Saturday, January 19, 2008

Need a Mac Support Tech? Find a Linux Guru

It seems as if once a person is familiar with the fundamentals of Linux, or any other system that is built on the Unix philosophy (which the Mac OS X is, too) they are half-way or more to being able to work confidently on a Mac from the command line, which is where most corporate IT support work is done.

I'll call Steve Jobs right away and tell him, in case he wants to distance his company from the unwashed masses like me who use Linux.


A Lesson in User Failure: Investigating the Serial ATA Connector

Ryan Smith over at Anandtech has an interesting take on SATA connectors, with which I have to agree, though I had not thought of it that way until I saw this article. The piece is short, despite being posted on 3 pages, and very readable. I think you will find it food for thought.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Streaming radio causes new threat in Winamp

I know a lot of you are Winamp users. My wife and I are, as well. So I thought I had best post this. Winamp 5.52 is devoid of the vulnerability and I think upgrading is a critical matter.

Media players in general are taking huge security hits of late. This is because if such a player makes the use of more than one format possible, it also aggregates vulnerabilities. I am not at all happy about the problems in media players. They affect Free Software and open source players, as well. I seem to be upgrading my Linux players at about the same rate as I have to do with the Windows ones. Problems are evidently endemic to the type of application. Wonderful news, eh?


Why I’ve stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu

You all know I'm an Ubuntu fan. However; this complaint by Matt Chisholm agrees with my experience and, frankly, it is a huge drawback to those like he and I who are able to coherently report bugs and willing to do so.

The pace of development at Ubuntu must be frantic, judging by the 6 month release schedule. Combine that with some cultural problems within the Ubuntu organization and (to some extent) the community and you have an atmosphere that is somewhat unfriendly to those reporting problems. Not really unfriendly. Nothing like that. But unresponsive and at times acting as if the bug were something personal the reporter accused them of.

I think once made aware of this, the Ubuntu folks will change their ways. That is what has happened at every turn when their users have called for change. It might take them some time, but that is just human nature.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bot detector by Trend Micro

Now here's an interesting concept. It's free to try, right now, and I recommend trying it as soon as possible, especially on Aunt Sally's PC, if you know what I mean.


ULTRA Stackable

Now here is a development that threatens to remove one of my cat's favorite pleasures; the exploration of the cable nest under my desk. Only God knows what she thinks of it, but she always looks very satisfied when emerging alive from the clutter.

They're stackable peripherals. Not printers and such, but media readers, external storage; all sorts of stuff. Victor Wu has done a good job of reviewing this stuff over at Bjorn3D. The article is a bit "rah-rah" for me, but still, the gear is indeed enticing. Check it out.


Four critical vulnerabilities in Apple QuickTime

You've got to feel sorry for Apple over this, which comes on top of other, as yet unfixed critical vulnerabilities in Quicktime. Some of them require only a visit to a specially crafted web site, so they are really serious problems.

For right now, I would simply uninstall any Quicktime versions on my machine and do without until I knew for sure it was safe. Apple is apparently working frantically on the problems; they released four fixes already. Still, the application is not yet safe.


HP provides an update about WHS woes

Our good buddy Paul Thurrott has a post about Hewlett-Packard's MediaSmart Servers running Microsoft Windows Home Server and data corruption problems.

Now when you read this, keep in mind that these problems are completely avoidable and do not affect your backups made with Windows utilities and most others. It is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Plus, as I reported last week, at least one team of dedicated researchers has been unable to reproduce the problem. The problem is real, but not the end of the world. And you can easily dodge the bullet.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NSA Must Examine All Internet Traffic to Prevent Cyber Nine-Eleven, Top Spy Says

From wired:
In order for cyberspace to be policed, Internet activity will have to be closely monitored. Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search. "Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation," he said. Giorgio warned me, "We have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mass web infection leaves researcher scratching her head

Here is [yet] another security story to follow as it develops. If the researchers cannot make head nor tail of it at this point, we surely cannot be expected to. I am sure all will be made clear as the researchers get a grasp of what is going on. Until then all I can do it worry about my clients.


Unwanted remote configuration for home routers

This story has been developing for a few days. It's still not clear which routers and system configurations are vulnerable. Right how, the fix is to disable UPnP, which of course applies to Windows systems. It seems the problem may well be larger than that, though, and apply to all sorts of systems as the UPnP referred to is in the router, not the PC. I will attempt to keep either this post updated or post again when more info is available.


Monday, January 14, 2008

10 Strange Keyboards

This was on Slashdot, this morning. I found it a bit entertaining and I saw a couple there I wasn't familiar with. So, for your amazement and amusement (and as a relief from being on hold with Direct TV or whoever you are calling today) here they are.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 01-13-08

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 01-13-08. 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) Sometimes, something comes along that makes you smile, feel good, and affects you at a deep level, leaving you knowing there is a lesson to learn, some kind of message involved. Well this little video is like that, almost like one of those Aesop’s Fables from childhood illustrating a basic moral with a story. Except this is real life, not a story made up like a fairy tale. This shows how the world could be if you eliminate the predator / prey relationship from an encounter between individuals even as diverse as a cat and bird. We are after all a predator species, and we show it in so many ways. It seems to me that I see it in the conflicts between nations, groups of people formed into organizations like unions, businesses like insurance and loan companies, individuals as in criminal behavior, right down to the local used car sales man. Check it out this one will make you smile I guarantee, it might even hit you at a deeper level, like me.

2) This new invention made me think about that song that went "In the year twenty-five / thirty-five your arms will be hanging limp at your sides". However, it is really a very cool tool and I would like to have one. There would be no more aching back in the morning, I can think of a thousand things I would like to try with this one. I thought rather than a war machine, it would have more potential for the disabled than anything I have seen come along for a very long time. I suppose it is just another example of that predator nature of ours, war first because we seem to think it is much cooler than compassion. Any way you really should check this one out, I liked it a lot.

3) Have you ever wondered how Google came up with their name? Or, what is the meaning of the word? I have run into many people who had no clue about either. I found this last week by accident, it is from Carl Sagan’s COSMOS series during the early eighties, I remember seeing it on T.V., and I have quoted it often over the years. He talks about a Google, and a Googolplex, the origin of the number, and an example of just how big a big number can be. On the T.V. show, he was relating how big the numbers in astronomy are, and how difficult it is for the human mind to grasp those concepts.

4) I seem to have a lot of video this week well this is one more, sent to me by our friend in Southern California (and, no it is not necessary to send the kids out of the room). It is a slide show of an annual event in China done with snow and ice, almost on a Disneyland scale. We could never do it here the cost of labor would put it over the top. But, it is very interesting what can be accomplished using just snow ice and lights.

5) Last, but not least something green, this one sent to me by Gary another friend who often listens to the show. An article from Scientific American Magazine about ethanol seems corn is not the way to go. Seems there is a prairie grass that has much more potential than corn, with a higher yield using marginal land. One of the problems I had with corn for fuel was using land better suited to grow food, somehow I did not like that trade off. This looks like the way to go to me, check it out, maybe you will agree.