24 December 2005

The War on Christmas, the Prequel


When the holiday was banned.



Complaining about Christmas is one of the most enduring of Christmas traditions. It's not so much the holiday itself that bothers us. It's the way other people insist on celebrating it.

Liberal plots notwithstanding, the Americans who succeeded in banning the holiday were the Puritans of 17th-century Massachusetts.

Read the full article by Andrew Santella...

What Extremists on the LEFT and RIGHT Have in Common

What all extremists have in common is the way they came by their ideology: via emotion. My thesis is that all extremists start with hot emotion, and add the cool rationale later.

Read the full article by John Shirley

13 December 2005

US-CERT Cyber Security Alert SA05-347A -- Microsoft Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities


You guessed it! M$ has done it again -- more security problems...


Systems Affected

* Microsoft Windows
* Microsoft Internet Explorer

For more complete information, refer to the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for December 2005.

Overview

Microsoft has released updates that address critical vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.


Solution

Apply Updates
Microsoft has released security updates for Internet Explorer. To obtain the updates, visit the Microsoft Update web site. US-CERT also recommends enabling Automatic Updates.

Disable ActiveX
Instructions for disabling ActiveX controls in the Internet Zone can be found in the Malicious Web Scripts FAQ.

Do not follow unsolicited links
Do not click on unsolicited URLs received in email, instant messages, web forums, or internet relay chat (IRC) channels.

Read all about it at US-CERT, United States - Computer Emergency Readiness Team...

09 December 2005

Unpatched Firefox 1.5 exploit made public

Exploit code for the latest version of open-source browser Firefox was published Wednesday, potentially putting users at risk of a denial-of-service attack.

...Read the full story at Tech News on ZDNet

27 November 2005

Your home may still be your castle

Supporters of eminent domain may have lost their just-won Supreme Court victory.

This should be a happy Thanksgiving for local governments that want to use their power of eminent domain to promote economic development. Last June, they won a huge victory when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with them that seizing private property for such purposes does not violate the Constitution.

Read the full story by Steve Chapman at the Chicago Tribune...

25 November 2005

'Tis the Season - Here's another one: WORM_MYTOB.MX


"As of November 24, 2005 at 2:34 am (Pacific Standard Time, GMT -8:00), TrendLabs has declared a Medium risk alert in order to control the spread of WORM_MYTOB.MX."

Go to Trend Micro for the Description and solution for WORM_MYTOB.MX:

24 November 2005

Spyware Warrior: Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites

Spyware Warrior: Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Web Sites

This excellent site has been updated again on 17NOV05. Everything that you need to know about Spyware/Adware and how to fight it. You need to stay up to date on available products.

23 November 2005

Trend Micro Medium Risk Virus Alert - WORM_SOBER.AG


I have already received several of these attempting to infect my computer. Be careful... very, very careful!

As of November 21, 2005 2:20 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST, GMT -8:00), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk Virus Alert to control the spread of WORM_SOBER.AG. TrendLabs has received several infection reports indicating that this malware is spreading in the USA, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, and New Zealand.


This memory-resident worm propagates by attaching a copy of itself to an email message, which it sends to target recipients using its own Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) engine. Since it's email propagation does not require any user intervention, the user is often unaware that this worm is sending out email messages.

The email it sends out has the following details:

From: {Email address generated by this worm}

Subject: (any of the following)
• hi,_ive_a_new_mail_address
• Mail delivery failed
• Registration Confirmation
• smtp mail failed
• Spam: Registration Confirmation
• Your Password
• Your IP was logged
• Paris_Hilton_&_Nicole_Richie
• You visit illegal websites

Message body: (any of the following)
hey its me, my old address dont work at time. i dont know why?!
in the last days ive got some mails. i' think thaz your mails but im not sure!
plz read and check ...
cyaaaaaaa

---

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

SMTP_Error []
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.
The full mail-text and header is attached

---

Account and Password Information are attached!
***** Go to: http://www.{random}.com
***** Email: {random}.com

---

Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.
Important:
Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
Steven Allison

*** Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
*** 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3220
*** Washington, DC 20535
*** phone: (202) 324-3000

---

Account and Password Information are attached! ---

The Simple Life:
View Paris Hilton & Nicole Richie video clips , pictures & more ;)
Download is free until Jan, 2006!
Please use our Download manager.


