Friday, February 24, 2012

The "Post-PC Era"

Is it really a reality?

With much buzz about the upcoming version of Windows it remains to be seen if anyone cares. I would like Microsoft to fail in this endeavour, not becuase I don't like the Microsoft product and I am a "fan" of an alternate, it is more a question of seeing the arrogance of the MS fanbouys getting their just deserts.

A typical response to Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
..... and then there is the Smartphone.......

Office solutions for Android tablets

This is also applicable to the iPad.

Looking for an Office Suite for Android.


Links:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Waiting for Jelly Bean

Having just acquired a tablet that has Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3) I must admit that there a some improvements over Honeycomb but not enough for me to want to keep the tablet, an Asus Prime.

I see that there is now real-time spell-check on some built-in apps and not in others that really need it. Also the consistency of the spell-check is puzzling. For example here in Blogger the spell-check is active on the post title but not here in the post body????
Most importantly there is no spell-check in Polaris Office. If the Android developers what an Office suit to compete with MS Office (which is currently touted to be coming to the iPad) it needs spell-check. I don't understand as the capability is definitely there as it works in all parts of the GMail app. You can even edit your custom dictionary (with the option to add words on the fly and delete them later should you make a mistake). Although there is a "check spelling" button in the Google Blogger compose screen it doesn't seem to do anything. (Okay - I just worked out that spell-check works in HTML edit mode???? - again consistency,  and most users would stay well away from HTML in any case)

I am not sure I will be keeping the Prime as while it is a very good tablet for today I an't help feeling that the next version of Android will pick up some of these points.

The Splashtop Remote Desktop (under the Asus My Cloud app) seems to work well and I can access all my Windows 7 computers and run x86 programs from the Prime (even printing from Word and Excel etc) - all without installing anything on the Prime. The Splashtop Remote software needs to be downloaded and installed on the Windows 7 machine that you want to access remotely, but then you can also use your Touch or iPad to control your PC as well - there is probably an Android app for this as well but I haven't looked)

I am not really interested in the availability of apps, in comparison to the Apple product - I am more interested  in the basic functionality of the tablet. It is getting there but I am not it is there yet.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rooting your Smartphone

Rooting and un-locking your PCs BIOS seem to have parallels. The mindset that tells the nerd that he or she is not getting "all that they paid for" and have a device that does not have its full functionality.

As many have said - just because you can, it doesn't mean that you should.

I have been monitoring a number of sources that talk of "rooting" Android powered devices such as the Asus Transformer Prime and the unlocking of computers with Insyde H2O UEFI BIOS. The owners of such devices hope to get access to hidden features and/or menus that will allow overclocking and access to other operating system - basic hardware adjustments.

In many of these cases there is nothing to be gained by the exercise and the fact that the manufacturers have purposely locked the bootloader on the devices in question. This is generally done to minimize the damage that the un-skilled users can wreak. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Apple Airport Express

A minimal configuration for the Apple Airport Express

The Airport Express has proven to be of use in hotels around the world where Internet access is provided to rooms and WiFi service is restrictive (multiple accounts needed for notebook, iPad and Touch)

In addition A/P.E. has been found useful at client sites where wired access to LAN is provided - allowing the use of wireless devices on a non-wireless infrastructure.

The aim here is to configure the AirPort so that it was a close to "out of the box" as possible.

Wireless security was not necessary (but possible) for this instance. The AirPort (basestation) name was (had to be) changed to "New Airport" and was given the Capital Radio password.

Attempts were made to configure the device wirelessly but I had to resort to connecting the AP to my notebook via the Ethernet cable.

            Firmware was updated to version 7.5.2......


Links:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

BTGuard TorrentPrivacy Review

It is my current opinion that both TorrentPrivacy and BTGuard are pretty much useless when it comes to choosing a method to keep your identity safe and your downloading activity obscured from copyright owners and ISPs.

Please search this blog for solutions and discussions on P2P and the methods that I use to keep myself from receiving warning letters and  being possibly prosecuted for participating in file sharing.


Having decided to take another look at the TorrentPrivacy forum as I didn't seem to have been billed for a couple of months (even though I hadn't cancelled the service), I was not surprised to see that the negative comments are still there and continue to be made.

I concur that the TorrentPrivacy service did work some time ago but during 2011 it became increasingly slow and the US server was not usable most of the time.

I can positively report that I did manage to talk to the TorrentPrivacy customer service via their on-line help system. I had long since abandoned the notion of sending an email or posting on the forum myself.

