Category: News

90% of Windows 7 Flaws Fixed by Removing Administrator Rights

It seems that Windows really is a secure operating system. You can stop most of the vulnerabilities of Windows by not running your account as an Administrator. Using a normal User account and only elevating when you need to has been a new standard way of doing things since Windows Vista, but many people change that to run as Administrators all the time. Similar to the way Linux does things (sudo, su), most of what you do can be done as a user, only using the Admin account when you absolutely need to (change system files, install programs). This greatly slows down the way malware and viruses can infect your PC, as they usually need administrator rights to install their infected files.

After tabulating all the vulnerabilities published in Microsoft’s 2009 Security Bulletins, it turns out 90 percent of the vulnerabilities can be mitigated by configuring users to operate without administrator rights, according to a report by BeyondTrust. As for the published Windows 7 vulnerabilities through March 2010, 57 percent are no longer applicable after removing administrator rights.

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A Decade Of Windows Mobile

While I am a big fan of Windows Mobile (but, I also use an iPod Touch and enjoy it’s interface; I have also played with a Google Android OS and enjoy it as well), it’s interface and general usability really hasn’t changed in the past decade. I’m using an older Dell Axim x50V and love it (I also have a MotoQ 9c and hate it! No touch screen…). It does everything I need it to do, it’s fast (faster than some brand new smartphones running the same OS), reliable, and just an awesome little PocketPC with Windows Mobile 6.1. It had Windows Mobile 2003 on it, and then 2005, then 6.0 and finally 6.1. With all the upgrades, I got small improvements, but nothing spectacular. Let’s hope that 2010-2011 brings Windows Mobile 7.0 with some major changes to the interface. I love the Windows look, but I haven’t gained anything really….

10 years ago, you could buy the HP Jornada 548 with a color screen, which let you listen to MP3s, surf the web, check your email, and keep a calendar. It had a touchscreen. It ran Windows. It was awesome.

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A Few Nice Cyber Monday Deals

O’Reilly Media has 60% off all e-books – http://oreilly.com/ebooks/

Red Dead Redemption for XBox 360 & PS3 $29.99 @ Amazon

Free Shipping @ ThinkGeek (a lot of gift ideas there!)

OCZ Agility 120GB SSD for $189 after MIR @ NewEgg

A Reason To Upgrade From Windows 2000

For those of you still running Windows 2000, which is probably very few, Microsoft has given a new reason to upgrade to at the very least Windows XP. Windows 2000 has had a questionable TCP/IP stack, and Microsoft has said that it would take a considerable amount of changes to the core of the OS, that it would hurt compatibility for the aging OS (which still is under MS support until 2010). It’s a good reason to finally upgrade, if you’ve been putting it off. If you are, you might want to also upgrade that 5.25″ floppy to the 3.5″. :)

“The architecture to properly support TCP/IP protection does not exist on Microsoft Windows 2000 systems, making it infeasible to build the fix. To do so would require re-architecting a very significant amount of the Windows 2000 SP4 operating system, not just the affected component. The product of such a re-architecture effort would be sufficiently incompatible … that there would be no assurance that applications designed to run on Windows 2000 SP4 would continue to operate on the updated system.”

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A-Z of Microsoft for 2011

It was a pretty eventful year for Microsoft, from Windows Phone 7 to Azure to Bing and the pre-beta developers preview of Windows 8. There were a lot of other events that didn’t really get a lot of the spotlight. Seattle Times has a nice A-Z writeup of the events that helped shape Microsoft’s very busy 2011. I’m hoping for more positive news in 2012!

Of course, the ‘Z’ has to be an obituary. And what ‘Z’ product does Microsoft have? Yes, the Zune. Rest in peace, you were a worthy competitor to the mighty iPod.

Z= Zune. RIP, Zune Player. There were a few days in October when we didn’t know your fate: First, Microsoft seemed to say you were dead, then not dead, then, finally, definitely dead. Your spirit lives on in the Zune music and video service in PCs, Xbox, Windows Phone and existing Zune players.

Aerofoil Battery Life Extender Software Updated

Aerofoil has a new version out. If you run a laptop or netbook and want to extend your battery life, you can use this software to disable things when you are on battery power. Very useful for many people on the go!

Aerofoil extends Vista and Windows 7 notebook battery life by:

  • Allowing you to manually disable Aero Glass.
  • Optionally managing Aero Glass user interface.
  • Optionally managing sound muting.
  • Optionally managing your chosen power plans.
  • Optionally managing Windows Sidebar.
  • Optionally showing a quick hibernate button.
  • Changing icon colour to show whether on battery or AC.
  • Agent P on Windows Phone

    For those with children, and for us adults that enjoy great cartoons, Phineas and Ferb are common names. Perry the Platypus is just as famous, if not more so. Newly released for the Windows Phone platform is ‘Agent P’.

    Windows Phone Store Link – http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/agent-p/116d48ac-55a0-450e-b990-36e47e8ef188

    Grab the game, and defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz!

    AgentP

    Airline Says XBox 360 A Security Threat

    While I know this is obviously an excuse for mishandling some luggage, it’s not a very good one. At all. If you fly and take your game system with you, you might want to make sure it’s carry on. Even better, ship it UPS to your destination. I can’t wait to see how this pans out!

    He is understandably pissed off, and US Airways has essentially told him to piss off because it was done for security reasons. Of course! We all know that if an Xbox 360 is checked, it could be used by the pilots, which would be distracting and dangerous. Only by rendering it inoperable was US Airways able to keep our skies safe. Thanks, you wonderful, sensible airline

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    All in With Kinect

    Microsoft is really pushing the Kinect in to computing. They are working with vendors to include Kinect sensors within the hardware of laptops. As  long as the applications are there, I see no reason why this wouldn’t succeed. There is a lot going for the Kinect, from gestures to security to gaming. The only thing missing: applications. Without them, the need for the Kinect is dead.

    A source at Microsoft has confirmed that the devices are indeed official prototypes of laptops featuring a Kinect sensor. In terms of functionality, there are hundreds of different ways that motion control could be leveraged in a portable. Gaming has the most obvious applications, but a Kinect-enabled laptop could also toggle between programs with the wave of a hand, or media controls could be tweaked with the wag of a finger. What’s more, motion-controlled portables could offer a new way for disabled individuals to interact with their devices.

    Amazing 3D Webcam Using Kinect

    Now that the drivers are hacked, there are people out there that are experimenting with the Kinect. I think this machine can do a lot more, and this is just the tip of the iceberg so to say. This guy has made his room a 3D environment using his Kinect. It has a lot of possibilities, and I hope to see some more. I’d love to see multiple Kinects linked together to fill the whole room, with no dead spots. This also opens a new way for robots to visualize their world. A lot of amateur robotic tinkerers are going to jump on this as part of their project, I’m sure! Seeing things like this make me want to pick up a couple just to play with!

    YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

    By combining the color and the depth image captured by the Microsoft Kinect, one can project the color image back out into space and create a “holographic” representation of the persons or objects that were captured.

    No project page yet, but it will go up on my regular web site, http://idav.ucdavis.edu/~okreylos/ResDev

    Based on the reverse engineering efforts of user marcan42.