Thursday, April 12, 2007

Interesting things found while surfing the internets

1. NASA was able to estimate the size of a Black Hole based on Chandra Exploratory's view of the galaxy. This is very impressive AND it gives me an option to put a picture on this post. ;) More pictures of NGC 1365.

2. Mark Russinovich, formerly of Sysinternals and rootkit detection fame, now working at Microsoft, wrote recently about botnets, and the logical progression of email vulnerabilities. I found it pretty scary myself, and wanted to alert the readers of the blog. Mark writes:
Botnets by Email

I make no effort to hide my email address, which means that I know the instant a new email-based virus, phishing attack, or penny-stock-pumping scam launches when my inbox floods. Most such emails are easy to distinguish from legitimate emails because of their lack of personalization, poor grammar, or low-quality images that attempt to foil spam filters. On occasion, however, I get a message that causes me to examine it a little more closely in order to make sure it’s junk. I also look out for ones that might trick unsophisticated users.

BotNet exploration

3. From BoingBoing, I see a job that might interest some. Cory Doctorow writes:
The Free Software Foundation, a nonprofit that manages the GPL copyleft license and promotes the use of free software, is hiring a new campaigns manager. This looks like a sweet gig!

"The Campaigns Manager implements the FSF communications strategy and works as part of a team to develop and implement issue campaigns and community resources, acting as a spokesperson on matters of software freedom. The Campaigns Manager handles writing, editing, speaking, and research related to these activist and program efforts; coordinates the GNU Chief Webmaster and the other webmaster volunteers to develop FSF and GNU web sites; plans and implements proposals to increase fundraising; and serves as a main point of contact between the Foundation and the free software community."



E-Eye Zero Day Tracker

It's time to check for "zero day" vulnerabilities again.

It's no coincidence that we just had Patch Tuesday and these things pop up. Some security researchers intentionally release them then.

Anyway; this is not a particularly bad report. There are things there of which you need to be aware, but none of them are overly alarming.


Want the old Office ‘Classic Menus’ back in Office 2007?

I can't figure out if this is some sort of karmic extortion or just plain sad. But after paying all that money for whatever version of Office 2007, you can pay $29.95 to Addintools of Hai Nan, China for an application that reverses all the "ribbon" menu changes MS has made and gives you more conventional menus back.

Anyway; the link above will take you to something of a mini-review. It seems to work and I know more than one person who will welcome this.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AVG Anti-Rootkit Free

I have not tested this application at all. Still, the AVG folks are reliable and don't ever seem to release untested or overly buggy stuff, so it's probably worth downloading and testing.

Rootkits are, after all, a growing menace. They often go undetected by anti-virus or other anti-malware applications because their signatures have not appeared in the wild before and so are not included in the application's signature database, against which it compares executable code to detect virii, etc. This application may be just what we need for anti-rootkit protection.


Dreaming in the "Cloud" with the XIOS web operating system

XIOS is an "operating system that runs in a web browser". I'm not entirely sure what that means, as one still has to have a "native" OS on one's machine to support the browser itself.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting concept though, as the article points out, it's hard to see where XIOS fits in the scheme of things. I thought you might like to see this Ars Technica mini review of it.


Experts: Microsoft should consider change in patching process

I agree with this article.

The recent .ANI vulnerability had been known to MS since last December. I don't understand why they did not produce a patch sooner. They have the resources to move faster. Of that I am sure. Yet they don't. So, a lot of people were affected by something they could have patched in the normal course of events, if only they had pried open their wallet and invested in enough staff to get on the problem in a timely manner.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 04-08-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 04-08-07. 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.

Remember GeekMeet 2007 is in Boston this year. If you are coming send an email to

Testing shared Google reader posts


"Links from the Gregg Zone!"

1) One of the things I like most about cruising around the internet is
bumping into things I really know nothing or very little about. Some times good, sometimes not so good, or in this case a little scary. I personally have never heard of Codex Alimentarius, nor was I particularly worried when I googled their main site it looked innocent enough, the only thought I had was the site seemed very well set up. Then I looked at the site I have listed here, watched the video, clicked around some and found some strange and seriously worrisome information, want to follow my tracks click on the
Article- Nutricide: The killing camps of Codex Alimentarius link under news, then the download full pdf file. Reads like a James Bond spy novel complete with Nazi world domination plots to control the world food supply. I have not decided what I believe about this whole thing, but if even a little is true it is scary.

2) I'm always looking for another useless time wasting pastime, I kind
of like collecting something, and I kind of miss the chase when nothing is available. I'm camped out at Joe's house for a while need to think about what I can take home with me, on the plane, weight and all. So I have started something new I have decided to start collecting one dollar bill origami. Here is a link for the first one I found, a bow tie, if you know of any more please let me know.

3) I thought I would do a quick up date on the pet food recall as it
seems to be lingering in the news, while looking for an update I ran into this site. This is the place to check in if you are concerned about any thing like this regarding your pets. Here they even have copies of the notification papers to vets, what to look for in the way of symptoms, treatment, and other recalls not getting the media attention, also info on the legal end of the issue if you were damaged by the problem.

4) I have been reminded several times that this is Easter Sunday I
thought I would post a site for Easter eggs. That is the tech type, for those not familiar with them in the context of software (get that Cadbury Bunny out of your head!), an Easter Egg is a hidden feature or novelty that the programmers have put in their software. In general, it is any hidden, entertaining thing that a creator hides in their creation only for their own personal reasons. This can be anything from a hidden list of the developers, to hidden commands, to jokes, to funny animations. You'd be surprised just how many things contain Easter Eggs. This site has 10,357 so far 61 new ones in the last two weeks. You can even add new ones you may find, have fun .

5) Just a quickie for the Art Bell types. For those who know about the
Princeton Egg's, the site has changed some since I was there. For those who are not familiar you might check it out. It is an experiment in global consciousness set up by Princeton University back in 1998 using random generators it has been running continually for almost ten years now. Seem to have recorded most of the major events, 9-11, the tsunami, major earthquakes and more, days and hours before the event happens. The site is broken down into two areas, 1) Scientific work, and 2) The Aesthetic View, very interesting site, the dot shows coherence, that's new green good, red duck, and run.

UK firm claims 100 per cent no-spam guarantee

UK firm ClearMyMail guarantees they will stop all spam with sophisticated filtering techniques. It's a bold claim, but tempting enough that I am wondering if they sell the service to Americans.

Along the same notion, a UK man who successfully sued a spammer over a single email message has set up a site here encouraging people to sue spammers. They're interesting and, frankly, I have wondered if I should not get involved with suing spammers as a nice way to increase my income.


eXtreme Power Supply Calculator

Extreme Outer Vision has cobbled a database of various hardware bits into a power usage calculator that you can use to make a pretty decent estimate of how much power a given system will take.

Something like this is long overdue, in my less than humble opinion, and according to friends and other journalists, the results obtainable from this are much more accurate than one might think, which probably means they've done their homework. With systems taking more and more power as time goes by, a tool like this will tell you how big a power supply you will need on that new 32 core system.