Archive for February, 2008

Vista Log-In Hacks

Posted: February 20, 2008 in Beware, Computer Related, Trivia, Tweaks
Tags: , , ,

Some cool features take effect before the OS even boots.

Helen Keller said, “Security is mostly a superstition,” which might explain why computer security is such a profitable business. Indeed, security has been a major selling point for Windows Vista, despite the fact that some of its best security features are turned off by default.

For example, a password—that teensy group of characters that none of us seems capable of committing to memory—is optional in Vista, yet you can’t share files on a network without one. Of course, once you create a password, you’re doomed to retype it each time you power on your PC. And thus begin the daily visits to the Welcome/log-in screen. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to tweak this seemingly invariable interface, for convenience and greater system security.

Note that all these hacks require administrator-level privileges.

for full details click here

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Let’s face it: Not everyone wants to download Adobe Acrobat to manage and edit their PDF documents. When I was in grad school, one of our course requirements was to purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional, because we had to turn in research papers and case studies in PDF format. Thankfully I got a copy for free through my job at the time, but for those not so lucky there’s PDFEscape.

PDFEscape is a free Web app that allows you to upload any PDF document from your system or from the Web and gives you a wealth of tools you can use to edit your document, fill out a form, even manage shapes and text fields. It’s completely free, although you can pay for premium “credits” that offer more features.

for full details & downloads click here

Intel has introduced the D5400XS dual-socket gaming-oriented motherboard and Core 2 Extreme QX9975 processors: benchmarks beware!
 
In a move that pushes AMD further into the sidelines, Intel on Tuesday officially announced the D5400XS motherboard and QX9775 quad-core processors. This combination, previously known as “Skulltrail,” is a high-powered workstation platform masquerading as a gaming configuration. Skulltrail previewed at last year’s Intel Developer Forum. Dual graphics from ATI (CrossFire) and nVidia (SLI) are both supported (separately) on the Skulltrail platform.

The Skulltrail platform supports two QX9775 processors, for a total of eight processing cores. These eight cores plus dual graphics are likely to push the upper boundaries of performance and 3D benchmarks past the stratosphere. Intel already claims high CPU scores, including over 20,000 on CineBench R10 (9,000 is considered good for a single quad-core processor). The QX9775 processors will be shipped unlocked, so overclockers and system builders are salivating at the chance to play with this platform.

The QX9775 ships at 3.2GHz, with 12MB of L2 cache and a 1,600 MHz FSB (front side bus). The D5400XS motherboard supports up to four PCIe x16 graphics cards, and the aforementioned two CPU sockets. Though triple and quad graphics cards for multiple monitors are supported, this doesn’t necessarily mean that CrossFire X Triple/Quad and Triple/Quad SLI will be supported out of the gate. The QX9775 processors are available now at $1,499 each, and the D5400XS board is $649.

Look for reviews of the Skulltrail platform in upcoming systems from system builders like Armari, Boxx Tech, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, Puget Systems, Scan, Velocity Micro, Vigor Gaming, Voodoo, @Xi Computers, and others.
For the preview of Skulltrail, Click Here

Lately we discover a new Trojan/virus that uses autorun.inf to infect other drive. Most of the time it infect any removable media (external HDD or Flash Drive) that is connected to the infected unit. You will not notice it since the script runs at startup. 

Note: This procedure is applicable to all Trojan/virus that uses a .inf file, but will use “hbq.exe” for this example:

Here is how you can get rid of them:

– Open Task Manager and in Processes tab end explorer.exe and wscript.exe process

– Open up File –> New Task (Run) in the Task manager

– Type cmd and hit Enter

Type
del /a:h /f c:\autorun.*

if you have multiple drive/partition, repeat this step to all drive/partition, make replacing “C:” with the appropriate drive letter.

– Go to your Windows\System32 directory by typing cd c:\windows\system32

Type dir /a:h /f hbq*.*

– If you see any files named hbq0.dll or hbq0.exe or hbo.exe, use the     

Del /a:h /f avp*.exe
Del /a:h /f avp*.dll

to delete.

– Open up File –> New Task (Run) in the Task manager, Type regedit

– Navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

If there are any entries for kxvo.exe, delete them. Also delete all suspicious items

– Do a complete search of your registry for ntdelect.com or hbq.exe or kxvo.exe and delete any entries you find.

To Restore Folder Options (“Show hidden files & folders”) Settings, Navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
          Explorer\Advanced\Folder\Hidden\SHOWALL

– Look at the “CheckedValue” key… This should be a DWORD key. If it isn’t,  delete the key. Create a new key called “CheckedValue” as a DWORD (hexadecimal) with a value of 1. The “Show hidden files & folders” check box should now work normally.

NOTE: I Also included a “Script Killer” in my download section for those very hard kill autoruns & vbs script. You need WinRar to extract these files

Configure Linux

Posted: February 12, 2008 in Computer Related, Tweaks
Tags: , , ,

Some people are happy with their operating systems as installed. Others like to tinker. Still others—PC Magazine readers, often enough-need to dive under the hood and make those systems run exactly the way they want. Its all about control, and Linux gives you as much control as you can handle. The configuration tools in Ubuntu Linux provide a full range of customization choices. Some are cosmetic, of course, but others dig deep into system settings. As with so much in Linux, the key is finding the settings; once you’re there, configuration is fairly straightforward. For less-than-straightforward settings, stay tuned for future columns!

