General IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

What happens to Emails, Twitter & Facebook when you die?

Remember the time you poured your heart out in an email to your friend or that sexy message from an old lover that made you blush at work? Well, if you die, your family and others could end up reading them !!

Web email services owned by internet giants Google and Microsoft have a policy of keeping your data after you die and letting your next of kin or the executor of your estate access it.

Accounts with Google’s Gmail can hold up to 7GB – or roughly 70,000 emails with a small to medium picture attached to each. And they archive the messages you’ve written as well as received. When it comes to deleting the data, Microsoft’s Hotmail will remove an account if it is inactive for 270 days, while Gmail leaves the responsibility to the next of kin.

Of the top three providers, only Yahoo! refuses to supply emails to anyone after a user has died. The user’s next of kin can ask for the account to be closed, but cannot gain access to it. A Yahoo! spokesperson said the only exception to this rule would be if the user specified otherwise in their will.

Few days back, I had a Crazy question which popped up in mind –

” Can we give a privilege to someone, who can update our Facebook / Twitter when we die? – Just one tweet/update that – this guy is no more! “

I wrote to the Privacy team of Twitter on the same. Here is the the response I got – “If a twitter user passes, we will remove the account or leave as is on request of the family. We will not send out any tweets on their behalf or give access to the account to anyone else.”

Facebook has recently publicised a feature called memorialisation that lets the family of deceased users keep their profile page online as a virtual tribute. Turning a profile into a memorial will remove sensitive information from the page and restrict access to the deceased’s friends. The family will not be allowed to log in to the account or access private messages, but can request that it be taken down.

Click here to read the policies of popular email and social networking sites » (source –

General Microsoft

Advantages and Benefits of moving to Windows 7

Simple is one word which can be associated with Windows 7. It’s easy to connect, easy to browse and simple to use. It is designed to make your PC faster, more secure and more reliable. It’s great for home, great for work and all places in between. With Windows 7, you’ll discover easy and exciting new ways to have fun and get things done with your PC. Few top end-user features are listed below.,

Enhanced Windows Taskbar

The new taskbar in Windows 7 puts you in control, and helps you get to the programs and files you need more quickly. Each open window appears as a graphic thumbnail that expands to a full-screen preview when you hover over it with your mouse.

Icons are bigger, too, making it easier to select them with a mouse or with the new touch features in Windows 7.

You can place each program exactly where you want it on the taskbar and pin frequently used applications or files for quick access.

Jump Lists

jumplistJump Lists- there’s one for each program on your Start menu and Windows Taskbar which makes it easier to find what you want.

They’re automatically populated based on how often and recently you do things, so you’ll spend less time looking for your favorite song or that file you worked on yesterday. Just right click on the application taskbar and you have the jump list !!

Easy Access: Snap, Shake, Peek

Commonly used resources are available within easy access and without desktop clutter. It’s easy and intuitive to navigate, arrange and work with multiple windows on the desktop.

With Peek, hover your mouse over the far-right side of the Windows Taskbar and all of your open windows become transparent, so you can easily see your desktop. With Snap, drag open windows to the boarder of the screen to automatically re-size it, and snap two different windows to the left and right boarders for a perfect comparison. With Shake, click a window pane and shake your mouse to minimize all other open windows, and shake again to restore the windows to their original sizes.

Home Group

homegroupHomeGroup in Windows 7 makes sharing files across the PCs and devices in your home as easy as if all your data were on a single hard drive.

Through HomeGroup, PCs running Windows 7 can automatically identify and connect with each other. Once a HomeGroup is established, sharing devices and media throughout your home is easy. For example, the printer in your den is shared automatically with all the PCs in your home, and digital photos stored on a computer in your den can be easily accessed from a laptop anywhere in your home. You can access the Homegroup by accessing the Control Panel-> Network and Internet !!

Faster on, Faster Off

win7Windows 7 focuses on underlying performance, faster start-up, resume and shut down time and enhanced power management. Windows 7 has a triggered service model, with which only essential services start on boot., which ensures faster boot and faster shutdown.  Read here for more info 

Windows Live Essentials

liveesseCommunication and sharing services are fundamental to your Windows experience. In Windows 7, certain functionality that was included in previous versions of Windows will be offered through a suite of free, downloadable applications called Windows Live Essentials, found at

Access your data offline and do more with your photos, videos and other content you want to share.  These applications will be regularly updated to provide innovative functionality and integration with popular Web-based services. You get a lot of softwares to use from the live essentials !! 

