Thursday, November 20, 2008

My anti-Mac bias rears its ugly head

Once, a long, long time ago, I had a Titanium Powerbook (well, actually about 5 years ago, but that’s an eternity in computer years). I bought it for its off-the-shelf multimedia capabilities to support a small consulting business I was running. While the business never really took off and I ended up heading in a different direction, the PowerBook hung in there remarkably well editing videos and photos and managing the family’s growing music collection. The built-in capabilities highlighted Apple’s traditional niche of multimedia and a very easy-to-use interface for it’s iLife suite. It wasn’t too long, though, before I began teaching and administering a Windows-only network and found myself needing a Windows computer more and more frequently, while the time I had to edit home movies became virtually nill.

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I really don’t want to use Windows anymore

Every week, more and more bits of malware seem to be making their way past commercial anti-virus, firewall anti-virus, and ISP anti-virus software. New patches and downloads abound, and I’ve still re-imaged 3 computers in the last 2 weeks due to massive infestations. This is to say nothing of the home computers about which my users are complaining (I feel like getting one of those ThinkGeek T-shirts that tells people, “No, I won’t fix your computer.”)

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Microsoft breaks HotMail for Linux users?

A Linux-Watch reader today reported difficulties using Microsoft's Hotmail service with Firefox browsers running on Linux operating systems. We confirmed that creating a new Hotmail account was not possible, due to an error message suggesting a "browser


In testing with Firefox 3.03 on Mepis Linux, Linux-Watch was able to create a Microsoft Live ID and Hotmail account, and to successfully send and receive email from the account. This led us to experiment with modifying Iceweasel's "UserAgent" setting, so we could use our Debian system with Hotmail, too. We loaded "about:config" in the address bar, entered "iceweasel" in the search bar, and then changed the value of the the "general.useragent.extra.firefox" entry from "Iceweasel/3.03" to "Firefox/3.03". After that, Hotmail worked as expected. As an added bonus, we could also use the Rhapsody music streaming services, and other websites that use loose browser qualification by parsing the UserAgent string sent by the browser in the HTTP header.

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