Filezilla errors on IIS self-signed certs

If you’re on Windows, and you use Filezilla to connect to an IIS server using FTPs to a self-signed certificate, the latest versions (3.24+) will throw the following error:
GnuTLS error -48: Key usage violation in certificate has been detected.
Could not connect to server.

Check this thread on Filezilla’s forum for more details.  Basically, either turn off those self-signed certificates and use plain FTP, or, revert back to an earlier version of Filezilla.  (Or, wait until Microsoft issues an update… [tumbleweed])

(Older versions of Filezilla here.)

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Handy iPhone Apps For Staying Connected

If you are like me, you’ve got to live in a mixed OS environment, at home is Mac and at work is Windows. And, you’ve got an iPhone or iPad which works great with Mac, but doesn’t play quite so nice in a corporate environment. Here are some great apps for your iPhone that will help you bridge the gap between those worlds.

DropBox: FREE — sync files — with this iPhone app, you have access to your files on the go. And since the storage is cloud-based, and dropbox works on both Mac/Win you can have your files synced effortlessly. See my previous Dropbox article about the software versions and how to download and install on both platforms with FREE 2GB + 250MB of storage.

Evernote: FREE — sync notes — while the iPhone app isn’t as robust as some other Note applications, it will sync with their incredibly handy Mac and Windows application. So, if you’ve made notes or clipped screenshots at home for your big presentation at work, you can edit it on the way with the app, and then have it synced and ready on your work PC. See my previous Evernote articles for more details.

LastPass: FREE (requires $12/year subscription) — sync passwords — there you are visiting a favorite website at home or on your iPhone, but you can’t remember what password you used. Not any more with LastPass. LastPass works as a browser add-on that will store and sync your login information. Plus, anywhere you travel, you can log into the LastPass.com site to find those passwords. Find out more about LastPass with my previous article on it.

Skype: FREE — cheap talk — sure iChat is great on the Mac, but it’s limited to the Mac. Skype works on both platforms and even on your iPhone. With Skype, if you subscribe to one of their unlimited talk plans (US = $3, Japan = $6), you can not only talk all you want at home, at work, and on your phone. (NOTE: Skype currently requires you to use WiFi to make calls on your iPhone. To get around this limitation, you can use the FREE Fring application, which allows you to make Skype Out calls over the 3G network.)

Pandora: FREE — cheap music — if you love music, this is one app you need to have. Set up “stations” of your favorite music and let Pandora stream that music to you via this iPhone app. Pandora.com works great in Firefox and Safari also, so you can listen to those stations at work or home too.

Toodledo: ($3) — sync to-do’s — with this iPhone app you can edit/add/delete your To-dos. Toodledo’s website offers links to sync your account with both Mac and Windows, so those changes you made will be reflected wherever you go.

Photo apps: — see your photos — there are several good apps to show and upload your photos to a photo site, including Shutterfly (FREE), Flickr (FREE), Eye-fi (FREE), and Picasafoto ($.99, for Picasa) . If you take a lot of photos and want to see them on the road, these apps will help you stay connected to those images.

Yelp: FREE — great tips — Yelp’s iPhone app can help you find local businesses quickly. The “bookmark” feature is really great for keeping your favorite places’ phone numbers handy. So, you can order your favorite Thai dish in advance for quick pickup. User reviews can also give you tips what to order or avoid.

MAC ONLY:

AirMouse: ($2) — control your Mac with your iPhone. This app will work with your local WiFi network to become a trackpad to control your Mac wirelessly. Much more robust than Apple’s free Remote app, and cheaper than a Magic Mouse.

Prowl: ($3) — get PUSH notification on your iPhone from any Growl messages on your Mac. If you have Growl installed to display notifications on your Mac, Prowl allows you to send those notifications to your iPhone. You can be notified of things like disk errors, completed downloads, or whatever you want.

Well, I hope that’s helped you with some cool apps for you iPhone.

