The Dr. Bill “SysAdmin Celebration” Podcast #47

Dr. Bill Podcast – 47 – (07/29/06)
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We celebrate “SysAdmin Day” (Friday) with a song by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. AMD is acquiring ATI, Response from Representative Brad Miller on “Net Neutrality,” Geek Software of the Week: Freespire Linux! A “Mirror” of Google. PC Programs I recommend to keep everyone safe on the net! Only 4% of all e-mail moving across the Internet is real? That’s insane! eBay and PayPal are still the top targets for “Phishing!” Friday was “SysAdmin Day!” Hooray for SysAdmins! Two Firefox Extensions for HTML Coders! “Yet Another Window Resizer,” and “Codetch.” Very nice! Letters from listeners with great advice based on last week’s show!

Two Firefox Extensions for HTML Coders!

For HTML coders, I have two EXCELLENT Firefox extensions that really show the power of extensions in this AWESOME Web Browser! What if, as a web designer, you could do a quick click in your browser and resize the window to represent the major settings for different resolutions of screens? Well, with the extension called “Yet Another Window Resizer,” you can. You can also add specific resolutions to the standard one’s available. Here’s where to get it:

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/2498/

Then, what about a way to do quick page edit in an HTML Editor that is part of Firefox? It is called Codetch. It is nice and kinda like Dreamweaver! Very, very cool! You can get Codetch here:

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/1002/

Today is “SysAdmin Day!”

Today is the day to buy your lowly, humble (OK, not so humble) SysAdmin a cookie! Yay! (I like the cookie!) OK, that was an obscure quote from the “Over the Hedge” movie. We will take cash as well. We aren’t proud. Anyway, today you should appreciate your SysAdmin!

International SysAdmin Day!

“Friday, July 28th, 2006, is the 7th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. On this special international day, give your System Administrator something that shows that you truly appreciate their hard work and dedication. Let’s face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It’s the least you could do. Consider all the daunting tasks and long hours (weekends too.) Let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t know our System Administrators as well as they know us. Remember this is one day to recognize your System Administrator for their workplace contributions and to promote professional excellence. Thank them for all the things they do for you and your business.”

eBay and PayPal Are Still the Top Targets for “Phishing”

“Phishing” is, of course, tricking you, the unwary net surfer and e-mail user, into clicking on a link that LOOKS like it is coming from a site, only to have it direct you somewhere that will steal your username and password for those sites. Bad news! Then you find that your PayPal account has been “cleaned out!” Bummer!

Study: eBay, PayPal Remain Top Phishing Targets

“More than three quarters of all phishing e-mails are targeted to the users of eBay and its PayPal subsidiary, according to the report. The fraudulent e-mails most often attempt to gather personal information including credit card numbers and passwords in the name of ripping off users, said researchers at security software maker Sophos, which has its U.S. headquarters in Lynnfield, Mass. Of those e-mails, 54.3 percent attempted to steal information from users of PayPal, and 20.9 percent were sent to users of the eBay auction site, the study found.”

Spam is Out of Control!

What if I were to tell you that about 4% of all e-mail moving across the Internet is real? That’s right… ONLY about 4% is actually REAL e-mail! The rest is spam! That is ridiculous!

More than 95% of e-mail is ‘junk’

“Analysis of the contents of millions of e-mails has revealed that less than 4% is legitimate traffic. Further work has shown that most of this junk mail is originating on hijacked home computers. E-mail security firm Return Path said 99% of the computers it monitors that send mail have been taken over by spammers or virus writers. Return Path reached its estimate by calculating a ‘reputation score’ for the 20 million net addresses of those machines.”

Keep your Security Patches up-to-date, use a good Spyware-killer, and DON’T CLICK ATTACHMENTS!

PC Programs I Recommend for Everyone!

I was thinking lately, there is a short list of “PC Programs I Recommend for Everyone!” Now, remember, this isn’t all the “freeware” that I have found, or, the list of free software that I use for various special purposes. As an example, not everyone needs to write web pages in HTML. If they did, I would recommend Nvu (free at www.nvu.com) so programs like that are not listed here. This list is the standard “what I put on everyone’s Windows PC that I get on my workbench” list.

