Friday, December 15, 2006

Skype as Social Network: SkySpace

While everyone is talking about Skype’s new pricing plan1 this week, we got a note this morning from a company called Bertorello announcing a product called SkySpace, which the company says is “the first social network for Skype.” SkySpace is actually a renamed, retooled version of Skype work collaboration tool called Verosee, which Argentina-born CEO Pablo Bertorello developed. Verosee (which I looked at a year ago) is a pretty unmarketable name — not like the buzzy moniker you get when you mash-up hot property names Skype and MySpace, ie SkySpace. We downloaded it onto a PC (no Mac) and basically its an easier way to do file-sharing for Skype users (Skype users can already transfer files). The application enables users to share files like photos and videos, both privately to another user or publicly to the broader community. Users can also personalize their SkySpace homepage, which the company says will jump-start social connections. The application appears to be Skype-certified, and is available in the Skype’s extra’s page.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Microsoft releasing book search for tens of thousands of out-of-copyright books

Tens of thousands of out-of-copyright books are set to become available online when Microsoft releases Live Search Books to beta on Wednesday.Live Search Books (books.live.com) is initially restricted to only include non-copyright books scanned from the collections of the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto. Partnerships with the New York Public Library and the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine have also been announced. Live Search Books' "Search inside a book" feature allows users to search the full texts of scanned books. Copyrighted books will be added to the collection later, but only those submitted to Microsoft by publishers or authors. Microsoft has also updated the beta of Live Search Academic (academic.live.com) - adding millions of new articles, primarily bio-medical content. Live Search Academic now indexes thousands of academic journals in the computer science, engineering, physics, and bio-medical fields as well as theses and dissertations. more...

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Move Blogger to the 'New' Google one

Ryanne and Jay, popular video bloggers, recently spoke to Googler Eric Case who has been part of the Blogger team at Googleplex for the past few years.Eric spoke about the recent issues (network outages) with Blogger, the new features of Blogger Beta, migration from old blogger to new blogger beta, and what's coming next. Must watch for all Blogger users and fans [just hit the play button]Some interesting points made by Eric during his 9:00 minute talk:1. Google is migrating Blogger from it's legacy architecture to Google scale solid architecture.2. Historically, Blogger would publish static files via FTP but with Blogger beta, they'll serve dynamic content - a technique pioneered by Livejournal. No more hitting the "Republish Entire Blog" button.3. The new dashboard page of Blogger 3.0 is more optimized for users with fewer blogs.4. All Google products will share the same account, i.e., login.5. When your blog is migrated from the old version to the new blogger, you get an email saying the conversion is done successfully. This should take a couple of minutes only.6. Blogger Support staff actively monitors the Blogger Help group for issues - so that's probably the best place to share your problems.7. Google is migrating users to Blogger beta is phases as migration puts lot of strain on old Blogger database and impacts the performance for existing users.8. After the migration is over, Google will bring RSS feed enclosure support in Blogger. Google will integrate Blogger with Google Video and Youtube. Not sure when yet.9. Blogger could have media specific Blog templates that support video blogging and podcasting directly.Download Eric Case Interview [Quicktime mov, 47 MB]

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bombs Away !

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Next Cellphone (the laptop will be used alot less as well)

Sony Mylo The brand new Sony Mylo, due to hit the streets in September, is a lightweight solution to wireless internet browsing, instant messaging and making Skype calls away from the shackles of the desktop. In a web video exclusive, our friends at Gizmodo, the online gadget guide work through the range of features, and the outcome is impressive. With Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Google and a fully featured Opera web browser on board, in addition to mp3 and video playback, the Mylo offers an all in one communication and entertainment device light enough to take everywhere. Utilizing 802.11b WiFi, the Mylo allows for file sharing, Skype calls and IM both on and offline. Want to learn more about the Sony Mylo?Check out these excellent online reviews: Sony's official Mylo website went live today, in anticipation of the device's September release A Close Look at Mylo, from OhVoice.com features a comprehensive list of images Sony bets on WiFi with Mylo, GigaOm.com List of features from Realtechnews.com

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It Happened to Jane: The 1959 Movie about Net Neutrality anyone can understand

It Happened to Jane (1959) with Doris Day, Jack Lemmon, and Ernie Kovacs. A tycoon buys the only railroad going through a small Maine town. A local widow (Day) tries to get her live lobsters to market, but the railroad downgrades her shipments, letting lobsters die before they get to their customers. Despite the railroad's dozens of high powered lawyers, Doris Day wins in small claims court. When the railroad won't pay, she seizes a train, and starts a PR campaign against them that includes radio, television game shows, newspaper reports, and the like. The railroad retaliates by cutting off passenger and cargo service to their small town. The townspeople try to use the seized railcar to haul their goods, including the lobsters, to New York. But the tycoon routes the train all over New England to delay it. They intentionally congest those routes with other rail cars, start construction at chokepoints, and deny water for the steam engine to further slow down the lobsters. Will they make it to the Bronx in time for the dinner time rush? In the end, the mean tycoon's heart softens when he meets Day and her cute kids, and everyone lives happily ever after. Sound like the network neutrality issue? Big telecom incumbents abusing power. Playing favorites with routing. Delivering less than they're paid for, stopping innovation, and spending money on lawyers instead of upgrades. Unlike the movie, we don't have a Doris Day to charm "the meanest man in the world." So it comes down to congress and the FCC in the United States, and similar government organs in your country. Grassroots activism seems the only course since it's nigh on impossible to out-lobby phone and cable companies. So: What will you do for the Internet this week? How will you defend your right to call unimpeded? And in private? Who will you call?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Double Your Existing Hard Drive's Space Without Compression ?

WILEY SILER has sent us a method which he said was discovered by Scott Komblue and documented by himself which they claim can recover unused areas of the hard drive in the form of hidden partitions. I haven't tried this here, and, would caution readers that messing with your hard drive is done at your own peril and very likely breaches your warranty. Required items Ghost 2003 Build 2003.775 (Be sure not to allow patching of this software) 2 X Hard Drives (OS must be installed on both.) For sake of clarity we will call the drive we are trying to expand (T) in this document (means Target for partition recover). The drive you use every day, I assume you have one that you want to keep as mater with your current OS and data, will be the last dive we install in this process and will be called (X) as it is your original drive. 1. Install the HDD you wish to recover the hidden partitions (hard drive T) on as the master drive in your system with a second drive as a slave (you can use Hard Drive X if you want to). Any drive will do as a slave since we will not be writing data to it. However, Ghost must see a second drive in order to complete the following steps. Also, be sure hard drive T has an OS installed on it You must ensure that the file system type is the same on both drive (NTFS to NTFS or FAT32 to FAT32, etc) 2. Install Ghost 2003 build 2003.775 to hard drive T with standard settings. Reboot if required. 3. Open Ghost and select Ghost Basic. Select Backup from the shown list of options. Select C:\ (this is the drive we want to free partition on on hard drive T) as our source for the backup. Select our second drive as the target. (no data will be written so worry not). Use any name when requested as it will not matter. Press OK, Continue, or Next until you are asked to reboot. Critical step 4. Once reboot begins, you must shutdown the PC prior to the loading of DOS or any drivers. The best method is to power down the PC manually the moment you see the BIOS load and your HDDs show as detected. 5. Now that you have shutdown prior to allowing Ghost to do its backup, you must remove the HDD we are attempting to expand (hard drive T which we had installed as master) and replace it with a drive that has an OS installed on it. (This is where having hard drive X is useful. You can use your old hard drive to complete the process.) Place hard drive T as a secondary drive in the system. Hard drive X should now be the master and you should be able to boot into the OS on it. The best method for this assuming you need to keep data from and old drive is: Once you boot into the OS, you will see that the second drive in the system is the one we are attempting to expand (hard drive T). Go to Computer Management -> Disk Management You should see an 8 meg partition labeled VPSGHBOOT or similar on the slave HDD (hard drive T) along with a large section of unallocated space that did not show before. DO NOT DELETE VPSGHBOOT yet. 6. Select the unallocated space on our drive T and create a new primary or extended partition. Select the file system type you prefer and format with quick format (if available). Once formatting completes, you can delete the VPSGHBOOT partition from the drive. 7. Here is what you should now see on your T drive. a. Original partition from when the drive still had hidden partitions b. New partition of space we just recovered. c. 8 meg unallocated partitions. 8. Do you want to place drive T back in a PC and run it as the primary HDD? Go to Disk Management and set the original partition on T (not the new one we just formatted) to and Active Partition. It should be bootable again if no data corruption has occurred. Caution Do not try to delete both partitions on the drive so you can create one large partition. This will not work. You have to leave the two partitions separate in order to use them. Windows disk management will have erroneous data in that it will say drive size = manus stated drive size and then available size will equal ALL the available space with recovered partitions included. This process can cause a loss of data on the drive that is having its partitions recovered so it is best to make sure the HDD you use is not your current working HDD that has important data. If you do this on your everyday drive and not a new drive with just junk on it, you do so at your own risk. It has worked completely fine with no loss before and it has also lost the data on the drive before. Since the idea is to yield a huge storage drive, it should not matter. UPDATE: Interesting results to date: Western Digital 200GB SATA Yield after recovery: 510GB of space IBM Deskstar 80GB EIDE Yield after recovery: 150GB of space Maxtor 40GB EIDE Yield after recovery: 80GB Seagate 20GB EIDE Yield after recovery: 30GB Unknown laptop 80GB HDD Yield: 120GB Also check out these comments

