Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Searching for Presidential Campaign Videos Puts Users at Risk for Infection

It wasn't long ago that I wrote about a P2P (Peer to Peer) Nightmare. P2P is back in the news, particularly the latest infestations via LimeWire and FrostWire.

With the U.S. Presidential campaign in full swing, people are interested in information about what the candidates are saying. Beware of downloading speeches or other information by either Presidential candidate with P2P software. Webroot reported that the infected zip files include rogue antivirus applications. In addition,
"Other malware threats such as password stealers and backdoors can be downloaded as well, which may give a hacker remote access to the infected machine or allow them to gather personal data such as usernames and passwords."
On the eve of the beginning of Cyber Security Awareness Month, the excellent advice provided by Webroot is worth repeating here:

"1) Always have a current version of antispyware, antivirus and firewall product;

2) Never download free products or purchase them from unknown Web sites and vendors, or peer-to-peer networks;

3) Never click on a link while visiting a peer-to-peer site;

4) Never purchase a product that is the result of an unknown alert;

5) Make sure the computer is up-to-date by always installing new Microsoft or Apple security updates;

6) Make it a point to check your credit through one of the three credit bureaus; and,

7) Use a credit card that has sufficient fraud protection and never use a debit card online."

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The purpose of Cyber Security Awareness is to call attention to the importance of protecting the online information of you and your family. As StaySafeOnline describes the goal:
"The goal of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is to educate everyday Internet users on how to "Protect Yourself Before You Connect Yourself", by taking simple and effective steps."
Therein begs the question: How can I protect myself before I connect?

In the Microsoft reference below, there are
four suggested steps, the first three being to use a firewall, antivirus software, and antispyware software. The remaining recommendation by Microsoft is to turn on automatic updating.

Ensuring those steps are in place will provide your computer with the basic protection that is needed and are, of course, absolutely necessary. Is that sufficient? What else do you need to do? I like the way fellow Microsoft MVP, Harry Waldron explained that Security requires both technical defenses and user awareness:
"Home and corporate users cannot be expected to become security experts. Conversely if someone totally ignores the many dangerous security exposures, they will most likely experience technical issues with their PC or they could even become a victum of fraud. Instead, users should be taught the basic principles of risk avoidance and where to go to for help."
In recognition of Cyber Security Awareness Month, following is a collection of articles I have compiled that will provide both information as well as places to go for help so you can Protect Yourself Before You Connect Yourself.

Child Safety

As parents, grandparents and other family members, keeping our children safe online is paramount. The documents below contain information to sources providing guidance
for protecting the privacy and personal safety of our children. General Security

General security sites, including government as well as sites providing virus warnings and security advisories.


As Harry Waldron indicated in the article linked above:
"Many attacks user social and technical engineering approaches that can deceive even highly experienced users. For example, malware authors use embed actual HTML from the real websites or simulate Windows dialog boxes"
The social engineering techniques used by malware authors are particularly clever when it comes to phishing. Learn how to recognize a phish and protect yourself from potential identity theft.
Secure Your Wireless Network

As families add additional computers to the home environment, wireless networks are becoming very common. Don't let your wireless network be a source of data or identity theft. Be sure it is propery secured.

Cyber Security Awareness References:

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Zune Marketplace Exclusive

Although the Zune service is down for scheduled maintenance (Monday, September 29 from 12:01am Pacific Time) making Zune Social, Zune.net forums, and Zune Marketplace offline for up to 48 hours, an interesting announcement was made today by Zune Marketplace:
"Today Zune, Microsoft Corp.’s end-to-end music and entertainment service, announced jointly with Fania Records the availability of a custom collection of Fania albums consisting of never-before-digitally-released productions. For the first time, the Fania collection will be digitally remastered and available exclusively on Zune Marketplace. The collection will include legendary artists such as the Fania All-Stars, Hector Lavoe, La Lupe, Celia Cruz, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz, Cheo Feliciano, Mongo Santamaria, Bobby Valentin, and many more."
The Fania Records digital collection is available at http://www.zune.net/musica.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Antivirus Product Removal Tools

(Last Update 28Aug2013)

Kurt Wismer certainly got it right in anti-virus rants: av product removal tools when he said:
"on the subject of doing your job horribly wrong, i think we can all agree that both symantec and mcafee are doing their job of providing quality anti-malware software horribly wrong when you consider they make removal tools to get rid of their own products..."
Providing help on the forums, I frequently see logs with left-overs from incomplete uninstalls of Symantec. However, in researching the most widely used subscription antivirus softare, Norton and McAfee are apparently not the only vendors who have found it necessary to provide removal tools in order to completely remove their software products.

