the whole shebang

February 28, 2007

What computer skills should schools teach?

Filed under: accessibility,Education,Software — wholeshebang @ 10:49 am

Life-Long Computer Skills” is an excellent article and jumping-off point for what should be an in-depth public discussion in every community and in state and local governments.

The 8 skill-areas mentioned are excellent choices, though there are a few important omissions. To that list, I would add the following: (more…)


November 10, 2006

Warning: Microsoft bought out Sysinternals! You need to find another anti-spyware/rootkit app!

Filed under: Privacy & Security,Software,Windows — wholeshebang @ 7:39 am

Per this new Microsoft Sysinternals page, Microsoft has bought out one of the best independent security-and-utility software providers around. Many people, including myself, have depended on Sysinternals’ “Rootkit Revealer” to keep us safe from rootkits, including Microsoft’s evil spyware/rootkit known as “Windows Genuine Advantage“.

So, all of us who don’t trust Microsoft anymore than we’d trust a fox to guard a chicken (that’s all of us with brains) who have been using R.R. will have to find new software.

This happened in July of this year, and though I luckily have a version older than that, I’ve gotta figure they’ve reverse-engineered the old versions to try to get around the security software.

There’s a couple other good anti-rookit products out there. In the meantime, you should at least be running some anti-spyware (like “Spybot Search & Destroy“), unless your anti-virus includes this extra capability and specifically tells you the 2 programs might have conflicts.

Rootkits don’t just phone home (if that is what they are intended to do), they also use explicitly illegal technology to hide themselves from the O.S. and most anti-virus software. Therefore, anti-rookit software is also necessary in most cases.

November 6, 2006

Run multiple Internet Explorer versions on 1 computer!

Filed under: Software,Website Design/CSS,Windows — wholeshebang @ 2:31 am

While reading through an HTML tips book, I came across this bit of information: it is possible to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer on one computer due to some glitch or other. Of course, I bulldozed ahead and downloaded an old, full version of IE off the BrowserArchives without doing some checking, and the installer warned be that IE was already installed.

I did some reasearch on the web. No, you cannot use an installer for a full-blown Internet Explorer where the multiple versions will be integrated with the operating system. The solution, detailed on Joe Maddalone’s webdesign blog, involves the directly uncompressing the files and then deleting many of them. (more…)

November 5, 2006

Your Email Can Be Tracked: Outlook’s Options Don’t Work Right

Filed under: Privacy & Security,Software — wholeshebang @ 2:31 am

This is pretty simple straighforward stuff for anyone who is computer-literate. But occassional users and those new to computers and the Internet may not be aware of how images can allow other people to track your email! Also, you can turn off images, but Outlook (Microsoft’s email client…hint, that’s the thing you read email with) has a design flaw that prevents you from forwarding emails unless you allow the images to be viewed first. To learn about those 2 things (image tracking, Outlook design flaw), read this article.

I also want to let people know that the Thunderbird email client makes it very easy to mark email as junk or spam (can even mark a bunch at once, whereas with Outlook you can only do 1 at a time, a major headache if you get a lot of email), block the kind of remote images highlighted in this article, view all headers, etc. (more…)

You Lose Control of Your Computer; Microsoft Pursues Riches in DRM

Filed under: Privacy & Security,Software,Windows — wholeshebang @ 12:49 am

Anyone who knows computers can’t say they didn’t see it coming, what with Microsoft’s spyware-pushed-as-security scan (“Windows Genuine Advantage”) and various companies using shaky interpretations of U.S. DRM regulations to punish security vendors who discover security flaws and make them public.

This article explains some of Microsoft’s goals in “Controlling the Kernel – It’s All About DRM“. This is right in line with an article I read earlier this year, that at some meetings last year about Microsoft’s so-called “Trusted Computing” platform, their ultimate goal was to even have an ID permanently connected to CPUs that are put into computers so that a person would be unable to make certain hardware changes, and so that they could track what users are doing, all in the name of getting rich as the “go-to” platform for music labels that want to use said features in the name of DRM.

November 2, 2006

Community-based media captioning and translation

Filed under: Education,Software,Web Programming — wholeshebang @ 4:38 am

This is the next big benefit to society of the Internet Age – Ideas to tackle online media captioning (and translation). There are efforts about to collaborate on an application and method to allow not only the closed-captioning/text-captioning of audio and video by the community but to do so in multiple languages. The effort is mainly aimed at education, as current captioning activities are disjointed and poor countries try to access a wealth of higher-education knowledge.

I can see this being a very useful thing for other purposes as well.

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