Yes, a new feature for this blog! (And easy to do too…) But really, do look. The screen shot is linked to this excellent site where you will find much more than just the bad news or the sensation of the day.
Category Archives: web stuff
Floating Life attracted via the contact form this rather amazing variant on the “give me your money” scam – not Nigeria for a change. I have not corrected anything.
Dearest In The Lord
May the peace of almighty God be with you and your family,I am Mrs Hanan Solomon from Isreal but now undergoing medical treatment in the oesophageal hospital in capital city here in abidjan. am married to late Dr Jackson Solomon , who worked with Isreal Embassy for Eleven years before he died in the year 2004,after a brief illness that lasted for only Two month.
We were married for Eighteen years without any child. After the death of my husband i vowed to use our wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in our society. Recently, My Doctor told me that I may not last for the next one months due to cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Haven known my condition i decided to Serve God with our wealth.
When my late husband was alive we kept the sum of ($2.800.000.00 Million)Two million eight hundred thousand dorllars with one Bank, Having known my condition I decided to Give out this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this fund the way I am going to instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this fund to provide help to the community’s need and christian poor and indigent persons, orphanages, widows around him and Schools etc.
As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact where the money was deposited also issue you the documents that will prove you the present beneficiary of this fund. Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose, always be prayerful all through your life. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein. Hope to receive your reply soon. Because i have come to find out that wealth Acquisition without Christ is Vanity upon vanity,
Thank you and may the Almighty God bless you.
Mrs Hanan Solomon.
The accompanying email return address is in China.
I have been having fun configuring and tweaking the new ACER. At the flummery level is Desktop Icon Toy which has enabled me to do strange things to the desktop icons. They dance when you hover over them too. Cute. So now my desktop looks like this:
More usefully, a very handy program called Gizmo Drive has enabled me to create copies of two of my most useful CD-ROMs here on my own computer. First is an Oxford Encyclopedia whose most useful feature is the complete Shorter Oxford Dictionary.
Second is Nodtronic’s Over 4,000 Works of Literature. Yes, I agree with the reservations expressed there, and it is quite old now, but nonetheless it is a handy thing to have on board.
Last but not least I do commend something I have been using for a long time now: Anvir Task Manager Free.
This screenshot was taken a few minutes after start-up. Note the detail below. Drive G is the thumb drive which has been turned into around 2G of extra RAM. You will see it is working. See also The things I learn.
Just the top individually visited posts on Floating Life in the past seven days.
- How good is your English? Test and Answers 67 views
- Australian poem 2008 series #17: "Australia" 48
- Australian poem: 2008 series #8 – Indigenous 35
- Dispatches from another America 31
- The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 29
- Great player, example, Australian… and Muslim 28
- Conflicting perspectives 20
- Australian poem 2008 series #10: Peter S 18
- Delia Malchert – Migraine Aura – Scintillating Scotoma 17
- To Wollongong with Sirdan — more than the usual Sunday lunch 17
This very useful application even has a lawyer’s endorsement.
Facebook and Twitter all in one highly intelligible space. It even rings when something new is added.
Just recently Telstra “migrated” a lot of its services to a new system. Well, I wanted to do something simple this morning – check my prepaid mobile phone usage online. Not so simple. After half an hour’s Skype-ing with some lovely Indian people I still can’t get to the appropriate page, so I don’t think I’ll bother any more. I can get the info on the mobile anyway…
You can beat your addiction!
Are you one of the millions of people whose lives have been ruined by a never-ending torrent of tweets, friend requests and ‘Which kind of pasta are you?’ quizzes? Then it’s time you joined the Social Media Addicts Association.
SMAA is run by reformed social media addicts who all had the courage to stand up and admit to their problem. Will you stop poking people you haven’t seen since college, and join us?
It would appear to be like “safe sex” – not 100% reliable, but far better than nothing if you have good condoms.
Yahoo7 drew attention this afternoon to the top 100 infected sites based on number of threats detected by Norton Safe Web as of August 2009. They only offer the top 30 on that page, and so far as I can tell I have never been to any of them.
Why I have so interested in such things lately you may see from Multicultural Surry Hills, and How to Kill a Toshiba and Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff.
What firewall do you use? Have a look at Proactive Security Challenge and look for yours in the list. You may get a shock. The ACER I am now using since the Toshiba was eaten by malware now has Outpost Firewall Free 2009 in place of the Windows one. The ACER also came packaged with McAfee Internet Security 2009 which according to the Proactive Challenge has a security rating of 2/10 and scored 12%!
