Security book and tool

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It's been a long time in coming, but Kevin Mitnick's memoir has finally been released. Also, for any of you still on Windows, here's a free security scanning tool that he recommends.

Online pattern creator

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Repper is a fun kaleidoscope online tool that can convert any image or portion of an image into a pattern that you can use for a blog, desktop, mug, pillow....whatever.

Free tools for optimizing, load testing, security scanning, and monitoring a website

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For all you website admins out there, I recommend you optimize your pages with WebPagetest, load test it with Blitz, security scan it with skipfish, and monitor it with mon.itor.us.

Free and easy screencast tool

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I just came across a nice, free, online screencast tool called Screenr that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I tried it on my 64-bit Ubuntu Studio and it worked great. The website lets you record up to 5-minutes for each video.

NetFirms registrar and web host is LAME!

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NetFirms used to be a decent company with low cost options and a clean user interface. Ever since they sold out to Tucows, though, the service has gotten decidedly snarky. For example, after the transition to the new owner, I received an email notification which buried in a bunch of legalese this fine print:

During the transition, we are overly cautious around domain renewals. We do not want any confusion to lead to your domains not being renewed. Therefore, during the transition we will automatically renew all domains, even if you had set your domain to not auto-renew on the original platform. At any point after your transition, you can come to the DomainCentral section of your new control panel and turn off your auto-renew status. We would rather renew an unimportant domain for you than to let your important domain expire.

That's so very kind (and financially convenient for them) to auto-renew when I specifically chose not to auto-renew. I went into the control panel to disable this "feature" as indicated in the email and I had this very ominous set of options:


Now, I don't know about you, but the words "I approve that everything related to this account will be deleted and removed from Netfirms' system" in the Downgrade to Domain Parking Account option aren't exactly warm fuzzy sounding. After contacting their support, I received this clarifying response:
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. For a downgrade account yes all files will be deleted since you will not have the disk space for your sites. But you can still host the domains on a domain parking account. Domains will not be deleted on the account.
So, what did we learn from this experience? NetFirms' new management are greedy, snarky losers that would rather use hidden auto-renewal "features" and fear, uncertainty, and doubt verbiage to make sure you fork over more dough than you need to.

Bottom line: Stay away from NetFirms!