Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lavalys - Comprehensive IT Security and Management

What a bummer they quit Everest home version! :(

Blogger: Browser Cookies Disabled

Blogger: Browser Cookies Disabled
Why do I get this error when I try to log into but can get in if I use the Blogger button on the Google toolbar?


Security Now! Notes for Episode #20: "regsvr32 -u shimgvw.dll" This is from Steve Gibson from
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

'Intel Inside' sent to the place where brands go to die

So how does "Leap Ahead" grab you?

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

Windows zero day nightmare exploited

Image handling flaws can infect Windows machines, including XP SP2, when visiting maliciously constructed web sites. This does not just affect Internet Explorer users. Firefox users are apparently vulnerable as well.

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

Schneier on Security: Internet Explorer Sucks

"This study is from August, but I missed it. The researchers tracked three browsers (MSIE, Firefox, Opera) in 2004 and counted which days they were 'known unsafe.' Their definition of 'known unsafe': a remotely exploitable security vulnerability had been publicly announced and no patch was yet available.

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

Open Source and Your Legal Rights

A court fight in Florida over the software used in the instruments that detect alcohol in breath could threaten the ability of states and localities to prosecute drunk drivers.

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

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 12-25-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 12-25-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Alex Bosworth's Weblog: Dynamics of Digg

I found this article interesting. I believe that it is a glimpse inside what I believe Web 2.0 really is, and that is "Attention," although there are many terms for this now. Everybody is trying to monetize the eyes that are drawn to a site. And I believe that most diggers are what could be considered "early adopters," those who use RSS, podcasts without Itunes, fill in your own "geeky edge" :).

» 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 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 ;)

Xbox 360: Back to the Drawing Board

Though this article really takes the XBox 360 team to task, it is still constructive criticism. I have disagreements with a few small details, but only a few. It's worth a read.

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.


Migration Software

This looks good. Whether or not it is will take some time and a long look at a bulk licensing agreement.

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

Friends in Tech » A Geek Christmas Carol

This is a group of Technical podcasters who have forums and tech news podcasts, in addition to several of their own geeky podcasts. I listen to a bunch of them, myself!

and, the podcast pickle also did a version: A Podcast Christmas Carol

"God Bless us every one!"


Official Google Blog: Looking at 2005

Well, its been over a week since a post about Google!
They announced 2005's Year-End Google Zeitgeist. As Patrick Norton said on 12/23, "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

Symantec flaw leaves opening for viruses | CNET

"Symantec has issued a patch for a flaw in its scanning software that could cause a virus to execute, rather than catch it. " It looks like Symantec isn't getting anything right lately! :(

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How to Score an xBox 360 While Sleeping

Hey, Gang, got someone in your house who wants an xBox 360? And they are whining? Sad, really sad. Well, Bucky, you can go to sleep tonight and let the 'Net do the shopping -- or at least the looking.

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!

Flaw reported in Symantec anti-virus software

If you use RAR files and Norton Anti-Virus, you need to read this article.

Symantec shuts down discussion groups

Symantec Corp. has shut down its enterprise technical support discussion groups, saying they're no longer an effective vehicle to address customers' technical support needs.
Here THEY go AGAIN :(

Is the Wiretap Fracus About a High Tech Breakthrough or a Fiasco?

Why would the president authorize warrantless wiretaps of U.S. citizens is a timely question? The conventional press (and many politicians) are reacting as if the president is thumbing his nose at the courts and congress. Maybe the situation makes a warrant in advance impossible, as this Ars Technica article suggests.

It is a fact that the U.S. has captured laptops and cell phones from terrorists. Let's hypothesize that 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 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.

Use Intuit TaxCut. Double Your IRS Tax Refund

Got your attention, didn't I. Well, this deal got mine too. Inside the retail box for Taxcut 2005 is a flyer that spells it all out. And it's legal too!

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

Review roundup by PC Magazine: Price-Comparison Sites Strive to Save You Time and Money

"Feeling the urge to splurge? Savvy shoppers know that the best deals on iPods, DVD movies, LCD monitors, and just about everything else can usually be found online. "
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!

Column from PC Magazine: What Not to Buy in 2005

Here are a few things we shouldn't buy as gifts for friends.

Then again if they are not a friend......A box of Floppy disk might be a good thing.

PC Magazine - Holiday Gift Guide

We simplify your tech shopping, with links to our top-rated products.

