Saturday, October 15, 2005

Make Ubuntu usable in few minutes

As Jack has talked about on the show, and Joe has blogged, I saw this Easy Ubuntu, update.
To quote the person who dugg it:
'Easy Ubuntu allows you to Add extra repositories, Activate the "audio preview" feature in Nautilus, Active the num lock at system startup, Replace the GNOME foot logo with Ubuntu's logo and Install: multimedia codecs, Firefox plugins, support for RAR and ACE, P2P software, Skype, AMSN cvs with webcam support, NVIDA or ATI driver for 3D support.'

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tech.memeorandum @ 11:05 AM ET, October 15, 2005

A fix for an issue some people are having with MS update MS05-051 .
I also saw it on Internet Storm Center's Blog


Microsoft 'lends security expertise' to Nigeria

I am not saying a thing about this one. I'll blow it, I just know I will, if I open my mouth.


Dvorak Takes Potshots at Microsoft

Titled "The Microsoft Protection Racket", this opinion piece in at PC Magazine's web site is about as bitter as I've ever known John C. Dvorak to be.

I've been hearing more and more variations on this theme from regular users, as well, of late. Even a lot of staunch Windows and Microsoft boosters are now expressing similar thoughts. While I'm no Microsoft fan, I do like many of their products to the point where I'm often willing to deal with their shortcomings to be able to use them. I think a lot of people have felt like that and I'm now forced to wonder if Microsoft is losing the PR battle due to lack of security diligence, or the perception thereof.


Comprehensive Tablet PC Review with the HP tc1100

BentUser has a good review of the HP tc1100 hybrid tablet PC.

Instead of just a hardware review, this one also talks about using the software bundled with the unit in such a way that those unfamiliar with the concept(s) behind the tablet form will be able to easily see how it might, or might not, fit into their life and work. For that reason, I really recomment this article.


Friday, October 14, 2005

New gadget to make theft of mobile phones harder - Yahoo! News

"Finnish scientists have invented a device to make it harder to steal mobile phones and laptops by enabling them to detect changes in their owner's walking style and then freeze to prevent unauthorized use." Don't hurt your leg or you will not be able to call for help!

Dude part 2

Well the dell is here. Desktop case Dell. Pentium 4 CPU. Win XP pro. 17" CRT monitor came with it. It's locked to my desk! LOL. Can't Even log into it yet. Although I do have it hooked through my KVM Switch. Have to use the 17" monitor for my other computer. Updates when I can log into it.

Samsung guilty of price fixing

Gee, I sure hated to read this. Guess we shouldn't bee too surprised anymore though.

Current Infosec News and Analysis

"Patch yesterday folks. So far we're aware that an MS05-051 exploit is in the hands of immunitysec Canvas customers - 'October 11, 2005: MS05-051 (MS DTC) Trigger for the bug in MS DTC on Windows 2000'"

2nd day exploits for Microsoft's October updates (details here).

As I was posting this, they updated the info especially for MS05-051 for Win2K:"The obvious thing is to apply patch MS05-051 on at least your Win2k systems. We do know the port 3372 scanning started in full force, likely in order to acquire target lists. If you can't patch, at least make sure port 3372 is closed. Windows 2000 does not come with its own host based firewall. But you can use IPSec policies to acchive the same effect. See this paper by David Taylor for details."


Hewlett-Packard Company Recall of Notebook Computer Batteries

Courtesy of the Charlotte Observer. The link goes to the government Consumer Product Safety Commission (ok, I'm guessing on the acronym :P) I went to and it wasn't on the front page, so ....
Here is the direct link to HP's battery pack replacement contact info:
Consumer Contact: For additional information, visit the HP Battery Replacement program Web site or call (888) 404-7398 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.


Surprise! You're exposed - Security

I found this article fascinating and scary, at the same time.The bottom line, in my opinion, is social engineering and people's natural behavior is the biggest security risk. No matter what security processes you have in place, most of them are for inbound traffic, and the users of the system, turn out to be the biggest security flaw.

