May 31, 2013

How To Auto-Mount Truecrypt Volumes Without A Password At Logon

Before I begin, I know what you are thinking. If you want your Truecrypt volume to be mounted without a password, why even have an encrypted Truecrypt volume? It doesn't sound very secure.

You are right, and that would be a valid question. I would say that you should only use this on computers that are protected with full disk encryption already. If you don't use full disk encryption, typing your password in once to mount a volume isn't going to kill you.

So let's say that you have full disk encryption configured already, so auto-mounting non-system Truecrypt volumes automatically isn't a huge security concern for you. Well there are two ways of doing it depending on if your non-system Truecrypt volume uses the same password/keyfiles as your system encrypted drive or not.

Let's say your non system drives use the same password/keyfiles as your system drive, here is what you need to do:

  • First open up Trucrypt and go to System > Settings
  • Check the box that says Cache pre-boot authentication password in driver memory

  • Click OK
  • Next mount your non-system volume(s) that you want auto-mounted at logon
  • Select the mounted volume, right-click your mouse and select Add to Favorites

  • Now go into Favorites > Organize Favorite Volumes
  • Select your Favorite Volume(s) and check the box to Mount selected volume upon logon

Now when you reboot, Truecrypt will cache your credentials when you decrypt your system drive in driver memory, and will use those credentials to mount your non-system volumes when you logon. Pretty cool right?

So what if your non-system volume uses a different password? That is the problem I had on my home computer. The system encryption password is different because I need to share it with my wife. However, the non-system volume I want mounted uses a more complex password that I don't share with my wife (Sorry Honey). I don't have an issue with her looking in the volume because it only holds media files, however if someone breaks into my house and steals my NAS where that volume is stored, I don't want them to be able to access it.

The way I have that mounted is via a batch script I wrote. Truecrypt has several command line options, so I wrote a script using those options to mount the drive when I first logon using a scheduled task. Before running the script, I recommend setting your non-system volume as a Favorite so Truecrypt always mounts it to the correct drive letter.

Here is how my script looks:
@echo off
cd "C:\Program Files\TrueCrypt"
truecrypt /a favorites /v PATH TO YOUR TRUECRYPT VOLUME /p PASSWORD /q
Be sure to change the above information to fit your situation. 

If you also use a keyfile, use the /k switch with a path to your keyfile in the command. A full list of command line switches can be found here: (Truecrypt Command Line Switches)

That's it, now when my wife or I login to our computer, the non-system Truecrypt volume is mounted and shows up like a regular drive.

Now there is a problem with the password being stored in plain text in your batch file. Because of that I would say you should only do this on a computer that you use, or if you share it like I do with my wife, you trust them. If that isn't the case, then you should skip using the script method.

What do you think about auto-mounting encrypted volumes? Good idea or pointless? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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May 28, 2013

How To Upgrade The Firmware On A Dell PowerConnect Switch Via HTTP

I recently purchased two Dell PowerConnect 3448P's for my company's office to replace some super cheap Trendnet TEG-448WS's which happen to be really terrible with VoIP.

While configuring the 3448P's I saw that the firmware on them were a few versions out of date so I decided to upgrade the firmware before putting them into production, but I wanted to do it via the web interface. The instructions that came with the firmware only tell you how to upgrade using TFTP or Xterm. If you want to know how to do it via HTTP, you are S#it out of luck I guess. Well not anymore.

Actually to upgrade the firmware via HTTP is pretty easy, just not intuitive. To perform the firmware upgrade, just do the following:

NOTE: Before beginning make sure your running configuration is saved!

  • Browse to System > File management > File Download
  • Change the radio button to Download via HTTP
  • Make sure the Destination File drop down option is set to Software Image, then browse for your *.ros file
  • Click Apply changes

  • Next change the Destination File drop down option to Boot Code, then browse to the rfb file.
  • Click Apply changes.

