Saturday, February 09, 2008

XP needs to live until 2009

I'm not sure what is going on here, but I have little doubt this is one step in some sort of carefully scripted dance designed to reinforce whatever decision Microsoft has made regarding whether or not they will actually keep XP alive in deference to the apparent wishes of a large number of people or kill it off in favor of their bottom line. I'm pretty sure I can guess where that one will end up, but I can't see why they might bother to go through the song and dance just to leave corporate policy unchanged.

The dilemma for Microsoft is to either please the segment of their customers who don't want Vista over XP and lose money or forge ahead with forcing Vista on everyone, whether they want it or not. The company risks becoming significantly less respected than they are. All the good work they have done with Vista is being lost sight of. And make no mistake; there is good work there.

I expect this will "resolve" to whatever MS has decided in a month or two. The company will announce that "after careful reflection" they have decided to (fill in the blank). Until then, this is at least entertaining.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Performance Results Mixed with Vista Service Pack 1

PC World tests the final code for Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). The results are generally favorable, though the performance improvements are not as great as many might wish. The article is an interesting read, though I would wait on more tests by other organizations and researchers before drawing any firm conclusions. It's one of those "your mileage may vary" deals, to be sure and even PC World calls their results "informal" and "preliminary".

Still, it's well worth reading. I enjoyed it, too.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Apple updates QuickTime security

This happened yesterday and I missed it. Sorry about that.

It's an important update, as one can tell by reading the Apple advisory that accompanies it. The security flaws fixed here are both critical and actively being exploited, though there is disagreement on how widely. They affect both Mac and Windows users.

So, if you have Quicktime installed, patch it. It does not matter whether or not you use it. The application needs patching or you can be compromised. Period!


Truecrypt 5.0 is out and it's free

For Windows, Linux and now for the Mac OS X!

I've been recommending Truecrypt since Gail convinced me to give it a try, a couple years ago. It did not take long to convince me of Truecrypt's utility. This is the good stuff, folks. Not only does it work, but it saddles the user with the absolute minimum of extra steps through which she/he has to go. Check it out.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spotted in the Wild: Rogue Microsoft Update Site

I guess it had to happen, but here is yet another trap for the regular (read clueless) user.


Why Search in Vista is a Farce

I'm going to start a thread in our newsgroup about this, too. I'd like to hear what you all have to say about it.

Personally, I am against Vista's search for the amount of resources it takes. However; I have not had any problems with the results obtained. I was surprised to see this post and find some others like it.

So, jump over to our newsgroup at and discuss it.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Holes in numerous ActiveX controls

ActiveX is a grand idea, but Microsoft's execution of it has been plagued since it started with security issues. While that is not terribly surprising, what IS surpising is that Microsoft has not been able to tighten things up, at least enough to stop this seemingly endless parade of alerts. I guess it is as flawed a technology as it's critics suggest.

US Cert is telling users to disable ActiveX, at least for now. You can do that, but it will keep you from getting automatic updates to Microsoft operating systems or other products, such as Office. You also have to enable ActiveX to use Windows Update or Microsoft Update, but once you are done updating, disabling ActiveX is recommended. See this article at Computer World's site.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 02-03-08

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 02-03-08. 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.

Geek Meet 2008 in Las Vegas April 11-13

If you are coming to keep watching for more information.

Links from the Gregg Zone!

1) Well it looks like we have survived TU24 last Tuesday. That means we can start planning what we are going to do in the future. I ran across something on the net that has me daydreaming about a future vacation. It seems there is a company in France planning to build something called a manned cloud. Essentially, it is a 700+ foot long blimp shaped like a whale, with a luxury hotel for a gondola. Complete with restaurants, library, fitness room, and spa. There will even be a sun deck on the top of the helium-filled envelope. Wow! Can you imagine having cocktails at sunset, on top in the open air at about a thousand feet in the air, or how about stargazing with a nightcap before retiring for the night? Check this out it is very cool.

2) This next site reminds me of something I saw when researching Craigslist. There are groups that do public stunts, like a hundred people accumulating at a mall, everyone entering as individuals mingling with the crowd, then on cue they all start barking like dogs, or something. They just do it for fun; I remember reading an old Sci-Fi book about the concept of flash crowds. The premises was based on teleporting booths, like a phone booth, you could just dial your self any where you wanted to go, every time something was happening on the news, large crowds of people would teleport to the scene. This site is about a group that stages events using groups of people, the one featured here was a couple of hundred people freezing on cue,for five minutes at Grand Central Station in New York. There is video of people’s response, interesting how the uninformed public reacted.

3) This site covers some of the subjects discussed on the show, I am not sure if it is news to the group, but I decided if some of you are unfamiliar with it I should post it as a source of information. Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Oxford University’s Internet Institute are leading this initiative with the support of several prominent tech companies, including Google, Levono, and Sun Microsystems. Consumer Reports WebWatch is serving as an unpaid special adviser. They are a “Neighborhood Watch” campaign aimed at stopping “badware” on the net.

4) This is another “Geek” site I ran across I remember Jack talking about the MacBook Air, so when I saw this I thought it would be a good fit here. The title sort of says it all “Man buys MacBook Air, pulls it apart, takes pics. There is a link to ifixit’s step-by-step disassembly, complete with pictures and instructions, I guess handy if you need to replace the battery.

5) Have you wondered where the Dot-com pioneers are now? I ran across this article thought it was something that you might be interested it, who is still around, who has disappeared, and who bought who.

6) The last one is about the plans to bring broadband to the entire United States; the article is quite current from Jan. 31, 2008. Talks about just how far behind the curve the U.S. is in relation to the world, when it comes to broadband. Discusses what we need to do, and why we are in the situation of loosing ground, what it will mean for our future. The article seem to me to be a must read on the subject, so take the time to check it out.