The Administration Menu
Another set of applets can be found in the Administration menu, also accessible through the main System menu. For example, Network Tools, one of the many applets available here, contains a series of tabs that provide extensive information about your network connection: Traceroute, Ping, Lookup, Finger, and Netstat can provide highly useful details for troubleshooting.

Choosing Services opens the Services settings window, from which you can toggle system services on or off. The System logs give you full details about system behavior, while Shared Folders lets you establish Unix or Windows network support to share directories among different machines. The protocols for these shared folders will need to be installed, but the Shared Folders dialog box automatically gives you the option to do so.

The Preferences Menu
The Preferences submenu of the main System menu (the most direct counterpart to Windows’ Control Panel) contains options for accessibility, desktop background, displayed fonts, keyboard and battery behavior, and much more. Under Font Preferences, for example, you can choose among Monochrome display, Best contrast, Best shape, or Subpixel smoothing (LCDs). Control fonts further by clicking Details and adjusting such options as Hinting, which can help with the display of especially small text.

The Sessions Dialog
Found under Preferences, the Sessions dialog lets you decide which programs run on start-up. As with Windows, the initial group is determined during installation, with others added as you install new software. To add new items, click New and then browse to the “bin” subdirectory of the File System directory. Scroll to the program (often unintuitively named) and double-click it. Set your start-up programs and their behavior-under the Current Session tab you can choose the order of the programs-then save them from the Session Options tab.

Want access to all these settings in one place? Check out the Configuration Editor. Available from the Applications | System Tools menu, this control panel gives you access to an array of interface and system settings. If the Editor isn’t installed, launch the Synaptic Package Manager (System | Administration), click Utilities in the left pane, and scroll to gconf-editor on the right. Check it and click Apply.

To use the Editor, open it, then expand an entry from the left-hand pane, and click an option in the top-right pane. At bottom right you’ll see a short explanation of the option. To modify it, double-click and change the option’s value in the resulting Edit Key dialog box. While this method is quick and powerful, editing a key requires typing a valid value; there’s no selection menu to help you make decisions.

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp has made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo Inc for $44.6 billion in cash and stock, seeking to join forces against Google Inc in what would be the biggest Internet deal since the Time Warner-AOL merger.

In its boldest-ever acquisition move, Microsoft said on Friday it offered $31 per share for Yahoo, or a 62 percent premium over the Internet media company’s closing stock price on Nasdaq Thursday.

Yahoo, whose shares jumped to $30.75 in premarket trading, said it would evaluate the bid.

Microsoft shares, which have a market capitalization of about $300 billion, fell 6 percent to $30.78.

Speculation over a Microsoft move on Yahoo has swirled for at least a year, as investors wondered whether the two would seek a joint stand against an ever more powerful Google.

Internet audience researcher comScore estimates Google’s share of the worldwide Web search market has reached 77 percent, while Yahoo is second with 16 percent and Microsoft was a distant third with 3.7 percent.

“Microsoft’s wanted to do things that could build up its online business dramatically,” said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. “This is going to be a big bet for them. But I also think it’s where they see the market going, so they really needed to get there.

“This is more than a shot across the bow at Google, because you put these two guys together who are basically two and three in search and makes them far more relevant,” he added.

Critics of a tie-up, however, have pointed out that Microsoft and Yahoo have very different corporate cultures and many overlapping businesses, from instant messaging to email and advertising, as well as news, travel and finance sites.

“To me, the premium seems exorbitant, for what is a dwindling business. I personally don’t see how the synergies of Microsoft-Yahoo is going to take on Google,” said Tim Smalls, head of U.S. stock trading at brokerage firm Execution LLC.

Yahoo attracts more than 500 million people monthly to a range of media sites including Yahoo Mail, the world’s biggest e-mail service for consumers.

It has been losing market share to Google in the increasingly strategic Web search market, and warned earlier this week that Yahoo faced “headwinds” in 2008, forecasting revenue below Wall Street estimates.

Microsoft said the online advertising market is growing rapidly and expected to reach nearly $80 billion by 2010 from over $40 billion in 2007. It added it is “increasingly dominated by one player,” referring to Google.

“We have great respect for Yahoo, and together we can offer an increasingly exciting set of solutions for consumers, publishers and advertisers while becoming better positioned to compete in the online services market,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, said it had identified four areas that would generate at least $1 billion in annual synergies for the combined entity.

Under the proposal, Yahoo shareholders can choose to get $31 cash, or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. The deal in aggregate must consist of one-half cash and one-half Microsoft common stock, it said.

Mark May, analyst at Needham & Co, said that while the price is a premium to Yahoo’s recent trading price, it was in line with its average trading value over the last 2 years.

“I would not be surprised to see this bid have to be raised over time,” he said. “I think there are companies out there like Comcast (Corp) and Viacom (Inc) and others that still need to address the emergence of online media and haven’t. So there are clearly other strategic companies out there.”

The Microsoft-Yahoo deal would be the largest in the Internet market since the $182 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc by AOL in 2001, which was seen as the worst merger in recent corporate history, with clashing corporate cultures and many of the promised synergies never materializing. (Reporting by Franklin Paul and Tiffany Wu; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn/Jeffrey Benkoe)

Copyright Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

From the basics to the extreme, here are the tricks that will keep your computer, you, and your family secure and safe.

You might wonder if it’s even possible to have a safe computing experience in this day and age, beyond unplugging your broadband connection and never installing any software. Of course it’s possible, but it will take some work on your part. You need to install tools to protect yourself, learn good practices, and most important: <Click Here for full details>