Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

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About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

It is Friday

Today I report on several unrelated things. I realized it has been a week since I posted, so here is what has been going on.

New Site

I have almost finished up a new site for the Asheville Real Estate Network. The site makes use of something called IDXSearch, which is a property search tool for MLS listings. In order to use it, you have to frame the page from the IDX web site in your site.

I don’t need to mention the plethora of reasons that frames are a horrible thing to do to a web site, but nevertheless, this was the only solution offered. I was more disturbed to see that the IDX tool doesn’t work very well in non-IE browsers, and offers no capability to customize the interface. It just goes to show that there are still programmers stuck in 1998.

More Crain Reviews

Using Google and the referrer logs for crainspeed.com, I have located a few more reviews online of the Speed re-release. I posted links to them on the front page of Crain site. I continue to be amazed at the response to the CD, 14 years after it was originally released.

Cool Artwork

Even though I am married to a talented, trained artist, I have never been much of an art aficionado. However, a few styles of art have always caught my eye, including the style used in vintage magic posters.

Today I ran across a site about the illustrations of Arthur Radebaugh, whose work you will likely recognize if you have ever looked through old Life magazines. Something about the organized, structured style I like. It is reminiscent of the Soviet-style propaganda posters from the USSR era.

Oh Yeah

Oh yeah…Alicia is pregnant again.

PC Tips – Being Free

Here is a collection of free software utilities you can use to keep your Windows PC running in peak performance.

I compiled this list after doing a lot of research testing among various applications and computers. In my opinion, the ‘biggies’ such as Norton and McAfee are bloated resource hogs that don’t perform as well as they should. You can expect to fork over at least $30 a year for them, as they force you to renew your subscription after 12 months.

Why use these tools when there are free alternatives that run faster, do a better job, and take up fewer resources?

Antivirus

I recommend the free version of AVG Antivirus, which is fast, thorough, and free. I liked it so much I paid for a copy of the enhanced version for my main PC just to support the company. That doesn’t mean the free version lacks anything important, because it is indeed full-featured.

Spyware

The old faithful, Spybot Search and Destroy does an excellent job of finding spyware, and keeping spyware from finding you. It is important to run the updater weekly to make sure you are protected from all the latest threats.

Windows Optimization

To replace the tools that Norton System Works offers, I suggest you download and install Easy Cleaner, which does everything Nortons does but without the resource hogging. From cleaning up your registry to clearing out old temporary files, Easy Cleaner is fast, small, and powerful.

Firewall

Only recently did I learn about Kerio Personal Firewall, but since I have installed it on three machines and used it for a couple of weeks, I have been thoroughly impressed. One suggestion: when installing it, choose the ‘basic’ interface and not ‘advanced’. That is, unless you are a savvy computer geek.

Other System Protection

Another cool tool to keep things from getting broken in Windows is WinPatrol. This tool puts a little black dog named Scotty in your system tray. Scotty will bark at you when something weird is going on, such as an application trying to change your hosts file. Scotty monitors your system files and protects them from spyware, trojans, and the like.

Good Times

I turned 32 this weekend, and in celebration, we had some folks over to cook out on the new gas grill Alicia bought me. We ate a lot of meat, including burgers, hot dogs, and fish. There is nothing like a good Ball Park Frank to raise the bar and make you wonder whether or not you will live to tell the tale. Ahhh, the joys of animal lips.

With Alicia having a hand in the making of the burgers, potato salad, and cole slaw, you know it had to be good. Storebought will not do with her, and her flair for adding just enough of this and that makes it all taste great.

I plan on branching out and finding many good things to do with my new grill. Alicia was shocked to see me perusing the Joy of Cooking section on grilling…

I have posted two new photo galleries, one of pics from my cell phone, and another of higher quality digital cam pics, both from this month (including yesterday’s cookout). Check out the Will’s Ye Olde Photo Gallery.

Ogling Google

I posted before about Google Maps and how cool it was, surpassing MapQuest in capability and usability.

Now, Google has added a new satellite view to their maps. For example, you can do a search for an address, click the “Satellite” link, and see imagery of the location you are looking at. This is not new technology, but it is now in a form that is easily consumable by the masses.

This has stirred up some mixed responses from people around the internet. Some people consider it a tool for environmental accountability, where we can see things like the clearcutting around Nanaimo, British Columbia.

For those armchair travellers amongst you, Google Sightseeing offers you the ability to see the world in your pajamas. I found the Planes In Flight post, where people sent in shots of airplanes captured by satellites in, pretty neat.

You never know what sorts of things might be caught that shouldn’t be, however, some obvious ones have been doctored up (notice the “drawn-on” rooftops”). Others are kinda funny, and some are weird (a giant compass[?] at Edwards AFB).

Still, the detail in these maps is nowhere near as complex as that of the property search I found for Buncombe County, NC, where you can see me & my shadow walking up my driveway, my truck out front, and Alicia’s car on the side of the house:
My House

4-11

It is National Information Day, which we celebrate every April 11 (because, hey, it’s like, 4-11 man). On this day it is good to do nothing but surf the Internet in search of useless facts, urban legends, and the cold, hard, truth.

OK, so maybe I made this up and it is only I that celebrates National Information Day. Allright, allright, I have never celebrated it before, and in fact, I have a lot of work to do today, so I shouldn’t be wasting any more time.

At least I finally got my taxes done last night. So much for my new-year’s resolution of having them done before the end of March.

Tunes and Tweaks

My old college chum Chris Geer emailed me the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and it was good to hear that he is staking out his territory on the WWW.

A couple of years back, Chris asked me to sit in on banjo when he was recording in the studio, and I had not heard the songs we did since that day. He was kind enough to send me one (and is looking for the other), so I posted it on my free music site for download. It’s under the “Morgan ‘Chris’ Geer” section of that page.

While I was doing that, I realized that my entire music site was getting cramped, so I went ahead and redesigned it from scratch. Why I chose to do this at 9pm on a Thursday night, I don’t know, but thanks to the magic of Cascading Style Sheets I was done in an hour.

So, then I started looking at the disheveled appearance of this site and messed around with the typography, layout, colors, and other stuff. You may or may not notice a cleaner appearance now. I plan on changing the header soon.

I also cleaned up the links at left, removing some dead ones and adding some new ones. So take a few minutes to peruse all the newness.