Attachment: (any of the following)
• mailtext.zip
• mail.zip
• reg_pass.zip
• mail.zip
• reg_pass-data.zip
• question_list.zip
• list.zip
• downloadm
• mail_body.zip


The attached .ZIP file contains the copy of this worm using the following file name:
File-packed_dataInfo.exe

When executed, it displays a fake error message box in order to trick a user into thinking that the file did not properly execute.

This worm searches the process list of the affected system for mrt.exe, the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool process. If found, it terminates the said process thus making the system more vulnerable to malicious attacks.


For more information on WORM_SOBER.AG, you can visit the Trend Micro Web site at:
http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/virusencyclo/default5.asp?VName=WORM_SOBER.AG

16 November 2005

James Doohan tribute message

James Doohan tribute message

For those who might be interested.

US high court rejects "In God We Trust" challenge

"The US Supreme Court has refused to review an appeals court decision which states that the inscription 'In God We Trust' on a government building in North Carolina does not violate church-state separation."

Read the full story in Catholic World News:

04 November 2005

U.S. Supreme Court Case Could Have Major Impact on Software and Business-Method Patents

The Supreme Court's decision to accept a patent-infringement suit regarding a system for diagnosing a vitamin deficiency related to heart attacks, strokes, and dementia...

...a correlation between the level of another substance in the body (homocysteine) and a deficiency in vitamin B12. The test for that substance was already in existence, but the patent would seem to bar anyone who conducted that test from using the result to deduce there was a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Read the full story by Wolf Greenfield

07 October 2005

WORM_SOBER.AC - Description and solution

As of October 6, 2005 5:52 AM (Pacific Daylight Time; GMT-7:00), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk Virus Alert to control the spread of WORM_SOBER.AC. TrendLabs has received several infection reports indicating that this malware is spreading in USA, Japan, Australia, and Germany.

For details visit the Trend Micro website.

30 September 2005

Intellicast.com - Weather For Active Lives

This is a great website for weather forecasts for vacations and other advance planning.

Intellicast.com

Thanks Eric for pointing me to it!

21 September 2005

Why I switched to Firefox

Scott Berkun (who worked on UI design for Internet Explorer 1.0 thru 5.0) talked about why he switched to Firefox. In addition to five reasons why he switched...

Read the full story (pros and cons) at the Berkun blog Archive

Is the Firefox honeymoon over?

Now that Firefox has become the first viable contender to Microsoft Internet Explorer in years, its popularity has brought with it some unwanted attention. ..... Firefox not only has more vulnerabilities per month than Internet Explorer.....

Read the full story by George Ou at ZDNet.com...

03 September 2005

Budget cuts delay flood works

BUSH administration funding cuts forced federal engineers to delay improvements on the levees, floodgates and pumping stations that failed to protect New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters, agency documents show.

The former head of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that handles the infrastructure of the nation's waterways, said the damage in New Orleans probably would have been much less extensive had flood-control efforts been fully funded over the years.

Read the full story at the Herald Sun....

A Diminished FEMA Scrambles to the Rescue

The agency's standing within the government has been eclipsed by the war on terrorism

WASHINGTON — In 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency concluded that a catastrophic hurricane in New Orleans was "among the three likeliest … disasters facing this country."

In the years that followed, however, instead of receiving a mandate to marshal the resources needed to handle such a disaster, FEMA saw its standing within the federal government downgraded sharply and its mission pushed lower on the priorities list as the Bush administration focused on the threat of terrorism.

Read the full story by By Nicole Gaouette at the Los Angeles Times...

New Orleans: It's about us

Iraq war didn't cause the hurricane, just drained resources from flooded city

AUSTIN, Texas -- Like many of you who love New Orleans, I find myself taking short mental walks there today, turning a familiar corner, glimpsing a favorite scene, square or vista. And worrying about the beloved friends and the city, and how they are now.

To use a fine Southern word, it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the dead are even counted. It is not too soon, however, to make a point that needs to be hammered home again and again, and that is that government policies have real consequences in people's lives.

31 August 2005

Bush gives new reason for Iraq war

Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists


CORONADO, Calif. -- President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists."

Read the full story by Jennifer Loven, Associated Press at The Boston Globe...

29 August 2005

Rulinng has unexpected effect here - it stalls projects

In the fight to save her home from a bulldozer, Kathy Tripp suffered what looked like a major blow in June.