Internet Explorer 8

internet-explorer-8Browsing the Web is the single most popular activity on the PC. Internet Explorer 8 addresses changing user needs through significant enhancements in these main areas:

Faster and Easier. Internet Explorer 8 starts up faster, creates new tabs in a snap, and loads and runs Web sites more quickly.

More Secure and Reliable. Internet Explorer 8 delivers improved protection against malicious Web sites and software. It helps protect your privacy by providing increased choice and control over how Web sites can track your actions.

Windows Touch

Touch is build into the fabric of Windows 7 and available on specific touch-enabled PCs. With a touch PC, you can zoom in on an image by moving two fingers closer together or zoom out by moving your fingers apart. The Start menu, Windows Taskbar, and Windows Explorer are touch-friendly, with larger icons that are easier to select with your finger. Browsing the Web with Internet Explorer 8 is easier too—just use your finger to scroll down a Web page or browse your favorite links!

General Microsoft

Java to .NET Interoperability – Register for an Exclusive Webcast Series

This 3-part webcast series will explain, how can you use the Java development knowledge to build .NET based applications that interoperate with Java-based Applications.


Day 1: .NET Framework – Overview for java Developers

In this session, Bijoy will talk about the architecture of the .Net framework, its components, the similarities and differences between the .Net and J2EE. You can also learn to create your first application in .NET using C# – compile it, run it and dissect it understand the various components and how they interact.

Day 2: Introduction to C# for Java Developers

In this session, you will know how to leverage your knowledge of Java concepts to learn one of the fastest growing modern programming language – C#. While you will understand how you can use your existing knowledge to work with variables, Operators and Expressions, Managing Errors and Exceptions, Object Lifetime, Inheritance etc. we will also show you some of the advanced concepts and power of C# e.g. LINQ, type inference etc.

Day 3: Leveraging your knowledge in real time scenarios

In this session, you will know how you can use your knowledge of both the platforms to enable real scenarios. How you can achieve interoperability in various ways and create feature rich and compelling applications for your clients.

Register for eventHere




Speaker – Bijoy Singhal, Developer Evangelist, Microsoft



General Microsoft

My comments on “Windows 7 Triggered Services” in the DNA Paper (pg7)

Windows 7 is doing really good and a lot of people are liking this already. Feels good to share this information with you that, my comments about Triggered Services (faster boot and shutdown) was also featured in the DNA newspaper today (pg 7, Bangalore edition).  This article also features the comments from a non-techie Rahul Krishnan who explains about his experiences with Aero Shake.

 An excerpt from the article says,

Vijay Raj, a city-based tech-blogger has been using Windows 7 for almost a year now, starting from beta build to the recent Release Candidate (RC) which were released for free, for public use and testing. According to him, the faster boot and shut down speed has been the biggest plus point with Windows 7. “It’s because only essential Windows programmes are started during boot and the rest start later on. Called trigger boot system, in XP or Vista one would have to wait for all the icons to load in the system tray,” he says.

You can download the article here
You can also read the article on the newspaper here

General Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Ebook Download: What are SAN Certificates and how can they be used?

One great solution to effectively manage the certificates in large webfarms or email centric companies is to use subject alternative name (SAN) certificates.

The Shortcut Guide to Subject Alternative Name Certificates provides information about SAN certificates to show how they can be used in a variety of technologies. These special certificates allow multiple hosts to use the same certificate, avoiding the costs of obtaining, deploying, and managing multiple nearly-identical certificates. This guide will explore what SAN certificates are, how they work, and how they can help you deploy server farms more efficiently. You may even discover that you already have SAN certificates available that can be put to good use with no additional expense!

This guide is provided in four chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the concepts and practical use of SAN certificates:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Certificates – This chapter introduces broad PKI terms that are used throughout the guide. It provides a framework for the in-depth concepts and application of SAN certificates in later chapters. Although this chapter may be considered review material for some readers, it is important to understand this information to ensure that later chapters are effective.
  • Chapter 2: SAN Certificates In Depth – This chapter is dedicated to getting down into the details of a SAN certificate. It will examine the certificate structures and metadata and will compare data between SAN and non-SAN certificates. It will also compare SAN certificates to wildcard certificates to understand the distinction between two somewhat similar products.
  • Chapter 3: The Business Value of SAN Certificates – Written primarily for the BDM and TDM readers, this chapter discusses the business aspect of SAN certificates. It will examine the business costs and return on investment (ROI) drivers that apply to both SAN and other similar certification strategies. This chapter supports the business and organizational elements of the solutions discussed in Chapter 2.
  • Chapter 4: Planning and Implementing a SAN – Enabled Certificate Strategy—This chapter discuss the details of actually implementing a SAN-enabled certificate strategy. Topics include analyzing existing systems and properly planning for a SAN certificate deployment. Ongoing operations-based tasks are also explored. This chapter is useful for the implementers in an organization, such as the IT generalist or specialist, and the planning elements apply to architects as well.

