Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mobile GPU Comparison Guide Rev. 7.1

TechArp has a review of mobile graphics processing units you might want to keep a link to.

Yeah, I know; one would be hard pressed to find a more boring subject. At least until it comes time to think about buying a laptop or notebook, when it becomes a lot more interesting, or at least more important. Gail's recent notebook purchase was made with close attention to graphics parts and she is very, very pleased with the result. Well, here is at least most of the information she used in her decision in one place.


Inside the Twisted Mind of the Security Professional

In this article, Bruce Schneier tries to explain what a "security mindset" is and how to cultivate one. I found it both truthful and hilarious.

The truth is that security types are crooks at heart, but either just don't have the guts to carry through on the crime or too lazy to do it. So, they just point out opportunities for crimes. I even see just a little of that in myself.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone (KB936330)

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is an update to Windows Vista that addresses key feedback from our customers. SP1 addresses specific reliability and performance issues, supports new types of hardware, and adds support for several emerging standards.

If you need this 433MB file to install on other computers on your network here it is. You might want to hold off until Microsoft gets some more bugs out.


Best Buy institutes aid program for victims of DVD format war

War is hell on the innocents — even format wars like the one that recently left HD DVD buyers glumly regretting their allegiance while the Blu-ray nation marched in victory. But electronics retailer Best Buy, having served both sides like an arms dealer, has some compassion for the defeated and, more importantly, would hate to see them lose their taste for new gadgets. That’s why it’s setting aside $10 million to give away in $50 gift card increments to any of its customers who bought an HD DVD player or HD DVD Xbox drive before February 23.

Get in line!


Wireless Internet freeloading might become a crime

IF A LAW proposed last week in Maryland gets passed, intentionally using a neighbour's wireless Internet connection without permission will be a crime.
I have seen so many unsecured WiFi connections available to some homes and offices someone needs to do something .
One time I had a service call because the customer said they couldn't get online anymore. I went and looked and someone hacked their router and put on MAC restriction pointing to their MAC address and locking out the home owner. I reset the router and set up encryption and changed the default password to the router. That is all it takes.
NEVER leave the default password to the router and if you don't need the wireless turn it off. If you do need it then set up encryption, WEP is the easiest to set up (I know Jack knows how to hack WEP) this keeps the honest people out. You can use WEP and for a key use your 10 digit telephone number. (That is only 64bit encryption but it is better than none at all).


Think before you install

The outrage is spewing forth over Apple's move to include Safari 3.1 as part of its Software Update program. The new twist is that Windows users who never had installed Safari are now seeing it pop up in Software Update, where they are accustomed to seeing updates for iTunes and Quicktime, and that's not sitting well with many who inadvertently installed the browser.

It is interesting how many computers I work on and ask the customer why do they have 4 toolbars and their answer is I have no idea where they all came from.
I have had other programs installed on my computers when I didn't want them, along with the program I did want installed.

You need to look at what your installing.


Introduction to Ubuntu 8.04 Beta

The Ubuntu developers are moving very quickly to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software the open source community has to offer. This is the Ubuntu 8.04 beta release, which brings a host of excellent new features.

Note: This is still a beta release. Do not install it on production machines. The final stable version will be released in April 2008.

I can't believe I beat Jack to this post!


Comcast Cameras to Start Watching You?

Is BIG BROTHER watching you in your living room?
If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told Chris Albrecht the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room. (Or what you are doing in your bed room)?

Kunkel also spoke on camera with me about fixing bad Comcast user experiences, the ongoing BitTorrent battle and VOD. But he mostly towed the corporate line on these issues (the monitoring your living room came up after Chris's camera was put away).

Cover that cable box before you do something in front of the camera you don't want to share.

Vista SP1 kills third party applications

According to CRN, on SP1's kill list are products from Trend Micro, Zonelabs, BitDefender, and Novell.
Some of the companies have come up with work around for Vista's SP1. Some just no longer work.
This site has a list of other problems with Vista's SP1
according to the computer support staff at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Ivy League school's technical support staffers advised "continuing to use previous versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista until after the initial bugs in SP1 are identified and fixed."
Maybe we need to wait on installing Vista's SP1 for a little while.


Images: Intel to build first six-core chip | CNET

"Intel shows off its first six-core processor, called Dunnington, which will be available in the second half of 2008"
OK so our new computers will NEED a six-core processor and 8GB of RAM.
What will be next?

Intel's security software keep tabs on the user

Now here is an interesting idea; security software that learns about how you use your computer and goes ballistic when you do something out of character.

Beyond the obvious question about whether it will shut down my computer when I pledge my everlasting love to MissM, this is worth thinking about as it could deny a thief use of my computer after they have stolen it.