And, now, here is the list:

Grisoft AVG FREE Anti-Virus (Never use Norton or McAfee… and you would have to pay for it… duh!)
http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1

And, at the same location:
ewido Anti-Spyware System (Get rid of adware)
http://free.grisoft.com/doc/1

Spywareblaster Spyware Blocker (Block adware)
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

CCleaner System Registry Cleaner and “Questionable” File Cleaner (be sure NOT to select the option to install the Yahoo! Toolbar)
http://www.ccleaner.com/download/

Mozilla Firefox Web Browser (Remember, do NOT use Internet Explorer… ever!)
http://www.mozilla.com/

Mozilla Thunderbird E-mail client (If they need local e-mail, some use web-based email, again, DON’T use Outlook!)
http://www.mozilla.com/thunderbird/

Notepad++ Notepad Replacement/Editor (Searchable, Macros, Advanced Replace, etc.) (See below for an update… I now recommend PSpad instead!)
http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm

Juice Podcast Receiver (because I shamelessly promote my podcast, of course!)
http://juicereceiver.sourceforge.net/

OpenOffice.org Office Suite (if they don’t have an office suite yet, or they have an illegal copy of one-that-shall-remain-nameless!)
http://www.openoffice.org/

Archiver/Unarchiver for ALL formats (So you won’t have an illegal copy of WinZip)
http://www.izarc.org/download2.html

You may have others, or more… but this is my current list!

(I have replaced Notepad++ with PSpad… see my reasons, at this post.)

PSpad Text and Programmer’s Editor

Geek Software of the Week: Freespire Linux!

As I have mentioned before, I differ from some of my Linux brethren in that I love Linspire Linux as a desktop distro! Now, on the server side, I run CentOS Linux (which is the totally free from source version of Red Hat… though they are not affliated in any way.) In fact, all four of my Dr. Bill Bailey.NET company servers (which host this web site) are CentOS Linux servers. BUT, on the desktop I like Linspire. However, Linspire, sadly, is NOT free! I have been a Linspire “Insider” since it was originally conceived way back in 2001/2002. And, I still support Michael Robertson’s vision of Linspire. However, NOW there is a free version of Linspire (so to speak!)

Official Freespire Website

“Freespire is a community-driven, Linux-based operating system that combines the best that free, open source software has to offer (community driven, freely distributed, open source code, etc.), but also provides users the choice of including proprietary codecs, drivers and applications as they see fit. With Freespire, the choice is yours as to what software is installed on your computer, with no limitations or restrictions placed on that choice. How you choose to maximize the performance of your computer is entirely up to you.”

I downloaded and tried the beta version of Freespire (Version 0.0.76) and it looks good! Simple install, nice look and feel, and most everything a “Joe User” would want is there! I was even able to simply and quickly connect to a file share across the network on a Windows XP system. Very nice! Check it out! The first public full release will be available in August (next month!) But, the beta is available now, here:

Download for Freespire

Response from Representative Miller on “Net Neutrality”

So here we go… I sent an e-mail to my representatives on the “Net Neutrality” issue. And, amazingly, I got back a response!

Here it is:

Dear Mr. Bailey:

Thank you for contacting me about “net neutrality.” I appreciate hearing from you.

Recent changes in federal regulation and court decisions have altered the legal protections against discrimination in access to the internet. As a result, some internet service providers now see the potential to profit by providing favored treatment to some internet content providers, the same way retailers charge manufacturers for prominent product displays in their stores. Such discrimination among internet content providers would forever change the open, vibrant competition based now on the appeal of internet content and would deny consumers the right to choose internet content freely.

The House considered the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enforcement (“COPE”) Act on June 8, 2006. Two amendments specifically presented the issue of net neutrality. One clarified that antitrust laws applied to internet service providers, which would provide modest protection against discrimination among internet content providers. I voted for that amendment, which passed by a vote of 353 to 68. Congressman Ed Markey offered a more ambitious amendment that would have specifically required net neutrality by internet service providers, reinstating the previous regulatory protection to content providers and consumers. I voted for that amendment also, but the amendment failed by a vote of 152 to 269. Finally, I voted against the COPE Act for a variety of reasons, but prominent among those reasons was the failure to include provisions to protect net neutrality. The bill passed the House by a vote of 321 to 101.

It appears very unlikely that the Senate will accept the legislation passed by the House, so the issue will likely come before the House again, in which case I will certainly keep your views in mind.

Please contact me about other issues important to you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Brad Miller
Member of Congress

AMD is Acquiring ATI

AMD… ATI… alphabet soup! Well, Advanced Micro Devices is acquiring graphics processor maker ATI Technologies… maybe that makes it clearer!

AMD to Acquire ATI

“Customers were essentially asking for AMD to strengthen the ties between its processors and their supporting chip sets and graphics processors and take a more active role in the way the resulting systems are designed and tested, all things it can do with ATI on board, Ruiz explained. ‘Therefore, ATI is a perfect match to the needs for which customers have been asking us for some time,’ he said. Indeed, the deal, valued at $5.4 billion, will allow AMD to combine its processors and ATI’s graphics chips and chip sets, supporting chips that handle PCs’ input/output functions, to create entire PC platforms to offer to its PC maker customers. The combined company would have achieved approximately $7.3 billion in total sales during the last four quarters.”

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