My Latest Girlfriend

What I want to know is who thinks up this crap to send/spam my mailbox with:

I am your sweetest strawberry. A hottie from your most beautiful desires! I could show you my photo shots if wanna see me and you will be aware that it is truth.

All of your dreams would be about me! My name is Gabrielle Gonzales and I am a playful beauty. Let’s chat for a while and there are no doubts you will be dreaming about me! Who knows, maybe we will go to club, have travel or have fun in my bedroom.

I will help you to satisfy all of your desires, sweetheart!


And previously…:

You are accomplished looking man. Extremely gorgeous. You absorbed my care.

But then I believe you got that influence on all women.Would you be engaged in corresponding? If you need to know more about me, then reply to my email.
outspokenly

Why Google Owning Everything is so BAD!


So one day, I'm remembering a little jingle in a video game for the old Commodore 64 computers. The game is called Epsilon IV. I figured, maybe someone else had already captured the beauty of the song, why duplicate the effort? I headed over to YouTube to see…

For me, they could've left it at "no results found"; but I guess they're results driven; gotta have results!!… scare the crap out of me…

For the record, my little recording of the song I'd been looking for can be downloaded here

Monday Turkey Shoot


So, I'm out this morning enjoying my first nicotine for the day before I head off for my split-shift at Marty's. Karl had shown me pictures last week of this turkey on the back of his Bonneville. Today, I witnessed said turkey hanging out on his Roadmaster.

One down, two to go…


So, last week, Melisa finally hit after taking shots with her .22 rifle for awhile.
I don't know for sure if the one pictured live months ago is the one she tagged.

I DO know that the one hanging upside down and dead is.
I must say; rooster makes excellent tacos. Tastes almost like chicken!

Thoughts on Web Browsing

I’m not one to really be on top of technology. No really! ~ I used Windows 98 Second Edition until about 2005 when I “upgraded” to Windows 2000 Professional and it took me until this year, 2011, to start running Windows XP as my default operating system. Therefore, I do not have Windows 7 or Vista anywhere around me. Go ahead and ridicule me, I deserve it!

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I’ll get to a little soliloquy about the current state of the World Wide Web and the browsers we use to access it.

A very long time ago, I stopped using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to browse the Web. It’s actually kindof funny that I had little experience with Netscape Navigator at that time. When I began paying for a monthly subscription to access the Internet, both of these browsers were at version 3.0 with an impending new 4.0 version of IE in the works. I used IE simply because it was right there, already installed on my Windows 95 box.

After about a year, I started poking around at other software available and discovered Opera. I’m a sucker for good shareware and at this time, Opera was a try-before-you-buy entanglement. But I was hooked. This was about 1998 and Opera already used an MDI, or multiple document interface. Nowadays, browser makers tout this as tabbed browsing. Funny that IE didn’t feature this until a couple of years ago though way-back-when, Microsoft pushed MDI programming on all independent developers as the way to go. Whatever, Opera’s claim at the time was “the fastest browser on Earth”. For its day, Opera really lived up to that claim.

Microsoft wielded its power through leveraging their dominance in the operating system software market to effectively eliminate Netscape. Netscape ended up being bought by America Online. Alot of time was lost, Netscape never released a version 5 of Navigator and rebuilt the Netscape Communicator Internet suite based on a project they started called Mozilla. Mozilla was released as an open-source project, which means others may use that code to build other Web browsers from it. One of these offshoots is called Firefox. The Netscape product was based on the original Mozilla code through versions 6.x and 7.x but based on Firefox for versions 8.x and 9.x. The final version of Netscape 9 is basically equivalent to Firefox 2.

For an illustrative timeline of all this, don’t take my word for it;
see this wonderful scalable graphic.

Anyhow, somewhere back about three years ago, I began using Firefox as my primary browser rather than Opera. I can’t even remember what the reasoning was at the time. It might have had something to do with eBay or the relative ease with which Firefox was available. Maybe both. Maybe it had to do with the time I’d been spending in Linux and having Firefox, or its Debian brother Ice Weasel, immediately available, much like IE 3 was back in my Windows 95 days. Nevertheless, I’d reach for the latest install of Firefox whenever I’d done a fresh install of Windows when I wanted to play in Microsoft-land.

Recently, Firefox released version 4.0 and I subsequently downloaded that and installed it. I must say that I was somewhat disappointed. In fact, there were enough aggravations precipitated by this upgrade for me to switch back to using Opera as my default browser, though I’d always had it available to me, I would infrequently update the version I had installed. I’ve always liked how Opera was very well self-contained. Which, I mean to say, if I’ve got Opera installed on some USB drive. All I have to do to run the program is find the executable there and double-click it. No requirements that something needs to be installed in the windows\system32 directory, no registry entries needed. It has always worked.

