Saturday, December 31, 2005
This fix is temporary, until Microsoft comes out with a patch Steve has an undo for it if it breaks anything.
To immediately disable the vulnerable Windows component:
Logon as a user with full administrative rights.
Click the Windows "Start" button and select "Run..."
Enter the following string into the "Open" field:
regsvr32 -u shimgvw.dll
(You can copy/paste from this page using Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V)
Click "OK" to unregister the vulnerable DLL.
If all goes well, you will receive a confirmation prompt, and your system is now safe. No need to reboot, but you might want to just to be sure that any possible currently loaded instance is flushed out.
Friday, December 30, 2005
I knew that it would, lol.
As an AMD only household here I won't have to change my case badges ;-)
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
More information is available at F-Secure here. This one will garner a LOT of attention in nearly every corner of the web.
Watch Microsoft closely for a patch.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
MSIE was 98% unsafe. There were only 7 days in 2004 without an unpatched publicly disclosed security hole.
Firefox was 15% unsafe. There were 56 days with an unpatched publicly disclosed security hole. 30 of those days were a Mac hole that only affected Mac users. Windows Firefox was 7% unsafe."
Mr. Schneier continues....
"This underestimates the risk, because it doesn't count vulnerabilities known to the bad guys but not publicly disclosed (and it's foolish to think that such things don't exist). So the "98% unsafe" figure for MSIE is generous, and the situation might be even worse.
Why is ANYbody using IE still? Get Firefox!
Monday, December 26, 2005
The battle is over the source code of breath analyzers made by CMI Group, a closely held maker of breath-alcohol instruments. Defense lawyers have challenged the use of the device and asked to see the original source code that serves as its computer brain, saying their clients have the right to examine the machine that brings evidence against them.
Last February, a state appeals court in Daytona Beach ruled that Florida had to produce "full information" about the test that establishes the blood-alcohol level of people accused of driving under the influence, or DUI. Otherwise, the court said, the evidence is inadmissible.
"It seems to us that one should not have privileges and freedom jeopardized by the results of a mystical machine that is immune from discovery," the state's Fifth District Court of Appeal wrote.
A court in Seminole County later interpreted the ruling to apply to CMI's source code. As a result, at least 1,000 breath tests have been thrown out of court in the county this year. Last month, a court in Sarasota County said the breath tests used in 156 DUI cases will have to be thrown out if CMI continues to refuse to hand over the source code.
CMI, which is based in Owensboro, Ky., has refused to turn over the code for its Intoxilyzer 5000, saying it is proprietary. "It's a trade secret, and like any company they don't just turn over information for the asking," says Allen Holbrooke, outside attorney for CMI. [WSJ 12-16-2005]
As I see it, this is a huge, broad issue that has been creeping inexorably onto the radar screen: since the constitution grants defendants the right to challenge the evidence against them, it should come as no surprise that DUI defendants -- or rather, the defendant's lawyer -- are going after the technology that nailed them. Since most test and measurement equipment (TME) today has a programmed computer in its bowels, the defendants want to double-check the code of the all-too-human programmer. "Opening the source", as it were.
Now, those country-boy lawyers are no dumbies. They realize that any self-respecting TME manufacturer would want to protect its source code -- especially as open-source Linux replaces proprietary TME operating systems and programming languages. It has become too easy to lift source code from online court documents right into a compiler. So, the lawyers are trying to bluff an acquittal by asserting TME source code evidence as critical to their cases. "Uh, my client is innocent by reason of programming error." In the past, the TME device was treated as a "black box"; it could be externally tested but its entrails could not be dissected. To test a radar gun, for instance, you drive a car with a calibrated speedometer at the radar gun and then trigger a speed measurement. How the gun got the measurement internally is less relevant when the external results match the experimental. Apparently, the law is heading down a different track with programmable TME.
So, besides DUI, look for more creative legal tactics regarding voting machines, ATM fraud, automobile insurance cases -- did you know automobiles now tell police and insurance investigators how fast you were going when the car went off the road? -- medical devices and many other instances. Thousands of legal hours worth. It will be interesting to see how defendants rights are (re)balanced against property rights.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
» Digging into the Digg System | Web 2.0 Explorer: "Digging into the Digg System
Posted by Richard MacManus @ 6:43 pm
Alex Bosworth has a great post investigating the dynamics of the digg.com system. He discovered that the system is 'very simple' and made up of five groups of people:
1. Readers: Alex guesstimates that 'ten to twenty percent of those ever click 'digg''. I'd love to know the actual figure though.
2. Diggers: 10-20% says Alex. He also says these are the least important members of the system, because 'once a link is on the front page, it makes marginal difference the number of votes next to the link.'
3. Hardcore Diggers: 'people who sit in the queue of submitted stories and watch for breaking news that should make its way up to the front page, or report stories as being spam or irrelevant.'
4. Submitters: people who submit stories. It's highly competitive and difficult to be the first to post a successful story (one that makes the front page).
5. Publishers: 'often bloggers who want to get readership for their content.'"
P.S. in order to give attribution to the source of the link, I used a new extension I found for Firefox 1.5, its called How'd I get here? and once put on your toolbar, it will trace back the path to the original site to the page one is looking at.