I have an impression that BTGuard have similar problems

The BTGuard Terms of Service


On the negative note, I have also given up on using TorrentPrivacy as I am currently of the opinion that both TorrentPrivacy AND BTGuard are well and truly on the radar screens of the ISPs and copyright holders. I am also of the opinion that using a publicly known VPN (or whatever the vendor describes it as) is NOT the way to go when it comes to avoiding being detected in what you download and where you have been on the Internet.

To avoid being throttled by whoever is concerned about your download habits you need to connect through a service that is not generally known. Especially a service that advertizes on  the popular file sharing sites.

One has to remember that services such as BTGuard and TP are primarily in the business of sewing the seeds of doubt (FUD) in your mind to get you to be concerned that you are running the risk of being detected and prosecuted for downloading illegally. While this is surely the case, you could be charged if caught, both these companies have big interests in hoping that you will think that they can prevent you from being so.

Links:

Facetime not working

This post is in desperation in trying to get Facetime to connect.

It did work but now doesn't - I have made no changes to any of the settings on the Apple device or my WiFi network (including firewalls and restrictions). I have tried turning "Airplane Mode" on and off and I have tried all manner of resets on the Apple device.

I think that something may have fundamentally changed and the Apple help forums are more useless than normal here.

If you are having similar problems with Facetime please post a comment here and I will expand on my findings. I find that there is no point in getting too specific with the equipment that I am using as it seems to be just an excuse for those that think they know the answer to send you off on a "blind alley". In my particular case the purchase of the Apple product in question was so that I could use Facetime. I cannot believe that it is not working across the board, especially on the iPad 2 and Mac Books.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mail Form Injection

Web forms that have not been secured are vulnerable to having data injected into the INPUT fields of the form.

These INPUT form elements can either be hidden or visible on the webpage that they are located. A first order defense against abuse would be to rename the INPUT elements to non-standard names. You cannot rename the SUBMIT element as that has special meaning for the processing of the form - it is this field that initiates the processing of the mail form - as such it contains no data.

Common names for email forms are From (Mail.Form), To (Mail.To), FromName, AddAddress and Subject. The ones that are especially important are the UserName and Password elements, these need to be maintained as they are required by the mail command on the server to authenticate the email message.

This is an example taken from http://www.netheaven.com/email.html
The page that the example above was taken from goes on to explain the processing of the data contained on the form and the conditions that need to be fulfilled.

If there is an error in the way that the data or the form is configured the result can range from the email not being sent to the contents of the form, including the hidden fields, passwords and user names being echoed back to the users screen.

What I was seeing on my forms

The forms that I was trying to implement were those that sent emails back to me in response to activity on my website. This was before I was able to monitor my server logs or use Google Analytics.

As the emails were supposed to be sent to me I was very aware when data was injected into the forms. If I was not sending the emails to myself I may not have even noticed that anything was was going wrong. The fact that a form on your website could be being used by a hacker to spam other Internet users is both disturbing and irresponsible.

What I was seeing that there was random data injected into subject and content fields. This data could be similar to that seen in a lot of spam that we all get on a daily basis.

Links:

Bitdefender

This is part of my postings on Anti-Virus products that have come to my attention.

Below is a screen-shot taken from a review on CNET:
Looks like the reviews are not good - even if the cnet.com site, on face value, is a bit of a shill.
My recommendation:
The Technology Muse does not recommend that you use BitDefender A-V or any other products related to the company or those that are related or associated with them.
My recommendation is that you use the free A-V product that you can download from Microsoft. Hopefully this will be built into the operating system soon (this may trigger an Anti-Trust suit as did the inclusion of a browser)

Whether to use Social Media for business

Many companies are being told to that to be "up to speed" and connected to the consumer of today that they must incorporate Social Media into their business.

Today, February 2012, this means having a Facebook and a Twitter account for your company and to place Facebook "Like" and Google + "plus" buttons on your website and/or forum. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

IPv6

IPv6 issues and observations.
IPv6 can address individual devices on a network - even separate computers, tablets, phones and other Internet connected devices even when they are connected behind a network router.

This is the reason for security and privacy concerns in that your computing device will be identifiable even though you have taken steps to obscure your IP address. Although the primary need for Network Address translation is alleviated, I guess this means that you will be able to connect multiple computers in your home to the Internet via your ISP without the need for a router, it will probably a good idea that you don't.

IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, so the new address space supports 2128 (approximately 340 undecillion or 3.4*1038) addresses. This expansion allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic. It also eliminates the primary need for network address translation (NAT), which gained widespread deployment as an effort to alleviate IPv4 address  exhaustion.

