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Combined geekery and stats post

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:

screen

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.

Oxford

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.

eurekaLast but not least I do commend something I have been using for a long time now:  Anvir Task Manager Free.

anvir

detail

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.

Saturday stats

Just the top individually visited posts on Floating Life in the past seven days.

  1. How good is your English? Test and Answers 67 views
  2. Australian poem 2008 series #17: "Australia" 48
  3. Australian poem: 2008 series #8 – Indigenous 35
  4. Dispatches from another America 31
  5. The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 29
  6. Great player, example, Australian… and Muslim 28
  7. Conflicting perspectives 20
  8. Australian poem 2008 series #10: Peter S 18
  9. Delia Malchert – Migraine Aura – Scintillating Scotoma 17
  10. To Wollongong with Sirdan — more than the usual Sunday lunch 17
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Posted by on September 5, 2009 in computers, site news, site stats, web stuff, www

 

On a handy application and an unhandy mobile service

1. Tweetdeck

This very useful application even has a lawyer’s endorsement.

tweetdeck

Facebook and Twitter all in one highly intelligible space. It even rings when something new is added.

2 Telstra

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…

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in Australia, computers, web stuff, www

 

Fear not, brothers and sisters!

You can beat your addiction!

Here’s how…

Just say no to social media!

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?

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2009 in diversions, web stuff, www

 

More on safer computing

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%!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in awful warnings, computers, web stuff, www

 

Another Internet-related entry

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.

Facebook

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…

— AFP

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.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2009 in amazing, web stuff, www

 

Watching TV again: Jack Mundey; scary computer stuff

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.

All that aside, Australia’s favourite Communist no doubt has been Jack Mundey – and perhaps poet Dame Mary Gilmore. Last night Talking Heads had a good interview with Mundey.

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.

r417180_1978514

…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.

Update

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.

 

Yet more cyber condoms

Time for a geeky entry.

I have just discovered cloud antivirus.

pandacloud1

Yes, that is all you see when you open it up. It is always up to date without downloading updates!

pandacloud 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.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2009 in computers, web stuff, www