bobquasit: (Default)
My Twitter account was apparently hacked by a Russian - at least, they posted a bunch of things in Russian to my Twitter account. Those tweets were mirrored to LiveJournal (but not Dreamwidth) automatically. I've deleted the original tweets and the LJ mirror-post. I've also taken a number of enhanced security steps to resecure my Twitter account.

It's almost not worth it. I don't really USE Twitter. It just grabs some of the stuff I post elsewhere. If something like this happens again, I'll just delete my Twitter account.

As far as I can tell, nothing else has been compromised. What I don't understand is how my Twitter account got compromised in the first place!
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't know if anyone else is likely to end up fighting the SweetIM malware infection, but if you do, it's a real bitch. I had to clean it out of my mother-in-law's desktop recently, and it was NOT fun. On the off chance that you have to deal with it some day, here's how I killed it.

First, I installed Malwarebytes and ran scans. I had to run separate scans for every account on the system.

This was a Windows XP system, by the way, and it had some decent antivirus stuff installed. My best guess is that the infection was picked up from a free game site, by the way. Remember, always browse wisely!

Anyway, after I used Malwarebytes to get rid of the infection in all of the accounts, I still had to go into each browser (Firefox and Internet Explorer) and fix them; SweetIM had changed the home page and default search engine in each one. I changed the homepages from the SweetIM homepage, (a sure source of infection), and changed the search engine from the SweetIM search tool, which also comes with free infections.

Even so, I ended up having to completely reset Firefox on her primary account. SweetIM is a hellishly stubborn infection.

And after all that, I happened to notice that there was still a link on the desktop of one of the accounts to something called "search the web". Which, when I checked the properties, turned out to be - you guessed it - another SweetIM infection point.

These people are evil, evil, evil. I'm tempted to call for the death penalty for malware writers.

After that I did some housekeeping, including updating Firefox and installing Chrome, and now the system looks fine. But man, what a nasty piece of malware! Killing it took about two to two-and-a-half hours of my time. If there was justice in this world, I would be able to collect payment for that time out of the hide of the SweetIM people.

Plus damages. Lots of damages.
bobquasit: (Default)
Skype is in a war of sorts with Google Voice. And today, I discovered that Skype had taken my system hostage as a prisoner in that war.

I used to be able to use my Google Voice account to call any phone in America for free from my Gmail home page; just type in a phone number or the name of a contact and I'd be connected, with a clarity that actually stunned some of the people I spoke to. Apparently Google Voice uses some sort of astonishing new sound-processing algorithm.

And then recently I installed Skype, since several friends had urged me to try it. Today I tried to use Google Voice to call my parents in Massachusetts. I typed "Dad" in the Google Voice box...and instead of his home and mobile numbers appearing, they appeared with Skype icons surrounding them along with a dollar sign. When I hovered over the numbers, I was told I would be making a "low cost call with Skype".

Now, just to be clear: the call should have been free, via Google. Instead Skype blocked my ability to make that free call, and tried to force me to pay them for it. As far as I'm concerned, that's stealing.

I tried to find a way to make the call WITHOUT using Skype. No matter what I did, Skype wouldn't allow me to do that. I shut down Skype; when I went back and tried to call with Google Voice, Skype immediately restarted itself and invited me to pay them if I wanted to make the call.

I began to seriously consider uninstalling Skype. I have a temper, but I don't think anybody would take it well when some company takes over something on your own system and basically holds it hostage. Boiling with rage, I began to research a solution.

It wasn't easy to find, but I found it. The problem was an add-on that had apparently come bundled with Skype. So I had to go to the Windows Control Panel, choose Add/Remove Programs, and then removed the program called "Skype Click to Call". Mind you, I wasn't told that the goddamned thing would be installed when I installed Skype, and I damned well wouldn't have installed it if I'd known that it was replacing my option to make free phone calls with the requirement to pay Skype for those same calls.

But Skype, here's a message for you: I will never spend a penny on any of your services, EVER. I'll use the free stuff because my friends are on it. But otherwise, you can go screw yourselves.
bobquasit: (Bad Sam!)
After unending hours in live chat, and on the phone, and with technicians remoting in to my system, my ESP All-In-One Printer/Scanner/Copier still crashes every time I try to scan. The latest joke is that they are going to send me a CD of their software. Given that their level-2 technician remoted into my system and personally uninstalled the software and then downloaded it herself and reinstalled it, I am trying to understand why this would help. How could a CD version be MORE up-to-date than an online version which is available to their own technicians?

