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Sunday, September 30, 2007 

Show #49 - 09.30.2007

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #49 as MP3]

News
  • Apple Warns that Unlocked iPhones Void Warranty and could "Brick" with next update
    • Last week Apple released an official announcement stating that running the unlock software on your iPhone voids the warranty
    • They also stated that running any third-party applications voids the iPhone warranty
    • During this announcement, they announced that an iPhone that has been unlocked can possibly be rendered useless with the next iPhone update (the one that is going to give the Wireless iTunes Store).
  • [Koby] Mac OSX OpenOffice Slated for September 2008
    • This will be an actual port over the Aqua look.
    • This version will fully run on OSX without having to install any extra software (other than Java)
    • This is a great step in cross-platform applications, and great news for OpenOffice
  • Google Backs Private Moo n Landing
  • Amazon Begins Selling DRM-Free Mp3 Files
    • DRM-Free tracks are "compatible with any media player"
    • They work in iTunes and Windows Media Player
    • Tracks are $0.89 to $0.99
    • Albums range from $4.99 to $12.99 depending on the number of tracks and such.
    • Launching with an impressive 2 millions songs, this could be a nice answer to iTunes. Since iTunes is currently beating Amazon in online music sales, Amazon needed something like this to help bridge that gap back up.

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Phishing
    • What is Phishing
      • Phishing is sending a user to a website that looks like a website they visit all the time with the hopes that they will log in with their normal username and password.
      • Phishing usually starts in emails. You might get an email that looks like it is from a website like eBay or PayPal. They will usually tell you that they need you to login because "there is the possibility that you could lose your account" or "you just won an auction" that you do not remember bidding on. There is a link that takes you to a website that LOOKS like the one in question.
    • Anti-Phishing Tools
      • In Browser
        • Mozilla Firefox
          • Firefox 2.0+ has anti-phishing features builtin
            • Tools\Options Menu
            • Click the Security icon
            • Check the box for "Tell me if the website I'm visiting is a suspected forgery"
            • You have the option of checking against a predefined list or sending every page to Google for verification
              • There is some privacy concerns with the Google option
              • If you turn the Google option on, be sure to read the user agreement carefully.
        • Internet Explorer
          • Internet Explorer 6 has no anti-phishing options, you will need to use an addon tool bar (we'll get to that in a second)
          • Internet Explorer 7 has anti-phishing features.
            • Tools
            • Phishing Filter
            • Turn On/Off Automatic Website Checking
            • There is also the ability to check pages on a per page basis if you decide to turn the feature off
      • Toolbars
Security & Privacy
  • Continued from Last Week
    • Distracting from Systematic Thinking
    • Momentum of Compliance
    • The Desire to Help
  • Identity Theft
    • How Identity Theft Happens:
      • Stealing mail or rummaging through rubbish (dumpster diving)
      • Stealing payment or identification cards or the information on them (pickpocketing, "drive-by" scanning of RF-enabled cards/tags)
      • Eavesdropping on public transactions to obtain personal data (shoulder surfing)
      • Stealing personal information in computer databases (Trojan horses, hacking)
      • Infiltration of organizations that store large amounts of personal information
      • Impersonating a trusted organization in an electronic communication (phishing)
      • Obtaining castings of fingers for falsifying fingerprint identification.
      • browsing social network (MySpace, Facebook, Bebo etc) sites, online for personal details that have been posted by users
      • Simply researching about the victim in government registers, at the internet, Google, and so on.
    • Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft:
      Identity Theft Resource Center
Penny Pinchers
  • Equifax Credit Alert free for PayPal - This is the thing we were talking about on the show that will monitor your credit, tell you when a blance has gone up, a new account has opened, or that credit has been applied for under your name.
  • Equifax
    • Credit Watch Gold with 3-in-1 Monitoring ($12.95)
      • Up To $20,000 Identity Insurance
      • Unlimited Reports
      • Monitoring of all 3 reports, but you can SEE one
    • Credit Watch Gold ($9.95)
      • Up To $20,000 Identity Insurance
      • Unlimited Reports
    • Credit Watch Silver ($4.95)
      • $2,500 Insurance
      • One Credit Report
      • Discounts on Future
    • Score Watch
      • Daily score
    • Score Power
      • Interactive Score Simulator
      • Tips to understand score
  • Experian's CreditExpert.com ($11.95
    • Experiean Credit Services
    • 1 of the big 3
    • Like the PayPal Equifax option
    • A free Experiean credit report as often as you like
    • Discount on full credit report (shows credit score with all 3 major companies, and any stuff you need to know about)
  • TransUnion ($14.95)
    • Tri-Merge $29.95
  • ASK YOUR LAST LENDER FOR A FREE COPY!
How Much Identity Theft:
US$56.6 billion in 2006. The average fraud per person rose from $5,249 in 2003 to $6,383 in 2006

