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On Computers Tips



Thoughts and links from the crew of the On Computers Radio Show as we wander the Web.Weekly Radio Show



Last Build Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2015 02:11:39 PDT

Copyright: OnComputers.info
 



Spam: India leads world in junk emails

Tue, 10 Jul 2012 04:38:30 PDT

From the BBC:
Compiled by security firm Sophos, the report ranks nations by the amount of junk mail routed through computers in each country.
India has leapt to the top of the spam chart in less than a year, rapidly overtaking the US, said Sophos.
About 10% of all junk mail sent across the web came from or passed through computers in India, said the firm.






Raiders Of The Lost Walmart Discover Cache Of Ancient Flash Drives

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 14:01:08 PST

Get your 256MB Flash drive for the low, low price of $28.83!

There are a couple of problems with this story. First, at this point Walmart, not the manufacturer, owns the product. Second, even where manufacturers enforce a price, it is in advertising/publishing the price and is usually enforced by withdrawing from an authorized retailing deal. I highly doubt that Impact has that kind of clout with Walmart. I bet Impact would do just about anything to keep Walmart as a customer, if Impact even exists anymore. And Impact is not going to blow it over 10 flash drives in some store in New York that they sold to Walmart a very long time ago. In other words, I believe that the employee in the story has been badly misinformed at the least.

I bet these USB flash drives will be marked down for clearance pretty quickly now, since I'm sure that Wally world has people scouring the Web for these kinds of stories and doing damage control. In fact, maybe these won't even go on clearance, but will be found in the recycle bin. The only possible use for one of these is if someone wants to do a little hardware hacking for some reason. They don't give away USB connectors, you know.



Solar storm could bring bright skies tonight | Cutting Edge

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 15:48:23 PST

If you are far enough north, and don't have cloud cover, you could see the Northern Lights tonight.

So far I've had no disruption of my personal satellite device (TV, internet). Has the solar storm affected you in any way?



HDD Pricewatch: Prices won’t return to pre-flood levels anytime soon

Tue, 24 Jan 2012 13:17:33 PST

With no foreknowledge I bought a new hard drive weeks before the floods and the price increases last fall. I was lucky. Others, including the big computer manufacturers who need a steady supply. are not so lucky.

I'm not sure why anyone thought building these factories in a floodplain was a good idea, but it was done and here we are. It is not going to get back to pre-flood prices any time soon, but the prices are dropping.



Megaupload Takedown Questioned By Users, Lawyers - Security - End user/client security

Mon, 23 Jan 2012 18:49:54 PST


Does anyone besides me think this was timed to counter the SOPA protest? Now it looks like the legal ground may not be as solid as originally presented. While some of the servers were in the US, the majority of users were not. And then there is this sticky situation:

"Academic Steve Su, for example, told The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia that the FBI's mass takedown had inappropriately blocked legitimate content that he'd uploaded for sharing with his students.


"It's like confiscating everyone's mobile phone because terrorists used them," he said. "I don't think it's correct to penalize the technology because, based on that logic, shouldn't the Internet be taken down, as this is how people infringe copyright?"

Just as SOPA would punish and break the entire internet because a few act badly, taking down Megaupload in its entirety is like using a chainsaw to perform heart surgery.



Hackers retaliate over Megaupload website shutdown

Fri, 20 Jan 2012 05:43:52 PST

From the BBC:
Hackers have targeted the US government and copyright organisations following the shutdown of the Megaupload file-sharing website.



The rise and fall of the Sony empire

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 11:52:50 PST

This is an interesting commentary on Sony. It offers thoughts on where it has been and where it might go. I can remember a time when the name "Sony" on a product meant reliable quality. Then came rootkit-gate. That's what changed it for me and a lot of my friends. What changed your mind about Sony? When did they become "yet another electronics company" for you?



Happy New Year Everyone

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 11:28:53 PST

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year from the On Computers family.



Verizon Wireless Cancels $2 ‘Convenience Fee’ After Backlash

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 10:42:59 PST

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier, canceled a planned $2 “convenience fee” for online and phone bill payments after a backlash from consumers and scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission.



IDC predicts PC users won't upgrade to Windows 8, tablet sales will be "disappointing"

Tue, 06 Dec 2011 13:55:05 PST

"Microsoft's Windows 8 is still a year away, but IDC is already predicting that the new release will be "largely irrelevant" to conventional PC users and that its ability to sell tablets will be "disappointing."

While bullish about Microsoft's prospects for selling server editions of the new Windows 8, IDC states that "Windows 8 will be largely irrelevant to the users of traditional PCs, and we expect effectively no upgrade activity from Windows 7 to Windows 8 in that form factor," according to an overview of the report by Computerworld."



HTC rootkit discovered phoning home with user data

Wed, 30 Nov 2011 16:23:47 PST

"Remember Locationgate? Well, that might be nothing compared to a rootkit that’s been discovered pre-installed on some Android handsets."



Kindle Fire vs. iPad heats up for holiday shoppers (survey) | ZDNet

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 12:04:05 PST

"To buy a Kindle Fire or an iPad? That is the question on the minds of many consumers this holiday season, according to new research from consumer electronics shopping site Retrevo.com."



Geist: U.S. could claim millions of Canadian domain names in piracy battle

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 12:00:25 PST

"SOPA’s potential impact on the Internet and development of online services is enormous as it cuts across the lifeblood of the Internet and e-commerce in the effort to target websites that are characterized as being “dedicated to the theft of U.S. property.” This represents a new standard that many experts believe could capture hundreds of legitimate websites and services."