Friday, June 16, 2006

Could the architecture of the telecom system resemble the political system around it ?

Posted by Martin Geddes The AT&T (as opposed to at&t) years reflected the military-industrial era. A “commanding height” of the Cold War was the flow of information, and just like the interstate highways. AT&T was as much a creature of the government as rational free-market economics. The break-up of AT&T as well as the 1996 act both chose to cleave the industry across the connectivity grain rather than with it. The current situation was 30 years in the making. As I rather undiplomatically stated, it’s a uniquely American mess that can only be solved by a uniquely American solution. But it’s really much deeper than that. From my shallow knowledge of American history, and short exposure to American culure, I’ve come to the following (probably widely unwelcome and possibly wildy wrong) conclusions. Network Neutrality is just a digital-era manifestation of much longer-running sores within the American political system and psyche.

• The outcome of the Civil War was that everyone lost. No winners, not even a draw. One side lost its soul, and the other its honour. It set the stage for a fundamental change from the United States to the United State. • The Seventeenth Amendment upset the carefully-crafted balance of power between the public, states, federal government (executive), legislature and judiciary. The US is a four-legged constitutional stool that the public is sat upon. (This may explain why it is one of — debatably, the — longest continuously established democracy). But it’s now an uncomfortably wobbly stool. • This set the stage for an immediate assault on personal freedom, which continues today in other forms. Competing jurisdictions would have ensured the migration of ethanolics and psychedelics to happier places. • The same over-reaching federal state also encroached into a whole bunch of other areas it would best have been kept away from, notably communications policy. • The rest, as they say, is history.
I can’t but help enjoy the irony of the often statist/corporatist/collectivist European Union being a paragon of devolved government, competing regulatory regimes and voluntary cross-border cooperation compared to the centrally planned US communications economy. If the FCC were tossed onto the scrap heap, and those powers returned to the states, my American friends would find that the Network Neutrality issue would rapidly cease to have any political significance. By making the prizes of Federal Telecom Lotto so big, the temptation to fiddle with the rules of the game has become overwhelming. Anyone fancy some salty tea? PS - Next overtly political Telepocalypse post: March 2009. I promise to keep my libertarian ways quiet until then. (Note that does mean I don’t fit into US Dem/Rep political stereotypes.) PPS - I’ll probably offend lots of people, but the short version is “Nice country, great people, shame about the government.” (For the UK, it’s “Nice people, great country, shame about the government”, and Italy is “Great people, great country, what government?” Only kidding! Calm down!) UPDATE: Something many readers won’t be aware of is the different ways the US and EU constitutions work. As I understand it, the commerce clause of the US constitution means that if it relates to interstate commerce (and practically everything in a networked globalised economy does), then it “goes federal” by default. In Europe, it’s different. The subsidiarity principle means everything should (in theory) be done at the lowest possible level of government. Just because something has an international dimension, it doesn’t mean that the EU gets full power over it. And even where the EU legislates, it merely sets out the general requirements and objectives, and each nation translates that into local law. Again, scope is retained for competing implementations and jurisdictions. I’m no fan of the eurocracy, but it’s illuminating nonetheless to see the practical consequences of different constitutional frameworks. UPDATE: That means the EU constitution is “edge-based”, and the US one doesn’t scale. Oops. Hey, just skip a generation and move straight to anarchism: peer-to-peer contracts, and a state whose only function is to enforce them.

Stealth ringtone for those under 30

"In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cellphone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear. In settings where cellphone use is forbidden — in class, for example — it is perfect for signaling the arrival of a text message without being detected by an elder of the species." Oh dear. Another annoying ringtone to add to all the rest out there -- except one that many of you might not be able to hear, as it's 16kHz, which is higher than the hearing range of many people above 30. The NYT article has a link to the ringtone (here -- in case you don't want to register or read the article). Can you hear it? I can -- it's a almost-painful high shriek --

Wow, I've been lazy...

Actually, just a lot of work has come down the pipe, and I went on a week long camping trip. I promise to do better, really.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Linux Clustering:so simple, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering could do it

How many MIT scientists does it take to build a Linux cluster? Just one, at least in the school's Department of Chemical Engineering. As part of his post-doctoral research at MIT, Vikram Kuppa, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, uses several multiprocessor Linux clusters he put together. But he says he spends enough of his hours breaking down the molecular makeup of polymers and putting the chemical structures through virtual stress tests that he has minimal time left for tinkering with Linux kernels, server hardware, network gear and other components that go into the machine clusters he uses. "I really don't have time to do that," Kuppa says. "I wanted something that was robust and didn't require high maintenance." He says he investigated some free, do-it-yourself clustering packages - such as SCAR, Rocks, OpenMosix and other open source packages. Even beyond the other commercial Linux clustering products Kuppa has tried, Scyld's Beowulf product was the easiest to install and configure, he says. Instead of having to install the Scyld CD on each node, "you can install it on the master node, then go through a wizard, which asks how many nodes you want to install it on." The Linux image is then configured for however many nodes are indicated. When the cluster comes online, the operating system images are copied to each node and run in memory. The nodes do have hard drives, Kuppa says, but they're not used to store the operating system. Parallel computing with clustered Linux servers has become a standard tool of the trade for chemical engineers, Kuppa says - just as biologists must be handy with a microscope, geologists posses skills with a drill, and mathematicians need, well calculators. For Kuppa, the cluster works just as a high-powered microscope in some ways, creating visual images of complex structures smaller than a nanometer - 80,000 times smaller than a human hair. "But I'd much rather work with [this technology] than just sit in front of a microscope, any day," Kuppa says.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

New type of Defense called ASLR to fight against MALWARE in MS Vista

Mike Howard talks about a new piece of technology coming with Windows Vista designed to help fight malware attacks. Called Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) - it randomizes where system code is put into memory instead of using the same spot in memory which allows the system to be a target for specific types of malware that looks within memory to find important pieces of system code. In short, with ASLR - system code has 256 spots it can randomly be placed in memory allowing it to become harder to exploit system code in memory. Now, attackers have a 1/256 chance of finding that important piece of code to exploit. Mike goes into great detail on ASLR on his blog. I suggest reading it. I believe ASLR is one of many important code changes in Windows Vista that changes the standard behavior that has caused Windows to be a target of malware for many years. With features like this, users are going to be able to experience a much safe Windows experience with Vista. Source: Michael Howard's Web Log

AT&T leaks it's own sensitive info in NSA suit

Lawyers for AT&T accidentally released sensitive information while defending a lawsuit that accuses the company of facilitating a government wiretapping program, CNET News.com has learned. AT&T's attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable (click here for PDF). But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple Computer's OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11. More here.

