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Archive for February, 2010

A report from DC think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies pains a pretty stark picture about the security dangers of major enterprises around the.  Ars has a summary, and you can get a direct link to the pdf document by clicking here.

No rules: Internet security a Hobbesian “state of nature”

By Nate Anderson |

Life in cyberspace can be nasty, brutish, and short. So says a new report PDF on international cybersecurity, which argues that the Internet is a Hobbesian “state of nature” where anything goes, where even government attacks maintain “plausible deniability,” and where 80 percent of industrial control software is hooked into an IP network.It’s also a world where the US is both a model and a bully. When 600 senior IT security managers were asked which state actor was most likely to engage in cyberattacks, the top response was the US 36 percent, even among traditional US allies. On the other hand, US security practices were some of the world’s most admired.

via No rules: Internet security a Hobbesian “state of nature”.

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Software company blames the hardware company, and vice-versa.  Unfortunately, as long as these problems occur, people will continue to be driven toward all-in-one with single providers of software and hardware such as the Mac or the iPhone.  I don’t really see this problem ever going away, and until then, the tech-savvy people will figure out how to balance the two companies, and the rest of the people will just suffer, or just throw up their hands and pay more money and buy a “simpler” product… like Apple.

It is really a shame, for what it is worth, I really like Windows 7.  Microsoft has taken a huge step forward, and I often find myself using Windows 7 quite a bit on my dual-boot Macbook Pro right now.  And no, I don’t have a problem… yet.

If I do, I guess I can always run back to my Mac OS X safety bubble.

Microsoft: your battery is the problem, not Windows 7

By Emil Protalinski | Last updated February 8, 2010 5:29 PM

Last week, Microsoft said it was investigating issues in Windows 7 that affect batteries on certain notebooks after hundreds of users reported they thought the OS was to blame. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, has posted a lengthy response on the Engineering Windows 7 blog. “At this time we have no reason to believe there is any issue related to Windows 7 in this context,” Sinofsky writes. Here’s his explanation:

Several press articles this past week have drawn attention to blog and forum postings by users claiming Windows 7 is warning them to “consider replacing your battery” in systems which appeared to be operating satisfactorily before upgrading to Windows 7. These articles described posts in the support forums indicating that Windows 7 is not just warning users of failing batteries – as we designed Windows 7 to do this – but also implying Windows 7 is falsely reporting this situation or even worse, causing these batteries to fail. To the very best of the collective ecosystem knowledge, Windows 7 is correctly warning batteries that are in fact failing and Windows 7 is neither incorrectly reporting on battery status nor in any way whatsoever causing batteries to reach this state. In every case we have been able to identify the battery being reported on was in fact in need of recommended replacement.

Sinofsky goes on to explain that PC batteries inherently degrade in their ability to hold a charge and provide power, and ultimately batteries must be replaced to restore an acceptable battery life (batteries usually have a warranty of 12 months). Windows 7 taps into a feature of modern laptop batteries which have circuitry and firmware that can report the overall health of the battery in Watt-hours power capacity. Windows 7 then calculates the percentage of degradation from the original design capacity; the threshold is set at 60 percent degradation, so if the battery is performing at 40 percent of its designed capacity then users will see Windows 7 report that it might be time to change the battery.

via Microsoft: your battery is the problem, not Windows 7.

Also see: blog.msdn.com

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And here it is, Google’s answer to twitter/friendfeed/facebook.  Actually, it is more a replacement of the wall, the forum, the discussion board.  I have to say, I’ve played with it a little, and it’s not bad.  It helps that I use gmail anyway, of course.  I just haven’t been logging into Facebook much lately unless somebody posts something (so I get an email to go look).

Ars has a nice review, and worth a read, quoted below.

Google launches Buzz to rein in social media overload

By Chris Foresman | Last updated February 9, 2010 5:27 PM

Today Google announced its latest social application, designed to bring the fire hose of social media and status updates down to a useful trickle of the most “interesting” bits. Dubbed Google Buzz, the service is designed to offer easier ways to share links, photos, and other information, corral all those things shared by friends and other connections, and integrate well with other services in an open way.

It’s “a Google approach to sharing,” according to Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz.

via Google launches Buzz to rein in social media overload.

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I’m happy to say that I do most of these tips already, but a good Gmail optimization guide is always useful to keep around and save.

Gmail is hands-down the best web-based email service on the ‘net. Conversation threads, search, tagging, and keyboard shortcuts have completely revolutionized the way I look at my inbox. I manage all of my email from my personal Gmail inbox, including the daily flood of Lifehacker messages. At this point, I can’t imagine a program I could use to manage my email any more efficiently.

Despite my undying love for Gmail, there are still a lot of people who aren’t won over by sheer enthusiasm alone, and still others who just aren’t taking full advantage of the features and functions they’ve got at their fingertips in Gmail. Either way, the only thing a Gmail naysayer needs is a better understanding of everything you can do with Gmail.

Today I’ve got a rundown of the methods and add-ons I use to make Gmail more powerful. By the time you’re done with this article you’ll be a bona fide Gmail power user, too.

via Hack Attack: Become a Gmail master – Efficiency – Lifehacker.

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… because I will definitely need to go back and look at this at some point in the future.   Thankfully, I don’t think my house has many interior door locks right now.  Thanks to lifehacker, ehow, wikihow and instructables.

How to Open a Locked Interior Door When You’ve Lost the Key

If you have a lot of interior doorknobs with key locks on them, sooner or later you’re bound to lose the key or lock them inside the room. Here’s what to do to get back in.

When one of my interior doors got locked with the keys inside recently, I learned all I ever wanted to know about lock-picking and doorknob assembly. Locksmiths are expensive, so let me share everything I tried and show you how I eventually got the door open.

via How to Open a Locked Interior Door When You’ve Lost the Key – Locks – Lifehacker.

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I honestly don’t understand what took them so long.  Ars Technica reviews the issue the best for the layperson:

This week, after receiving the conclusions of a multiyear ethics investigation of UK doctor Andrew Wakefield performed by the General Medical Counsel GMC, the editors of British medical journal The Lancet formally retracted a study which purported to find a link between the childhood MMR vaccine, gastrointestinal disease, and autism. It was published in 1998 and has been a source of controversy ever since.

via The Lancet retracts paper linking MMR vaccines and autism.

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