Saturday, June 18, 2005

Marketers seek to make cookies more palatable

Hmmm, do you think they will really talk us into trusting them when they have broken that trust so many times? Sometimes marketer do make me want to do something with my cookies-- like toss them.

Friday, June 17, 2005

UK Government Warns of Trojan Attacks

Listeners to the On Computers radio show learned two weeks ago that a massive trojan attack is underway. The rest of the world is waking up to this story. Prediction: this story will make the U.S. national TV nightly news within 2 weeks.

Windows XP64 is a non standard OS, Canon says

Joe and Gail have been saying it for a while; check whether your peripherals are supported before you upgrade to XP 64.

This article in The Inquirer has Canon stating they have no plans to offer drivers for their devices to work with XP 64. They it a "non standard" OS, but the correct interpretation of this is "we're waiting to see if it sells enough to warrant our attention", which is a wholly different thing.

This is going to be repeated over and over, for at least a while. It's too bad, too, because the increased performance XP 64 offers would benefit a lot of people. I can already hear the howls from those who bought without knowing to check ahead of time. I wonder if MS will offer free downgrades to those who can't afford to buy all new peripheral devices? Somehow, I think not.


Wolfram Research Inc. Does the Right Thing

You have probably never heard of Wolfram Research, Inc. They're a software house which produces "Mathematica", a very complex and capable tool for performing and visualizing math operations. Mathematica is the standard in it's field, though there are both proprietary and FOSS competitors.

Mathematica is expensive, as this article by my friend, Waleed al-Shobakky, shows. In order to aid learning in the Arab regions of the world, Wolfram is making Mathematica available at incredibly low prices; something like ten bucks a pop for learning institiutions. That is about 1% of retail!

The article is a nice read about a company definitely into doing the right thing.

Before too long, we will have Waleed on the show to talk about computing in the developing world.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Dell Says He’d Sell Apple’s Mac OS

I'll bet he would.

Microsoft has an incredible amount of power and control over OEMs and it would not surprise me if literally ALL of them would like out from under MS' thumb. On the other hand, MS has provided a revenue stream for OEMs that is without parallel, and they're not all likely to bite the hand that feeds them. Some really would like to offer an alternative to Windows in their product line and, frankly, desktop Linux has not stepped up as the logical candidate. OSX and [possibly] Sun's JDS (Java Desktop System, which is a Linux distro filled with Sun's special tweaks) are the only candidates and as far as I can see, having handled both very little, Mac OS X wins hands down.

If Apple does open up OS X, and I think they should, everything changes. However; they've shown no indication they will and Apple higher-ups have stated flatly that it would not happen.

Disclaimer; I use Linux for most of my desktop work and all of my mobile computing. However; I do realize it is not yet quite ready for the average user. That day is coming soon, though. When that happens, there really will be an alternative for everyone who wishes it.


Blast from the past!

This is absolutely hysterical! Its a podcast from 1987 courtesy of a time warp. They rave about 286s and MicroChannelArchitecture, as I listen they're joking about US Robotics making 9600 modems haha.
Changing UARTs etc, etc

If ANY of the above reminds you of the "good ol days" you will thoroughly enjoy the trip down memory lane.

raving about 3.5" drives now
(They fit in your shirt pocket) lol

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hack can upgrade XP Home to XP Pro Lite | The Register

Hack can upgrade XP Home to XP Pro Lite | The Register: "Users can get access to certain functions only avalaible in Windows XP Professional, such as Remote Desktop, User management and enhanced security features." Try this at your own risk! You MUST slipstream SP2 onto the CD before you install this Hacked version or you can't upgrade to SP2. Google AutoStreamer to slipstream the easy way.

Pharming casts shadow over rising ecommerce sales

This article in The Register references Verisign studies which highlight threats to ecommerce and the Internet infrastructure. It's worth a read, as are the reports it links to.