My advice is that you should always use a router when connecting to your ISP. Even when new IPv6 models become available it is probably best to try and use an old model. There will probably be some loss of functionality, such as the ability for you to uniquely identify all of your IPv6 compatible equipment even though you are using a shared Internet connection.

IPv6 has not been fully implemented (Fall 2011), Windows 7 uses Teredo Tunneling to  give IPv6 connectivity for IPv6-capable hosts which are on the IPv4 Internet . There have been reports that the IPv6 stack is a potential security problem for users of services such as The Pirate Bay's iPredator.

Samba Shares

Setting up a Samba share on Ubuntu

This topic is discussed in greater detail on my website, tempusfugit.ca

Links:

Using a tablet for web development/analysis

Having purchased an iPad as soon as it was available I am fully aware of what the capabilities of the Apple device are. The main drawback for me is the inabilty to run Flash from the browser. This makes the iPad unusable to monitor a website using Google Analytics.

In addition to the Flash problem that is a source of frustration for iPad users I did not aware that there was a version of VNC that would enable me to view the webserver logs using the tablet. While the Asus TF101 can run Google Analytics well, I subsequently found that the Android app: androidVNC was less than operational for real use. There is a version for VNC, not free, but it was determined that this is likely to suffer the same limitations as the free one, i.e. the shortcoming is with the "touch interface"

In fact, if the major operation that I want to perform is to see Google Analytics then the RIM Playbook works just as well for me:


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Digeus Registry Cleaner

I have no interest in promoting the Digeus Registry Cleaner software - the only reason that I have a post on it is that I was approached to feature it on my blog.

Editing the Windows registry - a good way of "bricking" your computer

Ashley Adams of  Digeus, Inc is just BlogSpam

Links:




7 April 2012 - there was a view of this page in Google Cache
8 May 2012 - Karachi - blog "post a comment" -"comments closed" -"you must be logged in" "registry cleaner"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Core Data Solutions

Data Recovery Services (CDR), Saskatoon, Canada.

"Core Data Solutions at the Innovation Place
The following was an email that I received 12 February 2012:

I've been watching your site for the past few years since information started appearing about Wayne McAlpine.

I noticed that you have posted information on your site stating that CoreData Recovery is the new face of OneWorld. I would ask that you please remove that information from your public pages as it is not factual.

Some people at CDR are former employees of OWDR and we have worked extremely hard to try and build a new business and reputation on our own. We would appreciate it if you did not associate CDR with OneWorld on your website. You seem to be a resourceful individual and I'm certain that you can confirm this for yourself.

Many people from the OW organization and previous business ventures of Wayne's have been manipulated and taken advantage of. Wayne McAlpine "I am a Corporate Pirate"

Please remove any content on your website associating CDR with OneWorld.

Please respect our privacy and our business.

The fact that if you search LinkedIn for Brian Sampson (the name associated with Core Data) you see that his profile says that he is the owner of OneWorldOffice seems to contradict the statement made above and that I was correct that Core Data was the new face of OneWorld. Also, the location at The Innovation Place is the same as that of the OneWorld Saskatoon office.

If these were not a facts they could be construed as a slander. I do not think that Wayne McAlpine has been taken advantage of, rather it is he that is chief architect of this manipulation.

Although the email communication was not signed by Brian Sampson I suspect that it was either written by Wayne McAlpine or at least initiated by him.

The following names are listed under OneWorldOffice:


Links:





Thursday, February 9, 2012

Asus EeeBox PC EB1021

This Asus eeePC desktop is a great computer to use as a HTPC.


The Asus eeeBox is designed for use as a small form-factor PC that can be attached to the rear of your Vesa mount on your flat-screen TV. It is more than capable of providing 1080p HDTV resolution, it can be connected to a USB DVD/DB drive or downloaded/streamed media played on your Home Theatre system.

Vesa mount htpc:
The eeeBox has a kit that supposedly allows this. It did not fit on the Sony TV that I tried it. This didn't really matter.

Links:
Other Asus posts on this blog:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The BBC Archive

There seems to be a misconception that there is an inclusive archive of all the BBC programs that could be made available on-line.

Programs that are made available on the BBC iPlayer are only a careful selection of what is available and it changes reasonably rapidly.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

3-Way Links Inc. review

In my opinion schemes that offer to give you more in-bound links than you provide an outbound one for are scams. Both, Twinlinks and 3-Way Links are such schemes.

One such operator is Rita Williams ( rita.williams@3way-linking.net ) for Rebecca Wilson - Twinlinks .net .org

All these are scams - DO NOT give your information to these scammers - Google will penalize your ranking if you do. The exact opposite of what you are promised.

