Saturday, April 7, 2012

Take Back Control

It’s the 21st Century and it’s utterly mind blowing how so many sheeple [] are just plain outright unwilling to accept the fact that PCs can live without Anti Virus Software [it is possible]. I guess what I am saying is you don’t have to rely on it like you think you do. With all the options for cloud based backup services, it’s a wonder [or shame] how and why some of us still do not have all of our precious data backed up. External Hard Drive prices have dipped dramatically, so price cannot be an excuse. It’s has to be something else. 

 My comments on the answer to “If the technology exists (and it does) to keep your PC 100% free of viruses/spyware, why wouldn't…” [] have been met with the utmost skepticism and biased disbelief [some of my comments you will read below as well]. I welcome the dialogue, comments, and arguments against what I am saying. It’s almost natural when our society has been led to believe that there is no hope; that you absolutely have to have Anti-Virus Software and there is no other way to combat the problem besides buying their products and/or taking your PC to Geek Squad, Staples, or Comp USA at $200 a pop.

 The brainwashing of the masses by Anti-Virus Giants & the Media has been quite successful if the ability to apply plain old common sense has been thrown out the window. When you think about it, and I mean really think about it [1]…the Hard Drive on any PC can be and IS controlled with permissions; control the permissions, and you control the machine. Multiple software programs exist [2] that allow specific permissions to be controlled by the user effectively [as well as transparently], eliminating the need to cough up $200 every time your computer gets attacked.

With this technology comes the ability to set up and return to a clean baseline snapshot [3], the ability to boot to Windows even with the BSOD, and [my personal favorite] the ability to return to any point in the timeline of snapshots even if your hard drive is accidently reformatted [4]; plus a host of other features and settings. It’s really a fairly simple process in the sense of protection. The software functions at the sector level of the hard drive and restores every bit of data. Chances are very high that you have already experienced this technology.
Roku + Netflix = Instant Movies on your TV
I can get into the nuts & bolts of it per anyone’s request, but there isn’t a scenario out there that I have not heard yet that this software cannot handle [5]. Hint…it works below the OS, on the sector level of the hard drive. All the “what ifs” I’ve ever heard have been OS based, at the Operating System level. If your “what if” question involves the OS or anything on the OS level, then chalk one up for the software and a goose egg [zero] for yourself.

 I know this software sounds too good to be true, I do, but it works, rather well. It does not need to reserve any portion of hard disk for “protected data”. The program data structure takes 0.07% of disk space to create up to 60,000 snapshots [sector mapping below the OS level]. You can even mount your snapshots as a virtual drive and recovery individual files/folders.

 This software is all about recovery from viruses and or spyware/malware/trojans, not taming or policing them [6]. Virus and Malware attacks are a given, so why not be protected under any circumstance, without repeat payments? [7].

 Take back control.

 [1] Do take the time to think about this point after reading this sentence, then proceed to the rest of the posting.
[2] Some have existed for more than a decade.
[3] Nothing at all like Windows System Restore, so don’t even go there, nor Mac’s Time Machine. Think > kid on a skateboard versus NASCAR…no comparison.
[4] I do not know of any other software that can do this. Do you?
[5] Not that you would need it, but in all of my scenarios of recovery, I assume the user has a complete back up of his/her entire system; entire hard drive including all partitions, BIOS, etc.
[6] You can recover from any virus/spyware/malware/trojan/worm invasion, user error, botched installation or update, BSOD, even a reformatted hard drive.
[7] Buy the software once, no subscriptions, you are protected for life.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Copying Leads To Competition, Competition Leads To Innovation

Marco Arment, the creator of the popular read-it-later tool Instapaper, has an excellent blog post discussing copying, innovation, and the best ways to react to competition. Arment discusses a new Instapaper competitor called Readability, which launched last week and received a lot of praise for including custom fonts, something Instapaper lacks:

I could have interpreted this defensively and complacently: “Georgia and Verdana are great, versatile, highly screen-readable fonts! I don’t need to do what competitors do! Newer isn’t always better! My crusty old fonts have some technical advantage that you don’t care about!” And so on.

That would have just made me look stubborn and out of touch, failing to understand (in fact, trying very hard not to understand) why newer fonts could be attractive to customers, and failing to admit that I should have done it first.

Instead, I’m taking this misstep as a wake-up call: I missed an important opportunity that’s necessary for the long-term competitiveness of my product. So I’ve spent most of the last week testing tons of reading fonts, getting feedback from designers I respect, narrowing it down to a handful of great choices, and negotiating with their foundries for inclusion into the next version of Instapaper. And the results in testing so far are awesome. I wish someone had kicked my complacent ass about fonts sooner.

