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Where I program

Successful Software

whereiwrite.org is a photographic project showing science fiction writers and their offices. I started wondering what the offices of other microISVs and small software companies look like. Were they Zen temples of minimalism, with just a desk, a chair and a laptop? Or were they mad scientist labs, piled to the ceiling with obsolete equipment and empty pizza boxes? I rather hoped it was the latter, so I wouldn’t feel so bad about my own cluttered little office. I asked for photos of offices on some forums frequented by independent developers. I got a great response. Click the images to see larger versions.

oryxThis is my own cluttered office. The image comprises 6 photos stitched together using Autostitch to simulate an ultra wide angle lens. This makes it look bigger than it is. My unexciting view of suburban Britain is enlivened by regular sightings of Red Kites. I resisted…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Hackers could Control your Home Webcam and Microphone from Afar

October 25, 2013 Leave a comment

CYBER ARMS - Computer Security

A recent surfacing of some old ransomeware malware has had some people really concerned. But viruses can be much more sinister (and creepy) than just encrypting your files and holding them ransom. What if hackers could come into the privacy of your home and use your webcam to spy on you?

Well, they can.

And they are.

We have firewalls, Anti-Virus programs and defense in depth to prevent people from getting access to our precious data. But what many don’t realize is how incredible simple it is for malware to turn on a victim’s webcam and microphone to record a person from almost anywhere in the world.

Let me give you an example.

What if a hacker sent a teen, your teen in fact, a malicious file? And what if your daughter ran it and it allowed the creep to access her webcam and watch her?

So in essence, the…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Integration Tests for Web Services Using RSpec

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

CodePlease

Recently I had to implement a REST web service for a project in Rails. I’ve been using RSpec for every kind of tests for a long time but, still, wasn’t sure on what was the best way to use it to test a web service.

Capybara has always been my first choice for integration tests, but it doesn’t make much sense if your views are just plain JSON. Thus, I went for a leaner approach taking advantage of Rack::Test::Methods.

In this post I will explain my approach to test a web service. I won’t get into any details on how the web service in question could or should be implemented.

Setup

The first thing to setup is the filesystem. There are infinite ways to do this, I prefer to keep the API tests isolated from the rest of the application.

I guess it would also make sense to decide…

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Categories: Uncategorized

Analyzing E-mail .Msg files and Attachments without Outlook

May 1, 2013 1 comment

CYBER ARMS - Computer Security

I had a copy of an e-mail that had a virus in it that I wanted to analyze. The problem was that the Outlook e-mail message was in .msg format. My virtual machine that I was using to analyze malware was Windows XP based. The problem was that the included Outlook Express would not open the Outlook saved .msg file. And I did not want to install Outlook on the system.

So is there a way to read the file and recover the attachment without using Outlook?

Of course, like other Office file formats (like .docx) the .msg file is just zipped!

I tried several techniques to open the Outlook .msg file, even downloading an open source program that reads them. I could read the message but could not get to the attachment. And I needed the attachment so I could analyze it for malware. On a whim, I tried…

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Categories: Uncategorized

JSON and JSONP

JavaScript, JavaScript...

(extractos en español)

There’s been an interesting discussion over at JSMentors.com about JSONP and how to make it safer. This is a good thing, not least because it forced me to take a deeper look and come up with a (sort of) counter-proposal of my own.

We’ll start with an overview of JSON basics, including the EcmaScript 5 JSON API, and then discuss cross-domain JSON retrieval via JSONP. Finally I’ll introduce a simple and relatively safe JSONP framework and show how to use it to fetch tweets from the Twitter database.

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Categories: Uncategorized

November 1, 2012 2 comments

Nice article on how to make Tabs with jQuery.

Justin Cooney

Tabs in JQuery are quite simple to implement, and they add some neat functionality that users will appreciate.

Tabs are a nice way to separate content logically. Without using tabs one often ends up with a single huge form that contains too many fields for a user to process properly.

In some cases users dislike the idea of tabs but it’s really just a matter of preference and getting used to them. And I’m sure that given the choice between a huge single form and a series of logically separated tabs, most users would agree that the tabs option is easiest wo work with.

Basic Set-up:

The basic structure of a tabbed user interface using JQuery UI sets up the tabs horizontally across the top of the Web page going left to right. The tabs are provided to JQuery within an unordered list that is encapsulated within a ‘tabs’…

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Categories: Uncategorized

November 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Justin Cooney

I’ve heard about how pinging services can help to promote new content on one’s Web site. Basically a pinging service works by notifying a list of search providers when you post new content to your Web site or blog. My question is:

Do these work and are they needed for a WordPress.com blog?

While researching the issue I’ve read that these pinging services are no longer needed and can in fact lower your blog’s standing with the search engine.

For example, I took a look into Ping-o-Matic. This service appears to be integrated with WordPress so that a number of search providers are automatically notified as soon as you publish a new blog article (based on information I saw on the WordPress.com forums).

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Categories: Uncategorized