Clicking back one more time, the original link came from digg.com ;)
XBos 360 is a perfect example of how a company gets painted into a corner by a release date and doesn't have time to work everything out well enough. It's a common problem, and not just at Microsoft. Still, I like the product, which surprises me greatly. I expected it to be just another console, which it definitely is not.
It's softare to automate the transition from various Microsoft products to Linux. Handles the desktop, Exchange to Linux based apps and a whole lot more.
I've sometimes wondered why this hasn't been done before. A series of products like this could ease the transition to Linux to the point where the expense becomes acceptable. Yes, you save money using Linux. Everyone knows that. But the costs of conversion could easily double one's IT budget for the year, which is a powerful deterrent. It will take a good while to amortize the expense of conversion and begin realizing the savings. If this software can cut the price and problems of conversion to a significant degree, it could sell a lot of enterprises on the conversion.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
and, the podcast pickle also did a version: A Podcast Christmas Carol
"God Bless us every one!"
They announced 2005's Year-End Google Zeitgeist. As Patrick Norton said on 12/23 dl.tv, "This is scary! [after reading the top 10 google news search list] Its the hard news that makes the list." Do you agree? ;)
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The tools described in this article will alert you online as to who has the inventory in stock, so you can score that xBox without resorting to a handgun, as happened at 3am Sunday morning at the BestBuy near me.
Merry (Stressfree) Christmas!
It is a fact that the U.S. has captured laptops and cell phones from terrorists. Let's hypothesize that JohnDoe@yahoo.com is one of the captured e-mail contacts. Nobody knows who he (or she) is nor where in the world they are. It seems to me that the gist of what is happening is that the NSA puts a flag on JohnDoe@yahoo.com and waits and watches. The e-mail may be retrieved from anywhere in the world. Ditto on cell phone calls. The monitoring starts when the contact picks up the phone or retrieves the e-mail. At that point, it's too late to run down a judge.
In a separate Ars Technica article, the author suggests that the technology to do voice matching in real time on a large portion of the U.S. telephone traffic is not only technologically possible with today's computer power but is likely in place. Is hunting for the bad guy's voice a technology needle in a haystack? I suspect the answer is no, it's not impossible at all.
It works like this: as you electronically file your 2005 taxes -- and 2/3rds of U.S. households filed electronically last year -- you can assign your refund to a couple dozen consumer products retailers. The list includes Loews, Borders books, AMC movies, Sharper Image, Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond and many others. Instead of a check from the IRS, you get a gift card tanked up with the amount of your refund -- plus a bonus that can double the effective amount of the refund. Got a $1,000 refund? Get a gift card for up to $2,000.
Only in America...
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Remember your safer using that credit card online than handing it to a store clerk and them walking into the back room to run the charge!
Are we in a dot com bubble again, with all the new influx of money into tech lately?
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
How was your IT year?
The link is to an article in The Inquirer. Should you choose to follow the links there to the Oracle pricing page, remember that the astronomical figures you see there are just starting points for negotiation.
What is certain is that flash memory is going to change the way we compute and manage our data. The only question is how. Flash memory has had it's capabilities increased , of late, and this will only continue. Durability is improving. Read/write speeds are increasing, too, and are now competitive with hard drives.
We're going to benefit from these changes in many ways. Watching it happen will be interesting. Reaping the benefits will be gratifying.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Thank YOU for reading the blog. We appreciate our regular readers, very much! And welcome all new readers. :)
Friday, December 16, 2005
Dell said they had received three reports of batteries overheating, with the incidents involving damage to a tabletop, a desktop, and minor damage to personal effects. No injuries have been reported. "
To cut to the chase (to borrow a phrase from the smartest woman I know): The direct link to find out if you do have a recalled battery here:
I found it intriguing the, what I call, "smart link," an ad that pops up based on key phrases, showed Dell Batteries. I thought that it wasn't the best use of those ads. Do you?
Update: Dell recalls 35,000 notebook batteries | News.com There are apparently 13,000 foreign batteries included also. Of course the link to the US Consumer Protection Service only includes US batteries....
Man at computer
The auction site says its users are often to blame for security breaches
'There is no way I would have done that,' said Dr Oliver Sutcliffe a biochemist from Nottingham. His site was hijacked over the space of one weekend to sell thousands of pounds worth of electrical goods."
Not much to say to that except what we have discussed about doing business on eBay for years.
I do sense a few growing pains in some of what they are doing (google reader, not talking to news.com, and that's all that I can think of, off the top of my head). But, I think most of us who have used google in the past, still harbor not so fond memories of search pre-google. The fondness for google's incredible search can be abused or celebrated. I think more and more people are keeping an eye on google, and their acquisition of data on everybody, just from how you use their services, and give up your privacy (In a related but off topic note, if anybody wants a gmail account, and doesn't want to give up their cell phone number, email me, if not any of us for an invite.).
Which could lead me on a rant, if I'm not careful, but... I am reminded of the desire for one's cell phone number, to provide services, and the privacy concerns I have, in general.
The reviewers were asked to check for errors, but were not told about the source of the information.
'Only eight serious errors, such as misinterpretations of important concepts, were detected in the pairs of articles reviewed, four from each encyclopedia,' reported Nature.
'But reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively.'
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales welcomed the study.
'We're hoping it will focus people's attention on the overall level of our work, which is pretty good,' he said."
