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phpMyID: roll your own OpenID provider

phpMyIDWith more and more web sites and services offering OpenID for authentication, you may want to use your own domain name as an OpenID provider instead of selecting from the wide array of other providers (like Blogger, AOL,

phpMyID is a pair of PHP files that allow you to easily use your domain name for authentication to OpenID-supporting sites like Sourceforge, Skitch, and Technorati.

To use phpMyID (substitute "yourwebsite" with your domain name or website address):

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Indecent Haiku: inappropriate poetry

Indecent HaikuWe're no strangers to potentially inappropriate versions of Internet memes, but why not apply that same inappropriateness to haiku? Indecent Haiku offers plenty of 3-line gems covering topics like sex, alcohol, love, and nature.

Like any good haiku site, they allow you to submit your own. Their submissions page even offers a reminder of haiku structure (5-7-5) and their take on good content.

If these types of haiku aren't your thing, learn how to write your own or check out some famous examples.

Whopper Sacrifice: ditch 10 Facebook friends, get a burger

Whopper SacrificeWhopper Sacrifice is a new Facebook application from Burger King that promises to give you a free Whopper if you delete 10 friends from your Facebook profile. Simply install the application, click a friend to "sacrifice," click the little "x" by the friend's entry, and verify that you really want to remove the friend.

If you decide to complete the decimation by removing nine more friends, you'll receive a coupon for a juicy Whopper (if you live in the US). You can add the app to your profile page so that your other friends can mock the people you deemed less valuable than a burger, or perhaps they will beg you to not give them a similar fate.

I'm going to justify my deletions by considering it a housecleaning of people I don't communicate with on Facebook anymore. That should help me sleep at night.


Historical Tweets: Twitter posts from way back

Historical Tweets takes us on a journey through time to see Twitter posts from historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Michael Jordan. There are categories for 1800's, various decades of the 1900's, and even Comically Old when the word "Twitter" would have fit nicely in iambic pentameter.

You can submit your own ideas, choose to view a random tweet, and will soon be able to buy merchandise which I'm sure will be decorated with popular historical tweets. This site has earned a distinguished spot in my feed reader so that I'm able to keep up with the tweets I missed from back in the day.

Openfire: cross-platform Jabber server

Openfire is an open-source Jabber (XMPP) server that provides an easy way to offer and maintain internal instant messaging (including voice and video chat) for your company or organization. There are server plugins available which can add archiving and statistics capabilities as well as message of the day and multi-user chat (MUC) bookmarks.

Openfire conveniently supports LDAP and Active Directory authentication as well as SSL for encrypting communications. If you require high availability, you can enable clustering to eliminate a single point of failure. Common databases like MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and PostgreSQL are supported, or you can use Openfire's embedded database.

While the developers offer a web-based (SparkWeb) client and install-based (Spark) client, it's possible to use any IM client that supports Jabber (Adium, Pidgin, iChat, etc.). Openfire runs on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows and since it's Java based, it will require that you have a JRE installed.

Timeous: Simple Time Tracking in OS X

TimeousTimeous is a simple and effective time-tracking app for Mac OS 10.4 or later. It allows you to track time on multiple projects ("tabs") and set independent hourly rates and tax percentages. Each time you start the Timeous timer, an entry is created in your current project tab. These entries are then sorted by day and time. When you stop the timer, you will see the total time of that chunk of work, and you can add notes to the entry to explain what work was performed.

Data is automatically saved, and the program's status bar shows the total time and cost associated with the project. You can export the time entries to a text file (useful for providing to a client when you send them an invoice). Timeous is a free download and a Universal binary.

Three apps for the Windows sysadmin - Holiday Gift Guide

If you have a Windows systems admin (the kind of person responsible for managing a computer network and/or server farm) on your holiday gift-giving list, check out these three commercial apps that they are sure to love:

Hyena ($199) - This Windows application is an Active Directory admin's sidekick. In addition to acting as a an AD Users/Computers snap-in on steroids, it also lets you easily change local account usernames and passwords on multiple computers, create helpful lists of group members, and manage services. Hyena also makes it easy to quickly view the currently logged in users of a machine and shutdown or reboot a group of computers.