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cities can condemn people's houses for private development.



But in just two months, the tables quickly have turned. Fueled by a backlash...

Read the full story By Eric Heisler of the Post-Dispatch at STLtoday...

17 August 2005

US-CERT Cyber Security Alert SA05-229A -- Apple Mac OS X Multiple Vulnerabilities

US-CERT Cyber Security Alert SA05-229A -- Apple Mac OS X Multiple Vulnerabilities

Everyone look VERY carefully - it's NOT for Windows. HUZZAH!!!

WORM_RBOT.CBQ

"As of August 16, 2005 at 5:12 PM (Pacific Daylight Time), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk alert in order to control the spread of this RBOT variant. Infection reports have been received from Japan and the United States."
See Trend Micro for the full description and solution:

WORM_ZOTOB.D

As of August 16, 2005 at 5:12 PM (Pacific Daylight Time), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk alert in order to control the spread of this ZOTOB variant. Infection reports have been received from Brazil and the United States.

Go to Trend Micro for a full description and solution

16 August 2005

BBC - Languages - Homepage

BBC - Languages - Homepage

Time to brush up on those other languages before your next visit to Disney World. At least then you'll understand how you're being insulted.

14 August 2005

We Are the Web


The Netscape IPO wasn't really about dot-commerce. At its heart was a new cultural force based on mass collaboration. Blogs, Wikipedia, open source, peer-to-peer - behold the power of the people.

Read the full story By Kevin Kelly in Wired 13.08

"This is absolutely the best article ever written about the Internet." says Joseph Green.

12 August 2005

VERITAS Backup Exec Uses Hard-Coded Authentication Credentials

An attacker with knowledge of these credentials and access to the Remote Agent may be able to retrieve arbitrary files from a vulnerable system. The Remote Agent runs with SYSTEM privileges.

Exploit code, including the credentials, is publicly available. US-CERT has also seen reports of increased scanning activity on port 10000/tcp. This increase may be caused by attempts to locate vulnerable systems.

US-CERT is tracking this vulnerability as VU#378957.

Please note that VERITAS has recently merged with Symantec.

Read the full US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-224A

11 August 2005

US-CERT Cyber Security Alert SA05-221A -- Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities

US-CERT Cyber Security Alert SA05-221A -- Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer Vulnerabilities

More good news for us Windows users. I think that there might be two or three left.

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Movies and Games, Reviews and Previews

ROTTEN TOMATOES: Movies and Games, Reviews and Previews

My FAVORITE movie review site with the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) a close second. I've found so many great movies that I had never heard of. Plus it's interesting to see what they have to say about movies from your younger years. "Hey, it wasn't THAT bad!"

10 August 2005

Ligers Make a "Dynamite" Leap Into the Limelight

It's half lion, half tiger, and completely real. Now thanks to a cameo in the 2004 cult movie Napoleon Dynamite, the liger has leaped into the limelight, prompting fans to ask, What are they really like?

The faintly striped, shaggy-maned creatures are the offspring of male lions and female tigers, which gives them the ability to both roar like lions and chuff like tigers—a supposedly affectionate sound that falls somewhere between a purr and a raspberry.

Read the full story by Maryann Mott

20 July 2005

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

This is a wonderful tribute! You can get closer and closer and even closer to the moon. Don't get TOO close!

Enjoy!

Virus exploits London Tube bombs

Virus writers are using the London bombings to spread malicious programs.

A Windows virus has been created that claims to link to amateur video footage of the aftermath of one of the bombs on the London Underground.

Read the full story at BBC NEWS | Technology


19 July 2005

ALCHEMY group: chaos governing computers?

One might think that the complex microchips that govern modern computers behave in a precise, predetermined way. For the members of the ALCHEMY research group at the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), they behave in a chaotic, unpredictable way, comparable the weather.


Read the full story at CORDIS: News service

Homeowners Ask U.S. Supreme Court: Rehear Eminent Domain Case OR A Snowballs Chance...

Washington, D.C.-The U.S. Supreme Court has one final chance to correct one of its most-despised decisions in recent memory-its ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, which allows the use of eminent domain for private development. Today the Institute for Justice will file a petition for rehearing on behalf of New London, Conn., homeowners asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 5-4 ruling from June 23 that has already opened up the floodgates to eminent domain abuse.

Read the full story at: The Free Liberal

14 July 2005

send books to soldiers/sailors...