Two interesting sites to “waste” time on…
1. Thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars may be found on Academic Earth. Don’t think I’ll bother with Linear Algebra personally, but there are some great options in English, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Religion from places like Yale, Harvard and MIT.
2. If I hadn’t been such a duffer in Maths and had the kind of mind needed to cope with the minutiae of Science I may have fulfilled my childhood fantasy of going to university and becoming a zoologist. Failing that, I can marvel at Encyclopedia of Life and learn about – eventually – every living thing on the planet. It is a work in progress.
We and they are still getting used to the possibilities and pitfalls of Facebook and similar things. Today Five users sue Facebook for being too social a network.
A lawsuit filed Monday in a southern California court accuses Facebook of being a data-mining operation that does not deliver on promises to give users strict control of data uploaded to profile pages. Facebook has dismissed the lawsuit as being without merit and promised a legal battle. The suit asks for unspecified cash damages.
One of the parties to the suit is a woman who joinedFacebook in an early phase when membership was limited to the college crowd. Then-Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg foundedFacebook in 2004 as a way for college friends to remain connected as their lives grew apart. The suit accuses Facebook of betraying the woman by evolving into an open social network that now claims more than 250 million members worldwide.
Other plaintiffs named in the suit are identified as a photographer and an actress who contend Facebook is wrongly sharing pictures posted on their profile pages.
The remaining plaintiffs are young boys that the suit charges should not have been permitted by Facebook to join or post images or comments…
How do you monitor your Facebook, if you have one? What level of privacy do you choose? Apparently Facebook is going to further refine the possibilities there.
1. The good Communist
Back in Cold War days Prime Minister Robert Menzies attempted to ban the Communist Party of Australia. The Australian people rejected the idea – not that the Communists were not subjected to zealous monitoring by intelligence agencies. That went on into much more recent times, and no doubt people on the extremes both of left and right still attract attention. I remember when my Wollongong friend The Red Dragon (cordon bleu cook extraordinaire and avid Bridge player) rang me in the early 1980s to warn me that now she was General Secretary or some such of the Illawarra Branch of the party her phone was tapped. She knew this because one night there was a click on her phone and a voice cut in saying “You take this Bill, I have to go and have a leak.” Since her phone mostly was used for social – not socialist – purposes such as Bridge and recipes, she subsequently used to apologise to the tappers from time to time for boring them so much.) Unfortunately during the Dragon’s term of office the Communist Party of Australia dissolved itself.
PETER THOMPSON: Jack, you’ve never been just a hardliner. You’ve always been…
JACK MUNDEY: Intelligent. My interest has always been organisation for the cause that I’m fighting, and I’ve just stuck to that.
PETER THOMPSON: Australia is pretty much a paradise, though it’s far from being the sort of workers’ paradise you had in mind.
JACK MUNDEY: I don’t know about paradise, but I hope that the future for humanity is all the things that I expect it to be.
Not a dogmatist in other words.
2. Scary computer stuff
Four Corners last night was really quite scary, especially after my recent sad experience of malware eating my Toshiba – and that Malware disabled the antivirus and deleted all the restore points before itself as well as disabling the USB ports and the CD/DVD.
…Authorities are now working hard to keep up with the crooks. They are having trouble though. Crooks working from countries in Eastern Europe are hard to catch. Home-grown criminals are easier to bring down, but police reveal the legal system doesn’t treat cyber-theft with the seriousness it deserves. One young man stole more than 50,000 credit cards card details but received a suspended one year sentence, $2,000 good behaviour bond and court costs of $150.
Adding to the problem, most computer users don’t realise how vulnerable they are. Four Corners took an e-security expert to an ordinary city street and asked him to assess computer security. Using a basic wireless interceptor our expert found he could tap into up to 20 per cent of wireless computer networks, potentially accessing bank accounts and other personal information. Even those systems that had been encrypted took just 10 minutes to crack. No wonder police are warning we are right to have"Fear in the Fast Lane".
Whether this story in today’s Sydney Morning Herald is entirely true or not – and it may well be – it certainly highlights another concern.
AUSTRALIA’S diplomats have been warned about a fake email amid concerns it could be part of a cyber espionage attempt, possibly originating from China.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed yesterday staff had been briefed about a suspicious email sent to several staff last month. The source of the email is under investigation by the department’s communications experts. ASIO and the AFP would not comment yesterday on whether they were also investigating the email.