Security Watch from PC Magazine - You Know Dasher and Bagle and Netsky and Sober...

"At least three variants of a new worm hit the Internet, exploiting a 2-month-old vulnerability in Windows. See who's vulnerable and how far it has spread in the Top Threat section."

Seagate agrees to buy Maxtor in $1.9B deal - Seagate agrees to buy Maxtor in $1.9B deal

Are we in a dot com bubble again, with all the new influx of money into tech lately?


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

2005's top 10 moments in IT | InfoWorld | News | 2005-12-19 | By Cathleen Moore

"2005's top 10 moments in IT "
How was your IT year?

Oracle Gives in to Common Sense!

Oracle has had hell with the notion of multiple cores and pricing for same. After several stabs at pricing which drew howls of protest from prospective licensees, they've hit upon something logical.

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.


The early bird gets the $149 Toshiba laptop | Tech News on ZDNet

"CompUSA on Sunday sold a Toshiba notebook for $149.99, after $550 in rebates and an agreement to subscribe to America Online for a year. Although the special only lasted 16 hours, it marked a new low in notebook pricing, albeit a temporary one. " The only problem with this "DEAL" is the agreement to subscribe to America Online for a year. They also had a $99 desktop on sale.

Google's 5 percent solution

"Google is working out a deal with Time Warner to buy five percent of AOL for a billion dollars. While the deal is focused on advertising revenues and search engine positioning, it will likely also influence the next round of IP communications machinations." I know we talked about this on last Sundays show.

The Diskless PC Revolution

I'm not sure that Curt A. Monash has a truly clear crystal ball. Still, this opinion piece at is thoughtful and may in fact reflect the future.

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

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 12-18-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 12-18-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

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

read more | digg story

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!


read more | digg story

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The winners for this week!

5-packs of Digital Vinyl CDR media from Verbatim
William Raymond
Palmer, AK

BackupNOW! Deluxe Suite from NTI
Rick Schrieve
El Dorado Hills, CA

WinDVD7 player software from Interviedo
Alphonse Kuntzler
Atlanta, GA

Remember you must listen to win!

Pioneer Blu-ray Disc Drive - Gizmodo

Looks like Pioneer will be the first to bring a PC-based Blu-ray disc drive to market with its BD1.5. We don’t have much more information than the fact that it will be internal and shipping sometime next year.

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

Windows Live Local is live!

Check out Birds eye view. Its limited availability, currently but the resolution is magnificent. I saw this yesterday, and amazingly Lexingotn, KY is included in the initial list, which is my hometown. :)

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 for you :)

Way beyond the MSConfig utility.

I found this very interesting, looks like a good tool, plus its freeware, and from sysinternals. Where do you recall that name, you ask? They discovered Sony's rootkit install.

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!

The top 10 weirdest USB drives ever

The holiday season is typically short of genuine news and rich with things like this.

Now all we have to do is figure out which one we're going to give our own MissM for Christmas.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fixes coming for Windows flaws | Tech News on ZDNet

"As part of its monthly patching cycle, Microsoft plans to release on Tuesday two security bulletins with fixes for flaws in Windows. " Remember this coming Tuesday is Windows Updates Tuesday! Do your windows updtaes!

Unpatched Firefox 1.5 exploit made public | CNET

"Exploit code for the latest version of open-source browser Firefox was published Wednesday, potentially putting users at risk of a denial-of-service attack. "
This came to me from Curtis this morning.

Schneier on Security: 30,000 People Mistakenly Put on Terrorist Watch List

According to the article linked above: 'Nearly 30,000 airline passengers discovered in the past year that they were mistakenly placed on federal "terrorist" watch lists, a transportation security official said Tuesday.'

Mr. Schneier comments: "When are we finally going to admit that the DHS is incompetent at this?"


Microsoft Hit With $32 Million South Korea Fine

Microsoft has previously said they would leave South Korea if the commission's ruling went against them, though they've said now they will not.

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

New Sony CD security risk found | CNET

"The danger is associated with copy-protection software included on some Sony discs created by a company called SunnComm Technologies. The vulnerability could allow malicious programmers to gain control of computers that have run the software, which is typically installed automatically when a disc is put in a computer's CD drive.

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.


� Netgear guilty of 'misleading' Wi-Fi claims | George Ou |

"Netgear claimed that their products will reach speeds of 240 mbps when in fact it might reach 58 mbps under the best possible conditions for short bursts of time. "

Rat Brains Fly Planes

And here I thought it took great skill and years of training.

