Saturday, July 28, 2007

Be a Simpsons Character!

Upload a photo and see what you'd look like on The Simpsons.


Friday, July 27, 2007

What is Tiny, Green, and Penguin-Friendly?

The slant of the article in XYZ Computing is systems for running Linux. However, if you're a Windows person, don't let that put you off. At least some of these systems are Vista-capable now and more could be. The same goes for Apple's OS X, should Apple decide we deserve an update to the Mac Mini. (Though they don't seem much interested in being a computer maker any more - a story for another time.)

I like some of these machines and all the small form-factor boxes I have seen have show at least some interesting features or performance points. These could well be the future of desktop computing for the majority of us, who need some power, but not the maximum available.

Have a look. It's a short read.


Slashdot | Cisco to Kill Linksys Brand Name

/. was sent the following info
"In a roundtable with the European press, John Chambers confirmed the "end of life" of the Linksys name, being replaced by the new and redesigned Cisco branding."

He explains, "It will all come over time into a Cisco brand. The reason we kept Linksys' brand because it was better known in the US than even Cisco was for the consumer. As you go globally there's very little advantage in that."

Slashdot | Cisco to Kill Linksys Brand Name
a potential regular Friday thang... :)
My shared feed items:
My Google reader shared items:

TGIF! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

EULA: What Are You Signing Away?

The link is to a relatively good article at Linux Insider's web site. Good, but not great. Still, it's short does give some of the problems with EULAs an airing. There is also a link to the EULA Hall of Shame, which I will repeat here.

My reasoning for posting this is that licensing issues are getting quite a bit of attention now and I expect there will soon be court cases attempting to clarify which rights a user can be compelled to give up via the EULA and which can not. Also, the recent adoption of the GNU General Public License, version 3 (GPLv3) is focusing attention on licensing terms, as well.

All this combines to equal a renewed emphasis on returning sanity to software licensing.


Storm Worm Erupts Into Worst Virus Attack In 2 Years -- Storm worm -- InformationWeek

You get an e-card from "a friend" or "a relative". You click on the link to pick up your card and you get a little something extra: a rootkit. You're computer is now a zombie. Welcome to Storm Worm.

Build your own server

Bit-Tech has a good series on building your own Ubuntu Linux server. Written by Ken Gypen, It's a clear guide. (I sure wish I could write that well!) They're at part 2 of at least 3. This is well worth your looking at.

Yes, I know a lot of you have had your imaginations captured by Windows Home Server. To a certain extent, so am I. It's certainly the most desireable product from MS in quite a while and I find it exciting, too. Even so; a Windows server is not everyone's cup of tea, for a variety of reasons. And then there is the fact that a lot of us would simply rather do it ourselves, whether to learn, out of concern for some aspect of performance or to save money, perhaps by utilizing some of that less than current hardware in the closet. Should you fall anywhere in there, this series of articles is for you.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fighting Viruses in Vista Without Antivirus Programs

Do you still need to use antivirus software to remain safe while running Windows Vista? Read the article to find out.

IPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says

From The NY times:
A team of computer security consultants say they have found a flaw in Apple’s wildly popular iPhone that allows them to take control of the device.

The researchers, working for Independent Security Evaluators, a company that tests its clients’ computer security by hacking it, said that they could take control of iPhones through a WiFi connection or by tricking users into going to a Web site that contains malicious code. The hack, the first reported, allowed them to tap the wealth of personal information the phones contain.

ISP Seen Breaking Internet Protocol to Fight Zombie Computers

The link above will take you to the "Threat Level" blog on the Wired News site.

Apparently at least one ISP is taking action against IRC channels they think might be used to control networks of compromised computers, commonly called "botnets".

This might be a good thing, or it might be a bad thing. The first impression I got was that actions like this are open to intentional or unintentional abuse. Reading this carefully only increased my anxieties.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Password vulnerability in Firefox

This is a relatively big one. It apparently affects Firefox on all platforms and the Apple Safari browser, as well.

The workaround is to disable javascript until a fix is available. That's what we have done here. I doubt that patching this will take long, so be sure to watch for an update or fix.


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 07-22-07

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 07-22-07. 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.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

United States Government Online Watchdogs? Part of the war on terror?

The title is a bit misleading.

The story is about unauthorized connections Vista makes. The story is incomplete. The detection of connections is not done with any rigor and nowhere does it say the installation of Vista that is tested is pristine, so there is a LOT of room for error with no attempt to minimize it at all. Even so; I find this alarming and think it needs desperately to be checked out.

Make up your own mind on this one (as if you wouldn't anyway) and it might well be time to check out on your own.


Microsoft 'silently' restores root certificates that users distrust and remove

I found this scary. I think you will as well, though I'm going to check some other sources before I push my paranoia into overdrive.


Pyro Desktop

Slashdot had a couple of Firefox posts, this morning, and I found both of interest.

The first is the Pyro desktop. It's an integrater, of sorts, that would amalgamate your desktop apps with web apps, so all would appear in the same window. I find it being written in javascript something of a problem, but that does not seem to bother those who are paid to know better than I. Check this one out at the link above.

The second is a call for a lightweight version of Firefox to work on older PCs. There is not link for this one. But the idea is that FF would win even more market share if it had a version that would run with alacrity on even the oldest graphic hardware. It's something to think about, I guess, though I wonder if it is really worth the effort. Perhaps a version geared to web applications would be more appropriate.


Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) This is my first post since getting back to Las Vegas after four months visiting Joe in Alaska. I thought I would do an item on metal detectors, and a mutual friend of Joe and myself. We have a friend Tony who plays with a metal detector on the beaches of California. He sent me a link to an article in the BBC about a father and son in England who found a Viking stash in a field worth they said conservatively 750,000 pounds, or about one and a half million dollars during their Saturday hobby outing. Here is the link to the story. There will be an update next week, with pictures of Tony’s latest and greatest find on an L.A. beach, from the 1800’s. That part of the story just got lost in my move home.

2) For this set of links we have Jack to thank, he must have known I’d be sort of up against a time crunch what with returning to Vegas and all. So thanks a lot Jack! This is really great stuff, I am a book lover, and I have always thought the internet could do more to help the world come closer to a through a kind of universal knowledge through them. This has to be one of the most extensive projects undertaken by man, equal to sequencing the human genome. And they need our help, so if you can find some way to help, you can feel you have done something to advance the future of the human race. Yeah I know pretty heavy stuff, but I can’t help it. I think if we can pull this off it will say more about the real value of the internet than anything to date. In my mind the real value of the internet is in aiding the evolution of mankind, this can only be done by rising above the monetary motivations of greed and power. This is what makes the internet so great, it is for the common man, it does not ask what station in life you hold, it could care less about who you are, what you have, or what motivates you, it is just there for everyone. If you want equality in the world, how can you beat the internet? Okay I’m off my soap box here are the links

3) This is hands down the best photo of area 51, a few miles up the road from here. This is a panoramic picture, you can pan anywhere you want it is very clear, and if you want to see the non-existent base with all of those non-existent buildings, have a look.

4) My last link for the week is a very interesting article about the diamond industry. If you have not educated yourself on this topic, you might want to give it a read. It is seven pages and very informative. Most people I know have fallen for this con in one way or another, this might make you reconsider any type of investment in the little rocks.

ATI/Nvidia Says "No Support" to Laptop Owners for Vista

This may or may not be the most accurate piece, but there is no disputing that Vista is plagued by driver problems. I expect the Microsoft DRM is to blame, though there may well be other factors at work, too. DRM issues would explain just why sound and video seem to be the main problem areas.