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More Web Sites Hacked

Posted by iammarchhare on 31 August 2009

ZD Net reported on 24 August that “55,000 Web sites hacked to serve up malware cocktail”.  Many of these were legitimate web sites that had been hacked.

Individuals and organizations alike cannot afford the exposure being risked by not doing proper security updates.  Also, proper protection by a reliable (which does not necessarily mean name brand or expensive) antivirus program is a real necessity.  The types of attacks seem to be on a steady increase, and it is not likely to become a safer cyberworld very soon.

ZDNet only confirms what I’ve seen myself:

The most common programs under attack include Adobe Flash, Adobe PDF Reader, Apple’s QuickTime, WinZip and RealPlayer.  In addition to Microsoft Windows patches, these desktop applications should be updated to the newest version immediately.

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Goodbye, Mr Kennedy

Posted by iammarchhare on 26 August 2009

Well, “Senator Edward Kennedy dies at age 77” reported Reuters via Yahoo! News this morning.  Without a doubt, he was the most influential of the clan after the deaths of John and Robert and up until his own death.  He had been suffering from brain cancer, diagnosed just a little over a year ago, May 2008.

Please forgive me for speaking in generalities.  I’m posting the same article in both blogs today.  Maybe it’s just because I feel a little older myself today, with the realization that even with the best of fortunes and the best of health, old age and death overcome us all at least once.  However, as one door shuts, another one opens, and I believe that death is just the closing of a single door.  Afterwards, another door opens.  Some will have the door to eternal life opened and others will have their first real chance in a physical life in a much better world.

To a certain extent, you had to admire him.  He became the leader of one the most well-known and influential families that ever existed.  Many did not believe he was up to the task, and some did not even believe he deserved it.  However, he was able to overcome many obstacles along the way.

I definitely did not agree with many of Mr Kennedy’s ideas.  As the Reuters article wrote:

Yet during his nearly half century in the chamber, Kennedy became known as one of Washington’s most effective senators, crafting legislation by working with lawmakers and presidents of both parties, and finding unlikely allies.

At the same time, he held fast to liberal causes deemed anachronistic by the centrist “New Democrats,” and was a lightning rod for conservative ire.

Of course, his life was not without its own share of controversy, especially the Chappaquiddick incident.  Even more controversial might have been the slap on the wrist treatment for what these days would amount to a felony.

Be that as it may, it remains to be seen what the new generation of Democrats will do from here.  There are signs that President Obama has lost his luster, but that was inevitable given the expectations many, not a few but many, had of him.  He is still popular and could well remain so.  However, the results of some of his policies have a potentially crippling effect, and neither party really seems to have the ability to come up with real long-term solutions.

There were odd statements and many jokes about who was running the Republican party a few months ago.  Well, as of today, the Democratic party has one less leader, and it is one less leader in a branch that Mr Obama really needs right now.  Who will emerge to be take Mr Kennedy’s place in the Senate?  Can anyone really fill his shoes?

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Dangers of Blogging

Posted by iammarchhare on 24 August 2009

I’m sure you’ve all heard the advice.  Become an expert in your field, get on LinkedIn, get on networking sites, answer questions, network, participate and start your own blog.  Well, perhaps that is good advice, but the last one can be a little more dangerous now.  Or, at least if you are a celebrity chaser.

The Telegraph reported on 19 August that “Google reveals blogger’s identity after Vogue model’s ‘skank’ insult”.  The blogger, who went by the ever so original “Anonymous”, described Vogue covergirl Liskula Cohen in several unflattering terms.  A New York supreme court judge quoted an earlier Virginia ruling that online critics can be held accountable once they cross a certain line.

I’m all for civility online, but the constant eroding of speech on the web is somewhat of a concern to me.

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Signs of “The Times”

Posted by iammarchhare on 19 August 2009

The British newspaper The Sunday Times will become the guinea pig for testing paid access to the newspaper, reported the Bangkok Post in “Sunday Times to test charge for content”.  News Corp owns The Sunday Times, The Times and The Wall Street Journal and already charges for access to the latter.

You could say it’s a sign of The Times.  I’m no fan of paying for access to online news, but as newspapers all over shut their doors, we’re likely to see more of this.

The interesting thing to me, though, is that newspapers for years supported themselves by advertizing.  Very few modern newspapers have kept themselves running on subscriptions alone, and certainly no large ones that I’m aware of.  It seems odd that this aspect hasn’t translated well in the online world.

