[Geeks are Sexy] technology news





Saturday, December 31, 2005

Teresa Noreen needs your help!

If you are reading this blog daily, you've probably already read about my friend Teresa Noreen, the Dweeb Goddess. Teresa is now in the running for a photoshoot with Maxim magazine as part of the Cuervo Hot 101 Sweepstake. You can help her out by going to Maxim’s website and vote for her. I honestly think that in all the picture you will see on there, she is the best looking babe. If you want to know more about her, you can always check this blog entry out for her bio.

Her picture is on the top right of this post, to help you identy her when you'll be voting.



Friday, December 30, 2005

Ultimate boot CD for windows : the perfect sysadmin suite for problems diagnostics

Today, I am going to point you guys to a great and free troubleshooting product suite for Windows operating systems. UBCD for windows is something that every technician / SysAdmin / Network administrators should have in his toolkit at all time. Whatever you do, don't leave your office without it!

UBCD4Win is a bootable CD which contains software that allows you to repair/restore/diagnostic pretty much any computer problem you may encounter in your day to day work. Even computer enthusiasts will find a use for it. One of the best thing about it is that every software included on the CD are freeware! With network support, the ability to modify NTFS volumes, recover deleted files, create new NTFS volumes, scanning hard drives for viruses, etc. this project is almost everything you need to repair your system problems. There are many other types of utilities included to allow you to recover and/or repair a damaged system. Additional applications included are CD Burning, Backup/cloning, Defragmenter's, Password recovery, the list goes on!! Please visit the List of Tools page for a complete list of what is included in the latest version of the project.

Check it out!



Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The 11 mistakes Microsoft made with the Xbox 360

You guys probably all heard about the reliability problems the Xbox 360 had when it was first released a few weeks ago. Assorted stories about this started popping up on thousands of blogs all over the world a few days after the initial release. The overpriced gaming box was causing a lot of frustration in the gaming community.

According to Firing Squad, there was 11 mistakes made by Microsoft during the production process of the Xbox 360. Some of these problems are simple to fix while others will probably require some pretty heavy modifications of the 360. The problems range from overheating CPU/GPU to the lack of WMV HD-DVD playback.


Read more!



Saturday, December 24, 2005

A very Geeky and Merry Christmas to everyone!

I'd like to take a bit of time today to wish you all a merry Christmas! This is the perfect time to celebrate and shut off your computer for a couple of days / hours. If you are alone, maybe you should pick up the phone and call some of your old friends and family that you just stopped seeing over the years. Who knows, maybe this will be the first step in seeing some people you missed so much!

I hope this Christmas will be one of peace and joy for all of us!

Next week, I'll be back with an article about password recovery. If you lost your administrator password on your Windows box, there is always a way to get it back. I've done it several time over the year, and it always worked great, no matter how complex your password was.

Take care, and don't forget to come back for some great new content on "Geeks Are Sexy"



Friday, December 23, 2005

Have a very geeky Christmas : How to build a gingerbread computer

This year a new idea popped into my head when baking the annual Gingerbread house. How about doing something fun and different? Thoughts swirled in my head for a moment and eventually formed a peculiar idea: Why not build a gingerbread computer? No, get a hold of yourself. This is just too geeky...

read more



Thursday, December 22, 2005

Auditing your users passwords for complexity : convincing management to adopt a strong password policy

There are many ways to create a hard to crack password, but unfortunately, most of these techniques create passwords that are too hard to remember. After a while, people just start using simple, easy to find ones because they are fed up of calling up tech. support to have them reset their password to something else. Big corporations often enforce a password complexity policy, but unfortunately, most SMBs won't care about this and management will consider enforcing such policies as useless and won't do a thing until a disaster arise.

If you are a system or network administrator, you may want to do some password auditing to prove to your bosses that you need to enable a strong password policy in your corporation. If you are not, then you might want to try this out just for the fun of it. Be careful if you do this! You will need to get the proper authorization from management because if you don't, you may end up without a job.