I'm surprised and glad all at the same time.
I've seen the book, which focuses on Mepis GNU/Linux, which is what I'm using as I type this on my laptop. I think it's a decent "get started" tutorial, especially at the price they're asking.
For those of you who have wanted to start using Linux, whether for fun or to explore an alternative way of personal computing, this is the way to go about it. The Mepis CD is a "live" cd, meaning you can run the OS without doing an installation. Should you wish to install Mepis, that operation is available by clicking on a desktop icon. It's nearly that easy, too.
Ease of installation is not important to me. I've installed Linux enough that I can get nearly any distribution to work without pulling out any of my rapidly thinning hair. I use Mepis because I like it and it serves all my needs. So, in my opinion, you're getting the best of both worlds with Mepis.
Give this one a good look, and remember that if you decide to take the plunge, those of us in the #ICUG chat on the show server will be happy to try helping you over any humps you encounter.
However; In the interest of cutting user confusion, they are going to use the exact same icon Mozilla and Firefox use. They met with people from The Mozilla Foundation and decided it was in everyone's best interest. So the little orange rectangle lives on. MS may indeed choose to put other text on it, but we'll all have no trouble finding it and I for one am happy they've done this.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
There are some nice points made in this article. If you have any interest at all in virtualization technologies and where they are headed, this one is for you.
"Wondering how people get to these bogus security sites and download junk like SpyAxe?
Our spyware researchers have been investigating Vcodec.com. This is a site that has a program called “VCodec v3.05b is new generation multimedia compressor/decompressor which registers into the Windows collection of multimedia drivers...”"
interesting article, for those of us with major RAM ;)
How much RAM is in your computer? (respond in comments, please)
read more | digg story
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
BTW, some of you know and some of you don't, but I made a major upgrade (mobo, RAM, video card and cpu) to my computer on Monday and therefore a clean install of Windows. I'm pleased to report that even with doing all my Windows Updates on dial-up I'm now to the point where I have time to blog again :-)
In a monumental show of sour grapes (they are not part of the project) Intel's CEO said that the world's poor wanted full-featured machines and implied they would not settle for this sort of appliance with somewhat limited display and functional capabilities. I have news for Intel; EVERYONE wants a better computer, but we use what we can afford. This is true in both developed and developing nations. You would think Intel high muckety-mucks would know this, but evidently they don't; or they choose to ignore it.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
And I thought this was just cool, its animated robotic music(?).
Animusic - Home Page
Monday, December 12, 2005
"The first sign of the problem was when IRA payments from TIAA to my wife and me were not made on schedule in mid-November," said a TIAA-CREF user who sent an e-mail to eWEEK.
"I called and was told that they would be made shortly. They were, but the payments that were made were 100 times too large!"
The TIAA-CREF customer said that he and his wife both received payments of 100 times what they were owed. Instead of scheduled $600 payments, both recipients received automatic electronic deposits into their accounts for $60,000 each.
This story brought a real chuckle because this type of error went out of style in the 1970s. $600.00 with a misplaced decimal point (or $60000 with no decimal point) was a common enough programming mistake that testing procedures routinely checked for such a slip-up. Nice to know there's a new generation of programmers out there who have this lesson to learn.
Pop Quiz: How many TIAA-CREF customers who got 100x too much in their monthly checks forgot to drop a dime back to TIAA-CREF?
Business investment in everything from computer servers and software applications to networking and storage equipment is projected to jump 11 percent to $546.9 billion in 2006, from $492.5 billion this year, according to Moody's Economy.com, a research firm.
The firm estimates business outlays will climb 10.2 percent in 2005, the same as in 2004.
The rebound in the so-called enterprise market, made up of businesses and other organizations such as government agencies, universities, and nonprofit groups, follows sharp declines in the early years of this decade. Businesses drove the technology boom of the late 1990s, culminating in a wave of spending to update networks by corporations fearful of being disabled by the Y2K computer glitch.
Technology spending by enterprises this year will exceed the peak level of 2000, said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, Pa., who noted that consumers have picked up much of the slack for high-tech vendors in recent years.
From The Boston Globe
This short article at hardwareinreview.com will go a long ways toward clarifying things for you. It is not overly technical, though a certain amount of detail is inevitable when addressing a subject such as this. I think you'll find it informative and not at all painful to digest.
[ See also this ACM article on desktop dual-core performance. Pete]
I'm trying wordpress as a blog "tool"? One of the things I prefer wordpress for is the ability to copy links when pasting a post. I also like the categories, though I find creating them tedious (the blogroll seems tedious too, I can't add pictures as easily as I have over there. ---->>>>
Supposedly there is a button to "blog this" for wordpress, but I can't find it in Firefox (there's a reference to putting the "link to the right" in your favorites, but I can't find that link). The google toolbar for firefox has a nice blogger button.
I've also tried OPML, but importing my sage export file, doesn't give me dynamic links yet, though I'm pretty sure this is user error, and I haven't had time to look into it. :)
Does anybody have any opinions about blogging software?
Would y'all be interested in sharing your blogs or websites or... ?
Let us know!
I chose this article to post because it contains neither the gory details nor the long technical specifics, figuring everyone could read this short take and get an idea of what is happening. I think everyone ought to read this one and everyone can understand it.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
today they posted a graph of increased activity here.