  • Only 15% of victims find out about the theft through proactive action taken by a business
  • The average time spent by victims resolving the problem is about 40 hours
  • 73% of respondents indicated the crime involved the thief acquiring a credit card
  • The emotional impact is similar to that of victims of violent crimes

In a widely publicized account, Michelle Brown, a victim of identity fraud, testified before a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on Identity Theft. Ms. Brown testified that: "over a year and a half from January 1998 through July 1999, one individual impersonated me to procure over $50,000 in goods and services. Not only did she damage my credit, but she escalated her crimes to a level that I never truly expected: she engaged in drug trafficking. The crime resulted in my erroneous arrest record, a warrant out for my arrest, and eventually, a prison record when she was booked under my name as an inmate in the Chicago Federal Prison."

Gamer's Corner
  • Don't give away private information, even in games. Social engineering can happen there too!
Social Engineering
  • Distracting from Systematic Thinking
    • Ever had a bad day... We all have! (Problems at home perhaps?)
    • Someone taking advantage of that to gain, for instance, an employee badge.
    • Heuristic vs systematic
    • Time pressure, strong emotion, or distraction
    • Requestor claim vs. sensitivity
  • The Desire to Help
    • People want to help others
    • Ask someone for help with one thing while taking advantage of another, in a physical sense, asking the security guard where the bathroom is, then using that to get past security.
  • Momentum of Compliance
    • Once you have started to help someone, it is hard to stop stop.
    • Columbo played by Peter Falk always walked away fromt he suspect after questioning huim, Columbo (and the audience knew) that the suspect was lowering their defences as he walked away, he'd quickly turn around and ask that one last question... You were already pretending to comply, now you actually do!
  • Week After Next (Oct 7th)
    • Attribution
    • Liking
    • Fear
    • Reactance


Sunday, September 23, 2007 

Show #48 - 09.23.2007

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #48 as MP3]

News
  • OJ Jailed
    • To a court record that runs from suspected double murderer to accused DirecTV pirate, O.J. Simpson on Sunday added another chapter: At 60, he's accused of armed robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy charges, according to police.
    • Last Sunday, Simpson was arrested in his hotel room at The Palms hotel and casino.
    • Police said Simpson would be held without bail.
    • Court date set for Sept. 20.
  • Tor server admin arrested
    • The police were investigating a bomb threat posted to an online forum for German police officers.
    • The police traced one of the objectionable posts on the forum to the IP address for Janssen's server.
    • Up until his arrest, Alex Janssen's Tor server carried more than 40GB of random strangers' Internet traffic each day.
    • Showing up at his house at midnight on a Sunday night, police cuffed and arrested him in front of his wife and seized his equipment.

    • In a display of both bitter irony and incompetence, the police did not take or shutdown the Tor server responsible for the traffic they were interested in, which was located in a different city, more than 500km away.

    • Janssen's attempts to explain what Tor is to the police officers initially fell on deaf ears.

