The “Cosmonauty Edition” of the Dr. Bill Podcast #89

Dr. Bill Podcast – 89 – (05/21/07)
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Geek Culture – “Do The Cosmonauty” Video off YouTube. “Sport-nik???” Weird! News items of the week. Google re-tools… Dr. Bill’s voice gives out! So… a short podcast!

Check it Out! Google has Re-tooled!

In the first update of it’s interface in a LONG time… Google has re-tooled it’s offering… I like it!

Big Google search upgrade

“In the most significant upgrade of its search engine in years, Google Inc. has added videos, book excerpts and local store information on its main results page, eliminating the need for users to visit the company’s separate, specialized sites. The Mountain View company unveiled the changes Wednesday as part of a plan called universal search that aims to make more kinds of information accessible from a single Internet search box. Users will see that Google’s results, traditionally a long list of blue links and snippets of text, are peppered with images for certain searches. For example, a query for ‘Steve Jobs’ brings up several images of Apple Inc.’s co-founder at the top of the results, plus a video of him down the page from Google’s video service, YouTube. Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, called the new approach ‘the largest revamp we’ve made to search in at least a few years.’ Google’s executives described Wednesday’s news as the first step in a long effort to integrate the company’s disparate search engines, all but the main one focused on narrow categories. Many users, the executives acknowledged, had no idea some of the engines existed or were confused about how they worked.”

More Proof that Stupid Users Exist… “Click Here to Get a Virus!”

And they did! How stupid is that?!? A security guy decided to do a Google Adwords ad to see, first, would Google accept it (they did,) then, would anyone respond and click the ad that promised a virus infection if you clicked on it… the ad said, “Drive-By Download, Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!” Ouch! Nobody’s THAT dumb, right? Wrong.

Hundreds Click on ‘Click Here to Get Infected’ Ad

“People will click on anything. That was evidenced by the 409 people who clicked on an ad that offers infection for those with virus-free PCs. The ad, run by a person who identifies himself as security professional Didier Stevens, reads like this:

Drive-By Download
Is your PC virus-free?
Get it infected here!

Stevens, who says he works for Contraste Europe, a branch of the IT consultancy The Contraste Group, has been running his Google Adwords campaign for six months now and has received 409 hits. Stevens has done similar research in the past, such as finding out how easy it is to land on a drive-by download site when doing a Google search. In a posting about the drive-by download campaign, Stevens says that he got the idea after picking up a small book on Google Adwords at the library and finding out how easy and cheap it is to set up an ad… First, Stevens bought the domain. .info domains are notorious for hosting malware, he points out. Then he set up a server to display the innocuous message ‘Thank you for your visit’ and to log the requests. No PCs were harmed in this experiment, he emphasizes. The site is benign and has never hosted malware or other scripts or code. Then he started the Google Adwords campaign, using combinations of the words “drive-by download” along with the ad, which links to the site. Next, he sat and waited … for six months. Over that period, his ad was viewed 259,723 times and clicked on 409 times, for a click-through rate of about .16 percent. The experiment cost him $23, or 6 cents per click/potentially infected machine. Of the 409 people who clicked, 98 percent were running Windows machines, according to the user agent string, which is a text string that identifies a Web site visitor to a server. The agent string typically includes application name, version, host operating system and language.”


WordPress 2.2 is Out!

As you may know, my Blog is based on WordPress. I am not going to be too fast to switch to the new version, but it looks good!

WordPress 2.2 is Out!

“On behalf of the entire WordPress team, I’m proud and excited to announce the immediate availability of version 2.2 ‘Getz’ for download. This version includes a number of new features, most notably Widgets integration, and over two hundred bug fixes. It’s named in honor of tenor saxophonist Stan Getz.”

New features:

  • WordPress Widgets allow you to easily rearrange and customize areas of your weblog (usually sidebars) with drag-and-drop simplicity.
  • Full Atom support, including updating the Atom feed to the 1.0 standard spec.
  • A new Blogger importer that is able to handle the latest version of Google’s Blogger product.
  • Infinite comment stream, meaning that on your Edit Comments page when you delete or spam a comment using the AJAX links under each comment.
  • Protection from activating a plugin or editing a file that will break the blog.
  • Core plugin and filter speed optimizations should make everything feel a bit more snappy.
  • WYSIWYG support for a future version of Safari.
  • Microsoft Takes Aim at Killing the GPL!

    The GNU ProjectMicrosoft is very much against the Open Source movement, and they now claim that 235 patents that they hold are violated by Open Source projects. They are trying to “muddy the waters” over the new GPL (Gnu General Public License) version 3.0.

    Microsoft Claims Open-Source Technology Violates 235 of Its Patents

    “Microsoft is using the threat of patent violations by the free and open-source software community to try to drive enterprise customers to SUSE Enterprise Linux and to further muddy the waters around the next version of the upcoming GNU General Public License. As part of this latest strategy, Microsoft has, for the first time, put an actual figure on the number of its patents being violated by free and open-source software. In an interview with Fortune, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, claims that the Linux kernel violates 42 of its patents, the Linux graphical user interfaces run afoul of another 65, the Open Office suite of programs infringes 45 more, e-mail programs violate 15, while other assorted free and open-source programs allegedly transgress 68. Some commentators, such as Microsoft Watch Editor Joe Wilcox, believe that Microsoft could use the ‘tacit threat of a patent-related lawsuit as means of keeping in line customers already committed to swap out Office or Windows for open-source alternatives.’ ‘Microsoft has 235 patents that read on open-source technology,’ a company spokesman confirmed to eWEEK May 13.”

