Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly News (2011-03-19)

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Editorial


Events in Japan have shown us how fragile life is and how much we can depend on impermanency. Even the best laid-out plans will sometimes fail; mother nature has a funny way of reminding us that we should be humble and ready for the worst. At the same time, these tragedies reinforce our human resiliency and highlight the strength of the human spirit. ~Victor

SAFETY


ABOUT ELECTRICAL HAZARDS IN THE HOME: Summertime increases the demand for electricity and raises the risk of fire in homes with older or damaged wiring systems. Air conditioning equipment, electric grills, and attic fans are some of the seasonal appliances that can place added stress and strain on a home's electrical wiring and cause a potentially tragic fire.

SECURITY


RSA SECURITY BREACH DEMANDS CAUTION: RSA SecurID partners seeking answers about warning of compromised devices.
CAN YOUR BROWSER REALLY STOP SITES FROM TRACKING YOUR WEB BROWSING?: The latest versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer support a standard designed to stop the kind of tracking that spawns targeted ads. Whether it’ll work, though, is unclear.
ONLINE SCAMMERS USING JAPAN QUAKE AS A LURE: Scammers and online criminals are exploiting the disaster in Japan to lure in unsuspecting victims in order to steal personal information or load your PC with malware.
NEW HACKER TRICK DUCKS ANTI-PHISHING MEASURES IN FIREFOX, CHROME: A new phishing scam that targets bank and PayPal passwords and other consumer data that criminals use to loot private accounts is designed to beat security built in to Firefox and Chrome Web browsers.
BACK UP YOUR WEB E-MAIL ACCOUNT: Don't get caught in the next Gmail crash. Here's how to back up your cloud-based e-mail accounts.

WORTHY WEBSITE


BoingBoing: You can waste away many a happy hour at ├╝ber-blog BoingBoing, your one-stop shop for all things popular on the Internet (give or take a Goatse obsession). From goofy pictures of kids in robot costumes to erudite disquisitions on copyright and privacy, BoingBoing has its thumb on the zeitgeist, and it won't let up. And if BoingBoing's obsessions with DRM and robots start to grate on you, head over to http://www.xenisucks.com to indulge in a whole 'nother obsession.

WORTHY DOWNLOAD


KEEP YOUR PC INSULATED FROM INTERNET THREATS WITH FREE BUFFERZONE PRO: This simple "sandbox" tool creates a virtual environment that protects your PC from viruses, spyware, and the like. It used to cost $40; now it's free!

WINDOWS


WHAT IS A THUMBS.DB FILE?: Find out what purpose the Thumbs.db file has in a Windows XP folder.
MICROSOFT STREETS & TRIPS 2011 WITH GPS LOCATOR: Microsoft Streets & Trips 2011 offers updated maps but virtually no other upgrades, making it a dubious purchase at best.
MICROSOFT FOILS BOTNET; NEW INTERNET SHERIFF?: Analysis: Grandiosity, self congratulation after Rustock takedown don't bode well for future "operations."
MICROSOFT URGES OFFICE USERS TO BLOCK FLASH PLAYER ATTACKS: Microsoft Thursday urged users of older Office suites to install and run a complicated tool to protect themselves against ongoing attacks exploiting an unpatched bug in Adobe's Flash Player.
EIGHT FREE WINDOWS 7 TOOLS YOU HAVE TO TRY: Our Windows blogger recently found these utilities, which have made his PC environment that much more capable
INTERNET EXPLORER 9 SPEEDS PAST COMPETITION: Throw away what you think you know about Internet Explorer -- because the just-released IE9 will turn it all on its ear. Think IE is sluggish? Think again.

MAC


TAME YOUR TABS WITH KEY COMMANDS: If you sometimes find your desktop cluttered with multiple browser windows, try using tabs in Safari.
IPAD 2 COMPONENTS MAY BE IN SHORT SUPPLY: Analysis: The iPad 2 is already on back-order in many markets, and now Apple may find it difficult to replace certain parts in light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
15-INCH MACBOOK PRO: SAME LOOK, MORE SPEED: Apple's new MacBook Pro line of laptops was lost in the publicity around the iPad 2. Virtually all of the changes in the MacBook Pro family are under the hood.