Adobe Had it Coming: The Long, Slow Goodbye of Mobile Flash

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 16:20:03 PST

Flash is not dead yet, but it certainly is not gaining with this announcement.



Microsoft issues temporary fix for critical Windows hole - Win7 and XP

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 07:36:51 PDT

Trojans attacking Windows 7? Yep. And XP too......
A flaw in the Win32k TrueType font-parsing engine affected every version of Windows from XP throughWindows 7. The vulnerability is related to the spread of the Duqu malware, a Stuxnet-like Trojan infecting computers via a Word document. "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode," the advisory warned. "The attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights."
Earl



A few thoughts on the passing of Steve Jobs

Wed, 05 Oct 2011 17:04:04 PDT

First, we knew it was coming.  This man's life was Apple, he's been ill for years, and his stepping down meant he probably wasn't doing too well.  Not knowing him personally, I can only speak to his professional legacy.  He was a true innovator.  He was a visionary and created products that made my life happier.    Many kids started out with an Apple II at home and or at school.  He brought the GUI to home users. Whether you have an iPhone or not, the currently available smart phones are a direct result of the innovation of the iPhone.  The same thing goes for the touch tablet revolution started with the iPad.  His friends and family will miss him on a personal level.  We will miss his innovation and enthusiastic keynotes.  Yes, watching a Steve Jobs keynote was like watching someone sell ice to Alaskans, but with a sincerity and an enthusiasm that allowed you to forgive him for exaggerating just a little.  So RIP Steve Jobs.  I for one will miss you.  Ironically I'm wearing the right thing for the occasion.  It is a cool fall day and I'm wearing blue jeans and a black turtleneck.  It seems fitting.



Web Browser Grand Prix 7: Firefox 7, Chrome 14, Opera 11.51

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 19:04:26 PDT

I remember that there was a time, after the death of Netscape, that there was no great or even superior rival on the Windows side to IE. MS, though they denied it had been successful in quashing their most prominent rival. They won by integrating their browser so tightly into Windows that to this day it is pretty impossible not to use IE in some capacity at some time if you are a Windows user. This in spite of the MS malaise that allowed IE six to live on and on well past its prime.

So, today we have some real and viable browser choices. Tom's Hardware has tested those choices and announced a winner. Chrome is coming on so fast; but I don't want to give away the winner, even though it was by a nose, so I can't say more. Go read the article.



MagicJack app brings totally free calling to iOS | iPhone Atlas

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 11:25:54 PDT

If we were doing the show, I would definitely be checking this out for the app corner. The concept seems better than the execution right now, but the concept certainly is intriguing.



Microsoft kills Google Chrome with bad malware signature

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:09:35 PDT

Deleting the browser of one of your most successful rivals is a noteworthy oops. Hey if you are going to foul up, go really, really big.



IDC - Analyst Profile

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:49:07 PDT

I wondered about Bob O'Donnell in my previous post. Wonder no more. I'm glad to see him doing to well. Yes, this is the same person.

WTG, Bob!



Dell shrugs off harbingers of PC doom

Wed, 21 Sep 2011 15:45:29 PDT

I agree with this article. A tablet is a nice portable device, but it doesn't take the place of a desktop. In some instances it doesn't even take the place of a laptop. The PC is not dead.

Dell is certainly poised to be the winner here, but I personally wonder if Win 8 jeopardize that? Like Vista, if the OS is a flop (and it is poised to be unless we can fully turn of Metro on the desktop without crippling the OS) it will hurt MS Partners, too. Remember back when they offered an XP option when you bought a Vista machine? Companies like Dell had to do that or lose sales. Will they have to do that with Windows 8, too?

As a bonus, I wonder if the Bob O'Donnell in the article is the same guy we used to listen to together. I can't prove it, but I bet he is.

Well, read the article and see what you think.



Netflix goes from bad to worse

Mon, 19 Sep 2011 05:15:10 PDT

From the article: Netflix's woes took a strange twist on Sunday night, in an 11:59 p.m. EDT blog post by CEO Reed Hastings. "I messed up", he begins. Yeah, based on subscriber losses and punishing shareholders, Hasting puts it mildly. The gist is this: After jacking up the price of combined DVD rentals and streaming by an astonishing 60 percent, Hastings presents an unexpected solution: Netflix is splitting its streaming and DVD rental business into two operations.

My thoughts are summed up as this: In other news, CEO attempts to put lipstick on a pig...



5 deal-breaking flaws in Windows 8

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 14:05:40 PDT

I agree with this article. I absolutely love Window 7. In fact I talk about it little, not because it is bad, but because it is trouble free. It works. So I'm not in anti-MS mode. I live in a world that happily accommodates both iOS and Windows.

Now MS wants to enter the brave "old" world (after all the iPad is 1.5 years old) and has tacked a touchscreen interface on the front of what still looks like Win 7, sort of. It is a jarring and unpleasant experience. I read through the comments on this article and I laughed then I got to the one that simply asked "Microsoft Bob 2?". That nails it. If not Bob then consider this. If Vista was Me 2, maybe this is Me 3?

There is still time MS. Please reconsider and give us the choice to bypass Metro entirely. Make it a touch-tablet option. You can do it MS. Don't shoot yourself in the foot again.

If you are wondering I did download and run the Win 8 preview on Virtual Box (a virtual machine). So I have tried it. I'm sticking with 7 unless this silliness is sorted out.



Metro-style Internet Explorer 10 ditches Flash, plugins

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:20:22 PDT

"The rationale is a familiar one: plugin-based content shortens battery life, and comes with security, reliability, and privacy problems. Sites that currently depend on the capabilities provided by Flash or Silverlight should switch to HTML5."