Because SAN certificates are more flexible than single‐instance certificates, in general, we can plan to obtain fewer certificates and use those certificates in multiple locations. For example, we can show how a company might secure its Internet‐facing servers with a series of certificates in a typical PKI deployment.


As we can see, this deployment has four servers, one of each, that will serve as our server archetypes:

  • Email server
  • E‐commerce server
  • Web server
  • Real‐time Communications (RTC) server

You can download the book here

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus Virtualization Alerts

General Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

The Essentials Series: Important Questions in Implementing Virtual Desktops

For organizations that have embraced virtualization, virtual desktops can be a natural extension of the virtual infrastructure. Virtual desktops enable businesses to centralize their desktop infrastructure in the data center, dramatically improving remote access while retaining workspace personality.

Although the idea of virtual desktops and their associated business value is intriguing to many businesses, the implementation is a mystery. Where do you start? What technologies are crucial for success? How are others implementing them? By addressing these common questions, The Essentials Series: Important Questions in Implementing Virtual Desktops will help you understand why and where virtual desktops make sense for your IT environment.

This complete series is available for download and includes the following articles

  1. There is no single technology that defines a virtual desktop infrastructure. It is in fact a compilation of many technologies employed to create a singular solution for users. This first article begins the exploration of virtual desktop implementation by defining what a virtual desktop really is, helping you understand the types of virtual desktops that are commonly used today.
  2. Unraveling the many technologies that go into a virtual desktop infrastructure can be problematic for even virtualization experts. From virtual platforms to zero-client endpoints that “receive” the desktop and everything in between, it can be difficult to keep straight the technology requirements. This second article discusses the technology behind virtual desktops, enabling you to make good decisions about how a virtual desktop architecture makes sense for your business.
  3. The final step in recognizing the value of this new method of desktop support is in understanding where it fits. The use cases for virtual desktops are developing every day, and there are common solutions that make immediate sense for deployment. Through a series of generalized case studies, this final article explains how organizations in many different verticals have solved key problems through a virtual desktop infrastructure.

You can download this entire Series – Here

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus Virtualization Alerts

General Microsoft

Attention FireFox Users !!!

Remember that Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant add-on that Microsoft sneaked into Firefox without explicit permission from end users?

Well, the code in that add-on has a serious code execution vulnerability that exposes Firefox users to the “browse and you’re owned” attacks that are typically used in drive-by malware downloads.  The flaw was addressed in the MS09-054 bulletin that covered “critical” holes in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer but, as Redmond’s Security Research & Defense team explains, the drive-by download risk extends beyond Microsoft’s browser.

A browse-and-get-owned attack vector exists. All that is needed is for a user to be lured to a malicious website. Triggering this vulnerability involves the use of a malicious XBAP (XAML Browser Application). Please not that while this attack vector matches one of the attack vectors for MS09-061, the underlying vulnerability is different.  Here, the affected process is the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) hosting process, PresentationHost.exe.

While the vulnerability is in an IE component, there is an attack vector for Firefox users as well. The reason is that .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installs a “Windows Presentation Foundation” plug-in in Firefox.

Now, Microsoft’s security folks are actually recommending that Firefox users uninstall the buggy add-on:

For Firefox users with .NET Framework 3.5 installed, you may use “Tools”-> “Add-ons” -> “Plugins”, select “Windows Presentation Foundation”, and click “Disable”.

This introduction of vulnerabilities in a competing browser is a colossal embarrassment for Microsoft.  At the time of the surreptitious installs, there were prescient warnings from many in the community about the security implications of introducing new code into browsers without the knowledge — and consent — of end users.

Courtesy: Thanks to Zdnet for this information post !!

Also, If you havent run the patches yet., please do that immediately.

General Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Sysinternals team announced a new tool, Disk2vhd v1.0

The Sysinternals team announced a new tool, Disk2vhd, that simplifies the migration of physical systems into virtual machines (p2v).

