The Personal Computer Radio Show  WBAI-FM 99.5
New York City



April 2009 Show Summaries
April 29, 2009  April 22, 2009  April 15, 2009  April 8, 2009  April 1, 2009 
April 29, 2009 Show

Defining botnets. A Mac OSX botnet. iAntiVirus.com is free Mac antivirus software from PC Tools. Apple was fined $19 million dollars for patent infringement. There will be an optional component to the expensive versions of Windows 7 that will run Windows XP applications via virtualization. Vista SP2 is coming soon. Microsoft is changing autoruns and autoplay, yet again, in Windows 7.

GE announced a breakthorugh in hologrpahic storage. Alfred felt this was a non-story and warned not to hold your breath until its a commercial product. The Pirate Bay lawsuit is being appealed. Spranq developed a free font called EcoFont with holes in it designed to save on ink. How different is it from draft mode? We don't know but Alfred pointed out that draft mode saves up to 50% of ink.

Joe and Hank are big fans of GoBack, but it doesn't run on Vista. A somewhat similar program is RollBack Rx. It has 14 day free trial. Unlike GoBack which did constant logging, this takes snapshots. There are two pieces to the software, a client and a console.

The last half of the show, as usual, was listener phone calls.

 

April 22, 2009 Show

Capping bandwidth by ISPs. Oracle purchased Sun. GiveAwayOfTheDay.com gives away commercial software. A new version of Ubuntu Linux was just released. Woot.com sells one product a day.

The last half of the show, as usual, was listener phone calls. Listeners liked these web sites: socuteurl.com, soyouwanna.com, learnhow2.com, bored.com, newgrounds.com and livemanual.com.

 

April 15, 2009 Show

Yesterday was patch Tuesday and many critical bugs were fixed including eight that were already being attacked. Two US Senators are considering a bill with an Internet kill switch. Joe felt this was ridiculous. The use of proxy servers may increase criminal sentences according to a proposed regulation from the Justice Department. Microsoft will continue to offer free security patches for Windows XP until April 2014.

The guest was Brian Johnson of Microsoft and the topic was the Media Center feature included in a few versions of Windows Vista. It has a 10 foot user interface and can pull up a TV guide, which is built in and free, and select shows to record on your computer. Alfred said it is the only way to record high def shows - normal DVRs don't do high definition. You need extra hardware to pull in TV show, specifically an ATSC tuner card. Some are external and plug into a USB port. The Atom processor has sufficient horsepower to run media center, assuming it can run Vista (think lots of ram). A list of supported tuner cards is available at microsoft.com/mediacenter. There is a remote control device for media center. Media center can play music and Alfred pointed out that it found music on other PCs on his network. The media center extender is a box that plugs into TV that connects to a PC in another room. Media center can also play digital photos and it can get some (not much apparently) video from the Internet.

The last half of the show, as usual, was listener phone calls.

 

April 8, 2009 Show

Is Microsoft dropping Flight Simulator? Virginia's anti-spam law. The new versions of the Atom CPU will run Windows 7. Office 2003 is going into a different type of support from Microsoft. This means nothing to consumers who can still run Office 2003 and even older versions of Office. The Atom CPU has migrated to desktop systems, some of which don't have optical drives. The life of Windows XP has been extended, yet again. People want it.

Hank reviewed PC Doctor Service Center 7. The last half of the show, as usual, was listener phone calls.

 

April 1, 2009 Show

Microsoft discontinued their Encarta encyclopedia and the future of Flight Simulator is iffy. Western Digital is getting into the business of solid state drives (SSDs). Kodak gallery. According to Rescuecom, a Syracuse, N.Y. based chain of service shops, Macs are not as reliable as they used to be. The most reliable computers were from Asus and Lenovo. The conficker worm.

Our guest was Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software. Sunbelt makes a number of anti-malware products including Vipre, Counterspy and a firewall. The topic was Ghostnet. Alex blogs at sunbeltblog.com and he wrote about Ghostnet recently.

Alex felt that Ghostnet is much more troubling than the Conficker worm, even though Conficker gets the publicity. Ghostnet is a ring of infected computers, many "high value", in 103 different countries (very few in the US). The story behind Ghostnet started with someone, perhaps the Chinese government, spying on the Dalai Lama. Among the other high value infected targets were embassies and government offices. An analysis of the Dalai Lama's computers revealed that the initial infection came in a Word document attached to very real looking malicious email message.

Alex warned that PDFs are just as dangerous as Word documents, if not more. Opening the Word document infected the Windows computers with very nasty malicious software. Alex suggests scanning any attachment at virustotal.com before opening it. That way you get run it by over 30 different antivirus scanners.

Joe recommended the Sunbelt personal firewall. It's a two way firewall and thus would indicate any outbound traffic generated by malware on your computer.

The second half of the show was devoted to listener phone calls, as usual.

 

 
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