Sorry, I couldn't resist posting this even if it was mostly for that catchy headline.

Wikipedia Tightens the Reins

From the article: "The website hopes that the registration requirement will limit the number of stories being created, Wales said.

'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

Static builds in radio's future-advertisers

From the article: "The radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media banquet hall, as new technology threatens the business, advertising executives said this week at the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit.

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.

Gizmodo - several neat things

Plextor Dual-Layer USB DVD Recorder

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)


One city's move to open source | Tech News on ZDNet

In Mannheim, a preference for "open" standards--not cost--is driving the German city's shift to Linux. Did Jack see this?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sony closes in on new program to cleanse PCs

Most of the article is a rehash of what we have already rehashed. One thing we speculated about but didn't know for sure was the impact on artists. Due to secret and creative accounting in the record industry we do not know how much this has hurt the artists financially, but it certainly has hurt their record sales. It is a shame that artists of this caliber have had their reputations tarnished in this way.

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?)

180solutions sues Zone Labs for being called 'spyware'

I remember that Gator/Claria tried this. The result was a that a lot of antispyware Web sites had to mince their words. But ya know what? I think more people learned about the evils of GAIN (Claria's ad delievery network) and learned how to avoid it due to Gator/Claria's actions, than would have known without the publicity.

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.

IE flaw lets intruders into Google Desktop

What a grand way to start my week! It's 02:21 Monday morning and what pops up on my radar but another set of potential damages brought to us by Internet Explorer.

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.



"Hacks" is used here in the older, more benevolent sense as some solution to a problem which is elegant and not obvious.

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

This weekends winners are!

Congratulation to:

Rick Schrieve
El Dorado Hills, CA
BackupNOW! Deluxe Suite from NTI


Alphonse Kuntzler
Atlanta, GA
WinDVD7 player software from Interviedo

Remember you have to listen to win!

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 12-04-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 12-04-05. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.

Remember you have to listen to win!

Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes

Controversial it appears, but I feel the source is reputable, and this topic should concern us all... as we are about to be regulated into a corner by "big business" and "politicians" ... or are you ready to pay the big carriers to tell you where you can go and what you can do online?

Autopackage; A better Linux installer?

The last time I installed Abiword, it was on my bedside computer, running Ubuntu GNU-Linux. It came as an "Autopackage". I hadn't seen or used one before and must admit I was a bit skeptical. The installation went well, albeit slowly. I used the application launcher to make a menubar icon in Gnome and haven't looked back. Since then, I've used several of these installers and I must say that I like them as well as I like the Debian package management scheme, apt-get.

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

CNET prizefight: AMD vs. Intel dual-core CPUs

"To answer the question once and for all, we circled up a bunch of cars in an abandoned parking garage and set ourselves to a no-holds-barred dual-core desktop CPU fistfight. AMD submitted its five dual-core CPUs, and Intel matched with its lineup of four. We built two test beds as nearly identical as we could for the two platforms and ran each chip through a battery of tests. We then ran those results through our price-vs.-performance calculator to find out not only which is the best overall dual-core CPU in terms of raw performance but also which one offers the most bang for your buck. Skip ahead to the official ruling if you want, but the match itself is interesting."

Who won????? The article has a shortcut to the results. ;)

(Thanks to Bill42 for helping us scour the reviews, for you)

What is IDN ?

Well, it is "Internationalized Domain Name"
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!

Premature Victory Declaration [over Sony rootkits]?

As Mark writes, "I declared my victory a few hours after Sony announced that it would withdraw the somewhere between 2 and 5 million (the number varies depending on the source) infected CDs that are on store shelves. However, even close to two weeks later it’s obvious that Sony has done little to advertise to store owners, even larger chains, that a recall is in place. They were present in stores in the Austin, Philadelphia and Chicago areas And as of last week Eliot Spitzer, the Attorney General of New York State, reports that his investigators found them in the New York City area. Many store clerks were unaware that a withdrawal had even been ordered."

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

This weekends email winner is:

Congratulation to this weeks email winner:
From Verbatim, 10 packs of VideoGard DVDR media
Larry Swanson,
Edmonton, Alberta
Thank you Verbatim and Andy Marken from

Video of "IE or Firefox?"