    Will the “Evil Empire” succeed in ridding the galaxy of the forces of good? Let’s hope not! Actually, though, just because they claim the technology infringes on their patents, doesn’t mean that they do… they mainly want to spook their own customers into continuing to “drink the Kool-Aid” and remain good little mind numbed M$ robots.

    The “Persnickety Pirate Edition” of The Dr. Bill Podcast – #88

    Dr. Bill Podcast – 88 – (05/13/07)
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    Dr. Bill has a very bad tech weekend… trying to figure out LightTPD and virtual hosting… he gets his CCA, and talks pirates with the Gamemaster… plus, a Geek Software of the Week from Steve Gibson… and more!

    Geek Software of the Week: GRC’s SecurAble

    What does your PC’s CPU support in terms of modern system security? Now, you can find out with a small, free, and very neat program from Steve Gibson at GRC!

    SecurAble Web Site

    “SecurAble probes the system’s processor to determine the presence, absence and operational status of three modern processor features:

    * 64-bit instruction extensions,
    * Hardware support for detecting and preventing
    the execution of code in program data areas, … and
    * Hardware support for system resource ‘virtualization.'”

    Demand for Techies is High, Supply is Low!

    Good for us ol’ time techies! Less folks are going into tech because it is too geeky. So, those of us that are hard core techies are in demand… good for us. After years and years of just plain ol’ hard core experience, I am now finally getting certified… I just got my Certified Citrix Administrator paper… and I am going for more. And, sure enough, I get more e-mails now saying, “Don’t you wanna move to California or New York and get a new job?” Ah, no. I like North Carolina!

    Report: Supply of IT Pros Down, Though Demand Is Up

    “The bad news is IT job growth is bad; the good news is because there aren’t enough good workers to go around. Good news if you’re in the workforce, that is. IT employment posted a small increase in April, but has remained essentially flat for the last 11 months, finds the April 2007 IT employment report released on May 9 by the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, a trade association that represents IT staffing firms. April saw an increase of 900 IT workers, leaving the total level of IT employment at 3.67 million, where it has rested since August 2006, found the report. Between May and July 2006, IT employment rested at 3.66 million. ‘IT employment has remained essentially flat for the last 11 months because of limited supply of IT professionals, not lack of demand. To the contrary, demand for IT professionals remains very robust with unemployment below 1 percent in many IT skill sets,’ said Mark Roberts, CEO of NACCB. The report stated that, while companies have always used IT staffing and solutions firms to address the flexible nature of their services, clients are increasingly turning to IT services firms because they are unable to fill their IT vacancies through internal channels.”

    VMware Workstation Now Supports Vista!

    Vista can now be a guest or a host operating system in VMware!

    VMware Workstation 6 Supports Vista

    “VMware this week made available version 6.0 of its desktop virtualization product, which has set a standard for testing and development, and competes with Microsoft’s now-free VirtualPC. New features in Workstation 6.0 include support for Vista, dual monitors, and USB 2.0 devices. While the server world increasingly turns to virtualization to take advantage of the huge advances in CPU power with the advent of multi-core chips, virtual machines play a critical role in aiding IT administration, development and software testers. Users can quickly boot up a computer within a computer, as well as do cross-platform testing without multiple hardware setups. VMware supports a wide array of operating systems, including Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows and even Novell NetWare. It also can run fully 64-bit systems, and handles up to 10 network cards and experimental support for two-way Virtual SMP. With version 6.0, Windows Vista is now supported as both a guest or host (the physical machine running the virtual machines) operating system. VMware says this will enable businesses to upgrade while still supporting legacy applications, which can be run instead inside a virtual machine. Separate from VMware Workstation, the company has added what it calls the ACE Option Pack, which enables administrators to create secure and centrally managed virtual machine images. They can be transferred to portable devices such as USB thumb drives for added mobility. New experimental features include “recording” every action done inside a virtual machine such that it can be replayed exactly the same way at a later date. This ensures bugs can be reproduced and resolved, VMware says. Also experimental is support for Virtual Machine Interface (VMI).”

    The Helvetica Font is 50 Years Old

    I’ve never really thought about it… but back there somewhere, somebody designed the fonts that we use every day… so, here’s a story on the Helvetica font at 50 years old!

    Helvetica at 50

    “The Helvetica font is celebrating its 50th birthday. You’ve probably seen it a thousand times today. Why? At this moment in boardrooms across the globe, captains of industry are leafing through sheet after sheet of typefaces. There are hundreds of choices, but many of these movers and shakers don’t take a lot of leafing before plumping for Helvetica. We live in a world where we are surrounded 24 hours a day by adverts and corporate communications, many in typefaces chosen to subliminally complement the message. Helvetica’s message is this: you are going to get to your destination on time; your plane will not crash; your money is safe in our vault; we will not break the package; the paperwork has been filled in; everything is going to be OK. It is sans serif. There are no wiggly bits at the end of the letters. It has smooth, clean lines, and an unobtrusive geometry that almost suggests it was designed not to stand out.”

    OK… your odd thought for the day… does the Helvetica font really make you think that everything will be all right? Hummmm…

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