August 15, 2005

Do Yourself A Favor

Don't ever say I didn't give you anything...

If you own a PC and run the Windows operating system... it's time to make a clean break from Bill Gates' web browser. go here:

...and download Firefox. Right now. Don't wait.

After reading about yet another bug that will "potentially allow an attacker to exploit a vulnerability... giving the attacker control of the affected computer", this should give everyone clarity of thought to ditch Internet Explorer forever.

Some may wonder how your web browser came to be such a source of constant worry? Well...

This here's the story of Internet Explorer, an otherwise very capable program that suffered the indignity of being used to help Microsoft monopolize the software market. Oh while certainly Office helped accomplish that far before IE came to the fore, Microsoft did something in order to help it monopolize the browser market: they force integrated it into the operating system. Yes, every time you open your "My Computer" icon, you are actually using the force coded Explorer engine that has now been hybridized to interface both with your filesystem and the Internet. By doing this, Microsoft was able to keep Internet Explorer constantly running - always there, even when just opening your folders and files.

Along with this integration came another path Microsoft chose to cement the parasitic relationship between you and your web browser. Microsoft designed IE (Internet Explorer) as a software fusion engine - for instance, those of you using recent versions of Quickbooks may have noticed that you had to install the latest version of IE in order to run your software. Why? Because IE runs nested inside of Quickbooks. Yes, those little charts and gadgets, much of that is driven by the IE engine.

So the web browser - a program originally designed to display internet pages - is now hooked and clawed, fused and entangled into your operating system, placed there by design in order to keep you forever immersed in the wonderful world of poorly written lowest common denominator software. Because IE has to run as a program, and display your file system, it has been given access and critical entry points all over your operating system.

And this is where the problem is. And it's an intractable problem. You cannot remove IE from your system - it's like herpes, it will always be with you, just flaring up from time to time to make a destructive nuisance of itself. Or so I'm told...

Anyways, the one thing you can do is stop using IE to browse the Internet. Minimize your exposure.

Use Firefox.

And considering Microsoft's complicity in helping the Chinese police state censor the Internet for Chinese citizens, you'll feel good doing it.

Perhaps Microsoft should spend less time helping China keep it's people from reading words like "freedom" and more time fixing it's buggy software...

Posted by MEC2 at 10:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 10, 2004


Fake or not, the CBS papers are damaged goods, and the Guard story is now done...

The CBS report on the umpteenth iteration of analysis of the President's National Guard service created a watershed moment, where the wired collective demonstrated it's power over old cliquish media power. Calling into question questionable documents, an avalanche of analysis and logic turned the story on it's head.

Like old meat, the mere appearance of spoilage ruins the meal, and whether or not the documents are real is now academic, vis vie the National Guard accusations themselves. Anyone with the faintest disinclination to believe the story will do so, and anyone inclined to use the story against the President will do so with a rhetorical whiffle bat - full of air and likely to miss. Furthermore, this story was already on it's third iteration, and with CBS News and Dan Rather twisting in the wind on this issue, it's now dead for the campaign, even if the issue already was a political zombie - a story that moved with the appearance of life, but was really dead.

The heavy lifting on this issue wasn't done by CBS, which was inclined to run with a story that fit their own perceptions of political reality, but was done by intrepid, keen-eyed internet users. Anyone wanting a detailed history can visit PowerLine, Slings And Arrows, Instapundit, Polipundit, and Hugh Hewitt - between these sources, you will find links to all relevant information and analysis, as well as some enjoyable reading on other topics of the day.

There are ways to greatly increase our confidence in the documents authenticity/inauthenticity - first and foremost would be to examine the originals, or at least the lowest-order copies. Determining the age of the paper will be very easy, as well that of the inking substance. More telling would be examination of known-good documents from the same office, to evaluate their makeup - are they kerned, line spaced uniformly for the width of the page, do they use the same typeface, share the same abbreviation, scriptings, and decimalizations (1st Lt. or 1st LT). This should be very easy to do - to put the matter somewhat aside, produce a known, verifiably authentic document from the same office showing the same characteristics.

Unless CBS produces their primary source materials, the black-eye for the network won't just be on their logo.

Posted by MEC2 at 10:25 PM

May 27, 2004

You've Got Jail !!!

Boy I hope they have room in Abu Ghraib for this guy...

In the most notable incident to date, a spammer is going to be spending quality time behind bars - up to 7 years - for fraud in connection with email spamming.

Couldn't happen to a better kind of person. Whlie this person gets acquainted with why they call prison 'the pokey', he should also be forced to go through an Inbox with copies of each of the nearly one billion spam emails he originally sent. Mixed in with those emails should be one email that has the secret password he needs to get out of prison.

He can then experience what the rest of us do, looking for the one needle in a stack of needles.

Posted by MEC2 at 08:02 PM