I'll give you a few pointers about how to do this, you'll have to find the rest by yourselves. This means that if you have no ideas about how to proceed, then you shouldn't be trying any of this out.

1- You will need to have some administrative access to your domain or your local box in the case where you only want to test your own system.

2- Download a program that will dumps the password hashes from your domain's SAM database into a text file.
Pwdump2 will let you do this. Be sure to read all the instructions on the download page before using the software.

dos1

3- Get an application that will do a brute force / dictionary attack on the password hashes you previously captured. Cain&Abel will do this nicely. Cain & Abel is a password recovery tool for Microsoft Operating Systems. It allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords using Dictionary, Brute-Force and Cryptanalysis attacks. Be warned that there is the possibility that you will cause damages and/or loss of data using this software and that in no events shall the author or myself be liable for such damages or loss of data. Please carefully read the License Agreement included in the program before using it.

4- Find some dictionary text files to add to your attack software.You will need a couple of them. Ex: French, English, first name, lastname, etc.
Here is a very good resource for word lists.

5- Start your auditing software and test your users passwords with a dictionary attack. You will be very surprised by what you find in there. I usually discover around 50% of the passwords in a 150 users environment in under an hour using this technique. You can also try to brute-force the captured SAM database, but this mode can take anywhere from a couple of days to many weeks to decrypt a single password.

cain2

When you are finished doing this, print up the results, show them to your boss and pray that management is bright enough to realize the dangers associated with the situation.

A lot of people will just write down their passwords on a piece of paper and stick it under their keyboard or on their screen if they are too hard to remember. I know, I've seen this happen a lot of times in several corporations I worked for in the past.

Here are a couple of resources about how you can help your users choose safer and better passwords.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

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iPod Underwear fashion for the technologically obsessed freaks

Yeah, your read that right, a pair of underwear specially made for the iPods fans. Just imagine your significant other dancing in his / her undies with an iPod attached to it... Isn't this ridiculous? "Oh sweetheart, I just love that big flat bump in your underwear"

The iBoxer comes either in cotton or spandex, costs 22$ and will let you be the star of your neighborhood.. (If you choose to run around in your undies that is...)

And like Oliver Rist from technology filter said: "Buy two pairs and you not only get to slam your head into a wall twice, you get three free iTunes, too."

By the way, the abs you are seeing in the picture up there are mine.

via (Technology filter)



Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tomorrow's newspaper will be digital

Available from April 2006, Belgian daily newspaper, De Tijd, will be distributed electronically via the first portable electronic reading and writing solution on the consumer market. Since 2001 Philips and the US based E ink corporation have been developing an electrophoretic technology to display content on thin displays inside which bright and dark particles move around in a clear solution. Subscribers will be able to get some new daily content via a Wi-Fi connection or a flash memory card.

A few years ago, we thought that these kind of things were only possible in sci-fi movies. How long till we live in a society like we see depicted in Minority Report?

Read more



Santa claus feels evil this year

Santa Claus doesn't care whether you've been naughty or nice this year, he only wants to jump into your operating system and be evil. We're talking about the santa claus worm of course, not the real one! The worm is targeting the AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft instant messenger for now, but more clients may be afftected later.

for more information, visit inforworld



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mentos + Soda = WOW!

Check out what happens when you add a pack of mentos to a 2 lt. bottle of diet Pepsi. You won't beleive your eyes. I know I didn't at first.

Hours of fun ahead!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4077724936497803978&q=diet+pepsi+mentos



The dark side of system administration

Ok, I have to admit I'm short tempered sometimes, but usually, I'm more patient then I should for my own health.

System administrators usually have the brutal task of maintaining the inventory of all the information technology stuff that the company they work for owns. A few weeks ago, I had the marvelous idea of having people working in remote offices send me an update about the inventory of their current environment. That was a bad idea, a really bad one.

People in 2005 should AT LEAST have a bit of knowledge about computers when they work with one..