Oh, and... Think AT&T's complicity in helping the NSA spy on America doesn't affect you? Think again. Here are the cities that have facilities in which AT&T/NSA can install (or already has installed) gear to spy on Americans:
AT&T Central Office Locations Arlington, VA (ARTNVACK) Atlanta, GA (ATLNGATL) Cambridge, MA (CMBRMA01) Chicago, IL (CHCGILCL) Cleveland, OH (CLEVOH02) Columbus, OH (CLMBOH11) Dallas, TX (DLLSTXTL) Dayton, OH (DYTNOH15) Denver, CO (DNVRCOMA) Detroit, MI (DTRTMIBA) Honolulu, HI (HNLLHIWP) Houston, TX (HSTNTX01) Indianapolis, IN (IPLSINAT) Kansas City, MO (KSCYMO09) Los Angeles, CA (LSANCA02) Confirmed by KleinMemphis, TN (MMPHTNMA) Miami, FL (MIAMFLAC) Milwaukee, WI (MILWWIHE) Minneapolis, MN (MPLSMNDT) New Orleans, LA (NWORLAMA) New York City, NY (NYCMNY54) New York City, NY (NYCMNYBW) Newark, NJ (NWRKNJ02) Oakbrook, IL (OKBRILOA) Oakland, CA (OKLDCA03) Ojus, FL (OJUSFLTL) Philadelphia, PA (PHLAPASL) Phoenix, AZ (PHNXAZMA) Pittsburgh, PA (PITBPADG) Portland, OR (PTLDOR62) Redwood City, CA (RDCYCA02) Rochester, NY (ROCHNYXA) Sacramento, CA (SCRMCA01) San Antonio, TX (SNANTXCA) Salt Lake City, UT (SLKCUTMA) San Diego, CA (SNDGCA02) Confirmed by KleinSan Francisco, CA (SNFCCA01) Confirmed by KleinSan Francisco, CA (SNFCCA21) Confirmed by KleinSan Jose, CA (SNJSCA02) Confirmed by KleinSan Juan, PR (SNJNPRZA) Seattle, WA (STTLWA06) Confirmed by Klein*St. Louis, MO (STLSMO09) Sherman Oaks, CA (SHOKCA02) Tulsa, OK (TULSOKTB) Tucson, AZ (TCSNAZMA) Washington, DC (WASHDCSW) West Palm Beach, FL (WPBHFLAN) White Plains, NY (WHPLNY02)
No worries right? You only make local calls. AT&T provides local service in at least these locations:
Cleveland, OH (CLEVOH02) Detroit, MI (DTRTMIBA) Indianapolis, IN (IPLSINAT) Los Angeles, CA (LSANCA02) San Antonio, TX (SNANTXCA) St. Louis, MO (STLSMO09) And they provide circuits for nearly all of the newer local providers. Not concerned yet because you only use EMAIL at work, or browse the internet at work? Does your employer buy private data circuits from AT&T to connect them to the internet? Most likely. As does every company and government in the world. http://www.att.com/gov/solution/network_services/data_nw/def.html Or perhaps because you didn't find yourself on the list of cities above you are fine. Your phone/internet/corporate traffic isn't compromised because you: a) Only use AT&T for long distanceb) Use another long distance/internet company(that, unbeknownst to you buys circuits from AT&T for your area)c) Have never done anything requiring privacy in your lifed) Thought your cell phone simply had the range to talk all over the country directly (sorry, couldn't help it) Here is AT&T's world. And it is impressive. http://www.att.com/globalnetworking/media/network_map.swf Drill down. They have all these dots because they were a government regulated monopoly for nearly 75 years. If you were born after 1980 you might not know that. They were the most respected telecommunications company in the world. That's how you develop a service offering like this. http://www.att.com/globalnetworking/media/network_map.swf AT&T is the data on-ramp for the world. Your phone calls are just data. And all the content is recordable, not just call detail information, when using the equipment deployed by the NSA in AT&T's central offices. Did you happen to notice Cleveland on that list? Here's a tin foil thought to leave you with. While we've been so focused on Diebold, we've neglected to discuss how those electronic results are transmitted to central sites for tabulation. I'm not suggesting this took place, but if you have a product that can do this (currently installed and in use by the NSA at these some of these AT&T locations): Unparalleled extensibility — NarusInsight’s functionality can easily be configured to feed a particular activity or IP service such as security, lawful intercept or even Skype detection and blocking. More on Narsus here. Then you have a product that can block, i.e prevent, data packets from reaching their destination. If you can prevent them from reaching their destination, you can alter the packet content, and then send them on their way to the original destination. Of course Klein in his AT&T disclosure indicated that the fiber optics were cut in a way that doesn't put this equipment in the primary data flow. Who really knows what happens in a central office in the dead of night during an election year. Silly me, I forgot. Republican Senator Robertson is providing oversight. Whew! I feel much better now. Still think none of this affects you?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hooray For Net Neutrality !

Net Neutrality Bill Passes the House Judiciary Committee You can see the roll call at MyDD. A lot of credit for this goes to all the people who have take the time to call their reps to make the case for Net Neutrality and to Matt Stoller, who spent a lot of time on the Hill on this one. Props also to Conyer and Pelosi, who took the time to throw their influence behind the bill. Only one Democrat didn't vote for it, Delahaunt, who at least only voted "present" (effectively abstaining.)....

Repair Microsoft Windows With Just Eight Commands

I'm happy to say that I've only had this happen to me once before: Windows really, really won't boot. You can't even get to safe mode. All you get is "Windows NT could not start because the below file is missing or corrupt" and a prompt to reboot over and over again. This usually seems like a reinstall moment (especially if you ask tech support), but it doesn't have to be so: Short-Media is running a guide called Repairing Windows XP in Eight Commands. The trick is getting into the Windows Recovery Console (which requires your XP install disc), rebuilding Windows' boot files, running CHKDSK, and fixing the boot sector. It may sound complex, but it really is just eight commands. However, be sure to read the whole article to avoid a few common gotchas.

FCC Won't Investigate NSA Phone Logs

The FCC has declined to investigate whether telecommunications companies have broken consumer privacy laws by sharing phone call data with the NSA, saying the classified nature of the program prevents the agency from doing so. Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, said that the FCC would be unable to investigate at this time due to the fact it would require the examination of highly classified information. According to Martin, the agency has no power in ordering the release of those documents. Martin also mentioned that the government had already used the state secrets privilege in a court case against AT&T, which meant the FCC would have little chance of prevailing in any legal action. The decision is likely to anger many, as politicians from both sides of the aisle have called for an investigation into whether laws had been broken.

New Office Genuine Advantage Activated

Reported earlier. Windows Genuine Advantage is now being extended to Microsoft Office. Customers of Microsoft Office who validate that their copy is genuine will be able to access free downloads from the Microsoft Download Center.

A Brain\Machine Interface in our Lifetime ?

Honda scientists have created a system that will translate thoughts into electrical signals that can be used to control machinery. The technique doesn't require the user to undergo surgery or extensive training - a major advance over past thought-controlled technologies, the company said. More here.

