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



June 2007 Show Summaries
June 27, 2007  June 20, 2007  June 13, 2007  June 6, 2007 
June 27, 2007 Show

Apple released more bug fixes for the Windows version of their Safari browser. Who cares? Michael felt the world does not need another browser for Windows. Hank felt competition is good.

The iPhone is almost here. Michael and Alfred felt with new ground-breaking technology products, it's always better to wait for version 2. If you can't wait, an iPhone will cost $1,800 as you have to pay for a two year contract at $60/month and the phone itself. And there is no getting out of the contract.

To protest the huge increase in royalties for Internet radio see www.savenetradio.org.

Alfred explained the strange terms in an advertisement for a flat panel monitor. The terms "HDCP", "1080p" and "HD LCD" are references to the fact that a computer monitor can also be a televison - if it can accept a DVI, HDMI, or composite signal. The monitor in question, which was 24 inches and wide screen, had a higher screen resolution than the 1080P standard (1280 by 720 pixels) so it could be used for High Definition video. The only difference between a flat panel LCD computer monitor and a flat panel LCD television, is the tuner included in the TV. Since most people use either a cable box or a satellite box for channel tuning, a computer monitor can substitute for a TV.

Listener phone calls. On the show were Hank Kee, Alfred Poor and Michael Horowitz.

Alfred will be speaking to the NYPC User Group on July 19th on ten things the salesperson doesn't tell you when shopping for a High Definition TV. See nypc.org for details.

Next week, Wednesday is July 4th and the show is pre-empted. However, we will be in the studio recording a show that will be made available on our audio archives page, on our home page (where you can listen with a single click - it couldn't be easier) and via podcast.

 

June 20, 2007 Show

New malicious software has been found on many innocent websites, mostly in Italy. This malware (malicious software) is a big step up in the cat/mouse game of good guys vs. bad guys. David Perry of Trend Micro discussed the problem and solution.

The malware tries to attack multiple bugs in old software on your computer. It looks for known bugs (a.k.a. holes) in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, QuickTime and WinZip. To check if the software on your computer has any known security related bugs, we suggest the Secunia Software Inspector. Unfortunately, this online utility requires that Java from Sun version 1.5.0_06 or later be installed on your computer. What version, if any, of Java is on your computer? See Michael's JavaTester.org web site.

It used to be that browsing safe websites would keep you away from malicious software. But no more. In this case, a website hosting company in Italy had many of the sites they were hosting contaminated. Many of these sites were "safe", at least originally. The sites had no intention of attacking the computers of users. But the bad guys broke into the sites and modified the pages, very often without the owner of the site being aware that anything happened.

Another way to protect yourself, although David said it did not offer full protection against the current malware, is with a free program from Microsoft called DropMyRights. Michael is a big fan of it. Most people use Windows while logged on as an Administrator which means they can do anything on the computer. Likewise any malicious software can too. As the name implies, Drop My Rights, lowers rights down to level of a restricted user. Thus, software can not be installed and the Windows system directories can't be modified. The nice thing about DropMyRights is that it only lowers the rights on programs you tell it. Thus, your web browser can run with restricted rights while Word and your anti-virus program continue to run with Administrator rights. For more, see our September 2006 show.

ATT is offering DSL for $10/month but you need to know a secret password to find the offer on their website. It is not being offered in all areas served by ATT, for example, it is not available here in New York (but it is in parts of CT). The article AT&T's Secret $10 DSL at consumerist.com includes this link to the details of the offer. The modem is free and the service is 768K downstream - bottom of the line as far as DSL goes. See also AT&T Giving Consumers The Runaround Over Secret $10 DSL at consumerist.com.

Microsoft has gone back and forth on the issue of using Windows Vista inside a virtual machine. Analysis: DRM may be why Microsoft flip-flopped on Vista virtualization. ComputerWorld. June 22, 2007.

 

June 13, 2007 Show

Our guest was Maurice Hamoy from Noromis and we discussed their photo editing software Noromis PhotoLab.

 

June 6, 2007 Show

More on the Windows Update bug that slows your computer to a crawl. The recent fix from Microsoft is not a complete fix. To really fix the problem you need to turn off Windows Update and/or Microsoft Update. Doing this using the Windows interface is not sufficient as it still leaves the underlying part of Windows that does the updates running in the background, hidden from view. To really shut it off requires stopping the Automatic Updates service. To do so in Windows XP:
Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services -> right click on Automatic Updates -> get its Properties -> Change the startup type to "disabled" -> reboot Windows

Are Macs cheaper than Windows machines? Hank felt they were, Michael cited an article by Scot Finnie in the June edition of his newsletter that says Macs can be cheaper than Windows machines.

Goings on at Dell, including laying off employees

The attorney general for Connecticut is suing Best Buy. They had an internal use only web site that looked exactly like their public site. Except that the prices were higher. They are accused of purposely using that internal website to fool customers as to current prices.

A couple weeks ago we read an email from a listener with a 320GB external hard drive that Windows XP saw as having only 127GB. The problem is due to the fact that Windows 98 only supports FAT32 partitions up to 127GB and the hard drive was formatted using Windows 98. Later versions of Windows do not have this restriction. The FAT32 file system supports partitions up to 2 terrabytes. However, you don't want to use it for any partition over 32GB as it wastes hard disk space. This is because over 32GB, the FAT32 file system is forced to use a 32K cluster size. Thus, any file under 32,000 bytes would still use 32,000 bytes on the hard disk. And a 34,000 byte file would take up 64,000 bytes of hard disk space.

Fighting the Nigerian (a.k.a. 419) scam. Joe discussed the webiste 419eater.com.

More on software patents. Via competes with Intel on support chips. Joe assigned homework: take a look at www.magnetictime.com. He'll discuss it next week.

 

 
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