From, a $5M con "The man, described by detectives as the greatest conman they had encountered, convinced one bank manager to leave him €358,000 in the lavatories of a Parisian bar. “This man is going to become a hero if he isn’t caught quickly,” an officer said. “The case is exceptional, perfectly unbelievable and surreal.”
also from
There are two bills in Congress that would grant the Pentagon greater rights to spy on Americans in the U.S.:
"The Pentagon would be granted new powers to conduct undercover intelligence gathering inside the United States -- and then withhold any information about it from the public -- under a series of little noticed provisions now winding their way through Congress."

In my opinion, if the information exists digitally, it will never be secure, and in terms of security, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or months of hassle and, more than likely, thousands of dollars to correct.

Do you feel secure?


Windows Vista Build 5231 Leaks

Neowin is reporting the next build of Windows Vista, due to be released to testers next week, has appeared on the Internet, apparently without permission.

New features and functions are discussed, though not in any detail.


Desktop search and malware: friend or foe?

The link is to a short article in The Register in which desktop search functionality is described both as an opportunity for malware authors to ply their trade and as a possible adjunct, or even a core function, to security services. After all; your anti-virus and the search utility are both scanning the same files, at least in the main. Some research is being performed on uniting the two scanning functions.

The article makes clear that right now, conventional anti-viral scanning applications are faster and more thorough, in part because search functions do not have access to kernel-level functions and processes. However; as search is more tightly integrated into operating systems, this can be designed in and it might make a whole lot of sense, both in terms of resource conservation (and related efficiencie) and real-time protection.

Food for thought


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Toward a BSD Desktop

There are people who run one or another of the BSDs (stands for Berkeley Software Distribution, a true Unix) on their desktop. I did it, once, until my wife caught on.

Now, there's an organized effort to integrate the KDE desktop environment with BSD and a heap of applications. The selling point is security and performance. The tinkerers among us will no doubt flock to DesktopBSD, at least to give it a trial. (I'm already downloading it, though it's only in the release candidate stage of v1.0.)

Find a review of sorts, here.


Toward a Better Desktop

Novell has a new website and this one is really interesting because it addresses a pressing need.

Essentially, Novell is telling open source programmers that their users are not as technically proficient as they are and that more consideration for the user in the interface to applications needs to be given. This site allows coders to see videos of tests of user interfaces to see how they might be improved.

This is a BIG deal. One of the reasons Desktop Linux hasn't caught on is that the interfaces to both the operating system/utilities and associated applications is more geared to the technically competant user, rather than the general public. This has been improved a lot, over the years, but it is still a sticking point. A properly set up Linux desktop computer is easy enough to use, but it's not easily made that way by the average user (whoever that is).

Anyone interested in this sort of thing ought to check this out. I found it thought provoking, to say the least.


Baby Boomer Tech

From WCBS 880 NYC:
Ok, I'm not a big Kim you know who fan. However, I thought this was, since most of "US" are big time computers geeks, was amusing. Check it out. Lot of flash on the page but, you don't need flash to read the story.

Flaws Found in Security Software

This article is about a flaw found in Kaspersky's Anti-Virus engine and mentions other flawed products as well.

For a while now, those in the know have been warning us that some, perhaps even many, of the products we use to secure our networks and otherwise keep us safe have major problems. This article highlights that well.

Jack - North Dakota Internet sellers may need license - Oct 10, 2005

This speaks for itself.

Windows Vista To Have 20 SKUs!!! has a list of 20 different stocking units of Vista. Some of these are OEM only and won't see retailer's shelves. Even so, it's going to be confusing, especially for support people.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Terrabyte of Home Storage

The Inquirer has a very affordable route to a TB of home storage. Click the link to see.

I know I harp on storage a lot. I hope it's not boring to you all. But we have GOT to have reliable backup and storage solutions that don't require a lot of work or attention. This details one such setup and the devices can be "daisy chained" together into a real array, if need be.