I used to love Kodak, no lie. They made rock-solid high-speed duplicators, back when I was running the copy center of a large law firm. And I appreciated their recent honesty policy about toner, which is why I recommended them to so many people. But now? I'm getting really, really pissed off at them.
bobquasit: (Bad Sam!)
After unending hours in live chat, and on the phone, and with technicians remoting in to my system, my ESP All-In-One Printer/Scanner/Copier still crashes every time I try to scan. The latest joke is that they are going to send me a CD of their software. Given that their level-2 technician remoted into my system and personally uninstalled the software and then downloaded it herself and reinstalled it, I am trying to understand why this would help. How could a CD version be MORE up-to-date than an online version which is available to their own technicians?

I used to love Kodak, no lie. They made rock-solid high-speed duplicators, back when I was running the copy center of a large law firm. And I appreciated their recent honesty policy about toner, which is why I recommended them to so many people. But now? I'm getting really, really pissed off at them.
bobquasit: (Default)
On Saturday we had to make an emergency trip over to Teri's mother's place so I could look at her computer. She thought she had a bad virus. Since I'd installed all of her security software, I was concerned.

It turned out, though, that she wasn't infected. She was getting an attempt to infect her system, one of those browser-exploit bogus antivirus attacks. Fortunately she didn't click on anything, and her security software was up-to-date enough that her system wasn't infected.

But I made an interesting discovery. I'd installed Firefox on her system, and told her to use that instead of Internet Explorer. Nonetheless she was using IE when she nearly got infected. She was looking for directions to an event in Rhode Island; IE was defaulting to searching with Bing, and Bing was bringing up a malware/exploit site within the top three results. That's what my mother-in-law clicked on.

But when I used the exact same search terms in Google, that exploit site DIDN'T appear; the correct site did, instead. So Bing seems to be more hacker-friendly than Google. And she certainly didn't select Bing; Microsoft must have done it for her. So just to be safe, I replaced the guts of her IE program with Google's Chrome Frame. That's a neat feature that speeds up IE and makes it more secure and modern. It's also a brilliant way for Google to undermine IE and replace it.
bobquasit: (Default)
On Saturday we had to make an emergency trip over to Teri's mother's place so I could look at her computer. She thought she had a bad virus. Since I'd installed all of her security software, I was concerned.

It turned out, though, that she wasn't infected. She was getting an attempt to infect her system, one of those browser-exploit bogus antivirus attacks. Fortunately she didn't click on anything, and her security software was up-to-date enough that her system wasn't infected.

But I made an interesting discovery. I'd installed Firefox on her system, and told her to use that instead of Internet Explorer. Nonetheless she was using IE when she nearly got infected. She was looking for directions to an event in Rhode Island; IE was defaulting to searching with Bing, and Bing was bringing up a malware/exploit site within the top three results. That's what my mother-in-law clicked on.

But when I used the exact same search terms in Google, that exploit site DIDN'T appear; the correct site did, instead. So Bing seems to be more hacker-friendly than Google. And she certainly didn't select Bing; Microsoft must have done it for her. So just to be safe, I replaced the guts of her IE program with Google's Chrome Frame. That's a neat feature that speeds up IE and makes it more secure and modern. It's also a brilliant way for Google to undermine IE and replace it.
bobquasit: (Default)
On Sunday afternoon I finally gave in and installed the World of Warcraft trial edition.

If I'd known how long it was going to take, I would have timed it. It was at least three hours, perhaps as many as six - I wasn't really paying attention. Considering that I had the installation DVD, this was an astonishingly slow process. Of course my computer far exceeds their recommended specifications.

I created an account; "Omac" was already taken, so I became "OMAClives". The system recommended a normal server, but when I went there it turned out to be locked. So I picked another normal server (not being interested in PVP or RP yet). I don't recall which server I was on; I'll look it up later, if it matters.

My first (and so far only) character was a human mage, a bald redhead with a beard and mustache. Movement and such weren't too complicated; I've played enough CRPGs to be able to figure that sort of thing out well enough. My first mission was to kill ten vermin, so I did. Can't say it was particularly exciting.

The graphics were nice enough, but all in all I just wasn't that impressed. There were lots of people and creatures running all over the place, with their names floating over their heads; it just seemed kind of silly and a bit pointless. Maybe I'd have more fun if I was playing in a group. In any case, I didn't stay up late playing, for once. WoW just didn't wow me. :D

But I'll try again tonight.
bobquasit: (Default)
On Sunday afternoon I finally gave in and installed the World of Warcraft trial edition.

If I'd known how long it was going to take, I would have timed it. It was at least three hours, perhaps as many as six - I wasn't really paying attention. Considering that I had the installation DVD, this was an astonishingly slow process. Of course my computer far exceeds their recommended specifications.

I created an account; "Omac" was already taken, so I became "OMAClives". The system recommended a normal server, but when I went there it turned out to be locked. So I picked another normal server (not being interested in PVP or RP yet). I don't recall which server I was on; I'll look it up later, if it matters.