12/2/05 video asks people in front of New York University if they use IE or firefox. Some of the responses were hysterical (you'll just have to watch :P). People in the comments are voting for opera and safari too. I was surprised and pleased at the result (other comments asked for different locations for the survey, which I think is probably true) The guy at the end of the video may have the major reason why. But, see for yourself.

scouring the vlogs for you, too! ;)

Friday, December 02, 2005

IVR Cheat Sheet(tm) by Paul English You want to talk to a human?

The next time you call a major corporation and need to talk to a human you will need this cheat sheet to tell you what to say or what numbers to punch to get out of the automated jungle.
Thank you Terry Blout

Wired 13.12: Don't Call It Spyware

"Three years ago the company was considered a parasite and a scourge. Today it's a rising star - selling virtually the same product. How a pop-up pariah won the adware wars." All I can say is: If it walks like a duck........

BitTorrent servers under attack | CNET

Hmmm, I have to wonder if this is why I've been getting bombarded (port 32459, so fast it scrolls off the log window, looks like about 20 times, in one minute) ... by a port that appears to be used by a bittorrent client.

'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 "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 ;)

Holiday gift guides

Just in case the geeks and non geeks, need tips for gifts to give or receive, here's a list of some that I've run across...
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!


WidowPC claims: World’s first dual core laptop

"The spec sheet for this monster 11.3-pound rig reads like a gamer’s wish list (please excuse us while we catch our breath): AMD 64 X2 Dual Core 4800+ (other options are available as well), 17-inch widescreen 1900 x 1200 WUXGA+ SuperBrite LCD, nVidia 7800 GTX graphics card with PCI-Express, up to 2GB of 400 MHz dual channel DDR RAM, dual SATA drives for as much as 240GB of storage, dual optical drive bays for optional dual-layer DVD burners, 7-in-1 memory card reader, optional TV tuner with remote, front panel LCD with media controls, built-in webcam, 2 FireWire ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, serial port, infrared port, parallel port, external keyboard/mouse port, DVI, S-Video in and out, audio in/out, digital audio out, and 802.11a/b/g."

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.


Podcast Hijacked, Held for Ransom

"In an assault reminiscent of the early days of the Internet, Podcaster Erik Marcus recently found that his RSS feed had been inexplicably redirected.

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


Tax Scam Preys on Refund-Hungry Public with Real Gov Site

"The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about a phishing scam that uses promises of tax refunds to steal sensitive financial information. "

Recording Industry vs The People: Oklahoma Woman Fights Back Against RIAA

Jiminy, a woman without a computer is being sued by the RIAA, links to all the documents, at the url in the title. Bottom line: "the defendant has filed counterclaims for a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, and for "prima facie tort" under Oklahoma law. The judge dismissed the counterclaim for "prima facie tort" but has left standing the counterclaim for a declaratory judgment."


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mac OS X security under scrutiny

It's no secret Apple's OS X has some security problems and Apple doesn't talk about them much at all. This Security Focus article at The Register points out some of the problems. SANS has listed OS X as a vulnerability in itself, which is probably over-reacting.

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.


OnComputers on Frappr!

We seem to have hit a lull in the frappr map, so I wanted to repost it...
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?


InfoWorld | Cyber Monday: pretty much a big fat lie

According to Cyber Monday is only the 12th busiest online shopping day of the year, and the term was coined just last week by, a retailers' association looking to create a little buzz around online buying.

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 ;)

Can Microsoft kill Python?

I like Python. It is a good first language for a beginner, it's incredibly handy for all programmers and it's open source; free software.

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

Trojan horse rides on unpatched IE flaw

From the article:

"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.

Spitzer Asks Retail Outlets for Sony BMG Recall

New development in the Sony Rootkit debacle. As we reported yesterday we knew that Spitzer was looking into it. Today we have the breaking news that:

"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.


This is a blog done by eX-gOOGLERS, aka people who used to work at Google. Its been online for about 2 weeks, and the 2 current members are reminiscing about the beginnings of their careers at google, which was also the beginning of google, back in 99. (Who ever thought 99 would be the good ol days, so soon?)
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. "


Computer Security Day

In honor of IE and Java (ok, that's just cause of the posts below ;) ), today 11/30 is Computer Security day. So get your Java update today.
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.

Tetris' Maker Has His "A" Game

Interesting short article about the man who has caused lots of us to waste countless hours at the computer. The article is half interview, half background. A quick but interesting read.


Three critical flaws found in Java

The vulnerabilities affect Windows, Linux and other *nix platforms. Because the flaw affects older releases, all you need to do is install the current version.

