Stop. Think. Connect. Cyber attacks permanetly damage your computer, and virtual predators can steal your personal information and use elements of your identity to commit fraud. The U.S. Department of Commerce will launch an office focused on promoting online trusted identity technologies, although much of the effort will be driven by private vendors, officials with President Barack Obama’s administration said.
Trusted ID technology is important because it can help improve consumer confidence in the Internet, said Gary Locke, secretary of the Commerce Department, during a speech at Stanford University in California. “The reality is that the Internet still faces something of a trust issue,” Locke said. “It will not reach its full potential until users and consumers feel more secure than they do today when they go online.” (more…)
You may have heard people talking/blogging/twittering about SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act. The recent SOPA-related boycott of GoDaddy was all over the news, with many people expressing their outrage over the possibilities of SOPA, but when I ask people about SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate, PIPA (Protect IP Act), many don’t really know what the bills propose, or what we stand to lose.
Obviously and it is no secret, that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other pro-copyright groups, lobby politicians and law enforcers for this and continue pushing very hard. It seems to me, that the industries distribution model is not working anymore, or perhaps the movies they are making are just crap? I have not been to the theater in six years, I find the cost to exorbitant in my opinion. (more…)
In the growing battle for the future of the Web, some of the biggest sites online – Google, Facebook, and other tech stalwarts — are considering a coordinated blackout of their sites, some of the web’s most popular destinations. Sites such as Google, Amazon and Facebook could temporarily replace their usual homepage with a black screen and a message asking users to contact politicians and urge them to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move could come as early as January 24, when the bill is due to be debated in the House of Representatives.
No Google searches. No Facebook updates. No Tweets. No Amazon.com shopping. Nothing. (more…)
Will 2012 see the end of the internet as we know it? The House Judiciary committee tried to finalize the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) before Christmas for a vote early next year. But fierce opposition – much of it online – seems to have given pause to the bill’s main author, Lamar Smith. He is now expected to hear from expert witnesses early next year before the bill goes to Congress.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the Protect IP Act. (more…)
I’ve seen this ad on TV for a program to speed up your computer off on on when viewing cable. The program that installed was called “Cyber Defender”. It’s listed in many sites on the internet as a possible Virus, Trojan or Rogue.
It would do one and only one operation and that was to scan the registry. Or at least it appeared that’s what it was doing. I was locked out of selecting any other options. Then it reported over 400 errors in my registry, but when I hit the button to Fix the problems, it took me right to there web site, where I was presented with the opportunity to spend money to buy their program. (more…)
Some people are afraid of Windows 7. Some people are said to be in love with it, but they usually go under anonymous handles and some time in the near future someone will produce an investigative report linking such people to astroturfing. A Linux advocate has managed to expose a Microsoft agent cursing Linux and praising Microsoft products under multiple handles. Once the person was linked to his/her Facebook account it turned out that s/he worked for Microsoft, whereupon the Facebook page got deleted (evidence, be gone!).
I am personally amused to see these days anonymous commenter’s pressuring writers who are critical Windows 7 phone, whilst using pseudonyms. Remember that Microsoft spends about half a billion dollars just promoting this already-failed product and this money goes to peripheral agencies that use all sorts of tactics to shape the perception of Windows 7 phone. Watch what those alleged sympathizers of Windows 7 phone (it hardly has any users) caused a Forbes writer to publish even as a headline: “Commenter’s Say Don’t Knock Windows Phone 7 Prematurely”
Who are those commenter’s? Can they be named? The point of it all is that what we’re seeing here is exactly what we saw when Windows Vista and Windows 7 were released. There was retaliation against writers who criticized it. In the coming days we’ll do some dedicated posts about Vista Phony 7, whereas in this post we wish to address the myth of GNU/Linux being ‘hard’, ‘incompatible’, etc.
“In many ways, these people can handle GNU/Linux better than they can use Windows without a support helpline and an OEM’s preinstallation.”
I’ve used Ubuntu since its 2005 and wrote about it almost a dozen times in this blog. It works for me, friends, family and my customers. It works better than almost anything I’ve tried and I installed it for other people too. They stick with it. They even installed it themselves, having never installed a GNU/Linux distribution before. Last night I found a post titled “Windows 7 fails to power down idle disks, Fedora 14 works”. This it the typical sort of example where Linux “just works” where Windows does not. People need to take it for granted that in certain areas GNU/Linux is far ahead of Windows (package management for instance). To quote a fragment from this new post:
After a while Windows 7 will power down an idle (Fedora 14) disk but then it will randomly power the disk back up. This process would then repeat, an endless cycle of power down, power up, power down, power up….
Why does Windows 7 feel the need to poll my idle disk and wake it up?
Not only is this behavior irritating but it undermines the idea of spinning down idle disks to save power.
Fedora 14 on the other hand spins down my idle (Windows 7) disk perfectly and does not randomly power the drive back up again unless I intentionally access the drive.