You are considered not vulnerable" Are you vulnerable? click here to find out.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
BackupNOW! Deluxe Suite from NTI
El Dorado Hills, CA
WinDVD7 player software from Interviedo
Remember you must listen to win!
BIOS: The Quality Tech Guide: "Pioneer's BD1.5 is billed as the industry's first PC-based Blu-ray Disc drive. Actually, the first Blu-ray recorder was unveiled by Sony on March 3, 2003, and was introduced to the Japanese market in April that year."
Friday, December 09, 2005
Major Nelson posted a link to Xbox HQ
Some links to Vegas bird's eye view are here.
I found them intriguing cause I stayed at the MGM Grand and the Stratosphere before. I scrolled all the way to the bellagio. Looks to me like the pictures are about a year old, based on Wynn(sp?)'s hotel, which is now open.
scouring local.live.com for you :)
This utility has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor. You'll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically. It shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them, and it's by Sysinternals!
read more | digg story
Also from Digg:
Picture from Hubble looks like Firefox logo.
8GB Stick of RAM Good comment, how much? Anybody have any guesses?
$225 Million Dollar typo!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
This came to me from Curtis this morning.
Mr. Schneier comments: "When are we finally going to admit that the DHS is incompetent at this?"
MS has the option of appealing the decision in court and will do so. The unbundling of IM and Media Player from Windows would have to last 10 years. After 5 years, MS can ask for a yearly review of the action to account for changed market decisions.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Following those revelations, the EFF asked computer security company iSec Partners to study the SunnComm copy protection technology, which Sony said has been distributed with 27 of its CDs in the United States. iSec found the hole announced Tuesday and notified Sony, but news of the risk was not released until SunnComm had created a patch.
Sony said another security company, NGS Software, has tested the patch and certified that it addresses the vulnerability.
The patch can be downloaded from Sony's site. A list of the CDs affected in the United States, and a slightly different list in Canada, is also posted on the site.
Sony said it will notify customers though a banner advertisement directly in the SunnComm software, as well as through an Internet advertising campaign. "
Last I heard, Sony could do this with affected rootkit CDs, have they??
The reasons to be mad at Sony increase.
'What we're hopeful to see is that by slowing that down to 1,500 a day from several thousand, the people who are monitoring this will have more ability to improve the quality,' Wales said Monday. 'In many cases the types of things we see going on are impulse vandalism.'
Wikipedia visitors will still be able to edit content already posted without registering. It takes 15 to 20 seconds to create an account on the website, and an e-mail address is not required."
Wikipedia is a wonderful thing, but I'm wondering if they are tightening the reins far enough? Some entries seem very good, but looks may be deceiving. It is hard for a Wikipedia reader to sort out the bad, the mediocre, and the good.
I love free speech, but without reviewing someone's curriculum vitae before allowing someone to post, can quality be assured? Editing should allow for misinformation or disinformation to be weeded out but obviously it isn't working all that well.
So, take what you read and find on Wikipedia with a grain of salt. I would not use it as an authoritative source, especially for that term paper that was due yesterday. With its ability to have speed and flexibility it also has the liability of being written by folks who may not be properly qualified to do the job -- we have no way of knowing if they are or are not. For that assurance you need a less flexible, and most importantly, a critically reviewed encyclopedia.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Satellite radio, digital music players and the Internet are slowly encroaching on traditional radio's stronghold on local entertainment and advertising. Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, these executives said."
No kidding. In many parts of the country, the offerings on ad supported radio versus subscription supported satellite radio isn't even close. My own part of the country is a case in point. There is a much wider variety available in urban centers and a less compelling reason to go to satellite radio, especially if you can get similar content via broadband. But you can't (yet) drive from point A to B and maintain a wireless connection suitable for streaming media, though it will come.
Some new car audio components are coming with "Ipod" ports. So are some new home radio/cd players. They give you a line-in so you can easily hook up your MP3 player and use the speakers.
We can all see where this is going. Broadcast, ad supported radio has some real competition. Maybe they will have to stop running their stations on autopilot and provide more true local programming and talent. I know that even during an emergency, our own local station will go to bed and play syndicated programming after the office closes. That's been one of the local broadcaster's plea: that we support them so they will be there in case of emergency. That means that they really will have to be there, and a lot of them aren't.
If you have comments good or bad about local broadcast radio, satellite radio, podcasts or streaming media, feel free to leave them here.
Panasonic Starts 50GB Blu-ray Production
Printer Phone Coming Soon??
I saved, what I bet all the dear readers would consider, the best for last :)
For those of you wanting to convert your albums to a digital format.... USB Turntable (More Vinyl to CD Goodness)
Monday, December 05, 2005
From the article: "In the interim, many of the artists with XCP CDs have seen their sales tumble.
Neil Diamond, whose widely praised 12 Songs opened at No. 4 on Billboard's Top 200 chart just two weeks ago, has fallen to No. 52 in the most recent chart. Bette Midler's Peggy Lee Songbook fell to No. 157 from No. 51, while Chris Botti's To Love Again:The Duets tumbled to No. 172 from No. 74."
Oh yes, I know, we know the difference between Sony and these artists, but let's face it, it is their names on the CD's and it is their CD's that are not selling.