Well; What are you waiting for? ;)


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Firefox 1.5

Its Official. Enjoy.

New York Attorney General investigates Sony BMG

I had to post this story because we all pondered what action Eliot Spitzer might take in the Sony rootkit case. We still don't know, but it looks like Eliot has been out buying CDs ;-)

Slashdot | Firefox 1.5 Final Now Available

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.

Sony BMG's Costly Silence

From the article... "The label was alerted to the secret, virus-vulnerable software on its CDs long before the scandal broke. Trouble is, it didn't act immediately to alert consumers"

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.

Unpatched IE Flaw Is Worse Than Expected

From the article... "the biggest blip on the security radar was the realization by the security community that an Internet Explorer problem first identified six months ago was a lot worse than it appeared.

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.

Built to Last

This Computerworld article is about PC and server hardware lasting longer and how the reason for replacement of even machines of advanced age is often driven by software needs, rather than failures of aging hardware.

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?


New Firefox out today

According to the Inquirer, it will be this aftenoon. Since we have 35 minutes to go here on the west coast to noon (and for this that's probably official "afternoon") I'll be checking closely in the next hour or so.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Microsoft's Covenant Not to Sue Comes Under Fire

When I blogged my approval of Microsoft's covenant not to sue over usage of their XML based office document format(s) the actual covenant had not been posted. Now that it has, I'm not so certain it meets the need. The link above will take you to a ZDNet UK site with a comparison between the Microsoft covenant and the one Sun Microsystems is applying to their intellectual property in regard to the Open Document Format.

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.


Computer Science E-1: Understanding Computers and the Internet

In the interest of "Learning something new everyday." I offer for your enjoyment and education. Harvard podcast! I listened to the first one, and its good. Its an overview of computers, and the pieces and parts that make one up. In the first lecture (All lectures, so far, are available as video or audio), binary math and the basic parts of a computer, and the historical range of the numbers. RAM 4K ~ GB of RAM, for example. It is an informative class for the person, who has little or no idea of computer parts, but wants to understand the concepts behind it. A very entertaining lecturer, also. They are semi big files, looks like just the mp3s are 11-50MB. There are also workshops and it seems as if all class materials are online. He suggested 2 books for the class, basically based on your current level of expertise, I was impressed. Who knew I'd end up in a harvard lecture? ;) Though I did get a hoodie when in Cambridge once.



Paint.NET was originally intended to be a replacement for Paint, the wimpy image editor included with Windows. It has matured into what looks like a decent tool for average users to edit and manage images with.

It's free and runs stably here.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Todays winners are!

From Ulead, PhotoImpact 11
Angela Anderson
Pocahontas Iowa,

From NTI, CD & DVD Maker 7 Titanium
Bill DeWitt
San Marcos, Ca

Congratulation to this weeks winners.
Remember the only way to win is to listen to the show!

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 11-27-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 11-27-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.
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!

More Info and some things we talked about on the show.

Xbox 360 crash fix found: "A GAMER fed up with his new Xbox 360 crashing every 20 minutes has fixed the problem by raising the power supply off the ground with some string." - 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)


Personal Data Privacy And Security Act Of 2005

The link above is to a synopsis of the bill on a Senate web site. This is one we really do need to watch and keep after our legislators do not let special interests water it down.

The full text of the bill is available here


Correction for last weeks winners!

Jim Weir
Grass Valley CA
Won Audio Cleaning Lab 10 from

Tom lane
Sparta, Wi
MovieFactory software from Ulead

Dorothy Harris
Eldersdurg Md.
10 pack of Verbatim Digital Movie DVDR Medial

The only way to win is to listen to the show!

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD fighting a lost battle? Holographic storage arrives sooner than you think

Courtesy of a default feed at : A fascinating article with lots of links about the future of holographic storage. Its not as far in the future as you might think. Perhaps next year? Check it out and see.

P.S. I added the astronomy picture of the day to 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) , and we'll get it. Or post a comment here. Thanks.

Verbatim Digital Movie DVDR Media Winner

Congratulations to Dorothy Harris of Eldersdurg Maryland for winning the 10 pack of Verbatim Digital Movie DVDR Medial.

What are we giving away next??? Only way to find out is to listen to the show.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hard drive manufacturer accidentally slips trojan onto drives

DOH! First creative now, hard drives are infected with viruses(sp?), Sunbelt blog has the link to the article, and the source for him. :)


EPIC West: Hoofnagle's Consumer Privacy Top 10

This is a great list of tips that are very low cost. Link courtesy of Bruce Schneier's blog.