LINUX


10 WAYS TO E-PUBLISH WITH LINUX: "If you're looking for a low-cost way to create, publish, and market an e-book, be sure to check out these Linux tools."
NEW LINUX KERNEL GOES FASTER: Linux kernel 2.6.28 has been released, bringing performance improvements.
5 OF THE BEST FREE LINUX ROBOTICS SOFTWARE: LinuxLinks: "Linux has a good range of open source toolkits for building robotic control systems. To provide an insight into the open source software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 of our favorite robotics software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to conduct research in robot systems."
53 OPEN SOURCE REPLACEMENTS TO SPICE UP YOUR DESKTOP: "We've collected 53 different open source projects that can make your desktop environment faster, prettier, easier to use or just a little different. They run the gamut from small utilities that do just one thing to open source operating systems that can replace Windows."
TROUBLESHOOTING LINUX SERVERS WITH TELNET: "The venerable Telnet is still a useful tool in the server administrator's toolkit. Juliet Kemp shows how to test basic SMTP, IMAP, HTTP, and IRC server functions with Telnet"

GENERAL/NON-COMPUTER


6 MISTAKES THAT KEEP YOU FAT: Start by performing triage on the six eating habits listed here. But don’t try to banish them all at once. "Target just one or two behaviors at first—ones that you can make the most difference by changing," says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D., of St. Louis University.

DID YOU KNOW?


WIZARD: (1) A utility within an application that helps you use the application to perform a particular task. For example, a "letter wizard" within a word processing application would lead you through the steps of producing different types of correspondence. [More …]

OFFICE RELATED


RECLAIM SPACE IN MICROSOFT EXCEL BY CHANGING TEXT ALIGNMENT: Having just a column or two extend past the right edge of the screen is annoying. A simple way to reclaim text is to angle column labels.

SELF-IMPROVEMENT


TEN REASONS WHY HOLOGRAPHIC CREATION IS MORE POWERFUL THAN VISUALIZATION: Creating reality in the moment is holographic creation. You can also call it manifesting in holographic time. You create what you want on a spiritual level (quantum level), and then it grows until it becomes crystallized into physical reality.

WEEKLY VIDEO


A SOLAR PROMINENCE ERUPTION FROM SDO: One of the most spectacular solar sights is an erupting prominence.

OTHER NEWS


SEAGATE BARRACUDA GREEN (2TB): The pricey 2TB Seagate Barracuda Green is feature-loaded and faster than competing low-power hard drives.
WESTERN DIGITAL INTRODUCES 6TB DUAL-DRIVE STORAGE: If running out of room to store your data is a concern for you, know that Western Digital aims to make that a thing of the past with its new My Book Studio...
GNU FREE CALL: AN OPEN SOURCE SKYPE ALTERNATIVE: This planned service could add security while preventing any intervention or interruption of communications.
EXPERTS SEE WIDE USE OF FLASH-HARD DISK HYBRIDS BY 2016: A quarter of new laptops and half of new desktop PCs will adopt an emerging data storage method by 2016, pairing flash memory with traditional hard disk drives...
CHINA SHUTTERS 130,000 INTERNET CAFES AS IT SEEKS MORE CONTROL: China shut down more than 130,000 illegal Internet cafes in the country over a six year period, as part of crackdown to control the market
THE COST OF CHROME OS: $250 OR LESS?: When I wrote about Google's experimental CR-48 Chrome OS notebook last December, I guessed that it might cost about $449 if it were a commercial product. That seemed high for a device that was entirely dedicated to accessing the Web (and nearly useless when you couldn't get online).
10 THINGS TO DROOL OVER IN FIREFOX 4: Speed, simplicity, privacy, security and HTML5 support are among the features that promise to make Mozilla's new browser a winner.
PHOTOWORKS SHUTS DOWN APRIL 4: Customers get a $30 credit to transfer their images to Shutterfly, in the latest website hand-off.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekly News (2011-03-05)