MPAA accused of hiring a hacker

A lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses the Motion Picture Association of America of hiring a hacker to steal information from a company that the MPAA has accused of helping copyright violators. The lawsuit (click for PDF), filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California by Torrentspy.com parent Valence Media, doesn't identify the man the company says was approached by an MPAA executive. But the suit calls the man a former associate of one of the plaintiffs and alleges that he was asked to retrieve private information on Torrentspy.com, a search engine that directs people to download links. More.

FREE Nationwide Wireless Broadband in US ?

A San Francisco Bay Area company has submitted a request for spectrum to launch a free high-speed broadband Internet service across the entire United States. Startup M2Z Networks on May 5 submitted a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license to a vacant 20-megahertz band in order to broadcast free high-speed broadband Internet across the country. To pick up the signal, users would need to purchase a M2Z-certified reception device that the company estimates will cost $250, or less as the technology evolves. According to the company, M2Z would be free to sell advertising across the network, as well as use the spectrum for other purposes. The concept of metropolitan Internet access began in 2005, when Philadelphia decided to offer its residents free Wi-Fi access. Tempe, Ariz., and other cities soon followed suit, while San Francisco's decision to procure a free Wi-Fi network from Google generated intense debate. Meanwhile, technologies such as WiMAX have also emerged as potential metropolitan wireless solutions. More here

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wired News Publishes AT&T NSA Documents

A file detailing aspects of AT&T’s alleged participation in the National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic wiretap operation is sitting in a San Francisco courthouse. But the public cannot see it because, at AT&T’s insistence, it remains under seal in court records. Wired News published the complete text of a set of documents from the EFF’s primary witness in the case, Source: Wired

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Remove the New Microsoft WGA Nag Screen For Good !

I posted this earlier. Seems there are a lot of false positives out there causing problems for legit users:
  1. Start -> Search
  2. All Files & Folders and select More Advanced Options
  3. Check Search hidden files and folders
  4. Searcg for "WGA" with no "
  5. Rename WgaTray to WgaTray_ and Delete WGANotify
  6. CTRL + ALT + DEL Select wgatray.exe and click End Process Button
  7. In the search Results open WGATray.Settings with notepad
  8. Overwrite the WHOLE Contents with these: Balloon interval = 9999999999 daysDaysBeforeBuyNow Unactivated = 9999999999DaysBeforeBuyNow Nongenuine = 9999999999Disabled = trueReduced reminders = true
  9. Save and close.
  10. Logoff and back on.
  11. No more tray! Now onto the waiting on login screen.
  12. Start -> Run enter regedit
  13. Goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
  14. Deleted the two keys beginning: NoRemove
  15. Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs. Check Show updates.
  16. Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications (KB905474) Click remove and on the next box click cancel
  17. Gone.. Close add or remove all programs and control panel.
  18. Back to registry Editor now remove the whole WgaNotify folder on the left, click it and hit DEL
  19. Goto
    App Management\ARPCache\WgaNotify - Now click WgaNotify on the left and hit DEL
  20. Goto
    Eventlog\System\WgaNotify -
    Now click WgaNotify on the left and hit DEL
  21. Goto
    Eventlog\System\WgaNotify -
    Now click WgaNotify on the left and hit DEL
  22. Now to kill the bitch...
    Goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\WgaLogon - Now click WgaLogon on the left and hit DEL
  23. Logoff... GONE! Logon.... No timer!
  24. There you have it restart and next time uncheck it and select never show it on windows update!
  25. Restart

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Internet Has Always Been Regulated

It started off as a government network designed to survive nuclear attacks (which, as everyone notes, is why it’s so good at routing around damage, including censorship) and along with government research labs its initial backbone was universities. All through that time, and indeed through the 90’s and almost up to the current day, there was a simple rule - you couldn’t discriminate against traffic. You couldn’t give some packets priority over other packets. That was the rule. It was the regulation. The FCC recently got rid of that rule. However they can put it back any time. What the telecom companies want is to take that authority away from the FCC and write into law that they can charge extra for good service, and for those who don’t pay – provide lousy service. The reason they want to do that is that they know that the minute people have to pay extra to get their e-mail on time, to get streaming video, to play online games, and so on – they’re going to scream to high heaven. Now the telecom companies will tell you that they need the extra money. They don’t. They are heavily subsidized already by the Federal government, to the tune of many billions, plus all customers pay for access. They aren’t losing money on running the network backbone. What they want, instead, is an oligopoly position where they can charge as much as the market can bear. Stirling has compared this to the 19th century railroads – who would charge farmers just enough so that it was farmers could make a bare living. Many of them, of course, fell below average, and died. The modern internet would be destroyed by what the telecoms want to do – anything that does not make much money, or that loses money now, would lose money, or lose even more money. Many services and websites would go away – probably including things like Flickr and Skype. The real time gaming industry would be gutted. Anyone offering heavy graphics downloads would see their costs soar – which they would either try to pass to you, or go out of business. Organizations doing real time data transfers (the entire financial industry) would be forced to pay even more, and brokerage fees would rise. Etc… This is also the perfect example of what I’ve been talking about for years – the best way to make money in the United States is to have the government force people to give it to you. Get the government to allow you to create a monopoly or oligopoly, crank your rates up, and tighten the screws. The telecoms are spending many millions of dollars promoting this bill. They aren’t doing so because they don’t expect a huge return on it. And that return will be paid by YOU. The money won’t come out of thin air, it will come from people who use the internet. You will have less services, and you will pay more for them, and the telecom companies will laugh all the way to the bank. Meanwhile the sort of applications that require heavy broadband will be developed and brought to market in places other than the US, because in the US the cost will usually be prohibitive. Places like Korea, and Europe, and Japan, will pull even further ahead of the US in internet penetration and capability, and the marvel the US created will be fully exploited by non-Americans.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How the NSA Conducts Wiretapping: Introducing The Narus ST-6400 and NarusInsight by Narus Ltd.

