Saturday, January 27, 2007


Here is a somewhat new direction in desktop design, function and layout. No matter what you think of it, Metisse is showing that people other than those at Apple are thinking of the desktop in terms other than eye-candy. (Are you listening, Microsoft?) It's worth checking out.

It is my fondest hope (well, after the one about the date with Julia Roberts, anyway) that we get some new directions in desktop design. Looks like I am getting my wish, though how long things will take is not clear at all.

Now to get to work on Julia.


Experts: Vendors need to reach DRM consensus

Elizabeth Montalbano has a nice short piece on the IDG News web site that sums up the state of DRM. There is little new in the piece, but the whole thing is here, in one place.

More and more, companies like Apple and Microsoft are under fire for the lack of interoperability inherent in their business plans. Norway has just declared such lock-in illegal. Other European nations are following.

Something has to change.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Microsoft announces extended support for XP

This is good news for all of us with older or lower powered computers with Windows XP Home or MCE installed. Those computers will never see Vista because they can't run it to it's full potential. So this will keep our older or lower powered hardware running for another 7 years. I consider 4 to 5 years at least a reasonable life for a computer before it either breaks down or becomes so obsolete in that it is no longer no capable of ordinary tasks with then current applications.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The definitive dual-booting guide: Linux, Vista and XP step-by-step

This looks like good directions for dual-booting, with XP and Linux, then Vista with Linux installed first and Linux with Vista installed first.

I'm betting there is going to be a lot of dual-boot Vista setups, as those who have to support it put it on machines where it won't get in their way most of the time. I, personally, am not going to dual-boot again, ever, I hope. I'll dedicate a machine to Vista. I don't have too much problem with that. But not everyone feels the same way, so here is the information you need if you're so inclined.


Memory Support and Windows Operating Systems

I upgraded the RAM in my main computer from 2GB to 3GB. I stopped at 3GB even though my Mobo could hold 4GB because I was told WindowsXP had a 3GB limit. I found this Microsoft web page.
"The virtual address space of processes and applications is still limited to 2 GB, unless the /3GB switch is used in the Boot.ini file."
I did see an improvement in the speed of my computer when I installed the 3rd GB. Time to reboot to see what happens.
Well I'm back after a reboot and to my surprise and delight my computer booted. I think a little faster from login, and as soon as I got all of my normal programs running (Outlook, Thurnderbird, mIRC, Tack Manager, Gaim, and Firefox, oh and Weather Watcher.) Things happen faster now, this will be fun.
This is only if you have more than 2GB or memory.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Security Oriented Web Sites

During last Sunday's show, Earl asked in our chat if I would catalog the security web sites I routinely check when looking at security issues. It is not a tremendously long list, but here they are.

For specific information on virus, worm and other malware removal, either do a Google on the name of it or go to the AV maker of your choice's site and see about information on how to accomplish that or removal tools.

Internet Storm Center

I check this one almost daily, and anytime there is a problem. You can glean a tremendous amount of information in a very short read, with links to help getting more information about problems and/or workarounds and fixes.


F-Secure Company web log

Both F-Secure's front page and the blog are interesting and likely to have the most details posted first of all the security companies, even if another team made the actual discovery. I don't know how they do this, but I think they maintain dedicated posting personnel all the time. At any rate, you can often enough get a 45 minute jump on other sites at these two that it is worth checking them first when trouble is in the wind.

Security Focus

More than simple security information, which clutters up the site a bit. Still, a very, very good resource for all things related to the well-being of your computer. They also have a bugtraq archive that is very useful, here.

Websence Security Labs

Loads of different threat information here. Some of it I consider a bit on the alarmist side in terms of it's presentation, but opinions vary on this and you should decide for yourself. No matter how it strikes you, there is a lot of good information here.

EEye Digital Security

EEye Tracker page for Zero-Day exploits

I watch both these pages as frequently as I can spare the time. They contain a lot of information and I have often used them in warning clients who might otherwise dismiss warnings by me as the result of my well-known paranoia.

Institute for Security and Open Methodologies

This is a place to learn about security. It will take a bit of time to wade through some of it, but there is a load of information here that cannot be found in any other single place. There are also security testing tools, some with detailed information on how to use the and interpret the results.

While nothing more than a handly listing of vulnerabilities and the code that exploits them, links to more information are provided for each entry. This is a very good place to go to get to some information on a problem in a hurrry, with little searching.

Ben Edelman's Site

We interviewed Ben in the past. He is one of the few definitive sources on adware/spyware infections. Ben is doing other things a lot more now, so he updates the site much less often than in the past. There is a good archive, though, and new articles do appear every couple months.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vista Service Pack 1 is coming

APC reckons Service Pack 1 for Vista will be out in the second half of 2007 and that it will include a lot of features that did not make it into the version to be released in a week from now.

The conventional wisdom has long held that it is not wise to move to a new Microsoft operating system until after SP1 in order to miss many of the issues that come with new code. But in this case it looks to me as if SP1 is intended as a rush job to make up for original features cut before RTM. I could be wrong about this. 11 months is how long it took for XP SP1 to debut and that would put the Vista SP1 release in December, 2007. But it sounds to me more like the release is planned for the summer and will contain mostly dumped features and not necessarily fixes for issues that have arisen since release.

I am not confident of Microsoft's ability to get Vista "right" and restored to it's originally planned glory for a while. Certainly not within a year.


Freebies @ PC Tools Software

PC Tools Software (makers of Spyware Doctor, among other applications) is now giving away Anti-Virus and personal firewall products. It is probably a good idea to check these out. We all know users who run with less than optimal protection because they do not have the purchase price of the necessaries. I will be downloading all I can and testing them and I suggest you do too. We can share our conclusions.


Teacher convicted due to porn pop-ups on infected computer

Is this a miscarriage of justice? A substitute school teacher in Connecticut has been found guilty of exposing children to porn when pop-ups appear on infected school computer. She could face up to 40 years in prison.

Direct link to the source of me finding out about this miscarriage of justice: SunbeltBLOG
This story needs to get more attention, as an educational effort if nothing else. I believe that most people [excluding present company, of course ;) ] don't have a clue about spyware, malware and popups. Its pretty apparent the forensic police "expert" certainly doesn't. Follow the link to get the entire story, along with updates. A Connecticut Board of Education member's blog [Region 19 BOE Gazette: Pornography in the Classroom; Justice Perverted], adds to the righteous indignation of fellow geeks, over this conviction.

read more | digg story

On Computers Radio Show Podcast 01-21-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 01-21-07. 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.