Renewing S/MIME Certs in Windows Vista & Windows 7

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While attempting to update an expired secure email cert, Vista users may receive the following error from the Thawte website:

Thawte 424 object required

This issue can be resolved using the Mozilla Internet browser to request the certificate.

Export from Mozilla

In Mozilla, went to Tools > Options > Advanced section > Encryption tab > View Certificates > Your Certificates > Backup


Before the exported certificate can be imported, the MIME type must be converted to “application/x-x509-user-cert”. This can be accomplished using the ad-hoc Firefox PKCS7 mimetype converter.

Import with Internet Explorer 7 & Internet Explorer 8

Tools > Internet Options > Content > Certificates > Personal
Click Import
Click Next
When you browse for your cert file, be sure to filter for the P12 filetype.

Update Email Client Settings

When replacing an expired certificate in Windows Live Mail, users will need to select the new certificate to be used for signed and encrypted emails. Otherwise the following message will appear:

Security Warning

Your digital ID for this account has expired
Windows Live Mail has found several valid digital IDs on your computer. Would you like to choose which digital ID to use when sending digitally signed mail from this account?
[Send Without Signing] [ Cancel ]

Oddly, neither of the options take you to where the digital ID can be selected.

Tools > Accounts > [Select the account associated with the cert] > Properties > Security Tab

From here you can choose which certs you want to use.

Back to S/MIME Tutorial

Replace an SUV with a Segway

I’m finishing my Engineering degree (9 months remaining) and without time for a job, I need to save as much money as possible. One way to do this is to park my SUV in the garage and ride a Segway to school.

The commute would be about 4.6 miles one-way and would take 47 minutes. The maximum range of a Segway i2 is about 24 miles I should be able to recharge it at home each night. I’d have COTA bus service as a backup (1 hour ride 1 route transfer to go 4.6 miles) during inclement weather.

I expect to save about $1,500/yr. with this plan – which is quite a bit less than the cost of a new Segway (around $4000) plus operating costs. I don’t have the money lying around to attempt this, and I’d rather not go into debt for this project, so my hope is to raise enough money from folks that feel strong enough about the environment to get an SUV off the road. Clearly, the savings alone are insufficient to fund it.

I’ll be updating this page with photos and fundraising milestones. My initial goal was to raise enough funding to ride a Segway to school on the first day of class (September 22, 2004). I’ve heard a lot of folks concerned about “Global Warming” since Al Gore’s movie was released, but I’m not convinced that people are worried enough to do anything about it (like donate to small projects like this).

If you’ve ever wanted to have one less “gas guzzling” SUV on the road or have one more available parking space, now is your chance. Even if you can only afford to give one dollar.

All proceeds go directly toward the purchase of a Segway i2 Commuter.

Even if you can’t afford to donate a signle dollar, hopefully you will at least tell a few people about this page – maybe blog about it, digg it, or put a link in your email or newsgroup signature – it would be greatly appreciated.


We appreciate and applaud you for your efforts
Union of Concerned Scientists

A noble endeavor, and excellent way to economize

That’s a very cool idea. I hope you gather lots of donations.
SUV Backlash


Q: Why not ride a bike?
A: Quite a few students ride bikes to campus. Often their commute is only a few city blocks. City code requires that all bikes be ridden in the street, though I know this to be an unsafe practice. Bikes on campus are not permitted indoors and are frequently stolen and vandalized. I’ve been told I could store and recharge a Segway in the office of a friend.

Q: Why not ride the bus?
A: The bus is indeed a backup, but it does not run at all hours or to my residence. Taking the bus would require a time consuming trip downtown, then back up to campus. The bus also does not run on my street during the better part of the day. Finally, the most efficient route requires a transfer in one of my city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. I’ve already been the victim of a violent attempted robbery once, that’s why I’d like to take a different approach.

NOTE: The donation process should allow comments. I may post a few of them here. If you wish to make a comment, why not donate a few bucks? I will obtain permission from donors before posting comments.

People/organizations donating $100 or more are eligible to receive mention on this page along with a link.

Donations of $500 or more are eligible to receive mention on this page along with a link and logo.

Windows Media Player Skins

People seemed to love using Weeplayer since the footprint is so small. It was originally designed for people running high resolutions, but for people on computers running at a very low resolutions I wanted to offer Microplayer; something smaller that would even keep out of the way, yet “always on top” at lower resolutions as well.

Windows Media Player Skin Downloads


Microplayer Thumbnail
Microplayer.wmz (8.24 KB)
Released 6/28/2002

Microplayer is the second skin I have made – based largely on feedback I recieved from users of the original Weeplayer. Microplayer is designed to reside in the title bar of a maximized window near the upper-right corner of your screen.


