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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tonya Engst at decided it was finally time to make the switch from Eudora to Apple Mail.

Leaving Eudora for Apple Mail: A Difficult Switch to Make
A long-time Eudora user blogs about her experience switching from the no-longer-supported e-mail client to one that's more up to date: Apple Mail. The experience was challenging, and Tonya Engst has advice for others interested in making the switch.

Tonya Engst at decided it was finally time to make the switch from Eudora to Apple Mail. She told the story of what happened and what she learned along the way on Sunday.

"After months of hemming and hawing, I recently took the plunge and switched from Eudora to Apple Mail," Engst wrote. "Based on plaintive e-mail I'm receiving, it seems that many people are reluctantly contemplating a switch away from Eudora to an e-mail client that's more actively supported or that has a more modern interface."

Not for the Weak
However, the author and editor learned that some preparation work is vital, and one shouldn't just jump in, export Eudora mail and expect everything to work perfectly.

Getting organized first within Eudora is vital. Engst advised users to use Eudora Mailbox Cleaner rather than Apple Mail to import.

Then one should study the differences in some key areas, like filters, to understand how the two apps compare.

Time to Settle In
"What I know now, after a week of using Mail, is that some of my initial troubles with filing related to my overall mousing speed and my lack of having scheduled enough time to settle into Mail," Engst noted.

"For example, it took me a few days to realize that, when dragging a message out of the viewing pane and into a different mailbox to file it manually, I was dragging downward too much and not enough to the left toward the sidebar. Dragging more slowly and making an effort to drag to the left helped enormously. If you drag down too quickly, Mail thinks you want to select multiple messages in the viewing pane," she said.

No major migration is painless, but knowing what to expect based on the experience of others can be very helpful. Engst covered a lot of that ground in her story.

Girlfriend Via Video Game

Bernie Peng's girlfriend Tammy checks out the version of 'Bejeweled' he wrote for her Nintendo DS....
Hiding a ring in a bouquet just wasn't enough when a computer programmer decided to pop the question.

Bernie Peng reprogrammed Tammy Li's favorite video game, "Bejeweled," so a ring and a marriage proposal would show up on the screen when she reached a certain score.

Li reached the needed score — and said yes.

The word of the romantic feat last December filtered out after Peng, a financial software programmer, posted details on his blog. The reprogramming was a tricky task and took him a month.

"I thought it was pretty cool, in a nerdy way," Peng told The Star-Ledger of Newark.

[Since the AP won't tell you, we will: Peng not only "reprogrammed" "Bejeweled," but ported it part and parcel to the Nintendo DS, which has no official "Bejeweled" version. He gave his lady the DS version as a gift, which obviously had an important Easter egg hidden inside it.]

The couple plan to marry over Labor Day weekend, and PopCap, the Seattle company that makes "Bejeweled," will fly the couple to Seattle as part of their honeymoon.

"Most video game companies would frown on people manipulating their games," said Garth Chouteau, a spokesman for PopCap.

"But it won him a woman. As a bunch of geeks we have to say, 'Bernie, hats off to you."'

The company is also supplying copies of "Bejeweled" to hand out as favors to the wedding guests. [No word on which format those will be.]

In the hugely popular game, players score points by swapping gems to form vertical and horizontal chains

Passwords are not the best of security solutions

fingerprints and palms.
A Burgeoning Bevy of Biometric Barriers.Biometric access control was one of the hot themes among exhibitors at the recent RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. Several companies showed off their wares, which include a back-end system for integrating biometric authentication into existing systems as well as readers for fingerprints and palms.

Passwords are not the best of security solutions, as enterprises and individual users have found over the years. They can be cracked or stolen, and not necessarily by high-tech means either.

Often, passwords created by end users in corporations are simple, being based on numbers significant to them: their birth dates, wedding anniversaries, birth dates of their loved ones, their auto licenses plates or a combination of these.