This means:


  • A screen isn't a computer.
  • A computer isn't a hard disk.
  • When I describe VERY precisely how to get the amount of RAM / Speed of the computer, I don't wanna get answer like: Computer brand and speed: Asus 52X
  • No, We do not REBOOST a computer, we reboot them.
  • When a user get a confirmation box saying: Press OK to continue, I don't want people to call me to ask what they need to do.
  • No, it's not possible to send a 700MB cd by email.
  • hitting enter or clicking OK is the same thing.. Stop Arguing! it's the same THING!

I'm now officially depressed :)





Monday, December 19, 2005

Gender gap in computer science growing

It looks like finding a geek girl working in the IT (information technology) world is becoming something of a rarity. The gender gap among computer science majors is increasing every year. In 1985, the proportion of women studying in computer science was at 37% and in the last few years, it dropped to 28%. In some other research oriented universities, the proportion even go as low as 17%. But why is this happening?

"The argument of many computer scientists is that women who study science or technology, because they are defying social expectations, are in an uncomfortable position to begin with. So they are more likely to be dissuaded from pursuing computer science if they are exposed to an unpleasant environment, bad teaching, and negative stereotypes like the image of the male hacker."

I remember when I was studying in computer science 10 years ago: there was 2 girls for 300 guys at first. After 3 years, 290 guys had dropped out, and the 2 girls were still there.

Read more



The Xbox 360 inventory locator: When you need it now!

With Christmas comming, lots of people are searching for an Xbox 360. Unfortunatly, a lot of you guys won't find one because there is none available country-wide. This site could help you : The Xbox 360 inventory locator. The site has a web application that keeps track of xBox inventory in large retail stores around the country, including BestBuy, CompUSA and even eBay among others.

Check it out! (Magnificent photo manipulation courtesy of Oliver Rist from Technology filter)



Sunday, December 18, 2005

Carbon Fiber Nano Case

For those who wants to have some hot looking protection for their iPod Nano, this site is building up cases made up from carbon fiber. I have no idea what kind of protection this thing offers, but it looks definitely cool.

Check it out! via (digg)



Saturday, December 17, 2005

Internet Explorer 7 will come with increased security and functionalities

Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, will be getting significant security improvements with the release of their 7.0 version. They had to do something to slow down the progress of Firefox, the free browser from the Mozilla foundation. Millions of people have already switched to Firefox in the past year, so Microsoft had to come with something new to fight back.

Microsoft will try to get back those Firefox users with a new browser that has:

  • Protected mode: IE7 will be running with lower privileges than the main operating system
  • Phishing filters: Users will be protected from false URL redirection and suspicious SSL certificates
  • Tabbed browsing: Users will be able to browse by tabs, and not necessarily by windows. You won't have to open 3 different IE windows to look at 3 different pages at the same time. Firefox has been using that feature for a while
  • Built-in support for Web feeds (RSS) directly in the browser
  • A completely new redesigned interface

IE 7 is currently under beta testing for developers only. If you want to learn more about Microsoft's newest browser, you can download their technology overview right here



Friday, December 16, 2005

Hard drive recovery utilities: when you can't afford to lose that data

Hard Drive RecoveryJust imagine this: you've been working on that important paper for the past 2 weeks, and you are just about to finish it. The deadline is in a few days. You save your document, go for a coffee and when you get back, your screen is black. Your computer rebooted itself automatically and is now stuck in the bootup process with a message similar to this: No boot device, please insert a bootable media. You try to restart your computer a few times, but it does not fix your problem. At this point, it's important do stay calm, don't PANIC! There may hope yet!

First, you'll have to make sure that your problem isn't related to something else then the hard drive. The failure of your hard disk controller may also be causing this. You could always try to switch your hard drive from IDE1 to IDE2 and see if it fixes your problem. If it's not, remove the hard drive from your system, and bring it with you to a friend's house. If it still doesn't work over there, then you know what the problem is.