That's the list, details on how, are at the link in the title.
Go :)


Friday, November 25, 2005

Xbox 360 crash fix found

No one seems to know what percentage of XBox 360 freeze-up and crash problems this will help. I only know two people with the consoles and it has eliminated the problem entirely for both of them.

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

Comment Moderation

I have enabled comment moderation on this blog. That means that non-member's posts will have to be approved by admins before they appear. Admins will receive an e-mail when a comment needs to be moderated. I believe that there are enough admins that comments will be moderated in a timely manner.

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

E-mail Scammers Pose as FBI, CIA

From Yahoo news:
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."
Be warned.

Apple OSx86 10.4.3 security still wide open

Crackers have turned their attention to Apple's OS X for x86 with an intensity I could not have imagined. Their goal is to make it run on x86 hardware other than Apple branded kit. So far, they have succeeded without much apparent effort.

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.


New RISC OS machine coming soon

It is not for everyone and it's not even ready yet. But the new ARM powered RISC OS A9 looks rather like it might be one possible shape of the future.

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.


Dimpled Fan Breaks New Ground

Golf balls fly dramatically further because of the dimples in their surface, which manipulate the boundary layer of air flowing around the sphere in such a way as to reduce drag. 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.


A Truce in the Standards Wars?

Microsoft's decision to "open" their Office document formats seems to have begun a truce period in the wars over document standards. It is only a truce. Believe me when I say that Microsoft's recent actions will satisfy only some of those concerned with this issue. This is to tell you both why that is so and how it may be a non-issue from here on out. Only time will tell; as customers vote with their adoption of software, be it Microsoft's or some other productivity applications.

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 Netflix fix is in - The Red Tape Chronicles

This is apparently a regular column on about "unmask[ing] government bureacracy, corporate sneakiness and outright scam artists."
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.


Zero-Day Exploit Targets IE

"Exploit code for a critical flaw in fully patched versions of Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer browser has been released on the Internet, putting millions of Web surfers at risk of computer hijack attacks."

Cleaning Up Sony's Rootkit Mess

From Ben Edelmen who've we interviewed on the show before, an excellent solution for Sony to communicate to people who have not returned their rootkit CDs for replacement.
tech.memeorandum links to the discussion here.

Check it out.


Best Christmas lights ever!!

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

Attack code released for IE hole | Tech News on ZDNet

"Exploit code for a new flaw in Internet Explorer could put systems at risk of remote attack, security experts warned Monday."

Cingular will be sold under name of AT&T

Being a customer of AT&T, Cingular, now apparently back to AT&T. I thought AT&T was dead. Apparently it has enough name recognition that it will never die.


P.S. The transition was painful, the first time, much less this time... SHEEEESH!!

UPDATE: Engadget refers to a post at "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

One Possible Version of Sony's Copyright Woes

If the open-source developers involved take the offensive, a lot could change.


Texas Sues Sony Under Anti-Spyware Law - Yahoo! News

I'm not sure if this is the first lawsuit on this, but its the first one I've seen.

I'm sure this will be the first of many......

LinuxWorld | US prevails in Internet governance struggle

I hadn't heard this little nuggets of news until I listened to TWiT this morning. I listen to the podcasts, so you don't have to (though you're missing so much!).

"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? ;)

FireFox Support at Windows Live

Well, I guess I need to admit I was too harsh regarding progress at during today's show. The site now works in every way with Firefox, both on Windows and Linux! No longer do I see the little warning box saying support is on the way and it works right!

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

Trouble With the Uninstaller for Another Sony DRM. This Time it's SunComm's MediaMax

This story at the Freedom to Tinker blog is very much like the ones for Sony's XPM copy-protection. The uninstaller leaves a gaping security hole.

Read it and weep.


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 11-20-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 11-20-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp. We have lots of Give aways between now and the last LIVE show this year, you might want to listen live for the next 6 weeks.

Hyperthreading hurts server performance, say developers

Intel's HyperThreading looked like a really good deal, initially. And I must admit that in some applications it really was a help. My favorite example was encryption/decryption on a file server I set up.

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.


This weeks winners are!

Congratulation to our winners for this week. We will pick the winner for our email contest next Saturday and post it here on our Newsgroup and web site.