Drop by http://www.givebooks.us/ to see how FedEx now offers free shipping when you send books to a volunteer group that then redistributes where they are wanted most. Led in part by SF author Lawrence M. Schoen (a noted authority on Klingonese), this is an effort all literate people should get behind...

Read the full article and more at: Contrary Brin

13 July 2005

11 July 2005

THIS IS NEW and NASTY -- Targeted Trojan Email Attacks


The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has received reports of an email based technique for spreading trojan horse programs. A trojan horse is an attack method by which malicious or harmful code is contained inside apparently harmless files. Once opened, the malicious code can collect unauthorized information that can be exploited for various purposes, or permit computers to be used surreptitiously for other malicious activity.

You can read all the details at US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-189A

22 June 2005

Guidelines for Publishing Information Online

CERT Cyber Security Tip ST05-013


Remember that the internet is a public resource. Avoid putting anything online that you don't want the public to see or that you may want to retract.

Why is it important to remember that the internet is public?

Because the internet is so accessible and contains a wealth of information, it has become a popular resource for communicating, for researching topics, and for finding information about people. It may seem less intimidating than actually interacting with other people because there is a sense of anonymity. However, you are not really anonymous when you are online, and it is just as easy for people to find information about you as it is for you to find information about
them. Unfortunately, many people have become so familiar and comfortable with the internet that they may adopt practices that make them vulnerable. For example, although people are typically wary of sharing personal information with strangers they meet on the street, they may not hesitate to post that same information online. Once it is online, it can be accessed by a world of strangers, and you have no idea what they might do with that information.

What guidelines can you follow when publishing information on the internet?


  • View the internet as a novel, not a diary - Make sure you are comfortable with anyone seeing the information you put online. Expect that people you have never met will find your page; even if you are keeping an online journal or blog, write it with the expectation that it is available for public consumption. Some sites may use passwords or other security restrictions to protect the information, but these methods are not usually used for most web sites. If you want the information to be private or restricted to a small, select group of people, the internet is probably not the best forum.
  • Be careful what you advertise - In the past, it was difficult to find information about people other than their phone numbers or address. Now, an increasing amount of personal information is available online, especially because people are creating personal web pages with information about themselves. When deciding how much information to reveal, realize that you are broadcasting it to the world. Supplying your email address may increase the amount of spam you receive (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information).
  • Realize that you can't take it back - Once you publish something online, it is available to other people and to search engines. You can change or remove information after something has been published, but it is possible that someone has already seen the original version. Even if you try to remove the page(s) from the internet, someone may have saved a copy of the page or used excerpts in another source. Some search engines "cache" copies of web pages so that they open faster; these cached copies may be available after a web page has been deleted or altered. Some web browsers may also maintain a cache of the web pages a user has visited, so the original version may be stored in a temporary file on the user's computer. Think about these implications before publishing information--once something is out there, you can't guarantee that you can completely remove it.

As a general practice, let your common sense guide your decisions about what to post online. Before you publish something on the internet, determine what value it provides and consider the
implications of having the information available to the public. Identity theft is an increasing problem, and the more information an attacker can gather about you, the easier it is to pretend to be you. Behave online the way you would behave in your daily life, especially when it involves taking precautions to protect yourself.
_________________________________________________________________

Authors: Mindi McDowell, Matt Lytle, Jason Rafail
_________________________________________________________________

This document can also be found at Carnegie Mellon University Copyright 2005

Terms of use

12 June 2005

Purrfect Mood Detector

Watch Your Cat Light Up With Happiness

This is just too cool. I know someone who needs two of these -- one for Missy and one for Sissy. ;-p

Read all about it at Takara USA

10 June 2005

Vulnerabiility in Firefox 1.0,3 and 1.0,4

Read all about it at MozillaZine Talkback

You can close the hole (until 1.0.5 is released) by clicking Tools, Options, Advanced, Tabbed Browsing and changing "open links in a new window" to "open links in a new tab in the most recent window":

Simple fix for a simple fox.

03 June 2005

Israeli Police Uncover Massive, Trojan Horse-Based Industrial Spy Ring

John E. Dunn, Techworld.com
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Israeli police have uncovered a massive industrial spy ring that allegedly used Trojan horse software to snoop into some of the country's leading companies.
Read the full story at PCWorld.com

Do you think this could have been prevented with a touch of common sense and a pinch of paranoia?