I try to keep this blog free from general politics, so, I'll focus on the technology behind the US\NSA wiretapping program while providing some additional comment:
=Narus ST-6400 and NarusInsight by Narus Ltd. Under Gen. Michael V. Hayden the NSA has forced tecom companies to implement massive domestic spying hardware. Even though Gen. Hayden has said at the National Press Club that "As the director, I was the one responsible to ensure that this program was limited in its scope and disciplined in its application." The NarusInsight is one type of domestic spying hardware. Capable of monitoring 10 billion bits of data per second in real-time. This means the NarusInsight can monitor an OC-192 in realtime. For reference 10 billion bits is 10 million Kbts, divide that by the average DSL user witch is 256 Kbts (10000000/256) you get monitoring of 39062.5 DSL lines in realtime for every piece of hardware. After data capture Narus softeware can replay data. What does this mean well acrodding too Narus website "Capabilities include playback of streaming media (for example, VoIP), rendering of Web pages, examination of e-mails and the ability to analyze the payload/attachments of e-mail or file transfer protocols." Think of it as Tivo for the internet able to replay 39000 US DSL users activity in realtime for every piece of hardware.References: Narus Ltd http://narus.com
Essentially with a product like Narus attached to a big digital pipe, you can see everything at any level of detail, store it, and play it back at will. So you go to their website and who do you find offers add on services? Well none other than Verisign. That name might be familiar to you if you have ever purchased anything on the internet. "Protected By Verisign". Why should I care you ask? Read the fine print in the article to see what a full range of "services" they offer.
VeriSign will first use Narus LI for IP lawful intercept, but the company also has the right to outsource NarusSecure, NarusAnalyze and NarusMediate IP security and management software elements. Carriers, many of whom are just starting in IP telephony, will be able to outsource their lawful intercept responsibilities to VeriSign which, in turn, will use Narus' licensed software to work with law enforcement agencies in tapping IP phone calls. "They (carriers) get a warrant from the government ... but they don't really want to do it themselves. Now they have an opportunity to turn to one of the most trusted security brands in the world and have those folks do it as a managed service for them," said Steve Bannerman, vice president of marketing at Narus. "VeriSign goes through all the machinations of capturing the information and providing it to law enforcement."
The machinations are not only capture, and provision, but decryption. See Verisign holds the keys to the encryption kingdom. Ah but what telecom carriers would allow such unlimited access to the US Government. Well the ones that want to keep their licenses. Here's a sample of their predicament. Hayden did the research years ago, to head off the government's inability to see into the big fiber optic pipes and quickly realized it was a tall task, until he was handed an opportunity. The largest provider of fiber optic capacity on Earth Global Crossing went bankrupt. Can't have that happen can we, especially when they carry so much secure traffic for the US Government. What an opportunity to test the data collection technology from vendors like Narus. Not to mention adding virtually every important fiber optic connection point in the world to the NSA's visible world. A match made in heaven. So in rush foreign investors from China, but wait, Singapore (can't have the Chinese mafia so close to our technology) and here's the price they pay to play -
Network Security Agreement On September 23, 2003, the U.S. Government granted approval under Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of the investment in GCL by Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte Ltd ("ST Telemedia") pursuant to the GC Debtors? plan of reorganization. In order to obtain this approval, we entered into anagreement (the "Network Security Agreement") with certain agencies of the U.S. Government to address the U.S. Government's national security and law enforcement concerns. The Network Security Agreement is intended to ensure that our operations do not impair the U.S. Government's ability (1) to carry out lawfully-authorized electronic surveillance of communications that originate and/or terminate in the U.S.; (2) to prevent and detect foreign-based espionage and electronic surveillance of U.S. communications; and (3) to satisfy U.S. critical infrastructure protection requirements. Failure to comply with our obligations under the Network Security Agreement could result in the revocation of our telecommunications licenses by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC").
And who oversees this ability?
The Network Security Agreement affects our corporate governance as well. The GCL Board of Directors maintains a Security Committee comprised solely of directors who are U.S. citizens and who already possess or are eligible to possess U.S. security clearance. These "Security Directors" must satisfy the independent director requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, regardless of whether any of GCL's securities are listed on such exchange. At least half of the members of the GCL board nominated by ST Telemedia must be Security directors. See Item 10 below. A Security Director must be present at every meeting of the board of directors of GCL and of any of our U.S. subsidiaries unless such meeting in no way addresses or affects our obligations under the Network Security Agreement.
Check out who these "overseers" are. An Admiral, General and the Honorable Pete Aldridge, who to quote his bio:
From May 2001 until May 2003, Mr. Aldridge served as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. In this position, he was responsible for all matters relating to U.S. Department of Defense acquisition, research and development, advanced technology, international programs, and the industrial base.
So, Why can't the DOJ learn about the NSA's wiretapping program? Why hasn't anyone in the Congress or Senate actually been fully briefed? Because the truth would change the world, just like the impact on religions of the world if a deity walked the planet. Imagine KNOWING beyond a doubt that there is NO digital privacy. Not even encrypted or SSL communications. Not even private business channels on high speed communication highways -the ones companies and governments pay dearly for. Well that's what the NSA has implemented. The technology for lawful intercept. Keep in mind that to George Bush it's ALL legal. Never mind that with the Narus technology and Verisign to unlock it there is no secure communications of any kind: private, governmental (that's other governments traffic on these digital pipes) or business. And like tapping into the results from the track, they can see news before it happens. Can someone make money this way do you suppose? Or secure their power through digital oppression? When will someone really take notice? Welcome to Oceania. George Orwell would be proud.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Desktop 4 (beta)

The Desktop team at Google is working at a frenetic pace. Just yesterday (well, in March actually, but pretty close) I was looking at version 3. But hey, it's a free service that delivers plenty of whimsy as well as useful little applications—Google calls them gadgets. The three new products – Google Co-op, Google Desktop 4, and Google Notebook – advance the state of the art in search by helping users worldwide find and share more relevant information. The products all incorporate new capabilities that leverage user communities, enabling users to either share more information with others or benefit from other users’ expertise to improve the accuracy of search results. The company also introduced Google Trends, a new tool that enables users to examine billions of searches conducted on Google to gain insight into broad search patterns over time. Google Co-op beta is a community where users can contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve Google search for everyone. Organizations, businesses, or individuals can label web pages relevant to their areas of expertise or create specialized links to which users can subscribe. Once a user has subscribed to a provider’s content, all of that provider’s labels and subscribed links are added to the user’s search results for relevant queries. These contributions serve as meta information that helps Google’s search algorithms connect users to the most relevant information for their specific query. Users interested in contributing can get started at Google Desktop 4 beta – available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese – offers another way for users to improve their search experience, by personalizing their desktops with the introduction of Google Gadgets. These gadgets are mini-applications that reside on users’ desktops and deliver a variety of personalized information such as games, media players, weather and news. Google Desktop can also recommend new gadgets and can automatically create a personalized homepage for users based on the subjects they frequently search and access. Available today from Google Labs at http://www.google.com/trends, Google Trends builds on the Google Zeitgeist to help users find facts and trends related to Google usage around the world. Google Trends enables users to learn how popular a particular search term has been on Google over time and see the relevant news articles that ran on that subject. Google Notebook is a simple way for users to save and organize their thoughts when conducting research online. This personal browser tool permits users to clip text, images, and links from the pages they’re browsing, save them to an online “notebook” that is accessible from any computer, and share them with others. Google Notebook is an interactive scratch pad for every website a user visits, offering a single online location to collect web findings without having to leave the browser window. For example, if a user were planning a vacation, she could clip the most relevant materials on the pages she visits and add personal notes to help organize all of her research. Users can make their Google Notebook public and share the notes they’ve taken with others. As a result, the time and effort put into their research can be harnessed by the online community as a whole. Google Notebook will be available next week from Google Labs at http://www.google.com/notebook.

PDF Security Compromised in Gmail !

PDF authors go to great lengths to protect their documents. But circumventing PDF security could be as easy as opening the document inside Google's e-mail service. Last month, a blog post written by Andreas Bovens—a Belgian doctoral candidate in Japanese Studies attending school in Tokyo—demonstrated how Gmail's PDF-to-HTML filter could circumvent some rights-management features in PDFs, such as copying and printing limitations set by a PDF document's author. More at the source.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Windows Media Player 11 for XP release details

Microsoft is planning a Public Preview Beta of Windows Media Player 11 for XP on Wednesday, May 17th. Users will be able to download the beta here (anyone will be able to get it): http://www.microsoft.com/windows/wi...ia/default.mspxThe final RTM release is scheduled for late June 06 (I will try this week to get a date).Here is a list of features that will and will not be in the XP version: Features in WMP 11 for XP (June 06): * New UI* Support for better synchronization for portable devices * Album “stacks” of album art* Indexed libraries with search-as-you-type features * User controlled downgrade of quality for DRM content to allow for smaller files * DRM content will contain metadata that shows what the user is allowed to do with the file * Includes Microsoft and MTV’s Urge music store Features in WMP 11 for Vista (Early 07): * Everything that is in the WMP 11 for XP * Playing content (including DRM) on your PC from another PC or device * Viewing content from the Vista Media library on other PCs or digital devices, such as Tivo * Playback of High Value video content * Shell integration with Windows Media Player * Content Indexer change notification to sync My Music and WMP library * DVD Fullscreen playback enhancements * DRM Transcode * High quality video streaming over home networks* Media foundation for playback

