Showing posts from 2011

Outlook 2007: replying to multiple emails or senders

Today, I received about 60 emails from my students who were handing in their assignments. Normally, I would just ask them to assume that I have received their emails correctly, but since we had trouble with the Internet connection, most of my students wanted to make sure I had received their work in due time. So I decided to send a kind confirmation reply to all the students that emailed me their work. So here I go, opening Microsoft Outlook 2007 , selecting multiple emails, right click to find the option " Reply to all " ... horror! It's not there! There's no apparent way to reply to all my students at once. What's worse is there isn't even an option to collect email addresses from people who emailed me (I would then have created one email with all recipients in BCC). How it works, in a nutshell After Googling it for about an hour, turns out there is no regular solution to perform such a basic operation. All the solutions I found involved installation o

Windows 7: restoring old-style logon screen tutorial

I've found a lot of information on the subject on various blogs and forums, strangely everyone seems to come to the conclusion that it is impossible to get back to the old style logon screen that appeared like this under Windows XP: Why would anyone do this? Why would you go back to something like this? There could be thousands of reasons. The default logon screen of Windows 7 looks like this: If, like me, you work in a computer-unfriendly environment such as a school, you'll find that a lot of people are unable to locate the "Switch user" button or simply wouldn't just dare to click it. All they were told is to enter their username and password and they never expected to have to do anything else. So how do you restore the good old logon screen with a simple text box for the user name, and a simple text box for the password? It's actually a lot simpler than some people would think. Local security policy management console Press Windows+R to get the

Nginx market share soon to hit 10% mark

According to multiple sources such as: NetCraft's July 2011 Web Server survey W3tech's Web server usage statistics as of October 25 the amazing and lightning-fast web server known as nginx is just about to hit the 10% market share mark in the next couple of months. This is a fantastic milestone for the author, Igor Sysoev , who probably didn't imagine that the application (which he originally developed on his own) would meet such fame. Diagram courtesy of (article linked above). Its market share went from a little over 5% to almost 10% over the last year as you can see.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that the release of my Nginx HTTP Server book  (released Summer 2010) was one of the factors that contributed to the popularity of the Russian web server. It is my belief that the sole quality and efficiency of the software is what made its success. The book was and is being translated into three languages: In Japanese In Chinese (t

PPTP server fix for iOS problems (pptpd/PopTop)

Ever since I was offered an iPod touch 4th gen I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to connect to PPTP based VPN servers from iOS . Apparently this is a well known issue since iOS 4.3.3 or earlier, that did not get fixed in the iOS 5 update. Having set up my own PPTP-based VPN servers using Poptop (also known as pptpd ) under CentOS, I always found it strange that my servers would function perfectly fine under all versions of Windows, but completely refuse to work under iOS and reportedly MacOS X as well. Symptoms were the following: Initially, the connection to the server starts ("Connecting... Starting... Authenticating... ") and appears successful for a second but then immediately drops, with a vague error message. After a few tweaks that I read on DD-WRT's PPTP server configuration page (pertinent given that DD-WRT uses poptop as well) the situation changed but still failed to solve all of my problems: I was able to connect normally, without any error mess

How Paypal rips off online businesses

Paypal has just "resolved" a dispute that a customer filed against our small-scale online business and I am absolutely disgusted by the outcome. Not because of the amount that they've stolen from us (11.25€, we will survive without it), but for what it represents and the inherent risks. I should never have been charged that fee. Let me explain. A regular purchase? A few months ago a customer purchased the most expensive VPN plan (72€) on my website The account was immediately set up, and the customer started using it. A few months later, the customer requested a full refund for the payment (through an automated Paypal dispute), without contacting me prior to sending the request to Paypal. I responded to the dispute by telling the entire truth: the customer purchased the account legimitately (IP address matches the location entered in the Paypal billing address, nothing indicates that there was some kind of Paypal account fraud) the customer used the ac

China upgrades its Great Firewall to regulate VPNs

I have lived in China for two years now and I must say I am absolutely disgusted by the new censorship measures enforced by the Chinese government. Especially this new one. Here's how the story begins. Late April, before the Easter holidays, I was still enjoying live TV streaming from french channels through my regular VPN. It wasn't too fast but good enough to stream correctly without much buffering. When I got back from holiday early May, I noticed that all my VPNs still worked but the speed had become incredibly bad , I could barely access websites - let alone stream live video. I thought it would be temporary or that maybe peering between China Telecom and Europe was saturated. But it got worse. At work (I work at a foreign school) ever since I got back from holiday, our connection would get shut down every now and then . Nearly every single foreign website (most IP addresses outside of China) would be unreachable for hours. We decided to investigate the issue with our