SiteAdvisor Spyware Quiz

Site Advisor is running a quiz to see if users can correctly identify sites that ship spyware with their products. A few things crossed my mind while taking the quiz:

The age old method of knowing if an establishment is legitimate is to ask someone who knows, or rely on reviews. In my case I use Google queries, and got 7/8 (simply because I guessed on the P2P programs presented in the end, because I got lazy and it’s getting late). That proved pretty accurate. Just the site name and “spyware” turned up good results each time. Granted that’s more technical than most. I know many who limit their downloads to those offered by more trusted sources (recommended by tech mags for example, or included on CD with them). This test doesn’t really reflect those habits accurately, making more people seem vulnerable.

Why do they have an old version of Firefox for the screenshots (I see the update icon)? Don’t they know running the latest version has more security fixes, and will protect them from known and fixed exploits? I’d expect more from them on that one.

Oh yea, after your done taking the test you can see the analysis of the results, but don’t view that if you plan to take the test or you’ll ruin it. But I know your all honest and wouldn’t cheat ;-).

Spain looks into Monkey Rights

As a fan of our primate friends, I’m 100% behind this proposed bill:

The socialist PSOE party is apparently intent on introducing a bill aimed at giving apes the same rights as man, “and the immediate inclusion of these animals as people.” As a result, the bill adds that apes “should have the same moral and legal protection that humans currently enjoy.”

I do hope that it will be adjusted to cover all primates and not just Apes, so Chimps aren’t left out.

Go Spain! Now long will it take for America to wake up?

Save the Internet

Save The Internet

I’ve spent quite a bit of time encouraging browser choice and platform choice by strongly advocating and encouraging compatibility.

It’s sad but it’s now time to do advocate the right to choose what websites and/or services you want to use. If you enjoy using:

Search engine of your choice
VoIP provider of your choice
Music/Video provider of your choice
News provider of your choice

Boy that’s a lot of links, yet just a handful of the many available… you get the idea. You care.

I don’t even want to think of the impact on open source and innovation if every website has to pay for decent performance (imagine degraded downloads of linux iso’s simply because the distro isn’t paying your specific ISP).

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in enjoying the freedom of choice the Internet provides.

Google Whois

Dear Google,

I wish you would implement whois support. It’s pretty much the only thing I can’t search with google, but seem to do on a routine basis. How long before I can whois a domain or IP address in Google? Just right in the google search box. If it’s an IP or domain, give me whois data. Just like you do for movie titles

Thanks,
Robert

Microsoft’s Playground

Beautiful tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab. I think my favorite is the pic of all the Mac Mini’s. Every geek’s dream is to have a hardware collection that vast. I really love how they manage OS versions:

…On each machine we have two volumes: ChangeOS and Mac OS X. The Mac OS X volume is where we install the different versions of the OS. We boot to the ChangeOS volume to free up the Mac OS X volume for modification. When we trigger an automation run we specify the OS version and language. Each machine then reboots to the ChangeOS partition, caches the OS .dmg locally and uses the asr command line tool to restore the image. The tool that does this work is one I wrote (in AppleScript Studio no less!) called Lab Assistant. We have images of the Mac OS from 8.1 all the way up to 10.4.6 in all the languages our products support. …

Very cool stuff. I’d love if they would automate that into a nice little installer, similar to Apple’s new Boot Camp. Very cool stuff indeed.

Corporate Updating

Had a little discussion last night that got me wondering, so I thought I’d post the question.

How does your company update products that offer in built-in updating functionality, like Firefox? Do you leave the functionality enabled and let the applications developer push updates to your desktop, or do you disable auto-update (I think app.update.enabled can be used to disable it in Mozilla products) and update via group policy or whatever method your company uses.

If anyone is able to comment (I know some IT Dept’s are very secretive) that would be great. Especially helpful if you can comment at least on the size of your organization and what method is used with apps that have the ability to auto-update. Especially if you deploy Firefox or Thunderbird in your organization. Leave a comment or feel free to email me if it’s not something you can post publicly.

From the way I see it, both have advantages and disadvantages:

Auto-Update

Advantages

  • No intervention by IT to keep product up to date.
  • No special servers, or configs to maintain.
  • Prompt updates.

Disadvantages

  • No ability to test update before it’s live.
  • Rely on developer to keep server secure.
  • Bandwidth consumption on WAN (download from source for each workstation, rather than just on the LAN).

Manual Update

Advantages

  • Ability to test updates for things like extension compatibility, and with intranet applications.
  • Feeling of control over workstations.
  • Less bandwidth consumption on WAN.

Disadvantages

  • Requires IT keep close eye on releases.
  • Delay can be a danger during 0 day exploits.
  • Infrastructure may be needed.

Da Google Code

Ok, title to this post is lame, but I couldn’t think of anything better.

Google’s Da Vinci Code Quest is now online. It’s supposed to have a new puzzle every day until release. So far I got the first puzzle, so perhaps I’ll make a goal of trying to do them all. Wasn’t to hard. 24 days of puzzles.

In the past they used Puzzles as a way of hiring people.

Underground bunker from 19xx

This is just a scary image. According to the caption it’s:

One of five underground bunkers built for the East German Foreign Intelligence Service.

Take a guess what year, then click on the image to see the original which has the date on it (I cropped and scaled this one).

German Command Center Scaled

According to Wikipedia, the image is a work of the US Government (and therefore in public domain) and is found on the CIA website.

Does anyone else think it looks about 30 years older than it actually is? Looks like 50’s-60’s to me. Yikes, that makes me feel old. Check out the awesome tech!