Tuesday, 19 February 2008

favor_day Favor Day is coming on March 12th, and it's being organized on Facebook. Nothing quite like doing something simple and kind for someone else to make the world a better place. You should be a part - spread the word!

Here's how you celebrate Favorday -- on Favorday, March 12th, 2008, you do planned favors for people, just like you would plan on giving a gift to somebody for the holidays. Any kind of favor can suffice, whether its "I'm going to rub my girlfriend's feet" or "I'm going to clean my neighbor's garage" Favorday is for celebrating each other.

You can help by inviting your friends to celebrate Favorday with you!

By the way, I am on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584484571



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Helping Others | Random Stuff
Tuesday, 19 February 2008 13:09:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's official: The format war is over.

I'm not one bit ashamed to say I've been a HD-DVD guy ever since I made the shift to watching movies in the amazing world of hi-def last June. I've enjoyed the red label discs, I appreciate the combo-format packages, and it was HD-DVD that pushed me into doing a lot of research into 1080p projectors and then purchasing one that I have been very happy with.

I also bought a HD-DVD player for my dad and his significant other's new home the day after thanksgiving, and another one for my mom and step dad over the Christmas holiday. If nothing else, they play regular DVDs on their hi-def (1080p) sets beautifully. Too bad the HD-DVD format looks like it's officially out. Glad I got good prices and minimized the "damage." I suppose I'll probably be buying replacement hardware soon eh?

At any rate, with Netflix, Wal Mart, an ever-expanding list of film studios, Best Buy and others making announcements about either going exclusive Blu-ray or favoring the format... Well anyhow I have a question. :)

Which Blu-ray players should I be seriously looking at? Is there a no-brainer, best-bang-for-the-buck option out there? I'm not really interested in PS3 games, so swaying me in that direction might be tough. I'm looking for full 1080p coverage via HDMI. I can (and do) hope that a Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360 is in the works, but until that happens I have to see what else is out there, and it's not something I've paid full attention to.

Suggestions?



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Tech
Tuesday, 19 February 2008 11:23:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 14 February 2008

IBM Internet Security Systems' X-Force has released its annual report outlining the malicious software threat and trending landscape. In a nutshell, things are getting more complicated (landscape-wise) and the impact is becoming more technically complex. Read the report and you can directly glean as well as infer certain facts.

As malware becomes harder and harder to catch in real-time using currently-available technology (a trend that has become quite clear over the past year or more) and as the intent of the malicious software becomes more and more geared toward complete remote system control and access, the potential situation looks - I'll just say it - pretty darned bleak.

It's important to stay up-to-date if you're an IT or Security professional (or hard-core geek). Here are your links:

Quiz in the morning. :)



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IT Security | Tech
Thursday, 14 February 2008 13:43:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 13 February 2008

samurairepairman I have a set of Kenmore HE3 appliances for washing clothing, the matching washer and the dryer of course. I like them a lot and have had them for five years. They've served me well. However, ever since installing a drawer pedestal under both, the washer had taken to frequently hopping and jumping around on the floor while in the spin cycle. It's not a good thing, and I needed a fix.

Luckily after some creative Google work I found this web site: Fixitnow.com, Samurai Appliance Repair Man. It's a blog with lots and lots of entries describing how to resolve common issues with various appliances, including mine. It gave me the information I needed to fix the problem. So I'm bookmarking it here on my blog for the benefit of others and - undoubtedly - for my own future reference.

Thanks, Samurai Repair Guy!



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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 12:51:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's not like we didn't already know the malware (short for "malicious software") infection rate is increasing, but Google's security folks posted a technical paper and blog entry on Monday that illustrates the prevalence of "drive-by" malware distribution and just how big the problem has become.

Excerpt:

“During that time we have investigated billions of URLs and found more than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 web sites automatically installing malware” … “In the past few months, more than 1% of all search results contained at least one result that we believe to point to malicious content and the trend seems to be increasing.”

Add to that the fact that a significant and growing amount of newer malware recompiles itself into new forms each time it redistributes, making it virtually undetectable by current means, and the situation potentially becomes even scarier.

The technical paper is a very interesting read and explains some of the distribution techniques and designs. It also points out one piece of browser technology that has resurfaced to plague the security world many, many times: the iFrame.

The problem is most deeply rooted in China, where 67% of all malware distribution servers are located, and 64.4% of all landing sites (sites that point to a distribution site) are located. The next closest offending country is the United States, which accounts for about 15% of the distribution and landing sites. So, one can easily see where a significant portion of the problem lies. With the increases in business and trade taking place in China now, one has to worry about the future if computer systems are in such bad shape. Clearly, something needs to change.

If you're a security person, an IT server admin, work with web applications, develop web apps, or are for any reason interested in scary figures (such as the fact that "38.1% of the Apache servers and 39.9% of servers with PHP scripting support reported a version with security vulnerabilities."), read the report. It's worth the time you'll spend.



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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 08:43:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It looks like the Live Search team has announced they've released their MSN Bot v1.1 (and changed the user agent string to "msnbot/1.1"). They've noted two significant (and welcome) features.

  • HTTP compression
  • Conditional GETs

What does this mean for server owners and operators? Just a more-efficient way of crawling your sites for indexing, assuming your servers support the features. Most servers support HTTP compression, and links to instructions for configuring it are provided in the Live Search team's blog entry.

If you're interested in knowing whether your site/server supports these two features, the Live Search team has also put up a page where you can run a quick test.

Of course, depending on how they detect search indexing bots, some apps may need to add the new user agent string to their configurations.



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Tech
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 07:05:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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