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HTMLfixIT Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Sunday, December 9th, 2007 by Franki

Microsoft risks alienating web developers with their unwillingness or inability to conform to standards and their secrecy surrounding Internet Explorer 8. I must admit to some amazement that they got to version 8 without web developers realizing that this is SOP for Microsoft and something they have done from the beginning. It seems that the only time you can really expect any openness, is when they are coming from behind and need some traction. When defending monopoly market share, they don’t seem to be able to do more than talk about interoperability, standards and the like. (ODF anyone?). Luckily for us, due to the ongoing success of Apple Safari & Mozilla Firefox, not to mention the growing range of Linux PC’s and laptops sold by giants like Asus and Walmart, Microsoft’s monopoly of the web browser is rather quickly being whittled away. That is great news as the Internet was designed to be useful to everyone, not to be held hostage by a commercial entity seemingly concerned with nothing but their own profits. (There is nothing wrong with being concerned about profits, as long as the actions stemming from such concern doesn’t prevent everyone else from striving to the same position.)

In other Microsoft news, apparently their hardware is just as vulnerable as their software has proven to be over the years. Using a Microsoft wireless keyboard can get your machine and all passwords used on it handed over to people some distance from you. Worse your machine need not even be connected to any network to be vulnerable. Apparently all you need do is use a Microsoft wireless keyboard and you are vulnerable.

In hardware news, Western Digital has released a fashionable range of external (and NAS) hard drives called “My Book”. They look cool, but apparently Western Digital has assumed that you want to pay them to police your files on your network. The client software (WD Anywhere Access) for the drives will not let you share a wide range of multimedia files on your network. Apparently you are to pay them handsomely for the privilege of the software you purchased presuming you are a criminal.

Lastly, could this finally be the time for of Desktop Linux getting widespread adoption? First we had Tivo running Linux, now we have a range of Linux PC’s showing up in huge shopping chains, then Google makes a bid to have Linux become the standard in mobile communication Operating Systems. Linux seems to be popping up everywhere. The majority of the top 500 super computers are running Linux (including #1) and now it’s going for the low end as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Windows, Linux or Apple, this is good news, because it means that Microsoft and possibly Apple will have to lower prices and compete when Linux gains widespread acceptance from the newbie crowd. In addition, everyone is looking to a future where software runs over the Internet, and for the underlying Operating System to be less and less significant. For that to happen no one company can be allowed to steer the direction by using existing market share. The rise of Apple, the growth of Linux and the innovation of Google are going to see that the future of personal (and mobile) computing is not steered by any one company.


Thursday, November 29th, 2007 by Don

Microsoft is the target of new Mac commercials and frankly they are not only funny, but true. Upgrade from Vista to XP goes the theme — I know I sure have. Vista offers little advantage and is so slow. Even XP has it’s share of problems however. Today Microsoft Update says get the latest and greatest .net framework upgrade. Why do I need it? They never bother to explain.

List of bugs that are fixed in the .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

Do I use the .net framework? For what? Or are they again clogging up my machine with stuff I just don’t need and use?

No Comments »

Friday, October 12th, 2007 by Don

I really don’t like AIM and I don’t like Facebook, but others do. So what are you going to do? If the people you need to talk to say to use a tool, then well, you have to use it to continue the relationship. So I occasionally use AIM as it is the best way to get a hold of several people, including a couple of family members. If you use AIM, it will on start-up self load a “portal site” called AIM Today.

I find it annoying, not to mention that because it is tied to your user name it is fully tracked when you visit it, and where you go from it. Now this is not unique as many other sites do the same thing (including Google when you are logged into your gmail account for example), however most of the others all require you to initiate the process. Not so with AIM, it just starts for you when you access the messenger function. So how do you stop it?

It is actually pretty easy to disable. All Windows computers have a host file buried in them somewhere.

It will have this line somewhere in it:

#              # x client host

Simply add this line to your host file and re-save it:              # remove aim today boot up daily

In my case the host file is located here:

Keep in mind that it is a “hidden” file and so you have to view hidden files and open it with a plain text editor. Note also that it has no extension. It is not a .txt file, so do not add an extension. On some editors you will have to save as “hosts” using the quote marks.