Weeplayer Thumbnail
Weeplayer.wmz (7.86 KB)
Released 11/10/2001

Weeplayer is the first WMP skin I made. I spent a few hours one weekend reading the WMP SDK and figuring out how things worked. The rest was suprisingly easy. Weeplayer is designed for users who have high-resolution video cards. It has a large “Play/Pause” button so that it’s easy to control music and audio streams even though the interface is so small.

Feel free to share your opinion of the skin via my feedback chat (no login or software download required).

Personal Access Display Device (PADD) vs. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

This page was a comparison between PDA fantasy and PDA reality in 1998.

Background | PADD Facts | Comparison | Discuss


The first place I remember seeing a PDA was on the television show Star Trek, The Next Generation (STTNG). Crew members could be seen toting them around. In later episodes, they became so common that some of the extras on the show began to refer to them as “hall passes” (Perhaps as PDA’s become more popular in every day life, this term may catch on within major corporations). I even remember one scene where Captain Picard had a pile of PADD‘s on his desk.

I think that the first device I owned in this form-factor was a Nintendo Game Boy. Mine did not have PIM capabilities (though I recall seeing a keyboard and PIM cartridge that may have seen the market in Japan), nor the ability to synchronize with a desktop computer – but this did not matter to me because I was 14 years old and had no PIM data. I also had no computer.

After graduating from high school, I got a job at CompUSA and was exposed for the first time to the Apple Newton. This was truly an ingenious device – a half-decade ahead of it’s time. Unfortunately, despite many rumors to the contrary, Apple has not announced plans to compete again in this space.

At the moment, the device that comes closest to matching the functionality of a PADD from STTNG is the Windows Mobile (WinMo) device. WinMo devices were made by a number of different manufacturers. For the purposes of this demonstration, I have compared the PADD to a Casio E-125 Pocket PC (an early version of WinMo). As devices better suited to this comparison surface, I may replace the Casio, at the time this article was written it came the closest to the parameters set forth in the STTNG Technical Manual.



In STTNG, the PADD was designed to allow crewmembers to do two things:

  1. execute hardware functions in a variety of locations
  2. manipulate visual information and communicate that information to others aboard ship

In a PADD, there are three replaceable parts:

  • the sarium power loop – we’d call this a battery
  • isolinear memory chip – or for us, a memory card
  • and subspace transceiver assembly (STA) – a cellular modem

In STTNG, the PADD’s are recharged via “induction charging”, though I must recharge my Pocket PC via the synchronization cradle or some other cable based power adaptor. User security is implemented on the main computer system, and this carries over to the device.

Interestingly, with a properly configured PADD, a crewmember could pilot a starship while walking down a hallway on the Enterprise. Admittedly, it would probably be difficult on a small screen, but this gives you an idea of the flexibility of the device.

This can be accomplished because the computer systems in STTNG are viewed as an integrated organism where each component is seen as a cell in a body directed by a central brain. Much as in our own human brains, the processing capabilities are spread throughout the network. Because of this, information can be shared and transferred between devices with ease.



PADD Tricorder Casio E-125
CPU: Unknown Unknown VR4122 (150MHz)
OS: Unknown Unknown Microsoft® Windows® for Pocket PC
ROM: Unknown Unknown 16MB
RAM: 4.3 kiloquads Unknown 32MB
Display: 4.25 times larger than Tricorder 2.4 x 3.6 cm 6 x 8 cm LCD (240×320 dots), Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT color liquid crystal, 65,536-color, touch-panel display
Display area: 36.72 cm² 8.64 cm² 48 cm²
Expansion: Isolinear Chip Unknown Card slot – CF Card Type II x 1
Interfaces: STA Unknown (STA?) Serial port -RS-232C, USB (Client), Infrared – IrDA 1.2
Communications speed: 4.3 Kqs maximum Unknown 115.2 Kbps maximum
Power source life: 16 hours 18 hours Main battery – approx. 8 hours (when repeatedly operated 1 min. and displayed 10 min.) Battery backup – approx. 5 years (when main battery is recharged soon after charge warning message)
Operating Temperature: Unknown Unknown 0-40°C
Size: 10 (W) x 15 (L) x 1 (H) cm 8.5 (W) x 12 (L) x 3 (H) cm 8.36 (W) x 13.12 (L) x 2.00 (H) cm
Weight: 130.02 g 353 g 250g (including battery)
Volume: 150 cm³ 306 cm³ 219.37 cm³
Density: 0.87 g/cm³ (est.) 0.87 g/cm³ 0.88 g/cm³
Case: Boronite whisker epoxy Unknown Plastic
Max Drop Height: 35 m Unknown Unknown
Sound: Input – Audio pickup sensor Unknown Input – Internal microphone (mono), Output – Internal speaker (mono), headphone jack (stereo)

SOURCE: Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda.
ISBN: 0-671-70427-3



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