A report in the Canberra Times said the email was suspected to have originated from China and was headed ”Australia-China Free Trade Agreement Negotiations Update”. It reportedly targeted officials who work on China-related matters.
A spokeswoman for the department would not say whether the email was believed to have come from China.
”It is not Government practice to comment on intelligence issues,” she said.
Prompted by Major Geeks I downloaded and installed a-squared Free 4.5. Yes, I have lots of other “condoms” on, including Malware Bytes, Windows Defender, Avast!, Spyware Doctor and Threatfire, but on its first test run at on demand scanning a-squared found two major threats that had thus far escaped detection: Backdoor:Win32/VB.IK and TrojanDownloader:Win32/Banload.IK! Both are rated severe threats by Microsoft.
So I go downstairs to Elizabeth Street shops this morning: the Chinese corner shop, the Cambodian coffee shop, the mixed ethnic pharmacy, the Indian newsagent, the Indonesian grocery, and the Cambodian fish and chip shop – brother of the coffee shop. All Australian of course, 21st century style. Over the road it’s just about all Lebanese, except for another Chinese grocery and internet cafe and a Thai restaurant. Further towards Cleveland Street on my side there’s the Indonesian/Malaysian cafe/restaurant (jazz on Sundays), the allegedly bikie-owned backpacker place, the Lebanese Italian pizza joint, the Lebanese grocery and internet cafe, and the Lebanese restaurant. The Turkish mosque is just around the corner in Cleveland Street.
So I go into the Indonesian grocery and there is this preschooler – such a cutie – sitting up at the laptop and actually using it, his mother supervising. So computers can’t be hard, can they, if preschoolers can use them…
That puts my recently challenged geekdom in place.
Because, as you know from last week, I am guilty of Toshibacide. Thought I’d tell you more about how I did it.
Lovely machine it was too, a fetching shade of red, but at three years old starting to show its age. But we were happy. After all, who am I to complain about limited resources? That’s the story of my life. But it used to complain to me about some programs, particularly whenever I had a stint with Threatfire. It couldn’t quite cope, what with its 448 meg usable memory and all.
So I was being kind and updating a few drivers from DriverMax, which gets nice green things from WOT and McAfee Site Advisor. Unfortunately I hadn’t read this.
This crapware is really potential malware. They connect you without permission to an unregulated forum and if you are not an advanced user then you could easily download the wrong driver that could cause your computer to stop working or even worse a virus disguised as a driver.
The rating system is very suspicious and just because it shows hundreds of idiots (I sometimes suspect they may not even be users but malicious hackers) say they downloaded a driver from another so called user that uploaded what they claim to be an updated driver, doesn’t mean it is even an authorized nor appropriate driver for you device. The reports are also generated by these so called users so even if your drivers are up to date, if one person claims an update then it will deceive you into downloading whatever the file is. When they report hundreds of different drivers for one specific device then you really have to begin questioning what the hell they are doing.
Well, at first all was well. I downloaded some good updates. Then, oh my! (Perhaps Threatfire may have saved my poor Toshiba?) Down came this “driver” willy-nilly, no questions asked, which proceeded to disable the Antivirus, cut off all communication to the DVD drive and all USB ports, rearrange a few files, and – worst of all – deleted all the restore points before itself. Result, one very sick Toshiba. It still works in a limited way, but you can’t communicate with it, if you see what I mean, or even do a clean install and start again. Toshibacide.
Now on my ACER Extensa I have just installed Threatfire, and yesterday Malware Bytes. Why? Because yesterday Spybot Search and Destroy told me I had 12 instances of infection with a BHO Trojan. This trojan only invades Internet Explorer, and it may have become attached in one of those intervals when the computer was unprotected while I changed over to Avast! from McAfee (which came with the computer) and a series of other internet condoms. Certainly Vista didn’t send up any nagging popup about it, as it regularly does for quite innocent programs – even Microsoft programs sometimes. Spybot could only fix seven of the twelve infections, but Malware Bytes disposed of the rest.
So my geekdom has received a blow, and I am being extra careful with my new partner Extensa. It is also now totally backed up onto an external hard disk.
Don’t touch DriverMax with a barge pole.
I am trying a new browser which looks and acts just like Chrome. I first read about it on Gizmo’s Freeware, a trustworthy site.