[Note: originally published on HMAUS.org ]

WolframAlpha is more than search

If you’ve never visited WolframAlpha.com you are in for an interesting treat.   This site is called a “computational knowledge engine”.   It’s kind of like a mix of a scientific calculator, Wikipedia’s knowledge, and Bing.   There is a goodintroductory video to help explain all the various things this site can do for you.   Their site is also available as an iPhone app and Firefox plugin.

In this example photo, I compared the life expectancy in India (69.9 years) to that of Japan (82.1).  While it might take a little time to learn the syntax of asking questions on WolframAlpha, there are LOTS of examples to help you.

Got a question? Get it answered at: WolframAlpha.com.   (Just don’t ask if it’s an ALIEN!)

Two Great Web Apps Together: LastPass Acquired Xmarks

xmarks and lastpassIf you are looking for two really great ways to stay synced across multiple computers and platforms, Lastpass and Xmarks are at the top. So, I was very happy to hear that LastPass was the company who acquired Xmarks.
As a web developer, I found LastPass (reviewed here) amazing for keeping all my passwords synced across all the various computers I use. I can’t tell you how many “test” sites I build, review, checkout — sometimes I go back, sometimes I don’t. Either way, LastPass keeps those records safe and sound.
And Xmarks works just as well for bookmarks — keeping your “cool sites” ready at hand, on Mac, PC, Safari, Firefox, and other browsers, plus a mobile version for iPhone.
There are premium editions of both that offer greater mobility and features with a lost cost for both, making the two a terrific deal for people on the go.

Security Tip: Regularly Check Your Website Scripts For Updates

If you are a website owner, you might think that once you get your site up and running you no longer have to do much. But consider how easy it is for your website to be hacked. You WANT people to visit it and look around. You WANT to show off the cool functionality of your site.

Well, that same functionality can get outdated pretty quickly. Code that was written five or six years ago probably didn’t even check the validity of requests to pages. A simple example of an attack is a site that uses ID numbers, for example http://www.somedomain.com/index.php?id=12 — what happens when that isn’t a number, or that ID is missing? Did the programmer check for those possibilities?

There are some wonderful open source web applications out there, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, to name just a few. However, every week new vulnerabilities are discovered on those platforms — security hacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, etc. Luckily many of those open source applications also have a robust community to write updates to protect against those attacks.

As a website owner, you should check for any updates to your website scripts regularly. This also includes to make sure your passwords are strong and safe. And, have regular backups of the site made that you can download to your computer for safe storage (as even hosting sites aren’t immune to attacks).

It’s a real pain to have your website hacked. You struggle to uncover how the attack was done. You work to get the site updated and back to where it was. You try to clear your name with any search engine that might say your site is “suspicious”. Meanwhile you lose visitors that might never come back.

If you don’t take care of your site yourself, then talk to the developers who built it and ask them to help you backup, upgrade, and lock down your site before you get hacked.

Security is an ongoing process, just like those updates on your computer…

Google Announces Ways to Opt-out of Analytics

analytics-trackingIn a move that will surely upset those obsessed with their web stats, and bring some joy to those concerned with online privacy, Google has announced that they are offering tools to opt-out of their very popular Analytics.

For site owners and stats jockeys, the ability for individuals to more easily hide visits to web sites using Analytics is a bad thing. They want to know as much as possible about everyone that visits. If more people don’t get “tracked”, they might feel that their efforts to create content to move people toward certain goals, funnels/calls-to-action, will be less effective.

For privacy nuts, they’ve probably already been blocking Analytics Javascript code using techniques like I’ve discussed in “How to Hide from Google“. But with Google publicly allowing people to opt-out of this tracking, and to make it as easy as a plugin to your browser, those less technically skilled will also be able to block Google’s tracking code.

My concern with Analytics is that while it is VERY useful for site owners (I use it myself on some sites), the fact that it is used by SO MANY sites all reporting back to GOOGLE, makes for some serious questions on privacy. I don’t mind that site owners do some SITE-LEVEL tracking — I mean, it’s built into the web server anyway — it’s just when all that information from all those different sites is sent to ONE entity — Google — it raises some serious flags.