Novell is Back: Delivers an Open, Low-Cost Alternative to Microsoft

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) today announced the Novell Open Workgroup Suite is now available worldwide, giving customers an open, low-cost alternative to the Windows-centric solution many perceive as their only option. Novell Open Workgroup Suite customers can choose from two options. For deployment with Linux* servers and any desktop platform, the suite includes Novell Open Enterprise Server (with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), Novell GroupWise for collaboration, Novell ZENworks Suite for cross-platform systems management, Novell Linux Desktop and the popular OpenOffice.org for Windows* and Linux. The suite is also available in a cross-platform version that allows deployment of the same suite components on any supported platform. The Novell Open Workgroup Suite is also the replacement for the Novell Small Business Suite and Novell Linux Small Business Suite, with an upgrade path for customers of these products. Pricing for the Linux platform version of the Novell Open Workgroup Suite starts with a rental option for $80 per year or $110 per device/user for a perpetual license. The cross-platform version of the suite is $150 per user/device for a perpetual license. Annual maintenance is also available, and upgrade pricing is available to existing customers of Open Enterprise Server, NetWare, GroupWise, ZENworks or competing products.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Verizon Communications Threatens The Financial Services Industry Over Net-Neutrality

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon Communications warned the financial services industry may not get the secure networks it needs if Congress adopts laws governing high-speed Internet broadband networks, according to a company memo obtained by Reuters on Monday. The financial services industry is weighing whether to wade into a fight over legislation on broadband service, known as "Net neutrality." It fears that without safeguards on pricing for network access, the costs to financial institutions could rise. Verizon's chief congressional lobbyist Peter Davidson said in a memo warning the financial services industry: "better not start moaning in the future about a lack of sophisticated data links they need" if Netneutrality laws were passed because the communications industry may not investin new networks.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Next Level: Genuine Software Initiative (GSI): Users May Have To Prove Legal Windows Use

Microsoft is piloting an opt-in notification service for its Windows Genuine Advantage online verification program in the U.S., which may make it mandatory for users to get Automatic Update or Windows Update Rights. A pilot of the notification service – called Genuine Software Initiative (GSI) -- was initially launched in November in Norway and Sweden and then later in five additional countries. This week, Microsoft expanded the WGA notifications pilot to a "random subset" of English speaking customers in the U.S., U.K., Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. Microsoft said the notification service for Windows Genuine Advantage in pilot is voluntary but acknowledged that it may become mandatory later this year.

"The WGA Notifications pilot is opt-in, so all participants are given a choice about whether or not they wish to participate. Users can choose to suppress the notification," according to a statement issued by Microsoft to CRN Thursday. " While the pilot is presently opt-in, as it expands later in the year, AU and WU customers may be required to participate."
Full Article Here Initial WGA Report and Fix Here

Friday, May 05, 2006

AOL VOIP: AIM Phoneline Offers Free Phone Numbers

It will be interesting to see how Skype and others react to this.
AOL is increasingly looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of AIM, their instant messenger. On May 16th, AOL will announce the launch of AIM Phoneline service that provides a free local phone number to any AIM user for receiving free incoming calls. The service will allow users to call each other free if both are online, typically using headsets or microphones attached to their computers.Though the AOL concept is not new, AOL Phoneline has the potential of overtaking existing players as it plans to provide the telephone number for free. Skype charges about $4 a month for a phone number. Yahoo Messenger 7.5 also provides a personal phone number (with any city area code) for receiving incoming calls to their PC from regular phone lines and mobile phones but at a price.Other services charge about $30 to $40 a year for a telephone number to receive incoming calls, and about 2 cents a minute to place phone calls from a computer to an ordinary telephone line.AOL plans to make money both from displaying advertisements to users and from the outbound calling charges and additional services, like ring tones and call forwarding.

Will Google Buy Olive OCR ? Here's Why it Makes Sense

Olive Software develops some amazing OCR technology to convert a document in any format (PDF, HTM, Paper, Microfiche) into digital XML format preserving the document's content, structure and layout. US Defence, British Library, Newspapers, magazines like Time, ESPN, WashingtonPost, FT use Olive XML technology to create and archive electronic editions of their content.Now, MercuryNews is speculating that Google may buy Olive Software. I don't know if the deal will ever happen but surely, Olive does make sense for Google. Google is in the process of scanning millions of books, catalogs for Google Print and Google Catalogs using their proprietory scanning software. (Google doesn't use Acrobat, I confirmed this with the Adobe team). An established proved OCR technology like Olive could help Google concentrate their workforce on other areas like Search. As I've mentioned earlier, Microsofts next version of Office will default documents to the new XML format as well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Windows Anti-Counterfeit Tool (WGA) Causing False Counterfeit Calls at Many Universities\Businesses

Some system administrators are finding that Microsoft’s new anti-piracy software is incorrectly labeling PCs for users logged is with restricted accounts, as a counterfeit copy of Windows. The problem with the WGA installation is that it works perfectly fine as long as you are using an account with administrative rights on the system. As soon as one of the students, or other non-administrative level account, logs on to the system it screams that it is not a valid copy of windows and it is counterfeit.” A Microsoft staffer monitoring the newsgroup intervened, eventually diagnosed the problem, and offered a fix: give everyone, including the student systems running under rights-restrictive accounts, write access to a file called “data.dat.” Source: InformationWeek Fix it Here !

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Skype 2.5: SMS and 100 Person Voice Conference Ability Now

SMS: Short Message Service I like SMS. Great for business. Global. I can now send a text message from Skype to any mobile phone in the world. Cheap too. About 12 cents for users in US and Canada. UK, is 10 cents, Germany 13, Japan 7. Accountable too. If the message fails to be delivered I get a notification in 24 hours. Simple. Right click on your contacted name and select "Send SMS Message." (Your contact must enter their mobile phone number in the international format in their Skype Profile.) Convenient. I have Skype SMS set up so it sends my Mobile number along with any message. This makes it easy for the recipient to send a reply back to my mobile phone.

Skypecasting talk to 100 people at once The announcement of Skype's Skypecasting service is second in importance only to the announcement of Skype on August 31st 2003. Forget the fact you can have a conference call with 100 people. 100 is just a numbers game. Skypecasting changes forever the idea of podcasting. Blogging will be different after today. This is the wide channel. Skype in 2003 was mostly about you and someone else communicating, 1 to 1. Of course in 2004 we had conferencing of up to 5. But they were mostly private affairs. Family, cliques. Skypecasting is about groups, about public. About conversations: moderating, facilitation, sharing. Skype is about global connections and exchanges. Skypecasting is your village, your pub, your community. Live, real-time, now. You need to play with Skypecasts. It is more than cool.

Get it here free

Good Summary of Sweeping Telecom Bill:

The U.S. Senate took the first serious step on Monday toward rewriting the nation's telecommunications laws, a move that raises politically sensitive questions about digital copyright and Net neutrality and that could take years to complete. Ted Stevens, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, released a 135-page draft bill (click here for PDF) that represents the most sweeping rewrite in a decade of laws dealing with video, satellite and broadband communications. The rest of this article does a fairly fine job summarizing the proposed telecommunications bill here:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Add Language Translation To Your Blog

Always add language translation to your blog. The blogosphere is multilingual, and deeply international. Mr David Sifry of Technorati confirms this.Technorati charts illustrating the relative volume of blog posts based on the primary language of the post has given a different perspective of the Blog comminity. Japanese and English Bloggers are overtaking the English blog posts, at least in numbers. I posted earlier about these facinating charts here.