There are some problems, particularly with heat in small enclosures filled with hard drives. These are manageable, though; if not with this setup then with others. Check it out.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Google News Reader review

I tried the google newsreader, which is in beta (as a disclaimer), and my initial impressions are sucky! I foolishly loaded a fresh export of my sage rss feader to an opml file, which had 137 or so feeds, and it timed out several times, and was generally slow, though I was very pleased that they did accept imports, and I see they also support exports of your feeds. Sage does limit categories, as far as I know, so my feeds are one long sidebar in firefox, but when there's a new post, it turns the feed name bold, and it doesn't check often enough, but listing by site is key for me, because I have so many, and some are more critical to me (I've gotta BLOG, after all :) ).
Google newsreader shows all posts in a window, that only shows 9, and only increments the number of posts by 20, as you scroll down. You also get the option to sort by relevance or time, but not site! I can't deal with that, the default was relevance, but sorting by time doesn't make it any better. Did I mention it was slow? :)
When I realized how unusable it was for me, I decided to leave a few tech feeds in google newsreader, just to see how it changes, and delete the rest of the subscriptions. I started deleting feeds in firefox [Which you have to do ONE AT A TIME, after hitting edit, then unsubcribe, then wait for the page to be refreshed THEN it reloads your subscriptions], but it wasn't refreshing or working well, and so I decided to try it in IE. This worked better, but one feed for Scot's newsletter wouldn't delete the first 5 times I tried! All the rest were deleted as requested. The reason I am so fired up about it (length of post is one sign of excitement), it tooke me THREE hours to delete over 100 subscriptions. OH MY GOSH!!! Once feeds were deleted, the posts that had been retrieved stayed unread, and listed, I started clicking to mark all as read. When it said 160 of 180 (did I mention it only updates the item count in blocks of 20, as you scroll through?) I gave up, and decided to save y'all from the same pain, if I can. Like Dave Winer says did a human being even look at this???? I'm also planning on trying newsgator and bloglines, as other RSS news aggregators. What news aggregator/RSS news reader do you use?

--MissM (with a very tired clicking finger)
DAMN! thinking about how many clicks it took to clean up the feeds, to a more manageable, in this current interface, 160 + (3*100) = 460! Totally unacceptable!

As Peter said yesterday during the show about calling netgear and informing them of my issues with the SC101, as a public service, I will forward this blog post to the team at google's newsreader. (Chris Pirillo)

Hot off the presses, Chris Pirillo's new search, looks interesting and hot off the presses, the announcement is only 3 hours, old.

"With "," you insert the query *AS* the subdomain! [Of course its pronounced, I think, "gotta be"]



Those are two different URLs, each with a different set of results. A dot between two keywords implies a quoted statement, whereas a dash implies the AND operator. Note, too, that you can easily change categories by adding the designated category slug to the end of the entire URL. Too geeky for you? Then you're thinking too hard about it. "

Very intriguing, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm getting ready to!


Langa Letter: Testing 10 Windows 'Registry Cleaning' Software Packs > October 10, 2005

I'm always looking for info on Registry maintenance. I do think that cleaning the registry makes a positive difference. As usual, Fred shares his thoughts about as well as the results of his registry cleaning tests.

Blogger's being funky

Ok, my first post wasn't lost, but it was put under the previous post. even though the time stamp is later... I wonder what's up with that????
I noticed the times were messed up on another blog, too. Curiouser and curiouser...


Yahoo has a podcast directory

Yahoo is doing a podcast directory now, you can use it for any mp3 player and can put the feeds in Ipodder, too, as far as I read. Here is the OnComputers podcast link in yahoo. It looks like its not updating very quickly. The last feed listed is 10/2/05, which is missing one show, we'll see how this pans out. No, I'm not trying this one, I'm exhausted! (see post below) I'm sticking with Ipodder Lemon for now.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fraud gold mine

A closed Blockbuster video left customer records, applications, credit card numbers, etc, etc in a clear trash bag in the STREET of NYC!!?!?!?!!?!???? Privacy is an illusion. :(


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 10-09-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 10-09-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Linux in a web browser

Try out linux in a web browser! Uses Java.

I tried it and the maximum number of users had been exceeded, but once the users get done, it'll work maybe :)

Very kewl stuff


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AOL revises privacy policy

From the article:

"'Looks like a fairly standard privacy policy, with the usual weasel words and wiggle room where they say, 'We collect information about what you do on our service and we can use it for pretty much any business reason we can dream up,'' said Kevin Bankston, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

If you are an AOL member you need to read this. Some of it is better, some of it is worse, and in the end all of it is up to AOL.