Below are links to the removal tools and instructions available. If not listed, the software should be completely removable through Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs, as shown in the instructions. Follow the removal with a shutdown/restart of the computer.

To uninstall from Windows XP:
  1. Click Start, then click Control Panel.
  2. Under Pick a category, click Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Under Pick a task, click Remove a Program.
  4. In the Currently installed programs list, click the software being uninstalled and then click Remove.
To uninstall from Windows Vista or Windows 7:
  1. Click the Vista Orb, then click Control Panel.
  2. Click Programs and Features.
  3. In the Uninstall or change a program list, click the software being unisntalled and proceed with the uninstall.
If the software was not completely removed the removal tools provided by the vendors can be found at the links below. It is, however, advisable to use the built-in uninstaller first.

Another option is the Microsoft Fix it solution available here
  1. avast!http://www.avast.com/eng/avast-uninstall-utility.html
  2. AVG: http://www.avg.com/us-en/utilities
  3. Avira AntiVir: Uninstall via control panel, restart and then use the Avira RegistryCleaner
  4. BitDefenderhttp://kb.bitdefender.com/KB333-en--How-to-uninstall-BitDefender.html
  5. CA Associates:  See Total Defense
  6. Comodo Internet Security:  https://support.comodo.com/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=298
  7. Cyber Defender Early Detection Centerhttp://cyberdefender.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/207
  8. Dr. Web  http://www.comss.ru/page.php?id=309, Registered users only:  https://support.drweb.com/support_wizard/?lng=en 
  9. eScan: Direct download link: http://www.microworldsystems.com/download/tools/esremove.exe
  10. ESET:  http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=SOLN2788
  11. FRISK F-PROT:  http://www.f-prot.com/support/windows/fpwin_faq/25.html 
  12. F-Secure: Direct download link: ftp://ftp.f-secure.com/support/tools/uitool/UninstallationTool.zip 
  13. G Data:  https://www.gdatasoftware.co.uk/?eID=PushFile&dl=f4b2f2fd23%3AAFEIBgU%3D
  14. Kaspersky Lab's Removal Toolhttp://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208279463
  15. K7 Total Security: Direct download link: http://www.k7computing.com/en/tools/K7RT.exe
  16. Lavasoft:  http://www.lavasoftsupport.com/index.php?showtopic=28 
  17. McAfee Removal:  Direct download link: http://download.mcafee.com/products/licensed/cust_support_patches/MCPR.exe
  18. Microsoft Security Essentialshttp://support.microsoft.com/kb/2435760
  19. Norman Antivirus: Direct download link: http://download.norman.no/public/Delnvc5.exe
  20. Norton Removalhttps://www-secure.symantec.com/norton-support/jsp/help-solutions.jsp?lg=english&ct=united+states&docid=20080710133834EN&product=home&version=1&pvid=f-home
  21. Panda Antivirus (All Versions): Direct download link: http://www.pandasecurity.com/resources/sop/UNINSTALLER_08.exe
  22. Sophos:  http://www.sophos.com/support/knowledgebase/article/11019.html
  23. Total Defense:  http://totaldefense.iyogi.com/?p=368
  24. Trend Micro: http://esupport.trendmicro.com/1/How-do-I-remove-old-or-new-versions-of-Trend-Micro-products-in-my-comp.aspx
  25. Vipre (Sunbelt Software) http://kb.gfi.com/articles/Skynet_Article/Error-1612-Installation-source-for-this-product-is-not-available-when-attempting-to-uninstall-VIPRE
  26. Webroot:  http://support.webroot.com/cgi-bin/webroot.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1761
  27. Windows Live OneCare: Direct download link: http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/c/b/4cb845e7-1076-437b-852a-7842a8ab13c8/OneCareCleanUp.exe 
  28. Zone Alarm: Direct download link: http://download.zonealarm.com/bin/free/support/download/clean.exe
Edit Notes: Can't find an uninstaller? Check the lists maintained by Fred de Vries at Singular Labs:

If the Microsoft Fix it does not solve the problem, an alternate option is to use AppRemover.  See AppRemover.

