Friday, January 11, 2008

Microsoft preps Vista to thwart rogue gadgets

Now here is an interesting post on Paul Therrott's Super Site.

I think MS is on the right track, here. At least some resistance to malware has to be built into the operating system, if for no reason that it complements your security software (AV and such).


Spamming printers from the Web? Researcher shows how

Just the kind of news I needed. To top it off, so little skill is needed to pull this one off that by using the proof of concept code, with only the slightest modification, I can do it here and at a neighbor's house.

Printer spam will no doubt start arriving soon.


Shuttle's $199 Linux PC

Compared to the Everex $199 offering, the Shuttle one is a bit, ah, thin on features. Nice case, true, but no optical drive, which seems like a poor trade-off. I suspect the difference in features at the same price is made mostly of Windows XP, though details are at this time very hard to come by.

Right now; my money would go towards an Everex machine, weaker processor and all. It's more like a "traditional" PC and the Linux on it serves just fine, by all accounts. XP is something of an unneeded option in this class. Potential be damned. Real capabilities count for more.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sony to sell unrestricted music downloads on Amazon

As promised, I forthwith eat my unkind words about Sony from the other day. Evidently the premium gift cards are just that and not the only way that Sony is going to sell digital music. I still think they have made a pricing mistake with their gift cards, but that's just my opinion. I say buy the CD if it is going to cost just as much. I can then rip it to any bitrate and/or format I want.

Now we don't know the price, but Sony would be well advised to not charge more for their a la carte MP3 than the other labels. That is generally between $.79 and $.99 apiece. In light of the rootkit fiasco in 2005 (that seems to still be mentioned in every article about Sony DRM, this one included) there is still a lot of hate and discontent towards the company amongst the CD buying and MP3 buying public.

This time I'll wait and see what they do before I rant. I just hope they don't screw it up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

CES: Asus to super-size the wee Eee

The sub-sub notebook market is booming, thanks in no small part to Asus. Now it seems they are filling the niche in the hopes of having something for everyone, especially those who found the EeePC just a bit too minimal.

Besides Asus' models, there are several others, including the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO device, combined in almost instantly giving legitimacy the market segment.

I think it is fair to say that sooner or later a lot of us are going to be looking at this type of device for ourselves.


New rootkit hides in hard drive's boot record

The most interesting thing about this rootkit is that it attacked systems unpatched for about 2 years. That's how long ago Microsoft patched the flaw being used as the attack vector. If you are up to date on patching, this really isn't a problem for you.

Once again; the moral is patch, patch and patch.


Here comes Origami 2.0

Paul Thurrott's Super Site has some thoughts on the second iteration of Microsoft's "Origami" initiative. The first one was a real yawner, though I found reason to be optimistic over it's possibilities. Since then, Microsoft has obviously been hard at work to counter all the competing schemes, such as Nokia's Internet Tablet and the Asus EeePC.

Microsoft is not going to take the success of those other sub-notebook devices lying down. They're obviously on a war footing over this one and I think they might just put out an OS and software for some compelling machines this time around.


AT&T and Other ISPs May Be Getting Ready to Filter

"Network-level filtering means your Internet service provider – Comcast, AT&T, EarthLink, or whoever you send that monthly check to – could soon start sniffing your digital packets, looking for material that infringes on someone’s copyright."

I don't engage in the kind of activities that would be filtered but this is scary to me, none-the-less.

What's a Widget Worth?

Advertising, advertising, advertising. I'm a little sick of ads cluttering up everything I do on the web, but the link will take you to a fascinating article at Business Week's site in which they discuss monetizing Facebook and other such sites. It really is interesting and short enough to be worth your time.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Welcome to Open Voices

It is the Linux Foundation's new podcast. Naturally, the first episode is an interview with Linux creator Linus Torvalds. I'm downloading that now and looking forward to hearing it. But the real attraction to this series is that over the next few weeks, they will do interviews with a number of open source and Free Software luminaries, including Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth.

This is definitely one to keep an eye on.