31 May 2005

WORM_MYTOB.BI - Another one...

In addition to watching out for this latest version, it is also suggested you go directly to Microsoft and download any Critical Updates that you are missing.

As of May 31, 2005 9:11 AM PDT (Pacific Daylight Time), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk Virus Alert to control the spread of WORM_MYTOB.BI. TrendLabs has received several infection reports indicating that this malware is spreading in Belgium, Japan, Korea, India, United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Read the full description and solution at Trend-Micro

WORM_MYTOB.AR - Upgraded to Medium Risk

This is an update for the alert declaration of WORM_MYTOB.AR.

As of May 30, 2005 3:12 AM YEAR TIME PST (PDT/GMT -7:00), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk Virus Alert to control the spread of WORM_MYTOB.AR. TrendLabs has received several infection reports indicating that this malware is spreading in Australia, China, Hongkong, India, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, United States.

Read the full description and solution here

25 May 2005

24 May 2005

iRobot - Robots for the Real World : Scooba Landing

I thought Roomba (aka 7 of 9) was wonderful.

Look what those clever iRobot people have done now. You can get a sneak preview at: iRobot - Robots for the Real World : Scooba Landing

Now all we need is a robot to do the windows and the laundry...

11 May 2005

WORM_MYTOB.EG - Description and solution

As of May 9, 2005 5:57 PM PST (Pacific Standard Time/GMT -8:00), TrendLabs has declared a Medium Risk Virus Alert to control the spread of WORM_MYTOB.EG. TrendLabs has received several infection reports indicating that this malware is spreading in the United States.

Read more at Trend Micro: WORM_MYTOB.EG - Description and solution

21 April 2005

Mini Review - Norton Internet Security

Success! NIS and NAV 2003 are out and 2005 is installed.

However, after the agony of installing NIS 2005, I almost regret the upgrade. Since I already have spam controls, that feature is redundant. And who on earth wants those Parental Controls? Parents, I guess. But most of them probably have AOL accounts.

Also irritating is the inability to schedule routine virus scans. Once every two weeks is no where near often enough.

Then to top it off, NIS doesn't play well with gmails POP features. Very inconvenient.

I almost switched to Trend Micro this year. Next year will be the clincher unless Symantec improves a great deal between now and then.

On the positive side, Symantec still has the best documentation in the business. You don't have to be a geek to use their knowledge base. And the lovely support people in India try very hard to be helpful.

;-p

22 March 2005

World Wind by NASA

NASA has open source software called World Wind, the newest version of which is now available. Not only can you glimpse every corner of the globe from incredibly close or incredibly far away - but it's easily navigable and you can execute screen captures and download them to your computer as JPEGs. It's a lot of fun, and best of all - it's free.

http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/

"World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there.

Virtually visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara."

21 March 2005

Hurricane Warnings

This is an excellent article about building for hurricanes. It refers to the mistakes found after Hurricane Andrew.'

Also take a look at "Venting". You do need a place for the air to escape (old school wins this one).

AND, for those who have generators, there is a safety tip to avoid backwash to power workers.

The article appears in The Taunton Press: Hurricane Warnings

05 March 2005

A Small Warning...

The following is shared with the kind permission of Anne Docwras:
Watch out for this one...
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

Hi folks,

I've just intercepted two mails on two different mailboxes purportedly coming from Microsoft and claiming to be a patch to keep you safe from Trojans. The messages are *very* small, only 4kb so you may be fooled into thinking they're safe - they aren't! They have a small self-extracting executable file called update_3032005.exe attached.

From the file name this looks like something *very* new - and the fact that it sailed straight passed the my mailbox's server a/v scanner without so much as raising an eyebrow, never mind a virus alert, makes me think it'll catch a few folks unawares. :(

The "From" address on both these is @microsoft.com but they aren't. If you see one *don't* download it if you can avoid doing so - as it's a self-extracting executable you may not even have to click to open the attachment to be infected. Please be
careful! (Now may be a good time to download and install Mailwasher if you don't already use it!)
UPDATE: I have sent a copy of the file to my a/v people (NOD32) and they have identified it as the Win32/TrojanDownloader.Small.DC trojan so the a/v definitions should include it soon.

