Are people finally waking up to Microsoft’s attempts to get their fingers in every pie?  A few months back, Microsoft managed to kill the IETF Marid working group’s attempts to build a common spam filtering framework by refusing to license their technology openly.  This leaves room for SPF to take over, already with the backing of a large number of mail server operators.

Just recently adoption of the WMV9 codec, slated for inclusion in the sequel techology to DVD, is hitting some roadblocks:

Multiple sources close to the SMPTE process told EE Times last week that Microsoft created the impression in the industry that its WMV9 codec had a leg up on H.264/MPEG-4 AVC in quality and licensing terms. But now that the WMV9-based VC-1 has been put to the test in the arduous SMPTE standardization process, VC-1 is “perceived as behind in quality and behind in licensing terms, compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC,” one source said.

Does this sound familiar?

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While upgrading my Linksys router through the upgrade page, I somehow managed to kill the thing.  Having spoken with others that have tried to upgrade the firmware, I don’t seem to be alone.

Luckily, the Linksys-modified TFTP program saves the day.  It seems that the hobbled router comes up in a crippled mode on with a password of “admin”.  Once you re-upload the firmware, it comes back up with the proper settings.

I think the trick is not using the HTML-version of the upgrade page.  Stick with TFTP!

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Networked printing is really cool in Fedora!  You can configure CUPS to automatically browse the network and discover other printers by using the Printer Configuration tool and, under the “Sharing…” menu, choose “Automatically find remote shared queues”.

You can even use this to set up a remote print queue for Windows.  Install the generic Adobe postscript printer driver and point it to your CUPS printer share when it asks for the URL.  The CUPS URLs are generally of the form:  http://servername:631/printers/printer-name.

You’ll find the printer URL by browsing the CUPS webpages and selecting the printer under “manage printers”.

The cool thing about CUPS is that there are no specialized drivers to load under Windows.  You use the generic postscript driver and everything just works.

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I decided to pave over my Windows 2000 box with a brand new install of Fedora Core 2.  The network install is awesome - burn the 4MB boot.iso to a CD, select “HTTP” install, point it any Fedora mirror and go!

It took about 30 minutes to get the installation completed on my old PII-400.  Your time may vary based on CPU hugeness and mirror fastness.

I’ve been using my Linksys firewall for managing internal DHCP, but it doesn’t really give you much flexibility to assign static IPs that I’d like.  I hope to get a quick and dirty DHCP server up and running with brand-new DHCP-managed static IP addresses for all of my networked devices (including my Xbox). 

It also gives me a chance to try my hand at setting up a full IMAP mail server at home.  I’ve been using hotwayd for snarfing messages from Hotmail and getting them remotely via POP3.  I’d prefer to have them sit in a common mailbox that I can read from either work or home.

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I tried out Google Desktop Search today and I decided to take a deeper look at how it works and how it integrates into your daily experiences.  This information all comes from reverse-engineering and file/registry observation.  None of it is guaranteed to be correct.

From looking at some of the PDB file references, I think the internal name of this Google search engine is “Total Recall”.  This fits with the replacement string returned from Google (“”) and the port number registry key “trs_port”.

The search utility consists of three main applications and a number of “information provider” plugins.  The main applications are:

  • The Google Desktop Search main application.  This provides the UI for configuration of the Google search programs and launches them as necessary.
  • The indexing service.  This program runs a small HTTP server on port 4664, receiving desktop search requests and outputting search results.
  • The crawler service.  This program runs in the background, indexing local files that exist on your disk.

The plugins are:

  • A Winsock1/2 protocol filter.  These intercept requests to,, etc. and add a “Desktop” link to the search page, as well as placing the local search results in with the remote search results.
  • An IE-specific BHO (browser helper object).  The BHO indexes the pages you visit and takes a screenshot to store as a thumbnail for later.
  • Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint plugins.  Unknown at the time, but they are probably used to index Office files.

The Winsock 1/2 interception is one of the cooler parts of the Google Desktop Search Application.  Each request you make runs through this filter.  Whenever a Google search is performed, the interception layer sends the requests to the local indexing server and merges the results with the web search results.  I verified this by running Windump on the machine and comparing the request made to Google with the results that Firefox received.

The BHO uses the GoogleDesktopAPI2.dll to add pages to the indexing service.  To take screenshots, it uses the GetDC function to grab the current bitmap from IE itself.  You’ll notice that if any Windows are obscuring the IE window at the time the screenshot is grabbed, they’ll appear in your thumbnails.

GoogleDesktopAPI2.dll has a number of unnamed imports.  Each of the search plugins loads these imports by ordinal and calls into them.  So far, none of the imports have been decoded.

More info as it comes!

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