Windows Vista – Still Crap

In the past few weeks I purchased some new Anti-virus and Firewall software from ESET to replace my expiring & bloated AVG install. The first machine to get the upgrade was my XP desktop machine; everything went well. I was impressed with the lighter feel to the software and the added fact that it didn't seem to be hogging the system resources quite as much. A weeks trial later I decided it was stable and usable enough to be used on my laptop; running Windows Vista. The install was painless and the software scanned my system and there were no obvious issues.

The problems arose when I came to reboot the machine following some windows updates and some minor web application updates. Continue reading "Windows Vista – Still Crap"

I Hate Windows XP Home

Over the easter weekend I have decided once again to setup my network just the way I like it. Up to this point everything is going well, the Samba shares on the linux machines are at last accessible through the firewall and the Linux machines can access the Windows shares. Now the problems start.

It's all well and good being able to share the files but I want to restrict access to just me. The linux machines allow this to be done very simply in the configuration of the shares in smb.conf. XP Home on the other hand has none of this, it has "Simple File Sharing". This Simple File Sharing (SFS) is as it sounds, simple. It is to allow the users in the home to share a few files amongst machines and it achieves this. The major drawback is that it doesn't allow for any restriction of the share, its either available or it isn't.

Given the fact that the people attempting to use SFS probably have a weak or unsecured network this is a big mistake. XP Pro also has SFS but this can be disabled for "Advanced" sharing controls. Microsoft have basically released a crippled product whilst at the same time making it insecure. A novice user can in a few clicks share the C: drive and even make it writeable. If this novice user put the machine, a laptop perhaps, on a public network they could allow anybody access to copy/modify their system. There is a point at which things become too simple for their own good.

I am now posed with a problem I have spent alot of time and effort configuring my Linux machines to be very tightly secured with custom firewalls on each, do I really want XP Home to be the weak point? It's time for a rethink of my approach to the problem, ridding myself of XP Home or any version of Windows for that matter may ultimately be the best solution.

Xorg Mouse Configuration

Yesterday I purchased a mouse to use with my notebook; I lead such an eventful life. Ordinarily this wouldn't be worthy of mention, most mice are plug in and use. My mouse however needs to work with Linux and here in lies the problem. Getting a mouse to talk to Linux is getting easier the left, right and middle buttons usually work as well as the up down scroll. It's the additional buttons that cause the problems.

The mouse I have is a Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000. I know I dislike Microsoft but they do put branding on some reasonable peripherals (and it was cheap). I have chosen to use the evdev driver for the mouse, support for this is required in the kernel. The information on how to set this up can be found on this wiki:

Add the following information to your xorg.conf and remember to add "Mouse1" to the server section. Currently the thumb button does not work correctly. I believe this is to do with the evdev driver, button support may be developed in the future. Forward and back functionality in Firefox is achieved by the horizontal movement of the scroll wheel.

Section "InputDevice"
# Microsoft Notebook 4000 Mouse
# Thumb button responds as button 9
    Identifier  "Mouse1"
    Driver      "evdev"
    Option      "evBits"    "+1-2"
    Option      "keyBits"   "~272-287"
    Option      "relBits"   "~0-2 ~6 ~8"
    Option      "Pass"      "3"
    Option      "Buttons"   "9"
    Option      "ZAxisMapping"  "4 5"
        # Axis swapped to make back be left and forward be right
    Option      "DialRelativeAxisButtons" "7 6"