Eye-Fi: Convert a normal Digital Camera into Wireless Wi-Fi camera

Wi-Fi capable digital cameras are set to become obsolete even before they hit the market shelves. We have seen Sandisk SD Wi-Fi flash memory cards for adding wireless to any PDA. Now Eye-Film has developed a similar product but for Digital Cameras. They call it Eye-Fi, a Wi-Fi enabled SD Flash memory card for turning those plain, simple digital cameras into Wi-Fi capable.The 1 GB Eye-Fi card is compatible with any model of digital camera as long as it has the SD card slot. The card itself has inbuilt Wifi features to transfer the photos wirelessly. The Eye-Fi card is expected for about the same price as a 1 GB flash card sells for today - $100. The product concept is impressive but eye.fi website is defintely not. There's neither a brief bio of the executive team nor a single-word writeup about the product. It does have links to a couple of bloggers and technorati .

Monday, May 01, 2006

Please Help Save The Internet

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an iPod? Everything we do online will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law next week that gives giant corporations more control over what we do and see on the Internet. Internet providers like AT&T are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality—the Internet's First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. BarnesandNoble.com doesn't have to outbid Amazon for the right to work properly on your computer. If Net Neutrality is gutted, almost every popular site—from Google to eBay to iTunes—must either pay protection money to Internet companies like AT&T or risk having their websites process slowly. That why these high-tech pioneers and others are opposing Congress' effort to gut Internet freedom. You can do your part today—can you sign this petition telling your member of Congress to preserve Internet freedom? Click here : I signed this petition, along with 250,000 others so far. This petition will be delivered to Congress before the House of Representatives votes next week. When you sign, you'll be kept informed of the next steps we can take to keep the heat on Congress.

Enable Multi-User Mode for XP's Remote Desktop

Before its final release, Windows XP's Remote Desktop function had a feature it now lacks: multi-user mode, whereby more than one person could log on and control the PC at once. When the final version of XP shipped, though, this feature was disabled, meaning if you log on with remote desktop, any other user must be logged off. Fortunately, there's a way to unlock the original functionality, but as won't surprise you it's a bit of a hack and definitely at-your-own-risk. The process is detailed by Riccardo Raneri in his blog, but basically involves downloading an old pre-release version of termsrv.dll and making some setting changes. XP still has a hard-coded limit of three simultaneous users, but that's still a lot more than one. It's all here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Senate Bill May Ban Streaming MP3s

No, really. The PERFORM Act (where do they get these names that mean the oposite of what they do) would mean no more MP3 streams if you rely on the statutory license.

Silverhammer writes "According to the EFF, a new Senate bill (S. 2644) sponsored by Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Graham (R-SC) would effectively ban streaming MP3 for licensed music by requireing 'casters to use the most restrictive streaming format available (e.g., Windows Media or Real) rather than simply the most restrictive features of a chosen streaming format (e.g., Shoutcast or streaming MP3)." From the article: "The PERFORM Act would ... requir[e] webcasters to use DRM that restricts the recording of webcasts. That means no more MP3 streams if you rely on the statutory license. Under the bill, the statutory license would only be available to a webcaster if: [114(d)(2)(C)(vi)] the transmitting entity takes no affirmative steps to authorize, enable, cause or induce the making of a copy or phonorecord by or for the transmission recipient and uses technology that is reasonably available, technologically feasible, and economically reasonable to prevent the making of copies or phonorecords embodying the transmission in whole or in part, except for reasonable recording as defined in this subsection."
I got this from Slashdot. Check out the comments, as good a read as the article.

Cheap Cool Infrared Webcam

The USB InfraRed OptiCam is just too friggin cool. Because you never know when you might need 2 NightVision infrared lamps on your VGA webcam..or something...or other. And, only $20.00 baby. 350K pixel CMOS sensor (VGA) # Snap Shot trigger button # 2 Infrared lamps for NightVision # 3 white LEDs for light assistance # Built-in microphone # Adjustable lens for picture focusing # Works on MSN, Skype, ICQ etc. And I like the retro-tech look too.

Blog Usage Statistics And Trends: State Of The Blogosphere

The blogosphere continues to grow at a quickening pace." wrote, Technorati CEO Dave Sifry, almost three months ago, when his leading blog search engine, Technorati, reported to be tracking over 27.2 Million weblogs.
This is why, Dave Sifry's State of the Blogosphere report, has rapidly become a valuable reference for all those interested in understanding and anticipating the blogging phenomenon as it evolves. Check it out; there are some really interesting charts and stats: I wasn't able to identify all of the spikes, but I did find some of the notables. For example, on the chart here (click it to enlarge), it certainly appears that technology product launches attract great interest in the blogosphere - seems that we just can't restrain our inner geekiness when products like the iPod Video and the Intel Macintoshes were launched. Posting volumes on those two days even eclipsed blog coverage and commentary of the Superbowl and the 2006 State of the Union speech.

It's Official: Microsoft Tests New WGA or GOV on Office

Microsoft has posted the first Office download which has Genuine Office Validation (not required yet). It is sounds.exe the download enables sound in Office 2000,XP and 2003.It is not a new download, it's actually from 1999, so I guess Microsoft is testing. I tested it too and it works, this is what you see with a pirated office installation: Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003: Validation Failed The product key used to install Office has been blocked by Microsoft.

New Trojan\Virus Demands Ransom From Computer or Cell Phone

Isn't this nice:

A new kind of malware circulating on the Internet freezes a computer and then asks for a ransom paid through the Western Union Holdings money transfer service. A sample of the Trojan horse virus was sent to Sophos, a security vendor, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant. The malware, which Sophos named Troj/Ransom-A, is one of only a few viruses so far that have asked for a ransom in exchange for releasing control of a computer, Cluley said. It’s unclear how the Trojan is being spread, although Sophos is investigating, Cluley said. Viruses can be spread in several ways, including through spam or a so-called drive-by download that exploits a browser vulnerability when a user visits a malicious Web site. Source: PCWorld

A newly detected mobile phone virus (via Buetooh) is charging mobile phone users $5 to send a premium rate SMS message, security experts warned today at Infosec Europe 2006. F-Secure explained that a proof-of-concept attack had been reengineered to make money illegally from mobile phone users. Source: vnunet

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Markey Amendment Fails: House Ignores Public, Sells Out the Internet

The "Markey Amendment" supporting Net Neutrality was voted down by a vote of 34 to 22. The "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act" telecom law, or COPE Act, passed out of the committee without any meaningful protection for Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality means all online activity must be treated equally, and companies like AT&T must allow Internet users to view the smallest blog just as easily as the largest corporate Web site. Major telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to get Congress to change the rules to let them discriminate on the Internet -- forcing Web sites to pay "protection money" to ensure their sites will work properly. AT&T 1Q earnings soar 63.3 percent: they will only get higher when they can charge everyone higher rates and exclude voices they don't like. That's what monopolies do. Plus, they enable the government to spy on you. At least my Rep. Diana DeGette, courageously voted FOR Internet freedom every step of the way. C'mon folks, let your elected officials know how you feel about this !

Related links for the day: 250,000 petition signatures for the Markey Amendment Whip list for the Markey Amendment. I Want My Internets Google, Microsoft, Amazon et al. Good First Start, But Much More is Needed. More on the Rush recusal. Online Jim? Citizens Sign on to Co-Sponsor the Markey Amendment Medicare Plan D for the internets? C'mon Kevin, get a grip. It's a no brainer. Meet Mercenary Mouthpiece Mike McCurry, Enemy of Internet Freedom Watch the hearings here.

