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.


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] Since when do I need a headline?
[04:04] 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  
[03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link 
[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 
 [03:03] Yoko: AUTO-RESPONSE: hey just in the middle of my free webcam show if you want to watch click the link

Here's more:

[16:26] Waiting On A Good Man [16:26] 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

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:


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

 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.


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:

     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
     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


    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 :

    © 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.