Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Securable Steve Gibson Update

Having reviewed my website pages on Shields-Up and revisited the GRC website it prompted me to make this post.

I try and keep my content relevant and up-to-date, it would seem that most of what you will find on Steve's site (Jan 2011 - dated 2010) relates to the XP/NT world and not really relevant to the Windows 7/Linux/OSX world of today.

If you are still running XP (and I am on some of my computers) you are probably well aware of the shortcomings of the earlier versions of Windows and have learnt how to live with them.

I would say it is time for him to freshen up his site and bring it into the new millennium. The content is paranoia personified - I know that I have port 80 open - I run a website from my basement! I don't need his outdated programs to tell me that I "fail" the security tests on his site

What is it that he is trying to sell?

I have an issue with Securable's ability to inform you that your computer can run Windows 7 XP-Mode.

I also have issues of my own with the implementation of DEP - but I do not subscribe to the perpetuation of FUD.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Blackberry Playbook

My findings using the Playbook

I actually quite like my Playbook. For the price that the 16G is being sold ($299 or less - and 16G is really all you need) it is a bargain. It is particularly good for watching movies on the go. I find that the 7" screen is the ideal size for hand-held viewing and the 10" iPad and other tablets such as the Asus Prime too big.

Unlike many I also love the NFB app that comes pre-installed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TurboTax Version Differences

TurboTax (formerly QuickTax) have done it again. The Basic version of TurboTax is half the price of Standard and the major difference seems to be the instructional video that comes with Standard.

It is surprising that there are not many stores stocking the Basic Edition and most of the displays are for Standard and above. The box notes on TurboTax are misleading in that they imply that the Basic version is only for "simple" returns whereas if you have anything more than a T4 and no deductions then you need to buy the $40 Standard version. The truth is that the $20 Basic version contains all of the CRA forms, including RSP deductions, Flow throughs (T5013A), Foreign Tax handling and even Alternative Minimum Tax calculations.

It is a wise move on Intuit's part to rename their tax software TurboTax as now users in the USA will now find this post while in the past when the software was called QuickTax it was only Canadians that would have found this post when looking for advice on what version to purchase. I am sure that there are similarities in the US versions in that Basic covers all of the IRS forms and the only difference is the video and all of the other "Maximize your 401k"

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Search Engine Optimization on The Technology Muse (SEO)

I have had a fair amount of success with applying "white hat" SEO to my website and blog.
I have studied this particular pursuit for some time. I have tried to apply the techniques to my website - I think that I have been relatively successful and have managed to attract visitors to my website and this blog.

There are many pages relating to SEO on my website and they are in the process of being migrated to this blog. The reasons for the retirement of the website are multiple but it is still being maintained in the "background" and can be re-instated at any time.

I worked out a way of hosting my website from my personal Internet connection but due to the security concerns and some reactions to the content on my website I have suspended that activity. I am more than willing to answer questions relating to that and am available for consulting in that area.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

MacBook Windows 7

Apple should sell MacBooks with Windows 7 pre-installed in Bootcamp.

This would allow Windows users to find out that OSX is in fact a better OS. By removing the "barrier to entry" of those that think that they have to run Windows because the rest of the world does will probably find out that they spend most of their time in Snow Leopard, only venturing into Windows 7 when they have to do something they can't on OSX.

They will soon find that there is not a lot that they can't do and be in a more secure environment. For now at least - come to think of it that would be a bad idea as OSX would become a bigger target for the Malware merchants!

This is not likely to happen anytime soon as the copy of Windows 7 would have to be a fully licensed copy and that would add to the already higher price of the Apple hardware.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Living with Throttling - DPI and Network Neutrality

It is well established that the Canadian ISPs, Rogers, Bell and others, use Packet Inspection (and injection) to manage and shape their Internet services.

I have not had cable TV for almost 2 years and obtain ALL of my media content via a Roger's Cable "Managed" Internet connection.
It is more of a case of learning to live with the throttling and shaping of network traffic than getting up in arms about that it is happening. It is only going to get worse.

We should be concerned that it is being done and demand some sort of transparency from the ISPs, but it is a fact of life and in 2011 we are going to have to live with it.

I have a 95G subscription and have no problem in using this and more in a month. If the shaping were a problem for me I would have difficulty in obtaining the media that I require.
I don't, in fact I have no problem in getting more than I can watch in a given month.

As far as the claims made by TorrentPrivacy and BTGuard that your ISP will not know what you are downloading and how, that they will not throttle as a consequence, has not proven to be the case. Roger's, for one, seem to be smart enough that their packet inspection is still able to detect torrent agents such as BitTorrent, uTorrent, Vuze etc. The claim of "unlimited speed" is a marketing ploy to get you to subscribe.

The ISPs are fully capable of detecting your means of protocol by DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) no matter how you obscure your IP address or encrypt your connection. The heuristics of your data packets will be obvious torrent traffic and throttles will be applied.

The vmx-var-set-efi utility - The rEFIt Project

This utility can be used on Apple Mackintosh computers to enable Intel vt-x (hardware assisted virtualization) to allow the use of virtualization software such a Parallels.

rEFIt can be used to configure Mac hardware to  boot into other operating systems such as Windows 7.

rEFIt is a boot menu and maintenance toolkit for EFI-based machines like the Intel Macs.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Norman AV

Would you buy software from a company with 3 links from their home page (all to make a purchase),  no help or information about the company?

Also, on visiting the support forum (new search) - you find you that you are the only one viewing.

I am not sure what brought Norman AV to my attention - it could have been one of the companies that W.M. (Oneworld - OneWorldOffice) was embroiled with. It also could be due to the fact that I saw it for sale in Canada Computers - now there is a coincidence!

Monday, January 3, 2011

vt-d vs vt-x

About vt-d

 vt-d is NOT the same as vt-x. Both are forms of Hardware Virtualization.

vt-x is far more common and is probably unlikely that you need hardware with vt-d capability.

vt-d is the Intel Device Virtualization feature that is present on some of their processors. It responsible for providing control over input and output when used with software that provides remote access through virtualization techniques.

It provides the same functions as AMD's "AMD I/O Virtualization Technology"

You need this feature to implement at KVM - Kernel-Based Virtual Machine. You also need this feature to run certain virtualization programs such as Citrix.

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