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Saturday, September 15th, 2007 by Don

Our stats show this today (9/15/2007):
OS Statistics
Windows Vista 7.5%
Windows 2003 1.16%
Windows XP 71.6%
Windows 2000 3.2
Windows NT4 0.03%
Windows 98/ME 0.88%
Windows 95 0.26%
Linux/UNIX/BSD 6.34%
Mac OSX 7.41%
Mac Classic 0.02%
Misc 1.5%

Seventy one percent are using XP — seven percent are on Vista, most because they had to buy a computer with it on it I suspect. After six months the move isn’t happening. I would be tempted to buy XP if I had to buy a computer with Vista on it. I did buy one with Vista and I hate it. Slow and cannot run things. Cannot find drivers. My son just bought a new laptop and he went out of his way to find one with XP on it. The only person I know who loves Vista is … well actually I don’t know any come to think of it.

Is there something you really like about Vista that I should know about?


Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 by Don

I really don’t like Microsoft. I was working on a website the other day, (that broadcasts local sporting events in west Michigan like high school and college football games — and I do like them) in an effort to improve the usability of their site. As a result of using that site to listen to a broadcast, Windows Media forced me to update. So I did … and then before installing it required me to phone the mother ship (not literally but via the web) to authenticate my copy of Windows XP (thankfully I am not yet forced to use the lousy new Windows Vista). It finally gave me the green light and then … it tried to change my defaults all over the place to “use Windows Media Player 11”. They were kind enough to give me a select all button so I could wreck my experience universally, but didn’t bother to give me an unselect all button so that I could affect as little as possible. Common courtesy dear Microsoft programmers says any time you add a select all, you add the opposite toggle for unselect all. That is why I dislike you: you always try to force content on me.

Windows Media Player 11 Lacks Unselect All Feature


Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 by Franki

Not that long ago Microsoft released the Vista operating system to what appeared to be an eager world. That appearance was apparently a mistake. Vista has been said to be rather slow unless it’s running on high end equipment and lots of hardware is still lacking drivers for Vista. DRM or Digital Rights Management software is probably partially responsible for the lower performance of systems running Vista. (compared to the same software running XP). Encoding and decoding encryption needs lots of CPU and ram power, and Vista is loaded with it, all designed to make sure you can’t do anything Microsoft and possibly any of their affiliates don’t want you to do. That’s right, it’s all designed to police what you can and can’t do with your computer. And best of all (from their perspective) YOU ARE PAYING THEM TO REDUCE YOUR CHOICES AND FREEDOM!. For example, the Hardware changes required to adhere to required Vista DRM standards ends up being added to the price of the hardware and Microsoft gets paid hand over fist for it every time someone buys a PC with Vista on it. Recently I downloaded the latest drivers for a piece of hardware I own, and these new drivers were designed with DRM and content protection in mind. After I loaded the new drivers, I found my hardware had slowed down so much that I couldn’t use it anymore. That’s because DRM is not free in any sense, it uses CPU cycles and it uses memory. Strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to surprise anyone, that the latest hardware running the latest Windows seems to do heaps of stuff slower than the previous versions running on slower hardware. Where is all that extra CPU and memory going?

There is allot more to this issue, but it’s been really well covered by people much more knowledgeable then myself. Here are some pages you really should read if you are curious or angry about paying a company to take away your choices. Let’s start with this informative article entitled “Who owns your computer“. Then follow it up with a “Cost Analysis of Windows Vista content protection” which will open your mind and possibly freak you out a little as it did me. After reading it, you can watch an add for Microsoft Vista and marvel at how Microsoft’s high priced advertising execs can spin it all to sound like stuff you really want to pay for. As long as they focus on the eye candy and gloss over everything else, most people don’t know enough to look any deeper.


Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 by Franki

In a normal week, I probably try somewhere between 5 and 10 different programs for one reason or another. Once of the programs I tried this week is Eraser, mostly because it is GPL (Open Source Software) and is totally free. Recently I was called upon to recover sales data from a ex staff members laptop as said staff member decided that the company in question really didn’t need their sales data and deleted the lot (along with about 2500 emails) before returning the laptop.

