Yep! Spam is Getting Worse!

I bet that you knew that from personal experience. Unlike John C. Dvorak, who “get’s no spam,” most of us do! My spam filters are pretty good, and they eliminate tons of the hateful stuff… but some still gets through. Spammers should be shot!

Study: The Internet’s spam problem is getting worse

“A study finds that only one out of every 20 e-mails is from a legitimate source, and business professionals now rate it the top form of junk advertising. Barracuda Networks found that nearly 95 percent of all e-mail sent today is spam. This is up from just five percent of all e-mail in 2001, and 85 to 90 percent of e-mail in 2006. The company’s study found that 65 percent of respondents receive 10 or fewer spams per day, and half receive five or fewer. A little more than one in ten respondents reported receiving as many as 50 or more unsolicited messages daily. In 2007, spammers seemed to favor the use of attachments, a change from last year where inline image and botnet spam seemed to be popular. Additionally, techniques used by spammers have become more complex, which make them harder to stop and harder to track. For now at least, the relentless battle against what has probably become one of the biggest scourges of the Internet seems to a losing one. Security vendors are now being forced to watch new spam mails continuously for potential malware and security concerns. This increased vigilance does have a positive. ‘[Continous monitoring and defense] can block a new spam attack within minutes of its start, virtually at zero hour,’ Barracuda president and CEO Dean Drako said. Among business professionals, over half — 57 percent — consider spam e-mail as the worst form of junk advertising. This easily eclipsed junk postal mail at 31 percent, and telemarketing at 12 percent.”

A Robot Population: Japan’s Future?

Watanabe RobotWill Japan increase it’s declining citizenry with humans or robots? Some seem to prefer the latter!

Domo arigato, Mr Roboto

“General Motors introduced the first industrial robots in 1961. Since then, Japan’s largest companies have competed to make robots as human as possible. On December 6th Toyota went one step further. After showing off a white android that played a meek rendition of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ on the violin, Toyota’s boss, Katsuaki Watanabe, announced that the company would make electro-mechanical critters a core business. Four areas look promising: nursing, cleaning homes, manufacturing and ferrying people short distances (in a sort of automatic wheelchair)… Isaac Asimov, a science-fiction writer, famously created the ‘Three Laws of Robotics’ which defined the primacy of man relative to machine. Robots may not injure humans, must obey them, and must protect themselves without violating the first two rules. These sound minatory, but as Japan’s population starts to decline due to the low birth-rate, and its number of elderly swell, robots are seen as a solution.”

W00t! A New Word Added to Merriam-Webster!

The word is, of course, “w00t.” (Spelled with two zeroes.) Check out this interesting article:

“w00t” crowned word of year by U.S. dictionary

“‘w00t,’ an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary. Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster Inc. said ‘w00t’ — typically spelled with two zeros — reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and cell phone text-messaging. It’s like saying ‘yay,’ the dictionary said. ‘It could be after a triumph or for no reason at all,’ Merriam-Webster said. Visitors to Merriam-Webster’s Web site were invited to vote for one of 20 words and phrases culled from the most frequently looked-up words on the site and submitted by readers. Runner-up was ‘facebook’ as a new verb meaning to add someone to a list of friends on the Web site Facebook.com or to search for people on the social networking site. Merriam-Webster President John Morse said ‘w00t’ reflected the growing use of numeric keyboards to type words. ‘People look for self-evident numeral-letter substitutions: 0 for O; 3 for E; 7 for T; and 4 for A,’ he said. ‘This is simply a different and more efficient way of representing the alphabetical character.'”

Microsoft’s File SHARING Site DELETES Files!

You want to share a file, so you upload it to Microsoft’s FolderShare Site… and, under certain conditions… poof! It deletes the file instead of sharing it! So, the biggest, richest computer software company in the world, deletes your files due to a bug! So, you gotta love the irony of that!

Microsoft bug deletes files instead of sharing them

“The company’s FolderShare application is intended to allow customers to synchronize files across multiple machines, but a bug has ended up deleting them. According to a statement from Microsoft sent to users of the service, an issue with FolderShare deleted files that contained special characters, such as trademark signs, accents and tildas, and the like. The company has asked that users do not empty their FolderShare trash folders until they have verified they had not been affected by the issue. The problem occurred over a three day period from December 3 to 6, it said. Microsoft said it had fixed the issue, however it wanted to alert users to the problem to prevent any lost data. In some cases, the folder containing the files may have been deleted as well, and the company said affected users would have to recreate that folder.”