Or, where the passwords are created by the system administrator, end users tend to leave them exposed. "You'll see Post-it notes on users' computer screens with their passwords, or the Post-its are stuck under the table," Chris Collier, vice president, identity solutions, at IdentiPHI, told TechNewsWorld.

Increasingly, enterprises are looking to biometric solutions -- fingerprint, palm or retina scanning among them -- to secure access to their computers.

IdentiPHI's Solution
IdentiPHI unveiled Version 5 of its SAFSolution product at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. This lets enterprises replace passwords with biometric authentication or smart cards.

SAFSolution 5 is tightly integrated with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Active Directory and other similar platforms, and "you can either use biometrics or smart cards or both," Collier said.

The product provides a framework to replace network authentication, storing templates in the Microsoft Active Directory Server. It's "the only technology that works with Citrix FastWorks Technology," Collier pointed out.

SAFSolution 5 supports sensors from more than 40 vendors on the back end with a single install, and "you can take a biometric vendor's product and plug it into our framework," Collier said. Customers can select the authentication methods that best fit their needs.

The product also has a security framework built in for separation of duties under Active Directory so the enterprise can assign different roles to different people in the organization, a key aspect of internal control which prevents fraud and errors. "Other computers just use Microsoft Group Policy, which isn't very secure," Collier noted.

New features include last logon recall, drop-down logon customization, secret questions, SAFremote for Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS) and Windows Remote Desktop.

SAFSolution 5 is in pilot deployments with several key customers, including a major telecom firm that has rolled it out to 60,000 users in a phase one deployment, and a tire maker, which has rolled it out to 89,000 users in the U.S., Collier commented.

It will be rolled out to the public in May.

Fujitsu's Palm Reader
Securing your PC with your fingerprint isn't enough for Fujitsu -- it goes for your palm instead.

At RSA, it unveiled its PalmSecure PC log-in kit, which consists of a PalmSecure authentication sensor embedded in a PC mouse, and OmniPass Windows Log-in and Single Sign-On software.

Here's how it works: The system administrator takes a print of the vein pattern in a user's palm and stores it in a database. When the user takes hold of the computer mouse, PalmSecure generates a biometric template of the palm vein patterns and compares it to the stored version. If they match, access is granted.

The PalmSecure log-in kit will be rolled out to the public in June.

Privaris' Solution
Privaris isn't too fond of the fingerprint as a biometric security measure, either. "If you swipe your finger across the sensor at the wrong angle, you won't get access," COO Mike Kohonoski told TechNewsWorld.

His company offers what he calls a totally enclosed biometric system, the PlusID. This is a device about the size of two USB (Universal Serial Bus) drive sticks that has four programmable buttons, a built-in scanner and two rings for attachment to your keychain at the base as well as a USB port.

You hook it up to your PC with the USB port, through which the device's battery is also charged.

All data is held on the device so the question of data privacy is not an issue. "Even though you administer it from the PC, your fingerprint template is stored on the device," Kohonoski told TechNewsWorld. "And, if you lose it, it's of no use to anyone else."

System administrators program the device to accept any of the user's 10 digits, but only this information is stored on the back end server; the actual finger- or thumbprint is stored on the PlusID itself.

Each of the four buttons can be programmed for a different credential. "If you have to access more than one system, you don't have to carry separate smart cards," Kohonoski said. The device can also be used to gain access to secure areas when programmed, "so you don't have to remember key codes or carry another smart card for the door," Kohonoski explained.

The PlusID works with native Windows Smart Card architecture, which is part of Windows Server 2000 and up. "You don't need any middleware, just a mini smart card driver which installs into the system," Kohonoski said. Users don't have to make any changes to Windows' revocation plans and backup schemes when their organizations use the PlusID.

Authentication certificates are obtained from Microsoft Active Directory's Microsoft Certificate Services.

The PlusID supports Windows Smart Card and smart cards from three leading vendors: HID, Indala and Casi Rusco.

Privaris is looking to extend its reach to other operating systems: "We'll be looking at products for Unix, Linux and its derivatives later this year," Kohonoski said.

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