Monday, September 22, 2008

Oosah free terabyte sounds good except

The new online storage offering from Oosah of one terabyte of online storage for free sounds great until you read the Terms and Conditions. First you are not allowed to store your music collection or at least any of your copyrighted songs because this violates Oosah's Terms and Conditions. The same goes for copies of videos you have purchased since most of those are also copyrighted. So you say ok fine I can store the 1000's of digital pictures I have personally taken and yes from what I have read that is allowed. But once again read the Oosah Terms and Conditions in particular 9.c which says you retain ownership but once you have uploaded your pictures Oosah can use, copy, perform, display, distribute and prepare derivative works. So my advice think twice before uploading anything to Oosah. But Oosah isn't the only one that may produce derivative works evidently Facebook claims the same right to produce derivative works from your uploaded digital pictures. So I think I will stick with my paid Flickr Pro account but I'm going to reread the Flickr Terms and Conditions and in particular how it applies to photos I have not made public. So my advice read through the Terms and Conditions on any of the various free or paid online storage offerings before uploading.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Eliminate the waste of Yellow Pages and White Pages

I don't know about you but I can count on one hand minus a few fingers how many times I've used the Yellow Pages and White Pages in the last year. So when I saw this post on Lifehacker about eliminating the delivery of Yellow Pages I thought I would pass it on in case you don't happen to read Lifehacker. Also to save you a click here is the link to site that Lifehacker brought to light. Then once on Yellowpagesgoesgreen click on Sign Up which lets you opt out of both the Yellow Pages and White Pages. My question is will this get rid of all the various versions of the Yellow and White Pages I receive these days. For instance I happen to live in SBC now AT&T territory but for some reason I just recently received a Verizon combo half Yellow half White pages directory and in the past various other phone companies have sent me their version of the Yellow Pages or White pages. Hopefully this opt out service will eliminate all of the paper directories the phone companies deliver, but only time will tell. Also please note Yellowpagesgoesgreen is currently only setup for US households and business even though numerous other countries have Yellow Pages and I'm sure various White Pages.

So now your looking for online directories here is a link to Yellow Pages and White Pages but even better in my opinion is Google's free directory assistance(411) service. Give it a try by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411). Also at your option Google's 411 service will place the call to the business it finds for free.

So join the movement at home to eliminate the waste of paper the Yellow Pages and White Pages represent for many households these days. Also Yellowpagesgoesgreen is suppose to work at the office and then if you feel so inclined save your employer money by having your Telecom group redirect your companies 411 calls to Google's service. Believe me having seen first hand what the phone companies charge for 411 service this could win you some big points at the office.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Malware on Facebook

Public Safety/Computer Safety message to Facebook users.

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone but malware (i.e. virus, worm) is on Facebook, if you already know this and/or have had to deal with it what I call "runtime error 21" skip the rest of this post. If not here is how the scenario went at my house -

daughter - "Dad my computer is acting weird"

dad - "what is it doing?"

daughter - "it keeps giving me this message - Runtime error 21 followed by some numbers"

dad - "ok ... does it go away when you reboot"

daughter - "no"

dad - "ok, I'll look at your PC when I get home"

later that evening

dad - "so did you install anything new on your computer"

daughter - "no ... but I did click on this link on my Facebook wall from this girl I haven't talked to in about 2 years, it looked like some sort link to a funny joke or ecard"

dad - "oh wonderful"

initial investigation - well the Runtime error 21 is there and constantly repeats and System Restore doesn't get rid of it. None of the System Restore points work they all come up with nothing has changed even though System Restore clearly shows one new item installed earlier in the week. In addition as of 08/08/08 Norton 360 and PC Tools Spyware Doctor do not detect or remove it. So looking like time to restore from that last backup, glad I did that a few weeks ago.

dad - "do you remember a couple years ago when your sister clicked on that link in the IM message from some friend she rarely talked to"

daughter - "yeah I kind of remember that"

dad - "well it looks like someone is doing the same thing with messages on your wall, so please don't do that again."

