Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

I have to admit at being very sceptical about the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, thinking it was just for noobs. Recently, I was nudged down the path of using it (to get the Windows Azure Tools) and I have to say it works very well. Rather than fishing around for various installers, you just pick what you want from the lists (see below) and the Web Platform Installer will go away and install everything for you. There’s no need to mess around downloading MSIs yourself.


The Web Platform Installer offers a comprehensive list of developer frameworks, servers and tools. In addition, it offers various products such as DotNetNuke, WordPress, Umbraco CMS, ScrewTurn Wiki, N2 CMS etc.

The Web Platform Installer has a tiny footprint too.

Great stuff.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Using the cloud to crack passwords?

There’s been much talk recently of using the processing power of the cloud, perhaps Amazon EC2 spot instances, to crack passwords.

Why bother? A cheap local GPU will do the job.

Password Time to crack  
fjR8n 24 seconds <1 second
pYDbL6 1 hour 30 minutes 4 seconds
fh0GH5h ~4 days 17 minutes 30 seconds

Seven character passwords are pretty common. Mixing upper case letters and numbers doesn’t really help.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Windows 8

The world changes. Here’s the best analysis I’ve read.

“…So if you're running an existing PC hardware or software company, ask yourself how a new competitor could use the platform transition to challenge your current products.  Here's a sobering thought to keep you awake tonight: the odds are that the challengers will win.  The company most at risk from this change is the largest vendor of Windows apps, Microsoft itself.  Microsoft Office must be completely rethought for the new paradigm.  You have about 18 months, guys.  Good luck.

By the way, web companies are also at risk.  Your web apps are designed for a browser-centric, mouse-driven user experience.  What happens to your app when the browser melts into the OS, and the UI is driven by touch?  If you think this change doesn't affect you, I have an old copy of WordStar that you can play with.  Google and Facebook, I am talking to you.

If you're running a hardware company, how will you need to change your devices to take advantage of the new OS?  Shipping a device that isn't Windows 8 ready will soon be as risky as shipping a PC in 1993 that couldn't connect a mouse.  (Unfortunately, because Windows 8 is so far out, I don't know if Microsoft has even fully defined the hardware spec for a Windows 8 PC.  The OS cries out for a flat panel screen that docks, so you can use it on your lap or as a monitor. Microsoft has a lot of work to do, and the PC vendors will face a lot of uncertainty.)…



Some people aren’t happy. Get a grip.

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