/* ----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Minima Black Designer: Douglas Bowman URL: www.stopdesign.com Date: 26 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ CompuDave: November 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Brian Bilbry makes note of Knoppix, fast becoming a Sys admin's best friend.


I you're not familiar with this little gem I highly reccomend it. It's a full Linux compressed boot CD image. Just insert in a CD drive, make sure the CD drive is in the boot sequence and Bob's your uncle. It recognizes and sets up most hardware. It includes Mozilla, Open Office and a slew of tools.

Monday, November 22, 2004

USB Mince Pie

British Christmas Tradition meets modern technology.


Too funny!

(it's a usb flash memory, just in case.)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Writing Your Representatives & Senators

The other day I urged all of my reader (2 of you?) to wite your Senators about HR2391
I had suggested using http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

Well unfortunately some of our paid (by who you ask) representaives don't wish to make our contacting them easy.
Here is the email reply I received from Sen Feinstein
November 18, 2004

Mr. David Krecklow
xxxxxxxxxxxxx Avenue
Bakersfield, California 933xx

Dear Mr. Krecklow:

Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate your e-mail and welcome
the opportunity to correspond with my constituents.

Unfortunately, due to the volume of mail I receive, I cannot respond
individually to messages sent from third parties or websites other than my
official Senate website. If you wish to send a personalized message via
the internet, please use the email form on my website:
http://feinstein.senate.gov/email.html. Please know that my staff will tally
your input today.

If you prefer to fax your concerns to me, you can send them to my
Washington office at (202) 228-3954. You can also call my Washington
office or one of my California offices to share your thoughts with me:

Washington, DC: (202) 224-3841
San Francisco: (415) 393-0707
Fresno: (559) 485-7430
Los Angeles: (310) 914-7300
San Diego: (619) 231-9712

Again, thank you for emailing me. Please know that every time you
write a letter, send an email or fax, or call my office, your concerns are
taken into account. I appreciate your understanding in this matter and hope
to hear from you again soon.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator


Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the
Nation are available at my website http://feinstein.senate.gov. You can also receive
electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at
Bah! And nothing from Boxer.
The cynic in me says it's probably not worth my time anyway.
Maybe if I wrote it on a $100 bill she could find time.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Wittier Than I

Two item in my morning reading just struck me as funny
Over at RBT's forum someone included this little gem in a post

....indeed, the way I think of it is that Microsoft software is more slutty than Linux software: more fun in the short term, but oh, the viruses!

Then over at Orb Graffiti and this one from Brian

Now, don't get me wrong. I have a big place in my heart for the double-wide dwellers of America ... being the willing lightning rods for tornados across these 48 states takes a braver man than I.

Hardly PC but I admire that.

Thursday, November 18, 2004



Well you've been warned - here it comes!


Time shifting DVR pioneer TiVo will soon display pop-up ads when users attempt to skip commercials, the LA Times reports today. TiVo owners will still be able to fast forward, but will be forced to watch a billboard style ad on screen.

It's the latest in a series of compromises that threaten to leave the highly-regarded company offering little more than a generic set-top box UI.

Increasingly broadcasters are introducing restrictions on their programming. In recent weeks HBO announced that it will be locking down all its content to a specific device from next June, forbidding any copies to be made.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Stop the Pigopolists

The lame duck US Senate may soon vote on HR2391 to the detriment of consumers everywhere.
Big money interests, mostly the RIAA and the MPAA are trying to restrict your fair use rights to watch or hear content you have paid for. The law intends to have all playback devices rigged to prevent misuse, even trying to skip over trailers and ads included with movies.

The bill would also permit people to use technology to skip objectionable content -- like a gory or sexually explicit scene -- in films, a right that consumers already have. However, under the proposed language, viewers would not be allowed to use software or devices to skip commericals or promotional announcements "that would otherwise be performed or displayed before, during or after the performance of the motion picture," like the previews on a DVD.

And of course these jerks are already trying their best to get the consumers to hate them even more.

or this little dandy

Don't wait. Make your voice heard. Send a letter to your Senator now!

