in the video attached
to this web page.

Link to video that explain what it’s all about (in VERY general terms 😀 but still)..
http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/1nARoMe

Link to website;
http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/1k0Bo6p

logo-512x5123Just a quick heads up on a cool new utility (free even) …

Working as an IT specialist within a large international corporate entity, we had the challenge regarding “Administrative/Non administrative” user rights on our corporate Windows machines.  We likely have all faced this question/challenge, we WANT to tighten the machines down to gain the added security and subsequently lower the support need, however the hurdle of preparing for this (as well as maintenance) puts great demand on the planning and deployment of corporate machines/software – especially if you like us have many people in the field.

See if we removed all administrative rights from users, then they would have to call the ServiceDesk whenever they needed administrative rights- this could be to install a printer, software, drivers etc. Now for some very “static” machines this would not be a real big problem, but for a large segment of our users, this would be very annoying and troublesome – especially for users in the field where the ServiceDesk may have problems connecting.

On the other hand, having users not be local administrators is a huge gain when it comes to protection against malware and exploits, according to a podcast “Security Now” on the twit network you can minimize the risk/impact of IE exploits by up to 99+% by being a non-administrative user. In other words, there is a heavy tradeoff here.

Then again, perhaps not anymore – there now seem to be a way to both “have your cake and eat it” at the same time.

One of the very talented external consultants we use on a regular basis “Thomas Marcussen”, recently told me about a FREE cool utility they developed called “Access director for Windows”.  What this “Access Director” does is actually simple yet still quite clever, after you install the utility users will have the opportunity to grant themselves temporary administrative rights whenever needed. Therefore, the user account will normally have no administrative rights, however by right clicking the utility icon in your status bar, users can grant themselves a limited period (eg. 2 min) where their user rights are elevated to local admin. Now they will be able to install that printer/driver etc. that they may need to work, and after this period then the local admin rights are automatically revoked and the machine is again secured against malware and exploits.

The optimal implementation of a utility like this would probably be to have a group of “trusted machines” (eg. traveling sales persons, management etc.) where this utility is installed, on these machines users can elevate themselves as needed. Then have another base of “regular” machines (eg. production/office pc’s) where the administrative rights are removed, and the users will still need to contact the ServiceDesk in case administrative rights are required.

Oh yeah, did I remember to mention it is a free utility 😀

 

I talked to Thomas about corporate use of this utility, and he assured me that several corporate initiatives were on the way like; Ability to customize settings via registry settings, Ability to control who can elevate (via groups) plus a manual.  He said that the reason for the lacking documentation was that the release was slightly rushed due to TechEd.  There is a little info on some registry settings here; http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/RZdo7J

Anyway, enough talk – take a look at the YouTube video and it will all be clear 🙂

Download site is (look for “Download Access Director”);
http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/1oj6KVi

YouTube Video here;
http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/1qXwECv

Thanks to Thomas Marcussen for this nice utility.

Interested in Security?

csu-logo

Free Short Course: Hacking Countermeasures

The aim of the short course is to give you a taste of what it is like to undertake Postgraduate study via Distance Education with Charles Sturt University. The Hacking Countermeasures short course covers sections of our subject ITE516 Hacking Countermeasures, an elective subject in the Information Systems Security Masters Degree at Charles Sturt University.

The short course will be run over 5 weeks with lectures being delivered via weekly after hours Webinars (recordings of the Webinar will be available if you are unable to make the live event). In between the Webinars, you will be asked to do 10-12 hours of study.

The course is free to undertake – link below..  Course begins May 28th 2014.

http://sl.readmydamnblog.com/1k4ld6s

If you ever worked with any kind of support you are likely to know the sittuation, a user has a problem – you implement a fix, ask the user to get back to you if it worked or not…  Well he/she NEVER does get back to you, instead you have a case hanging open for weeks till you contact the user for a reply or maybe the user call and complain a week later and ask why you did not do anything!?

Fustrating right!?

Well here’s a neat little trick I picked up for those of you that use Outlook/Exchange in your orginazation..