My husband loves Neil Diamond, but guess what he is not getting for Christmas. Then again, you could call one of these CD's the gift that keeps on giving. (or is that taking?)
I sincerely hope that 180solutions is as successful as Claria was at improving their image (which is not at all).
No matter what pretty names they call themselves, I know I don't want 180solutions software on my computer and I know you don't want it on your computer either.
This time, the flaw is in the way IE handles Cascading Style Sheets. I'm convinced this particular flaw is due to the fact that Microsoft's implementation of CSS is not quite standard, as anyone who has done complex styles can attest. This is at least a fairly high-risk flaw and I'm pretty certain MS will have a patch for it soon. Perhaps even before the 13th of this month; patch Tuesday.
O'Reilly has a series of books of clever hacks for Linux, Mac OS X, Palm OS and even Microsoft Access. They're worth checking out, themselves. But by clicking the link above you will go to a page from which you can find many of these hacks listed. Check it out for fun or as a source of solutions.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
The only catch is finding the executable to link to when you put menu entries in. The help files have been great in pointing them out, so far. And you can always type in "whereis [package]" to find it.
I have encountered one small problem which needs mentioning. One need not reboot after an autopackage is used to install an application. However, the application is likely to crash on first starting it unless you have logged off and back on. No reboot. Just log off and back on to give the desktop a chance to make the necessary changes, which it will do when it redraws itself upon logging in a user. That is all, and it is NOT a frequently encountered problem, though it does come up.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Who won????? The article has a shortcut to the results. ;)
(Thanks to Bill42 for helping us scour the reviews, for you)
And I learned a bit about it in this blog article: "Scripts and Barriers"
Why should you know and why should you care ? This really is where our webbrowsing is going in the future! Though the opinions seem to vary, it appears that much of this will be implemented, in the name of protecting us from phishers and scammers.
You should at least be aware that it is coming soon, to a browser near you!
He also [here's my post on that] refers to Ben Edelmen's post on how Sony could communicate with EVERY customer infected.
Scouring the blogs for you ;)
Update: Boing Boing: Sony Rootkit Roundup IV. An amazing list of links regarding Sony and the rootkit issue. When its done better, post it, is what I say ;)
Further update: I never want to violate any sort of creative commons license or offend people who's blogs I borrow from. So I was looking around more at boingboing, and found this link.
That said, if you believe in linking policies -- that is, if you believe that people who make websites should be able to control who links to those sites and how -- then have we got a policy for you:
No site with a linking policy (other than a policy such as this one, created to deride and undermine the idea of linking policies) may link to Boing Boing. Ever.
Conclusion, you ask? I'm ok with Cory Doctorow lol
Do WE have or need a linking policy? lol
scouring the vlogs for you, too! ;)
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thank you Terry Blout
'update Unknown attackers have downed file-sharing networks based on a common peer-to-peer technology, according to the administrator of LokiTorrent, one of the networks affected.
The distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on the BitTorrent infrastructure prevented some users from downloading files for up to 10 hours on Wednesday, said the administrator, who asked to be identified only by his online handle, "Lowkee." The target was the central BitTorrent directories, or trackers, which are used by people to find movies, music and other content on the file-swapping network, he said.
"It maxed out our 100-megabit connection," Lowkee said Thursday in an online interview with CNET News.com. "I can't say how many systems were attacking, because our Web server took a dive at the time." '
Scouring the news, so you don't have to ;)
All good blogs on their own, and I'm thinking this may be just the nudge y'all need to check out this other kewl sites.
Makezine is really for people who like to re-engineer things, in case you haven't heard of it.
GPS For Your Holiday Shopping - Gizmodo
Gawker Gift Guide
Wired News: The Ultimate Geek Gift Guide
MAKE: Blog: MAKE's Mostly Under $100 Gift Guide 2005!
Ok, have a paper towel to clean up the drool. ;)
You notice I didn't post the price, eh? Well, you gotta click over and check it out. Availability by the end of the year, is expected, according to Engadget.
According to Marcus, rather than fully cooperate to address the situation, the cyber-squatter is demanding payment or permanent agreement to terms, and Marcus is seeking legal redress for this new form of Internet extortion."
Interesting article from Koffeebeanz
Thursday, December 01, 2005
What came through loud and clear to me is that no one can feel safe just because of the operating system they use any more. Configuration is more important than choice of OS. Really. And running applications without vulnerabilities.
Also... there's a link on the right, yeah.... over there ----->
Just in case, you want to get back to it, and it slips off the map :)
In a related issue, why is the picture with AlaskaJoe on the bottom, not the same that shows up, by his user name? Any idea?
P.S. I did a bit of cyber shopping on Monday, myself. :)
Update: Dvorak Uncensored | Online sales take off on ‘Cyber Monday’ "American shoppers, intent on skipping crowded stores and 6 a.m. squabbles over the last bargain laptop, spent 26 percent more money online over the Thanksgiving weekend than they did in 2004, according to market-research figures." The way I read that is sales, continued, on Cyber Monday. There is an hysterical comic at Dvorak's blog, check it out ;)
Python's growing acceptance was brought home to me last Monday, when I purchased a new Compaq Pressario desktop box for someone and went to remove all the unwanted software bundled with the machine. To my surprise, it came with Python 2.3 binaries installed! If that doesn't signal arrival into the mainstream, I don't know what does.