“My morning in Microsoft hell” is another new post that I found last night. It also speaks about Windows 7:
I didn’t want to give up, so I took the plunge and called Microsoft. After a glorious 10 minutes on hold, I was told that as I had bought my copy of Windows 7 more than 90 days prior, I could not get support for less than $59. What? I could not believe it. I have to pay for when I can’t get your product to actually work? This is literally the exact opposite of a Genius Bar. Microsoft told me to go to their website and search for answers to my problem. I was blinking, so she repeated: “go to Microsoft.com.”
All I needed to know was, ‘is it possible to revert to factory like settings without reinstalling Windows 7?’ Is that so hard to divulge?
Then it hit me: I can’t reinstall Windows at all, because I don’t have a disk to reinstall from. I downloaded the OS from Microsoft, and thus have no physical media to use to restart. In short, I can’t restore, and I can’t reinstall, despite having paid for the damn OS. In other words, my main computer is for all intents and purposes dead.
It is important to see why people favor Linux here. It’s not price, it’s not the viruses in Windows, and it is not the belonging to a “side”, either. It’s technical merit and the notion of ownership/control. If one expands the scope of factors, cost can be seen as a nice bonus and as Microsoft Emil reluctantly admits, there is yet another unpatched Explorer flaw right now (we wrote about them previously).
Details on the IE vulnerability are probably more widely known than Microsoft would like, especially given that the researcher in question, Michal Zalewski released the fuzzing tool to the public on New Years Day. It’s worth noting that a Google employee has done this before, disclosing an IE flaw that could allow attackers to steal private information from online services. Then and now, Microsoft argued that details should not be disclosed publicly until a patch is available.
How many people still remember that Google banned Windows for all internal use? That was less than a year ago. Google claims to be doing this for security reasons, but there are so many more reasons than that. Google starts pushing Linux-based Chrome OS and Android into a very large market and GNU/Linux in general is very mature at this stage. I never use Windows (neither at home or work) and this avoidance becomes ever more painless over time. Soon enough proprietary codecs and Flash won’t be required, either owing to changes on the Web, or partly owing to Google.
People do not like change, they get comfortable with something and then become lazy and lethargic. A book I just read, describes change in one’s own work and life, and some typical reactions to it.
- Change Happens
- They Keep Moving The Cheese
- Anticipate Change
- Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
- Monitor Change
- Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
- Adapt To Change Quickly
- The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
- Move With The Cheese
- Enjoy Change!
- Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
- Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
- They Keep Moving The Cheese.
So, in an article at PCW (http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/207999-2/desktop_linux_the_dream_is_dead.html), Robert Strohmeyer argues that the dream of desktop Linux is dead. I disagree. I strongly disagree. I don’t disagree because I have some hope of Linux out-pacing Windows or Macintosh OSX. I don’t disagree because there is some new distribution that is going to sweep the market. I don’t disagree because of how easy to use Ubuntu, Mint, and Mandriva are. I disagree because the Linux community will never rest.
In the mid-90s, the Linux community was much smaller than it is today. It was, in fact, minuscule in comparison. We’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Well, if our community is so much smaller, why are the market share estimates by so many relatively the same size? Well, how do you gather data on the number of desktop machines running Linux? Are you doing so by website polls and such? Are you doing so by the Linux Counter? Are you doing so by PC sales? None of these are going to deliver any kind of accurate statistics. This is because Linux normally spreads by word of mouth. How many times have you shown Linux to someone? How many times have you told people what Linux is? How many times have people entered into conversations describing the benefits of Linux to others? It is often from these encounters that Linux market share increases. Very few people by computers with Linux preinstalled on them, which means you would have to literally ask everyone who owns a desktop computer which OS he/she is running. To date, no one has asked me or anyone I know (not anyone conducting a poll anyway).
Next, the article asserts that reasons are flash, or that the reasons are lack of content, or that the reasons are due to media incompatibilities. These are all bogus. Flash runs well on most desktop Linux distributions. Media playback is often painless and beautiful on most desktop Linux distributions, and there are many thousands of applications available on most Linux distributions. None of those are the reasons for the lack of Linux to become dominant in the PC world. The real reasons have never changed. Number one is the lack of hardware vendor commitment. Number two is a lack of advertising. Number three is the general lack of knowledge/care that most users have of/for operating systems in general.
This article then moves on to say that the desktop is becoming irrelevant itself. This is probably the most bogus claim in the entire thing. Have desktop PC sales slowed? Sure they have. Have desktop PC sales stopped? No they haven’t. There are several groups who will never want to give up their desktops. First, gamers. Laptops are never as powerful as their desktop brethren of the same era. Second, workstation users. A workstation these days is quite simply a powerful desktop computer. Third, the thrifty. A low-end laptop costs about as much as a mid-range desktop of the same era. Fourth, enthusiasts. You usually cannot build your own laptop, and certainly cannot do so as easily as you can a desktop.
All in all, the article was bogus. People need to be weary of FUD like that. Too many credible news agencies are starting to churn out drivel like this PCW article.