Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Links from the Gregg Zone!"

Hi everyone:

It seems I’m the new kid on the block around here, so I thought I should introduce myself. My name is Gregg a long time friend of Joe’s who you all know as AlaskaJoe; we go back close to forty years now. We met in southern California, driving taxi cabs back in the early seventies, he has been as close as my brother ever since We, along with a couple of other long time friends get together every morning for coffee, thanks to this marvelous age we live in, and the graces of skype. Anyway he ask me to do a spot for his show, web, and blog pages about web surfing. Since it is a favorite pass time of mine, and I seem to a have an ability to find some different and interesting material out there, it sounded like it might be fun, so I’m going to give it a shot, and see what happens.

Here’s a short bio, to let you know a little more about me, I’m single, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, just turned a new decade last year (now officially old). While my computer expertise is limited (some would say severely), I am getting better. I have a wide variety of interests; and a fondness for the unusual; my interests include science, new technology, anything related to human consciousness, where we came from as well as where we might be going to, metaphysic’s, world events past and present, those edgy web site’s that border on political extremes, those site’s that are almost unbelievable (but could be), and the totally absurd ones. I very much like web based movies, video clips, and audio. In the mainstream I like reading, radio (mostly talk), I have lost interest in almost all television, with the exception of, Nova, 60 Min., History, Food, Discovery, Animal Planet, and a few of the Pundit type political shows, however usually the commercials drive me away before I completely watch anything. I also seem to have a new and developing interest in Netflix movies, mostly non-mainstream stuff, documentaries, foreign, lectures, film noir, sci-fi, and the missed classics, I have been finding allot of movie leads on the net, looking and searching genre such as cult classics, film noir, and particular subject matters that interest me.

I’m not at all sure how this will develop, and would welcome any suggestions you may have. In the beginning I have decided that I will try and highlight about three to five sites a week, these I will attempt to spread over subjects as varied as I can, from totally believable to the almost over the top. I am sure there will be a very small group interested in them all, however if you find one or two to spark your interest I will feel satisfied. I would also like very much to hear from you, about subjects that I might be interested in.

So here we go:

1) Where is my flying car? This is something that was promised to me ever since I was a little kid, you know the Jetsons, those futuristic prediction guru’s, year after year said I would have one, the science shows and magazines, showed me blueprints, and artist depictions, Disneyland had models, or how about Mel Gibson’s taxi cab in the movie “The Fifth Element” was that cool or what. Well it may be closer than you think, at least there is hope. Take a look at this well worth clicking around the site, they are very serious, unfortunately it looks like it will be made in China.

2) When I see a story in the news I always wonder just how it may be changed due to the interpretation of the news room here in the states. It is kind of interesting to read the story as presented to the local people where it originated. This is the best site I have found to do that . Here you can just click on any country (there are over two hundred of them), then find a newspaper from the city you are looking for, and read the story from the perspective of that culture. There are also links to tons of magazines some free and some subscriber type, they are broken down into various interest categories. So if you happen to hear a story about several people injured by armed dacoits at Phulbariya-8 in Katmandu yesterday you can check it out, just go to site, look under Asia, click on Nepal, click on Himalayan Times, and there you go.

3) Here are a couple of links related to something I believe we all need to be following very closely, I wrote a blog on the radio’s blog page about it you can read that here , I also wrote a follow up with more links as a prelude to this weeks show during which Joe said he was going to devote some time to this issue. We all need to get involved in protecting our rights in this regard. If we do not speak up money, and power will very much change the landscape of the internet we all love so much. ,

4) This is one of my current favorite sites it is taking up way to much of my time at the moment. The site has lots, probably hundreds of lectures, lots of video and audio, dealing with science; any subject you can think of, interviews with Nobel Prize Winners, the latest new research going on, advances that are expected in the near and distant future.

I was watching a documentary “Genghis Blues” excellent movie, but Richard Feynman the physicist was in the movie so being curious I wanted to know more about him, and started looking around found this site that has many videos from his lectures on light that he did in New Zealand in the 1970’s. Any way that’s how I got hooked

5) To wrap it up for this week I’m going to say a few words about Netflix, I have to begin by saying, that I was never a fan of the usual movies. But Netflix was always sending these offers for a two week free trial, and there were two or three movies I was curious about so I thought I would just watch those and cancel the whole thing out, “just here for the free stuff”, that kind of deal.

Well I was very pleasantly surprised by what was available. I like documentaries, non-fiction, and the edgy stuff. While looking around at the site I found a series on human consciousness, 5 DVD’s covering interviews with twenty different scientists all from different fields, talking about how they viewed the subject, and what part of the brain, body, or neither they considered our consciousness to come from. It was from a 2003 symposium, and allot of it was way over my head, but it was on a subject that has always interested me. That got me started; I branched into foreign films, and a few other areas. Then I started searching for the obscure movies that did not make the award shows, those that some how never made it into the main stream. I started looking on the internet for lists on film noir, cult film, foreign films, stuff that other people liked enough to list on the net. Now I’m hooked it is so much better than driving to the video store, always worrying about paying for something I won’t like, the money, the gas, the time, the hassle. With Netflix I have been getting fifteen to twenty movies a month, I have been watching movies I never would have considered at the store and found some real treasures. And I go to the mail box every day anyway, so there is no hassle at all.

Well that’s it for the first week anyway looking forward to hearing any thing and everything, from anybody. Suggestions on sites, movies, rants, raves, good or bad, ideas, complaints, you name it. Gregg

Friday, January 19, 2007

Get ready to set your clocks forward, I think...

To quote :

Date change in 2007

On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November. The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress. Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.

ps. I got there from ( the official US time site )

Is your flash drive fast enough for Vista’s ReadyBoost?