resolution - well I just could not take the easy way and do a full restore, so instead I finally did find a link on Tech Support Guy Forum with info on what I needed to do to remove this malware. The problem with this information is my particular strain of malware required booting from a standalone BartPE disk otherwise it just kept reinstalling inself. So for many users creating a BartPE boot disk or some other standalone boot is not going to be something they want to tackle. So if I find a removal tool I will let you know, likewise if you find a removal tool please comment so everyone can clean this up quickly and easily. I have also sent a message to Max Kelly who according to this post on is head of Security at Facebook asking for information on removing this malware but so far no answer.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Twitter users frustrated is uptime improving

Although I posted previously about how Twitter can be used as a universal IM client, beware Twitter has reliability issues. Here is a rant from Molly Wood over at Webware about Twitters reliability issues. So I decided to track Twitter uptime myself using Pingdom starting on May 21 and the first 2 days each had down time of 1 hour or more. Then for the next few days the worst day was 21 mins. and 2 days with no downtime so it looked like things where improving but then on June 2 the downtime was roughly 1.75 hours so it would appear Twitter is still having issues. Overall since starting my monitoring using Pingdom Twitter uptime is at 98.2%, so there is room for improvement.

Now in case your wondering what Twitter has to say about the reliability issues of their service, here is a post on the Twitter Developer blog. Basically Twitter says the underlying issues are being addressed but it will require a significant amount of time to re-architect and re-write the various pieces needing attention. Well hopefully the people at Twitter will succeed in improving the reliability of their service so they can then concentrate on new functions and features.

In the mean time think about Twitter like I do my cell phone - It's Great when it works.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Free High Quality Wallpapers

I don't know about you but I'm always on the lookout for new pictures, art and such to use as backgrounds for my desktop Wallpaper. Well here is a new free program which is currently in beta for Windows called Desktoptopia that you should give a try. If you're a Mac person you may already be using have Desktoptopia which has been around for awhile. Also it appears there is no longer a charge for the Mac version. Anyway Desktoptopia is a wallpaper manager that pulls down new artwork from the Desktoptopia site. Once installed you can choose from the following categories (3D, Abstract, Architecture, Films, Games, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography and Typography) of artwork for Desktoptopia to choose from as it randomly downloads your next wallpaper. Currently there are over 250 different pieces of art to choose from and I have found most of the pieces to be very high quality. The other nice feature is you can rate each piece of art that Desktoptopia loads and you can also reject a piece so that it will not load again if it's something you just don't care for. One feature I would like to see added to Desktoptopia is the ability to load images from a local or networked folder so that you can add your own images. In the absence of allowing you to load images from a local folder Desktoptopia does allow you to submit art which if selected will be added to the public images Desktoptopia downloads for all users.

Monday, May 12, 2008

PC History - great read

The first model of the IBM PC, the personal computer whose successors and clones would fill the world.Image via WikipediaIf you have been around PC's for more than a few years here is a very entertaining review of PC History by Briard that will bring back memories or fill in pieces of the story you may not have heard. It covers not just the IBM PC but also Apple and the fun that led up to the IBM and Apple branches of the PC tree and the growth of those branches through the years. In addition Briard adds a lot of color to PC History with his naming of the characters that were involved.

Also this article is part of a new wiki started by Gizmo Richards who puts out the Support Alert monthly ezine which is one of my must reads every month.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hack your Canon Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot A60Image via WikipediaThe geek part of me just loves CHDK which allows you to hack your Canon Digital Camera firmware. Also when I read that CHDK is non destructive to your cameras firmware I was really interested, I mean bricking your gadgets really puts a damper on hacking a device. If your thinking ok what will CHDK let me do here is a list of the Canon Digital cameras for which the CHDK firmware add on works and what new tweaks CHDK adds, very impressive. If that wasn't enough there are thousands of scripts to tweak your camera even more with CHDK. I don't know about you but I know a Canon Digital Camera is now on my short list as I try to decide what Digital Camera to buy.

If you know of other Digital Camera brands with firmware add-ons/tweaks similar to CHDK let me know so I can include them in my list of Digital Cameras as I research the overwhelming number of options available these days.