Sunday, November 06, 2005

Forces of Good and Evil (Attempt II)....

Ok. Here we go again. I had spent two hours on this blog post this morning, then had a browser-crash and lost it all. Bummer. Let's see how fast I can do it this time.

Saturday, the forces of Good and Evil were afoot. I woke up fine enough, but soon a headache came creeping in. That kinda took the wind out of my sails. I crawled back in bed and spent pretty much the entire day in bed.

I have been doing lots of pc cleaning of malware/viruses this week at work so I really am (even now moreso) tired of computers. I'm going to do some quick items of interest on tech then quickly move on to more entertaining fare.

Tech bits:
  • Sony appears to be using a digital rights managment form of software that really is a rootkit. Mark Russinovik of Sysinternals seems to have found it about the same time as the F-Secure team. Basically a rootkit is software that runs under the radar of your system and most security tools. Because it does this, it is very hard to find and can control many aspects of your pc. If you tend to play a lot of Sony music CD's on your pc, you may want to run one of these free root-kit detectors (Rootkit Revealer or Blacklight). If you are a tech-wiz and want to manually remove it, have at it. Sony has issued a "service-pack" that unhides the rootkit files and software, but still leaves the application on your pc. Sony's exec. was interviewed by NPR on this and had the audacity to say that since most people didn't know what a rootkit was, they shouldn't be worried about it.
  • In light of Sony's game, here is a freeware application for ripping/burning music: AudioGrabber.
  • As mentioned earlier, I'm pretty burned out this weekend. It has been a long week of cleaning malware and viruses from workstations at work. I still stand by my prefered means of spyware removal using HiJackThis, Spybot Search and Destroy, AdAware and Microsoft Anti-Spyware. Between all these tool (and a lot of experience), most pc's can get cleaned of malware. (Sometimes you also need some special support tools to kill running processes and delete stubborn files.) Of course you need an anti-virus application to handle the virus/trojans. Microsoft's Malicious Software tool can remove some with an "online" scan. However, sometimes if you know specifically what you are dealing with, a more focused malware removal tool can save you some time.
  • Speaking of Microsoft, they have recently announced the next version of their Anti-Spyware tool will be called Windows Defender. Dwight Silverman has good linkage on his TechBlog page. Here's my observation: Microsoft has taken a lot of heat (lawsuits) over embedding it's web-browser and media player technology in the Windows system builds. They have even offered stripped down versions just to play fair, though noone seems to be buying them. So when MS devivers its Vista system with this anti-malware software embedded, can we expect a new round of lawsuits from the anti-malware software vending community who are afraid of being squeezed out by MS, since many users may not be savvy enough to look elsewhere for this type of software (or even think they need it?) I will be watching this element very closely!
Now for some relaxation and entertainment:
  • Listening to right now: Japan-A-Radio. My favorite on-line music channel.
  • The photo above of the Stormtrooper flanked by the French Maids is courtesy of Akihabara News. So this guy bought a Stormtrooper costume and decided to capture the action as he walked the streets. Akihabara News also carries some of the latest electronic gadgets to come from Japan. Many of these are things that haven't yet hit the mainstream market yet. Really good site for gauging what is coming down the electronic supply chain.
  • This LEGO Star Wars Battle cruiser is humongus. Totally radical. Completely custom built. Wow. For some more custom Star Wars LEGO action check out the site. Photos and all. Neat. These are all inspired by the LEGO Star Wars collection. There are tons of neat sets. LEGO's have come a long way since I was kid. For more fun, check out the time-lapse movie of a couple building a stock LEGO Star Destroyer model. Lavie and Alvis thought this was neat.
  • Speaking of LEGO's, they have a free software download. It is called LEGO Digital Designer. You can run this software, design your own project (think LEGO-CAD). If you really like it, you can upload your design to LEGO and purchase it as a custom set with a custom box. Neat.
  • Lavie and I really love the Ai Yori Aoshi manga. There is also an anime version of it we haven't seen yet (waiting to finish the manga series first). There now is a pc-game version of it and the publisher has a free trial version download available. It is worth it (to us) just for the intro montage. Ai Yori Aoshi can be translated into English as "True Blue Love." It reminds us of our dating days.
  • Mando has a beautiful desktop image on his site. It is a photo of a Mesopotamian wall relief. Stunning.
  • In the historical news category: Copernicus' grave has been uncovered in a Polish Church. