Friday, December 17, 2010

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2011

I have just seen screenshots of Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2011 on Cnet. One of my first impressions is that it has a interface that is very similar to Panda Cloud Antivirus.

Just a random thought. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Contracted virus: automatically opens www.toughdiseases.com. How I got rid of it.

Introduction
Here I am, reading my daily dose of the Dilbert blog, when a tab suddenly opens to a disease that discusses "tough diseases". Well, I'm not sick so I quickly click the X that exits it in firefox. Wait... how did the tab open anyway.

"Must've clicked a banner ad", I thought to myself.

The process repeats itself over again.

Conclusion
I must've contracted some unwanted malicious application. Argghh *rage*. Anyway, its my fault for disabling the antivirus and threatfire for easy anticheat (what's so bad about gamers hacking anyway?) and forgetting to turn it back on.

This post summarises what I did to remove it. 

First, I did some research. Simple google search of "toughdisease.com" came up with several facts.
  • This problem was observed more extensively with Mozilla Firefox but also observed in Google Chrome. 
  • Pop-up blockers seemed to have little effect in alleviating the problem. 
  • Much of the advice was pretty standard such as run a virus scan/malware scan with these recommended products including adware, spybot, malwarebytes antimalware, comodo etc. An interesting advice was to start Mozilla Firefox in safe mode to determine that it isn't an addon causing the problem.
Next,  I restarted Windows in safe mode and ran a virus scan with my much forgotten Avast! antivirus. (disable for stupids reasons discussed above.) after a long update.You may download it here. Now, in safe mode, run a full scan of all computer hard drives and removable storage devices. Set the scan settings to thorough and select scan archives.

Say good bye to www.toughdiseases.com. I just removed a tough disease from my life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Overheating laptop solved

I have a HP laptop (its actually the HP Pavilion dv4000 mentioned in one of my earlier posts). Even though it has a manufacturing defect, its still hanging in there. Now, one of the problems I have with this media center laptop is that it overheats a lot.

I have used compressed air to clean the dust out, but the overheating problem persists. My second resort was to enable to a function called "Speedstep".

What is Speed Step?
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology allows the system to dynamically adjust processor voltage and core frequency, which can result in decreased average power consumption and decreased average heat production.                              -Source: Intel
I was interested in the decreased average heat production. Yes, it may result in reduced performances, but this does not matter in my case.

So, how to enable Speed Step?
1. In the bios, set speedstep to automatic. (can't help with this step as bios screens are different)
2. In Power Setting, change the settings from desktop to mobile.

A Course In Pure Mathematics By Margaret Gow- Thoughts on the book

Basic product information from Amazon.com:

Product Description

For students reading Mathematics, either as part of a general degree or as an ancilliary course for an Honours degree, the subject should be presented in as straightforward a manners as is consistent with a moderate standard of rigour. This course in algebra, co-ordinate geometry and calculus is designed to fulfil these requirements for students at Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology.
The book contains 350 worked examples and 1550 practice examples selected mainly from university examination papers. The practice examples have been carefully graded and some hints are given with the answers so that the book may be used for private study as well as for class work.

From the Back Cover
For students reading Mathematics, either as part of a general degree or as an ancilliary course for an Honours degree, the subject should be presented in as straightforward a manners as is consistent with a moderate standard of rigour. This course in algebra, co-ordinate geometry and calculus is designed to fulfil these requirements for students at Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology.
The book contains 350 worked examples and 1550 practice examples selected mainly from university examination papers. The practice examples have been carefully graded and some hints are given with the answers so that the book may be used for private study as well as for class work.
Initial thoughts
My initial thoughts of the book "A Course in Pure Mathematics" by Margaret Gow are that is a decent book covering content in a logical order. It also has exercises after working through some examples with are always good. The exercises after the examples are not extremely hard (referring to the questions I have done so far) and there are answers present at the back.

There are 25 chapters in the book:
  • Polynomials; The remainder and factor theorems; undetermined coefficients; partial fractions
  • Theory of equations; Inequalities
  • Determinants
  • Limits and infinite series
  • Binomial, exponential and logarithmic series
  • Complex numbers
  • More complex numbers
  • Summation of series
  • Differentiation and applications
  • Integration
  • Expansions in series
  • Coordinate geometry of the straight line and circle
  • The parabola
  • The ellipse and the hyperbola
  • The straight line, curve and conic in polar coordinates
  • Coordinate geometry in three dimensions: The plane and the straight line
  • The sphere
  • The quadric
  • Partial differentiation
  • Application of integration- cartesian coordinates
  • Application of integration- polar coordinates
  • Curvature
  • Differential equations of the first order
  • Linear differentiation equations with constant coefficients
  • Spherical trigonometry
 **Note: This is an incomplete post. It will be updated as I use the book**

Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 Sace exam too easy

Does anyone agree with me that the 2010 SACE exams are so ridiculously easy its not funny? Take physics, maths studies or biology this year and compare it to last year and you'll know what I'm talking about. SACE exams this year are a joke.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Almost tricked into signing up for TRU energy

Well, I got a knock from a door to door salesman. He asked to look at my electricity bills and claimed that I was entitled to $150 dollars off my energy bills and a $50 rebate on my next electricity bill, which was supposedly a government rebate for pension holders. For those who don't know me, I am 18 and come from a non english speaking background.

Sales person: "Are you over 18?"
Me: "Not Yet (I lied)"

Sales person: "Is your parents home?"
Me: "Ma! (in chinese- calling my mum)"

Sales person: "Well maam. You are entitled to $150 dollar....... (basically, the door to door salesman story)"

Sales person: "Could you sign here please maam"

Please note: mum doesn't speak english very well.

Sales person: "Well, I'm going to call a government representative. They will answer some questions. I will nod for yes, shake my head for no. Just follow me."

Calls up representative
Phone representative: "Could you please give me your name and address"
Mum: " My name is ........................ I live at ...................................."
Phone representative: "Are you are concession card holder?"
*Sales person nods*
Mum: "Yes"
Phone representative: "Do you understand that you are changing your energy supplier to TRU energy?"
*Sales person actively nods*

What? Changing suppliers? I never heard anything like that.I am amazed I didn't jump in and stop the whole thing. Maybe it took some times to register.

Phone representative: "Am I on speaker phone at the moment?"
*Sales representative shakes head*

What? More lies? This is where I jump in and stop the whole event.


DODGY....... never going near TRU Energy again. The guy (Indian) tried to scam us.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Benefits of the docx over the good old doc

What was wrong with the old Microsoft office doc files (prior Microsoft 2007)? This was a random thought I had, so I went out to search for an answer (I sometimes have too much times on my hands)

Here is a quick summary of my findings:
  • Improved damage recovery so if a single segment or component of the file is corrupt, the rest of the document can be read.
  • Smaller files: files are automatically compressed to smaller files. 
  • Easy detection of files that contain macros. This can be like a preview functionality or a security measure. 
So, looks like Microsoft didn't do it just to annoy people.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blog coming alive again- Secondary Education is finished

If you noticed that my blog has died for the past 6-7 months, its because I was in my final year of secondary education education. Now, thats all the past. This blog is revived (for another 3 months)!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Diversity? Can it be an improved security measure?

Diversity is a commonly given advice to investors. "Don't put all your eggs in the same basket." "Diversity is key to a investor's profile." "Diversity lowers the risk of investing."

But, can this principle be also applied to computer security? Antivirus software or suites are never perfect.

I know that there are extremely loyal (some people "fanboys") people that always stick to the same antivirus solution as they believe it works. I also hear a lot of stories where somebody has used an antivirus solution (Antivirus A) and changed to a different antivirus solution (Antivirus B) and discovered that they had a trojan. From that point on, the individual swore to themselves never to change from antivirus B ever again.

What I believe that the mere act of changing antiviruses was the important thing. By changing antivirus, the individual was able to detect malicious software present on your computer.

My recommendations
So my recommendation is for the individuals to

If you are using a free antivirus solution, are about to your antivirus/internet security subscription is about to expire, consider another free antivirus solution or a free antivirus trial (which is a good way to decide whether an antivirus solution is for you).
Recommended antiviruses/internet suites off the top of my head:
  • AVG (there is a free for personal use version)
  • Avast! (there is a free and a commercial version)
  • Norton (Symantec) (apparently the programs don't lag your computer much these days)
  • Microsoft Security Essentials (tried it, pretty simple interface, not sure about effectiveness)
  • Eset (really fast antivirus! I've used the 2005 version before)
  • Trend Micro (by the way, it was my first antivirus I ever used! Brilliant program back in the day... maybe it still is)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

LOL is that you in this picture? Koobface virus removal instructions for windows XP/ME

This is the message my friend got on his facebook. Its a facebook virus. I removed it for my friend and just wanted post some details for those interested. (BTW, I know the instructions are not formatted very well).

There is a virus that commonly affects facebook users called the "Koobface". It spams links and tries to trick people in downloading their "flash player update" called ''flash_player.exe". This is the mechanism that is used to infect individuals.

Removing the virus for Windows XP (print off instructions before proceeding)
Windows XP
  1. Disable system restore- This step is essential in enabling an antivirus to fully scan your computer.
From Microsoft Help Website, to do this:
  1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the System Restore tab.
  3. Click to select the Turn off System Restore check box. Or, click to select the Turn off System Restore on all drives check box.
  4. Click OK.
  5. When you receive the following message, click Yes to confirm that you want to turn off System Restore:
    You have chosen to turn off System Restore. If you continue, all existing restore points will be deleted, and you will not be able to track or undo changes to your computer.

    Do you want to turn off System Restore?
    After a few moments, the System Properties dialog box closes.
 2. Restart in safe mode.
From Microsoft Help Website, to do this:
1.You should print these instructions before continuing. They will not be available after you shut your computer down in step 2.
2.Click Start and then click Shut Down.
3.In the drop-down list of the Shut Down Windows dialog box, click Restart, and then click OK.
4.As your computer restarts but before Windows launches, press F8. 
On a computer that is configured for booting to multiple operating systems, you can press F8 when the boot menu appears.
5.Use the arrow keys to highlight the appropriate safe mode option, and then press ENTER.



2. Remove start up entries.
1. Click start --> run.
2. Type in "regedit" without quotes
3. Browse through the left hand pane:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SOFTWARE>Microsoft>Windows>CurrentVersion>
Run

4. Delete the entry:

sysftray = "%Windows%\fbtre6.exe"

5. Close the regedit.


3. Remove the following files by using the windows search function. Press windows key +F. Input the following into the search input box.
  1. %Windows%\fmark2.dat
  2. %System Root%\5465465465463.BAT
 When these files have been located, click Shift+ delete to permanently delete.

5. Restart computer.
6. Run an antivirus of your choice. If no antivirus has been installed on the computer, use a free online virus scan. My recommendations:
  1. Panda Online Scan
  2. Trend Micro HouseCall
  3. Kapersky
  4. Symantec

Random Info That May Be Useful
McAfee As for the motivations behind this Koobface variant, analysis shows that during infection a proxy server is installed to %ProgramFiles%\tinyproxy\tinyproxy.exe and a service named Security Accounts Manager (SamSs) is created to load the server at startup.   This component listens on TCP port 9090 and proxies all HTTP traffic, in particular looking for traffic to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Live.com for the purpose of hijacking search results.  Search terms are directed to find-www.net.  This enables ad hijacking and click fraud.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stupidonkey.com: IQ test

I always wanted to know why people like to advertise online IQ tests through internet ads, so I tried one. It was from a site called stupidonkey.com.
a screenshot of the website just before I submitted my information
Wow! Notice, the terms and conditions:
Did you enter valid information?
Yes, the information that I have entered is valid and I am 18 yeas or older or I have permission of my parents or guardian and I have checked if my mobile phone supports WAP and I have enabled WAP and I accept the costs of 17.50 AUD per week and I accept the terms and conditions.

Gosh! "I accept the costs of 17.50 AUD per week". That must be an extremely accurate IQ test. Also, an interesting thing is it charges weekly. Do people like taking IQ tests every week? Does IQ change that much in a short interval of time?

I had too much time on my hands. 

Note: for people that got suck in, well, I guess its bad luck. I doubt you can get your money back, but the according to the provider's terms and conditions, you can cancel the service and stop paying weekly fees:

Provider allows the user the possibility to interrupt the flow of information received via the SMS service. We offer you information on the Sites that correspond with the Service and/or via the SMS service. Also, in the free welcome message from Provider you will find information on how to cancel the Service. Generally, information received via the SMS service can be interrupted by sending an SMS message with the word STOP. You can send this message to the abbreviated number (the short code) you used for entry. For example you can send the message STOP to the applicable short code and cancellation shall become effective immediately upon receipt of termination request. See for more details the Specific Terms, the landing page of the Site and/or click the flag for your country. Charges may still appear on your mobile phone bill the following month as carriers bill retrospectively. At its own discretion, Provider may, without prior notice to you, suspend or terminate use of the Service by you and destroy and remove Registered Information within the Service for any reason. You agree that Provider may erase or deactivate your account and all information connected with it as well as any lists or files contained by it without delay, and/or deny you further access to the Service.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quickcashkit.net automated agents

I accidently clicked an banner on a website and was sent to the site where I browsed around and eventually was brought to a site: Quickcashkit.net (Conclusion: I reckon its a scam. Its my opinion but I warn those interested to proceed with caution).

Anyway, when I was about to leave, a window popped up where I could chat with a (supposedly) live agent. I decided to play along and found out that it was an automated computer (too bad). Here is the log so you can see:

Summer Says:Hey Wait! Before you go, I should make you aware that there's now just 4 places left in your area (estimated to be gone in 2 minutes). If you CLICK HERE I have secured a position for you.
Summer Says:When you are ready just type 'Hi' to let me know you're there....
You:Hi
Summer Says:Hi thanks for visiting QuickCashKit.net today!
Summer Says:We now only have 3 positions left, one just went, so you must act fast, so would you like to get started earning money online?
Summer Says:Just CLICK HERE to go straight to the join page as I have secured your position for the next 5 minutes.
You:Do I have to enter my credit card
Summer Says:We only accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discovery card as payment.
You:Are you a real person
Summer Says:I am a live virtual agent
Summer Says:So do you want to take advantage of this great limited time offer?
You:credit card
Summer Says:We only accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discovery card as payment.
Summer Says:You will receive your own automated money making website which will earn you commission 24/7, so you dont need to know anything about the internet.
You:real person
Summer Says:I am a live virtual agent
Summer Says:So do you want to take advantage of this great limited time offer?
You:scam
Summer Says:This is definitely not a con or scam, this is a legitimate home business opportunity.
Summer Says:We will supply you with all the tools you need to make money online, all you need to do is follow the methods and apply the techniques.
You:real person
Summer Says:I am a live virtual agent
Summer Says:So do you want to take advantage of this great limited time offer?

My guess is that the automated computer agent responds to words like "real person" and "credit card" and gives an automated response.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZDWGF7W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ZDWGF7W&linkCode=as2&tag=truesciencity-20&linkId=Y6VXTO4V4TONZYLN

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Types of attacks

From Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security (direct quote)

Types of attacks
Access attacks: The intruder tries to gain access to resources on your network by exploiting flaws in software such as buffer overflows and information leakage and by elevating the intruder’s privileges to execute arbitrary code.

Denial of service (DoS) attacks: The intruder tries to deny legitimate users access to resources on your network.

Reconnaissance attacks
: The intruder ties to map your network services in order to exploit vulnerabilities detected.

Effects on systems being attacked
Active attacks: These involve trying to modify data either during transmission or while stored on the target system. Examples include inserting backdoors and Trojans, deleting or modifying log files, disrupting services or communication, and so on.

Passive attacks: The goal here is not to modify the target system but rather to capture data being transmitted by eavesdropping or by using a packet sniffer in order to obtain sensitive or confidential information such as passwords or credit card numbers. Passive attacks are also used for capturing information that can help the attacker create a map of the target network’s hosts and services, which
usually forms the preamble of an active attack.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Salient Ads

I seem to be getting many emails from a company called Salient Ads. They are a email advertising company. It follows the format, where the email contains a link advertising a service with image promoting the service.
So if you receive any of these emails below, it probably is because a company you have given your email to has sold you out and I do not recommend you get caught up in the hype of the email. I do not know the sender and you probably don't too.

Example of spam emails

Email: College Loans (FinancialAid@largeperiod.com)
Subject: Education is expensive. Get a student loan now.‏
Message: Student loans help finance further study.

Email: LearnAccounting (AccountingSchools@chrismaspeace.com)
Subject: A Chance To Switch Careers
Do your own taxes and charge others

Email: GI Bill Express (MilitaryBenefits@mysnowballfight.com)
Subject: Legislative Alert for the Military‏
Message: Legislative Alert for the Military

Email: Cash Department (Loans@first9949.com)
Subject: Quick Loans! Up to $500 in 1hr! Approval in minutes!‏
Message: Up to $500 in hour..approval in minutes!

It supposedly not spam messages, because it states at the bottom of each email: "You are receiving this advertisment because you have opted-in to receive third-party marketing messages If you do not want to receive this type of emails from us, please unsubscribe here.
Salient Ads Ltd: 8171 Yonge Street Suite 136, Thornhill ON, L3T 2C6, Canada"

Salient Ads is an online marketing company and you can opt out there email service by clicking the link at the bottom of the email or by visiting their website.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ethical Hacking cont. (2)- Finding public information

This is a continuation of the post: Introducing Ethical Hacking.

One of the important steps to ethical hacking is to assume you have no information about company (in other words, to forget everything you know about your corporation) and start from ground up. So let's start with only your corporation's name (you have to know which organisation to hack).

Gathering information from public sources
1- Google: "Google" your company and see what information you can gather.
2- Hoovers and Yahoo! Finance: Detailed information about companies available to the general public.
3- U.S Securities and Exchange Commission: SEC filings that the company has made.
4- United States Patent and Trademark Office: For patent and trademark information.
5- Whois- DNS Servers responsible for hosting.

What information to look for:
1- Employee's Names/Contact Information.
2- Key Dates
3- SEC filings
4- Patents
5- Presentations, Articles, Webcasts

I'll stop there. There's plenty of work there for you to do. In the meantime, I will be writing up the next section.

For more information (detailed information) check out Hacking: The Art of Exploitation:

Apple introduces iAds to the mobile platform

iAds enable software engineers and corporate advertisers a new road to advertising.
From CNET: But this sets up a battleground for how advertising evolves on mobile platforms. Apple is declaring that the best way for marketers to reach mobile users is through iPhone applications, rather than the Web at large. Google and AdMob, on the other hand, are much more focused on ads delivered in the browser on mobile Web pages. And Apple made some compelling arguments Thursday about why its plan could be more effective.

Jobs said that the average iPhone owner spends 30 minutes a day using applications. So there's an awful lot of potential ad impressions at play, but mobile ads inside iPhone apps are even more annoying than desktop ads because should you happen to click on one, you're taken away from the app and into the browser.

My experience with advertisement in the sides of screens are normally not clicked by end users. The users are focused on the middle of the screen where most of the "action", one could say, is happening. However, my opinion applies to computer screens about 17 inches or wider. This may be different with 3.5 inch display screen, as the focal point is closer to the ads.

Also, users probably will not like the idea as in reality, 3.5 inch (diagonal) display is not really that large. iPhone users would like to use their screen to maximum capacity, and not have some of their precious screen space be taken up by an advertisement.

For developers/business owners reading this and wondering whether it is a business opportunity:

iAds work on a simple revenue split. 60% of revenue is given to the developer (10% lower than iPhone apps). However, apple will host and deliver all the ads to the end users.

Mac4Lin: Make Windows Look Like Mac the easy way

Even since I have entered the linux world, I have seen many skins that attempt to replicate the look of Mac/Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 with the use of themes and skins with specific desktop managers (and programs).

But for those who are not technically capable, Mac4Lin is a linux distribution that can make your PC look like a Mac. Of course, there are programs that are exclusive to Mac and have not been ported to linux. I have never been a fan of making one OS look like another. However people do things just because they can. So, if this is your thing, try it. (My thoughts: looks like Mac in some ways, but does not "feel" like it though)

The Inquirer: Designed by Anirudh Acharya of San Diego, California, Mac4Lin looks like the real thing. Only instead of a fully blessed by Steve Jobs Leopard OS X under the bonnet, it runs something which is not proprietary and is free.

Mac4Lin supports GNOME 2.26 and is backwards compatible. It is unlikely to appeal to the Linux purist, who probably wouldn't stoop to stick anything like a Windows 7 look on Linux either.

Maybe it is just the fact that one has a OS that resembles a proprietary for free that makes people want to do things like this. I would like to hear your thoughts if you do like to skin your operating system.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The end has arrived for Bebo

AOL announces that Bebo is going to be sold or closed down. AOL decided this as it would take “too much additional investment” to keep the social networking site worthwhile.

John Brod, Executive Vice President at AOL:

“The strategy we set in May 2009 leverages our core strengths and scale in quality content, premium advertising and consumer applications, positioning us for the next phase of growth of the Internet. As we evaluate our portfolio of brands against our strategy, it is clear that social networking is a space with heavy competition, and where scale defines success. Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that has been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space. AOL is not in a position at this time to further fund and support Bebo in pursuing a turnaround in social networking.

“AOL is committed to working quickly to determine if there are any interested parties for Bebo and the company’s current expectation is to complete our strategic evaluation by the end of May 2010.”

According the WSJ, Bebo was never really a success.
The site never gained a foothold in the U.S. and steadily fell behind the competition. Bebo attracted 5 million unique U.S. visitors in February, down 12% from the same period last year, according to comScore Inc. In contrast, Facebook attracted 111.8 million unique U.S. visitors in February, nearly double the size of its audience in February 2009.

"We've known this has been a declining asset since just beyond day one that they bought it," says Ross Sandler, an Internet analyst with RBC Capital Markets. "It is a sunk cost at this point."

Well, there is the end of the Bebo, which was a flop since day 1. Good Bye Bebo, but I doubt many people will miss you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Run Google Chrome inside Internet Explorer

From Google:Google Chrome Frame is a free plug-in for Internet Explorer. Some advanced web apps, like Google Wave, use Google Chrome Frame to provide you with additional features and better performance.

It brings new technologies that are not supported yet in Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 into Internet Explorer. It literally is like running Google Chrome. I highly recommend this plug in, not that I use it, but because I use Google Chrome.

Additional benefits include internet Explorer runs 8 times faster using Google Chrome frame, according to Techworld.

Techworld: Microsoft's Internet Explorer zips through JavaScript nearly ten times faster than usual when Google's new Chrome Frame plug-in is partnered with the browser, benchmark tests show.

According to tests run by Computerworld, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) was 9.6 times faster than IE8 on its own. Computerworld ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite three times each for IE8 with Chrome Frame, and IE8 without the plug-in, then averaged the scores.

To try Google Chrome Frame, visit the Google Chrome Frame website. Please comment if you have used it.

Great New: Blu ray goes high capacity

The Blu ray disc association gave released a new generation of blu ray discs that holds more than double the amount of data that previous generations of the disc.

The new format, called BDXL, can hold up to 128 GB on a write once blu ray disc, and 100 GB on a rewritable disc.

There is bad news though. Because this new format requires a laser that can penetrate 3 to 4 layers deep into the disc, the PS3 probably won't be able to access these discs (even with a firmware upgrade guys). A more powerful laser probably is needed.

Information Week 05/04/2010
: However, the higher number of layers require a more powerful laser, so the new format is not backward compatible with current hardware used to record data or play today's Blu-ray movies. As a result, adoption of the new technology will likely be slow, until manufacturers start releasing new hardware that can play and record the old and the new formats.
However, don't expect to see these disc in circulation too soon. From experience, it takes a while for new technology to be implemented into society. Sometimes, it is even rejected (remember the Nintendo Gamecube).

Apple Ipad sells more than 300 000 ipads!!

On Monday, Apple has said that it has sold more than 300 000 iPads on the first day it was released. Many analysts' expectations have been met by this number. Apple has also said that iPad users have downloaded over a million applications and 250 000 ebooks from the iTunes store.

It is not surprising that the vast majority of first iPad owners are Mac users. CNN's Fortune Brainstorm Tech blog also came up with other statistics from a survey of a sample size of 448 iPad owners.

Apparently,

* 74% were Mac users (26% owned another kind of PC). 96% planned to continue using their computers.

* 66% owned iPhones. Only four or five respondents (1%) thought they could replace their iPhone with an iPad.

* 13% owned Amazon (AMZN) Kindles and 58% of those planned to replace it with the iPad.

* The $499 16GB iPad was the most popular (39%) followed by the 32 GB (32%) and 64GB (28%). When the iPhone first launched, only 5% bought the low-end 4GB model.

* 74% planned to use their iPads to surf the Web; 38% to read books; 32% to e-mail; 26% to watch video; 18% to play games and other apps; 8% to listen to music.

* 78% said they didn't consider any other gadget before buying an iPad. 10% were thinking about buying a Kindle, 6% a netbook, 4% a laptop, 1% an iPhone, 1% an iPod touch.

The Associated Press claims that the company faces challenges encouraging more consumers to buy the product.

Associated Press
: Once the early excitement settles, Apple needs to convince a broader swath of people to buy if it wants the iPad to follow the iPhone's successful trajectory.

Many companies have tried to sell tablet computers before, but none has caught on with mainstream consumers. Apple's iPad comes at a time when people have even more Internet-connected gadgets — smart phones, laptops, e-book readers, set-top boxes and home broadband connections — and it may need to work harder to persuade people to buy yet another device that serves many of the same purposes.

Nevertheless, I wish I was Steve Jobs.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

How secure a Macs?

Many Macintosh users believe that their macs are very robust and immune against viruses and hacking. They get the misconception that their mac is very secure because they have never been hacked before. They hear stories from their friends, co workers and family of how a Windows PC has been hacked. (I know that this is a generalization of Mac users, you can flame me if you want.)

This is not the case. Macintosh's are not immune to viruses and Mac users can also be victims of phishing scams. This is what Jacob Appelbaum, a hacker and researcher, has to say about the subject.

It's possible to have a well-secured machine regardless of operating system. Users generally aren't able to secure machines and so this responsibility often falls to the vendor...Mac OS X and Windows both encourage users to download programs from the Internet without any thought for security.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, comments similarly on the issue:

I would argue that an Apple Mac user wanting to watch the 'Erin Andrews Peephole Video' is just as likely to download a bogus browser plug-in to help them do that, as a Windows user. And it doesn't matter that Mac OS X will ask them to enter their username and password to install the plug-in--they want to watch the video, they will enter their username and password.

It is also a misconception that Macintosh's are also immune to viruses. Macs aren't immune to viruses, but they are very rare. I do recommend users use antiviruses on these operating systems. The reason that there are less Macintosh viruses is that Apple holds less market share that apple and thus this means that designing a Mac virus would mean that less users can be targeted.

Tony Bradley from PC World made this comment, backing up my point quite nicely:

... the primary reason Macs aren't attacked and compromised more often is that the platform with 92 percent market share promises malware developers a significantly higher return on investment than the platform with five percent market share.

This was quite evident where at a security conference in Vancouver, "smart people" hack into fully patched and secure machines in short periods of time.

The Apple iPhone 3GS was fully compromised in 20 seconds by two hackers, the first time the mighty iPhone 2.0 has fallen to a crack. And the infamous Charlie Miller, who has successfully hacked into fully patched Macs for the last two years, this year wormed his way into fully patched and secure MacBook Pro to take home a cool $10,000. Another guy slammed into a fully-patched Windows 7 machine.

What was my point? Macs can be just as insecure as Windows if hackers out there feel like hacking it. Luckily for Mac users, many hackers aren't.

If you feel that this article is incorrect (factually), then feel free to argue it in the comments.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What is Naked DSL?

Naked DSL is an ADSL2+ broadband Internet connection that allows the end user can avoid phone rental fees while still having access broadband services. This is because it doesn't require a landline service.

Naked DSL offers ADSL2+ speeds. ADSL2+ allows the user to enjoy a more satisfying experience online with transfer (download) speeds which are extremely fast compared to traditional ADSL services.

ADSL speeds, however, are not clear cut. Many factors influence ADSL2+ speeds including distance from the nearest exchange, quality of the line, the signal strength, traffic congestion (referring to the internet).

With Naked DSL, a phone line (which users pay for every month through line rental) is no longer needed. All that is needed is a copper wire from the exchange to a home. Companies have its own broadband equipment so users can receive broadband without paying for line rental.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The legal status of Hackintosh- Is it legal?

A "Hackintosh" is a computer running Apple (Mac) software that is not made by Apple. It is therefore said that the Apple software is hacked.

However, there have been many misconceptions on whether it is legal to use Apple software of a regular PC. The clear cut answer is no.

Psystar is attacked for selling hack macintosh's
The company Psystar has had a lawsuit from Apple filed against them because the company was openly selling computers loaded with a Mac OS. From Wikipedia:

Psystar Corporation is a Miami, Florida based company which sold "Open Computers". These computers, first announced in April 2008, had the option to be pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard, making them the first commercially distributed 'hacked' Macintosh computers.[1] In November 2009, a U.S. Federal District Court ruled Psystar violated Apple's copyrights in doing so.

Psystar Corporation is currently having a struggle with Apple, and the journey has involved filing for bankrupty and court complications.

What if I am just using the computer for private use (no commercial aspect)?
While a private user will not be under as much stress from Apple as Psystar, it doesn't make using a Mac OS on a PC any more legal. This is a segment for a EULA for a Mac OSX operating system- important bits are bolded for emphasis

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
A. Single Use License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, unless you have purchased a Family Pack or Upgrade license for the Apple Software, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so. This License does not allow the Apple
Software to exist on more than one computer at a time, and you may not make the Apple Software available over a network where it could be used by multiple
computers at the same time.

So it can be seen that hackintosh's is not legal (although one probably won't be sent to jail for it). Will this stop people from doing it..... probably not.

Introducing ethical hacking

Ethical hacking the process where an individual uses tools to strengthening the strength of your computer by testing the security of your system through physically (electronically actually) hacking it. It is a form of hacking (breaking into a computer system) that is legal (to the best of my knowledge). But I caution readers to check laws before proceeding because laws are different depending on area and change over time.

Many IT practitioners conduct these tests to confirm that their security system can stop the real hackers. Ethical hacking allows one to test their computer security policies and plug up holes before the real bad guys get to it.

From Hacking for Dummies, Chapter 1:

You need protection from hacker shenanigans. An ethical hacker possesses the skills, mindset, and tools of a hacker but is also trustworthy. Ethical hackers perform the hacks as security tests for their systems.

If you perform ethical hacking tests for customers or simply want to add another certification to your credentials, you may want to consider the ethical hacker certification Certified Ethical Hacker, which is sponsored by EC-Council. See www.eccouncil.org/CEH.htm for more information.

Ethical hacking — also known as penetration testing or white-hat hacking —involves the same tools, tricks, and techniques that hackers use, but with one major difference: Ethical hacking is legal. Ethical hacking is performed with the target’s permission. The intent of ethical hacking is to discover vulnerabilities from a hacker’s viewpoint so systems can be better secured. Its part of an overall information risk management program that allows for ongoing security improvements. Ethical hacking can also ensure that vendors’ claims about the security of their products are legitimate.

For anyone interested in the topic, I will continue to post more on the topic. Also check out Hacking for Dummies to anyone really interested or urgently need to revise their security policy. >> Ethical Hacking Cont.

Linux is insecure?

I am a linux fanboi and ever since I was immersed into the world of linux and linux security (iptables and interactive firewall etc), it has always been emphasized to me that linux is a very secure operating system. It is one of the reasons that many people use to attempt to persuade more people into using the operating system.

However, it seems that the linux may not be as secure as many believe. According to linux-watch.com, Steven J argues that all software is insecure. This is the beginning of his article Face it: Linux is insecure:

Linux is insecure. Open source is insecure. Windows is insecure. All software is insecure.

Deal with it.

People keep having this delusion that security is a product. That, if you just buy some magic box, you'll have a program or an operating system that's as secure as Fort Knox.

It doesn't work that way. Security is a process, not a product.

According to Hacking For Dummies by Kevin Beaver, linux also has the same vulnerabilites that can be exploited as Windows operating systems. He claims that:

Linux — the new darling competitor to Microsoft — is the latest flavor of UNIX that has really taken off in corporate networks. A common misconception is that Windows is the most insecure operating system (OS). However,Linux — and most of its sister variants of UNIX — is prone to the same security vulnerabilities as any other operating system.

Hackers are attacking Linux in droves because of its popularity and growing usage in today’s network environment. Because some versions of Linux are free — in the sense that you don’t have to pay for the base operating system — many organizations are installing Linux for their Web servers and e-mail servers in hopes of saving money.

I am not saying that you will be hacked if you use a linux of operating system. My point is that whilst the security and stability of linux can be emphasized, security precautions also need to be emphasized, so users of linux (especially those new to linux) are not given the false sense of security that linux is a 100% secure operating system.

According to linux-mag.com, this may be true. From their article,

Unfortunately, many Linux distributions make a number of painfully wrong security decisions at install. All too often these issues are overlooked by the administrator since the prevailing wisdom tends to be: “If it’s Linux, it’s secure.” As we’ll soon see, that’s not always the case.

With that said, there are many linux operating systems with a strong emphasis on security. Also, there are many auditing tools that can be used to assess the current security policy of a linux system. Linux Security Auditing Tool (LSAT) is one such tool that achieves this. usat.sourceforge.net

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mafiaboy: How I Cracked the Internet and Why It's Still Broken

Michael Calce was a canadian teenager, with the alias "Mafia Boy", conducted one of histories most "successful" DoS (denial of service- an attack which prevents computer resources from being access) in history.

Michael Calce conducted a denial of service (DoS) attacks that brought down Amazon.com, CNN.com, eBay, Yahoo!, and many other very popular internet sites for more than a time frame of six hours.

The estimated losses because of the attack were estimated to be $1.2 billion, including drops in share values, loss of revenue and recovery time. He has now written a book about his journey in the hacking world.

From yyztech.ca,

The book is the story of Michael Calce's involvement in hacking, from his early adventures on AOL, launching the attacks on Yahoo, CNN and eBay in 1999 to the resulting investigation, trial and sentencing that followed. The second part of the book covers a bit of his life afterwards but is mostly on how hacking has changed since his Mafiaboy days and ways for users to protect themselves online.

When I first came across the book I had to google "MafiaBoy" as, while the name sounded familiar, I couldn't recall who he was. In short, besides his age and the high profile of his targets, his story isn't that unique: "teen hacks website" is almost a cliche at this point with everything from James Bond to Doctor Who featuring young computer geniuses who are up to no-good. So it's worth asking beyond who was MafiaBoy, what exactly did he do, and does it matter nearly 10 years on.

-From http://www.yyztech.ca/posts/mafiaboy-how-cracked-internet-why-still-broken

In this book, he also examines the current state of security of the internet. He also examines how hackers these days are more criminal minded, engaging in the activity for money.

Getting more codecs for eeepc

One thing that I could not do with a eeepc is play mp4 files. The solution to this was to install a codec pack. It adds codecs to mplayer.

There is a guide at eeepc user. For those who are too lazy to even google it, I will quickly rehash the procedure to save you a mouse click (I really do have too much time).

Why have a codec pack added to your eeepc?

Raw video (or music in fact is huge) so codecs are used to compress the file into a smaller size (codec in fact means compressor decompressor) to save space. There are different types of codecs and eeepc player does not have them all. Therefore to play specific files, you have to get a codec pack.

Adding codec pack

1. Need a working internet connection.

2. Open up a terminal window (press Control + Alt + T )

3. In console, type "sudo /usr/share/mplayer/scripts/binary_codecs.sh install" without quotes. To copy and paste, right click copy and in the terminal window, press the scoller button on the mouse down.

4. Wait for the downloads to finish downloading which depends on speed of connection.

5- You are done. Try your multimedia file to see if it works.

h264 codec missing

Apparently, the newer version of mplayer in Xandros (eeepc linux operating system) does not support the h264 codec. To get this functionality back, mplayer must be downgraded.

