Are Your Passwords Safe?

An early password manager.

An early password manager.

Password security is one of the hottest security issues and one of the most difficult to manage, regardless if you are a Fortune 100 company or an independent consultant, such as myself. Password managers make it a lot easier to manage your side of password security, and if you are not using one, you should. I have used password managers for over ten years, including RoboForm (commercial license), KeePass (open source), ThinkPad Password Manager, and LastPass (commercial license). In my opinion, LastPass is far and above the best password manager/safe, as it is platform agnostic, runs in the cloud, has plugins for all major browsers, and runs on nearly every device. I can sit down at any Internet connected device in the world and access my password vault. Continue reading

Xampp WordPress: Install WordPress Locally on Windows

This is a fantastic post from acclaimed blogger Siobhan McKeown , explaining how to install WordPress on your local PC workstation:

Xampp WordPress: Install WordPress Locally on Windows.

For those of you who are not familiar with XAMPP, it is a collection, or ‘stack’, of tools which essentially provides you with all of the functionality of a live webserver, but is installed locally on your machine.  The major components are Apache HTTP server, MySQL database, PHP, and Perl, but there are a number of additions that are available.  This is an ideal environment for development of all sorts, but I find it especially useful to use when developing and testing our various WordPress sites, including this one.  It is also good for general web development.

I like things that are useful and Ms. McKeown’s post is one of those things.  For those of you in the Mac, Linux, or *gasp* Solaris camp, you should be able to do the same thing, with some modifications to the localhost based on your OS requirements.


Tech Support XKCD Style

This post is just for fun.  Anyone who knows me well knows that my favorite web-comic is XKCD (note: not always safe for work and not always for the sensitive).  One of my favorite strips is the Tech Support Cheat Sheet, which I will guess is one of the more popular ones.  XKCD explains how many technical people do tech support, especially on programs we have no idea about.

Whenever you think that the person who is helping you is a genius, consider that they are just following a mental flowchart not unlike this one:

Tech Support Cheat Sheet


Top Thirteen Desktop Apps

TrueCryptAbout four years ago, I wrote an article on my top ten MS Windows applications, plus one.  In 2008, these were my top ten (plus one):

  1. Firefox
  2. Notepad++
  3. Directory Opus 9
  4. SnagIt v.7
  5. AusLogics Disk Defrag
  6. CCleaner
  7. TrueCrypt
  8. Microsoft Excel
  9. Nuance Paperport
  10. AI Roboform
  11. Evernote (honorable mention)

In 2012, I give you a baker’s dozen of my top desktop applications.  Why ‘desktop’ instead of Windows?  Although I do not own or use Apple Macs, every application here is available for Mac, with the notable exceptions of Notepad++. and Directory Opus.  I have been asked why I do not use a Mac, but I will reserve that explanation for another article.  Full disclosure: I paid full price for all apps and haven’t received a penny for the comments below.  {Cue the drumroll} Continue reading