The future of Python is now in doubt, despite it's widespread acceptance. I'll be watching this one closely.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
"Customers can visit Windows Live Safety Center and are encouraged to use the Complete Scan option to check for and remove this malicious software and future variants," Microsoft said in its updated security advisory on the issue."
Windows Live Safety Center
Yes, this is the hole we have been talking about. I have all active scripting in IE set to prompt.
"Eliot Spitzer is calling for retailers to immediately pull the albums off their shelves. Spitzer also chided stores for not yanking the CDs before the Christmas shopping season began."
Because he is so well known and high-profile, what Spitzer does is big news, and it is definitely not good news for Sony.
They discuss the TGIF parties (?), the interaction between the employees, its a fascinating peek into the background of Google. Check it out. The current post talks about the receptionist "emailing notices of lost and found objects in verse. "
Other recent Security posts here:
Personal Data Privacy Act here.
EPIC West: Consumer Privacy here
Update: Spyware Warrior | Anti-spyware zealot rants about 180solutions There's a transcript with timestamps, an .mov file and a screenshot. Consider this a dialup to broadband example of 180Solutions installing with no EULA, much less an opportunity to prevent it. Very Scary.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
It's almost official. Word got out on Slashdot first. I downloaded it and it looks good.
Here is the link where it should show up officially, soon.
Official link to Firefox
Update: Evidently it is now on Major Geeks
All before the official word from Mozilla.
Yes, they knew and had been quietly alerted by F-Secure on October 4. That was about a month before Mark Russinovich publically revealed the Sony rootkit to the world.
This is a very good article with a lot of detail about what went on during that period.
Finally, I love this quote in the article:
"Making digital files not copyable is like making water not wet," says Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at security consulting firm Counterpane Internet Security. "You can't do it. DRM is a desperate attempt to cling to their old business model. They have to figure out how to make money in the new world."
That says it well for me.
The realization caused Secunia to issue a rare 'Extremely Critical' advisory. Once thought just to be a DoS vulnerability, it turns out that it also allows execution of arbitrary code."
We talked about this on the show on Sunday. If you haven't taken it seriously yet, it's time to.
One thing it doesn't say is that even older computers have the capacity to do many worker's jobs without either benefit of new software or hardware upgrades. How much computer does one need to do word processing? This is the other factor that makes Microsoft's job of selling upgrades to Office so difficult and why they want to switch their basic revenue model to subscription or rental instead of one-time sales. If both the hardware and the software do the jobs at hand, why buy newer stuff?
Monday, November 28, 2005
I'm still not sure the terms of Microsoft's covenant rules it out as not sufficiently open. There will have to be some clarification. Right now, the covenant resides only on a web site controlled by Microsoft and they can change the terms at any time. Once things are more firmly committed to, we can judge. I think MS will come around sufficiently to meet the standard for "openness" in this area. Stay tuned.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Remember we are giving lots of goodies away between now and the last LIVE show this year. (Dec 18, 2005)
The ONLY way to win is to listen to the show!
PCWorld.com - High Def, Low Cost: HDTV Prices Plunge
Wired News: Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit: "The story to pay attention to here is the collusion between big media companies who try to control what we do on our computers and computer-security companies who are supposed to be protecting us."
XBoxes taken at Gunpoint, courtesy of Dvorak's blog.
Just a few of the things we talked about (ok, its the one I have url's for)
The full text of the bill is available here
Grass Valley CA
Won Audio Cleaning Lab 10 from Magix.com
MovieFactory software from Ulead
10 pack of Verbatim Digital Movie DVDR Medial
The only way to win is to listen to the show!
P.S. I added the astronomy picture of the day to live.com and wow today's picture is superb! I end up saving most of them, for future desktops :)
P.P.S. Last I heard (and I AM the last to know ;) ) the show will be Joe, Gail and me! If there's anything you want us to talk about, you can email the show at onair(at)oncomputers.info , and we'll get it. Or post a comment here. Thanks.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
1. OPT OUT OF PRESCREENED OFFERS OF CREDIT.
2. STOP YOUR PHONE RECORDS FROM BEING SOLD.
3. KEEP YOUR BANKING RECORDS PRIVATE.
4. GET FREE CREDIT MONITORING.
5. DO-NOT-CALL REGISTRY.
6. SAFEGUARD YOUR SSN.
7. END STUDENT PROFILING.
8. AVOID LOYALTY PROGRAMS.
9. SECURE YOUR ACCOUNTS.
10. ENGAGE IN PRIVACY SELF-DEFENSE.
That's the list, details on how, are at the link in the title.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Evidently, the power supply simply cannot dissipate the heat it generates when laying on a surface. Elevate it to all it's surfaces are exposed to open air and the XBox is much more stable.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I wish this meant I could disable the word verification but these are two different safeguards.
Drat the comment spammers!
I apologize for the inconvenience to the non-member posters (members will still be able to post comments unmoderated). On this blog at least, moderation is being instituted because of comment spam, not in order to stifle legitimate free speech. As Peter once pointed out, all you have to do is pay someone and you can spread a lot of human generated comment spam. We had one get through this morning and I have a feeling it is the beginning of the next wave. Since they comment on very old posts, hoping we won't notice, it will be easier to catch them in the first place.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. Hopefully some day we will find more effective ways to prevent all forms of blog spamming, but until then we will rely on human filters.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO-- The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation today warned computer users not to open a widely circulating e-mail that falsely claims to have been sent by U.S. authorities. The e-mail attempts to trick users into installing a variant of the Sober worm by telling them that they have been spotted on "illegal Web sites," and asking them to click on an attached "list of questions."