Downgrading Mplayer so it supports h264

**Proceed with caution**. This process may cause problems in your eeepc. If you want to continue, here are the steps (taken from eeepcuser.com)

1. Open up a terminal window (press Control + Alt + T )
2. Type in the terminal window sudo kwrite /etc/apt/sources.list
3. Add the following to the file: deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian/ etch main non-free contrib
**If the above repository is not working, give this one a try: deb http://www.debian-multimedia.org etch main
4. Save changes to the file
5.Back in the terminal, type "sudo aptitude update" without quotes
6.Then type "sudo aptitude install mplayer=1.0~rc1-12etch5" without quotes.

To play rmvb files on eeepc


1. Download the codecs files for rmvb (real media video) files and save it a known directory.

2. Right click the file and select Extract All.

3. Type in the following lines in terminal (should know how to open terminal by now)

cd /{insert directory name}/essential-date
sudo mkdir /usr/lib/codecs/
sudo cp * /usr/lib/codecs/

4. You are done.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meebo feature: "Off the record"

According to meebo (web messenger that allows access to many different social networking facilities), they have introduced a new feature called "Off the Record" which allows you to choose on a case by case basis whether to store your messages with a particular contact. Although this feature isn't a feature that will make you love meebo (people love meebo, but probably not just because of this feature), it has one major feature. If someone hacks into your meebo account, you can minimize your disaster and your invasion of privacy by not saving a particular conversation.

Here is the announcement straight from meebo:

We made a significant, but not very obvious, change to Meebo with our latest release. Did you notice?

We introduced a feature sometimes called "off the record," which lets you decide on a per-friend basis whether to store your IM history.
Note that the person on the other side of the conversation could still be saving the chat contents. You are only changing the setting for your own chat logs.

Chat logs can be extremely useful as a reference when you can't remember a phone number, need to find a link someone sent you, or if you just need to confirm that you were supposed to meet your friend at 5:00 at the mall(not 3:00 at the park). However, sometimes you might not want to save your IM history.

That's where "off the record" comes in.

To toggle your personal chat logs on and off for an individual buddy, open your conversation history and then select "IM History On" or "IM History Off" at the top of the window.

The chat log icons in both the IM History window and your IM window will change to indicate the current status.

Of course, you can also control whether chat logs are on or off for all users - just go to preferences > im settings from the menu at the top of your Meebo desktop.

You can also delete your entire conversation history for an individual buddy from the chat log window.

So try it out and tell us what you think.

Thanks to Paul and Len for building this frequently-requested item and to David for the cool graphics, and keep on the lookout for a couple more posts about some other recently released features.

Source- meebo.com

More msn spam

I really have automated bots on MSN. They always seem to advertise themselves, wanting you to join in on a webcam chat, probably trying to get viruses, spyware- the lot of malicious software- onto your computer to scam you bank details. My friend used my hotmail account and accepted a lot of msn spammers. Now, they never stop coming.

Most of the messages don't even make sense. One spammer says: "Its my paris". Here's another one of msn spamming messages. They don't even lead into a conversation normally.

[04:04] risataruc85@hotmail.com: Since when do I need a headline?
[04:04] risataruc85@hotmail.com: hey

What has this world become?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Twilight- New Moon scam, ie- the streamviewer scam

I received an email from PC tools team warning me about the Twilight- New Moon Scam:

PC Tools’ Malware Research Center has discovered another online Twilight scam, promising viewers they can watch the “New Moon” movie for free. Here’s what really happens:

• Fans are baited with the text websites, chat rooms and blogs that read: “Watch New Moon Full Movie.” Concurrently, comment posts are filled with related keywords to attract more search engines.
• Search results for the movie then link users to stolen images from the movie itself, convincing the fan that the movie is only one click away.
• When they click on the “movie player” they are told to install a "streamviewer".
• The streamviewer, however, installs malware on the user’s computer.
This is of course part of a larger trend, where cybercriminals use the popularity of current affairs, world events and even movie premieres to attract people who seek free or pirated content.

Our advice is to see films in the cinema. Sure the popcorn is over-priced, but it’s still cheaper than having your bank details taken from your PC and your account drained of funds.

-Source: PC tools email (27/11/09)

Well, just wanted to warn you guys so you can protect yourself. Interesting how cybercriminals take advantage to movie fan's love. Read more>>

Security Features of Windows 7

According to PCs For Dummies- Windows 7 Edition, this is the security features of Windows 7 (by the way, this is not just directly copied from the book):

1. Use Microsoft Internet Explorer (the latest version that comes with Windows 7). It comes with the latest security features such as warning the end user when software attempts to install itself on the computer and protection against phishing sites.

2. Windows Defender: The Windows Defender program scan for and identifies start up programs and spyware. Windows Firewall: The firewall helps to guard your computer against the bad guys.

3. Windows Update: Making sure your PC’s software is up-to-date is important because the hackers out there love to target those who stands still.

4. Backup: To keep your stuff safe, I recommend that you back it up. The backup process makes a copy of files on your PC so that if your PC is struck by misfortune, naturally or motivated by malice, the aftermath are not as devastating.

5. Antivirus: Your PC needs a good antivirus program to fight malicious software that slip in from the Internet or arrive on infected media. However, Windows 7 doesn’t come with a built in antivirus, but Microsoft has produced its own antivirus called Microsoft Security Essentials.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

MSN block checker ( MSN fanatic ): Legit or not?

I'll get to the point- Is it legit? 
No. Doesn't Work.  After my very test, I have concluded that the MSN fanatic does not work and may be a scam. It may harvest email address or send spam to you. I will be observing whether the email that I have never disclosed to anyone (recently made it for the test) get a large amount of spam. (By the way, for anyones informations, it is not a email address that is  a spammer could just think up of, so it is very conclusive that if spam is directed at this email address, it is the result of giving it to MSN fanatic block checker)

I have heard a lot about MSN block checkers (web apps or programs that can check whether you have been blocked in a message), but not from very trustable sources. People that I am sure that I don't know often advertise these sites and often get blocked immediately by me. Ironical?

The first results for "MSN block checker" on Google gives a MSN fanatic block checker. (not going to add the link, just check it up in google if you want to see the website for yourself.) I have checked up on the site but have not been able to get a definite answer on whether the site is legitimate. Is it a scam? McAfee Site Advisor gave the all clear for being safe, but there have been user reports of popups and spyware. Keep in mind that MSN fanatic block checker could be a scam to steal your password or to collect up email address to sell to a spammer.  So I took the neccessary precautions before testing the site myself. Apparently it is also possible to DIY with a msg api (don't know what it is, can someone fill us in). 

The test
It was a simple test. I made 2 hotmail accounts. I added each other and had on block the other. Using MSN fanatic block checker, I tested whether msn fanatic could determine if that email has blocked them. (found out afterwards in the FAQS that I really didn't need to do this) MSN fanatic block checker supposedly told whether a contact was really online or not. So I was signed in on the blocked account when I used the block checker. 

The result
Doesn't work. I tried it several times. However, each time I enter the email address that I was signed into, it told me that I was not signed in. Msn Block Checker: Myth Busted. MYTH

Don't trust it. 

On a side note- if it does work for you, please post a comment. I would be very interested. 

