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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Now Copiers are Insecure

In charge of network security? Do you have a network-enabled copier?
Here's one you'll love.


Making copies of something important? Photocopiers are the latest networked devices to fall prey to hackers armed with nothing more than Google's search engine

Hackers are using search engines to watch what people photocopy.



Friday, September 24, 2004

Big Brother is Watching

Here is an interesting article on new cell phone technology and its possible abuse.


Of course it shows that employers and the cell carriers are under-estimating the resoursefullness of people.
What keeps them from leaving the phone somewhere or turning it off?
Intrusive technology often is usually quickley defeated.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Why is anyone still using IE?

Two very relevent articles today:



If you're one of about 200 million people using older versions of Windows and you want the latest security enhancements to Internet Explorer, get your credit card ready.

Microsoft this week reiterated that it would keep the new version of Microsoft's IE Web browser available only as part of the recently released Windows XP operating system, Service Pack 2. The upgrade to XP from any previous Windows versions is $99 when ordered from Microsoft. Starting from scratch, the operating system costs $199.

That, analysts say, is a steep price to pay to secure a browser that swept the market as a free, standalone product.

"It's a problem that people should have to pay for a whole OS upgrade to get a safe browser," said Michael Cherry, analyst with Directions on Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. "It does look like a certain amount of this is to encourage upgrade to XP."


and then this little gem



A sample program hit the Internet on Wednesday, showing by example how malicious coders could compromise Windows computers by using a flaw in the handling of a widespread graphics format by Microsoft's software.

Security professionals expect the release of the program to herald a new round of attacks by viruses and Trojan horses incorporating the code to circumvent security on Windows computers that have not been updated. The flaw, in the way Microsoft's software processes JPEG graphics, could allow a program to take control of a victim's computer when the user opens a JPEG file.


This is a serious problem and Micosoft wants more money to make it right.
There is little doubt that sales of XP have not met the MS prediction.
Downloads of the SP2 release have not come close to what MS predicted.
Now they are using their poor record of security to leverage more sales.


I've said it here before - use an alternate browser. Mozilla, Opera or Firefox.

And one more warning on the e-mail front


Once again an IE exploit allows this to happen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I'm an Amiga OS


Amusing, but really only for geeks.

You are Amiga OS. Ahead of your time.  You keep a lot of balls in the air.  If only your parents had given you more opportunities to suceed.
Which OS are You?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

More on Open Office

Doc Searls talks of Word and Open Office


He shares my frustration with Word and it's overly complicated too feature-richitis. While it is easy for Doc and other geeks like myself to adopt alternatives like Open Office it is often much more difficult for the average non-tech office worker. I know, I don't think a week goes by that I don't see it. Hell, people on differing versions of Word can't open eachother's documents sometimes. This frustrates the non-tech types and makes us techs just seem more geeky to them.

I for one would be happy to have more people using OO but realistically anytime a non-tech hits a problem because of incompatiblities with Word (and there are plenty) we immediately lose credible ground that alternatives are good for everyone. They produce competition, resulting in better products at lower prices, but all that the user sees is an obstacle to getting their work done.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

More on SP2

My experience with Win XP SP2 a cpuple of days ago could have been better. It certainly turned out okay but it cost my client money. Microsoft needs to work a little harder IMHO.

While this is a long article it's more balanced than usual for Berlind it makes for interseting reading if you are considering installing SP2


Of note is the fact that Berlind now feels windows firewall is worse than no firewall. Take my advice and install the free ZoneAlarm.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Blogger ate my homework.

Well I wrote that last post, or something like it last night. I then told Blogger to publish it and left the machine. When I looked later the publish fuction had timed out so no update. I hit the back button and all that was there was the heading, the body of the post was gone.

Well I should know better. An online posting system is not very good backup. Not that that post took all that much time to do but being a good programmer with 25+ yrs under my belt I should know the drill - it's just like voting - save and save often. So starting today I'm doing what I should have been doing all along. I'm using a text editor then copying and pasting into blogger. It really doesn't matter what you use, it could be as simple a Notepad or Wordpad, or it could be a full fledged word processor like Word or Open Office. The word processors might be better as you can have autosave turned on just in case your PC goes down.

Win XP SP2 vs Word 97

Well I did my first uninstall of Win XP SP2 today. Not mine - a clients. He called and told me he was having trouble with his Word 97. Upon startup it was giving him registry errors. When trying to save a file it would use only the first letter of the name - you could see it truncate the name just as you hit the save button. First thing I asked was, 'Well what have you installed lately?'

He said, 'Nothing.'

Well I tried to reinstall Word 97. No luck. I tried the office update site - it said we were current (as current as Office 97 will probably ever be).

'Well then , when did it start?'

'About a week or so ago.'

'Did you install SP2?'

Okay here was the answer. His settings were to download and ask to install windows updates. When asked he said okay. I went to the Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs and tried to remove SP2. No luck - it said it had already been deleted (no it hadn't).

Restore Points to the rescue. Rolled the machine back to Aug 20th. I then had to update the McAfee firewall - he had just done it so it rolled back as well. McAfee need a better update system then the one they have. He was also going to have to reinstall a banking fuction he had recently added - I left that to him. I then set windows update to check only - no auto download or installs.

I prefer not to ever be the first on major updates. I know Microsoft has had some terrible security holes and much of SP2 is to try and fix that (very debatable). But MS has not had the best record of getting things right the first time. Unless there is some compelling reason to install SP2 I'd wait for a few months and see what happens to others. There are better ways to security that I've talked about here before. Use a NAT router, install a firewall (I prefer Zonealarm), use alternate browsers and mail clients (Mozilla is my first choice).

Friday, September 03, 2004


Downloaded and installed Mozilla 1.7


The entire 12MB took less than a minute on my cable connection. How fast is that?

Everyone should try Mozilla. It has matured well and is by far the better browser. More secure, great mail client with good spam filtering (could be better), and my favorite - tabbed browsing - open new pages in a new tab in the background by pressing the middle button or wheel of the mouse. This works great!!! As you read through articles you can just hit the center button on links and when you're finished, all those links are open and ready in new tabs behind your current window.