There is more than a little potential for "Big Brother" type shenanigans with security being built in at low levels. As soon as it starts happening, watch the RIAA ask to have file sharing banned at the hardware level. And then Homeland Security might be asking for certain tracking stuff to be included. Even so, some protection at this level might be desireable.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

About Security Update 2008-002

Apple has just released another huge update. This one affects many different components of OS X, from their implementations of the open-source ClamAV and Apache to some of the core services within the OS.

So, if you are running OS X, check your updater or click one of the links on this page to go get the update. I've no doubt it is important. Even Apple, with their traditional understantement, calls this a security update, after all.


Why Windows Me deserves more respect

I know that headline is a shocker, but here is an article that lays it out. As one of the few who a) actually upgraded from Win98 (not Win98se -- never owned that) and b) successfully ran Me until I upgraded to WinXP just before XPSP1 arrived, I can identify with this article. For those who wondered why I ran Me, this article explains it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vista Service Pack 1: Things Microsoft forgot to fix

This analysis and list of suggestions for what Vista SP1 should have been comes from across the pond.

Having had SP1 for less than 24 hours now, I don't have much to add except for the good news that it hasn't broken anything (that I'm aware of).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Author Arthur C. Clarke dies -

Not exactly a technical concern, but a sad story just the same.

Ongoing IFrame attack proving difficult to kill

One take away lesson is not to download or try unproven and unknown security software. Most of us already use proven products and are often willing to pay for a good antivirus, but of course there are always the uninformed. No harm in trying this download I see advertised, right? No, wrong. Sad that we all have to be so danged careful and suspicious all the time. Rest assured that for every hole closed and attack thwarted, the bad guys are busy figuring new ways to swindle us out of our money.

Vista SP1: It's Here, But Can You Get It?

I can't yet though Windows Update. I will keep trying.

If you are waiting like I am, you can read this article in the meantime.

Update: I never did get to Windows Update. I couldn't wait and I downloaded it. I really have no comments about it at this time good or bad. It is an install during which you're best to do something else while you wait. I didn't time it but it purported to take an hour and I'm inclined to believe it. After the last reboot, Vista returned seemingly no worse for the wear.

Analyst: Returns, technical problems high with flash-based notebooks

I wouldn't go with a flash based drive at this time for a number of reasons including price and longevity, but I truly think the technology will catch up the the concept. Just not quite yet, evidently.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why we care about file systems

Most of us don't think about file systems very much, and then only when we run up on some sort of limitation with one we are working on. Perhaps it has been damaged from some sort of crash and is not capable of recovering itself, or at least not until we do something that verges on the mystic in concert with the operating system. (Windows chkdisk comes to mind, here.)

Ars Technica has a wonderful piece written by Jeremy Reimer that explains what file systems are, how many of them differ from one another and why we should care. It's a bit long, at 7 or 8 pages, but packed with information you really need to at least look at. In other words; it's worth the time it takes to read it.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 03-16-08

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 03-16-08. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg zone

1) Let’s start this week off with a new take on one of my favorite subjects, the flying car. Seems there is a Dutch company with a new offering in the field. This looks to be a possible player in the next few years. They are hoping to bring it to market in “the next few years” it is a car/gyrocopter hybrid, with a projected range of 375 miles on the road, and 340 in the air, at speeds of 120 mph on the road or in the air. I would like to see one of these in my driveway some day. It’s a very nice looking unit, I suspect they will be in some countries fairly soon, probably decades before we see them in the states though.

2) Have you ever wondered how cool it would be to work for someone making way to much money? Well here is a link to a video about what it is like to work at Google, I think I might be able to cope, might even put in some overtime, hell might just move in.

3) This is my tech link for the week, I am not into cell phones but if I were, this would be a very interesting product. It is a head set, that turns your phone into a “bone phone”. What makes it so innovative? It picks up sound from the bones in your head. When there is no transfer of sound from your mouth to the microphone, there is no background sound. It eliminates restaurant chatter, no traffic noise, and any other background interference.

4) Now for a great reading site for anyone interested in world mysteries. I wound up here looking for an answer to a question that has been bugging me for a long time. I have been wondering, why the lack of any soot in the pyramids? I was looking for information on the “Dendra Lamps”, as a possible explanation. When I hit this site, I was stuck for an hour or two, and I plan to revisit again soon.

5) Last a short video from Corning, the glass company. This is a lesson about surface tension, I thought it was interesting, I had no idea this could happen. I suggest you just watch it, I doubt many out there knew about this.

Vista SP1 to hit Windows Update Tuesday, reports say

Good news. The wait is almost over.


Just-patched Excel makes calculation mistakes

Somehow, I'm not surprised.