Update (3/4/10)- Apparently back in the day, MSN block checkers work. However, there was a change in policy at Microsoft has changed their policy, leading to all MSN block checkers to stop working. However, if a user disables a certain setting (why would they?), then MSN block checkers can still check whether that contact has block you (quite unlikely).

This is from information retrieved from MSN Tools.NET. This is an excerpt (the important bits) from the guide:

Back in the day, due to the way Microsoft had configured the privacy settings for Passport and MSN Messenger accounts, a Block Checker could find out if a use was really offline or if they had blocked you, block checking was easy and common. Microsoft recently changed this privacy configuration so block checkers can no longer check you if a certain person has blocked you, unless the person has turned off this privacy feature, which is not very likely!

In case the person has not turned off the privacy feature (it's On by default), a blockchecker will most likely tell you that the contact (the blocker) is offline and has not blocked you on MSN Messenger, even if they have blocked you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Girls talking to me on msn

Only a select few of my immediate friends talk to me online (ie- msn, facebook). So when someone talks outside this normal circle of people talk to me, I get very wary. Here's one of the msn virus spamming people that talk to me.

[03:02] Yoko: hi 
[03:03] XXX: oh no 
[03:03] Yoko: hi 
[03:03] XXX: hi 
[03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link http://www.localsocialcam.com/vicky  
[03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link http://www.localsocialcam.com/vicky 
[03:03] XXX: oh no 
[03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link http://www.localsocialcam.com/vicky 
 [03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link http://www.localsocialcam.com/vicky

Here's more:

[16:26] risataruc85@hotmail.com: Waiting On A Good Man [16:26] risataruc85@hotmail.com: hey

Btw, i removed the links. My msn dp isn't XXX, it just changed it for privacy means. 

 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Windows Media Player Visualizations: Does anyone think the same way I think about them?

Ever since I have first encountered Windows Media Player ( that is a long time ago), I have always grown to love to hate the visualization that come with the default media player for MS operating systems. Sometime I am so bored to the point where I stare at these visualization and was mesmerised by the "repetitiveness".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

MPSA- Spot common insecurities Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT

Microsoft Personal Security Analyzer can scan desktop computers running on the operating systems Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Microsoft Windows NT 4 Workstation to identify common misconfigurations and suggest a solution to these problems.

MPSA can identify problems such as weak passwords, patches that are not installed, macro settings that lead to insecurities in the Microsoft Office suite. It also can identify common security settings in  Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.

MPSA was a standalone ActiveX control and limited to only scanning the machine with it installed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Authenticode explained

Authenticode is a feature of Internet Explorer that allows users to know that software that they are about to download (or have already downloaded) has not been tampered (in other words, not altered by a third party with malicious intent). It acts as a defense against  malicious code.

Authenticode allows the attachments of digital certifi­cates software downloaded from the
Internet including cabinet files, ActiveX controls, exe files, DLLs (dynamic link libraries). If a user tries to download a signed ActiveX control, he/she is alerted with a message telling the end user that the code originates with the developer and hasn't been tampered by a third party. It is then up to the user whether to download, run or to reject the control.

More details at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc750035.aspx

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Virus Mail from "Postal Support Susie Castle" - UPS Delivery Problem NR 60977.

I got an email that I did not have a parcel delivered to me from a US postal service. I was very wary that it might be a virus. -- I don't live in the US. Here is the email:

Hello!

We were not able to deliver the postal package you have sent on the 28th of December in time
because the recipient’s address is erroneous.
Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our department.

United Parcel Service of America. (attached: UPS invoice 234.zip)

 Its a virus. Here is a virus total page showing the results.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weird file in google docs "Potential iSIM replacements"

 I do not know much about google docs, but this file just appearing in my account. Apparently it is from "Glenn" that has given the spreadsheet file to everyone. It also says something about Davlap. I don't know Davlap or Glenn. I have never been close to any Davlap's or Glenn's out there. I can't delete it because I supposedly don't know it.



I will look into the matter further. If anyone knows the problem or if I am making a fuss over nothing, please post a comment.


Thanks.

Logitech Cordless Desktop EX100 works with Asus EEEPC 701

The title says it all. Just to recap, if you have a Logitech Cordless Desktop EX100 and have a ASUS EEEPC 701, they will work well together.

Hardware support in linux can be a pain at times. I will post the combinations that I have found to work and not work in the future.

Ecobutton functionality in Windows XP SP3 for free

I like the idea of the ecobutton, but recently I love the idea of getting the ecobutton for free. By the way, this only works in Windows XP SP3.




Here is the basics of how the ecobutton works. There are six power states that a computer can be in, S0 to S5.
S0 = When the computer is on and using the most power.
S1 = Basic Standby (Shallow sleep). Typically wakes up in no more than two seconds
S2 = Less power consumption than S1 and greater than in S3. Wake up is usually two seconds or slightly more.
S3 = Less power consumption than in S2. Wake up time is the same as S2.
S4 (hibernate) = The lowest power state but with a long wake up time - sometimes a few minutes or more. 
S5 = The real lowest state. When the computer is off and using no power.

Most computers come with S2 and S3 disabled leaving just the most shallow sleep state (S1) and the deepest (S4 hibernate) available to most users. Most people tend not to use hibernate due to the length of time the PC takes to wake up leaving just S1 as the only convenient option. 


The ecobutton puts the computer into the S3 state wherever possible. However, if one could enable S3 on their computer, they could get the ecobutton functionality (in other words, put the computer in a low power state) for free. I have discovered the way to do this on Windows XP SP3.




Here is an easy way to check if you have S3 functionality on your computer.

  1. Click Start --> Run
  2. Type in cmd (without quotes) and press enter. 
  3. In the command prompt, type powercfg -a and press enter. 
  4. The following screen will show which sleep functionalities you have. 
From the command prompt screen, we can see that I do not have S1, S2, S3 and S4 (hibernate). Keep reading to get ecobutton for free.

Important quick note: This guide might lead to your computer not waking up from sleep mode just be moving the mouse or typing on the keyboard. This is one reason that you might want the ecobutton, as it can wake your computer up by just be pressing a button. Note, this does not apply to all USB devices. My keyboard and mouse can wake my computer up from sleep mode.
Steps to getting Ecobutton functionality free: enable S3 functionality
  1. Download a registry file that enables S3 sleep functionality from here. 
  2. Right click the file and click Extract All.... 
  3. Click Next twice and then click Finish
  4. Double click the registry file. (the file with an icon of stack cubes). 

    Disclaimer: I will not take any responsibility for any damages on your computer for following these instructions. I did it and it have no negative effect. What you do to your computer is your choice. 

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Ecobutton for laptops: how much more energy does it save? Is there a portable version?

    If you follow my blog and have read these posts:
    you would know that I am interesting in getting a ecobutton and I own a MSI Wind U100 netbook. I considered how useful the ecobutton would be useful to use with my netbook. So I went and investigated the matter. Does it save more energy? Is there a more portable solution?

    The ecobutton will work with laptops, potentially saving power, however the potential savings in power is lower than a desktop computer as laptops are already designed to use less power than a normal PC. This is because a laptop runs on a finite source of power (in order words, on battery rather than on mains power).

    It is possible to only use the ecobutton software without using the ecobutton (in other words, you initiate the program from your computer instead of just pressing the ecobutton). This is good news for me, but bad news for the people who forget that your computer has a standby feature.

    Good news is that the developers of the ecobutton are developing a "mini" ecobutton, a portable version of the device, which only protrudes 5mm from the the USB ports on laptops.

