Saturday, December 17, 2005


I've added a couple search boxes, one from technorati, and one from ice rocket. I know that it is ugly looking, but I thought that the current positioning would help compare the two results. I don't know if anybody else cares about the differences between blog search engines, but its there if you do. Since having both is so ugly (in my opinion), does anybody have an opinion? Please let us know in the comments.
Thank YOU for reading the blog. We appreciate our regular readers, very much! And welcome all new readers. :)


Friday, December 16, 2005

Dell Recalls 22,000 Notebook Batteries - Designtechnica

"Dell and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced a voluntary recall of approximately 22,000 Dell notebook computer batteries. The reason for the recall is that the batteries could overheat, which could pose a fire risk.

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 | There are apparently 13,000 foreign batteries included also. Of course the link to the US Consumer Protection Service only includes US batteries....

eBay faces up to online fraud

From the article: "In several cases examined by the BBC the eBay users who had their accounts hijacked claimed to be computer literate and vehemently denied that they had replied to phishing emails.

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.

Official Google Blog: In the material world

I thought this was excellent. "Google Space" is an area with "unfettered Internet access so they might make use of that otherwise wasted time" at Heathrow airport. AND they are keeping employees there, for "face to face" feedback. I am quite impressed with this interaction, and think that's where Google can (and does, in some cases) make this a win-win situation. We get what we want, and google gets more "eyes."

I do sense a few growing pains in some of what they are doing (google reader, not talking to, 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.


Even Linus Giggles as Itanic Sinks!

The point is that when someone like Linus Torvalds takes time out to poke at Itanium in a discussion outside the kernel mailing list, things must really be bad. Itanic (as the chip is known to it's admirers) is lost, in terms of reputation. HP and Intel will nurse it along and, yes, it will eventually get some performance numbers that don't sound like a casualty list, but I can't see where it can recover from the ever-widening smearing it takes from technical types. This sort of thing inevitably gets to the wrong people and they slam their checkbooks shut.


Wikipedia survives research test

From the article: "In order to test its reliability, Nature conducted a peer review of scientific entries on Wikipedia and the well-established Encyclopedia Britannica.

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.

Point and Click Linux

This is just a book ad. Still, it is very much worth your 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.


Icons: It’s still orange

Microsoft is in the early stages of doing their "embrace and extend" deal on RSS feeds. They've renamed them "web feeds" and will use "enhanced", non-standard extensions.

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

Xen virtualization quickly becoming open source 'killer app'

In the virtualization space, everyone follows VM Ware. No one else is even close in mind or market share. But the market is going to expand very rapidly and Xen, which is free software, hopes to become a major player. They have the advantage of very low cost (free) and very favorable press reception.

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.


Sunbelt BLOG: Beware Vcodec

NOD32 (Click to buy AND support the show) and Kaspersky both detected this as a bad thing, and protected the computer with it installed.

"Wondering how people get to these bogus security sites and download junk like SpyAxe?

Our spyware researchers have been investigating 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...”"


How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

"Is 512 MB enough? What about 1 GB? Our gaming and other application tests show that 2 GB of RAM is often not overkill."

interesting article, for those of us with major RAM ;)
How much RAM is in your computer? (respond in comments, please)

via Gadgets

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Microsoft quietly releases first glimpse at DirectX 10

If you like games or 3-D graphics on Windows, this will be of interest to you.

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 :-)

Quanta to build the $100 laptop

Big news though it is, this is only one more step on the way toward spreading networked computing to the world's poor. It has to be done. The question is how. This is the most advanced attempt yet.

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

Rocketboom again!

For those of you who just can't get enough RSS (irony) there's .... rsstroom_reader_restroom (JPEG Image, 800x541 pixels)

And I thought this was just cool, its animated robotic music(?).
Animusic - Home Page


Monday, December 12, 2005

It's the Decimal Point, Stupid

While some TIAA-CREF customers reported IT issues that resulted in them not being able to access their retirement funds, others have come forward to say that they are receiving far too much money.

"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 Spending on Tech Up 11% Next Year (Moody's)

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, 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 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

Dual cores and multiple CPUs

Many of the questions from listeners and clients we field have to do with the benefits of dual core processors. It's a question on a lot of people's minds, of late. There is a lot of confusion, in part due to the large number of opinions floating about being given as fact.

This short article at 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]

Power Snowblower

Power Snowblower
Originally uploaded by chuckchat.
*Giant_One* I could see joe wheeling that out of his garage...*falls off the chair*

(no further comment required!)


Scripting News: 12/12/2005

"A big announcement today from SixApart that Yahoo will be supplying Movable Type as part of its small business service. Every time you turn on the computer there's news of Yahoo doing something smart. I hear from a reliable bird flying around Santa Clara that they will also offer WordPress blogs as part of the same service. Now they should do something interesting in the same space as Google Base, if they did, the industry would flock to them. "

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!


Symantec/Norton's Dilemma

This Business Week Weekend Edition article tells how security software is under attack by the bad guys. It's not just Symantec/Norton, though this article focuses upon them. Every maker of security software, regardless of type, reports that their products are under attack.

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

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 12-11-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 12-11-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Tips: Creating a Home Wireless Network

This article is a tutorial on how to set up a home wireless network.

SANS - Internet Storm Center

"We have received a report on TCP port 1025 scan. David has observed an increase in port 1025 scan and submitted some packet captures to us. From the captured packet, it contains a request to interface UUID: 906b0ce0-c70b-1067-b317-00dd010662da and BuildContextW (opnum 7) RPC function. Part of the packet payload resembles the MSDTC exploit. This appears to be exploiting MS05-051 vulnerability as described in eEye advisory. If you have seen similar observation, do drop us a note."

today they posted a graph of increased activity here.

The part that I found interesting, "Over the last hour, 37 % of the visitors to this site were vulnerable to the Internet Explorer 0-day exploit. (result based on browser version and javascript enabled)
You are considered not vulnerable" Are you vulnerable? click here to find out.


Coloring Black and White Photos

I know that we have some readers who are interested in editing photos, not to mention this just looked cool. I haven't tried it, yet, but the examples are really nice. Enjoy!


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