--
Cheers,

Anne

25 February 2005

Spyware infiltrates blogs

Hackers are using blogs to infect computers with spyware, exposing serious security flaws in self-publishing tools used by millions of people on the Web.

Read the full story by Stephanie Olsen at Tech News on ZDNet

It concludes: Webroot's Stiennon advises people to switch to the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox Web browser for reading blogs. Either do that, or change IE security settings to deactivate ActiveX or JavaScript in the Web browser, he said.



Your privacy is in bad hands


"Showing its concern for our privacy and its own general competence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appointed D. Reed Freeman, a Vice President of Claria, to its Privacy Advisory Committee. Did you catch my sarcasm in that first phrase? What bonehead federal official thought that a Vice President of ..."

Read the full story by Wayne Cunningham at Spyware Confidential | ZDNet.com

24 February 2005

RSA: Microsoft on 'rootkits': Be afraid, be very afraid

"Microsoft Corp. security researchers are warning about a new generation of powerful system-monitoring programs, or 'rootkits,' that are almost impossible to detect using current security products and could pose a serious risk to corporations and individuals."
Read the full story by Paul Roberts at Computerworld:

Virus alert: Don't open FBI e-mail

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Don't open those e-mail attachments that appear to be from the FBI. They might contain a computer virus.

Read the full story at CNN.com

Phone Service Restored


Hooray!

I hate to admit it, but dead phones drive me crazy. The phone came up with the sun, but I was off teaching a class, so didn't get the good news till now.

Brighthouse update...

6.5 hours since reporting and still no phone...

I want my Ma Bell back!


23 February 2005

Dear Brighthouse,



VoIP was getting rave reviews from both my husband and I until it died and we tried to contact Tech Support when the phone lights went out on the modem and the telephones ceased to work.

The first thing that pops up on the web site is instructions to dial 611 if you have a problem. Huh? If my phones don't work, how can I dial 611? If I dial 611 on the cell phone I reach Cingular. No help there.

Back to the web site. Aha... a contact address. Click and it brings up a form. So far, so good. I completed the entire form and tried to submit. Oops! The form wants a different format for my phone number. OK. I can fix that. (What is with the parenthesis on the outside of the entire phone number?) Submit again. Ah-oh! The phone number STILL doesn't go thru -- it now appears twice in red as (xxx-xxx-xxxx).

So I started over. Tried again from scratch. Same results. And again. I give up!

I wake up husband from his well deserved nap and get the cell phone from the car. No freebies. Pay per minute. The only thing left that I can think of is to call the local office. After pushing all the right buttons, giving my phone number, declining Spanish and waiting for "All other." They are as helpful as they can be -- by forwarding my call to "someone who can actually do something about it."

Please make note that I am using a cell phone. As I am sitting on hold, and I use that term loosely, because at this point I am pacing -- I am subjected to at least FIVE minutes of Brighthouse advertising accompanied by what should be non-offensive music. Brighthouse, I don't mind your ads. I actually like some of them. But when I am on a cell phone, the last thing I want to hear is a chipper voice telling how to get High Speed Internet service and all the other features that I already have.

Just as I am about to lose power on the cell, a gentleman asks if he can help (very polite). I explain for what seems to me like the seventh time that my dog-gone phones aren't working and the modem telephone lights are out. I am certain the gentleman noticed the edge of hysteria in my voice, but remained ever so calm as he asked me if I was getting a dial tone.

"NoOOOO! That's why I am calling."

Mr. Brighthouse reassures me that they have been having problems with loss of dial tone in my area and they are working on it. Naturally, I almost calmly (not really) ask him when the phones will be fixed.

In my mind's eye I could see him shrug. Grrrrrrr. He doesn't really know.

Persistent, I push on, "Please just give me an estimate."

I don't really remember his reply, because it was drowned out my his next question, "Where are you located?"

What?


Now I know phone lines go down. Computers crash and there are a myriad of other little problems that can affect phone service. What a company does when that happens is their benchmark.

It's been three hours now. I'll keep you posted. Unless I lose Inter

17 February 2005

Pet Peeves #1 - Yahoo! or MYWAY - Too much or not enough

I know Yahoo! is extremely popular and is used by millions, myself included. But I hate it when I receive a Yahoo! artlice in my email because one that should take 3KB has so many ads and other junk added, that it can easily run up to 40K. I don't need the images and stock quotes with every email from Yahoo!