  1. Edit Note: Thank you, Clark76! AVG Added.
  2. Edit 02Oct08: avast! removal tool added. Thanks, Ripley. This Song's for you!
  3. Edit 10Oct08: Bit Defender and F-Secure added. Thanks to GravityGripp, the developer of one of my favorite Firefox Add-ons, Malware Search.
  4. Edit 15Nov08: McAfee and BitDefender links updated.
  5. Edit 14Dec08: Added Norman Antivirus. Info provided by Cel.
  6. Edit 24Jan09: Added ESET NOD32.
  7. Edit 14Jul10: Added reference to Ultimate List of Uninstallers.
  8. Edit 06Jun12: Updated AVG (Thanks R-C!)  and other broken links, Added many additional products as well as Singular Labs lists and added AppRemover.
  9. Edit 08Aug13: Updated broken links.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MMPC Sites Bancos As Most Viewed

MMPC reported that Bancos outdid Vundo in the most viewed category at the MMPC Encyclopedia the past month. As described at MMPC:

"Bancos exhibits a wide variety of behaviors- however essentially all variants attempt to steal banking or financial passwords using one (or several) common techniques. Some examples of these techniques include redirecting users to fake pages, monitoring keystrokes, interfering with browsers, searching for cached passwords, etc.

After it has started, Bancos typically will search the system for cached passwords and then remain memory resident waiting for a browser window with a title that it's been instructed to look for. If a victim visits a page with a page title that the trojan is looking for, it will typically either capture data or present the user with a false version of the page enabling it to capture the victims credentials.

Once found, credentials are transmitted back to the distributor (often via email or ftp). We've seen quite a few samples using mail servers belonging to large web-mail providers being used to send the stolen credentials, often to yet another web-based e-mail account."

Bancos has long been a serious problem in Brazil, referenced there as "Bankos". In fact, the problem is so serious, developers at the popular ASAP member forum, Linha Defensiva, developed BankerFix, specifically addressing the removal of the trojan and providing expert assistance in cleanup.

After removing Bankos or any other password-stealing trojan, be sure to change all your passwords. In fact, although I have said it before, it bears repeating -- never access your bank or credit card site or make online purchases with an infected computer. Use a family member or friend's computer to change your passwords.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Friday, September 26, 2008

WinPatrol Economic Stimulus!

Bill Pytlovany is taking personal steps to help in these difficult economic times by offering
"a $10 discount on the purchase of WinPatrol PLUS. This offer is good until a reasonable agreement is reached to prevent additional collapse in the financial market. Hopefully it won’t be long."
If you have been putting off purchasing a WinPatrol PLUS subscription, now is definitely the time to stop procrastinating. I believe that you will be pleased with the real-time and additional PLUS options provided with WinPatrol PLUS.

Complete details are available in Vote2008 WinPatrol Discount Coupon.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clickjacking - Multi-Browser Exploit

Further to and more serious than the reports in August regarding hijacked clipboards by Flash banner ads and used in rogue security software attacks, clickjacking effects Microsoft Internet Explorer (including IE8 Beta), Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera as well as Adobe Flash. As quoted in an article at ZDNet by Ryan Naraine explaining clickjacking:
"In a nutshell, it’s when you visit a malicious website and the attacker is able to take control of the links that your browser visits. The problem affects all of the different browsers except something like lynx. The issue has nothing to do with JavaScript so turning JavaScript off in your browser will not help you. It’s a fundamental flaw with the way your browser works and cannot be fixed with a simple patch. With this exploit, once you’re on the malicious web page, the bad guy can make you click on any link, any button, or anything on the page without you even seeing it happening."
Users of Firefox do have a safety net with the NoScript add-on. With NoScript, you allow active content to run only from sites you trust.

