Tracking Stolen Laptops

Recently there’s been a lot in the news about people recovering their stolen laptops through remote tracking (i.e. NY victim uses remote to nab theft suspect). Several companies provide commercial products for tracking lost laptops including products like Computrace Lojack for Laptops and CyberAngel. There are also open source solutions such as Adeona, created by the University of Washington.

After reading about Adeona in Technology Review, I tested it and am impressed with the results. The software runs on Linux, Windows, and Macs. It uses a cryptographic key and password combination to access information. And, if you have a Macbook, Adeona can use the iSight camera to snap a picture of culprit. When connected to the web, Adeona periodically records information such as internal/external ip, the network access point, and router information. The software sends the encrypted results to the OpenDHT distributed storage service. You retreive the information by installing the Adeona retrieval software on another PC and using the cyrptographic key and password.

Adeona’s setup is simple. I’ve been running it for a few days now and it’s working beautifully. If you’re looking for a simple solution and don’t want to spend a lot of money, check out Adeona.


Installing Eventum on Windows XP

A few weeks ago I posted and entry about installing the MySQL Eventum project on Mac OS X. Having successfully created an Eventum test environment on my Mac, I needed to install a production instance of it on a Windows XP VMware server. As it turns out, this process can prove rather difficult unless you follow the steps below.

Step 1: Install Apache 2.0

Installing Apache 2.0 is fairly straightforward. It is important to note that as of this post, the current version of PHP (5.1.6) does not yet support Apache 2.2. Save yourself some grief and load Apache 2.0.

Step 2: Install MySQL 5.0

Installing MySQL is the simplest of all the steps. No special configuration needs to be done. I would recommend installing the MySQL Tools also.

Step 3: Install PHP 5.1.6

I’m embarrassed to say that this turned out to be the most difficult step of the process…that is until I realized that this PHP version does not run with Apache 2.2. After installing PHP, you will need to modify the following:

  • httpd.conf. This file is found in your Apache folder. Add the following lines to the end of the file:
    # PHP
    LoadModule php5_module d:/php5.1.6/php5apache2.dll
    AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
    AddType application/x-httpd-php .php-source .phps
    PHPIniDir "c:/php5.1.6" (or whatever directory you loaded php in)
  • php.ini. This file is found in your PHP folder. Add a doc_root line. It should look something like the following:
    doc_root ="C:/Program Files/Apache Software Foundation/Apache2.2/htdocs"

    Take the “;” (denotes a comment in PHP) from in front of the following lines:


If any of these lines do not exist, add them.

Step 4: Install Eventum

After you download Eventum, unzip it to the htdocs folder of your Apache installation. To start the installation process, go to your browser and type the URL of the Eventum site in the address line. It should look something like this: “//localhost/eventum-1.7.1/”.

Once the installation is complete modify the following line in the file (found in the Eventum directory):





Best of luck! Let me know if you have any problems with this. R

javax.comm Jar for Windows MIA

Oracle (previously Sun) has removed the javax.comm jar file for Windows from their site (no comment, although they still support other platforms: link). Anyway, for those Windows developers out there, here’s a link to to the Javax.comm jar for Windows.

It works with XP. I haven’t tried it for Windows 7. Please let me know if you’ve tried this version with Windows 7 or if there’s another version of the javax.comm jar you like better.

ComputerWorld Article on VB6

Carol Silwa, an editor at Computerworld contacted me to participate in a quick survey regarding Microsoft’s decision to drop support for VB6. This is her article:
Update: Users push Microsoft to extend VB6 support.

One of the points I made in my comments to her was that Microsoft’s history of not providing backward compatibility (within reason) helped drive our decision to use Java as our primary application development language. We also chose Java because we’re a multi-platform IT shop and Java plays well in our environment. We’re running cross-platform Java applications in our production environment, not only as our front-end B2B apps, but also as an integral part of our back office processing.

Windows Service Article

A few months ago I sent one of my blog entries “Running Java Applications as a Windows Service” to the Borland Developer Network. Click here for the article.

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