The only solution to your problem now is to use a data recovery software, like PC
Inspector File recovery. This application is completely free, and it works beautifully. It helped me once or twice in the past few years. Don't make yourself any illusion, it's not perfect, and doesn't work all the time (Like any other hard drive recovery utility). Sometimes, data cannot be recovered out of a broken hard drive, unless you are ready to take your disk to a specialized recovery shop and pay 1000's of dollars to have your data recovered.

While being at your friend's house, install your HD as a secondary device and start the computer. Be sure that the drive is seen in the startup process, because PCinspector will not work if you are having mechanical problems with the disk drive or If it is no longer recognized by the BIOS. Head over to pcinspector.de and
download the utility. The software supports the most popular file systems on the market: FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS. To be able to use PC INSPECTOR File Recovery you will need a working Windows System. Never install it on the drive from which you intend to recover data! The software must be installed and run on a second, independent drive (Amazon.com has many affordable hard drivesif you need one!). When you are done, the utility is very easy to use. Just let the application extensive HTML tutorial guide you through all the steps. I hope this little hard drive recovery how-to could help you. Hopefully, the application will let you recover your data.

If after trying this, you still are unable to recover your data, you can always ask experts to do the job for you. The folks at DTI Data and at the Hard Drive Repair Group can probably help you get your data back, no matter how damaged your drive is. Here are the specific pages on their sites concerning hard drive data recovery solutions:

Here are 2 great articles about hard drive recovery. Read them!

Beginners Guides: Hard Drive Data Recovery

Data Recovery Myths

hard-drive-recovery

Edit: After writing this article, several readers wrote to me about the knoppix Linux distribution CD. This bootable CD has the ability to mount and read FAT, FAT32 and NTFS partitions, even damaged ones. So after your HD crashed, you can always use this to recover your data and back it up on a USB key or second HD.

Knoppix can be downloaded via This location.

This site has some VERY complete instructions about how to use Knoppix to recover your lost data, so I won't have to write about it.

Some people seem to think that if your hard drive has some mechanical problems, you can try putting it in the freezer for a few hours. Check out the discussion here, I'd like to know what you guys think about this. There are already ALOT of comments over there, so if you guys are curious about this solution, check it out!

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Geeks are sexy! + Teresa Noreen +

Hey everyone,

My good friend Teresa Noreen did something that made me drop my jaw this week. I was quite happy about it, to tell you frankly. After all, I was the one that discovered her new nickname: Teresa "Dweeb Goddess" Noreen. Let me tell you something, she's one sexy nerd! Here is what she had to say about this whole "Geeks Are Sexy" Business.

"Hey Friends! What happens when three geeks get together with a thong? BELOW is what happens!!!

Earlier in
another blog I mentioned being given the honorable title of Dweeb Goddess by my now-good friend Kiltak, the lead contributor to the (we)blog http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/. Well, another good friend, Latimer, stumbled across a "geeks are sexy" thong online, purchased it for me, and had it shipped to me. In the time I waited for it to arrive, my mind filled with Puh-LENTY of geeky ways to make the most of my new gift.

So here you go - two mini-CDs and some silver elastic with red rhinestones isn't very practical at the beach, but how often do steretypical geeks make it to the beach??? (Not that any of us meet the geek stereotype!!!) I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed making them. And Yan - these are here to share! Thanks guys!!!"




Now enjoy the picture, and don't forget to look at the thong ;) It honors my blog tremendiously

For those that are curious about who she is, here is part of her bio, taken from
Tom's Hardware.


"Teresa is a lot more than just a pretty face - or a fantasy figure, for that matter. She's a hardcore gamer, a case modder, and with the help of her husband - sorry, guys - she built her own car computer.

She's been playing seriously since she was in high school (she's in her late 20s). Her initial foray into gaming ollowed the same path as many others who get hooked on this form or activity, namely game consoles attached to a television set. She got her start on gaming with PlayStation 2 and Nintendo, courtesy of a high-school boyfriend who was himself a console gaming aficionado. Since then, she's spent a lot of time in front of game controllers and mastering video games of many kinds.