More on the New Office 2007 File Formats

The new Office 2007 is due to be released sometime on 2007 and I really like it so far. As I mentioned earlier, Office 2007 will have two major changes to the office file format. For the first time Microsoft will have file extensions with more than 3 characters, but more importantly it will move from the well know .doc, .xls and .ppt file extensions for the popular Office documents.Office 2007 will have a new, XML-based file format for Microsoft Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007. The New file formats will be the default file formats for Office 2007 but they will also be backward compatible to Microsoft Office 2000 using Office 2007 Compatibility Mode. Here are the new file formats in a simpler format than my previous post:

Word 2007 Supported File Formats Word Document (.docx) - Default format Word Macro-enabled Document (.docm) Word Template (.dotx) Word Macro-enabled Document Template (.dotm) Excel 2007 Supported File Formats Excel Workbook (.xlsx) - Default format Excel Macro-enabled Workbook (.xlsm) Excel Template (.xltx) Excel Macro-enabled Workbook Template (.xltm) Excel Binary Workbook (.xlsb) Excel Add-in (.xlam) PowerPoint 2007 Supported File Formats PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx) - Default format PowerPoint Macro-enabled Presentation (.pptm) PowerPoint Slide Show (.ppsx) PowerPoint Macro-enabled Slide Show (.ppsx) PowerPoint Template (.potx) PowerPoint Macro-enabled Presentation Template (.potm) PowerPoint Add-in (.ppam)
Not all file formats will be backward compatible only the following formats will be backward compatible down to Office 2000.
Word Document (.docx) Word Macro-enabled Document (.docm) Excel Workbook (.xlsx) Excel Macro-enabled Workbook (.xlsm) Excel Template (.xltx) Excel Macro-enabled Template (.xltm) Excel binary Workbook (.xlsb) Excel Add-in (.xlam) PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx) PowerPoint Macro-enabled Presentation (.pptm) PowerPoint Slide Show (.ppsx) PowerPoint Macro-enabled Slide Show (.ppsm) PowerPoint Template (.potx) PowerPoint Macro-enabled Presentation Template (.potm)
Office 2007 will also support export to PDF (ver 1.5 which is compatible with Acrobat version 6) and XPS . XPS will support rights management for secure document managements, PDF export will not support rights management.

Turn a 60$ Router into a 600$ Router: FREE

This is a simple method for converting a $60 router into a $600 router (PDF alert!) with a firmware upgrade. The router in question is the fairly ubiquitous Linksys WRT54G. Simple, powerful, and nearly anyone can do it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Remove the New Microsoft WGA Nag Screen For Good !

As you might have already found out, The WGA check will now install a nag screen if your license is allegedly invalid. It shows up at boot and on the log-on screen but you can remove it. Do not install "Windows Genuine Advantage Notification (KB905474)" . But, if you are reading this, you already did.

Please go to the comments section for complete workaround instructions posted as they become available by our subscribers here at digiblade.
Go to the Control panel/Add and remove programs and uninstall "Windows Genuine Advantage notification". Use Windiz Update + Firefox to download patches and leave IE for good! 04/27/2006 Update: various workarounds that work for now but Microsoft is going to be very agressive on this issue. Update: Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Next Level: Genuine Software Initiative (GSI): Beta roll-out has begun Manual fix how-to here Please Help Save The Internet

Worldwide Email Statistics: 60 billion sent daily

BERLIN (Reuters) - Internet users around the world send an estimated 60 billion emails every day and many of these are spam or scam attempts, business leaders said on Tuesday.

"A large percent of it is spam, and the hackers out there are really smart and getting smarter. We all have to run in front of them" Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer added.

No shit, Steve...more of the obvious here

Microsoft Bringing 'Genuine Advantage' WGA Authentication to Office by 05/01/2206

As I reported the other day for Windows WGA; In its increasingly aggressive drive to stamp out piracy, Microsoft is bringing Office into the WGA fold, and adding a new notifications service to WGA itself. Windows Genuine Advantage has worked so well that Microsoft is planning to introduce a version of the anti-piracy authentication program targeted at its Office suite. Microsoft officials said on April 24 that the company is commencing this week a pilot of "Office Genuine Advantage," (OGA) a program that will operate almost identically to Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA). Microsoft is piloting OGA in seven languages, initially: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Spanish. Source article 0427\2006 UPDATE: Microsoft has started testing.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another Zero-Day Bug For Microsoft Internet Explorer

Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which was just patched with 10 fixes two weeks ago, suffers from yet another zero-day vulnerability that can be exploited remotely, security firm Symantec said Monday. In an alert to customers of its DeepSight threat system, Symantec cited a vulnerability first posted to the Bugtraq security mailing list by researcher Michal Zalewski, who notes that IE is prone to memory corruption because of the way it handles malformed HTML. HTML content that contains nestedtags without the corresponding closure tags, said Symantec's alert, can trigger the bug. "An attacker could exploit this issue via a malicious A fully-patched version of IE 6 for Windows More Here and don't forget about this exploit. Personaly, just ditch IE John C. Dvorak posits that nothing qualifies more as Microsoft's greatest blunder than Internet Explorer. Browser wars aside, the web browser from Redmond is the source of a great many of Microsoft's problems.

"All of Microsoft's Internet-era public-relations and legal problems (in some way or another) stem from Internet Explorer," Dvorak says. "If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column—billions." Dvorak suggests that Microsoft's ongoing obsession with the browser is bad business and that it should yank Internet Explorer out of OS and immediately cease development. "People will not stop buying Microsoft Windows if there is no built-in browser. Opera and/or Firefox can be bundled with the OS as a courtesy, and all the defaults can lead to Microsoft.com if need be," he says, going on to note what we all know to be true: it'll never happen, and Microsoft "will forever be plagued by its greatest blunder ever."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Notes from the Access to Knowledge (A2K) conference, Yale

Live from the Access to Knowledge (A2K) conference, Yale; Moderated by Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation. Notes here.

"Save the Internet" Campaign for Network Neutrality Launched

This Monday, a coalition of Internet activists from across the political spectrum will officially launch the Save the Internet Campaign to fight telecom companies that are trying to create a multi-tiered Internet, where lower-income customers have less access to content and bandwidth than higher-paying customers. Quoting their new website:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Network neutrality prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work the best — based on who pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer. Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn’t speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online. This isn’t just speculation — we’ve already seen what happens elsewhere when the Internet’s gatekeepers get too much control. Last year, Canada’s version of AT&T — Telus— blocked their Internet customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to workers with whom Telus was negotiating. And Shaw, a major Canadian cable TV company, charges an extra $10 a month to subscribers who dare to use a competing Internet telephone service. Congress thinks they can sell out and the public will never know. The SavetheInternet.Com Coalition is proving them wrong.

Founding coalition members: Charter Members: Professor Lawrence Lessig -- Stanford Professor Timothy Wu -- Columbia Free Press -- Coalition Coordinator Gun Owners of America Craig Newmark -- Craigslist.com Founder Professor Glenn Reynolds -- aka Blogger Instapundit MoveOn.org

Civic Action Consumers Union American Library Association Consumer Federation of America Public Knowledge Common Cause National Association of State PIRGs (U.S. PIRG) Flint River Hospital Center for Digital Democracy Consumer Action Association of Research Libraries The Service Roundtable -- Small Business Network Afro-Netizen Loyola University Chicago, Department of Communications Educause OpenPrivacy New Organizing Institute Covenant College Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Projec Association for Community Networking Amazing Kids CCTV Center for Media and Democracy Alliance for Community Media Professor Susan Crawford David Isenberg -- Harvard Berkman Center Sascha Meinrath -- Community Internet Pioneer Center for Creative Voices in Media Community Technology Centers Consumer Project on Technology Interfaith Council for Social Justice FreeNetworks.org Media Access Project Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Media Alliance Reclaim the Media The Agonist NYC Wireless AcornActive Media Foundation Californians Against Waste Chicago Media Action CUWiN National Video Resources Illinois Community Technology Coalition Ohio Community Computing Network Ask-Wi.com, Inc. Politics1.com Peacefire Quicksilver Communications The American Association of Retired Persons

To get involved, visit the website and let Congress knowhow you feel about the issue.

Tell Congress to preserve the free and open Internet. Click Here