Geek Software of the Week: Returnil!

ReturnilSo, what if you could have your system “frozen in time” so that whatever you did while surfing the web was as easy as rebooting to undo? Well, that’s the idea behind “Returnil.” It is FREE to home users, and basically is the ultimate in system protection, because it freezes your system in a state in which it was working and can return to that if you get “pwned!”

Returnil Virtual System Personal Edition

“The Returnil Virtual System Personal Edition is a powerful virtualization technology that completely mirrors your actual computer setup and it can create a virtual storage disk within your PC where you can save documents, data, and files while using the System Protection feature. Returnil Virtual System’s protection concept is very easy to understand. It provides a simple, effective, and smart way to prevent unwanted or malicious changes from being made to your supported Windows Operating System and the drive where Windows is installed. You operate your system in a virtual environment, so anything you do will happen in the virtual environment, not in the real PC. If your computer is attacked or gets infected with Malware, all you need to do is simply reboot the PC to erase all changes. Once restarted, your system will be restored to the original state, as if nothing ever happened! Meanwhile, Returnil Virtual System can create a virtual storage disk for you; the purpose of this partition is to provide a place for you to save your data when the Virtual System Protection mode is turned ON, and you can customize the size of this disk to meet your individual requirements. When the Virtual System Protection is OFF, you can install or remove programs, save documents within the Windows disk drive, install security upgrades and software patches, alter configurations, and update user accounts. All changes made will remain following a restart of the computer.”

The GameMaster’s Podcast is NOW Available!

Play

Here’s what Ben put in his blog at his new URL, check it out below:

http://www.BenSpin.com

The GameMaster’s BenSpin – 1 – (12/10/07)
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Today is a most exciting day. It is both the restart of my blog and the official start of the BenSpin podcast! I say restart because there was an earlier, failed attempt to start this blog. That failed. Earlier. Right, anyway, point is, look forward to more podcasts and blog entries!

So… check out Ben’s spin on life, the multiverse, and everything at BenSpin.com! Also, you can subscribe to the podcast at:

http://podcast.BenSpin.com

Historic Moment – First Cell Phone Text Message Spam!

Well, OK, the first one I ever received… you may have been getting them for a long time. But, I was amazed and ticked off this morning that I got an “Invest in this lame stock” stupid spam message on my phone! (I still can’t believe anyone is stupid enough to fall for these things… sigh.) And… yes… I am in the Federal “Do Not Call” Register. You can sign up for that here:

Federal “Do Not Call” Registry Web Site

Of course, it isn’t perfect… obviously. Did I mention all spammers should be lined up and shot? Sigh.

The “Internet Celebrity Edition” of the Dr. Bill Podcast #114

Dr. Bill Podcast – 114 – (12/08/07)
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It’s time for the geekiness once again! The Gamemaster starts his OWN podcast! Find out if you are an Internet Celebrity according to Leo LaPorte! Beefy sings, “Internet Celebrity” for our Geek Culture! Listen to me, or I will shoot this bunny! Tech News!

Next “Patch Tuesday” is a Big One… Don’t Miss It!

Microsoft has the worse security record in the industry… but at least when they find a fix, they do publish it! Tale advantage of the patches, so you won’t get “pwned!”

Three critical patches on tap from Microsoft

“Next Tuesday’s regular monthly distribution of security patches will include three for DirectX, Windows Media, and Internet Explorer. Of the seven patches in the next Patch Tuesday package from Microsoft, all three critical patches will be for remote code execution issues. The first two, for DirectX and DirectShow as well as the Windows Media Format Runtime, will not require a restart. The final critical patch, intended for Internet Explorer, will require a restart. It is also somewhat likely that this patch may be a cumulative one: Often when Microsoft patches issues with its browsers, it fixes several problems at once. Of the important updates, two are for remote code execution problems within Windows, and require a restart. The other two are for various elevation of privilege issues, and also are intended for Windows itself.”

CompUSA Going Bankrupt

Sad news for me… CompUSA is dying. They began in 1984… and I was there! At that time I lived in Garland, TX, a suburb of Dallas. CompUSA was “Software House” and was just a local computer and software store. It was very geeky and WAY ahead of it’s time! When they started expanding, they found that someone else already had the “Software House” name in other states, so they became “CompUSA.” Over the years I have gotten some great deals from them, (as long as you don’t buy their “insurance plans!”)

RIP CompUSA 1984-2008

So… goodbye CompUSA… sa-lute! (They will be open until after Christmas… watch for sales!)

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