Teresa also confesses to being something of an untraditional women gamer herself, in that she "likes guy things" and has no problem with the blood'n'guts outlook or the occasional obligatory male persona she must take on in traditional shoot-em-up games. In fact, she confesses an unabashed passion for cars as well as video games, and believes that video games not only "spur imagination, and promote creative thinking," but believes that they also "improve hand-to-eye coordination." While she's no longer into console gaming (she never owned one herself, but always played on other people's equipment), she's made the jump into PC based gaming. "I could finally afford a machine that's fast enough to let me play my favorite role-playing games online."

Just how good is Teresa? She was good enough to make the cut for the Las Vegas finals in the online contest Sony ran to find a spokesmodel for its EverQuest role-playing game "Quest for Antonia." She was also good enough to land in third place overall, based on online input and Sony's judging, and actually placed first overall in the online voting that led up to the final scoring. This contest was concluded on August 15, 2005, and whetted Teresa's appetite for a full-time modeling career. You might have recognized one of her costumes in the picture of her holding the Axim. (You were looking closely at the PDA, right?)

Teresa's had to let her EverQuest subscription lapse for the moment, however. She's currently working on a bachelor's degree in business administration and starting out in what promises to be a successful modeling career (she was leaving for a modeling gig in Las Vegas the morning we interviewed her). She says she'll jump back in to gaming as soon as she has some more free time, and looks forward to spending more time playing, and possibly, returning to the contest circuit if the right opportunity comes along."

Teresa's official site is at: http://www.tnoreen.com/



The dream Video conferencing system: the HP Halo

HP and Dreamworks came out recently with a brand new kind of video conference system. The HP Halo is a person-to-person collaboration solution that lets you meet with colleagues miles and miles away just as if they were in the same room with you.

"Until now, video conferencing and conference calls have been the only way to attempt to meet without traveling. But Halo is as different from video conferencing as your new laptop is from a 1970s-era calculator. No other technology can come close to bringing people together and accelerate business the way Halo can."

I have no idea about how much this video conference system will cost, but it will probably be VERY expensive, and will require a very FAST internet connection!

Read more (via technology filter)



The top 20 IT mistakes to avoid

InforWorld published an excellent article about the top 20 IT mistakes to avoid. If you are an IT worker, you really should be reading this. Your peace of mind and career may depend on it!

Here are the first five ones according to Chad Dickerson, InfoWorld's CTO:

  1. Botching your outsourcing strategy
  2. Dismissing open source -- or bowing before it
  3. Offshoring with blinders on
  4. Discounting internal security threats
  5. Failing to secure a fluid perimeter


Overall, this is one of the best article I've read in a long time. Head over to Infoworld and read it religiously.



Nissan capitalizing on the xbox craze

Got this from Wired, tought it would be nice to drive one of these!

Nissan is looking to capitalize on the Xbox craze by showcasing a prototype vehicle with an integrated Xbox. The Urge has two seats that are modeled to like a cockpit, so the passenger will get to pretend he's driving while the driver hopefully isn't too distracted to do the real thing.

Read more on Wired



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to get free technical support for any computer problems, even the worse ones

About 1 year ago, I was searching the Internet for a solution to a Microsoft exchange 2000 problem I had. After searching google for hours and looking at various tech. sites, I ended up on a site named Experts-Exchange.com (EE). In the last few years, google often pointed me to this site, but unfortunately, I could never access it because a premium membership was required to look at the various solutions.


One day, I decided to simply register on their website to check out what was available to free members. To sign up, simply head over to experts exchange, and click on the sign up link (edit 2006/01/26, use this link, they changed the procedure to sign up, and the link is pretty hard to find on the page). Fill in the member information without entering any credit card information and click submit. At that point, you still won't have access to the knowledge base, but there is a free way to get it: become and expert yourself! Just browse the unanswered questions, and try to answer a few of them. All you need to do is get 10,000 expert points, the equivalent of about twelve questions to get your free premium membership. EE has over 200 topic areas where you can show your expertise, so if you have any technical knowledge about any information technology field, I'm pretty sure you can get that free membership quite easily. When you finaly get to that point, you'll be required to earn at least 3000 points per month, which is pretty easy to attain. On my best months, I used to get around 100000 points.