    • After being interrogated for hours, someone from the city of Düsseldorf's equivalent of the Department of Homeland Security showed up and admitted to Janssen that they'd made a mistake. He was released shortly after.

  • OpenOffice 2.3 Released
    • New chart wizard, with support for 3D Charts
    • Revamped Toolbars
    • Export documents as Wiki pages on OpenOffice 2.3 Writer
    • Enhanced Autosum on OpenOffice 2.3 Calc
    • Report Builder on OpenOffice 2.3 Base
  • Winamp Goes Where iTunes Dosen't Dare
    • Winamp, that staple of media players, will soon turn 10!
    • On the 10th of October at 10:10am, Winamp 5.5 (PC-only) will be released sporting two new and potentially controversial features
      • support for mp3 blogs
        • also knowns as musicblogs or audioblogs
        • an MP3 blog is a type of blog in which the creator makes music files, normally in the MP3 format, available for download.
        • increasingly popular since 2003.
        • music posted ranges from hard-to-find rarities to more contemporary offerings, and selections are often restricted to a particular musical genre or theme.
        • some blogs offer music in Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) or Ogg formats, as well as MP3.
      • the ability to stream your music collection over the Internet
        • This turns WinAmp into a local media server
        • your tracks and videos are cataloged and accessable from other devices, including
          • other PCs running Winamp
          • a web browser
          • various mobile devices
          • game consoles (Playstation 3, XBox 360 or Nintendo Wii)
        • Unlike iTunes, sharing isn’t restricted to devices on the local network, instead you can also share your music over the Internet.
        • To make this relatively simple, Winamp prompts you to send an email, or SMS text message, to a friend allowing them access to your playlists from their computer, they’ll need to create a free account to verify their identity, but only once. In this regard, Winamp Remote makes iTunes’ network sharing features seem rather puny and inflexible.
    • Also new to version 5.5 is the “Bento” skin. This is a move away from Winamp’s traditional multi-windowed interface (the default skin), which can be confusing and cluttered at times. Instead, the new skin only has one window which is more in keeping with other media management software.
    • See it first HERE!
  • iTouch vs. iPod
    • The Good
      • Slim profile, lightweight
      • iTunes Store well implemented
      • 3.5" display is great for video
      • Snappiness of UI
      • Built-in web browser
      • WiFi support
      • iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is pretty pimp
    • The Bad
      • No e-mail client
      • Lack of ability to edit calendar items
      • Screen quality isn't as good as the iPhone
      • Negative black effect
      • Only 16GB of storage
      • Can't use 802.11b/g to sync
      • No iPod disk mode
    • The Ugly
      • The fingerprint smudges covering nearly the entirety of the iPod touch's shiny surfaces

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks

Security & Privacy
  • Password Security
    • How Password Cracking Works
      • LophtCrack
        • Dictionary Attacks
        • Brute Force
        • Hybrid Attacks
      • Social Engineering
        • This is one of the most difficult types of attacks to detect, and thus to defend against!
        • We as humans are natually helpful, polite, supportive, a team player, and trying to get the job done.
        • Social psychologist Brad Sagarin, PhD, who has made a study of persuasion, describes the social engineer’s arsenal this way: “There’s nothing magic about social engineering. The social engineer employs the same persuasive techniques the rest of us use every day. We take on roles. We try to build credibility. We call in reciprocal obligations. But unlike most of us, the social engineer applies these techniques in a manipulative, deceptive, highly unethical manner, often to devastating effect.”
        • Role Stereotyping - The social engineer exhibits behavioral characteristics of the role he or she is masquerading in. Most of us tend to fill in the blanks when given just a few characteristics of a role, a good example is when we see a man dressed like an executive and assume he’s smart, focused, and reliable... or that he IS an executive. Add speaking with a commanding authority or acting a certain way and you can make people believe you. The role may be as an IT technician, customer, new hire, or any others that would ordinarily encourage compliance with a request. Common stereotyping includes mentioning the name of the target’s boss or other employees, using company or industry terminology or jargon. For in-person attacks, the attackers choice of clothing, jewelry a company pin, an athlete’s wristwatch, an expensive pen, a school ring, or grooming for example, hairstyle, are also trappings that can suggest believability in the role that the attacker is claiming. The power of this method grows from the fact that once we accept someone as an executive, a customer, a fellow
          employee, we make inferences attributing other characteristics an executive is wealthy and powerful, a software developer is technically savvy but
          may be socially awkward, a fellow employee is trustworthy. How much information is needed before people start making these inferences? Not much.