Disk2vhd is a utility that creates VHD (Virtual Hard Disk – Microsoft’s Virtual Machine disk format) versions of physical disks for use in Microsoft Virtual PC or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs). The difference between Disk2vhd and other physical-to-virtual tools is that you can run Disk2vhd on a system that’s online. Disk2vhd uses Windows’ Volume Snapshot capability, introduced in Windows XP, to create consistent point-in-time snapshots of the volumes you want to include in a conversion. You can even have Disk2vhd create the VHDs on local volumes, even ones being converted (though performance is better when the VHD is on a disk different than ones being converted).

You can download the tool here

For more information on this tool, refer here –

Best Practices General How-to

What is Email Phishing and How can you avoid email hacks?

secureYou may have heard of the news of some Live Hotmail and Gmail credentials were phished recently. 

Phishing is an industry-wide problem and Microsoft is committed to helping consumers have a safe, secure and positive online experience. Our guidance to customers is to exercise extreme caution when opening unsolicited attachments and links from both known and unknown sources, and that they install and regularly update their anti-virus software.”

Here is the response form the Windows Live team on the same.

Over the weekend Microsoft learned that several thousand Windows Live Hotmail customers’ credentials were exposed on a third-party site due to a likely phishing scheme. Upon learning of the issue, we immediately requested that the credentials be removed and launched an investigation to determine the impact to customers. As part of that investigation, we determined that this was not a breach of internal Microsoft data and initiated our standard process of working to help customers regain control of their accounts. If you believe you’ve been a victim of a phishing scheme, it’s very important that you update your account information and change your password as soon as possible. More information on what to do is available on this page at our support community.

Microsoft recommends customers use the following protective security measures:

Renew their passwords for Windows Live IDs every 90 days
For administrators, make sure you approve and authenticate only users that you know and can verify credentials
As phishing sites can also pose additional threats, please install and keep anti-virus software up to date
 Answers to a few general questions about phishing scams

Q: What should you do if you fall victim to a phishing scam? How should you respond? What steps should you take?
A: If you think that you may have responded to a phishing scam with personal or financial information or entered this information into a fake website, you should take four key steps:

  1. Report the incident to the proper authorities
  2. Change the passwords on all your online accounts,
  3. Review your credit reports and your bank and credit card statements, 
  4. Make sure you are using the latest technologies to help protect yourself from future scams.

For the first step: If you have given out your credit card information, contact your credit company right away. The sooner a company knows your account may have been compromised, the easier it will be for them to help protect you.  Next, contact the company that you believe was forged. Remember to contact the organization directly, not through the e-mail message you received. Or call the organization’s toll-free number and speak to a customer service representative. For Microsoft, call the PC Safety hotline at: 1-866-PCSAFETY.  Then, report the incident to the proper authorities. Send an e-mail to to report it to the Federal Trade Commission and to to report it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

The second step is to change the passwords on all your online accounts. The reason for this is that a lot of people use the same password for multiple accounts. Start with passwords that are related to financial institutions or personal information. If you think someone has accessed your e-mail account, change your password immediately. If you’re using Hotmail, go to:

The third step is to review your bank and credit card statements and your credit report monthly for unexplained charges, inquiries or activity that you didn’t initiate.
Finally, make sure you use the latest products, such as anti-spam and anti-phishing capabilities in e-mail services, phishing filters in Web browsers and other services to help warn and protect you from online scams.

Q: How can I recognize an e-mail scam?
A: There are several signs you should look for to identify a phishing e-mail:

  1. Does it ask you to send your personal information?
  2. Is it poorly worded or does it have typos?
  3. Does it contain convincing details about your personal information?
  4. Does it use phrases like “verify your account” or “you’ve won the lottery?”

Any e-mail asking for your name, birth date, social security number, e-mail username, e-mail password, or any other type of personal information, no matter who the e-mail appears to be from, is almost certainly a scam.  Microsoft and most other businesses do not send unsolicited e-mail requesting personal or financial information.
E-mails that are poorly worded, have typos, or have phrases such as “this is not a joke” or “forward this message to your friends” are generally scam e-mails.
Phishing mail often includes official-looking logos and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites, and it may include convincing details about your personal information that scammers found on your social networking pages.

A few phrases to look for if you think an e-mail message is a phishing scam are:
“Verify your account.”
“If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed.”
“You have won the lottery.”

