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Showing posts from November, 2006

Defective Cameras Deal Another Blow to Sony

Yahoo! reported on the 24th that Sony has another recall -- this time it is their Cyber-shot camera. "The liquid crystal display screens of eight camera models might not display images correctly, images could be distorted or cameras might not take photos at all." This affects cameras sold over 16 months from September 2003 to January 2005. Apparently this is not the first camera recall for Sony.

Compared to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq over the last three months, things do not look good for Sony. I do not expect the PS3 to help them much either.

Look Inside the Wii

I found two sites that look at the inside of a Wii game machine from Nintendo. Popular Science has 16 photos while informit.com has a complete tear down with instructions. Both are very good, but informit.com gives you much more information including a nine minute video. In addition, CNN posted an AP article on how the motion controls for the Wii and PS3 work.

I also found a link to some handiwork where someone figured out how to get to the Wii Shop store.

Take a Third Look at Google Desktop

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I had tried the free Google Desktop at work, twice, and each time uninstalled it. First because I could not search my network drives. (I like to use network drives to share files with my colleagues, and to make sure they are backed up.) Later I had decided to try again, and then discovered the possible security issues.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Google now has addressed the security concerns and they have released an update that will index networked drives. I have been running this now for about two weeks, and it generally has performed well. The Google Desktop Search is based on keywords, so it does not always give you the most relevant results. I also had some troubles with PowerPoint running very slow while editing. (I turn the search off when I am working in PowerPoint.) With those caveats, it seems to be a good solution.

A nice, new feature is that if you hit your CTRL button twice, a search dialog appears in the center of your screen. Of course Google Desktop will pr…

Spam Increases 67% Since August 2006

Barracuda Networks reported November 15th that they have seen an increase in spam of 67% since August of this year. I learned this fact while reading about spam linked to Russian gang from eWeek, "...authorities have traced the operation to a well-organized hacking gang controlling a 70,000-strong peer-to-peer botnet..."

This hacking gang is using the trojan tool that removes other viruses before setting-up shop on breached computers, which I reported in October. The most common compromised machine is XP with service pack 2 at 47%. Another 37% is XP with no service pack or service pack 1. This I do not understand at all -- if you are going to use your computer on the Internet, you absolutely must keep it up-to-date with patches and fixes. Over 12,500 of the compromised machines are in the US.

Finally, this group push two messages, "pump-and-dump" and penis enlargements. The "pump-and-dump" is penny stocks. It is believe the reason must be that these two ite…

Don't Get Caught in the Zune Hype

Microsoft just released their new Zune player -- will it be a hit? My bet is no, and here is why.
The software is difficult to install; it has crashed for many people.Does not support Microsoft's PlaysForSure music platform, including Windows Media Player.Therefore, you cannot play music you bought from other stores that used the PlaysForSure music platform.Microsoft closed their music store and opened a new one specific to Zune (Zune Marketplace).To buy music, you need to buy points from Microsoft in $5.00 increments. Each song is 79 points, which is about $0.99. So you will loan Microsoft $4.00 (or more), each time you buy more points.
Yet another DRM in isolation.Supports video, but there is video available from Microsoft's Zune Marketplace store yet.Does not support podcasting.Paying Universal an undisclosed sum for each unit sold since all users are pirating music.Wireless only works between 2 Zunes with DRM music. Does not allow you to sync with your PC or Xbox over your o…

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

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I have put together another keyboard shortcuts tri-fold, this time for PowerPoint. Whether you use PowerPoint a lot or just occasionally, I think you will find this to be a valuable tool.
I have some really good shortcuts in here. For example, did you know that if you enter Ctrl + Shift + [plus sign] with text selected, that it will change it to superscript? Or that Ctrl + D will duplicate a selected object? That is just two of over 100 keyboard shortcut combinations.
Download

Still Confused About Net Neutrality?

Bill Moyers, Moyers on America, has developed an extremely informative piece on the current risk to open access on the Internet call The Net @ Risk. Moyers and his team dig into big media, telco, cable, and government, and shine a spotlight on how we risk losing open Internet access for everyone.

Let us not forget how in as little as two years from rule changes by the FCC, big media bought all the little radio stations, and now we have little to no local programming. That could just as easily happen to the Internet.