I doubt Apple can implement any scheme to restrict their operating system to their hardware alone with a real expectation of success over the long term. Whatever they do will be broken, and probably sooner rather than later.
In my not so humble opinion, Apple will be forced to release OS X to all comers, and soon, to avoid losing literally millions of sales. There is a great hunger for their operating system in the computing world, but much less inclination to pay for it if Apple is not going to approve their use of it.
Apple does not wish to write drivers for all sorts of hardware. I can appreciate that. But they don't really have to do anything but approve drivers and they can charge for that, as Microsoft already does.
If Steve Jobs wants to become an influential player, instead of stay marginalized and labor as an idea factory for others to copy, this is his chance. It is not unreasonable to see OS X with a 20% market share in the 18 months after release. Sales of Apple hardware would grow, as well, due to the "halo" effect, much as the iPod has sold a lot of Macs since it's introoduction. Apple's almost universally acknowledged expertise at design could be used to differentiate their machines and justify the higher prices they seek to get for their products. And at over $100 a throw, OS X would fly off the shelves.
C'mon, Steve; Get with it.
The desktop PC is very much ready for an evolution into something smaller, more secure, etc, etc. The Mac Mini and several other machines show us that. The A9 is far different from what we have now, but it is fast, efficient and miserly in terms of power consumption. I almost want one.
MVKTech.net has an article about the Sharkoon Silent Eagle 2000, which apparently uses this same effect to move much more air. It's not too noisy or expensive. This one is worth a read, though four pages on a fan is a bit much, imho.
Of course; this all started when the State of Massachusetts decided to adopt Open Document Format and Adobe's PDF as the "official" document formats for the State's business, whether incoming or outgoing. This was done with the best of intentions. They wanted to assure that documents could be read in a hundred years. Documents put up in a proprietary format could not guarantee that and, in fact, still can't. But if the standard is sufficiently open, there will be no problem.
Of course; the definition of "open" takes some discerning. Some would have us believe that being open means the standard itself evolves by community input. Microsoft's file formats fall short when using this definition. Microsoft is the sole arbiter of what goes into them.
Massachusetts did something rather canny and wise, though. They decided to take Adobe's PDF as the baseline of their definition of open. There is a tendency to see Adobe's PDF (Portable Document Format) as wholly proprietary. After all; Adobe alone decided and will continue to decide what goes into it. However; the format is well documented (and in a timely manner) and, should I decide to build an application which uses it in any way, the license says I am free to do so. I don't even have to ask Adobe or tell them I'm doing it. (Though I once had a conversation with an Adobe developer who said they would like an email or a post card so they can see where the format is being used and how- for reference purposes. In fact; no one does it.) This liberal licensing is thought to be open enough to guarantee the ability to read the documents over the [very] long term.
At the very first; this setting of standards for document formats did in fact exclude Microsoft, who are pledged not to support the ODF. But, if Microsoft opens the document format they use and cooperates in documenting it, that should be good enough. They have to license it liberally enough, but with their announcement of today, that seems something they are pledged to do, and quickly.
I know that Office file formats have long been something of a moving target, changing frequently. This has made for compatibility problems with other applications. However; Adobe seems to have managed to evolve PDF in such as way as to only rarely cause compatibility problems. As those changes were quickly documented, developers using PDF in their applications had only small problems and readily available ways to solve them. Microsoft can surely do the same, if they will. Combine this with Office 12's inclusion of the ability to format documents in PDF and save them that way, and Microsoft seems to have hurdled the bar.
I am one of those proponents of completely open standards, such as the ODF. I am also a pragmatist and I have long believed that the way Adobe has handled PDF is "good enough". I will say that if Microsoft follows that same path with their Office file formats, that will be good enough for me. And I believe it will be enough to make formatting a non-issue with most customers. For the rest, there are readily available and compatible solutions.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
The reason I post this, you ask? Well, I subscribe to netflix and have the option to participate, I know of at least a couple other people, that SHOULD read this blog ;) that also could be participants.
Netflix was sued recently because the DVDs were taking longer to arrive, than promised. Part of the settlement includes one month of upgraded service. Which means you can have one more DVD at home, at a time, basically. It was news to me about the upgraded service continuing (with an email reminder) at the higher level of service that you may get as a result of the settlement. I reviewed the email I got about the settlement, and they are correct, and if you don't notify them after the "free month" then your service level and charges will change. The lawyers will receive $2.5 million dollars in fees, and all I get is a hassle, it seems to me. There are more details and a website where you can join a group of 300 to comment on the settlement.
This is a fantastic video that I'm gonna try and put up as a picture, so y'all can see this.
VERY impressive! Of course, my kids said "Lets do THAT!" lol
RocketBoom is a daily (M-F) short (usually about 5 minutes) VideoBlog (Vlog?) that covers a bunch of eclectic topics. I saw Amanda at the ConvergeSouth blogger con I went to.
