News, views, tips and tricks on Oracle and other fun stuff

Essential (and free) Software Every Computer Should Have

As soon as you connect your computer to the Internet, or even when you install new software, you risk being hacked and infected with viruses. But you already know that.

You also know that in order to protect your computer, you need at least three things: a firewall, an antivirus and an antispyware. But did you know that you can have all three software tools for free? Here is what I use on my Windows XP:

Firewall: ZoneAlarm
Price: Free

Antivirus: AVG Anti-Virus
Price: Free

Antispyware: Windows Defender
Price: Free

What do you use?

14 Comments | Filed in Security, Technology, Tips | Tags: , , ,

Top ten tips for better password management


There is an article on about how companies can manage their passwords. The author offers the following tips for fostering a culture of secure and more effective password management:

  1. Passwords must not be written down.
  2. Passwords must be set. When the password is “ChangeMe”, then change it.
  3. Require as few passwords as possible. Balance how much password protection you need with how many passwords can reasonably be managed.
  4. Staff must change their passwords regularly. This limits the likelihood of old passwords, shared between colleagues in less-secure times, coming back to haunt you.
  5. Make new passwords new. Old password = “Rowanda1”. New password = “Rowanda2”. Not good.
  6. Avoid obvious words. Passwords must be more complex than a single word which can be hacked with a dictionary attack.
  7. Think long – but not too long. A password which consists of at least eight characters with a mix of upper case, lower case and numbers is a good start.
  8. Automate password changes. The process of making staff reset and choose secure passwords must also be automated.
  9. Educate staff. Ensure password policy is written into employment contracts and that all staff understand why and what that entails.
  10. Look at long-term solutions which will eventually replace passwords – such as biometrics.

I believe that most of the above applies to individuals as well. In fact, tip number 10 is already a reality for the average consumer like you and me. Search Google for “biometric password manager” to see what I mean.

Personally, I have tens of passwords I need to keep track of. Since I avoid writing passwords down and it is impossible for me to remember them all, I rely primarily on my password manager software and sometimes on my memory when I am faced with “Please enter your user name and password”. Maybe I should try this new APC Biometric Password Manager, or something similar.

8 Comments | Filed in Security, Technology | Tags: , ,

Software that reads your mind

I stumbled upon this really interesting game that uses artificial intelligence to guess the word you are thinking about by just asking you 20 questions. I thought of “cucumber” and it guessed it right! Take a break and play it now.

Did it correctly guess your word?


4 Comments | Filed in Interesting, Technology | Tags: ,

Free screen capture software

I often want to capture some part of my screen to an image file or the clipboard. Sure there are a lot of software that do that, but, today, I found a completely free and a very easy to use screen capture software called ScreenHunter 4.0 Free. I just thought that you might find it useful as well.

8 Comments | Filed in Interesting | Tags: , ,

Oracle SQL Developer Graduated

Following up on my last post: Oracle SQL Developer Updated, it was finally decided to release SQL Developer to production. So, go ahead and get your fresh copy from OTN.

Oracle Database 10g XE has this:

It would be nice to have a similar one for SQL Developer as well, would it?

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Oracle SQL Developer Updated

Another day, another Oracle SQL Developer release. That brings the current release to:

Early Adopter Release 7, version
March 8, 2006

To get an idea of the frequency of new SQL Developer EA releases: Continue reading…

4 Comments | Filed in Oracle | Tags: , ,

Password Overload

I have a password overload. Everywhere I go on the Net, I have to login. That means I have to memorize dozens of user name and password combinations.

I could just use the same user name and password on all sites, but this is not only insecure but also most of the time not possible because different sites have different requirements for user name and password size and complexity.

Just to give you a taste of what I deal with on a routine basis and what requires me to provide my user name and password: Continue reading…

11 Comments | Filed in Personal, Technology | Tags: , , ,

Ten Worst Software Bugs

Before going into the worst bugs, do you know why computer program errors are called “bugs” and why developers like myself “debug” programs? It all goes back to September, 1945. Here is the story: Continue reading…

6 Comments | Filed in Technology | Tags: ,

KeePass Password Safe

Today you need to remember many passwords. You need a password for the Windows network logon, your e-mail account, your homepage’s ftp password, online passwords (like CodeProject member account), etc. etc. etc. The list is endless. Also, you should use different passwords for each account. Because if you use only one password everywhere and someone gets this password you have a problem… A serious problem. The thief would have access to your e-mail account, homepage, etc. Unimaginable. Continue reading…

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