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February 28, 2010

Tucows/Comodo Code Signing Certificates

Filed under: Development Ramblings — admin @ 6:24 PM

We recently purchased a Comodo code signing certificate from Tucows, who provides Comodo certificates at a reduced price.  Some of you may be wondering what code signing certificates are and why they are needed.    I won’t cover that here, as there are some good articles which discuss these questions.  What I want to discuss here, is our own experience of purchasing a code signing certificate from Tucows/Comodo.

The Comodo code signing certificate cost 75.00 when purchasing from Tucows.   Tucows and Comodo must have an agreement which allows Tucows to offer CSC’s to software vendors at a reduced price compared to purchasing from Comodo direct.  First, some of you may be wondering why we decided to purchase a Comodo certificate when it’s possible to purchase them from other vendors for about half the price.  First of all, 75.00 is not a lot of money to begin with, considering the value of having your application properly code signed.  I figured if we were going to spend the money and go through the trouble, we might as well get a CSC from a reputable vendor like Comodo, as Comodo happens to be one of the top trusted vendors for code certificates.  Plus, I have heard stories of other software vendors who have purchased one of these ‘bargain’ certificates from a site which isn’t as reputable, who have had problems with their certificate.  So, I figured that spending a few extra bucks was worth getting the certificate from a very reputable source like Comodo.

Before purchasing a CSC at Tucows, you must have an Tucows author account.  Since most software vendors already have an account with Tucows, this isn’t really an issue.  Once logged into the Tucows author account, there is an option to purchase a code signing certificate.  The purchase procedure is pretty strait forward, but there were some choices to make regarding the CSC which are a little daunting, which I’ll mention below.

There is  a choice to purchase a one, two or three year certificate.  You can then enter an optional email address to be associated with your certificate.  Next, are the Advanced Private Key Options.  Being new to the code signing procedure, I wasn’t sure at first what to choose for these options, and quickly did some research on the web so I’d make the correct decisions.  After doing a little research, I decided to use the default options, except for the Key Storage. I’ll mention these options below.

  • CSP:  This is the cryptographic service provider, and I decided to leave this at the default value of Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider v1.0.
  • Key Storage:  You have two choices here.  The first is to store the key in the certificate itself, or in a separate *.pvk file.  After doing a little research I found that most vendors use the separate pvk file.
  • Key Size:   You have a few choices here, but the default key size is 2048.
  • Exportable: This should be checked.
  • User Protected: This should be unchecked.

Some of the values I used above are those which are mentioned on Tech-Pro, a very helpful site which explains which explains which values to use.

After making your selections for the CSC above, clicking next takes you to a page where you’ll enter your company details.   After filling in the info and clicking Agree & Continue, you’ll go through the process of paying for the certificate by using your account settings or a credit card.

After completing the process, we received some emails, some which are from Comodo’s validation team.  I was a little scared at first, when I read the email from Comodo’s validation tech, which listed the acceptable documents we would need in order to prove we are a trusted software vendor.  Being a small start up, it seemed like the acceptable documents were those which only large corporations would be able to furnished.  However, after emailing Comodo’s validation team with information about our company, we received an actual call from a member of their team.  It seems that Comodo does not take issuing CSCs lightly, and they do want to insure we are a valid software vendor before issuing a CSC.  This also makes us feel good about our decision to go with Comodo for our CSC.  The techs at Comodo went as far as calling the secretary of state of Nebraska to verify our company status with the state, and everything went pretty smoothly after that.  So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a CSC through Comodo, it may be worth your while to call one of their reps and discuss the documents you’ll need to be eligible for the CSC.

After the validation process, which took about one day, we received our CSC.  The documentation on Comodo’s site regarding the code signing process give a pretty good general idea on how to code sign your needed files.  For a more descriptive explanation, I found Tech-Pro’s site to be indispensable.

Having all of our installation and program files properly code signed is very relieving, although the process of obtaining the certificate and performing the code signing for the first time was a little unnerving.   We’re very happy with the results, however, and are glad we decided to purchase a trusted Comodo CSC, and with the price we paid by purchasing it through Tucows.

Popularity: 5% [?]

February 27, 2010

Version 1.3.2 of Work Time Studio has been released!