Ed Bott's blog post on the subject is enlightening, but a bit late, seeing as I already went out and bought a 2 GB flash drive from SanDisk that simply does not measure up, making less than half it's advertised speed on several tests. (Having used a special discount coupon, I cannot return the device, either, and am taking things up directly with the maker. More on this as it happens.

Be sure to follow the first link in the post by Bott, which will take you to a post by George Ou with more information on the same subject.

And watch out when buying flash memory devices. I sure wish I had.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Windows Vista Team Blog : Multiple announcments about Vista Pricing

Yesterday, the upgrades within versions of Vista were announced on the Vista Blog.

Good news arrives today on several Windows Vista-related fronts, my friends ... read on.

Windows Anytime Upgrade

Today we're announcing further detail on how Windows Anytime Upgrade works. Come 30 January, Windows Anytime Upgrade will allow customers to purchase and download a digital key to upgrade to a more feature-rich edition of Windows Vista. The user will then complete the upgrade process by inserting the Windows Vista DVD that came with their PC or with their retail purchase of Windows Vista. The program will be available in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) to upgrade from a more basic version of Windows Vista are:

* Home Basic --> Home Premium: $79
* Home Basic --> Ultimate: $199
* Home Premium --> Ultimate: $159
* Business --> Ultimate: $139

We've designed Windows Anytime Upgrade as a measure of convenience for our customers and hope it proves to be a way for you to more easily advance to a more fully-featured edition of Windows Vista.

Windows Family Discount

Also, today we're announcing news that makes it easier and more economical for those of you with multiple systems at home -- like many of you who read this blog -- to upgrade to Windows Vista. If you have need for fewer than 5 licenses for home use, you can upgrade all of your home systems by taking advantage of the Windows Vista Family Discount. (Volume licensing is the way to go if you have need for more than 5 licenses.) This program will also begin at our retail availability launch on 30 January.

The Windows Vista Family Discount was in part inspired by feedback from tech enthusiasts like you who told us that previously it was less than convenient to upgrade every node on their home networks.

We heard you loud and clear in planning the Windows Vista Family Discount. Here's how it works:

* Buy a retail copy of Windows Vista Ultimate (full or upgrade version)
* Between 30 January – 30 June, order up to two copies of Windows Vista Home Premium online
* Pay only $49.99 for each copy of Windows Vista Home Premium
* Valid in North America (US and Canada)

I'm very impressed that they are handling family licensing this way, it seems very fair. I was checking out the Vista Page, and you can only upgrade from XP (although I'm confident the majority of smart people with do a clean install). That appears to be more of a hardware issue, than anything else. Although Vista will scale down to utilize the available hardware (or so it is said...) they are certainly giving people a pretty obvious warning that this requires significant computer resources. I've downloaded the Vista Upgrade Advisor, and we'll see what that says about my system. I hope to remember to post it, when I do.

Mr. Linguini mentioned Bitlocker to me, and I read a review by Paul Thurott on the Ultimate Extras, of which BitLocker is a part.

Windows Vista Team Blog : Multiple announcments about Vista Pricing

Attack code out for 'critical' Windows flaw

Computer code that exploits a security vulnerability in Windows has been published on the Internet, making it more urgent for users of the operating system to patch.
Microsoft provided a fix for the flaw last week with security bulletin MS07-004. At the time, the company warned that it had already seen limited cyberattacks exploiting the vulnerability.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Twilight Years of Cap'n Crunch

John Draper has had a huge effect on tech, for a lot of different reasons, some slightly unsavory, all a direct result of his brilliance. This Wall Street Journal will let you know what he has been up to, his difficulties and triumphs.


Persistent zombie attacks target Symantec corporate software

Symantec first dismissed the threat, but worm attacks that exploit a known security hole in the company's corporate antivirus tool are proving to be persistent.

I'm just SHOCKED!
Who would have ever though Symantec would ever let a worm get in?

McAfee Avert® Labs Technical White Papers

Go ahead; scare yourself to death!

Actually, these white papers by McAfee personel and hirelings are not anywhere near as filled with hype as they could be. Most are fairly straight-forward and level-headed. Really! If you want a decent overview of the most prevalent security threats, you could do a lot worse than these. I read two and thought them informative and lacking in either hype or product promotion. They also are not overly long - an under-appreciated trait in this area.



Could invisibility beat encryption?

Can you hide files in plain sight? Apparently you can, using this software from PCMesh.

The article points out that this is much weaker than stout encryption, but that may not be the point, if all you want to do is hide your wife and your love letters from the kids, or some other lightweight security chore. This is probably worth checking out, for a number of users.

Personally, I will stick with encryption for the little bit of use I have for such techniques. I can spare the time it takes and I like the certaintly that 2048 bit encryption will not be realistically breakable any time soon. I only have just over 59 megabytes encrypted, which eases the burden considerably. I really don't have that much to hide.

Even so; this is an interesting development and if it interests you, the article has a link to the company's page.


Monday, January 15, 2007

On the importance of backward compatibility

Ian Murdock, he of DebIAN Linux and the Linux Standards Base project, has an interesting entry in his web log on backwards compatibility. It is short and definitely worth your time. In it, he contrasts the positions of Microsoft and Apple to this important issue and places Linux squarely with MS on it. That's okay, because Microsoft has the right idea on this one.

This one is worth the few minutes of your time it will take.


On the importance of backward compatibility

Ian Murdock of DebIAN Linux and the Linux Standards Base project writes about backward compatibility. It's a short essay and extremely illuminating, especially where it contrasts policies in place at Microsoft and Apple.

This one is definitely worth your time.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 01-14-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 01-14-07. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.