The other day, I was reading this article about memory consumption by Firefox. Its intimation is that the problem has been around a long time and is the fault of the underlying Mozilla foundation. Furthermore, the article adds that this problem will now be addressed.

Having read that article, I began doing a little bit of research about available browsers. One reason for doing this had to do with refreshing my failing human memory of what happened when. Another reason was my continued endeavors to stay on-top-of-things as much as possible due to my authoring of Web pages and the inherent limitations of design imposed by a user’s choice of Web browser. My earlier research indicated that Opera was actually further along in the compatibility of the upcoming HTML 5 standards. No surprise there; Opera was the first PC browser to achieve cascading style sheet compatibility in the famous CSS2 acid test.

By the way, if you’re interested in obtaining some of the older, seemingly non-existent Web browsers shown in the above mentioned scalable timeline, try either browsers.evolt.org or oldversion.com. Beware, opening modern Web pages with old browsers can be a scary experience though! Besides the likelihood of the browser just flat out crashing, you’ll find that if you’re able to view a page, it will not look like it would in a more modern browser and definitely not how the author intends his/her page to look. If, by me bringing up Netscape earlier, you’ve suddenly had a fond reminiscence and longing for an integrated Internet suite, I may suggest you try the Firefox-based SeaMonkey.

So, today, a bit more research into the whole Firefox memory phenomenon yielded me a slew of other browser programs based on Firefox or Mozilla. The one I sat on is a project called Pale Moon. What fascinated me about this project was its claim of Firefox not being compiled with full-optimization of today’s better computer processors. I thought the very premise was interesting, so I downloaded it knowing that I’ve got an okay processor; an AMD Turion running at 2GHz. We’ll see if it’s much faster as based on my previous 4.0 Firefox experience, I opted for the version of Pale Moon based on the old 3.6 Firefox code.

The website further suggested a pair of personas which I declined to download based on the small pictures shown. But what that did get me to do was to look for some other Firefox themes. I found a new one I’d never seen or used before and I think it’s slick as snot! It’s called Oskar 1.9. (Picture IS link!)

In Opera, I generally like the Lix skin, but if you prefer bigger buttons, then the WMP 11 skin would do better for you. Here’s a shot (and link!) of Lix:

Right on… Target

So my three-year old niece has some View-Master reels of varying content. She has no View-Master to see these contents. Awhile ago, I thought I’d try to remedy this disconnect.

I’ve not been in a toy store for years as my boys are now college age. Google seemed as good a place to start as any.

Hey! Target; we have those.

Or maybe not?

Why on Earth pay for advertising to link to a product you don’t carry?

Argghhhhhhh!!!

Two months ago, I got screwed on my main PC by a piece of malware called Windows Scan. I had planned on writing a small piece about my experience and the two and a half hours it takes to remove this fake antivirus program from my computer. One thing I had learned about it was exactly at what point I had set loose its payload on myself.

But, I had alot of work on my hands to do in a two day timeframe before going away for a couple of weeks so, I had never got around to writing this article. While I was gone, I encountered this same piece of garbage on my sister’s computer. And I found it in nearly the same way, by using Google Image Search. This time, however, I was wise enough from my previous experience to simply pull the plug from her computer without clicking another damn thing. Due to the way this malware functions, that was enough to keep this garbage from unleashing its payload on my sister’s machine and burning two and a half hours of my time at her place. Upon reboot, it was simply a matter of flushing her web browser’s cache to rid the machine of any potential remains.

Two days ago, I had another encounter with this crapware on my computer. There were several differences this time. For one, I was not clicking on any Google Image Search. In fact, I wasn’t actually doing anything with the computer at the moment of infection. I had Windows Update running and I was reading an article about cascading style sheet menus in another browser. I’d looked away from the computer screen for a few minutes altogether while concerning myself with something completely different. When I returned a few minutes later, here was this piece of crap beginning its run on my computer.




If you were to punch “Windows Scan” into Google search, you can come up with plenty more of the same thing. From these shots, you can see that this time, the malware has a different name, XP Home Security, but it’s still the same lameware crapola.

So, if I wasn’t actively clicking anything, and believe me, this crap launches pretty darn quickly, how did I contract the evilware again? Along with my attempts to cleanse my system of this, I did a bit of evidence gathering this time. By putting my forensic hat on, I may have sacrificed my ability to eliminate the beast without trashing my system. In fact, after my data mining, I made two attempts to reinstall the operating system on my computer. The second attempt because of the first’s failure. Yes, a hard drive format was required. Nothing like a clean install for that wake up feeling fresh-in-the-morning feeling is there?

