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.