Now your firmware is uploaded to your switch, but it is not active yet. To start using the new firmware you must do the following:

  • Browse to System > File Management > Active image
  • Change the After Reset drop down to whatever the opposite image of what is currently active (i.e. If Image1 is currently active, select Image2. Or if Image2 is currently active, select Image1)
  • Click Apply

  • Now browse to System > General > Reset
  • Check the Reset Unit check box, then click Apply Changes

That's it! Now your switch will reboot and when it comes back up it will be on the new firmware. You can check which version is running by browsing to System > General > Versions in the web interface.

Did this help you out? If so, let us know in the comments.
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May 13, 2013

DirecTV Will Stay the Course

DIRECTV blimp (Photo credit: gsbrown99)

DirecTV, one of the leading satellite television providers in the country, always seems to be in competition with its main competitor, Dish Network. When you see their television commercials, they are always talking about why one or the other is better. However, just because one of them decides to branch out in their ventures doesn't mean the other will necessarily follow. For instance, DirecTV is taking a stand and staying the course with satellite TV instead of making the same changes as Dish Network.

Dish Network's Changes

Dish Network has recently made a bid of $25.5 million in hopes to acquire Sprint Nextel to build an American powerhouse company. While Sprint will not vote on the deal with Dish Network versus a different deal presented by a Japanese company that is looking to create an international mobile phone market. If Dish Network wins this bid, they will become more than a satellite television company; they will also be able to offer their customers mobile service. However, it also means they will need to diversify their workforce, stretching their resources to the limit, especially as they become established.

Will DirecTV Follow?

In this type of market, what one company does, the rest typically follow. So why is DirecTV uninterested in expanding into a mobile market? The answer is simple. DirecTV is dedicated to providing their customers with the utmost in service for what they do best -- pay television services. Currently, DirecTV is second only to Comcast in revenue and subscriptions, which means they have no need to expand into other markets, such as mobile phones. The company has been looking into purchasing online viewing options, such as Hulu and Netflix, but they have expressed no interest in getting involved with the highly competitive mobile phone market in the United States. They prefer to keep their focus on quality television for their customers.  If you want to check out special offers for new accounts check out

New Series Production

Instead of focusing on expanding into a mobile market, DirecTV has been focusing its money and investments elsewhere. As of this year, DirecTV is entering into the world of producing its own television shows to provide their audience with viewing experiences they can't get through any of the other pay channels. The first series by Neil LaBute called "Full Circle" will provide viewers a peak into the lives of 11 people whose lives are intertwined in some way, even though they don't realize it. This is a unique show that is designed to garner interest and potentially bring in more customers.

Though it may seem logical for a satellite television provider to dabble in the area of mobile phones due to the number of people who view videos via this channel, DirecTV has their sights set on something much different. Instead of offering their customers with mobile phone options, they are creating new television shows and offering their viewers experiences they can't get through other satellite providers, cable television providers or network television, helping them stand one step ahead of the competition to maintain their current position.

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May 7, 2013

Microsoft To Make U-Turn on Windows 8

Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, presents his pre...
Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[FT] Microsoft is preparing to reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system, marking one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.

“Key aspects” of how the software is used will be changed when Microsoft releases an updated version of the operating system this year, Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview with the Financial Times. Referring to difficulties many users have had with mastering the software, she added: “The learning curve is definitely real.”

Analysts warned that changing course would be a significant admission of failure for Steve Ballmer, chief executive, who called the October launch of Windows 8 a “bet-the-company” moment as Microsoft sought to respond to the success of Apple’s iPad.

Read full story

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May 6, 2013

Youtube Channel Providers To Begin Charging Subscription Fees

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
The latest plan for the online video giant Youtube that is owned by Google is launching a new test where they will allow certain channels to begin charging fees. The fees will be around $1.99 per month, and most of the other channels on Youtube will remain free.

From Mercury News:

A YouTube official told this newspaper that, "We have nothing to announce at this time, but we're looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer." 
YouTube's plans for a subscription model follow efforts by companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon to attract viewers to their video services. 
Eventually, even YouTube videos that charge subscription fees likely will carry ads, said David Burch, communications director for TubeMogul, an Emeryville-based video ad buying company.
I like many channels on Youtube, but I'm not sure I would pay to subscribe to any of them.

What about you? Would you pay to subscribe to Epic Meal Time, or Epic Rap Battles of History? Let us know in the comments.

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