Malware Attack on Printers!

Now, malware is attacking printers! It makes printers print tons and tons of gibberish! How wierd is that?

Thousands of office printers hit by “gibberish” malware

“Summary: What’s been dubbed as a ‘paper salesman’s dream come true,’ thousands of printers worldwide are spewing out garbled content as a result of a malware infection.

Thousands of office printers from large businesses around the world are churning out page after page of gibberish and wasting vast reams of paper.

For once it seems malware is to blame.

Dubbed ‘Trojan.Milicenso,’ it has been described by security researchers as a malware delivery vehicle ‘for hire’ through its repeated use since it was first discovered in 2010, according to security firm Symantec.

The worst hit appear to be large companies in the U.S., India, northern Europe — including the U.K. — and South America.

Symantec said there were a number of ways the malware can find its way onto PCs, including opening a malware-laden email attachment, through a compromised website, or posing as fake video codecs.

Once the malware is opened, it redirects the user to pages to serve up adverts; a common way for malware writers to generate quick revenue.

But one of the apparent ‘side effects’ of the malware affects printers.

The malware unpacks a file in a PCs printer queue, which Windows then turns into a print job. Because these files aren’t readable to ordinary folk without special tools, it churns out incomprehensible gobbledegook, and doesn’t stop until the printer runs out of paper, disconnected from the power supply, or is attacked by a peeved systems administrator with an axe.

It’s like dragging a system file into a plain-text editor: most of the time you’ll see garbage.

If your corporate printers are seemingly spewing out incomprehensible rubbish — it’s either an overworked intern who’s fallen asleep at the keyboard — or more likely a malware infection.”

Geek Software of the Week: BlueGriffon!

BlueGriffonThere was an Open Source Web Editor that was WYSIWYG and was pretty nice! It was called Nvu. But, it is now dead. However, the same developer’s have created an even BETTER version called BlueGriffon! It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX. Check it out!

BlueGriffon – The next-generation Web Editor based on the rendering engine of Firefox

“BlueGriffon is a new WYSIWYG content editor for the World Wide Web. Powered by Gecko, the rendering engine of Firefox, it’s a modern and robust solution to edit Web pages in conformance to the latest Web Standards.

t’s free to download (current stable version is 1.5.2) and is available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

BlueGriffon is available in English, Dutch, Finnish, French, Czech, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish and Traditional Chinese

BlueGriffon is an intuitive application that provides Web authors (beginners or more advanced) with a simple User Interface allowing to create attractive Web sites without requiring extensive technical knowledge about Web Standards.

Because Gecko lives inside BlueGriffon, the document you edit will look exactly the same in Firefox. Advanced users can always use the Source View to hard-code their page.

BlueGriffon is tri-licensed under the Mozilla Public License 1.1, the GNU General Public License Version 2 and the GNU Lesser General Public License Version 2.1.”

Will Error Code “451” be the Censorship Code on the Internet?

Sounds like a plan!

Call for Ray Bradbury to be honoured with internet error message

Ray Bradbury’s fiction looks set to enter the structure of the internet, after a software developer has proposed a new HTTP status code inspired by Fahrenheit 451.

Tim Bray, a fan of Bradbury’s writing, is recommending to the Internet Engineering Task Force, which governs such choices, that when access to a website is denied for legal reasons the user is given the status code 451.

There are already a host of HTTP status codes, from the common 404 Not Found to 504 Gateway Timeout. The 451 idea follows a blogpost from Terence Eden, who found that his ISP had been ordered to censor the Pirate Bay when he was given an HTTP 403 Forbidden message, meaning that “the server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfil it”. In fact, Eden writes on his blog, it was not Pirate Bay that was preventing access but the government, after Britain’s high court issued an order to ISPs to block access to the filesharing site in April, so the response was “factually incorrect”, and a new code is needed to indicate “censorship”.

451, Bray believes, would work nicely, as it would provide a tribute to Bradbury as well as reminding users of the dystopian future predicted by the science fiction author. Bradbury died earlier this month, leaving behind an oeuvre numbering hundreds of short stories as well as the novels Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, which tells of a world where books are banned and burned and fireman don’t put fires out but start them.”

Pretty neat idea! I’d say, “Go for it!”