Users of WinPatrol can help mitigate the effects of the clipboard hijacks by disabling Adobe Shockwave Flash with the ActiveX control in WinPatrol. (See WinPatrol 2008 introduced in its 10th year). To see how simple it is, just follow the illustrations I provided here, use the settings listed below and select disable for Shockwave Flash:
  • Only view ActiveX controls used by Internet Explorer
  • Toggle non-Microsoft ActiveX controls on/off.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Firefox 3.0.2 Password Bug

Firefox 3.0.2 is unable to read or write saved passwords which contain non-ASCII characters. Firefox developers are aware of the problem and working on a patch.

In the meantime, it will be necessary to manually type any passwords containing non-ASCII characters. Should that present a problem, see alternative solutions in the Firefox Knowledge Base.

Hat Tip

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

WinPatrol -- Minor Update

One of the changes in the recent WinPatrol update related to cookie management of Firefox 3 cookies. As Bill Pytlovany explained:
"Cookies in Firefox 3 use a database method called SQlite which is completely different then its old plain cookies.txt file. We've removed the option if Firefox 3 or greater is detected so there is no confusion."
That change also resulted in the loss of Internet Explorer cookie management. The update released yesterday fixed the ability for Firefox users to return to Internet Explorer cookies if desired.

See http://www.winpatrol.com/upgrade.html

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Windows Ultimate Extras

From the Windows Vista Blog, I see that additional Windows Ultimate Extras were released yesterday. The updates must not have made it my way across country before I shut down last evening but I look forward to checking out the additions tonight.

Microsoft ® Tinker (TM):

  • Microsoft Tinker is a casual game that provides players with short puzzle game play sessions set in a warm, calming environment.

    Edit Note: Hat Tip, WindowsTalkBlog -- See Tinker: How to Play

Ultimate Extras Sounds from Microsoft Tinker:

  • Based on the positive feedback we received from the release of additional Windows Sound Schemes in April, we've integrated the unique audio sounds from Microsoft Tinker into a new sound scheme.

Windows ® DreamScene (TM) Content Pack #4

  • Windows DreamScene Content Pack #4 which adds three additional nature-setting Windows DreamScenes.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

US Passes Stronger ID Theft Laws

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been following the story of Atrivo, a.k.a., Intercage, and related topics on cyber crime. Coincidentally, the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act has finally passed both the Senate and House of Representatives and is on the way for Presidential signature into law.

As the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act is described by ITPro:

"It eliminates the limitations previous legal safeguards against cyber crime, which only permitted federal jurisdiction if the criminal and victim were located in separate states.

Now, any criminal proven to have installed malware or spyware on more than ten computers, even in a single state, can be pursued under this new federal law.

It also does away with the minimum previous $5,000 (£2,731) limit to damages incurred due to unauthorised access to computer systems before charges can be filed.

And victims will be allowed to sue criminals convicted under the Act for damages as result of any ID theft."

The repercussions will be interesting to follow. My concern is that the law be uniformly enforced by personnel qualified for analyzing the ascertaining whether the malware or spyware installed on more than ten computers was through the acts of a criminal and not an unwary computer user with a severely infected computer that became part of a botnet.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Mozilla Firefox v3.0.2, Released September 23, 2008

Mozilla Firefox version 3.0.2 has been released. The following security issues were addressed in the update:

MFSA 2008-44 resource: traversal vulnerabilities
MFSA 2008-43 BOM characters stripped from JavaScript before execution
MFSA 2008-42 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:
MFSA 2008-41 Privilege escalation via XPCnativeWrapper pollution
MFSA 2008-40 Forced mouse drag
MFSA 2008-39 Privilege escalation using feed preview page and XSS flaw

See the Release Notes for additional information regarding the update.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Lunch Time Reading: How to set up a new PC in one easy session

Yes, here I am at my desk, salad to one side and I just finished reading Ed Bott's article, How to set up a new PC in one easy session. Although Ed presents the information as he works with clients, the advice is appropriate for the individual getting ready to migrate to a new computer.

One of the most difficult things to do is to "let go" -- of the old games, documents, e-mails and other clutter that have not been used since being transferred from the first family computer. Now is the time to archive possible "keepers" but consider carefully whether everything needs to be transferred to the new computer.