Makes you wonder how much longer free news broadcasts from the major networks will be available.  Will they start charging for those at some point?  I certainly hope not, seeing as none of them are worth paying for.

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Too Many Flash Viruses, So Little Time

Posted by iammarchhare on 15 August 2009

OK, this is pretty much off-topic, but I’ve seen way too many people lately with Flash problems lately.  If you are having difficulty accessing Facebook or YouTube, this may be your problem.

The one thing all of these problems have in common, at least that I have seen, is that some sort of malware is found on the computer’s hard drive.  I don’t mean simple registry entries or cookies, either.  I mean trojan .EXEs and .DLLs.  It appears that some of these are video related (with names like “movie.exe”), but I suspect the real issue is that they change the registry permissions so that Flash cannot register correctly.

I am going to assume for the sake of argument that you’ve already tried all of the obvious things:

  1. You are logged in as an Administrator.
  2. Your IE security settings are set for “Download Signed ActiveX Controls” and “Run ActiveX Controls and Plug-Ins” to “Prompt”.
  3. You have disabled your antivirus software, especially if it is Norton, but you still get the error.
  4. You have already tried www.adobe.com/go/tn_19166, to include downloading the uninstall utility and manually downloading the zip file (or exe if you are running Firefox).

If these have not worked, it is time to break out the big guns:

  1. Download and install Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware program from www.malwarebytes.com.
  2. Run a “Perform full scan” on your hard drives.  This may take 2 or 3 hours, so you might want to start it and go to bed. 🙂
  3. When completed, make sure all of the items are selected and that you Remove them.  Undoubtedly, if you are going this route, you will probably have to reboot at this point.
  4. Download http://www.supportflash.com/reset_min.zip.  Then download http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/494/cpsid_49419/attachments/reset_fp10.zip in order to reset permissions.  Be sure to unzip all files into the same folder.
  5. Close all applications, especially IE and Firefox.
  6. Double-click on reset_fp10.cmd.  You will get a commandline window that will pause for you to press a key when complete.
  7. Download the latest from http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer.
  8. Test the player by going to http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/about/.
  9. If it still fails, open a technical support case at www.adobe.com/support/contact/.

It took me about 2-1/2 days of surfing to come up with this complete list of instructions.  Hopefully, this will save someone some time.

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Stirring the Smartphone Pot a Little More: Windows 7 Mobile

Posted by iammarchhare on 14 August 2009

I had gotten some pushback on my post “Microsoft Dropping the Ball?” where I stated that Windows Mobile and even Smartphone hardware needs updating.  Well, it appears that Windows Mobile soon will be updated with Windows Mobile 7.  There is a ZDNet video on TechRepublic, where they ask, “Poll: Would you hold off buying an iPhone 3G S to see how Windows Mobile 7 compares?

Windows Mobile 7 is called the “Big Bang Release for Windows Mobile” by Mary-Jo Foley, who was interviewed for the video.  There should be new phones being manufactured for the release beginning this fall.  I hope this means better hardware as well as better software because, as I stated in my previous article, some of my dissatisfaction is with the speed and memory of some of the phones I’ve used.  I also wonder if any of them will support T-Mobile’s UMA.

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Networking Events, Part 2

Posted by iammarchhare on 11 August 2009

So, yesterday, I wrote in Networking Events, Part 1 about some of the downside of networking events.  And yet, most of them really are positive overall.

For one thing, all network events, even staged ones, give you an opportunity to network.  That may seem obvious, but it surprises me how many people don’t get out there and do it!  Whether you are looking for your next job or your next contract opportunity, go!  Even if you aren’t looking, go!  You never know when you’ll be forced to, even if you are comfortable where you are.

Next, even though I ragged a lot about the etiquette presentation, there were more good hints than silly ones.  For example, I’ve never really thought about what side I put a name tag on.  In the Army, it was a given that the “US Army” was over your heart and your name was on the right.  However, since becoming a civilian, I usually put a name tag on the left because I am right handed.  However, when you shake someone’s hand, they will be looking at your right side, not your left, so it helps someone to remember your name if the name tag is on your right.

See if you can answer these questions:

  • What do you first do with a business card when you receive one?
  • Is networking about quantity or quality?
  • If a call gets dropped in the middle of a conversation, whose responsibility is it to call?
  • What are some ways you can keep a conversation going if you feel stuck?

If you don’t know the answer, then try an event put on by one of the consulting/contracting/recruiting firms in your area.  TEKSystems has some going on.  Don’t forget that some local PMI chapters are doing networking events as well.