Then there is MYWAY which errs on the side of brevity. Every article sent from MYWAY has the same Subject: "Look what I found at MYWAY.com!" When the message is opened only a link appears. And possibly a cryptic comment which tells you absolutely nothing about what is in the article.

I guess I have the Goldilocks complex. I don't want too much. I don't want too little. I want the subject and email to be JUST RIGHT. An identifiable subject and a short email...

I think that's reasonable.

Trend Micro Virus Information, virus alerts, advisories, Top 10, antivirus, worm, trojan, macro, free, virus encyclopedia

Trend Micro Virus Information, virus alerts, advisories, Top 10, antivirus, worm, trojan, macro, free, virus encyclopedia

Speaking Of Which...

Trend Micro - Subscribe to Free Email Alerts

I highly recommend subscribing to Trend Micro's Virus Alerts newsletter. They seem to be first up with warnings of new viruses and changes in frequency and severity of old bugs.

This link will take you to the subscription page

Plus they are the home of Housecall online security scan.

15 February 2005

Secunia - Advisories - Mozilla Products IDN Spoofing Security Issue

Secunia - Advisories - Mozilla Products IDN Spoofing Security Issue

The latest update for you non IE users.

Robotic ball that chases burglars

By David Millward
(Filed: 14/02/2005)

A large black ball, originally designed by Swedish scientists for use on Mars, could be the latest weapon in the war against burglars.

Read the full story in the Telegraph | News


Asimov would be proud. And our own 7 of 9 (Roomba) would be jealous!

14 February 2005

Group aims to drastically up disc storage

By Michael Kanellos

A few hundred movies on an optical disc? That's the goal of the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) Alliance.

Six companies, including Fuji Photo and CMC Magnentics, have formed a consortium to promote HVD technology, which will let consumers conceivably put a terabyte (1TB) of data onto a single optical disc.

Read the full story at CNET News...

12 February 2005

MS Windows Anti-Spyware Disabled by Spyware Trojan

Reported by Aunty Spam's Net Patrol

Security firm Sophos is reporting today that a new spyware Trojan, BankAsh-A, is specifically targeting Microsoft’s new anti-spyware, and very effectively so, it would seem.

Read the full story at Aunty Spam's Net Patrol...

10 February 2005

Anonymity

http://freenet.sourceforge.net

This had to have been created just for Eric. And yeah, I'm gonna try it out...will no longer have to rely on newsgroups for the really sick porn....

27 January 2005

WORM_BAGLE.AZ - Description and solution

This WORM_BAGLE variant arrives on a system as an email attachment. It sends copies of itself to all email addresses it gathers from files with certain extensions but skips those addresses that contain particular strings.

Users must be wary of the email that it sends with the following details:

Subject: (any of the following)
Delivery service mail
Delivery by mail
Registration is accepted
Is delivered mail
You are made active

Message body: (any of the following)
Thanks for use of our software.
Before use read the help

Go to Trend Micro for details...

26 January 2005

Microsoft Plans Restrictions on Fixes By ALLISON LINN

SEATTLE (AP) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) plans to severely curtail the ways in which people running pirated copies of its dominant Windows operating system can receive software updates, including security fixes.

... The move allows Microsoft to use one of its sharpest weapons - access to security patches that can prevent viruses, worms and other crippling attacks - to thwart a costly and meddlesome piracy problem.Read the full story...

My Way News: Google to Branch Into Television by Michael Liedtke

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Google Inc. (GOOG) is using its popular Internet search technology to find information and images broadcast on television, continuing a recent effort to extend its reach beyond the Web.

...The feature pinpoints content previously aired on a variety of television networks by scanning through the closed caption text that many programmers offer.

This is fascinating -- read more...

TechWeb: Worm Steals CNN Headlines To Stay Timely, Fool Users

A new worm uses breaking news -- and a devious technique to keep itself up-to-date -- to dupe recipients into opening attachments, an anti-virus firm said Friday.

U.K.-based security vendor Sophos said that the Crowt.a worm grabs its subject lines, message content, and attachment names from headlines culled in real-time from CNN's Web site

Read the full story...

20 January 2005

CNN.com - 'Evil twin' threat to Wi-Fi users - Jan 20, 2005

"Evil twins" are the latest menace to threaten the security of Internet users, experts in the UK are warning.

An "evil twin" is a bogus base station... Read the full article at CNN.com