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Editorial


For some of us, celebrating certain dates is very important, and for some of us it is not. Today was my wife's birthday. She would have liked a nice celebration for her birthday; she enjoyed celebrating everyone's birthday. Birthdays are not a high priority for me, but they were to her. And so our family usually celebrates people's birth dates as much as possible. Perhaps Tracey had a point. We should celebrate the day important people in our life were born. What would our lives be without them in it? ~Victor

SAFETY


FACT OR FICTION: BURNS: Most of us have suffered a burn at some point or another -- and chances are, it was minor and healed relatively quickly. But do you know if you should run cold water over minor burns? What happens when you have hot tar stuck to your skin? And can you have a burn that's not visible on your skin? See how well you respond to these most burning questions.

SECURITY


CAN DATA STORED ON AN SSD BE SECURED?: Following a recent report that data on most SSDs is very difficult to completely erase, researchers and analysts say there are really only two methods to...
MOZILLA FOLLOWS GOOGLE, PATCHES FIREFOX AS PREP FOR PWN2OWN: Nine of the 11 flaws were rated 'critical,' a threat rating that implies hackers could use the vulnerabilities to compromise a computer or infect it with malware.
GOOGLE PATCHES 19 CHROME BUGS BEFORE HACKING CONTEST BEGINS: Google has a special stake in the Pwn2Own contest: it put up a $20,000 prize for hacking Chrome on the first of the contest's three days.
SECURITY MANAGER: MALWARE HAS 'EXPLODED': A report released earlier this year by Panda Security reveals just how sophisticated the business of cyber crime has become. Among its findings: botnets are now available as a service for criminals to rent and launch spam attacks --- with prices that start as low as $15 for the rental of a SMTP server.
HOW TO BROWSE PRIVATELY ON PUBLIC WI-FI FOR FREE: With a handful of free software tools, you can fight off snoopers when using public Wi-Fi. Here's how, step by step.

WORTHY WEBSITE


CNN.com: As James Earl Jones so eloquently puts it, CNN is "still the most trusted name in news." The site is a go-to for national and international news on a wide range of topics with videos, photos, and a list of the most popular stories of the day.

WORTHY DOWNLOAD


SOLUTO: Frustrated by your sluggish and unresponsive PC? Soluto is bringing an end to PC user frustration with transparency, killer technology, and your help.

WINDOWS


NEW MICROSOFT PROTOTYPE INTERFACE IS INTELLIGENT: A new user interface technology from Microsoft can analyze what you're doing and make suggestions for you.
HOW TO PREVENT WINDOWS FROM REBOOTING WITHOUT PERMISSION: Tired of losing your work when Windows restarts while you're away? Here's how to solve the problem.
THREE PATCHES COMING ON TUESDAY: Microsoft will release three patches next Tuesday. Two will address security concerns with Windows and one with Office.
MICROSOFT LAUNCHES IE6 DEATHWATCH: Microsoft today launched a deathwatch for its 10-year-old Internet Explorer 6 browser, saying it wanted to "see IE6 gone for good."
MICROSOFT PUSHES ANTI-AUTORUN UPDATE AT XP, VISTA USERS: Microsoft has changed how it delivers an update that disables AutoRun, a Windows feature that big name worms, including Conficker and Stuxnet, have used. If AutoRun is disabled, USB flash drives don't automatically launch.

MAC


APPLE MACBOOK PRO 15-INCH (THUNDERBOLT): The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Thunderbolt) is at the peak of technology's Mount Olympus, thanks to new Intel architecture, a renewed romance with AMD graphics chips, and a connection technology called Thunderbolt.
CITRIX GOTOMYPC (FOR IPAD): GoToMyPC for iPad makes it simple to control your computer while away from your work area, but latency issues may spoil the experience.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE IPAD 2: As with any new Apple product, questions abound over the details of the new iPad 2. Sure, we know it's thinner, faster, and lighter, but what else?
APPLE IPAD CLEARANCE SALE: ORIGINAL 16GB MODEL DROPS TO $399: If you're not too wooed by the iPad 2, the iPad 1 just went on sale.
USE YOUR MAC WITHOUT A MOUSE: Power users work their Macs faster than regular folk do for a variety of reasons. More important than a speedier processor is a speedier computist. Since your...
IPAD 2 FANS: BEWARE THE SECURITY RISKS: Losing a mobile device means more than losing the platform; it's a wake-up call to back up data.
CREATE CUSTOM ALERT SOUNDS FOR YOUR MAC: After awhile, Mac OS X's alert sounds can be downright grating, as can many of the sounds you hear in Mail, iCal, and iChat. Happily, creating a custom alert...

