Saturday, August 05, 2006

Symantec fixes its chuch spyware mistake

It's all fixed. Symantec offers no real explanation, so I don't know if my earlier speculation was on or off, but I'll stick with it until someone provides particulars, due to my recent experiences.


How to fix a dead hard drive

Here is a quick review of what you can do to recover data from a dead drive. The lack of specifics is simply that the first thing you try is software based. Any software. All the stuff you find in your toolbox and on the web. There are thousands of choices - literally.

This little blurb at The Inquirer is informative and will give you enough of an idea as to what data recovery involves that you can start experimenting on an old drive that contains nothing you really need to save and learn the moves.


Desktop Linux breakthrough: Lenovo preloads SUSE on ThinkPad

Both HP and Dell have dabbled in this and several second tier outlets do it routinely, but this is apparently the first time a major maker has done it very publicly and for every customer, from the largest business or government to you and I. That is unless you cound HP's continued offering of Mandriva Linux in France, which I do not.

So, the Linux desktop finally makes it into public visibility as a viable option. Will it change things? I do not know, except that I may buy a Thinkpad, despite that tiny pointer thingie in the middle of the keyboard.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Circuit City invites wrath of the MPAA by copying DVDs

"Fair Use advocates, take notice. Circuit City is apparently putting its neck on the line to provide customers with DVD transfer services. The company is offering a 'DVD video transfer service' that for all intents and purposes is illegal. The company will take commercial DVDs and rip them for use on portable devices for $10 for 1 DVD, $20 for 3 DVDs or $30 for 5 DVDs. That is, until their legal department hears what's happening."
I wonder how long it will take the RIAA to do something?

Microsoft and Apple 'must improve security patches'

The argument over whether or not Apple and Microsoft (and some other, less common operating system publishers, as well) should publish device driver updates for all compatible devices has raged for a long time.

In the past, I sided with those saying "no", figuring the OS vendors were taking on something for which they weren't responsible. I was okay leaving the responsibility to me, the user. But my argument ignored the fact that most users are incapable of keeping up with this task, not to mention that they don't want the work load. They just want to use the computer.

I think MS and Apple and the rest have to start doing this. Recent security research has concentrated on device drivers as routes for getting into a computer. Right now, wireless device drivers are the target, but there are many others that could be used for nefarious purposes, as well. MS could bundle this service in with One Care or simply do it in Windows Update and Microsoft Update simply as an act in their users' best interests.

It has to happen. Regular users are not capable of securing their systems now. With new vectors of attack being revealed at a dizzying pace, this will only get worse.


P.S. Don't forget to disable your wireless connection when out in public, unless you are using it.

Symantec error leaves vicars in a twist

This is not a black mark on Symantec. It's just the kind of thing that happens as threat databases get larger and both legitimate developer and virus/worm writers re-use snippets of code found on the web.

I just came up against the same thing. My friend John and I were writing a very small Python app for his employer. Much of the gui and some of the actual executable code came from The Vaults of Parnassus, which is a popular Python code repository. (See it here. It is a fine resource!) Every AV application we have access to freaks at our application because three or four malware programs also use the same bits of code our application does. So, we are stuck re-inventing the wheel, though in an admittedly very small way.

I assume something like this is what happened in this case.


Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer :: Mozilla Add-ons :: Add Features to Mozilla Software

"If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you'll want Foxmarks. Install Foxmarks on each computer, and it will work silently in the background to keep your bookmarks synchronized. As a bonus, log in to from any computer anywhere to access your bookmarks."
This is a very kewl plug-in, it works with both Windows and Unubtu's FireFox.
Thanks, brockj49464 from our chat.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reincarnating a discarded laptop with Linux

"Laptop revival stories usually describe detailed procedures for installing Linux and device drivers on a specific make of laptop. This article is more general. How do you go about making an old laptop useful? What steps are involved? Which Linux distributions will work? We'll even discuss how Windows and dual-booting fit into the picture."
I can't believe I saw this before Jack! He must be sleeping. :)