    If you want to purchase the ecobutton, an link from amazon is below.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Ecobutton vs system standby: does the ecobutton prevail?

    The ecobutton  is a button that is connected to a computer through a USB cable. By pressing the ecobutton, the computer supposedly enters a power saving mode that saves a lot of energy compared to system standby. However, there are some skeptics out there that believe that the ecobutton is simply an accessibility addon for greater convenience that allows people to simply enter standby mode, a feature of almost all operating systems, whether it be linux, Mac OSX or Windows.


    I contacted the guys at ecobutton to hear what they had to say. Here is the reply:
    Hello,

     Thank you for your interest in ecobutton™, I have supplied a link to our FAQ’s which will hopefully answer your questions;

    Q: What kind of sleep mode does ecobutton™ actually engage, is it just the normal Standby mode? 

    A: The ecobutton uses the most efficient form of sleep available on your PC whilst still allowing your PC to �wake� quickly and return to its previous state with all programs still open. This is usually a deeper energy saving mode than the regular Standby mode you normally find as default on a Windows PC. . 

    On most PCs there are 4 inbuilt sleep states - S1, S2, S3 and S4. With each successive sleep state, from S1 to S4 (hibernate), more of the computer is shut down. However, the majority of PCs are actually supplied with S2 and S3 disabled leaving just the most shallow sleep state (S1) and the deepest (S4 hibernate) available to most users. Most people tend not to use hibernate due to the length of time the PC takes to wake up leaving just S1 as the only convenient option.
    The sleep states built into most PCs are as follows: 

    S1 = Basic Standby (Shallow sleep). Typically wakes up in no more than two seconds
     
    S2 = Less power consumption than S1 and greater than in S3. Wake up is usually two seconds or slightly more.
     
    S3 = Less power consumption than in S2. Wake up time is the same as S2.
    S4 (hibernate) = The lowest power state but with a long wake up time - sometimes a few minutes or more.

    Wherever possible, ecobutton� re-educates your PC to use S3 when the ecobutton� is pressed.
     

    For more detailed information about the various sleep states please see this link
     http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms798270.aspx
     ecobutton™ is more than just an accessibility add-on providing convenience as it gives puts the PC into the most energy saving, efficient mode available on that PC (typically S3) but it also shows the user how much money & CO2 they have saved which is a great motivation in its own right.
    Thanks again
    Regards
    Wayne

    ECOBUTTON-WEB-SIG-WAYNE

    Attention - ecobutton is protected by a registered design and patent worldwide. We will take all evidence of such copies seriously and will instigate legal proceedings in such cases.
    Invest in our original.
    Purchasing fake or copy products means you could be breaking the law and getting inferior goods and technical support. Further information can be found at : www.eco-button.com

    © 2007-2010 Invent Technology Solutions Ltd. ecobutton® is an international registered name of Invent Technology Solutions Ltd
    International Patent Application PCT/GB2008/002659 / Chinese Utility Model 200890000005.2 pending. Foreign rights reserved. 
    So there seems to be proof backing their claims. Maybe its time for me to get one. Conveniently, there is a retail store that sells one in Australia (Officeworks). Maybe I'll go there on the weekend.

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    Panda Cloud keeps turning off antivirus service

    Panda Cloud Antivirus is a good antivirus. That is until it mucks up. Today, I opened Panda Cloud and summary page tells me that the service is stopped (shown with a big red X), warning me that it is dangerous. It has happen before, but when I reopened the GUI, it tells me that it is still working. I assumed it was a GUI glitch back then. Definitely not a GUI glitch today.

    Will look into the matter and keep you guys updated.

    Friday, February 26, 2010

    Interesting discovery: Panda Cloud doesn't need to update.

    If you read this article: Panda Cloud Antivirus: Installation, you would know that I am using Panda Cloud Antivirus on my computer at the moment. Silly me, but it took me several weeks to discover an interesting aspect of the program. Panda Cloud doesn't need to update its signatures. I didn't see it update, but didn't think too much at the time.

    Upon checking this matter up, I learned that Panda Cloud doesn't need to be updated.
    Thanks to this special cloud structure, Panda Cloud Antivirus doesn't have to be manually updated. Thanks to this special cloud structure, Panda Cloud Antivirus doesn't have to be manually updated. Forget about complicated configurations and having to download new signature files! This doesn't mean you remain unprotected when disconnected from the network: Panda Cloud Antivirus features a local cache that keeps the program up and running, working at 100%.(Bolded for emphasis)

                                  - Source: Softonic (panda-cloud-antivirus.en.softonic.com)


    Looks like an interesting aspect. The end has come to manual and even automatic update of signature files for antivirus solutions.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Interesting Problem: Protagoras' problem

    I came across a book called 101 Philosophical Problems: 2nd Edition written by Martin Cohen. Questia Preview of 101 Philosophical Problems with that includes the problem.

    The problem (words change due to copyright issues):

    Euathlos has learned how to be a lawyer from Protogoras, under the condition that Euathlos doesn't have to pay until and unless he wins his first court case. Euathlos becomes a musician after Protagoras spent much time teaching him and doesn't take any court cases. Euathlos refuses to him.


    Protagoras takes him to court. He reasons.
    • If I loses the court case, Euathlos wins (thereby meeting the requirements of the condition) and thus Euathlos has to pay.
    • If I wins, Euathlos still has to pay.
    Euathlos reasons differently:
    • If I lose, the conditions of the original agreement is not met and thus I do not have to pay up.
    • If I win, Protagoras has lost the right to enforce pay me. 
    So Protagoras and Euathlos both believe that they will get what they want. They both can't be right. Who is making the mistake?

    The solution
    Here is solution which I think fits.

    If Euathlos wins, the original requirements from the agreement are fulfilled, yet Protagoras has lost the right to enforce the payment.

    If Protagoras wins, the original requirements from the agreement are not fulfilled, yet Protagoras this time has the right to enforce payment even if it means scrapping the original agreement.

    The problem mostly lies here. Both the court decision and the original agreement cannot be worshipped at the same time.This means that unless it is made clear that the court or the original agreement has more power in terms or enforcing the payment, both parties cannot be accused of faulty reasoning.

    By the way, there is an interesting theory on wikipedia. Direct quote from wikipedia. It suggests the Euathlos would win, then Protogoras would have a reason to open a new trial.

    "Euathlus would win his case because Protagoras sued him BEFORE Euathlus won his first case. Protagoras would lose that particular case because Euathlus has not yet won a case, and therefore Protagoras's cause of action had not yet manifested itself.
    The new victory of Euathlus would qualify as new evidence for Protagoras, thus constituting grounds for a new trial."


    If you want to read what the book says about it, please support the author and buy the book. I do recommend it.  (Link for buying book from amazon underneath).

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Interesting question: Is google better than yahoo?

    I was on the internet today and notice an interesting thing. When you type in "why" in google search, google suggests "why is google better than yahoo".

    I saw page titles such as:
    • 9 Examples Why Google Search Is Better Than Yahoo!
    • 7 Things Yahoo Does Better than Google
    • Is google better than yahoo???  
     From an perfectly unbiased point view, I believe that Google is better than Yahoo. Why? Because it gives me more traffic. On a more serious note, Google is set to be my homepage is it loads faster than Yahoo because of its simplicity.

     Google vs Yahoo. Which do you think is better?