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Networking Events, Part 1

Posted by iammarchhare on 10 August 2009

Networking events can be interesting.  There is the good, and there is the bad.  Of course, this is Monday, so I’m ready to do my Monday rant.  So, this first part covers some of the negatives.

If I hear about “personal branding” one more time, I may just heave.  Why is it we humans want to recycle and repackage old ideas with new names every few years?  Once upon a time, your “brand” was a simple idea: Your reputation.

Then, there is the whole etiquette stuff that every other networking event seems to want to go into.  I’m all for etiquette actually.  Being polite is simply showing respect for others.  However, some of what is considered “etiquette” really is a matter of taste.

For example, who really cares whether or not someone is wearing short sleeves in the office during summer?  It’s kind of funny that someone isn’t allowed to wear a “dress shirt” when they “dress” for an occasion.

Another even stupider one I have seen disseminated on the net is the myth that you either wear suspenders or a belt but not both.  So, where do you clip that cell phone belt clip on your suspenders, anyhow?  Not only is it impractical, but there are those who are in the business of knowing that say a belt with suspenders is OK.  Therefore, if a future employer really is going to judge you on such a petty matter, then it is just proof you don’t want to work for someone who not only doesn’t know fashion but is too dumb to realize they don’t know anything about fashion.

I also have to wonder about worrying about how much someone’s shoes tell you about the person.  It is always important to appear your best.  On the other hand, there’s also a reason a person is looking for a job.

A lot of times, I will wait until the food arrives before putting a napkin in my lap, unless I’m eating bread or whatever is put on the table beforehand.  I guess I get docked points for that one.  I wonder how many points I would get docked for tucking my napkin into my shirt collar to keep food from ruining my coat and tie.

Whenever it comes to which water glass to use, it seems there are a million rules.  I’ve always been told that it where the knife points.  Now, I guess it is always on your right (something about “b” and “d” and “d” stands for drink).  Funny, don’t they do it differently in Europe, though?

Which just all goes to show that the “experts” cannot even agree.

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John D’s Computer and Network Services

Posted by iammarchhare on 24 July 2009

This is a shameless plug for my new company, and I wanted my blog readers to be among the first to know.  It is still in startup mode (I just acquired phone service today), but it isn’t too early to start getting the word out.

It is John D’s Computer and Network Services, and it is based out of the Akron/Cleveland area of Ohio.  We specialize in installation, service, repairing and general consulting for computer and network needs for individuals or small businesses.  No project is “too small”!

I am in the process of setting up a web site, but I haven’t even come up with a business logo yet 🙂

In the meantime, our telephone number is 440.499.5326 or 440.499.JDCN.

If you don’t know me well, you may wonder, “Why John D’s?  Shouldn’t it be JC’s?”  When I was growing up, I was rarely called John, actually.  I was usually called “John D” because it was easier to distinguish me from anyone else in the vicinity called “John”.  It basically stuck, esp. amongst family.

At any rate, the plan is to be basically open for business by Monday morning.  So, thanks for tolerating this shameless plug.

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Quotes About Plans

Posted by iammarchhare on 23 July 2009

I have come to the conclusion that some plans are actually good until the first stated action is executed.  Some plans are not good to begin with.  Are you dealing with “that kind” of project?  Is there a particular project that seems bogged down in a never ending stream of exceptions and/or indecisions?  Well, maybe some of these quotes will cheer you up and/or inspire you:

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
~ Peter F. Drucker

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon (similar quote is attributed to Margaret Millar)

“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
~ Unknown

“Everybody’s got plans… until they get hit.”
~ Mike Tyson

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
~ Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.”
~ Denis Waitley

“He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.”
~ Herodotus

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.”
~ Dennis Wholey

“It will not do to leave a live dragon out of your plans if you live near one.”
~ JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit)

“I always say don’t make plans, make options.”
~ Jennifer Aniston

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
~ Peter F. Drucker

“It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.”
~ Mabel Newcomber

“I’ll probably make loads of plans, and then just sit around on my bottom all day long and do nothing.”
~ John Deacon

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”
~ General George S. Patton

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
~ Dwight David Eisenhower

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”
~ Woody Allen

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
“Gang aft a-gley,
“An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
“For promis’d joy.”
~ Robert Burns

“Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.”
~ Army saying

“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.”
~ Horace

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.”
~ Ancient Chinese proverb

“No matter what other plans are out there, this is the best plan.”
~ Tom McMillan

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

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