Microsoft Surface Tablets: Now For Something Completely Different?

Microsoft Surface TabletDifferent for Microsoft, for sure! So, Microsoft “Surface” tablets are here. What do you think? Made entirely by Microsoft, they may be a real force to help Microsoft “get back in the game!”

Microsoft’s Surface Tablets Raise the Bar for PC Pals

“On a wonderfully bright Monday afternoon in Hollywood, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief executive officer, appeared at an art and film studio to deliver what looks like Microsoft’s finest, most controversial product in ages. In fact, it’s a family of products—a line of ‘Surface’ tablet computers aimed at both consumers and workers.

As it does with the Xbox, Microsoft has opted to make the Surface tablets—both hardware and software—on its own. This stands as a huge affront to Microsoft’s longtime PC partners. Making matters worse, the Surface products look far better than anything else the PC makers have shown to date on the tablet front. Even Apple (AAPL) has been put on notice, if the hoots and hollers from the event were any indication.

The first Surface device shown weighs about 1.5 pounds and is 9 mm thick. A second, the Surface Pro, is slightly thicker and heavier. Both tablets come with a built-in kickstand, so you can stand them up to watch movies and the like. Microsoft also did something innovative with its new tablet covers. It had them attach to the the tablets with a firm click and designed them to be keyboards. The Type Cover has keys printed into the cover while the slightly bigger Touch Cover has raised keys.

The keyboard/cover combo is a fantastic idea that immediately makes you question future laptop purchases. That’s yet a further blow against Microsoft’s PC buddies. When Windows 8 launches this fall, Microsoft will sell the tablets through its own online and retail stores and nowhere else. The company declined to reveal pricing details at the June 18 event.

In an interview afterward, Ballmer said Microsoft’s PC partners had been made aware of its plans. When asked to describe how they felt about Microsoft’s moves, Ballmer responded that he had used very precise language on stage and would not go beyond that. (He said nothing on stage that I recall as to how they felt.) As for plans to sell the tablets beyond Microsoft’s own channels, Ballmer again would not budge. ‘That’s all we are going to announce today,’ he said. That’s that, then.

During his speech, Ballmer talked about the push and pull of software and hardware: Sometimes the hardware makers can’t keep up with the software makers’ innovation. So Microsoft decided to take matters into its own hands and showcase all that Windows 8 can do at a time when the company is feeling tremendous pressure from Apple. ‘This is a tool to surface your passions,’ Ballmer said.

Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows, followed Ballmer on stage and was visibly nervous. His voice shook, as did his hands—to the point that he wrecked a couple of touchscreen demos. Still, he returned again and again to the industrial design work Microsoft did to make the Surface products. Gushing about the kickstand, he said: ‘The hinged design is like that of the finest luxury car.’ About the cover, he said, ‘Click. You heard that. It’s solid. It feels great in your hand, like a book. It just fits there.’

Microsoft designed 200 custom parts for the tablets and said that if you tried to cram a piece of sticky tape inside the device, it would bulge with imperfection. Steve Jobs would be proud.”

eBook Sales Pass Physical Books

For the first time, eBook sales have passed physical book sales, as of the last quarter. It looks like we are entering the time of eBooks for real!

eBook Revenues Top Hardcover

“Net sales revenue from eBooks have surpassed hardcover books in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the March Association of American Publishers (AAP) net sales revenue report (collecting data from 1,189 publishers), adult eBook sales were $282.3 million while adult hardcover sales counted $229.6 million during the first quarter of 2012. During the same period last year, hardcover accounted for $335 million in sales while eBooks logged $220.4 million.

Here’s more from the report (Q1 2012 chart embedded above): “In Q1 2012, net sales revenue for eBooks was higher than that for Hardcover; this represents a switch of positions in the category vs Q1 2011. In both quarters, however, Trade Paperback remained a clear #1 in net sales revenue despite some erosion. While eBooks continue to show growth, downloaded audiobooks also keep accelerating vs last year – as some experts have said, tied to ongoing popularity and acquisition of smartphones and mobile devices.”

At the same time, the YA/Children’s category saw hardcover growth. Hardcover revenue in this category was $187.7 million for Q1, up nearly 67 percent. eBook sales in the same category skyrocketed almost 233 percent to $64.3 million.”

