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2009-10-24

Linux protection against Windows viruses

This is rich. A programmer's blog illustrates how to use Linux to protect you from Windows viruses by running your Windows programs in the Linux Windows emulator, 'Wine', and how easy it is to kill a virus in Wine.

It also shows how Firefox warns you three times before the virus gets into your system from Facebook.

You want computing safety? Use Firefox and Linux.

Why Vista Freezes

A very clear technical explanation from a Microsoft expert explains why Vista freezes. Solution: Only run one app at a time, buy Windows Seven, or upgrade to Ubuntu 9.

2009-10-14

Control your Windows or Mac machine with tweets

Oh, this is so slick.

A freeware site I track explains how you can use freeware to control your Windows PC or Mac by posting tweets.

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Linux for safer online banking and shopping

This Ziff-Davis/CBS article suggests using a Linux Live CD for online banking and shopping.

UPDATE: So does the Washington Post computing columnist.

Why? Even the director of the FBI almost fell for a phishing scheme, and if he can be had, so can you.

Linux Live CDs boot your computer with the free, much-more-secure Linux operating system, and look very much like Windows. However, you don't have access to your hard drive, so viruses and spyware can't take hold in your system. If you want to save data, you can save it to a USB 'thumbdrive' flash memory device you can take with you, and the article discussing saving passwords on a flash drive in a locked, encrypted file.

It's really easy to download from kubuntu.com and 'burn' Linux to a blank CD-R, have one mailed to you, or you can skip that and buy a disc at FreeGeek at 1731 SE 10th, east of Union behind the Goodwill store. Their Thrift Store sells discs for a buck, 11 AM - 7PM, Tuesday - Saturday.

How much is your bank account worth, anyway?

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2009-10-12

Microsoft + Your Data NEQ Happiness, Sidekick Users

Gotta Sidekick? BACK IT UP NOW. BY HAND.

There are still folks out there who don't know their Sidekick smartphone data is toast if they let their battery run down or if they do a reset (a typical problem solving procedure for Sidekicks).

Here's a block diagram of the Sidekick system as originally designed:






And, after your data's protection was outsourced to Elbonia:



Daniel Eran Dilger has the most complete explanation of this sorry Redmondic debacle whereby Sidekick users lost data Microsoft should have protected, if their word was worth anything:
Microsoft's takeover of Danger (creator of the Sidekick - ed. comment) almost two years ago should have given the software giant the time to fortify and secure Danger's online operations. Instead, it appears the company actually removed support to cut costs. According to a source familiar with Danger before and after the Microsoft acquisition, T-Mobile's close partnership with the original Danger was leveraged and then betrayed by Microsoft when Steve Ballmer's company decided there would be more money involved in dropping its exclusive deal with T-Mobile to partner with Verizon on the side.

Microsoft's accountability in supporting its acquired Sidekick support obligations with T-Mobile was also shirked. The source stated that "apparently Microsoft has been lying to them [T-Mobile] this whole time about the amount of resources that they've been putting behind Sidekick development and support [at Danger] (in reality, it was cut down to a handful of people in Palo Alto managing some contractors in Romania, Ukraine, etc.). The reason for the deceit wasn't purely to cover up the development of Pink but also because Microsoft could get more money from T-Mobile for their support contract if T-Mobile thought that there were still hundreds of engineers working on the Sidekick platform. As we saw from their recent embarrassment with Sidekick data outages, that has clearly not been the case for some time."

That indicates that Danger's high profile cloud services failure didn't occur in spite of Microsoft's ownership, but rather because of it. This has led observers to question the company's commitment to its other cloud services, not just Windows Mobile MyPhone, but also the Azure Services Platform of cloud computing efforts that the company has had on the drawing board for years. Azure is designed to allow third parties to build applications that are dependent upon Microsoft's data centers.


John C. Dvorak, industry megapundit, summarized the situation pithily:

You have to ask yourself how anyone in his right mind would ever trust a Microsoft cloud computing scheme. If given a choice between a Google online calendar and a Microsoft online calendar, which would you now pick?

Microsoft has made the decision for us.

Yep.