What led me to Eraser, was the ease with which I recovered all the data. Sure it was time consuming, but in one evening, I’d recovered nearly all the data, and all the deleted emails from Thunderbird. (I’d have gotten all the data, but the laptop had been used for a couple of days and rebooted about a dozen times, so some of it had been overwritten).

Anyway, onto the theory. When data is deleted and emptied from the recycle bin, it isn’t really deleted at all, only its index is removed, the data itself is not changed. Think of it like a map book, the pages of maps themselves are the data and the index is the list of what data is in what place. Removing an entry from the index doesn’t remove the map, you just can’t find it anymore. Same with deleted data. The big difference is that once an area is cleaned from the index of a hard drive, the area in question is allocated as free space meaning it can be over written the next time some free space is need. As long as the data hasn’t been overwritten, it is usually recoverable. Anyway, the ease with which the data was recovered made me think about ways of making it harder, cheap ways at that. 30 seconds of Googling later and I was looking at Eraser. As a test, I put a heap of files between 20 and 700 mb onto a 120 gig hard drive. Then I completely deleted the lot and used Freeundelete (another great little free program) to recover the lot. I was not using this drive as my main system drive and had not added any new data so the recovery was 100% successful. Following that, I deleted the lot again, and ran Eraser on that drive to delete (overwrite) the deleted files and tried to recover them again. this time I was completely unsuccessful, I got nothing usable from the recovery at all. That is to say that Eraser did exactly that it was written for, it made recovering the data next to impossible. It is possible that some experts using much lower level tools could recover small parts of the deleted data, but for all intents and purposes, it’s gone for good.

Eraser is surprisingly easy to use for an OSS program. It works in a schedule type arrangement where you create tasks and then “run” them. So I created a new task, (in this case to erase all free space on drive D), then I right clicked on the task and selected run and off it went. About 4.5 hours later it told me my drives free space was clean. This probably wouldn’t be the NSA’s chosen program for covering their tacks, but for the vast majority, it’s more than enough (wouldn’t hurt to defrag the drive afterwards either).
It never hurts to cover your tracks, even if you are not doing anything questionable, if you don’t like the idea of someone going though your machine, make it harder. Besides, the price of Eraser is right (free), and it takes next to no space or time to use so why not? I give it at 9 out of 10 for doing perfectly, exactly what it is supposed to and nothing more. Small, fast and tidy.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   December 17, 2018, 1:37 am
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   December 17, 2018, 2:37 pm
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Browser Statistics
Internet Explorer 85.88%
IE 717.63%
IE 62.3%
IE 50.00%
IE other8.6%
Moz Firefox 3.x3.03%
Moz Firefox 2.x0.18%
Moz Firefox 0.x/1.x26.65%
Netscape 8.x0.00%
NS 6+/Mozilla2.73%
Moz Seamonkey0.00%
Netscape 4.x0.00%
Opera 9.x0.00%
Opera 8.x0.00%
Opera 7.x0.42%
Opera 6.x0.00%
Opera other0.42%
Safari Mac/Intel5.21%
Safari Mac/PPC0.06%
Safari Windows25.2%
Google Chrome1.51%

Resolution Statistics
640 x 4800.25%
800 x 60026.14%
1024 x 76836.55%
1152 x 8640.25%
1280 x 80011.68%
1280 x 8540.00%
1280 x 102417.01%
1400 x 10500.00%
1600 x 12001.02%
1920 x 12007.11%
2560 x 10240.00%

OS Statistics
Windows 741.55%
Windows Vista2.4%
Windows 20033.91%
Windows XP20.86%
Windows 20000.36%
Windows NT40.05%
Windows 98/ME0.05%
Windows 950.00%
Mac OSX8.03%
Mac Classic0.00%

New Windows Virus Alerts
also by sophos.

17 Apr 2011 Troj/Mdrop-DKE
17 Apr 2011 Troj/Sasfis-O
17 Apr 2011 Troj/Keygen-FU
17 Apr 2011 Troj/Zbot-AOY
17 Apr 2011 Troj/Zbot-AOW
17 Apr 2011 W32/Womble-E
17 Apr 2011 Troj/VB-FGD
17 Apr 2011 Troj/FakeAV-DFF
17 Apr 2011 Troj/SWFLdr-W
17 Apr 2011 W32/RorpiaMem-A

For details and removal instructions, click the virus in question.