In addition to transferring irreplaceable family photos to the new computer, take this opportunity to back them up both to CD or DVD or secure on-line storage such as Windows Live SkyDrive.

I'll let you discover How to set up a new PC in one easy session while I finish my salad.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

End of Support: Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2)

According to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, support has ended for Microsoft Office 2003 SP2. Security updates released after October 14th will support only Service Pack 3. If you use Office 2003, make sure you have updated to SP3.

As detailed in Microsoft Knowledge Base article 923618, Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3) included numerous significant new security updates. Office SP3 also includes updates previously released for Office 2003 and is an important update.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Behind The Making of the Atrivo Takedown

Like many members of the security community, I have been closely following with fascination the story of Atrivo, a.k.a., Intercage. Certified Bug has a complete run-down with links to all the pertinent documentation. Just follow her lead from the botnet tag, particularly the links to Brian Kreb's reports.

Of additional interest, however, is the story of James McQuaid, one of the researchers of the white paper Cyber Crime U.S.A. (PDF) and what led to his realization:
It was then, in a moment of dizzying cold terror, that I realized that one could not avoid them, and that I needed to actively hunt them.

Even if you find the white paper Cyber Crime U.S.A. (PDF) beyond your area of interest, take three minutes to watch the YouTube video they prepared that illustrates The Exploitation of a PC User".

The video clearly illustrates the importance of up-to-date security software, including anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall. Adding and keeping updated a Hosts File such as the MVPS HOSTS file will add another layerof protection by blocking sites such as those illustrated in the video.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

F-Secure Reports "Spam is still a problem"

In a report today, Mikko of F-Secure indicated that a spammer is apparently concerned that an e-mail collecting spider might find their e-mail address (info@bulk-mail.org) and add it to a spam database. Because of that concern, Mikko illustrated how the spammer used info [at] bulk-mail [dot] org instead of info@bulk-mail.org.

I agree with Mikko that it is probably not a good idea to post
info@bulk-mail.org to a public web page or they might get spam. Now wouldn't that be a shame if the spammer got spam?

See Mikko's report about info@bulk-mail.org at
Do spammers get spam?

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Google Chrome Beta Update

Unfortunately, the Google Chrome home page does not provide any information regarding the development and changes to the beta browser. Although rather slow to provide update information for their own product, there is a Google-sponsored blog that provides announcements and release notes for the browser.

Beta was released September 17, but the update notice was not made until yesterday afternoon:
"Google Chrome version was released on 17 September 2008. Users will get automatic updates over the next few days.

Security Updates

  • [r2042] Fix a potential denial of service with very long title attributes on tags. The title attribute sets the tooltip text when you hover the mouse over an element.
    Security Rating: Low risk. This can lead to 100% CPU usage or a tab crash.
    More information: http://www.securityfocus.com/bid/30975"
For some reason, Google does not consider changes such as " [r1927] Stop adding content from HTTPS sites to the searchable index" and " [r1978] Don't send sensitive URLs to search suggest services" as security updates but rather categorizes them in the list of "Other Changes".

Although the changes issued in this update are important for anyone using the beta product, if another vendor automatically pushed out software updates without providing the option to review, accept or reject the changes, the users of that software would be up in arms. Where is the uproar surrounding Google's manner of issuing and classifying updates?

Again, this reminder: Beta software should never be used in a production environment.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WinPatrol Update

WinPatrol Version 15.9.2008 has been released. The update includes a nice addition for WinPatrol PLUS Subscribers, the integration of PLUS information into Windows Explorer.

Curious about a file on your computer? PLUS subscribers merely need to right-click the file name and either click the "w" key on the keyboard or mouse-click WinPatrol PLUS Info... and the Information page will open in your default browser. The result is much faster PLUS information!
Full details of the update are available at WinPatrol.com and at Bits From Bill.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zune 3.0 Upgrade is Live!

Copied below is the Zune update information freshly delivered to my email. I doubt all the images will show in this template. See the full display at Zune.net or in Tidbits. I do love my Zune!

