High Res Photo of Pluto Probe Liftoff

This is a cool photo of the beginning of a cool mission! (No pun intended… I know Pluto is cold!)

Hi Res Photo of Pluto Mission Liftoff

I remember in 1969 watching the Apollo mission when the largest rocket ever built blasted off to carry three men to the moon. It would takes DAYS to reach the moon… the Pluto probe rocket made it to the moon, and passed it, in only nine hours! Wow!

IEEE Passes 802.11n Standard Draft

The IEEE is, of course, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Meeting in Hawaii (well, SOMEBODY’S gotta do it) they passed the first draft of the new 802.11n standard for wireless, which will eventually provide up to 600 MBps in throughput over wireless networking! Dewd!

IEEE Committee Passes 1st Draft of 802.11n

“Broadcom and Marvell have already announced chips based on the draft, with Broadcom saying its products would be upgradeable in case of any changes in the final revision. The first 802.11n chips could be released by the end of this quarter, Marvell said.

Passage of a proposal requires a 75 percent vote in the affirmative, which it easily surpassed on a vote of 184 to 0 with four abstentions. However, final ratification is not expected until 2007.

802.11n uses a technology called MIMO, which stands for multiple-in, multiple out. In layman’s terms, it means a device could have multiple antennas that handle more than one data stream at a time, thus speeding the transfer of data tremendously.

According to test, data rates of up to 600 MBps could be expected. 802.11n devices would also be backwards compatible with the earlier 802.11a, b and g specifications.”

Browser Hijacking and How to Stop It!

Have you ever had your web browser hijacked? You open your browser and ZAP! Suddenly you are at some loser site that you did NOT have set as your Home Page! Then, you set your Home Page back to your normal one, only to find the next time that you open your browser again… ZAP! You have been hijacked, all right!

Well, there are steps that you can take to solve this problem, and this article lays them out pretty well:

Prevent Browser Hijacking

I especially like his first step… don’t use Internet Explorer. There ya go!

Steve Gibson Finds a Backdoor in Windows?

Steve Gibson, of GRC Software, author of Spinrite and security maven, claimed on his “Security Now!” Podcast to have found that the WMF exploit was no accident, but rather was a true “back door” into Windows, put there by the Evil Empire themselves! Whoa! Talk about inviting the death squads to show up! Microsoft is already denying the report (of course,) though it does sound like something they might do…. in my humble opinion. Check out M$’s denial here:

Microsoft Disputes WMF Backdoor Claim

Watch your back, Steve! Meanwhile, we will see what his further research reveals… more as it happens!

New Skype Version Wins Over Critics

It seems that the new version of Skype (2.0) is winning over some of it’s critics. I, myself, had been an early user of Skype, and had moved over to the Gizmo Project… maybe I will have to try Skype again. It is free, after all!

Skype V2.0 Wins Over Critics

“Skype 2.0 became available for the general public earlier this week. Improvements from earlier Skype releases include free video calling and the ability to sort contacts into groups like colleagues, friends and family. There’s also mood messages that let fellow Skypers ‘know where you are and how you’re feeling,’ the company said.

Apparently, Skype’s listened to the feedback, some of it pretty nasty. The test version gave rise to a number of complaints ranging from a misfiring voice mail feature to the rather curious choice for the alerts to incoming calls, known as ring tones.

‘I tried an early 2.0 beta last month and didn’t like it at all. But I’ve been running the latest build for the past few days and it is just great, no negative issues with it,’ writes blogger and Skype watcher Neville Hobson.”

New “Dr. Bill” Podcast is Available Early! #19

Dr. Bill Podcast – 19 – (01/12/06)
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Cool Video in your Browser!, Upgrading WordPress to 2.0, Microsoft tries to spread “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) about Linux… again!, Creative tries to redefine the word “Podcast”, MySQL gets US General Services Administration approval!, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ article on the Microsoft “FUD” campaign, way to go, Steven!, Symantec uses rootkit tech in it’s software, oopsy, they are going to get raked over the coals like Sony! The Podcast was early because I am traveling this weekend!

US Patent Office Upholds FAT File System Patent

Microsoft has won another one. They patented the FAT file system (File Allocation Table), which is actually old anyway, but now a challenge to the patent, that looked promising, has been rejected.

USPTO Upholds Patent for FAT

“On Tuesday, the USPTO announced its decision to uphold the patents, and now coders and users in the free and open source software community, as well as the makers of a wide array of flash storage-based electronic devices, are wondering just how big of a bind they’re in.”

So, will Uncle Bill demand some money from you for using your thumbdrive? We’ll have to see!

Symantec Found Using Rootkit Feature

First Sony, now Symantec! Yeeesh, guys! What’s with setting up security holes in our Windows systems? They are unsecure enough as it is!

Symantec Found Using Rootkit Feature

I, personally, have never liked Symantec. For instance, Norton Antivirus is about as hard to remove from your system as a virus, itself! But this is a new low!

“The Norton Protected Recycle Bin feature adds a directory called NProtect, which stores temporary copies of files that users delete. The idea was to supplement the standard Windows Recycle Bin and enable users to recover files they removed accidentally.

However, hiding a directory from Windows can open the door to vulnerabilities, as the Sony DRM rootkit debacle exposed. Malware authors were able to write viruses and worms that hid in the cloaked directory, effectively preventing scanning software from discovering their existence on a PC.

Symantec notes that on-demand scanners, including Norton AntiVirus, would discover the malware when it is loaded it memory. Still, the company isn’t taking any chances after Sony’s PR disaster and has issued an update to make the NProtect directory visible in the Recycle Bin.”

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