LINUX


A 13 LINE PATCH THAT BOOSTS INTEL SANDY BRIDGE PERFORMANCE: "After some initial Linux troubles, last month we finally got Intel Sandy Bridge graphics working under Linux. The latest Intel CPUs (such as the Core i5 2500K) with integrated graphics are blazingly fast, and the classic Intel Mesa driver was fast compared to other open-source Mesa / Gallium3D drivers"
BATCH PROCESS PHOTOS IN DIGIKAM: "When you need to apply the same action to multiple photos, digiKam's batch processing capabilities can come in rather handy. And the photo management application provides different ways to apply actions to a photo batch in one fell swoop."
7 OF THE BEST FREE LINUX COMPRESSION TOOLS: "To provide an insight into the quality of software available for Linux, we have compiled a list of 7 of the best free compression tools. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wishes to maximize their computer and network resources. We give our highest recommendation to Lrzip."
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY IN LINUX - AN EXTENSIVE GUIDE: "Right now Windows and Mac dominate the professional photography world. That does not mean though that Linux does not have the tools available for professional photography."

GENERAL/NON-COMPUTER


10 REASONS TO TELECOMMUTE: As the way people work continues to evolve, telecommuting is becoming a more common option. How can working remotely benefit you and your employer?

DID YOU KNOW?


TECH TALK: COMPUTER MEMORY QUIZ: Without memory, computers wouldn't have any way to store data. How much do you know about computer memory?

OFFICE RELATED


ADD A QUICK COMPARISON CHART TO A WORKSHEET: With just one function, you can create a quick chart that lets you compare information, visually.

SELF-IMPROVEMENT


IDENTIFYING LIMITING BELIEFS: Beliefs drive attitude and behaviour. Self limiting beliefs result in self sabotaging attitudes and behaviours that prevent us from getting what we want in life.

WEEKLY VIDEO


CHILDREN OF THE SAND: Excellent video and music.

OTHER NEWS


ASUS BRINGS KINECT-LIKE GAMING TO PCS: Hoping to do for personal computers what Microsoft has done for gaming, Asus will soon put on sale a motion-sensing device that looks and works like the Xbox Kinect.
GOOGLE GMAIL OUTAGE LEAVES 150,000 USERS WITHOUT E-MAIL: About 150,000 of Google's Gmail users woke up Sunday morning to missing e-mails, contacts and chat histories.
NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING IS HERE: WILL YOU PULL THE PLUG?: This weekend people will unplug their smartphones, laptops, and other tech in an effort to connect with family and friends...without the aid of technology or social networking.
10 AWESOME GOOGLE TRICKS YOU MISSED: Think you’re a Google master? Think again, and check out these 10 tricks and innovations that make working with Google’s services even better.
DIGITIZE YOUR DOCUMENTS: Scan your documents into your hard drive. We have tips on scanners, OCR software, Web OCR, and converting your books to e-books.
SOFTWARE SPEED BOOSTS FOR YOUR PC: Here are 14 software tips and tweaks for turbo-charging your computer from startup to shutdown.
TOM'S DEFINITIVE LINUX SOFTWARE ROUNDUP: AUDIO PRODUCTION: Tom's Hardware: "Welcome to Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Audio Production. In this article, we're looking at Linux applications for audio content creation. Our previous segment covered general end-user audio consumption apps like media managers, audio players, and CD rippers. This segment is for the audio professional, hobbyist, and musician."