Associated Press Business News: McAfee Security Programs May Expose Data - MSN Money

"The vulnerability affects many of McAfee's most popular consumer products, including its Internet Security Suite, SpamKiller, Privacy Service and Virus Scan Plus titles, said Marc Maiffret, chief hacking officer at eEye Digital Security Inc., a competing maker of security products." Another reason to use NOD32

BetaNews | iTunes to Give Away 70 Million Songs

"Apple is teaming up with Coca-Cola in Europe for a huge iTunes giveaway, in which 70 million codes for free songs will be distributed inside packages from the soft drink maker. The far majority of the songs will be offered in the United Kingdom, while 67,000 songs will be given away in Germany."
Not that might be a fun road trip, and Free music to boot!:)

AOL to users: Don't defect--here's free stuff | CNET

Well, its about time. So I guess its still safe to say that friends no longer need to bear with friends who use AOL.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why popular antivirus apps 'do not work': ZDNet Australia: Blogs: Securify This!

"'The most popular brands of antivirus on the market… have an 80 percent miss rate… So if you are running these pieces of software, eight out of 10 pieces of malicious code are going to get in,' said Ingram." This is part of the reason the top 3 Anti-Virus programs are not the best to use. NOD32 works because it isn't a beta testing platform for the Virus writers.

Apple fixes 26 Mac OS flaws | Tech News on ZDNet

"Apple Computer issued on Tuesday updates for its Mac OS X operating system to fix 26 security flaws, some serious."
And you though Windows was the only one!

Free Software Magazine

I check this site fairly often. While it's focus is a bit narrow, concentrating as it does on FOSS, exclusively, there are a lot of interesting things being discussed there. Many of them are of import far beyond FOSS' reach.

I just wanted to share it with you, in the hope you'll check it out and find it interesting.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Apple to Kill Off User Forums and Sack Moderaters

In a move that reinforces the perception of some that Apple is losing touch with it's user base, the company has decided to make the user forum moderator team redundant and close the forums.

It's always been a rocky ride for the forums. While they did serve to inform users in many ways and provide early alerts of problems for the company, there were some questionable decisions of moderating threads critical of the company or dealing with problems that the company had not yet admitted to openly.

Personally; I think this is a really bad move by Apple, but the forums may well be replaced with something better. One can only hope.


Monday, July 31, 2006

New threat from 'suicide' virus | Tech News on ZDNet

"The latest threat to intellectual property comes in the shape of malicious software (malware) that is capable of infecting a computer, hiding itself until the user accesses specific files or Web sites--in order to steal files or passwords--and then deleting any trace of itself." NOD32 has not has a virus get past it in the wild in over 5 years.

The Hard Disk That Changed the World

What's a RAMAC you ask? A new Apple variant? No it was IBM's first hard disk.

I didn't see my first hard disk until 1971 in my computer lab in high school. I have no idea how much it stored, but if I remember it was about 12 inches across and about 18 inches tall. Down quite a bit in 15 years from the double refrigerator size RAMAC in 1956.

Read the article and then take a look at that hard disk drive in your desktop or laptop computer. You can really appreciate how far we have come since the first, revolutionary, tube-powered, 10 MB on two disk behemoth.

By the way, the actual 50th anniversary of the hard disk is September 13. How are you going to celebrate? ;-)

Teblog: Internet highway or dirt track?

This picture exemplified the Net Neutrality Debate for me.

[h/t]Teblog: Internet highway or dirt track?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 07-30-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 07-30-06. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Vista Voice Recognition Demo

wow, if this is how the rest of vista is going... not a good sign. :)
P.S. I don't buy the ambient noise excuse, either....

Developers cry foul over Windows kernel security

I find this one particularly worrisome. If true (and there is no reason to suspect it is not) and Microsoft is not sharing the appropriate API information with third party security software developers, we will have to depend on Microsoft for all our security aids.

I find that scary.