Q: What should people do if they think they have received a phishing e-mail?
A: If you think you may have received a phishing e-mail, you should take three steps: (1) take some time to check up on it and do not click on a link or give out your personal information, (2) make sure you have created a strong password for your account and (3) report the phishing scam.
The most important thing to remember is do not click on the link or give out your personal information.  It is possible for your computer to become infected with malicious software simply by visiting a phishing site – without you even realizing it. If you receive a questionable e-mail, take some time and check up on the information. Often sites like list common e-mail scams.  Go to that website of the company you received the e-mail from and contact their customer service reps via phone or online to verify the validity of the e-mail.

Another thing you should do is create a strong password for your e-mail account by using more than 7 characters and having a combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers, and special characters, like the @ or # symbols. It’s also a good idea to change your password on a regular basis. The next time you change your Hotmail password, you can check “make my password expire every 72 days” to remind you to change it.

Finally, help us identify new scams. If you use Hotmail and received a phishing e-mail, you can select the dropdown next to “Junk,” and select “Report phishing scam.” Whatever you do, do not reply back to the sender. You should also report phishing scams to the Anti-Phishing Working Group by e-mailing them at

Q: How common is this scam?
A: The most recent version of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report (Volume 6) shows that more than 97 percent of e-mail messages sent over the Internet are unwanted: They have malicious attachments, are phishing attacks, or are spam.

Q: Is Microsoft taking any proactive steps to prevent this from happening?
A: To help protect people from phishing attacks, Microsoft is providing education and guidance to customers, collaborating with other technology leaders, businesses and governments and supporting law enforcement actions against phishers. We provide guidance and information to customers about how to stay safe online at and work with others in the industry and governments to educate people on online threats and safety tips.

From a technology perspective, because so much phishing comes from spammers, our Hotmail spam filter, called SmartScreen, blocks over 4.5 billion unwanted e-mails per day by distinguishing between legitimate e-mail and spam. The Microsoft Phishing Filter, which is free as part of Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Windows Vista and as an add-on for the Windows Live Search Toolbar, also helps protect people from phishing attacks by identifying suspicious or confirmed phishing sites and warning customers before they reach them.

Law enforcement also plays a big role here. Microsoft has supported 191 enforcement actions against phishers worldwide.  These include civil lawsuits filed by Microsoft, as well as civil and criminal actions by international government and law enforcement agencies for which Microsoft made referrals and subsequently provided support. 
Microsoft is a founding member of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a cross-industry association focused on preventing phishing. Microsoft also actively participates in DigitalPhishNet, an alliance between law enforcement and industry leaders in a variety of sectors, including technology, banking, financial services, and online auctioneering.  The group is focused on assisting law enforcement in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for committing crimes against consumers through phishing. 

Q: Shouldn’t Microsoft be doing more to protect people from phishing?
A:  Combating phishing requires involvement from technology leaders, businesses operating online, law enforcement and governments. Microsoft plays a leading role in the Anti-Phishing Working Group, provides technologies to protect people from phishing and assists law enforcement to bring prosecutions against online criminals.

The Official Gmail Blog also has an article which explains on how to choose a smart password – You can read it here :

Community Activities General

Live webinar: VirtualBox Web Console (VBoxWeb)

logoThe VirtualBox Web Console (VBoxWeb) is an open source project implementing an AJAX version of the popular VirtualBox user interface. As a modern web interface, it allows you to access and control remote VirtualBox instances.

Join the VBox team for the next edition of VirtualBox Live, where you’ll learn how to use VBoxWeb to:

  • Browse your virtual machines and inspect their settings
  • Start virtual machines in headless mode
  • Pause/resume VMs
  • Save the state of running VMs
  • Terminate VMs (hard power off or ACPI)
  • Remote control your VMs using the integrated RDP Web Control

Register Now for the Webinar : Here

VBoxWeb makes use of the following technologies:

  • Sun VirtualBox
  • Python and the VirtualBox Python API
  • VirtualBox RDP Web Control (Flash based RDP client)
  • Prototype (JavaScript library)
  • jQuery and jQuery UI (JavaScript libraries)

Webinar Details:

  1. Speakers:  Andy Hall and Achim Hasenmueller, VirtualBox Engineering Director
  2. Date:  October 7, 2009, 8:00 am PDT / 11:00 am EDT / 15:00 UTC/GMT
    (The presentation will be approximately 45 minutes long, followed by Q&A.) 
  3. Why should you attend this? –  If you want to save time, money and frustration, you’ll want to join this webinar on the world’s most popular open source virtualization software.

If you have questions or feedback, please send them to