Weekly News (2011-02-26)

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Editorial


You may have heard or read about the "Butterfly Effect," a phenomena in which the energy from a butterfly's wings can ripple into a storm on the opposite side of the world. It is amazing what synergy can do. I find it extremely interesting that the demonstrations in Egypt, which toppled a 30-year old government, are having rippling effects not only in that region of the world, but also in other continents. Protests in the United States have been rare until recently. Government workers in Wisconsin and Ohio have been demonstrating against proposed elimination of union bargaining rights, a solution sought by Republican leaders to handle very large state budget deficits. Whether you are a liberal, pro-worker person or a conservative in favor of financial prudence, the butterfly effect of recent protests and demonstrations around the wold cannot go unnoticed. Are we witnessing the beginnings of global-level discontentment? ~Victor

SAFETY


ZINC POISONING LINKED TO POPULAR DENTURE CREAMS: Many cases of mysterious nerve damage turn out to be caused by overuse of popular denture products, an increasing number of reports suggests.

SECURITY


ADVANCED ZEUS TROJAN HITS POLISH ING CUSTOMERS: A version of the Zeus malware that intercepts one-time passcodes sent by SMS (Short Message Service) is targeting customers of the financial institution ING in...
HACKERS HIT CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SITES: Malicious hackers who may be based in China fooled Canadian tech staff into providing access to government computers.
WATCH OUT FOR FDIC PHISHING SCAM: A new phishing scam is circulating claiming to be from the FDIC, and containing a Trojan downloader file attachment.
LINKEDIN REVAMPS SECURITY AND PRIVACY OPTIONS: YOUR GUIDE: LinkedIn is rolling out an entirely redesigned privacy and security settings page aimed at helping users find important information quicker and navigate controls...
7 WAYS TO AVOID GETTING HACKED BY ANONYMOUS: The hactivist group Anonymous used a series of simple technical and social exploits to crack the network of security-technology firm HBGary Federal, giving the company a schooling that other network security pros can learn from.

WORTHY WEBSITE


FREE STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY WEBSITES: Here is a long list of free stock images directories. These stock photography sites are free, however some require you to cite the Photographer.
GET A QUICK AND EASY DISPOSABLE E-MAIL ADDRESS: If you need a temporary e-mail account, look no further than Mailinator. This free service is ridiculously easy to use and incredibly convenient.

WORTHY DOWNLOAD


SYSTEM INFORMATION FOR WINDOWS: SIW is an advanced System Information for Windows tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings and displays it in an extremely comprehensible manner.

WINDOWS


WINDOWS 7 SERVICE PACK 1 IS READY FOR DOWNLOAD: Microsoft has released its first Service Pack for the Windows 7 operating system addressing minor OS nips and tucks.
HOW TO RECOVER A MISSING RECYCLE BIN: Learn why the Recycle Bin may have disappeared, and how to get it back.
HOW TO AVOID UNWANTED BROWSER TOOLBARS: If you're not careful, your browser might become cluttered with toolbars--both benign and malicious.
HOW TO COMPLETELY UNINSTALL PROGRAMS: Using an application's built-in uninstaller sometimes isn't enough. A downloadable utility can help clean up what remains.

MAC


A PHOTOGRAPHER'S WORKFLOWS FOR THE MACBOOK AIR: First we looked at how the MacBook Air performs as a laptop for photographers on the go. Now I'd like to share some of my recommended workflows for shooters who...
TURN OFF AUTOMATIC WINDOW RESIZING AND DOCKING IN WINDOWS 7: Microsoft made a big deal about this new feature, but not everybody wants it. Turning it off is surprisingly simple--but finding the 'off switch' isn't.