          EXAMPLE: How many times have you called your credit card company and been asked for the account number, your birthday, and other verification information? Have you ever been called due to a large purchase to make sure it was yours? What if the person calling you wasn't from the card company, that is how its done!
        • Credibility - Establishing credibility is step one in most social engineering attacks for everything that is to follow. There are three common methods that an attacker will use:
          • The attacker says something that would seem to be arguing against his or her self interest. Found in Chapter 8 of "The Art of Deception" in the story “One
            Simple Call,” when the attacker tells his victim, “Now, go ahead and type your password but don’t tell me what it is. You should never tell anybody your password, not even tech support.” This sounds like a statement from someone who is trustworthy.
          • The attacker warns the target of an event that, unbeknownst to the target, the attacker causes to occur. In the story, “The Network Outage,” appearing in Chapter 5 of "The Art of Deception", the attacker explains that the network connection might go down. The attacker then does something that makes the victim lose his network connection, giving the attacker credibility in the eyes of the victim.
          • The prediction tactic (above) is often combined with when the attacker further proves he or she is credible by helping the victim solve a problem. That’s what happened in “The Network Outage,” when the attacker first warned that the network might go out, then caused the victim’s network connection to fail, as predicted, and subsequently restored the connection and claimed that he had “fixed the problem,” leaving his victim both trusting and grateful.

            EXAMPLE: Setup the phone in the target office to forward to the attackers cell phone when a certain extension is called, update the website to provide an internal extension when a problem is encountered, then when the person calls tell them to enter their password but not tell you what it is (the attacker could be capturing it at this point anyway), and gaining trust once the attacker gets it to work by telling the person that if they have problems with their network connection in a few minutes to call the same extension, he unplugs the network, the victim calls, the attacker puts the victim on hold, plugs in the network cable, asks if that worked and then asks for a favor like, "you know, I can't remember the name of the server that we store the financials on, I need to do backup maintenance on that box"
        • Forcing the Target into a Role - The social engineer puts his or her target into the role of, usually, helper. Once a person has accepted the helper role, he or she will usually find it awkward or difficult to back off from helping. An astute social engineer will try to gain a sense of a role that the victim
          would be comfortable in and then manipulate the conversation to maneuver the person into that role.
        • Next Week (Sep 30th)
          • Distracting from Systematic Thinking
          • Momentum of Compliance
          • The Desire to Help
        • Week After Next (Oct 7th)
          • Attribution
          • Liking
          • Fear
          • Reactance
        • Countermeasures
          • Developing clear, concise security protocols that are enforced consistently throughout the organization
          • Developing security awareness training
          • Developing simple rules defining what information is sensitive
          • Developing a simple rule that says that whenever a requestor is asking for a restricted action (that is, an action that involves interaction with computer-related equipment where the consequences are not known), the requestor’s identity must be verified according to company policy
          • Developing a data classification policy
          • Training employees on ways to resist social engineering attacks
          • Testing your employee’s susceptibility to social engineering attacks by conducting a security assessment

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft:
Identity Theft Resource Center

How Identity Theft Happens:
  • Stealing mail or rummaging through rubbish (dumpster diving)
  • Stealing payment or identification cards or the information on them (pickpocketing, "drive-by" scanning of RF-enabled cards/tags)
  • Eavesdropping on public transactions to obtain personal data (shoulder surfing)
  • Stealing personal information in computer databases (Trojan horses, hacking)
  • Infiltration of organizations that store large amounts of personal information
  • Impersonating a trusted organization in an electronic communication (phishing)
  • Obtaining castings of fingers for falsifying fingerprint identification.
  • browsing social network (MySpace, Facebook, Bebo etc) sites, online for personal details that have been posted by users
  • Simply researching about the victim in government registers, at the internet, Google, and so on.