I did have more information on my website. I am in the process of re-posting the information on this blog.

Other posts on this subject:

Android inconsistencies

For an O/S authored by Google, Android (at least with Honeycomb 3.2) seems to handle web content in an inconsistent manner. The stock browser, Firefox or Safari maybe different -  I haven't tried them yet, interprets the user-agent string incorrectly.

I can understand that a website that wants to render a page on a phone differently to what you would see if you accessed a page on your computer (Real Estate pages for example). However, Google with their Blogger product renders the page as if it is a desktop page and has to be forced to look like a phone. There is no tablet rendering of Blogger.

I may have this wrong but I thought a tablet was a "mobile" product. To compete with Apple the user-agent string issue needs to be sorted. The real-estate pages look much better on the iPad without have to make obscure (for most users) config changes. The coders for the real-estate website know how to identify an iPad, Google need to do a better job so that coders know how to handle the Android User String. AND so do the coders of Google Blogger.


This is the user-agent string from my Android device:
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Linux Ventana; en-ca; Transformer TF101 Build/HTK75) AppleWebKit/534.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/8.0 Safari/534.13

Windows 8 and Android

The ZDNet article by SJVN five-reasons-why-windows-8-will-be-dead-on-arrival raises some good issues.

I am not saying that I think that it will be only that it is my observation that MS have to do something w.r.t. touch-screen interfaces.

Some of comments/feedback talk about Android not being a desktop o/s. Well, like W8 it is both a Smartphone AND a desktop operating system. Depending on how ir is deployed and configured it will look and behave differently. At least I hope so, I can only speak for Androis Honeycomb at the present time. This being my first post from an Asus TF1O1.

Throttling

ESET

ESET and NOD32 Anti-Virus products


I was a user of ESET's NOD32 but I stopped using it as I was having problems with the way it was working with Vista (yes it was that long ago!)

  • Lawsuits involving ESET (eset_suits.html)

Overclocking

My notes on overclocking

I have overclocked many systems. I have experimented extensively with the configuration of System settings in EFI/BIOS and have used many of the utilities supplied by chip and motherboard vendors.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tribute Websites

BBC Panorama BBC 1 Monday 6 February 2012 - b01c00y3/Panorama_Hunting_the_Internet_Bullies

Online bullying is rapidly growing in size and intensity. A new breed of self-styled "trolls" are stalking social networking websites, aiming their vicious attacks at victims who range from TV celebrities to grieving teenagers.

Declan Lawn meets X Factor star Cher Lloyd, who describes how cyber attacks are ruining her life, and highlights a new survey revealing that one in thirteen young people face persistent online bullying. Panorama tracks down some of the bullies and asks: what more could be done to stop them?

As part of my on-going interest in this subject I have downloaded this program for my archives. It appears that this phenomena is not restricted to the reports that seem to be present in the North American press that seem to think that this practice is restricted to having school children as the targets. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"reverse google pagerank algorithm"

As far as I know there is no such thing as: a "reverse google pagerank algorithm".

If you receive and email from John Stahl contact@seocopysoftware.com it is a scam.

DO NOT sign up as a "link partner" - you have not been added to a directory, you are simply being phished to visit the page that gets you to sign up.

If you sign up to this program then your website is likely to be blacklisted by Google as they will determine that you are participating in a link exchange scheme. This is a direct violation of the Google design rules. Rather than "fooling Google" you will achieve the exact opposite.


Other links to posts on this blog related to SEOcopySoftware:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Using Social Media to Bully

With the recent press on Trip Advisor and bogus reviews posted by disgruntled guests trying to get discounts and refunds to hotel owners posting overly positive reviews about their own establishments - I see it only getting worse as Social Media becomes every more popular.

Both Facebook and Google stepping up their efforts to use user profile information as a marketing tool. This information is being made available to 3rd party app developers and is generally brokered. Google has recently seen fit to update their privacy statements. Facebook is in the process of an IPO.

The abuse of the Internet in general  is going to get worse.

This bullying is just one of the "scams" that seem to have developed on the new "social web", others include Groupon and other sites designed to cull consumers information with the pretext of helping the consumer get a better deal when all that the website owners want to do is to maximize their profits and broker the personal information.

TripAdvisor

I am of the opinion that using the Internet in this way is despicable and those that use these techniques need to be "outed".  However, I am a great believer in the ability to make an anonymous comment about something you do not see as "right". These comments should be restricted to opinion and not extend to the "you will do X or I will say Y"  Taking the case of TripAdvisor, the threat of a negative review unless a discount or a free night is obtained does not mean that an honest review can be made even if the proprietor does not like what is said. In fact, commenting on any enterprise should be free from "come-back" from the owner of that enterprise just because they don't like what was said. The owner may think that what has been said is false, but that is what the Internet is all about, as long as what was said was not fabricated. Saying that something seemed too good to be true or a company has appeared to have changed their name so that they are not associated with previous activity are only opinions.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Have Microsoft missed the boat with tablets?