For all of its positive reviews, Chrome does have its critics. Their major complaint is that Chrome creates a unique ID through which a user can be theoretically identified. If this is your concern, then SWR Iron may very well be an option for you. SWR Iron looks and acts almost exactly like Google Chrome, but without sending any information back to Google’s servers. This means that there is no possibility of any browsing history or personal information being sent back to Google, yet you still get all the benefits of a lean and powerful browser.
Can you spot the difference?
I certainly notice the much lower CPU usage and disk load!
The first free photo program I used was Photofiltre, and it remains the one I use most. It is really easy to use and does most things. For a number of refinements, particularly some “arty” ones and a great facility for rescuing badly exposed photos, I later downloaded Paint.Net.
Today I have started a new one: Photoscape. It is also proving useful and does a few (for me) new things.
Here’s one little experiment:
I won’t be doing that on the photoblogs, but there is potential here.
You can check the Prime Ministerial blog here. I haven’t joined yet.
I wonder if it will get through the Great Firewall of China. Perhaps too Kevin from Louisiana might subscribe so that he can make his comments directly.
See today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Blog standard approach brings PM to the people.
NINE months after taking the Twitterverse by storm, the Prime Minister has turned his hand to blogging. But Kevin Rudd’s cautious approach to accepting comments from readers has led to a cool response from some of Australia’s leading bloggers…
The blog won qualified support from one of Australia’s most prominent bloggers, the "Girl With a Satchel", Erica Bartel, who argued it was a way for Mr Rudd to bypass traditional media and talk directly to his constituents.
"A Prime Minister interacting with his public can only be a good thing," she said.
"If the blog is to resonate, and not be written off as a gimmick, it will have to be authentic and genuine, by no means an obvious ploy to pimp party politics."
Other bloggers were sceptical of Mr Rudd’s commitment to the medium, pointing to the strict limitations he was imposing on comments left by users, usually the lifeblood of blogs.
In addition to the common prohibitions on defamatory and abusive content, the rules for Mr Rudd’s blog say that comments will be accepted for only "five business days" from the time the post is published, be moderated by his staff strictly during business hours, cannot include links to other websites, and are limited to 300 words…
I suppose the limitations are unsurprising; one can imagine there might otherwise be more comments than anyone could reasonably handle.
My own comment policy
I don’t over-encourage comments here either, closing posts (when I remember to) after around two weeks. This is partly to limit all the spam I have to check, because while Akismet catches 99.9% of the spam you still have to read them all in case some are mistakes. The About page and the What’s New? sticky post are always open, however, and I have a Contact page, so I don’t think I am being too mean. I do reserve the right to edit or delete – the first sometimes for the sake of the commenter, the second for legal and/or ethical reasons.
Learning from other blogs
One of the benefits of surfing lots of blogs on BlogExplosion is seeing what works and what doesn’t work.
Now I know my photoblogs take a while to download because I display decent size photos rather than thumbnails – but I like the look better that way and apologise to any for whom the download time is a problem. Same applies sometimes to this blog, but there is a graphics-free version as well. On the other hand I have noticed some blogs that have lots of third-party widgets and ads, not to mention flash and so on, which simply don’t download in the 30 seconds given by BlogExplosion. This seems to me rather self-defeating. What do you think?
This follows a highly critical alert from Secunia. I like Firefox, so I’ll probably reinstall it asap. Meanwhile I have made Google Chrome my default browser. It gets 100% thumbs up from Secunia. IE8 doesn’t, but the risk there is rated moderate, but I don’t use IE8 often.
Update 16 July
I have reinstalled Firefox, despite the warning, hoping my various cyber condoms make the problem less significant. I am nonetheless keeping Chrome as my default browser for the time being. It is less resource hungry than it was when I first tried it and it certainly looks good.
Time for a geeky entry.
I have just discovered cloud antivirus.
Yes, that is all you see when you open it up. It is always up to date without downloading updates!
See more here. So far I am pleased with it.
A while ago I reported on RadarSync and other geeky things. I eventually gave up on RadarSync – too many odd results. Instead I am giving Update Notifier a go. So far so good. I also use Secunia PSI on demand, not always switched on. I now have a 100% secure score from Secunia. The latest version also assesses browsers. Guess which one has an unpatched vulnerability, albeit rated as “less critical”?
For my firewall I am using Outpost Firewall Free.
Update 8 July
I have stopped using Panda Cloud and reinstated avast!. Panda Cloud worked well but I found it used more CPU in operation than my computer could spare.