My first (and so far only) character was a human mage, a bald redhead with a beard and mustache. Movement and such weren't too complicated; I've played enough CRPGs to be able to figure that sort of thing out well enough. My first mission was to kill ten vermin, so I did. Can't say it was particularly exciting.

The graphics were nice enough, but all in all I just wasn't that impressed. There were lots of people and creatures running all over the place, with their names floating over their heads; it just seemed kind of silly and a bit pointless. Maybe I'd have more fun if I was playing in a group. In any case, I didn't stay up late playing, for once. WoW just didn't wow me. :D

But I'll try again tonight.

WoW?

Jul. 28th, 2009 01:11 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Should I get World of Warcraft? Is it fun?

I picked up a DVI-D cable for my monitor yesterday, and was pleased to see that it made a visible improvement in the look of Diablo II: LOD.

WoW?

Jul. 28th, 2009 01:11 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Should I get World of Warcraft? Is it fun?

I picked up a DVI-D cable for my monitor yesterday, and was pleased to see that it made a visible improvement in the look of Diablo II: LOD.
bobquasit: (Default)
My mother-in-law is going to buy a computer, and she asked for my help. She mentioned Wal-Mart; Best Buy and BJs also came up. She wants to spend $600-800 and for the system to include a decent-sized monitor and a DVD burner. Other than that she's not going to be a power user at all. Desktop, Windows (I recommended XP, but she may not have the option), and definite not Dell - we know too many people who've gone through Dell hell.

I did some research and printed out systems from the three stores I mentioned, plus a system from PCs for Everyone. Two of the systems are HPs, as I recall. The superstore prices range from $540 - %590, and PCs for Everyone is $691 (I customized it online). My gut feeling is that the PCs for Everyone system is worth the extra money because A) they use good component, B) they don't sell anything else BUT computers, C) they've been around for a long time now - around 25 years, and D) their service center is in Norwood (MA). From what I've heard, with computers from the three big stores you're more likely to have a problem, and when you do it's more likely that they'll have to ship the system to the manufacturer across the country somewhere.

Thoughts, anyone?
bobquasit: (Default)
My mother-in-law is going to buy a computer, and she asked for my help. She mentioned Wal-Mart; Best Buy and BJs also came up. She wants to spend $600-800 and for the system to include a decent-sized monitor and a DVD burner. Other than that she's not going to be a power user at all. Desktop, Windows (I recommended XP, but she may not have the option), and definite not Dell - we know too many people who've gone through Dell hell.

I did some research and printed out systems from the three stores I mentioned, plus a system from PCs for Everyone. Two of the systems are HPs, as I recall. The superstore prices range from $540 - %590, and PCs for Everyone is $691 (I customized it online). My gut feeling is that the PCs for Everyone system is worth the extra money because A) they use good component, B) they don't sell anything else BUT computers, C) they've been around for a long time now - around 25 years, and D) their service center is in Norwood (MA). From what I've heard, with computers from the three big stores you're more likely to have a problem, and when you do it's more likely that they'll have to ship the system to the manufacturer across the country somewhere.

Thoughts, anyone?

Silly mood

Jul. 8th, 2009 09:54 am
bobquasit: (Default)
A question was asked on Askville today:

"why does my dell laptop not recognize my 4gb integral flash drive"

My answer:
Because they haven't been properly introduced.

You need to set up a formal dinner or cocktail party - RSVP, of course - and invite both of them to come. During the evening, escort the flash drive over to the laptop and say "Mr. Laptop, may I introduce Miss Flash Drive? Miss Flash Drive, may I introduce Mr. Laptop? I think you two have a lot in common."

Then discretely slip away to give them a chance to get better acquainted.


Come to think of it, I may have confused the genders. Yes, my mistake; considering who plugs in to whom, it would be Mr. Flash Drive and Miss Laptop. Sorry for the error!

(Yes, I'm very bored this morning. :D )

Silly mood

Jul. 8th, 2009 09:54 am
bobquasit: (Default)
A question was asked on Askville today:

"why does my dell laptop not recognize my 4gb integral flash drive"

My answer:
Because they haven't been properly introduced.

You need to set up a formal dinner or cocktail party - RSVP, of course - and invite both of them to come. During the evening, escort the flash drive over to the laptop and say "Mr. Laptop, may I introduce Miss Flash Drive? Miss Flash Drive, may I introduce Mr. Laptop? I think you two have a lot in common."

Then discretely slip away to give them a chance to get better acquainted.


Come to think of it, I may have confused the genders. Yes, my mistake; considering who plugs in to whom, it would be Mr. Flash Drive and Miss Laptop. Sorry for the error!

(Yes, I'm very bored this morning. :D )
bobquasit: (Default)
Over on Askville (where else?) I gave someone advice about Linux. But I typoed. And the typo was such that I couldn't resist following up:


"It depends on the specific hardware and on what version of Linus you want to install."