Jim Weir
Grass Valley CA
Won Audio Cleaning Lab 10 from

Tom lane
Sparta, Wi
Won 10 pack of Digital Movie DVDR Media from Verbatim

Good luck!

Verbatim Digital Vinyl Winner

Congratulations to Ken in maryland for winning the Verbatim Digital Vinyl CDR media.

Be sure to listen to the show to see what else we are giving away and how to enter.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mark's Sysinternals Blog

According to Mark, this is just the beginning: "Attention now needs to turn to the broader issues that go beyond DRM to software in general. They include acceptable behavior of commercial software, from both legal and ethical standpoints, and appropriate disclosure of software behavior. We’ve been living in a world of hazy laws surrounding EULAs and ideally this case will lead to more clearly defined laws and standard judicial principles.[and he closes with]. Of course, this first victory would not have happened without your participation in bringing the story to the attention of the media both in this blog and in other publications. I congratulate everyone that voiced their concern over the trend Sony’s software portended and I encourage you to continue to fight for a long-lasting resolution on the issue of software installation and disclosure."
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."


10 Reasons Why Intel Won't Benchmark Paxville

Okay. This is definitely a low blow to Intel from AMD. Still, it was so funny, I found myself laughing long after leaving the page.

Enough said;


Sony BMG CD’s Containing XCP Content Protection Technology

According to Sony this is the complete list of CDs that installed a rootkit on your computer, IF you have autorun enabled. If you would like to change that, see Joe's post below.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Windows Live Ideas � Product Page

Microsoft's Windows OneCare is going to Public BETA soon, if you would like to join the BETA team as soon, you can go to the above web site and look for the box with: "Coming soon Get this beta when it's ready. Sign up" You can sign up and get on the Public BETA team to test this new service from Microsoft.

I'm BETA Testing it now and it works very well.

� How do you stop Sony's rootkit at the office? | AskBloggie |

"Stop CDs from auto-playing which allows something like Sony's rootkit to install on their computers. The solution is actually quite simple and effective "

Security Watch: To be "0wned" by Sony - CNET reviews

"Sony has agreed not to put root-kit technology on future music CDs as a means of protecting its copyrights. But this story is far from over. There are at least two lawsuits pending. There are also viruses poised to take advantage of already-infected PCs worldwide, the number of which may be much higher than anyone previously thought. Worse, Sony's fix for the problem may not be any more secure than the original root kit"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

InformationWeek: Bloggers Break Sony

From the article:

"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

Sun goes storage mad with upcoming Opteron kit

48 SATA hard drives says it all! 48! And plenty of processing power to encrypt sensitive stuff, or whatever else you need it to do.


Microsoft backs X86 64-bit

Everyone who paid attention knew this was coming. Even so; it's going to impose a monetary shock on those needing to adopt new server software, such as Exchange 12 unless they already have x86 64 hardware.



Looks like I can't put seti announcements off, anymore. Classic ends 12/15/05. But, you can make your own password, now.
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.


Firefox 1.5 is not final yet

If you have heard the rumors and gotten excited, as I did, calm down and take a deep breath. It is still RC2 with RC3 coming in a few days.

What does seem to be for real, is that barring any last minute changes, Firefox 1.5 final release is expected later this month.

Wired News: Sony Numbers Add Up to Trouble

Whoa! An article and a link to the post, by a gentleman who determined that over half a MILLION networks (no idea how many computers connected to each network) have phoned home to Sony and First 4 Internet. The study was based on DNS server caching analysis. I haven't read the details of the analysis (UPDATE: I've read the article, and have pictures! See below). But, I thought the first guesstimate of the scope of the infection was interesting.

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.

Update: School computer -JAVA I fixed it

The application they gave me to do repair requests is Java based. Well, from what I can tell the Java was not configured right. So, the application crashed or hung every time.
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 ;-).

Consumers punish firms over data security breaches

I found this surprising. I was of the opinion that consumers would simply let the problems at a given firm slip from the fore of their consciousness and take no action. Obviously some do nothing. But a substantial and surprising percentage take action.

I think that's great.


Windows Compute Cluster 2003

Mention this product and most folks will go "oh give me a break". But it is a real product and it has some unique qualities that put this kind of high-powered computing within reach of many businesses. Think data mining, advanced design on a scale less than Boeing and Airbus and yet greater than any level you've been able to afford before. I'm aware of one acedemic application being considerred in biochemistry. The list of potential customers is very large.

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.