U3 version of Password Safe

Posted by Kenny on October 23, 2007

I recently purchased a U3-enabled flash drive. I’ve been using Password Safe (originally from Bruce Schneier’s Counterpane Labs, now a SourceForge project) for some time now to store my passwords, and it seemed like a perfect application to have on a flash drive. I was shocked when I discovered that they wanted $9.95 for the U3 version of a free utility!

Well, the U3 Developer Kit is available for a free registration and Password Safe is Open Source, so I decided to see if I could build my own U3 version. It turned out to be easier than I thought. The standard binary distribution of Password Safe already includes all of the necessary U3 support. I just followed the U3 packaging guidelines along with some pathnames gleaned from the Password Safe source to lay out the U3 package. I then used the U3 tools to generate the manifest file and configure the various actions. I even wrote a little device install utility as an NSIS script to make sure the default data directory gets created when installing to the flash drive.

I’m hereby making available the final result under the same Artistic License terms as Password Safe itself. This is based on the 3.10 version of Password Safe, but I will attempt to provide updates whenever I happen to notice a new release of the original binaries. Feel free to email me if you have any feedback. I simply ask that you remember I had nothing to do with the original Password Safe program, only the packaging.

  • U3 Installer
  • Source
    The source ZIP contains just the source files for the U3 packaging. You’ll need to obtain the program binaries from Password Safe and the U3Action.exe from the U3 Developer Tools, then place the files according to the directory listing in package_dir.txt. You can also get the U3P2EXE tool from the U3 site to build the executable installer package.

Google releases Calendar

Posted by Kenny on April 16, 2006

This past week, Google released the new Google Calendar service. I’ve really become a big fan of Gmail, and it looks like this may be another service that I’ll be getting a bit of use out of.

My wife has been trying to get me to keep better track of our various family events and appointments, but I find the process a bit cumbersome. She puts together a calendar on paper, which I then have to take to work and transcribe into my Outlook calendar. Once the data is in Outlook, things work pretty well as long as I’m at work. But if I’m at home, I either have to connect to the VPN and Remote Desktop into my computer at work so I can bring up Outlook, or just ask my wife like I always did before.

With Google Calendar, we can each have a personal calendar that we share with each other so we can keep track of each other’s appointments. We also set up a shared family calendar that we can both add appointments to. And since it’s Web-based, I can access it anywhere, anytime. It’s also integrated with Gmail so I can receive email reminders of upcoming events, use Calendar to send out event invitations, and easily add appointments for invitations that I receive.

This is definitely still a Beta service and it has some quirks and limitations. It doesn’t yet support Safari on the Mac, and my wife hates the mini monthly calendar that doesn’t differentiate between the days of the selected month and the extra week or so that it shows from the previous and next months. I’m sure Google will be making lots of improvements and bug fixes in the coming months, and probably adding some new features as well, but it certainly shows a lot of promise as another one of those services that just becomes a part of your daily routine.

Opera browser is now free

Posted by Kenny on January 25, 2006

The Opera browser is now totally free. Opera started out as one of the few commercial competitors to Microsoft and Netscape’s free browsers. They later came out with an ad-supported version that you could use for free if you didn’t want to pay extra to get rid of the ads, and now they have finally eliminated the ads and made it entirely free.

This has apparently been out there for a while, but it doesn’t seem to have gotten much hype. Opera has long been considered one of the fastest and most standards compliant browsers available, but it’s commercial beginnings may have hurt its acceptance. It has its quirks, but it’s a pretty good browser that also includes a decent mail client and RSS reader, and all within an installed size that’s barely a third the size of Firefox.

Internet Explorer inside a Firefox tab

Posted by Kenny on December 05, 2005

Via Scott Hanselman, you can now display a web page with Internet Explorer directly inside a Firefox tab. The extension is called IE Tab, and it provides similar functionality to the older IE View except that it embeds Internet Explorer inside Firefox instead of opening a separate IE window. Once installed, you can right-click a page in Firefox and switch to IE mode without switching tabs. You can also right-click a link and open the link in a new IE tab. You can even configure a list of sites that will always display in an IE tab!

It’s not perfect yet, but 99% of the time it does a fantastic job. Netscape 8.0 has a similar feature, but I find it a bit cumbersome and I really like being able to do it directly in Firefox.

Google Talk tips

Posted by Kenny on September 01, 2005

Philipp Lenssen posted some tips for Google Talk. Be sure to read the comments, too, for additional tips discovered by readers.

My favorite tip is adding emphasis in messages using the *bold* and _italic_ convention that has been commonly used in plain-text e-mail and Usenet posts for years. I’ve never been one to use a lot of formatting in IM’s, so this is perfect for me. Simple, clean, gets the job done.

Google Talk is here

Posted by Kenny on September 01, 2005

I’m a little behind the times in blogging about this, but I needed to actually have a blog first. Rumors have been flying for a while that Google was planning to release its own IM service, and now Google Talk is here. It is based on the Jabber XMPP protocol, but it isn’t yet linked into the Jabber server network.

You won’t find any fancy features in the minimalist client program, but that can sometimes be a good thing as it seems to use far fewer system resources than most other clients. If you want a more feature-rich client, you should be able to connect with any client that supports Jabber. You’ll also need to use a different client if you are not running on Windows, because the Google Talk client is currently a Windows-only application.

Currently, you can only chat with other Google Talk users, although Google promises that they are committed to interoperability. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any friends that are on Google Talk yet, so I can’t give it a thorough test in daily use.