I learned plenty this go around with this rotten piece of shit. I felt it pretty unlikely that the malware was contracted on Microsoft’s website while doing the Windows Update. I mean, that certainly would have been a hoot if I received malware from the mothership there but I don’t believe that was the cause. Rather, that browser window, which was the only other thing I had open on my system. Just a page I was reading while Windows Update was “getting it on”.

I’d installed the browser the day before this incident and I’ll admit that I didn’t fully know what I was doing with it yet. That browser was Google Chrome. I hadn’t had much experience with Chrome yet for a good reason. Until my previous bout with Windows Scan, I was running Windows 2000 Professional as my main system. Chrome requires XP or higher. That was the other pisser about reinstalling the operating system; my XP MCE ’05 installation was not very old at all!

Anyhow, the culprit in Google Chrome is a new one to me. Other browsers may do this as well, but I hadn’t run across it yet. Chrome does something called prefetch. What it means is content is downloaded ahead of time. In other words, documents are prefetched from links on web pages. The idea behind prefetching is similiar to a computer’s CPU cache coupled with branch prediction. If the next link I was going to click can be downloaded ahead of time, when I actually click on that link, the next document would present itself to me nearly instantaneously.

I don’t want to damn this idea as being stupid; I don’t think that it is. At least, I don’t think it is entirely stupid. Google Chrome’s implementation or the execution in this case is what I have a problem with. I’d had another window open in Google Chrome at the time of this data disaster. The window was a page by Google to teach about how the Internet and World Wide Web works in some pretty simple language. I had been reading it with a critical eye for my own grins and also as a potential guide to others I know who don’t really understand as much about the topic as I do.

If you’re interested in reading it in its entirety, simply install Google Chrome and follow the pages that load up in the original tabs, it’s all there. But for me, in the course of reading their schtick with my critical eye, I saved a page of it prior to moving on when I came across some statements I found issue with.

Click this one here to see the excerpt I saved.

Keep in mind; I saved this prior to my little malware disaster!

I have more than one issue with this page out of Google’s book. I’ll stick with the statement number four as my bone to pick at in this monologuing. This is the one that is directly relevant to this article here. I disagree with the premise of Google’s claims of ethereal security. When I had a college course once, the instructor asked what’s the best way to keep a computer from getting a virus? I was the only person in the class who was even close on the answer. The correct answer was to not plug the computer in at all (not power it on!). My answer was to not connect the cable to the network. He liked my answer enough to equate my thinking on this matter to his correct answer. And that’s why I have issue with Google’s claims of their model being “safer”.

I even have a further issue with Google’s technology when it comes to this aggressive prefetching of Web content in Chrome. I did find a worthwhile guide to disabling this “It’s not a bug; it’s a feature!” on the Web. If you’re going to use Google Chrome, I highly recommend reading it first. As for me, my reasons for installing Chrome were simply for having another browser to test rendering of pages I author on. When I can contract computer AIDS with it in less than 24 hours without clicking a damn thing, I’ll have to say that Google isn’t very good with browser security.

But this experience doesn’t stop for me here. New lesson about prefetching learned the hard way extremely cemented in my mind, I moved on to the actual malware at hand. The first times that I came across this Windows Scan, I was actually running antivirus software. Avast! is free and I had the attitude that you sometimes get what you pay for in that Avast! did actually identify the malware but only after the payload was delivered!

So, having wasted the better portion of a day doing the forensics and completely rebuilding my system (a task I’m getting much quicker with due to repetitive habit!), I set out to find out what kind of shielding I could find on the Web from this monstrosity. What I needed was a place to upload my captured malware to test antimalware detection capability. I found more than what I was looking for at VirSCAN.org. The report I got from my little file was very disturbing:

Many of these programs I’d never heard of before, which isn’t too surprising. What’s disturbing is that only eight anti-virus/anti-malware programs out of a battery of 37 actually correctly detected my caged executable. The Comodo program’s heuristic analysis suspected something was amiss, so maybe that makes nine programs. But this malware existed at least as early as January 2010! Furthermore, it’s a widely documented problem; just punch Windows Scan into a Google search and you’ll get volumes back from other people who had experienced this rotten apple.

Look at this list! Neither McAfee nor Symantec (Norton AV) identified this. Both titles I’ve had no confidence in for over ten years. Trend Micro and Kaspersky didn’t detect it either, both of these I’ve actually paid to run on my computer at different times in the last ten years! But then you look at who did identify this malware and that list is surprising too. Microsoft?!