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HTMLfixIT Archive for the ‘News’ 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.

40 Comments »

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.

1 Comment »

Monday, July 9th, 2007 by Franki

Shockingly, a Motorola phone has killed a 22 yo man in China after it exploded (or at least the battery did) in his pocket and pushed broken ribs into his heart. The man was welding at the time and the temperature is the most likely cause of the explosion. China is apparently rife with counterfeit cheap batteries and this may have played a part in the incident. Read more here.

No Comments »

Monday, June 25th, 2007 by Franki

We’ve not had a significant upgrade of our CMS backend in over a year and a half and we were falling prey to thousands of comment spam. (so much so that we had to disable the comment system about 10 months ago).

Today that changes and htmlfixit has a totally new backend. Comments should be open again (with spam protection and blacklists in place) and access to older articles is now much easier. (see the sidebar on the right hand side). There will be some fine tuning to come, but bear with us, we’ll get there in the end. If you have any suggestions as to the layout, feel free to use the contact form and let us know.

regards

Don and Frank
htmlfixit.com

2 Comments »

Thursday, June 21st, 2007 by Franki

Not so long ago we had a lovely open Forum here where there were no real restrictions and we all chatted happily. Then the spammers found our forum and filled it with ads and links in the hope of improving their Google ranking. The result of this was that the forum had to be restricted to registered users only which stopped the spam, but stopped Google spidering the pages as well. That loss of pages cost us hits, and advertising dollars that go towards the hosting of the site. To solve the problem we’ve updated the forum software. The new version has image capture on registration. It has email verification before allowing posts, and it has a much improved spam filtering back end. The point of all this is that we want to open the forum up to general browsing again and in fact have just done so. enjoy!

3 Comments »

Friday, June 15th, 2007 by Franki

If I’ve come across a free tool online lately that I wish I’d written myself, it is this one. I was called upon recently to put a video online and embedded in a web page for a client so they could advertise it, and I needed to get it done ASAP. I was about to start hand writing code when I thought, ‘no I’ll give Google a chance first’ which I find myself doing allot nowadays. So anyway, I did a bit of searching and found this extremely well thought out and implemented online tool.

I’m still annoyed that I didn’t do this myself as I imagine it would be very popular and not that hard to knock together. The tool is called Embedded Media HTML Generator and it’s on the website of the University of California. You simply choose the format of the video you want to embed (from Flash, Quicktime, Real Media or Windows Media Video), you fill out the form detailing file names and locations as well as any optional settings and hit submit. You will then be presented with a heap of HTML code that can be inserted directly into your web page. Simple, easy and elegant. The only options they don’t provide are for choosing XHTML transitional or strict, but that’s easy enough to do by hand.

No Comments »

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.

No Comments »







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</random humor>

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   October 20, 2017, 4:59 am
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   October 20, 2017, 5:59 pm
  Don't worry neither one sleeps very long!



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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
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17 Apr 2011 W32/Womble-E
17 Apr 2011 Troj/VB-FGD
17 Apr 2011 Troj/FakeAV-DFF
17 Apr 2011 Troj/SWFLdr-W
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