I admit that I thought that it would be tough to beat the iPad when it came to tablets. I couldn't see why anyone would consider anything other than an iPad unless they had (and some do) an "anything but Apple" philosophy or price was a big issue. Then I thought it was time that I looked at an Android tablet.

I was curious to know if I could use an Android powered tablet to monitor my web-server. The instant on and the ability to run Analytics (requiring Flash) was a bonus and also the fact that I could get  a free version of VNC reader to run on Android were all good reasons for looking around to see what  I could find.

I found an open-box Asus eeePad in Best Buy for $318 and that fitted the bill nicely. There is no point in doing a review on the unit, that is not the point of this post (or blog), suffice it to say I can use an Android device to do the monitoring that I require. The question is: Do I keep it?

The point of this post is that Microsoft have  lot of ground to pick up when they finally get Windows 8 released and manufactures start shipping tablets with it installed. As for ARM, I don't think that the consumer will give a "rat's" what the underlying architecture is and the tablet can just as well be an Intel or AMD processor. Again it will be the price that determines the customer choice and I don't see that MS are going to be able to offer an o/s that manufacturers can compete with Android powered devices.

Of course there is the "Anything but Microsoft" factor as there is a "Android is from the evil Google empire" sentiment. I guess time will tell again. In the interim an Android powered tablet is almost half the price of an iPad and it can be expanded with microSD cards and as such can handle an unlimited amount of media. Oh, the transfer of movies to the eee Pad or the SD card is a breeze (i.e. you don't need iTunes) AND it will play .avi files without having to do a "Handbrake job" on them.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Running a website from your basement

This is a topic that I had detailed in great length on my website, much of the material is in the process of being re-posted.

Seeing there was limited feedback that I was getting from it, and that which I did were from those that had not even read what I had posted and were only after picking my brain, I will not repeat it here.



Do I buy into Facebook? The IPO that is.



It may be another case of "Putting your money where your mouth is".

My Google stock is up over 100% and my Amazon over 400%,  but I understand the business models of those two. If what I read so far about the long term viability of Facebook and the sentiment of those that have chosen to comment on the IPO so far, I am not alone in wondering what Facebook are going to do with the money so raised by making a public offering.

With all the talk over privacy and the brokerage of personal information there also seems to be a reluctance for Internet users to fully accept what some the now behemoths want to do with the information that they have manged to extract from us so far. There could be a revolt as more and more users become disenchanted with what is being done with the information that they have entered on-line.

I have invested in "Tech" stocks in the past, some have done well, others not so. Some of my Apple is up to almost 800% (I did buy some more). I have long since dumped Microsoft and AMD are still in the doldrums. I should have bought more Amazon, but that I did was in a "fire-sale" when their future was in question.

I think what I will do with Facebook is just wait and see. Like Tim Horton's there is likely to be a spike in stock price as all the Institutional investors get in and out to make a quick profit. I am sure that there will be the same whining from the small guy who is going to get upset by not being able to to buy-in on IPO day, although I have also read that the Facebook IPO may come with a twist in that regard. This time it is different, Facebook's stock in trade is the support of its users, they can't afford to piss them off too much. If Facebook users see the stock price soar and they can't get in on the action they may start to wonder what they are getting out of all this. The Facebook user is also likely to be one of the 99% and as such may also take offense to the 1% getting a slice of their pie!

I see a mixed message here - I think I will observe from the side lines. I could buy on the down-swing as I did successfully with Timmies, but the only reason I got into them in the first place was in response to the line-ups outside the coffee shops (and TH was part of Wendy's at the time). The love affair with TH doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, Social Networking, however, I am not so sure. But then, I can afford to wait.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I guess that Blogger does still has some value

If you click on all posts for 2012 you see an Analytics page access of:

/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=6

for an apparent keyword of: 
bill poplawski saskatoon

This is probably due to the fact that Google Analytics keeps a cache of the last search that was made by a browser and it is reported even though the page was accessed by clicking on the link for 2012.

I guess the solution to this is that you should search for something else on your iPad  before you look to see if there is anything being said about you over a period of time. 

In any case it looks like a case of paranoia in the extreme. Especially when there are website accesses to Core Data Recovery and other pages. 

Ubuntu Linux