Amazon Music Cloud Licensed by All Music Labels

Amazon has gotten all the top labels to allow them to carry their music in it’s store, and support their system.

Amazon’s music cloud is licensed by all top labels

“Amazon’s cloud music service is fully licensed by the top-four record labels, numerous sources have told CNET.

The labels and Amazon aren’t talking, but my sources say Amazon is expected to roll out new features for the company’s cloud-music offering in the United States sometime in July.

We reported on Tuesday that Amazon had wrapped up cloud deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI, and was in negotiations with Warner Music Group. Information is coming in now that Warner Music Group was actually among the first to sign.

The ways in which the licenses will change Amazon’s Cloud Drive or Cloud Player are still unclear, but sources said one feature Amazon will likely offer is Scan and Match.

When Amazon launched its cloud music service last year, the retailer required users to upload each of their individual song files to the company’s servers. For people with a lot of music, this was a hassle. Amazon now has the rights to scan each user’s hard drive to see what songs they possess. Then the merchant can just give users to access to copies of the songs stored on Amazon’s library. They’re listening to the same song but not their own song files.

To distribute a song this way required a license because to do otherwise is a copyright violation, the labels have argued.”

Dr. Bill.TV #244 – Video – “The I Gotta Get Comfortable Edition”

A ‘Microsoft iPad?’ Yammer acquired by M$ for 1.2 Billion! Skype for Linux 4.0 is out, no longer beta. Vizio now making cool-looking PCs! GSotW:Portable Start Menu! Prototype device translates Sign Language, Apple nixs podcasts in iTunes, Geek Wisdom!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

Blubrry Network

Portable Start Menu


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”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

Available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/nQ4GyiieFL8

Available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/44171577


Dr. Bill.TV #244 – Audio – “The I Gotta Get Comfortable Edition”

A ‘Microsoft iPad?’ Yammer acquired by M$ for 1.2 Billion! Skype for Linux 4.0 is out, no longer beta. Vizio now making cool-looking PCs! GSotW:Portable Start Menu! Prototype device translates Sign Language, Apple nixs podcasts in iTunes, Geek Wisdom!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:

TechPodcasts Network

Blubrry Network

Portable Start Menu


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”)
Streaming M4V Audio





Streaming MP3 Audio

Streaming Ogg Audio

Download M4V Download WebM Download MP3 Download Ogg
(Right-Click on any link above, and select “Save As…” to save the Netcast on your PC.)

Available on YouTube at: http://youtu.be/nQ4GyiieFL8

Available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/44171577


Is iTunes Dumping Podcasts?

I am bummed about this… unless the special area, or app, that they create is well publicized. Sigh.

Apple Gives Podcasts a Gentle Push Out of iTunes

“Podcasts were supposed to be a big deal several years ago, but that boom never happened. Now there’s at least anecdotal evidence that the format is actually picking up steam, as creators, listeners and advertisers warm to the format.

So why have podcasts disappeared from the new version of iTunes that Apple started showing to developers this week?

Because Apple plans on giving the recordings their own bit of digital turf.
People familiar with Apple’s plans tell me that when its new iOS 6 software becomes widely available this fall, podcasts will have their own app, where users will be able to discover, download and play them on mobile devices. Users who access iTunes via laptop and desktop machines will still find them in that version of iTunes, though.

Apple has made a similar housekeeeping move before: Last year, it broke up the iTunes player app into separate video and music apps. And when it launched iBooks in conjunction with the iPad in 2010, it made the book reader a separate app as well.

The iTunes U lecture series has also gotten its own app, though you can still access the downloads through the main iTunes player on mobile devices.

Apple also required iBook buyers to use the specialized app to buy their texts. But it has continued to lump all of its audio and video together in the iTunes store. So the move to push podcasts completely into their own space may signal an effort to put iTunes on a diet, something many Apple fans have asked for.

More evidence for that theory: A report that Apple will also move its iTunes U out of iTunes, too.

No comment from Apple.”

Obviously, to those of us who do podcasts (netcasts) it is, and has been, a “big thing” and I think the genre is alive and well. But iTunes is a BIG outlet! We’ll see what this means!

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