Saturday, October 01, 2005


I'm sitting here in Illinois on a quiet Saturday morning with broadband to play with. Among other things that are easier to do, downloading and listening to podcasts is not an excercise in futility as it is at home. While playing around with iPodder I discovered that it would use a one-click podcast subscription service called PodNova.

Many of you have already discovered this no doubt, but for those of you like me who haven't, go check it out. I think it is very cool and I have added a "chiclet" for subscribing to our Podcast via PodNova, to the links section of this blog.

The Trend Spotter

Wired News has a really nice story/interview with Tim O'Reilly, he of tech book publishing fame. It's a fun read. He's an interesting man and besides, his books have saved my butt more times than I care to admit.


Friday, September 30, 2005

Ubuntu carves niche in Linux landscape | Tech News on ZDNet

"It's not easy building a new version of Linux and establishing a large following. But with the Ubuntu project, one team of programmers has managed to do just that. "
Once again Jack is ahead of things. Go for it Jack!

Microsoft confirms next XP service pack | Tech News on ZDNet

Microsoft has revealed plans to release a third service pack for its Windows XP operating system. "Windows XP SP3 will be available sometime next year--after the launch of Windows Vista, which 'is the priority for the development teams,' according to Microsoft France. "

F-Secure adds rootkit detection

This is obviously a good thing. Rootkits have existed for quite a while in the *nix world but to my knowledge have not gotten a lot of publicity in the Windows world until fairly recently but are apparently becoming much more prevalent. I first became aware of rootkits while reading "Exploiting Software" by Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw, an excellent book for anyone interested in the geeky details of this. (Be concerned, be very concerned.) The scary thing about rootkits is how stealthy they can be, as well as the damage they can do. I imagine that most of the antivirus/anti-spyware companies will be looking into rootkit detection soon. One more example of the "bad guys" becoming ever better at what they do and the "good guys" forever playing catch-up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Microsoft Releases Office 2003 Service Pack 2

Just happened to catch this new release this morning. Some of the features in SP2 are security related, so Office 2003 users should evaluate and install this update.

Create a Windows CD for PCs That Don't Have Onete

PC World Magazine has a quick and fairly easy to create an install disk for Windows XP. Anyone can thus make a disk which will repair the operating system while being respectful of your data and installed applications.

This has been coming up a lot lately in our #ICUG chat. This is a serviceable solution. So much so that I intend making one for many of the client PCs I deal with, figuring that the cost is low enough and the potential savings in time and frustration will make it worthwhile.


Tom's Hardware: Comparison Testing of 22 Hard Disk Drives

Tom's hardware "put 14 SATA and 8 UltraATA models through their paces in the THG test labs. The result is a familiar look and feel for a new product category round-up: hard disks."
Since, I just bought 3 hard drives, it's typical that yesterday Tom's did a review of them all. I ordered 2 Maxtor Diamond Max 160GB HDs, for my netgear SC101 (whenever ships it,I have the other items I ordered) with a 3 year warranty, and a Seagate 120GB with a 5 year warranty, with a great rebate, at best buy. I like the longer warranties, to minimize the cost of hardware failures, but as I type this I wonder if them being PATA133 will be what makes them obsolete.... (I do have SATA connectors on this mobo, but don't have any drives that are, yet.)

Good article, as usual, from Tom's.

read more | digg story

RealPlayer, Helix users at risk of attack -- Updated

Exploit code has already been posted, according to this article. Other sources agree.

Apparently, the security researcher who found the flaw notified Real Networks, who are hard at work on a fix. Somehow, though, word got out prematurely, so the flaw became known before a fix was ready. It will be released as soon as possible, I am sure.

The only protection you have is to not play files from untrusted sources in Real Player or Helix.

Keep a close eye out for the fix. The problem apparently only affects installations on the Windows operating systems, though I am unable to find anything definitive on that. I'm not using Real Player in Linux until I know for sure. Not that I use it much anyway.


Update; According to ZDNet UK Linux and Unix users ARE at risk from this flaw. I just uninstalled the application on our Linux machines. I'll reinstall when the new version containing the fix is released.

Linus Torvalds is Concerned About Linux Kernel Development

Linux has been developed at an incredible pace, over the years since it was first released in 1991. Linus Torvalds has worries about the strain it is putting on chief kernel maintainer Andrew Morton. Read about it at

In the article linked to above, you'll see references to "finishing" the Linux kernel and to the slowdown in patches and feature addition. This is somewhat misleading. The kernel will never be "done" in any real sense. What is meant by this is that it is reaching maturity; the mythical point where it just has to keep up with available hardware and related technologies and not play "catch-up" to other operating systems. At that point, development will slow noticeably, which will be a good thing. Users will have to change their systems less often to keep up with security and functional needs. This can only help the acceptance of Linux, both by regular users and in the corporate data center.


Anti-Spyware Suits Signal Possible New Era

It may just be that lawsuits will do what legislation cannot; make spyware providers reform in part or entirely.

I can barely contain my anticipation.

Jack - Treo moving to Windows - Sep 27, 2005

Very interesting. Treo, which is made by Palm, will start using Windows Phone edition, not Palm OS.

Is this the beginning of the end for Palm?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trusted search software labels fraud site as 'safe'

Here's a story in The Register that illustrates some of the problems involved with certificates ensuring users a site can be trusted. The incident was dealt with quickly and efficiently, though the whole things raises a lot of questions about certificate based security.


VIA Strongbox

VIA Technologies has come up with a software only security solution for laptops that I found very interesting. The link above is to the VIA site. While some of the news reports are just a little bit easier to grasp, every account I have found leaves out at least one thing I thought important.

This one is worth a look. It's important to note that this sort of solution is available to Linux users now and if third party software is used, Windows and Mac users can take advantage of it, as well.


Google's Founders didn't know HTML!

The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn't know HTML and just wanted a quick interface.

I guess everybody has their skill set :)

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CNET -- Technology news and business reports

I have mentioned the issues I had with before, in firefox. The article being pushed waaay down, after the sidebar.
The Beta site, is VERY much better! I left feedback, and I was kinda surprised that the choices as to the type of comment were all negative. Bringing sunshine into your life ;)


Windows Vista: Hardware and its Secret Advantage has Rob Enderle's take on Windows Vista and the hardware that will lie underneath it. It's an opinion piece, and clearly labelled as such. Even so, he is probably working with solid information. I thought what he had to say interesting and attractive. I think you will, as well.


Monday, September 26, 2005

How to Attack Mozilla Firefox

Proof of concept code is appearing around the web that attacks the recently patched flaws in Firefox, according to this article. If you've not patched/updated your Firefox installation yet, you need to.


Review of VMWare ACE has a review of VMWare's ACE, a remote virtualization product. While not terrible detailed, it does show a technology most of us have some familiarity with (on our PCs) in an enterprise setting. I think it's worth a read.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 09-25-05

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 09-25-2005. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp. We are now on the new server so there shouldn't be any more issues.


Here is a really great NEWS site it your a news junky.