Amazon Cloud Woes

Amazon has fought issues with their cloud platform for two days… it looks like they are finally getting it under control.

Amazon’s two-day cloud computing nightmare nears an end

“Amazon appeared to finally have the issues with its Web Services cloud platform under control, saying late Friday afternoon that all but its most ‘time consuming’ volumes had been recovered and were back online. This seems to match up with reports that those websites that depended on Amazon’s cloud were for the most part operating normally.

The partial failure which affected Amazon’s cloud servers in its Northern Virginia facility, occurred early Thursday morning. Several popular websites including Foursquare, Reddit, and Quora were down for much of Thursday, and those issues extended into Friday as well.

As of press time late Friday afternoon, all three websites appeared to be functioning normally or close to it. There could still be some hiccups over the next several hours as volumes continue to be restored, some of which may hold data necessary to use all functionality of those sites.”

Easter Based Email Scam

BunnySpammers are evil. And now they are trying to lure people into clicking on stupid links because of cute bunnies!

Spamvertised Easter Greetings lead to malware

“Security researchers from McAfee Labs are reporting on a currently ongoing event-based social engineering attack, aiming to trick users into clicking on a link found in a malicious email.

The spamvertised emails come using ‘Easter Greeting from Alex’ subjects, and are using an animated image including a ‘Download Animated Greeting Here’ body. Upon clicking on the link, the user is exposed to a password-stealing malware variant of PWS-ZBot.

With Easter only a few days away, cybercriminals are quickly adapting to the event-based social engineering potential presented by the holiday.

Users are advised to avoid interacting with suspicious links and email attachments found in email messages.”

iPhone Software Tracks iPhone Users

Your iPhone knows where you are, and, it’s tellin’!

iPhone Software Tracks Location Of Users

“Apple’s iPhone software is storing a record of the travels of iPhone owners on their phones and on the computers used for iPhone synchronization, a practice that has renewed privacy concerns about mobile location tracking.

The data, consisting of latitude and longitude coordinates and corresponding timestamps, is stored unencrypted and, apparently, without permission or conspicuous notification. Apple did not respond to a request to explain whether any of its user agreements covers this practice.

The existence of the iPhone tracking database was disclosed on Wednesday at the Where 2.0 conference by Alasdair Allan, an iPhone programmer and a senior research fellow in Astronomy at the University of Exeter, and Pete Warden, founder of and a former Apple software engineer.

French blogger Paul Coubis appears to have been the first to report this issue last year, though his findings didn’t attract much attention.”

Google is Transcoding all Videos to WebM Format

Now, this is interesting! According to the YouTube blog, YouTube is now transcoding all new uploads to WebM, whereas previously the focus was on 720p and 1080p video.

Google’s James Zern writes, “Transcoding all new video uploads into WebM is an important first step, and we’re also working to transcode our entire video catalog to WebM. Given the massive size of our catalog — nearly 6 years of video is uploaded to YouTube every day — this is quite the undertaking. So far we’ve already transcoded videos that make up 99% of views on the site or nearly 30% of all videos into WebM. We’re focusing first on the most viewed videos on the site, and we’ve made great progress here through our cloud-based video processing infrastructure that maximizes the efficiency of processing and transcoding without stopping. It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos into WebM. As we continue to transcode the remaining inventory, we’ll keep you posted on our progress.”

“The It is Still Not a Phone Edition” of Dr. Bill.TV #184

Dr. Bill Netcast – 184 – (04/16/11)

Cisco kills it’s Flip Camera division, Microsoft bashes Google, talks IE10, Firefox 4 ahead in downloads, GSotW: Passmark OSFMount, the power of the Open Source Community, Oracle, and OpenOffice!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

Passmark OSFMount

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
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Behold the Power of the Open Source Community!

Oracle is giving up on OpenOffice… and turning it into a REAL Open Source project again! Booyah! Now, we will see if LibreOffice “folds back” into the OpenOffice effort! You just don’t tick off the Open Source community!

Oracle Gives up on Commercial Open Office

“Oracle announced Friday that it will no longer sell a commercial version of the Open Office productivity suite, and that the open-source will be transitioned to ‘a purely community-based open-source project.’

‘Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the project would be best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis,’ said Oracle Chief Architect Edward Screven in a statement.

Oracle will ‘begin working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office’ and plans to continue supporting standards like ODF (Open Document Format), he said.

Screven went on to confirm Oracle’s commitment to other open-source technologies, such as Linux and MySQL. ‘Oracle is focused on Linux and MySQL because both of these products have won broad based adoption among commercial and government customers,’ he said.

Oracle’s decision suggests the company has had difficulty selling many Open Office licenses since it acquired Sun Microsystems, which sold the software under the name Star Office. Its move is apparently effective immediately; a number of links on its website related to Open Office were dead on Friday.

Although Oracle didn’t specify so, the future of its recently announced Cloud Office product also seems in question. Website links for Cloud Office were also gone on Friday.

It’s also unclear how Oracle’s decision will affect offshoots of the codebase, such as the Document Foundation’s LibreOffice, which emerged last year amid concerns over how Oracle was dealing with community members.

Previously, the Document Foundation, which counts Google and Red Hat among its supporters, asked Oracle to join the organization and lend the brand name to its efforts.”

Geek Software of the Week: Passmark OSFMount!

Passmark OSFMount
This is a very handy utility that allows you to mount ISOs as a drive letter in Windows to get to a file structure on the image. Very neat! And, it is FREE!

Passmark Software’s OSFMount Utility

“OSFMount allows you to mount local disk image files (bit-for-bit copies of a disk partition) in Windows with a drive letter. You can then analyze the disk image file with PassMark OSForensics™ by using the mounted volume’s drive letter. By default, the image files are mounted as read only so that the original image files are not altered.

OSFMount also supports the creation of RAM disks, basically a disk mounted into RAM. This generally has a large speed benefit over using a hard disk. As such this is useful with applications requiring high speed disk access, such a database applications, games (such as game cache files) and browsers (cache files). A second benefit is security, as the disk contents are not stored on a physical hard disk (but rather in RAM) and on system shutdown the disk contents are not persistent.

OSFMount supports mounting images of CDs, which can be useful when a particular CD is used often and the speed of access is important.”

Passmark OSFMount - File Extensions

Firefox 4 Leading IE9 in Downloads

Not that surprising. But, they are both good browsers, and I never thought I would say that about IE, ever! But, M$ has done a lot to clean up the IE badness!

Firefox 4 leads IE9 in downloads and usage

“Firefox 4, which launched last week, has attracted considerable interest among technology enthusiasts. The browser was downloaded 7.1 million times during the first day of availability alone. It passed 15 million downloads within the first 48 hours and is currently nearing 40 million total downloads.

By comparison, Microsoft’s recently-launched Internet Explorer 9 only netted 2.5 million downloads during its first 24 hours. Firefox 4 is also outpacing Internet Explorer 9 in actual usage, according to statistics provided by StatCounter and Net Applications. They show that Firefox 4 usage represents between 4 and 5 percent of the total browser market whereas Internet Explorer 9 is hovering between 1 and 2 percent.

It’s worth noting that neither browser has been rolled out to regular end users via the standard update channels yet—the statistics are based entirely on voluntary downloads by early adopters. Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler attributes the early popularity of Firefox 4 to strong grassroots support from the browser’s vocal community of independent advocates.

Firefox’s cross-platform footprint and backwards compatibility with Windows XP—which isn’t supported by IE9—may also have played a role in boosting Firefox’s momentum out of the starting gate.”

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