EE also offers you some basic certification in the fields where you excel. All you need to do is accumulate 50000 points in a given area and you get your certification.


After doing all of this, EE gives you access to their complete database of solutions. the database contains over 1,426,721 searchable IT solutions with new solutions added every day. You can even ask your own questions when you cannot answer them yourself. There are A LOT of active members on there, so you do not have to worry about not getting an answer.

If you cannot earn the membership, you can always purchase it for 9.95$USD per month. A real bargain when you consider how much this will make you save.

If you liked this article, you might consider checking some of my other ones:



Microsoft Black Tuesday

Yep, it's that time of the month again. Microsoft released 2 security patches on Tuesday, a cumulative update for Internet Explorer that fixes four flaws and a fix for a Windows 2000 kernel-based privilege-escalation vulnerability.

Hurry up and head over to WindowsUpdate to install those patches!

If you didn't understand anything I wrote, you may as well check out my article about security for the computer challenged individuals :)



Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Microsoft Windows security for computer illiterates

Most people do not know anything about computer security, yet they browse the Internet everyday. Using an unsecured computer on the Internet in 2005 is exactly like walking alone through a dark alley in the middle of the night with 5000$ in your wallet: It’s risky. It only takes around 15 minutes for an unsecured, unpatched computer, to get infected by a virus after being connected to the internet. How do I know? I tested it myself on several occasions. I installed windows XP on a brand new machine, added an anti-virus application on it, and plugged it directly on a broadband connection. Each time I did this, it only took between 5 to 15 minutes to have a virus try to get in my computer through an unpatched windows vulnerability. In addition to this, you also have to be protected against human intruders that may want to take possession of some of your personal information to commit various crimes (credit card fraud, Identity theft, etc...).

With this article, I'm trying to point my inexperienced readers to the best tips and resources on the Internet to secure their digital lives.

Here are a few easy steps to help you secure your computer.

1- Install a good anti-virus program

There are a few good ones out there. Some are free, but most are not.

  • NOB32: NOD32 offers the best detection, fastest performance, and smallest footprint available. (review)
  • Norton antivirus: Effective, but slows down the system considerably. Pretty expensive (review)
  • McAfee Antivirus : Same as Norton, effective, but bloated with tons of useless crap running in the background.(review)
  • Free AVG: Free antivirus, has been proven to work correctly. (Review)
  • Avast! antivirus: Another free antivirus, usually has better removal success than AVG.

2- Install a Firewall

First of all, what is a firewall? A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that helps you secure your computer by putting a very strong gate in front of it. This gate has a lock to let certain people in, but most cannot, exactly like the door to your home. The technical description would be: A piece of software or hardware used to prevent unauthorized access from a computer system or network of computer systems.

If you are using Windows XP, let me tell you the good news: you do not need any additional software or hardware to be protected. Windows XP already has a built-in firewall, so all you have to do is activate it. Follow this
tutorial on Microsoft’s website to learn about how to do it.

If you are running any other operating system, you will need to buy a software or hardware firewall. I would recommend you to buy a hardware firewall like the
WRT54G.

wrt54g

This little device protects you from outsiders in addition to let you share your internet access with up to 3 other computers.

If you want a free solution, you could always use ZoneAlarm from Zonelabs. ZoneAlarm is free for individuals, so you do not have to break your budget to be secure.

zonelab

3- Patch your computer

Each second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft releases some new patches for all of their products affected by security or reliability problems. System administrators through the world ironically named this day "Microsoft’s black Tuesday". Why should you patch your computer? If there would be no lock on your front door, would you go and buy one real quickly? I bet that you would. Each month, malicious hackers find ways to get into Windows by finding flaws affecting assorted areas of your operating system. If you do no fix those flaws, some hackers could get in your system using these security holes. Even viruses can use these holes to try and get into your computer. Having an anti-virus doesn’t necessarily means that you are protected against all threats! Sometimes, a virus can move around quite a bit before security companies get the anti-virus definition out to their customers.