As everyone knows, the Great Pumpkin version of Linus uses far more system resources than the security-blanket and armchair-theologian versions. :D
bobquasit: (Default)
Over on Askville (where else?) I gave someone advice about Linux. But I typoed. And the typo was such that I couldn't resist following up:


"It depends on the specific hardware and on what version of Linus you want to install."

As everyone knows, the Great Pumpkin version of Linus uses far more system resources than the security-blanket and armchair-theologian versions. :D
bobquasit: (Default)
My computer has been getting slower and slower and s l o w e r over the past three or four months. Boot-up took forever, and response time for anything kept increasing.

No wonder. It turns out I had only 1.6 GB free on the hard drive! So yesterday I went to Best Buy and grabbed a 1.5 TB external USB drive. I've already freed up over 60 GB on the system by moving over music and videos that aren't critical to me, and the system is doing much better.

I've backed up all of the family photos and videos that I've actually taken, but I'm not going to take those off the C drive; it would be a disaster if we lost those. But there's a fair amount of other video and music - probably another 60 GB at least, maybe more - that I can move onto the external drive instead. I should have done this a while ago. While I'm at it, I'm going to rip more of my CDs, too.

I used $10 worth of Best Buy coupons that I'd received to buy the drive (which was on sale), and was amused that I got a $10 from Best Buy instantly for buying the drive. It was still more than I should have spent, but it was necessary.
bobquasit: (Default)
My computer has been getting slower and slower and s l o w e r over the past three or four months. Boot-up took forever, and response time for anything kept increasing.

No wonder. It turns out I had only 1.6 GB free on the hard drive! So yesterday I went to Best Buy and grabbed a 1.5 TB external USB drive. I've already freed up over 60 GB on the system by moving over music and videos that aren't critical to me, and the system is doing much better.

I've backed up all of the family photos and videos that I've actually taken, but I'm not going to take those off the C drive; it would be a disaster if we lost those. But there's a fair amount of other video and music - probably another 60 GB at least, maybe more - that I can move onto the external drive instead. I should have done this a while ago. While I'm at it, I'm going to rip more of my CDs, too.

I used $10 worth of Best Buy coupons that I'd received to buy the drive (which was on sale), and was amused that I got a $10 from Best Buy instantly for buying the drive. It was still more than I should have spent, but it was necessary.
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't know if LJ is dying or if it's just the holiday, but it's awfully quiet around here! I don't feel like writing much myself. I'm feeling lousy in all sorts of ways.

But I guess I'd better do some updates.

- Sebastian got the Nutshell Kids book collection in his stocking. They're four tiny little books by Maurice Sendak, and were all turned into songs by Carole King for the Really Rosie TV special. Sebastian has been reading the books every night...it has been a really special time for us.

- I've managed to make flossing a regular part of Sebastian's evening routine. It should be a big help to him for the rest of his life.

- I picked up a card reader for $14 at BJs yesterday. You see, when I bought my computer I saved a few bucks by eliminating the card reader; I didn't really know what it was, and it sounded useless. But my camera needs to be powered on in order to transfer pictures from the SD card to the computer, and the process is very clunky; Windows doesn't interact well with my camera.

The connection often fails - not the actual wire, it's more like the camera goes into sleep mode and the computer forgets it existed - and even when it works, the transfer speed is really slow. It took nearly an hour to empty the 2GB chip!

What really pushed me over the brink was my attempt to show photos and video from our Disney trip to our families. Both of our families came over (on different days), and I tried various ways to get the pictures to display on our TV. A DVD simply failed. A data CD gave the message that the photos were an incompatible size. It was really frustrating!

Since we'd recently gotten a new router and hooked it up to the Wii, I downloaded their new Photo Channel 1.1 - it was free. It was also rather promising, and I was excited to see that you could use it to show photos and videos from an SD card. Once again there were problems, though. I discovered to my horror that Windows wouldn't allow me to copy pictures TO the camera. It was a one-way connection!

Our families aren't likely to visit again for a long time, but nonetheless I went and picked up a card reader. It let me throw about 30 photos and 30 videos on the SD card quickly and easily - it's SO good when technology works well. I put the card in the Wii, and was amazed at the results.

You can view individual photos and videos, edit them, turn them into puzzles, zoom in, etc. etc. You can also play videos backwards - and we all just about died of laughter watching Sebastian shoot up a water slide.

It was the slide show feature that was most impressive, though. It has a lot of options for control, but the default settings produced a simply lovely show. Photos and videos were shown in the order they were taken; the photos were displayed in various ways, zooming slowly in or out or across, with some really lovely and effective music playing as a soundtrack. Videos were intercut with the photos beautifully. Nintendo did a really great job, I must say!

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