Brian Jones on Microsoft's Office XML Formats

Over at the Microsoft Developers Network blog pages, Brian Jones explains the implementation of XML in the formats used in the next version of Microsoft Office. He even marks the difference between Open Office's XML format and Microsoft's. Not too much detail, but it clears up many of the misconceptions I've heard floating about.


SANS - Internet Storm Center - Cooperative Cyber Threat Monitor And Alert System - Current Infosec News and Analysis

I found this a comprehensive "executive summary" of MS updates.
Just in case.

OT: related to RSS feeds, it looks to me like the RSS feed has changed. I was curious if feedburner had warned "us", or not, cause this is the 3rd or 4th site, I've found affected by it. I'm trying to figure out what happened, cause I depend on my RSS!! *stomp* :)


Tips: How to Migrate to a New PC

A good article on approaches to moving your digital life from one machine to another. The free Microsoft settings transfer tool does just that -- you don't get your apps moved, just the non-executable files. I have had mixed results with Alohabob's product: failed a couple of years ago but worked the last time I tried it. PC Relocator is another product I have used successfully.

Free Wireless WiFi/VoIP Router Trade-In Deal

If you have an old 802.11b 11 Mbps wireless router and were thinking about switching to voice over IP (VoIP), then Linksys and Vonage have a great deal for the next six weeks.

Buy a Linksys wireless VoIP router at retail for $130 and get it all back when you submit the old router with a rebate coupon.

IDC Q1 2005 Server Market Puts Unix and Windows in Dead Heat

IDC and Gartner are both placing Windows servers at about the same revenue as Unix servers -- but there are ten times as many x86 and x64 servers sold on a volume basis. On a units basis, Microsoft gets a license on about 7 out of every 10 servers sold.

I was not surprised by these market reports. My field research says it continues to be an absolutely brutal market, with fierce price competition on even deals under $5,000.

-- Peter S. Kastner

Microsoft under fire for censoring China blogs

By Chinese law, Microsoft has to censor local blogs, excising phrases like "Taiwan independence" and "Mao Zedong" from blog headlines. Civil rights advocates are apoplectic -- at Microsoft.

Let's please give Microsoft a break. They need to abide by local law in order to stay in a key global market. No one is being directly hurt by the censorship, unlike, say, what happened in Tianamen Square. Lastly, the censorship just won't work. Spammers seem to be able to get through a lot of filtering in order to sell V1agra and C1al1s, right? The bloggers will just switch to codewords, acronyms, and other techniques that easily bypass automated censor filters.

-- Peter S. Kastner

HP Splits Off PCs From Imaging Division

HP today announced that it has appointed R. Todd Bradley to serve as executive vice president of its Personal Systems Group (PSG), which includes the company's notebook and desktop PCs, handhelds, monitors, workstations and related support services. Bradley, 46, most recently spent four years at palmOne, Inc., three as president and chief executive officer. His appointment re-establishes PSG as a standalone business, following its combination in January 2005 with the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG). Vyomesh (V.J) Joshi, who had served as executive vice president of the combined Imaging and Personal Systems Group, will resume his former role as executive vice president of IPG.

Bradley has a reputation as a cost-cutter and supply-chain builder at PalmOne. He has lots of material to work with in the HP PSG. I wish him well. HP investors will expect PC margins to at least double. That's doable, but a feat that HP has not achieved yet.

VJ Joshi can now return to running the $25 billion imaging division. Carly Fiorina's decision to merge PSG and ISG in January, which occurred about the time the HP board decided enough was enough, asked Joshi to merge two, $25 billion divisions and increase profits in global, highly competitive markets. There's a difference between challenging managers and throwing them under the bus. Joshi looks none the worse for being run over by the bus.

-- Peter S. Kastner

FCC Solves VoIP E911 Problem With Sticker

The FCC issued rules on June 3rd that require VoIP telephones have a warning sticker attached. The FCC definition of a VoIPadapter includes Internet-connected PCs, laptops and handheld devices with "soft phones," which are software-based VoIP phones. Thus, your wireless Bluetooth headset may have to have an orange warning label hanging from it. Future wireless services such as Wimax will also have to solve the E911 problem.