LINUX


UBUNTU STUDIO FUN FACTS: Confessions of an Ubuntu Studio Developer: "There are two commonly preferred ways to install Ubuntu Studio. Many people start with a regular, vanilla Ubuntu installation and "upgrade" their package selection by installing the Ubuntu Studio meta-packages."
TOP 5 LINUX DVD RIP SOFTWARE: "A DVD ripper software allows you to copying the content of a DVD to a hard disk drive. You transfer video on DVDs to different formats, or make a backup of DVD content, and to convert DVD video for playback on media players, streaming, and mobile phone"
LINUX FOR MOBILE USERS: "Linux is an ideal solution for notebook users. We help you choose the best mobile distro"
UN-BRICKING LINUX PLUG COMPUTERS: "Little Linux wall wart computers have a thousand and one uses. But what if you accidentally brick your little plug server? No worries, for Akkana Peck shows us how to un-brick them."
THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO NANO, THE LINUX COMMAND-LINE TEXT EDITOR: "New to the Linux command-line? Confused by all of the other advanced text editors? How-To Geek's got your back with this tutorial to Nano, a simple text-editor that's very newbie-friendly."
5 OF THE BEST FREE AND OPEN SOURCE REMOTE DESKTOP SOFTWARE FOR LINUX: "The term 'remote desktop' refers to a software application or an operating system feature that enables users to connect to a computer located in different area and use or run its own programs as if it were local."
6 OF THE BEST FREE LINUX DICTIONARY TOOLS: "So, let's explore the 6 dictionary tools at hand. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources and reviews."


GENERAL/NON-COMPUTER


10 THINGS DIETERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT METABOLISM: People who seem to eat anything they want are just blessed with a fast metabolism ... right? The truth is, you have some control over how fast your metabolism is. What can you do to tweak it in your favor?

DID YOU KNOW?


CHIPSET: A number of integrated circuits designed to perform one or more related functions. For example, one chipset may provide the basic functions of a modem while another provides the CPU functions for a computer. Newer chipsets generally include functions provided by two or more older chipsets. In some cases, older chipsets that required two or more physical chips can be replaced with a chipset on one chip. [More …]

OFFICE RELATED


OPEN OFFICE DILEMMA: OPENOFFICE.ORG VS. LIBREOFFICE: Dueling open source alternatives to Microsoft Office match word processors, spreadsheets, and much more; which one should you choose?
PERFORM QUICK SORTS IN WORD WITHOUT USING A TABLE: Sorting doesn't seem to come naturally to Word, but that's just because you don't know where to look!

SELF-IMPROVEMENT


WHAT IS SUCCESS... REAL SUCCESS?: Many people say they want success. Yet, when asked what "success" is, they haven't a clue. In other words, they say they want something when, at the same time, they don't even know what that "something" is.

OTHER/WEEKLY NEWS


FOUR REASONS TO RIP CDS WITHOUT ITUNES: We recently ran an article explaining How to rip CDs with iTunes. For many people, iTunes is their main music management tool, and using this program to rip CDs...
HP'S NEW LAPTOPS PROVIDE EASY SELF-REPAIR: Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced Intel-based business laptops with features that could make it easier to swap components or fix the PCs.
YAHOO VIDEO DUMPING USER CONTENT: Really like that video you posted on Yahoo Video? Well, if you want it back, you better hurry up and download it.
IRANIAN CYBER ARMY STRIKES AGAINST VOICE OF AMERICA: The pro-Iran hacktivist group that defaced the Baidu and Twitter Web sites a year ago has hit another target: the U.S. Government's Voice of America news site.
UK TAKES ITS CENSUS ONLINE: For the first time UK householders can submit their census information online, starting next week.
HOW TO RESIZE DIGITAL IMAGES FOR PRINTING: As the quality of digital cameras goes up, so does the volume of pixels they can capture. These days, shooting in your camera’s highest quality mode can yield an...
STANFORD RESEARCHERS DOUBLE WIRELESS NETWORKING SPEEDS: A new invention by Stanford University researchers could lead to a doubling of wireless networking speeds without the need for extra frequencies.
AS VIOLENCE ESCALATES, LIBYA CUTS OFF THE INTERNET: With violence escalating, Libya is pulling the plug on its Internet connection.
NASA TAMPS DOWN MASSIVE SOLAR FLARE IMPACT HYPE: NASA says massive solar flare will produce pretty skies, but little else.