How Much Identity Theft:
US$56.6 billion in 2006. The average fraud per person rose from $5,249 in 2003 to $6,383 in 2006

  • Only 15% of victims find out about the theft through proactive action taken by a business
  • The average time spent by victims resolving the problem is about 40 hours
  • 73% of respondents indicated the crime involved the thief acquiring a credit card
  • The emotional impact is similar to that of victims of violent crimes

In a widely publicized account, Michelle Brown, a victim of identity fraud, testified before a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on Identity Theft. Ms. Brown testified that: "over a year and a half from January 1998 through July 1999, one individual impersonated me to procure over $50,000 in goods and services. Not only did she damage my credit, but she escalated her crimes to a level that I never truly expected: she engaged in drug trafficking. The crime resulted in my erroneous arrest record, a warrant out for my arrest, and eventually, a prison record when she was booked under my name as an inmate in the Chicago Federal Prison."


Sunday, September 16, 2007 

Show #47 - 09.16.2007

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #47 as MP3]

News
  • Netscape's Digg Clone Is Kaput
    • A little over 1 year ago, AOL/Netscape announced a Digg like social new website at Netscape.com
    • The site worked similar to Digg where users could vote on different stories to allow them to make it to the front page.
    • As of last week, the Digg clone is soon to be redirected to netscape.aol.com
  • IBM Dives into OpenOffice Development
    • IBM sees the ODF (Open Document Format) as a market demand (with over 100 million people using it)
    • With governments moving to OpenOffice, getting support from IBM is a big step in the right direction.
    • IBM will assign 35 of its developers to work on OpenOffice
  • AMD Releases Their Barcelona Chips (Quad Core)
    • These are the Opteron chips (server based processors)
    • Coming out after months of delays
    • Intel has already had quad-core chips on the market for months
    • AMD is hoping that the technical differences with their processors will help them to regain some lost market share
  • Skype Warns Windows Users of Worm
    • Focuses on the chat side of Skype
    • A link is sent via chat from either a contact on the list or an unknown contact
    • The link looks like it has .jpeg file but when clicked, the user is asked if they would like to save a .scr file
    • The worm can access a user's computer using the Skype API
    • This worm then sends a message from you to your Skype contacts
  • Eudora Reborn as Open Source Project, Penelope
    • The formally commercial available email application known as Eudora has a new name, Penelope
    • Released as an open source project by the Mozilla Foundation (Firefox/Thunderbird)
    • Mozilla is hoping to integrate some of Eudora's more popular features into Thunderbird.

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Digital Content Protection
    • Digital Rights Management (DRM)
      • What is DRM?
      • Why does DRM exist?
      • Removing DRM
        • iTunes
          • MyFairTunes (we can't link due to legal reasons)
            • MyFairTunes takes the DRMed music, and strips it of it's DRM. The program is free and is fairly easy to use.
        • Windows Media
          • FairUse4WM (we can't link due to legal reasons)
            • FairUse4WM is similar to MyFairTunes but works on DRMed WMA files (like from Rhapsody or Yahoo! Music).
            • You need to have a copy of the license key on your computer for the files in order for FairUse4WM to work.
    • Hardware Digital Content Protection (HDCP)
      • What is HDCP?
      • Why does it exist?
    • Consumer Rights Versus Digital Rights Management
      • Do you (the customer) really own that track?
      • Is it legal to crack DRM so you can play the track on any operating system or player?
      • Is it legal to break HDCP so you can record HD content to your PC?
Penny Pinchers
  • Why digital rights management and content protection raises costs
    • DRM
      • When you purchase a DRM-ed track from an online store, you are officially locked into whatever kind of player(s) that will play those tracks, if the player breaks then you will need to replace it with a new one from the same company with similar specifications
      • Being locked into 1 kind of player means the other players in your house will need to be compatible with those DRM-ed tracks, meaning buying a device for everyone in your house gets a little more costly to keep everyone compatible. No, buying cheaper players for the kiddies if you want them to be able to play the music you are purchasing/renting
    • HDCP
      • Cable/Satellite boxes connected to a pre-HDCP television will not allow transmitting of 1080p signal, rendering an HD television useless, causing the consumer to have to purchase a new TV that is HDCP compliant
      • HDCP video cards can have their HD licenses revoked if they do not handle breaches of the license agreement in a "timely" manner, sometimes rendering the computer's video card completely useless for doing HD output.


