Saturday, October 07, 2006


GeekBrief.TV is a cool videoblog that is short, and has a perky geek hostess, Cali Lewis. I became aware of the podcast through one of Leo's " network podcasts." They were part of a mashup ( nice job PodcastSalad!! )of save the internet videos which is the YouTube link posted below (Oh look that's Cali, right there (OT: how is the frame picked by Youtube? I've always wondered)): Ep. 75

This concludes your SavetheInternet update. Enjoy! :)

Microsoft gives adware pusher an MVP award

Yep, once again Microsoft has put its foot in its mouth. This time it was by naming an adware purveyor as an MVP. This takes nothing away from all the honest and hardworking MVPs who have been such a help to us end users over the years, but whoever in Redmond pulled this blunder needs his hard drive examined. And what was the evilware bundled with this new MVPs software you ask? No, it was not something borderline or merely annoying. It was LOP, which is only a small step down from CWS.

I'm with Ed Bott who has called for MS to click the Undo button. Yes, please, and quickly.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Open DNS

Been meaning to post this for quite some time. ISP DNS stinks? Check this out. It's DNS servers open to all. I've been using them and they work fine.

Hardware in Review: Lenovo ThinkPad T60p review

Linux compatible ThinkPads explained, along with a very good review of the T60 series ThinkPads. This is definitely worth your time.


Sticking with Windows XP: The Case Against Windows Vista

I got my Windows Vista RC1 DVDs the other day and promptly installed the 64 bit version. I only live once right? Even though I knew I would encounter more driver problems with the 64 bit edition, it went pretty well and I have a dual boot between Vista and XP Pro. I've played with Vista for about 6 hours. It is different in a number of minor ways, but enough like XP that I've adapted to the changes more easily than I had expected.

Aeroglass is okay, but not a deal-maker for me. I probably most like the taskbar button thumbnails -- those are neat, but again, not nearly $300 worth of neat. I add that to the driver incompatibility issues and the shakedown period that any new OS needs and I'll be sticking with XP for a while. At least until Vista SP1 and until I replace enough hardware because some of my older hardware will never support Vista 64 drivers (if I can't move to 64 bit what is the point, really?)

After having a good look at Vista RC1 on my own hardware, I decided to see what Paul Thurrott was saying these days. I spotted this article. It is timely and so agrees with what I've experienced so far. Based on my personal experience with Vista, I think he has a good point.

Microsoft keelhauls customers in WGA snafu

They call it "Windows Genuine Advantage". The advantage is all Microsoft's, no matter how often and how much they try to tell us they are doing it for our benefit. The system is fatally flawed and Microsoft is in a state of denial over that.

In the last few months, I have seen a 2 year old OEM installation of XP Home (a Compaq laptop) repeatedly be declared invalid. Thank Goodness HPQ is sympathetic and willing to help. Other OEMs have been less receptive and Microsoft's only interest is in getting you to pay for another license, no matter that you already have. They want full retail, too. One has to wonder how many clueless users have paid up in order to not have to deal with the hassles. I'm betting the number is fairly high.

The situation is going to get a whole lot worse when Vista and Longhorn Server get here. Vista will almost completely shut you down if WGA thinks you have a pirated copy or you haven't activated your copy in time. You will be able to use the browser to navigate the Internet, but nothing else. And you get logged off after an hour. False positives here will cause users to shed a LOT of tears, whether of pain or frustration.

Ed Bott's blog on ZDNet has his take on it.
And an older post on WGA.

This is David Berlind's announcement of the kill switch in a
ZDNet blog post.

And in the interest of fairness, Microsoft's justification.

Read it and weep.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Firefox JavaScript security "a complete mess"? More like a hoax (updated)

So much for my getting all alarmed.

Apparently the presentation I reported on is less than the presenters said it was. However, some of us have done some testing and can indeed compromise our subject machines in ways related to this. So, there is some vulnerability, even though it is not quite as it was depicted to be.

The Mozilla folks are still at it, evaluating everything and I expect to see an update coming out of this within the next few days.


Boing Boing: Day against DRM

Cory Doctorow writes:
Today is October 3, the International Day Against DRM -- the first global day where people rise up and say no to anti-copying technology that treats you like a crook. Remember, DRM doesn't stop "piracy" -- the only people who get DRM infections are people who don't pirate their media. You get DRM by buying your movies, music, games and books through authorized channels -- the stuff you download from P2P or buy off of a blanket at a flea-market has already had the DRM cracked off of it. They say that DRM "keeps honest people honest" -- but all it does is keep honest people in chains.

The article includes some tips to help celebrate today.
Boing Boing: Day Against DRM
[h/t to Militant Geek for the graphic]


Taking passwords to the grave | CNET

What are your plans about this? Let us know your solutions in the comments, please. I'd seen this last week, and mentioned it in the chat on Sunday, but Bruce Schneier's posting it reminded me to post it on our blog. There are some options in the comments of that post, too.

William Talcott, a prominent San Francisco poet with dual Irish citizenship, had fans all over the world. But when he died in June of bone marrow cancer, his daughter couldn't notify most of his contacts because his e-mail account--and the online address book he used--was locked up.

Complete article


Monday, October 02, 2006

Hackers claim zero-day flaw in Firefox

Apparently the javascript engine in all implementations of the popular FireFox browser are broken badly enough to need a complete re-write. Whatever it is, I am sure they will do it fast. The Mozilla folks are good about that.

This just reinforces my opinion that the browser (any browser) is the most threatening application on the computer. I still use eLinks, links and occasionally lynx, which are text-only browsers and much less vulnerable, simply because they are not designed to do nearly as much as a "regular" graphic browser is.

The NoScript extension to FireFox is a good way to get around this. I simply turned of javascript in the FireFox preferences and will live with broken web sites until a real fix for the browser is available.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 10-01-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 10-01-06. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.