There are several ways to help you patch your computer quickly and effectively each month:
Windows Update and Automatic Update.

windowsLogo

Windows Update requires some human interaction, so it is not as good as Automatic Update. If you think that you will forget to go and visit their website each month, you really should be using Automatic Update instead. However, Windows Update offers you some additional, non-critial patches to some software that Automatic Update do not support. They also offer new versions of some of their applications (ex: Windows media player) and device drivers. This means that even if you are using Automatic Update, you should also visit Windows Update once in a while.

Automatic Update updates your computer automatically as soon as you are connected to the internet. First, it verifies what patches are missing from your system and downloads them after. It’s as simple as that. You do not even have to think about installing them each month! Everything is automatic.

To enable Automatic Update on windows XP you need to go to “Start” -> “Control Panel” and double click on the icon called “System”. This will open a "system property" window. Click on the “Automatic Updates” tab and check the “Keep my computer up to date” box. After, select the “Automatically download the updates” button and schedule them to happen at a time of your choosing. Do not forget that your computer needs to connected to the internet for these updates to happen.

In Windows 2000 (sp4) go to “Start” -> “Control Panel” then find an icon named “Automatic Updates”. Double click it and follow the process described for windows xp in the paragraph above.

automatic

Warning: Unfortunatly, these patches can break your operating system sometimes and there is nothing you can do about it. Please be sure that System Restore is enabled before proceeding. If something stops working after, restore your system to a previous state.

4- Use a safer browser

Switch to Firefox! Download it here.

firefox

5- Scan your computer for spywares

What the heck are spywares? Spywares are software that secretly gathers some of your personal browsing information through your internet connection without your knowledge. Companies that manufacture spywares usually do this for advertising purposes. Most of the time, these application are hidden into freewares or sharewares. Nothing is ever free on the Internet, always remember that. Spywares are not considered as viruses, so most anti-virus applications will not detect them. Here are a few free applications that you can run to help yourself get rid of those pests.

I would recommend that you run at least 2 of these products each week. 1 isn't enough to remove all spywares from your system.

spy

6- Think twice before you do anything.

Maybe twice isn't even enough. Always use your head before doing anything!

  • Do not open emails from people you do not know
  • Do not open attachments that you are not absolutely sure about
  • Do not buy stuff online from retailers you do not know
  • Do not use ecommerce sites if they do not offer encryption on the transactions
  • Do not download software from unknown companies
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Disney tempts kids with cartoons for calories

As I was reading this article, my head was yelling at me that something was profondly wrong with this story. Fast food companies are enslaving children's minds with junk food and media candies.

US patent proposal #20050252958 looks harmless at first: "System and method for wireless transfer of data content to a portable device." But if you look deeper into the story, something far more sinister appears.

"Disney has proposed that fast food companies could sell media players along with special kids meals and hook the youngsters to greasy sandwiches and Disney content. When your child walks into McDonald's, for example, and buys a kids meal, he's entitled to just one part of a short Disney cartoon that downloads automatically to the media device. To get the rest of the video, the child needs to return to McDonald's and purchase more meals."

This is truly bad news for ourselves and for our children.

read more on the register



Monday, December 12, 2005

The future of Hotmail: Windows Live Mail

Microsoft's new online mail service, also known as Windows Live Mail beta, was sent out to testers this week. It is actually part of a longtime effort to revamp Hotmail, Microsoft's current free, Web-based e-mail service.

You can sign up for the beta version of Windows live Mail here. I'll be checking it out in the next few weeks, when the beta is finally available and report back my findings here. Come back for a preview very soon!

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