Filed under: Work Time Studio Latest News — admin @ 3:40 PM

Version 1.3.2 of Work Time Studio has been released.

Although this is a minor update, it is a very important one.  This update adds the ability for users to set theirown date and time formats.  So, users are no longer limited to English date and time formats, and have a wide variety of date formats to select from.  Users also have the ability to specify whether you would like to use 12 hour or 24 hour time formats.

We feel this will allow users from all over the globe to take better advantage of Work Time Studio’s features, and are exited about this version’s release.

Popularity: 1% [?]

February 21, 2010

Version 1.3.0 of Work Time Studio has been released!

Filed under: Work Time Studio Latest News — admin @ 5:06 PM

Version 1.3.0 of Work Time Studio has been released! This new version introduces an number of new features to Work Time Studio, and also fixes some minor issues. One of the main features introduced in this version is the ability to use tabbed toolbars for any of the primary or secondary panes. Tabbed toolbars take up much less room than their standard toolbar counterparts. Tabbed toolbars also organize the various toolbar button commands into logical groups (tabs).

Another added feature to version 1.3.0 is the ability to recursively expand any WorkItem branch, simply by holding the [Ctrl] key while expanding the branch. You can also hold down the [Shift] key while expanding a branch, to force the display of all children in the branch regardless of the hidden status types for that branch.

We have had many requests to enhance the tray icon for Work Time Studio, so we have included many enhancements to the tray icon, and added many operations to Work Time Studio while it’s in a minimized state. You can now specify the action to take when double clicking on the tray icon. You can also include handy menu commands to the tray icon menu, such as changing the clocked state of the current WorkItem, or toggling any of the primary or secondary panes on the desktop.

Event reminder popups now display the start time of the associated event, as well as the amount of time until the event’s start time. Event reminder handling also works better in this new version.

Work Time Studio now also provides a What’s New section in its context help. This allows you to quickly see what new features have been added to the latest version.

We invite you to try version 1.3.0 of Work Time Studio for yourself, to see how you can manage your time, projects, tasks, or any other activity more efficiently and effectively. You’ll see how Work Time Studio can fill your time, project and task management needs and more.

Popularity: 1% [?]

February 2, 2010

Version 1.2.0 of Work Time Studio Released!

Filed under: Work Time Studio Latest News — admin @ 11:18 AM

Version 1.2.0 of Work Time Studio has been released. This is an important update to Work Time Studio, because it introduces ‘WorkItem Events’. WorkItem events are events which are assigned to WorkItems. What are events, you may ask? Events in Worktime Studio offer you a way to schedule your activities, and set reminders to yourself for any reason at all. Not only can reminders be set to remind you to start a task or project, they can remind you of deadlines, birthdays, anniversaries, to water your plants… well, I think you get the picture.

The introduction of WorkItem events allows you to use Work Time Studio in even more ways. You can assign a category to any of your events. Work Time Studio includes some common event categories like Meeting, Deadline, Appointment, Birthday, and more. And, of course, you know that with Work Time Studio’s flexibility you can even add your own event categories.

You can view, edit, and maintain your WorkItem events from within the Activity Tree or the Activity Calendar. That’s right, WorkItem events will show up within the Activity Calendar! Scared you won’t be able to distinguish your intervals from the events? Don’t be. Events are displayed with a specific colored border (which you can change) which distinguishes them from WorkItem intervals. Double clicking on an event in the calendar allows you to edit the properties of the event, just as double clicking on an interval allows you to edit properties of the interval.

Need events to be recurring? You’ll love the recurrence options that the events provide. Each occurrence of the event will display on the calendar, showing you when it will occur. Need to be reminded of your events? No problem! Each event allows you to set a reminder, and a lead time for the reminder. You will then be reminded when the event is ‘triggered’ by either a popup notification or by the Event Reminders Manager, your choice. You can even customize where the popup notifications are displayed on your monitor, set their color, how long they are displayed, animation method, as well as other properties of the popups. You can even set a default snooze time for events so that if you don’t perform an action on the popup reminder in a given amount of time, the reminder will automatically snooze for that default duration you specify.

We feel that WorkItem events will add many possibilities to the way you use Work Time Studio, and we’re sure you will fall in love with the new features that WorkItem events offer.

Popularity: 1% [?]