Apple's flash sub-notebook rumours fuelled

Not really being of the rumor-monger sort, myself (please; no comments that might shatter my fragile self-esteem) I can't really understand why this rumor grabs so much mindshare with me. I guess because if Apple does it, the new "sub-sub-notebook" idea gains complete legitimacy in the market. That would please me greatly.

Anyway, here's a bit of gasoline tossed on the spark.


» not so ‘Hacker Safe’ | Zero Day |

"On December 5, 2007 that customer information, including Visa credit card information, may have been compromised."
If you’ve been a customer in the last year you may want to monitor your credit report.
This is the company we have a link to on our web site.


Sony Offers DRM-Free Digital Downloads?

If this is the only way Sony is going DRM free, this is crazy! Do they think people only download to get an mp3? People download so they can get the single they want, to get instant gratification and to get a price break. Sony, pure baloney, again.

(If in the near future they do offer DRM free downloads as singles at reasonable prices, as other labels are doing, I will take the above statement back.)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Microsoft admits Office 2003 'mistake'

This is a follow up to what Jack posted on this matter last week.

Have you ever noticed that when Corporate America decides what is best for consumers, they are usually proven decisively wrong?

CES: BitMicro preps 832GB solid state drive for launch

Veeery Eenteresing!

Because of service life issues, I'm not sure I'm ready to accept large flash-based drives, but there is no doubt others are and that they are coming. This is just the first announcement in a long string, I'm sure. But this sort of device is coming.

Note that they didn't mention price at all.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

McAfee throws some FUD at the GPL

This strikes me as the funniest thing in computing since Bill Gates said no one would ever need more than 640 kilobytes of system memory. Really! I think you will find it so, as well.

It seems McAfee is like some other companies and confuse software licensed under the GNU Public License (GPL) with software in the public domain. There is a world of difference. It also seems as though McAfee appropriated some of this code and is now being held to the terms of the GPL, which require someone who distributes such software to return any improvements or changes they made to the code to the community and to publish the source code. (The two are usually one and the same.) The company is just now getting around to admitting this and, seeing as they are legally bound to the terms of the GPL (no matter they say it has not been tested in court, which is a widely held assumption and totally false) they've thought to disparage the license with that and other falsehoods.

This is a quick read and about as funny as it gets.


OnComputers Radio show Podcast 01-06-08

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 01-06-08. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. Join us for the live show and chat. If you prefer, you can download the same MP3 file here via ftp.

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) I thought I would do a little bit on predictions after all this is the first show of the New Year. Let us start it off with a little humor with a geek bent. Enough said it is a short video clip, there are a lot more there but this on is predictions for 2008.

2) Next up, here are the top ten predictions from a stock market guru on the likely trends for the up coming year. Sort of wish I had something to invest in other than an hour at the casino, okay maybe a half hour. Any way this is just one of several I read through, I am just interested in the expected trends.

3) This one is a look back at last years C.E.S. show and how well the predictions of the show booth people came out interesting.

4) Okay enough of that how about scientist finding alien DNA in humans here is a very interesting article about it. This one made me say hummm maybe, sounds good to me, why not. We had to come from somewhere why not the cosmos, seems we had to originate there, the only question is how we wound up here.

5) The other evening I was sitting here shooting the bull with Riley, we were toying with several subjects when one of our topics reminded me of something I wanted to look into. Several months ago, I was going to take a bus trip to L.A. I wanted something to listen to on the bus. So I made a disc of a couple of old Art Bell shows, one of them was an interview with Terence McKenna mostly about time, and a theory he developed called “Time Wave Zero”. What struck me was the reference to the Mayan Calendar I am about to launch myself into some comparisons. This first link is to a site with lots of material on Terence, lots of audio. I would suggest starting with the Art Bell show from 5-97 about a third of the way down this is the show where he discusses Time Wave Zero. This very much relates to the Mayan Calendar even though he created his computer models prior to his learning about it, they both end on the same day. This link is to the best explanation of the Mayan Calendar I have found, the comparisons are amazing.