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Glassbooth: it's not too late to choose a candidate

GlassboothBack in January I wrote about Glassbooth, the web service that helps you choose a Presidential candidate by answering questions about your views on common issues. Any voters who are still undecided may want to use the site as an aid in their decision-making process, especially because there have been some significant updates to Glassbooth since my last post:

  • Additional issue categories (like Science and Internet)
  • "Pulse" section serves as a mini-blog full of updates on the candidates' positions
  • Glassbooth Portable serves as a widgetized version of the quiz that you can put on your blog
  • New Zealand election quiz
  • Some Wisconsin state representative election quizzes

Glassbooth is a novel concept that I wish I could apply to all of my local elections. I find it extremely difficult (if not impossible) to research state representatives, school board members, judges, etc. It would be nice if all voters made their election decisions based on the candidates' views instead of how many signs they have posted or how many promises they may make.

Remember to vote on Tuesday!

WinAdmin: Remote Desktop on the iPhone

WinAdminAs an iPhone user who works on Windows servers daily, I decided to purchase the WinAdmin application ($11.99) which promised to provide remote desktop connectivity from my iPhone to supported Windows operating systems (XP, Vista, 2003, 2008). So far the app has worked as advertised. I have a list of servers with all the necessary login information saved (name, IP address, username, password, screen resolution) so that I simply have to launch WinAdmin and touch a server name to be connected to a remote desktop session on the server.

Navigating the remote desktop screen simply requires a finger drag. To click, tap your finger once or twice (for single or double of course). To right-click, tap your finger, then tap again and hold. WinAdmin supports connecting to the console session, and it supports sending Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

I have tested all of the connection methods: internal WiFi, external WiFi with VPN, 3G with VPN, and Edge with VPN. All of the connections worked fine, but as expected connecting to our Cisco VPN over Edge caused a bit of latency in the RDP session in WinAdmin. However, the latency was not enough to make the program unusable by any means. Now I'm able to sit in traffic and reset Active Directory passwords, or drink coffee at Panera Bread while I add a printer to our print server.

Todd's Favorite Mac Apps: CoRD

CoRDSince I often have to connect to Windows servers (or sometimes workstations) from my Mac laptop, CoRD is my RDP client of choice. CoRD is a free and open-source application for Mac that allows me to save multiple servers' connection information in the handy sidebar so that I can quickly start remote desktop connections.

CoRD lets me connect to multiple servers simultaneously while only taking up one window of screen real estate, or I can use windowed mode so that each connection has a dedicated window.

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Todd's Favorite Mac Apps: 1Password

Since practically every website requires some sort of user registration, I decided to purchase 1Password to manage all of my login credentials. 1Password is a Mac-only password manager that can also store secure notes, "wallet" information, and identity data. Rather than use a single password for all of the websites I access, or try to create a convoluted password algorithm to have a list of uniqu... Read more »

Todd's Favorite Mac Apps: Skitch

As a blogger and IT professional I often need to make screenshots for things like showing a program window, instructing where to find an obscure setting, or making a witty LOLcat. Thankfully, Skitch is available to fill this need and make my screenshot tasks quick and painless. I didn't know about Skitch until it was released in public beta early this year. I downloaded the Mac-only client, instal... Read more »

Home Inventory: track your belongings, have peace of mind

Home Inventory is a free program for Windows or Mac that lets you create a home inventory complete with product photo and receipt scan. A home inventory is an important protective measure for any home owner, renter, or insurance-policy holder as it can be invaluable in times of disaster to help prove to a claims adjuster that you really did have a 50" wall-mounted plasma TV. The program is easy to... Read more »

PlanningWiz: plan and share room layouts

If you're moving to a new place or just want to reorganize furniture in your current living space, PlanningWiz may be helpful by letting you plan and lay out objects in your rooms. Set your room dimensions (you can choose Imperial or Metric system, but for some reason you can't choose Imperial on the first step) and start selecting furniture pieces to begin experimenting. You can choose furniture... Read more »

The Several Journeys of Reemus - Today's Time Waster

The Several Journeys of Reemus is a Flash game that is somewhat reminiscent of the 90's Lucasarts games like Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, and Sam and Max. SJoR has a minimalist point-and-click interface that lacks the obvious verbs like "Use," "Look," and "Pick Up." The plot is centered around Reemus and his cute, yet melancholy purple-bear sidekick Liam. Reemus, an insect exterminator, is ... Read more »