Expect "fees" to increase.

AOL, Comcast, T-Mobile Users Lead Denial of Service Attacks

Internet "zombie" attacks that attempt to knock computer systems offline are more likely to come from users of America Online than any other source, according to a report released by a security company on Tuesday. AOL and other large Internet service providers serve as launching pads for most "denial of service" attacks, according to Prolexic Technologies, which helps companies fend off such attacks. Other top sources of such attacks include T-Mobile's German-based service; Wanadoo, a French Internet provider; and Comcast Corp.

The report, by Denial of Service (DDoS) software company Prolexic Technologies, shows the major ISPs' customers are the source of the bulk of "zombie" PC clients that do the attacking in DDoS attacks. The top 5 U.S. ISPs on the Prolexic "bad ISP" list are AOL, Comcast, Bellsouth, Verizon and Ameritech. I hope the Baby Bell networks are more securley managed than their customers!

The implications are clear: social and political pressure will be applied on the miscreant ISPs to force their subscribers to practice safe computing. If not, the likely effects of a coordinated DDoS attack on government, military, and commercial/economic interests of the U.S. are nothing short of terrorism. However, recent DDoS attacks are nothing more than extortion against online sites, which should not be condoned either.

-- Peter S. Kastner

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Do Google Ads Help Fund Spyware?

Do Google Ads Help Fund Spyware?: "Google's sponsored-link ads may have helped turn the world's best-known search engine into a financial powerhouse, but they also are coming under attack for contributing to spyware practices that undermine trust on the Web. "
When you're on top, everyone takes shots at you. The latest criticisms of the United States' biggest media company: that Adwords funds spyware. Well-known anti-spyware researcher Ben Edelman leveled the charges in a detailed report, focusing in on IBIS and Ask Jeeves as delivering spyware-ridden toolbars using Google's targeted classified ads. Is there substance to the charges? Read our story, follow the links for more information, and decide for yourself.

The slow road to Windows XP

Is your business still running Windows 2000. If so you are not alone.

One of the reasons is that companies are keeping older equipment. In some cases companies have paid for Windows XP licenses and haven't upgraded. In other cases, companies are happy with the operating system and office apps that they have bought and paid for and see little reason for spending more money to upgrade.

I love this quote from the ariticle: "It seems to be taking longer each time" for customers to upgrade, said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.

I personally think the combination of needing higher powered hardware, and the slow economic recovery have made companies reluctant to spend the money and labor resources needed to upgrade. But thats just my guess. Read the article and see what you think.

Adobe flaw puts PCs at risk | Tech News on ZDNet

Adobe flaw puts PCs at risk | Tech News on ZDNet
A flaw in several of Adobe Systems' popular graphics design applications could expose users to hacker attacks, the software maker has warned.
Check your Adobe for updates.
And remember tomorrow is Windows updates day!

Adobe flaw puts PCs at risk | Tech News on ZDNet

Adobe flaw puts PCs at risk | Tech News on ZDNet
A flaw in several of Adobe Systems' popular graphics design applications could expose users to hacker attacks, the software maker has warned.
Check your Adobe for updates.
And remember tomorrow is Windows updates day!

Monday, June 13, 2005

A diehard Pc guy gets a MAC mini-UPDATE

OK, Started using a 3 button mouse (TY JOE lol). Made life much easier. Actually heard the OC show on it for a bit yesterday. (MP3 feed). Got Firefox as default Browser, Safari is OK but, I already sort of know Firefox. Next is get it hooked up to my KVM switch. I have a feeling it's my USB to PS/2 adapter. Getting another one. I'll See. Updates when I can.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

OnComputers Podcast

This is the On Computers podcast for 06-12-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.