Reacting well to competition requires critical analysis of your own product and its shortcomings, and a complete, open-minded understanding of why people might choose your competitors.

This is someone who understands how innovation and iteration really work. Interestingly, when Readability was announced last year, it had a different focus and was actually going to work in conjunction with Instapaper, but then it morphed into a direct competitor. At the time, other developers tried to shame them for that, but Arment himself was unsurprised and untroubled, saying "this is a very big and increasingly crowded market, and there’s no reason why we can’t respectfully share it."

He never tried to claim that copying was wrong or even unneighborly—not then, and not today. Arment clearly respects his competitors, recognizing what they bring to the table and using it as motivation to improve his own product. That's the mark of a true innovator.

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View the original article here

Police Academy actor explores the history of video game SFX

From Pong to Portal, actor/comedian Michael Winslow looks back on the history of sound effects in video games as only he can.

Actor Michael Winslow is probably best-known as the guy who made all of those crazy sounds in the Police Academy movies, but he recently contributed his noise-making talents to a short video looking back on the evolution of video-game sound effects.

Produced by G4TV, the two-minute video has Winslow beep-bop-booping his way from Pong to Portal, and offering a timeline of sorts for some popular games’ use of SFX. There’s an extremely short list of games represented (only six?!), so the video is clearly aimed at providing a showcase for Winslow’s talents rather than a comprehensive analysis of SFX history.

Still, it’s nice to see hear Winslow’s talents put to good use as he recreates the soundtrack to Ms. Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros.

By the way, if you don’t remember him from the Police Academy films, maybe you’ll recall his part as the radar-monitoring guy in Spaceballs who has trouble finding “the bleeps, the sweeps, and the creeps.” Now that is comedy gold.

View the original article here

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Apple Because Siri Doesn't Always Work Right

Technology doesn't always work quite as well as the advertisements claim. But is that any reason to sue? Apparently, yes. Some guy is trying to kick off a class action lawsuit against Apple because Siri doesn't work quite as well as it does in the TV ads. I imagine this lawsuit is going nowhere fast. Perhaps next time the guy should try asking Siri for legal advice...

View the original article here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The new iPad has CIOs quaking in their cubicles

Apple’s newest iPad has some new elements that could make it a (bigger) hit in the enterprise, such as a higher-resolution screen for video conferencing and presentations as well as taking dictation. But it has become increasingly clear to corporations that their networks can’t handle the iPad or, really, most of the devices employees are bringing into their walls.

We have done a lot of coverage on how iPads have made inroads into the enterprise, with 64 percent of mobile workers now carrying a tablet, and that will rise to nearly 80 percent within the next six months, according the Mobile Workforce Report (you can see the iPad breakdown below). In general, the number of mobile devices coming into corporate networks has grown to 3.5 devices, up from 2.7 in 2011, according to the same report, which was released earlier this week.

So many devices, such a static network

But the problem with iPads and mobile devices in general is that they move, and so your network resources have to move too. Or at least adapt to ensure that when someone has an impromptu meeting by the water cooler, there is enough network capacity to serve those devices. Before, when people computed and connected from their desks, it was much easier to predict where the network needed to have the most capacity.

Much like the networking trends happening inside the data center or out on the cellular networks, where scale and flexibility are becoming essential ingredients, the networks inside companies are due for their own tune-up, driven in part by devices like the iPad. As our computing has become more mobile and varied depending on the device, the once-staid world of networking has had to adapt — everywhere. The best explanation so far of this trend comes from Pradeep Sindhu, the director, vice chairman of the board and CTO of Juniper. In an interview with Om last year, Sindhu said:

The nature of traffic today is increasingly dynamic. And so the old ways of addressing and building networks, with very statically provisioned technologies, like circuit switching, is essentially dead. So you have to rethink this architecturally. Point number two is that I believe that the traffic is going to get a lot more stochastic in nature. In other words, unpredictable, both with respect to any given circuit and with respect to the sources and destination the amount of usage will continue to explode and they will get more and more dynamic and unpredictable., LLC.

Companies also have to figure out how to revamp their corporate device policies to ensure data is kept secure. Aruba, a wireless equipment firm, offers this slide to explain all the considerations an enterprise must think about.

The iPad and the big enterprise networking shift

As the new iPad launches with better screens and better video conferencing and presentation capabilities, those responsible for corporate networks are a wee bit concerned. Depending on whom you ask, some are very concerned. Brocade, which on Tuesday launched a series of products that makes corporate networks programmable and flexible, polled 120 IT managers and found that about half are worried in some way about anticipate traffic changes thanks to the coming iPad.