Sunday, September 9, 2007 

Show #46 - 09.09.2007

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #46 as MP3]

News
  • Sony to Release Wii-Like PS2 System for Christmas
  • AT&T Sells Parental Cell Phone Controls
    • Called "Smart Limits"
    • Extra feature, $4.99/line
    • Call blocking, hour limits, texting limits, etc
    • Also can block web sites from being browsable on the phone
  • Apple Event Round Up (This past Weds.)
    • Ringtones for the iPhone
    • New iPod Nanos, with support for games, cover flow, and video
      • 4GB & 8GB ($150/$200)
    • New iPod Cla ssics
      • 80 & 160GB ($250/$350)
    • iPod Touch
      • 8GB & 16GB ($300/$400)
      • Phone-less iPhone
      • Multi-Touch, WiFi b/g
      • Safari Web Browser
    • Also announced a new WiFi iTunes Store for the iTouch and on iPhones later this month
    • And a $200 price drop on the 8GB iPhone, now $399

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Desktops
    • Why pick a desktop over a laptop
    • Prebuilt
      • Advantages
        • Usually come with a warranty of some kind
        • No worry about making sure all the parts work
        • Sold as a package with monitor at a discount
      • Disadvantages
        • Hard to upgrade
        • Parts are usually sub-par
    • Build Your Own
      • Advantages
        • Usually can end up with a faster PC
        • Easier to upgrade overall
        • You can tweak to your hearts content
      • Disadvantages
        • No warranty on the whole PC, warranty is on individual parts and has to be handled through the parts manufacture (more paperwork)
        • There can be incompatibilities with different parts causing the system to not work optimally
  • Laptops
    • Why pick a laptop over a desktop
      • Laptops are portable and take up less space, so for a college student they work great in dorm rooms
      • They allow a student to be able to type their notes in class
    • Disadvantages over Desktops
      • They usually have smaller hard drives leading to smaller amounts of storage space, utilizing an external hard drive can cause more bulk
      • They do not hold long charges, and need to be plugged in frequently. If your laptop goes dead and there is no plug around, then you are out of luck
Penny Pinchers
  • Save money on that new PC purchase
    • Be realistic with your feature choices, are you really going to need the TV Tuner card on your laptop?
    • What do you plan on doing with the computer
      • Do plan on playing games?
        • This means you will need a better video card and possibly a faster processor
      • Do you plan on recording media onto it for editing
        • This means you will need more RAM and a larger hard drive.
        • Or you might need to invest in an external drive
      • Is it going to be simply to write documents and surf the web?
        • You can get by with the basics, nothing fancy and you will be fine
        • If this is your primary use of a computer, then you might want to consider an appliance-like computer, like a MacBook
    • How portable does it need to be
      • Common rule in technology: the smaller you make the device, the more it costs
      • If you do not need to carry it with you, buy/build a desktop
  • Prices on PCs
    • Desktop
      • Normal
        • Dell
          • $349 - Non XPS
          • $999 - XPS Non-Gaming
        • HP
          • $300
        • Mac
          • $1199 - iMac (20 inch)
          • $1799 - iMac (24 inch)
          • $2499 - Mac Pro
      • Gaming
        • Dell
          • $1699 - XPS Gaming
        • HP
          • $799 - "High Performance"
    • Laptop
      • Normal
        • Dell
          • $549 - Low End
          • $799 - Inspiron
        • HP
          • $499 - "Everyday computing"
        • Mac
          • $1099 - MacBook
            • 13.1" Screens
          • $1999 - MacBook Pro
            • Faster Processors
            • Bigger Screens (15"-17")
      • Gaming
        • Dell
          • $1499 - XPS Laptop
        • HP
          • $2999 - "Extreme Multimedia"