Zune 3.0 is a major improvement to all of our digital media players, software, and online services. Take advantage of these outstanding new features by updating your Zune 3.0 Software today.
buy from FM and zune marketplace on your device
updating is easy

Wireless capabilities just got better: Buy from FM is a new feature that lets you tag songs you hear on the radio via your Zune player's built-in FM tuner and download them later. Plus, you can shop Zune Marketplace directly from your player at Wi-Fi hotspots. Get what you want on the go.

dynamic music channels

Update now and get the latest features
from Zune.

1. Disconnect your Zune.
2. In the software, click Settings, Software, General.
3. Click Check for Updates.

After completing the update, your Zune will update automatically the next time you sync.

You can follow these steps at any time
and manually update your Zune whenever
you'd like.
Maximize your Zune Pass with Channels. These dynamic playlists bring you a regularly updated collection of tracks that you can subscribe to like podcasts. Other software improvements let you search better, explore music maps of related artists and albums, get personalized picks, set artist alerts for new releases, and more.

new 120GB and 16GB players
free 14-day zune pass trial

Pick your new Zune from a wider variety of capacities and colors. Go large with our ultra-sleek black 120GB and 16GB players. Check out our new 8GB glossy blue Zune. Or custom engrave an original — choosing from more than 50 exclusive designs — at zuneoriginals.net.
Zune Pass monthly music subscription is your ticket to millions of songs and albums on Zune Marketplace. Sign-in to your Zune My Account page; click on Zune Pass to select the free trial.

games for your zune
Get started with two totally free games — the puzzling Hexic and Texas Hold 'Em Poker (featuring wireless multiplayer!) Many new games are on the way. Check Zune.net for updates in coming months.

audiobooks have arrived
We've partnered with Audible.com, using their software to manage audiobooks on Zune. Browse and buy titles at over 7,500 public libraries and leading bookstores.

zune social is growing
Now with a community of over 2 million, the new Zune Social works with Windows Live Messenger and includes revamped profile and artist pages. Download Zune Card playlists to go, receive weekly friend activity updates, and more.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zune 3.0 Fall Update

After reading Ed Bott's report on the latest iTunes update fiasco in An inside look at Apple’s sneaky iTunes 8 upgrade and the follow-up in his personal blog on How software installers should work, I am glad that the only Apple software I have on my computer is Quick Time, which is needed for Kodak EasyShare.

In contrast to Apple's methods, I know what will be included in the Zune 3.0 update for my Zune, available September 16th for download. In fact, the only thing included with the Zune software updates is . . . well, Zune software, adding improvements and new features.

Additions include the ability to purchase songs directly via FM radio stations that transmit with RDS or RT+ data feeds, audio books, new search features, games, and more. To really get a feel for the additions to Zune 3.0, see Jason Dunn's six-page review in Visiting Zune HQ for the Zune 3.0 Briefing.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Antivirus Software - Avast and Avira AntiVir

A common misconception I run into is the confusion between anti-virus software and anti-malware/anti-spyware programs. Although there is some overlap in detection between anti-virus and anti-malware programs available today, a dedicated anti-virus software is still a must have on your computer.

I am frequently asked in the forums to recommend a free anti-virus software. The two "free for personal use" programs that I recommend are Avast Home Edition and AntiVir Personnel Edition.

Earlier this week HowToGeek published a guide for installing and setting up AntiVir. The second installment in the series on Avast was published today. If you need an anti-virus software, one of these may be the solution:


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Google Chrome Beta Updated

Google Chrome Beta issued a security update -- in fact, if people who downloaded the beta browser didn't manually update, the update was automatically pushed and installed! From Beta release:
"Google Chrome version was released on 5 September 2008, and all users are being automatically updated. Automatic updates are a key security feature in helping to ensure the safety of Google Chrome users."
I know a lot of people who prefer to wait until a security update has been out for a few days before installing. This lack of control over what could be installed on my computer is yet one more reason why I do not intend to use the Google Chrome browser. Although I am prompt installing software security updates, it is my computer. Prior to installing, I review the updates and choose the time for installation.

Reminder: Beta software should never be used in a production environment. Although I have quoted SpyDie's definition of Beta before, but once again . . .

Beta as defined by SpyDie:
Software undergoes beta testing shortly before it's released.
Beta is Latin for 'still doesn't work.'

You can review the vulnerabilities and bugs reported fixed in the update to Google Chrome Beta at Beta release:

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...