And even if the iPad isn’t mentioned by name, the trend of bringing in consumer devices to the network is leading to opportunities not just for firms making tablets such as Apple but also those on the back end charged with building and securing corporate networks. Companies like Brocade, Aruba, Cisco and others are watching today’s launch and hoping it drives a few more CIOs to ring up their salesmen.

View Original article here.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Buy Antivirus Software, Vendor Says

Trend Micro's consumer security product manager has recommend people not to buy antivirus products, including his own. But there is a method to his madness, he assures.

David Peterson, consumer segment director for Trend Micro's ANZ business, said only a handful of the top 10 security threats these days are viruses, with downloaders, Trojans, keyloggers and phishing scams filling up the list.

As such, he believes standalone antivirus software is best suited for infrequent users of the Internet such as dial up users, or those who want protection from nasties on USB keys.

"There is a niche for it but there are also people outside that niche who are buying it."

He said standalone AV products are there because the market demands it. "I wish they wouldn't. I don't recommend buying antivirus products," he said, referring to Trend Micro's and its competitor's products.

What is important is complete protection. "You are better off get Internet security suites," he said.

Peterson has support.

"Trend is correct," said Neil MacDonald, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

"Standalone AV is no longer sufficient for protecting endpoints; however, this does not mean that signature-based mechanisms don't provide value. They just don't provide the value they used to and the vendors haven't adjusted pricing models to reflect the diminished effectiveness of standalone AV," he said. "The ideal endpoint security product is an endpoint security platform that provides organizations with a variety of styles of protection for endpoints -- firewalls, AV, anti-spyware, application control, device control, behavioral monitoring and so on. This enables organizations to pick and choose the styles of protection appropriate to the endpoint -- which will likely be different combination for desktops, laptops and servers. Even among severs this will vary by role. "AV is just component of the endpoint security platform."

Trend Micro joins a swag of security companies to release security suites this month. It's claims Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security Pro 2009 is significantly faster than last year's effort. Others released in September include BitDefender Total Security 2009 and BullGuard Internet Security 8.5

View Original article here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anti-Virus Company Sued for Scare Tactics

 | 12 January 2012 7:15 am 

The makers of Norton Antivirus are accused of running fake scans and bullying customers into purchases.

We've all seen the messages pop up on our screen. "Malware detected!" "Your computer is infected!" "Download this software now or cybercriminals will invade your privacy, steal your identity and obliterate your soul!" These are the tactics of third-rate scams, designed to have you click on them and - ironically - install viruses and malware on your machine, but I've always wondered how somewhat "trusted" antivirus companies like Symantec and McAfee got away with using similar methods. A new lawsuit alleges Symantec's Norton Antivirus performs scans that don't actually scan your computer but still warn of non-existent dangers in order to get you to pay $29.99 to upgrade. Further, the plaintiff James Gross contends that even if you pay the fee, Symentec's applications don't really do anything to help your computer at all.

"The scareware does not conduct any actual diagnostic testing on the computer," reads Gross's complaint filed in Northern California. "Instead, Symantec intentionally designed its scareware to invariably report, in an extremely ominous manner, that harmful errors, privacy risks, and other computer problems exist on the user's PC, regardless of the real condition of the consumer's computer."

Gross said he bought the upgrade based on the prompt and afterwards hired IT experts to look at his machine. They told him that the scans almost always returned a negative report and that the software could not fix what it said it could. The complaint continues, "The scareware does not, and cannot, provide the benefits promised by Symantec. Accordingly, consumers are duped into purchasing software that does not function as advertised, and in fact, has very little (if any) utility."

Symantec responded to the lawsuit with the following statement:

[Symantec] does not believe the lawsuit has merit and will vigorously defend the case. The Norton and PC Tools solutions at issue are designed to improve the system performance of our customers' devices in terms of speed, maintain the health of their machines, and protect our customers' information. The optimization and privacy functions of these solutions fix registry errors, wipe computer usage, and shred deleted items. Some include additional functionality such as recovery tools to restore lost items. Several independent third parties have tested and reviewed these products very favorably, verifying the effectiveness of their functionality.

I've certainly been unimpressed with so-called security suites for a long while. Freeware alternatives such as AVG do the job just as well, and are devoid of such fear-mongering messages. Gross's claim that the antivirus programs don't do anything at all is pretty daring, but I wonder if there's not some merit to it. Part of me wants to believe that virus-makers and antivirus companies are more in cahoots than they'd like to admit.

Source: Forbes

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