Check out this article from the excellent SysInternals site on how legitimate companies like Sony install rootkits on your PCs.
When you look at all the effort Mark spent to diagnose and remove the problem, it's no wonder why so many PCs are infected and can't be fixed. There are rootkits that attach themselves to your MBR (master boot record), so even wiping the drive won't make them go away. Hopefully Vista will prevent this sort of abuse from going on, even from companies like Sony.
A book on Windows Rootkits.
That crazy Apple is always trying to trick you into installing iTunes. It reminds me of those car salesmen who are always pushing the undercoating. Uhhh, I just don’t want it, ok?
Last week I installed the new QuickTime because I wanted to view an H264 clip. I tip toed around all the sharp jagged rocks and found the link to install it without the bundled ITunes. I thought I was safe. Now when I start QuickTime I get this start page with ads, music links and trailers and stuff. It reminds me of that annoying MSN start page that messenger defaults to – yuck. Anyway I digress. So today I bring it up and I click on a trailer for a movie I’m interested in… and instead of the movie a web page pops up that reads in large print:
You Need iTunes.
The link you just clicked requires the free iTues jukebox software. …
And then it happily offers to install it for me.
I don’t even want ITunes, and I certainly don’t NEED it. Nothing against it, I’m just happy with my current long distance carrier, err, music solution, thank you very much. I don’t want yet another app competing for ownership of my media file associations – gosh! Besides why would I need iTunes to play a QuickTime movie trailer? They even said ‘requires’ not just ‘we recommend.’ Even as aggravated as this makes me, I still want to see the trailer. So I head over to www.apple.com/trailer and click on the one I want and wouldn’t you know it, it plays just fine in plain ole QuickTime. No iTunes required. Shame on you Apple for trying to trick us.
Well my second hitachi microdrive just died today. This one made it less than 6 months. As George pointed out after the death of my last microdrive (read comments), the actual usage specs on these things are pitiful.Continue reading "Fool me twice..."...
I'm starting the research required to replace my ailing Microsoft MN700 router. I’ve been looking at various Linksys routers, even thinking about getting a combo router cable modem. I cam across this preview of the WRTSL54GS, a new router / NAS that they are coming out with. I think I might be able to find some use for hanging a big drive right on the LAN. Of course I’d also spring for an extended antenna to get a bit more range.
VMware has a free new product called VMware Player. This allows you to 'play' precreated virtual machines on Windows or Linux. (You need VMware workstation to create virtual machines.) What's cool about this is that it should allow you to test drive Linux distro flavors in an easy and safe way. I think this method is preferable over a live CD since it loads faster and I don't have to reboot my machine. I can also see this as being useful for testing apps and OS's as you can just give someone the entire VM as a repro case. There are a few VMs up on their site already. I expect more to come.
For grins I tried out their 'browser applicance VM.' This is basically a stripped down version of Ubuntu Hoary. (Yes you just caught me running Linux again.) The performance was pretty snappy on my AMD64 box. I couldn't get the sound to work though. I installed real player to see how the video performance was - not great but better than I expected for running under VM. I don't have the root password though so I couldn't get it properly installed and working as a firefox plug in. - Anyhow, worth checking out. Both Novell and Redhat have VMs of their latest versions to try.
Voodoo's released a Mac Mini clone called the Idol. It is roughly the same size. It costs around $900.00 with a 1.73 Ghz Pentium M 740, 512M RAM, 40G 7200 RPM HD. Oh, and it comes in 11 colors. More here.
While this seems a bit expensive apparently AOpen is working on a similar clone that will be much cheaper.
The Escapist Magazine is a really interesting online gaming focused weekly. It has very high production values, no ads, and you can download the PDF versions for offline reading. Oh, and great articles as well.
Update: Looks like they've brought back the 30GB - yaay! This was the ideal size for me. Except of course now that it stores video, I'd need the full 60GB :-). The device is a little smaller than before, screen is bigger, longer battery life, comes in "super-scratch" black. And basically it lets you play video on the screen or connected to a TV. You can also download select TV shows with no commercials for $2 - so it looks like video on demand might actually happen in our lifetime (finally). Two bucks seems really high to me (couldn't you, like finance the show for that?) but we'll leave that for the comments below...
It seems the only model he likes is Google's. I have to agree, targeted text based ads seem much less offensive and annoying to me than all the crazy eye spam that you get on most web sites. In fact it is these ads that finally drove me away from hotmail as my main mail account (after nearly 9 years of loyal use). It appears to me that Hotmail is 80% financed by dating services. That is totally annoying to me.
So Google is building a empire of free stuff, powered (at least at the moment) solely by advertisement revenue. This is like the TV and Radio of yesteryear – except that the ads are relevant and so far un-obtrusive. I wonder if this model can sustain it though. I’m not sure that everything lends itself to targeted ads, but I could be wrong.
In the mean time, with all the current hype around Ajax and web based apps it is a good thought exercise to list the kinds of applications you use every day that could be done via the web. Occasional word processing is probably going to be on the list for most people. Of course there are some down sides, but for occasional doc editing this might be the way to go - especially with secure web based storage. For me the main driver wouldn't be cost or avoiding the app install headaches - its about synchronization. I just use to many computers to try and keep them all in sync.