You can actually add a reminder for your email!?  Yes, I know you may say, but did you know that you can add the reminder not only for yourself, but ALSO for the RECIPIENT!?

Neat right, but how does it work you say!?

  • Well firstly – you just write your email as usual.
  • annoy1  Second – you move to “Follow Up” and select “Custom”

annoy2

  •   Finally – you add the reminder and the caption for the recipient

annoy3

On the given date and time the user will get a reminder on your email (via his/her own calender) and thus be more enclined to reply to you..

Now is that not neat or what!?

 

 

OfficialAchievementCertificateA friend of mine just joined an online Android course at the University of Meryland, from what he tell me it is actually really good.  So I did some peeking and ended up finding a source of online courses;

Among the courses I managed to find one of personal interest, it’s in Crypto – sadly it had already finished, but that turned out to be a Blessing in disguise as this let to a preview of the course videos;
https://class.coursera.org/crypto-preview/lecture

Other courses can be found here;
https://www.coursera.org/courses?orderby=upcoming&stats=upcoming&lngs=en

Below is another source (more just free videos and thus maybe not the same leauge, but still).

http://thenewboston.org/tutorials.php

 

 

Need some inspiration on your Disaster plan at work?

Well Dilbert surely has one for you 😉

I have done this myself numerous times in the past, build a PC from scratch or upgraded a PC with new hardware, however for some a PC is still a mystery box that just works.

Anyhow, I stumbled across this neat video that take you through the process of building a PC – so if you ever had the urge to get on-board with a project like this you really should watch this video, it gives you some great pointers and also give you some idea on whats involved.  A word of caution though, this guy know what he is doing and is 100% sure all the parts will fit, that in my recollection is sometime where things gets tricky (when things wont fit or work together).

Enjoy..

http://youtu.be/cUzdNcZeM-s

intel-nucSo I was reading about the Intel NUC which is a mini pc that will fit in your palm, I heard it was just released in an i5 version (previously i3) so it is a fairly crafty machine that will easily run Windows and even throw in a virtual machine or two.  One drawback though is the price, with a full fledged Intel cpu the price shoots up :-/ not unreasonable but enough that it’s not for me.

Anyway, a comment in a review led me to this link;

http://www.minix.com.hk/Products/MINIX-NEOX7.html

so at 1/3 the price (more or less) you get a cool gadget, that although it will not run Windows will run Android and although not being super fast and powerful as the i5 processor it is fast enough for realtime HD video, netflix and the lot..

41EizlnFUqL__SX385_

Bottom line, if you are looking for an extention to your big screen tv, to play a bit of netflix, surf and other stuff this Minix Neox7 looks real cute and fair priced.

http://youtu.be/cBR3ZrurMKI

You might be one of those people that have occasionally been using Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, Gimp or some other graphics editor to clean up a picture every now and then – but to be honest how often do you need software like that?  Only rarely right, well – I just stumbled across a great online resource for this, it’s a free service that lets you edit a picture/photo or may just pimp it up with some effects..

Basically there are three editors available, one classic editor (like Photoshop, PaintShop Pro etc.), one to create cool collages and finally one to add effects (like make a photo look old, modify the colors etc.).

If you ever used any of the above mentioned programs this site will be a breeze, if not then the two last tools will still be piece of cake to use.

 

Below a few examples.

collage1 2013-11-20_13h52_33

Remember it’s free, fun and easy..

The default site is;
http://pixlr.com/

The advanced editor directly is;
http://pixlr.com/editor/

With Windows XP/2003 and earlier you could often just look in C:\windows for installed patches there would be a KBxxxxxxx folder, however life moved on..

Today I had the need to see if a patch was installed and I found this quite useful;
http://serverfault.com/questions/263847/how-can-i-query-my-system-via-command-line-to-see-if-a-kb-patch-is-installed

I ended up using the command;

wmic qfe | find "KB2744129"

You ofcause exchange the KB number with the one you are looking for..

This worked like a charm for me 🙂  tnx Jscott.