Security & Privacy
  • Desktop Security
  • Laptop Security

Gamer's Corner
  • Gaming PCs
    • We know that almost any computer can play games, so
    • What makes a computer a "gaming computer"
      • Hardware
        • Fast Processor
        • Powerful video card, PCI-E over 256MB video ram, etc
        • Fast RAM
Tech Forum Talk Back
  • Dell
  • HP
  • Apple
  • Toshiba
  • Acer


Sunday, September 2, 2007 

Show #45 - 09.02.2007

[Download Show as MP3]


[Download Show #45 as MP3]

News
  • Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage Server Goes Down
    • Windows Genuine Advantage, allows Microsoft to tell which installations of their Windows and Office software are legit
    • If a piece of software is found to not be genuine, then the software is severely limited in functionality, sometimes not working at all
    • With a WGA server going down, this resulted in several computers being marked as "pirated versions" of the software
    • Microsoft claims to have this issue resolved, so if you were affected, please attempt to re-validate and all should be good.
    • However, this shows what could be a gigantic flaw in Microsoft's anti-piracy plans. If a a server going down can make thousands of copies of windows be marked as "pirated"
  • Comcast Cutting off Heavy Internet Users
    • Comcast as a bandwidth limitation that, if broken, can result in a 12 month suspension of service
    • Problem is, they are not telling anyone what the limitation is, if you cross it the cut you off
    • Research into the terms of service, and acceptable use policy does not tell a customer what the limitation is
    • One person has gone so far as to start a blog based on his experience with Comcast over this very issue
    • Comcast Broadband Dispute Blog
  • Vista SP1 Leaked
    • A file claiming to be an installer for SP1 for Windows Vista has been popping up on various websites around the internet
    • Installing the file on some systems causes the computer to say that it is running "Windows Vista Ultimate Service Pack 1"
    • Microsoft has been some what closed lipped about the first service pack for it's new operating system
    • If you happen to stumble upon a file claiming to be the latest service pack for Windows Vista, and it is not from Microsoft's own Windows Update service, please do not install it
  • Apple iPhone Unlocked. Software to Be Made Available
    • The iPhone's exclusivity to the AT&T network has been unlocked
    • Several groups have released software that will allow you to unlock your iPhone and use it on other GSM based providers (like T-Mobile)
    • This is not for the faint of heart, as it requires some hacking, so do not try this if you are uncomfortable with doing it
    • As a result, there have been questions over the legality of unlocking cell phones, for more information on the legal front check out this Engadget article.
    • Really, if you are already on AT&T then there is no real reason to unlock the iPhone.

Cool Open Source Projects:

Notepad++
https://sourceforge.net/projects/notepad-plus
Notepad++ is a generic source code editor (it tries to be anyway) and
Notepad replacement written in C++ with the win32 API. The aim of
Notepad++ is to offer a slim and efficient binary with a totally
customizable GUI.

OpenProj - Project Management
https://sourceforge.net/projects/openproj
OpenProj by Projity is a desktop replacement of Microsoft Project.
OpenProj has equivalent functionality, a familiar user interface and
even opens existing MSProject files. OpenProj is interoperable with
Project, with a Gantt Chart and PERT chart etc.

FreeCol
https://sourceforge.net/projects/freecol
FreeCol is an open version of Colonization. It is a Civilization-like
game in which the player has to conquer the new world.

