Thursday, February 28, 2008

PHP and Visual Studio 2008 coming together

Since I code most of my sites using PHP I thought this was interesting. I also use Visual Studio to code HTML, and I'm trying to learn C# and eventually C++ sometime in VS. From the article "PHP Vendor Supports Visual Studio 2008" on DevSource.com:
cx.Software has announced on Feb. 27 the immediate availability of VS.Php 2.4 for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 to accompany the official launch of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008 tool set.

Miami-based Jcx.Software released VS.Php 2.4, which provides unique value to PHP developers, such as support for both XDebug and DBG debugging engines, said Juan Rivera, founder of Jcx.Software.

Security suites to protect your computer

I wanted to share with you the article "5 Great, Lesser-Known Security Suites" on InformationWeek.com to make everyone aware of some ways to protect your computer. Personally I use McAfee anti-virus protection and some of the free tools from Comodo, such as their firewall. The article goes through these security suites: Dr. Web Antivirus, ESET Smart Security, MS Live OneCare, TrustPort Workstation, and ZoneAlarm Security Suite.

Microsoft IE8 beta talk

Microsoft is planning to release a beta version of Internet Explorer 8 by the end of June the latest. Hopefully IE8 will be much better than IE7 and hopefully it won't break current sites. Read more on this article on InformationWeek.com.

Hackers use Google to show vulnerabilities

I just read the article "Google-Powered Hacking Makes Search A Threat" on InformationWeek.com and it left me a little worried about my sites, but probably not as much as some companies are about their sites. Apparently hackers have created and released a windows application that can find holes in any web site.

From the article (text is from link above):
Wednesday saw the debut of the latest such tool, which derives its power from Google (NSDQ: GOOG)'s vast index. That's when the Cult of the Dead Cow, the self-proclaimed "world's most attractive hacker group," released a Web auditing tool called Goolag Scanner.

"It's no big secret that the Web is the platform," said cDc official Oxblood Ruffin, in a statement. "And this platform pretty much sucks from a security perspective. Goolag Scanner provides one more tool for Web site owners to patch up their online properties. We've seen some pretty scary holes through random tests with the scanner in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. If I were a government, a large corporation, or anyone with a large Web site, I'd be downloading this beast and aiming it at my site yesterday. The vulnerabilities are that serious."

To prove that point, Ruffin provided InformationWeek with a list of 11 high-profile U.S. government agency and lab Web sites that had been scanned and found to have what appear to be significant security holes, including satellite access codes, credentials for VPNs and routers, and open proxies. He asked that the information not be published, as the group's intent is not to embarrass government officials or encourage attempts to hack government systems.

...

Goolag Scanner presently exists only as a Windows application, though it is being ported to other platforms. It allows the user to quickly scan Google's index for files on Web sites that may reveal security vulnerabilities. For example, Goolag Scanner allows you to search Web sites for containing file called "unattend.txt," which is used to drive unattended Microsoft Windows installations. The file may include information useful to hackers, such as administrator passwords.

Goolag Scanner doesn't do anything a hacker or penetration tester couldn't do by typing text into Google and using certain operator commands to constrain the search to a specific domain or file type. But it makes searching for holes much easier.

I am probably not going to download and use this tool because I'm cautious about using anything that a hacker has created and released. But maybe sometime I will if others say that they do and it doesn't do anything bad to their computer.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Microsoft to give students free software

An article on DevSource says that Microsoft is planning to give students free developer and design tools. As the article states, this is a good way to get potential future developers to work with Microsoft's software and platform now.

In a speech scheduled for Feb. 19 at Stanford University, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is expected to formally launch the effort known as the Microsoft DreamSpark student program. The DreamSpark program makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The DreamSpark program includes free access to Microsoft development tools including Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition, Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, XNA Game Studio 2.0, and a 12-month free academic membership in the XNA Creators Club. The designer tools covered by the program include the Expression Studio, which consists of Expression Web, Expression Blend, Expression Design, and Expression Media. Microsoft also is providing students free licenses to SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server, Standard Edition, as part of the program, Wilson said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free Quake multi-player online game

Looks like a free online Quake multi-player game will be coming out for anyone to play. Being free it will have ads in the game. The game will be playable in a web browser. Read more about it here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Firefox 3 Beta 3 now released for download

Mozilla has released Firefox 3 Beta 3 for download for testers and developers. This article on InformationWeek.com says that there are numerous fixes and improvements such as better performance, stability, security, and personalization. From the article:

Among the features that work better in the new version are one-click site info, which lets users click on the favicon in the Firefox location bar to find out more about a Web site, and malware protection, which warns users when they attempt to visit sites known to install malware.

Before downloading Firefox 3 Beta 3, you should read this Mozilla Developer News blog post about this Beta version.

Pictures of Saints Row 2 game

It looks like a sequel to the GTA-like game Saints Row will be coming out in the near future, as pictures of Saints Row 2 for X-box 360 are on GameSpy. Check them out as they look good. I've only played a little of Saints Row and I found it fun and it reminded me of the late GTA games, so I'm hoping Saints Row 2 is better than part 1.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New PS2 Twisted Metal game

The Twisted Metal video game series continues on PS2 with Twisted Metal: Head-on: Extra Twisted Edition. I didn't expect them to make anymore Twisted Metal games because the last ones that they released didn't do to well. I remember playing the older Twisted Metal games with my brother and they were fun. Reading about the new game on GameSpy and looking at the pictures of the game, it appears to be not much of an improvement from previous games.