Tell them you want your rights protected, not the fatcat corporate entertainment pigopolists.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Lexmark Spyware

Printer maker Lexmark's software appears to install a component that phones home stats about your print usage.


Initially denying the report Lexmark now says it is voluntary. However it is an opt-out and fails to fully explain what may be reported back to Lexmark. It's hard to believe companies are this stupid. If you have taken my previous advice and installed a firewall like ZoneAlarm you should receive an alert when the program tries to phone home. Refuse permission and that should solve that. Then remove the offending program,

Thursday, November 11, 2004


What's a good choice for a monitor? As usual the answer is depends. On my own desk I use different ones. Home is a 17" Viewsonic going on about 3yrs. Set for 800x600 it has a flat screen, big, bright, good for DVD viewing as well as computing. I've not always had the best of luck with Viewsonic products. They usually look good but often die an early death. With a less than a great warranty program I wouldn't recommend them today.

For a lot of people a CRT is better than an LCD despite what you might think. Pro - they're way cheaper, they are faster (this is important for movies and fast games - LCDs often blur from persistance under fast motion). Con - they are big and bulky, they use more energy.

My laptop is of course an LCD. I don't really like the 1024x768 display on a 15" screen but when I'm away from my desk it will do. For my work desk I have a 17" Samsung LCD that I connect the laptop to (also a regular mouse and keyboard). It displays at 800x600, is plenty big and more than reliable.

And that brings us to reliability and warranty. I've tried a lot of brands over the years and my past experiences may not reflect what any particular manufacturer is like today. But that said I've come down to being a Samsung fan.

First their upfront quality is excellent. Every CRT or LCD from them that I've bought has been flawless. Never a dead pixel (you might want to check a manufacturer's policy on this before you buy - I think Samsungs is eight). Second is the warranty and return. Three years.

Better yet is the way they preform a return (yes twice I've had a problem with CRT in the warranty period). You call and get a real live in the USA person within a couple of minutes. Is that alone worth it?! They ship to a Pack & Ship - is that UPS store now? - near you and you just walk your unit in and get the replacement. They do all the packing and shipping. That is all worth it to me.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Strange Occurances

Well this is, hmmm..... well.........


and the answer came to me in a flash: the chair wasn't just a chair; it was a three dimensional representation of a Klein bottle!

but of course, with that realization came the solution: We proceeded to work up an extra long Möbius strip from some spare IDE cable and went 'phishing' within (without?)

Dan, either you've od on too much SJ valley fog or it's time to cut back on the cold medicine.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Why Does Spamming Continue to Work?

Story this week about a brother and sister team of spammers that was convicted of fraud.

According to Kilgore, Jaynes and DeGroot used spam to advertise a variety of products and services, including penny stocks, low mortgage rates, and work at home schemes.

Prosecutors in the case alleged that Jaynes sent or tried to send 7.7 million messages to AOL subscribers in just one day, and reportedly raked in as much as US$400,000 a month in orders for just one of their products.

During the trial, Jaynes was said to have accumulated a fortune of some US$24 million by selling via spam.


Which answers the question of why they do it. $24 million! $400,000 in one month! Those figures maybe inflated as they often are in criminal cases. But even accounting for that, it means big money.

Now the real question.
Why does anyone buy this stuff?
Would you buy something from an unsolicted e-mail?
I've never known anyone who has - or least been willling to admit it.
Are there that many men in need of genital enhancement?

Okay these guys were selling get rich schemes but hey, does the actual product even matter? How many Rolex watch ads have you been getting lately? They even admit they're fakes but judging by the sheer number of offers I'm getting every day they must be getting buys. Wouldn't going to a flea market be a better deal? They have lots of fakes there from sunglasses to tshirts to watches and at least you can see them and bargin if that's what you want.

I guess things don't change. PT Barnum was right.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Safe Browser

Two articles to point out today




Internet Explorer remains a significant security threat and more people are switching to Mozilla & Firefox.
Don't be last.

Also election day.

Vote early and vote often!