Take a company like Google. Eight years ago, Google was two guys in graduate school -- the Internet has allowed founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin start their own company and compete against incumbents Alta Vista, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

With net neutrality, telco and cable companies could make it more expensive to get Internet telephone companies like Vonage and Skype, then it would be to buy it from them -- they would do this by forcing Vonage and Skype to pay them high acce…

1.2 Million Jobs / $500 Billion to the U.S. Economy

Michael J. Copps wrote a great article yesterday, America's Internet Disconnect, on the impact of not having broadband Internet access. Mr. Copps claims that some experts believe we could ..."add $500 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.2 million jobs" with universal broadband adoption. In addition, we are being over charged by $8 billion.

Here is a few more facts... the government is supposed to have universal broadband in the U.S. by 2007, yet we are not even close. The U.S. ranks 15th in the world in broadband penetration, while Europeans and Asians are getting 25 to 100 megabits to their homes. Oh, but "the FCC still defines broadband as 200 kilobits per second."

Who knows, maybe we will see some changes with the recent election. CNet posted an article describing some of the possible benefits to technology with the control of the House and possibly the Senate going to Democrats. I would expect at a minimum that we finally get some support on Net Neutrali…

Web Analytics

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If you are new to web analytics or need to brush up your skills, I recently read Web Analytics Demystified: A Marketer's Guide to Understanding How Your Web Site Affects Your Businessand found it very helpful for this category. If you are a little more advanced, you might try another book from the same author, Eric T. Peterson, Web Site Measurement Hacks.Perhaps what I like most about both of these books, is that Eric makes it simple. In addition, Eric has experience with web tags, which is particularly beneficial when your site is distributed across multiple systems.

Eric also has a companion site for his Web Analytics Demystified book. In addition to companion files to Web Analytics Demystified, he has done a lot of work to bring the web analytics community together. For example, Eric has organized Web Analytics Wednesday where professionals all over the world meet locally on the 2nd Wednesday of every month, at 6 pm, to discuss web analytics. I attend the local Web Analytics We…

Configuring Firefox with About:Config

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Have you wondered how you might change settings in Firefox, yet not found any options in the Tools | Options... section? Firefox uses a file called About:Config to manage options that are not configurable through the Tools | Options... menu. Just type About:Config in the Address Bar to access these additional options.
The Mozilla knowledge base has a list of options to set. Here are just a few that may be of interest to you.
Set the check document frequency (browser.cache.check_doc_frequency): This is the option as to how frequently the browser check to see if the page has been update.
0: Check once per browser session
1: Check every time you view the page
2: Never check (always use the cached page)
3: Check when the page is out-of-date (default)Default Search (browser.search.defaulturl): Just as the name says. The default is Google, http://www.google.com/search?lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=Search Open (browser.search.openintab): Set to true and your search results will open in a new…

Ethical Hacking Sam I Am

The Ethical Hacker Network runs various competitions to help grow the education of the hacker community [not be confused with unethical "crackers"]. Recently they ran Netcat in the Hat, after an old favorite Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. You do not have to be a hacker to enjoy and appreciate the humor behind it. Here is an exert from the instructions:
The data stood still,
And the packets did stay
Sitting there in the N.O.C.
All that cold, cold wet day. Our connection went down
When the phone lines were cut
By some dude with a backhoe,
Gold tooth and beer gut. Far worse was that we
Quite nearly were through
With a large data transfer
Straight from Kalamazoomore...Three winners were announced. This is from the Creative Category:
That Netcat in the Hat he'd showed us his tricks, he'd showed us the what and the what makes it ticks.
He'd given us knowledge, he'd given us plans, but he'd left us the work, that tall feline man.

Well…

Another Internet Explorer ActiveX Vulnerability

Microsoft and Secunia reported another ActiveX bug yesterday. Just by visiting a website or viewing email in html mode can provide the means for malicious code to be executed on your computer. Microsoft recommends keeping your virus scanner up-to-date [of course you should] and to use safe browsing habits.

The safest way to browse is to use Firefox or another non-Internet Explorer / ActiveX supporting browser. Microsoft provides directions on how to browse safer using their products. I highly recommend that you follow this if you want to continue using Internet Explorer. Here is a brief explanation:
Set your Internet Zone security to HighWhen you trust a site, add it to the Trusted Zone. Microsoft recommends you run the Trusted zone at Medium security -- if you do, you will have problems on some sites. You need to move it at least to Medium-Low.Read all email in plain text (not HTML).So you have to ask yourself, do you want to manually manage your browsing security like this or run a sa…