FileZilla
https://sourceforge.net/projects/filezilla
FileZilla is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of
features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server.

Software / Hardware / Power Web Picks
  • Digital Cameras
    • Point & Shoot
      • Advantages
        • Easy to use for the simple act of taking pictures
        • Not a lot settings to help people not get confused over a bunch of options
        • Usually more compact than an DSLR
      • Disadvantages
        • Lacks ability to take great action shots
        • Lack of options means less control over taking the picture
      • Best Suited For
        • A parent who just wants to be able to take pictures without having to think about a lot of settings
        • A teenager with interest in just taking pictures
        • Thin camera design
      • Our Point & Shoot Picks
        • FujiFilm
        • Cannon
    • Digital SLR
      • Advantages
        • Great pictures, usually higher megapixels, or more important, more quality (not always equal)
        • Better sensors in the camera
        • Takes great action shots
        • More control over taking the picture (ISO, White Balance, Shutter Speed, and Aperture Setting / fStop)
      • Disadvantages
        • Bulky
        • More battery consumption (sometimes)
        • Usually requires the purchase of additional lenses (some can cost as much or more than the camera body)
      • Best Suited For
        • Someone who takes their photography seriously / Prosumers / Pro Photographers
        • Someone who plans on taking a lot of action shots or shots with a lot of detail
        • Anyone who desires absolute total control over their photos
      • Our Digital SLR Picks
        • Cannon
        • Nikon
  • Flash Memory
    • Compact Flash
      • Memory-Based
      • Microdrives (battery)
    • SD Cards (Secure Digital)
      • Micro-SD (Backwards Compatible with Adapter)
        • Cell phones
        • Portable media players (example: Sandisk Sansa)
        • Navigation Devices
      • Full SD
    • Memory Sticks (Sony / Proprietary)
      • Memory Stick Pro
      • Memory Stick Pro Duo
        • Smaller form factor that the Memory Stick Pro
        • Used primarily in PSP (Playstation Portable)
        • Some come with adapters to allow you to use the card in a Memory Stick Pro slot (similar to the Micro-SD cards and their adapters)
Penny Pinchers
  • Finding the Best Price on Flash Memory Cards -
  • High Speed Cards
    • What are They
      • High speed flash memory cards are cards that have a higher rate of transfer. They can be written to faster, lowering the wait time between pictures
      • A typical high speed card can write at 20MB per second, a far cry above the normal 5-6MB/sec a normal card can get
      • Some manufacturers (like SanDisk) have 2 levels of high speed cards. For example with Sandisk, the CFII cards are capable of 9-10MB/second writes (only around $5-$7 more in cost) and the CFIII cards can do 20MB/second writes and cost around $10 more.
    • What Are the Price Differences
      • Before, the price difference between regular and high speed cards was enough to make a consumer think twice
      • These days, the price varies from $10-$30 more depending on the brand and kind of card being purchased
    • Is There Really a Speed Difference?
      • Upon testing 3 different cards from 3 different providers (Sandisk, Lexar, and PNY) we have come to the following conclusions
      • While a difference does exist, it is minuscule, we are talking in milliseconds. Even on a Digital SLR
      • The overall winner of the manufacturers we were able to test, the Lexar Professional cards has the best times overall
    • Do You Need a High Speed Card?
      • Not all cameras support the faster speeds. They will support the card, but not the faster speeds the card is capable of
      • Check your owners manual or even contact the customer service department for your camera's manufacturer to see if you camera will take advantage of the faster write speeds
      • Some cameras however, do not support the faster cards at all. If you have an older camera, you probably do not want to purchase a high speed card
Gamer's Corner
  • Memory Sticks and the Sony Playstation Portable
    • Store Music, Movies, and Even Games on Memory Sticks
  • Playstation 3 allows you to read music, photos, and video from Compact Flash cards
  • Nintendo Wii uses SD cards in the Wii-Motes for game saves, Mii saves, and so forth


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