So, I welcome whatever tools Google has that will allow users the option to opt-out of site tracking. Also included is the ability for site owners to anonymize IP address information sent to Google through Analytics — for site owners that love Analytics, but are concerned about the issues I’ve discussed above.

(Thanks Google! :))

iPad: Ebook Reader = yes, Netbook = no

iPads iBook
iPad's iBook

Like a lot of people I was excited to learn about yesterday’s Apple iPad release. Steve Jobs had said it would be “one of the most important things I’ve ever done” [techcrunch]. Apple calls it “magical and revolutionary“. And, also like a lot of people, I was let down by learning the details of the iPad. I think I know why.

Many people assumed that this new device would be along the lines of a netbook — one of those small-screened devices that allows users to do MOST of what they can on their larger PCs, but using more cloud-based services to get around storage and processing limitations. In other words, netbooks are a perfect match for things like Google Docs, Dropbox, and Picnik to help get around less powerful CPUs and smaller drives.

That assumption — that iPad would be a netbook — was what led to my disappointment. The iPad doesn’t do a lot of the things you need a netbook to do: multitasking (multiple applications running at the same time), Flash in web sites, and file and document control.  In fact, several sites have lists of why the iPad fail: gizmodo, pcworld. But I think they are missing the point.

Classics App page example
Classics App page example

As far as most of the features on the iPad, they are available already (albeit in smaller screen space) on iPhones and iPod Touches: Safari, Mail, Video, Photos, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Home Screen, Spotlight Search. The biggest NEW feature is the “iBook” which makes the iPad an eReader for electronic books. (Yes, iPod Touch and iPhone also have this ability — Classics app, for example, looks amazingly like what iBooks became.)

What the iPad does do, though, is “revolutionize” Apple’s money stream on iTunes. They will now be selling e-books (along with music, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and apps). They will now be competing with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Ebook Readers.  They will also be (indirectly perhaps) taking on Google’s Books.

So, if you consider iPad as an eReader (with the ability to do some apps and multimedia) it’s a great, little device. Pricier than the competition, but with more functionality and style.

Just give up your notions of netbook (Apple has the Macbook Air for that (cough, cough)), and consider this iPad as the missing eReader device in their already excellent music (iPod) and cell phone (iPhone) device line.

Syncplicity: backup and syncing with 3GB FREE

SyncplicityOne of the requests I hear from people is they want to backup up their files (MP3’s, videos, photos, and documents) but be able to also view them on different computers, wherever they might be: across town or across the world.
Are you looking for a way to backup and sync files between Windows computers?   Looking to have a safe way to view those files remotely, from anywhere?  Want to share those files with others?  Syncplicity is set up to do that, with a lot of extras!

Take a look at how easy and versatile Syncplicity is:

  • 3GB cloud-based web space
  • Windows XP or Vista
  • View files online  (download from anywhere)
  • Edit your files to Google Docs, Picnik, or Scribd (no need to have those installed on the computer you are using, great for on-the-road use)
  • Sync between computers
  • Auto-backups
  • Share files and folders with others

The cost for all those features? FREE! Need more space? Get 50GB of space, more than enough for most people’s collections for just $10 month!

So, check out Syncplicity and see how easy it is to backup and sync your computers!

Looking for FREE set-it-forget-it backups; check out our article on Mozy.

Amazon has Snow Leopard and Windows 7 for pre-order

Snow Leopard Amazon has Snow Leopard Mac OS X version 10.6 (the upgrade to Leopard) available for pre-order on its site for $29. Their Free-Shipping option works even to Hawaii!
Windows 7Amazon also has Windows 7 available for pre-order.  Prices start at $119.99 for the Home Premium Upgrade, or $199.99 for the Professional Upgrade.    The difference depends on the features you need, see this chart for more information.

Continue reading Amazon has Snow Leopard and Windows 7 for pre-order