P.S. first attempt didn't work, trying flickr now. Too big a file for flickr. Well I guess the only alternative is to go to the video link above.
Monday, November 21, 2005
P.S. The transition was painful, the first time, much less this time... SHEEEESH!!
UPDATE: Engadget refers to a post at RCRNews.com: "SAN ANTONIO-SBC Communications Inc. is reportedly planning to launch an AT&T branded wireless service that will use the network of SBC's current wireless joint venture, Cingular Wireless L.L.C. SBC's plans follow the closing last weekend of its $16 billion acquisition of AT&T Corp.
Contrary to published reports, Cingular said it is not changing its name to AT&T." Additional details at RCRNews.com
I'm sure this will be the first of many......
"The United States has prevailed in the controversial fight over Internet governance and will retain overall control of the Internet's DNS, root servers and ICANN for the foreseeable future.
Rather than the new body or oversight body that many countries had been pushing for, a deal was finally struck that will see the creation of a new Internet Governance Forum (IGF) comprising governments and public and civil society but, crucially, will not have decision-making powers.
At the same time, governments also agreed to work within existing structures, meaning that plans to give part of the Internet's stewardship to another body were also stymied. Instead ICANN will remain in general overall control of the Internet and other countries will have - at the moment at least - work within its Governmental Advisory Committee. "
P.S. I can't help but notice Jack's posting about windows, and I'm posting articles from linuxworld, will wonders never cease? ;)
Click on the "what's new" link at the upper left of the home page. Up comes a very interesting list of what either is or will be available soon. They've obviously put a lot more thought into things than I accused them of. The OneCare and Office Live look good and I'm sure they'll evolve to be more attractive still.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Read it and weep.
Turns out that in at least some heavily threaded software, such as Microsoft's SQL Server, HyperThreading is a big liability and can actually limit performance. Who would have guessed?
The link above is to an article at ZDNet UK. More information can be found here.
Grass Valley CA
Won Audio Cleaning Lab 10 from Magix.com
Won 10 pack of Digital Movie DVDR Media from Verbatim
Saturday, November 19, 2005
I really agree with him, it was the repetition, that made the "non geek public" aware, and outraged. This resulted in a temporary solution, but no guarantees of future protection. As they say in disclaimers "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."
Friday, November 18, 2005
I'm BETA Testing it now and it works very well.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
"It seems crystal clear that but for the citizen journalists, Sony never would have done anything about this,' says Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyber liberties advocacy group that has been vocal in its condemnation of Sony and may eventually file a a lawsuit against Sony, in addition to three that have already been filed. 'It's plain to me that it was Sony's intent to brush the story under the rug and forget about it."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Our Classic Team
Our Boinc Team
November 15, 2005
The old SETI@home Classic project will stop issuing work on December 15, 2005. Anyone still running SETI@home Classic should deactivate it and install SETI@home/BOINC (see instructions under 'Getting started' on this page).
November 14, 2005
Tomorrow we will start merging the SETI@home classic science database with SETI@home/BOINC. This will take several days, during which some back-end servers will be offline (splitters and assimilators). We stored up a large queue of work - we are hoping this will keep all BOINC clients occupied during the outage. Progress will be detailed in Technical News.
October 26, 2005
Version 5.2 of the BOINC client software has been released. It lets you attach to projects, and log in to their web sites, using email address and password, instead of account key. Users have not chosen a password may do so here.
What does seem to be for real, is that barring any last minute changes, Firefox 1.5 final release is expected later this month.
I was directed here by Todd at GeekNewsCentral, who estimated that it cost him $500 bucks to reinstall his wife's computer, and was gonna bill Sony! I say good on ya, Todd. Lets turn this into a cost to admin the various spyware/rootkit/trojan/virus melee(s).
OffTopic: Gizmodo Unpacking The Xbox 360.
Everything goes through a proxy server here. Best I can figure they didn't "tell" Java that. There's an auto configuration URL they use for all school computers. I plugged that into the Java control panel proxy tab and Bingo! Everything started working. I called the "help" desk and told them what I did ;-).
I think that's great.
First off, while it's not as efficient as Linux, Solaris and Unix cluster solutions, it can be managed by a tech with decent skills and a couple manuals. No, really! I have that on good authority. And while it's not the whiz-bang solution for "big iron", it has a "sweet spot" of 4 to 64 way machines. For the price and ease of administration, many companies will gladly sacrifice some speed and power because they'll still have much more than ever before and in a form they can use.
Second, while developing for WCC03 is not all that close to doing it for the Window server and desktop systems, Microsoft is rapidly developing modifications of Visual Studio to accomodate those who need to write for this platform. That is just about everybody. There is very little of what we think of as "ready to roll" software for this sort of setup available. Nearly everyone will be using custom applications. Even with that, Microsoft is developing some applications in an attempt to make the core product more attractive.
I never did look at the price. I suspect it's one of those "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" things. And there's no way i could run it here. My little cluster of 486s wouldn't cut it, even if it was still in existence. (This is also a thinly veiled hint to Joe that I could use a few 8 or 16 way Opterons for my birthday, which is coming up.)
It's new territory for Microsoft and they appear to have a product which will appeal to a market sector which did not previously have access to such tools. As such things go, it's the only nearly ready solution to a lot of problems.