Friday, August 28, 2009

Media Center connectivity with Nokia N95

If you are a lucky owner of a Nokia N95 or other advanced N-series device, you should know your device supports the DLNA protocol. This protocol is basically an extension to the well known UPnP, which was designed for media devices, such as media centers, gaming consoles, DVDs, and yes, multimedia smartphones.

Since the Symbian menu hierarchy is rather complicated, I challenge you to find on your own the "Home Media" application, and lunch it. After the wizard completes, you should be able to share media files (pics, videos and music) between other devices you might have, and the mobile phone.

This way, If you have a PS3, just let it scan for network devices, and see how it finds the mobile phone and displays its contents. It can even stream music from it.

After I managed to successfully play files from my N95 on my Windows Media Center and play files from the PC on the device (requires Windows Media Player 11), I decided I should try my favorite Media Center software - Elisa. Since Elisa is DLNA compatible, and is open-source, I had thought this one is gonna be an easy task. So I was wrong. I am yet to crack this thing. For some reason, Elisa refuses to see other devices, and doesn't display the N95. As far as I can tell, no one has succeeded yet in doing so.

So as I was about to give up, I decided to put Apple's FrontRow to the test. Nada. Doesn't work as well. So I'm stuck with Windows software.

Now that you know your N-series device has such an amazing capabilities, please go on and try to make it work with Elisa or a different open-source Media Center software. I would really love to see this one working.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Israel becoming a Mac country?

Judging by the amount of media coverage Apple's products gets in the Israeli blogsphere and media lately, one could think that most computers in Israel actually carry the bitten Apple logo.

And I'm not even talking about the iPhone, which is going to flood the cellular market here. Estimates say that by next year, 15% of mobile devices will be iPhones.
Since we're a land of hackers, this means many more OS X installations will be done, as the development tools runs exclusively on OS X.

But look at how many articles there's out there about the next version of OS X, the pricing, estimates about features and arrival date to Israel, etc. Since when does anybody in Israel care about Mac so much?

Maybe this is part of the move of Israel becoming another star on the American flag - just like Americans favors the Mac, so will the Israeli. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to get rid of the pesky Windows Error Reporting popups

Today at work I've been developing something to automate part of my Windows malware analysis routine (so many malware for Windows, one gotta automate it). Problem is the code isn't perfect, and malware causes many kinds of corner cases. So for every few hundred files, it crashes with the annoying Windows send/don't-send dialog (or the simple error reporting's OK/Cancel dialog).

When running this over thousands of files at a time, this could be really annoying, especially if I go and do something else in the mean while, so there's no one to close the dialog.

After digging around, I found this gem. A tool called ClickOff that automatically responds for dialogs, and can fill up forms, etc. I configured it to close the Windows error dialog, and now everything works smoothly without me having to watch over it.

I guess Windows operations weren't made to be script-ed or automated, so one has to use 3rd party tools to overcome this. Maybe this is why Administrators hate Windows.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amazing social engineering technique

Yesterday, a collegue of mine (and a friend) published this post on Finjan's blog.
I won't dig into the details, you can read it there. What amazes me is how great the social engineering and SEO techniques used by Koobface are, and how effective it is.

Finally, it is quite rare to read a detailed explanation which covers the attack from A to Z.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Obvious message that reduces motivation

Today I noticed that Skype offers me to upgrade from version 3 to version 4. I know this isn't very new, yet I didn't upgrade so far since I don't like the new UI.

Now I noticed this message in the upgrade offer: "...keep all your contacts and settings".

What? If I couldn't keep my contacts and settings between upgrades, I would have never used Skype! My requirement to keep such things is so obvious, that the fact the message is presented makes one worried: if the message wasn't displayed, would it mean my contacts will be lost forever???

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

You snooze, you lose

Two days ago, we've found something really nice at work, which is worth blogging about. So we wrote down a draft and started the long workflow of getting it approved. By the time we were about to finish, we found out someone else has already wrote about it.

We missed the chance to be the first to publish about this issue only by few hours. But as I mentioned before, professional blogging makes one much slower and less dynamic.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Computing MD5 sum in Python

So, you're writing some Python code which requires computation of an MD5 sum of a given input file. Don't worry, it's quite easy. Following are two ways to achieve this.

Method one: compute the MD5 sum using Python's APIs:
infile = open("filename", 'rb')
content =
m = hashlib.md5() # don't forget to "import hashlib"
md5 = m.hexdigest() # now the md5 variable contains the MD5 sum

Method two: using the OS command `md5` on Linux, or the Windows command line utility available for download:
p = subprocess.Popen("md5 " + "filename", shell = True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE) # don't forget to "import subprocess"
md5 = p.stdout.readline().split() # now the md5 variable contains the MD5 sum
p.wait() # some clean up

That all folks.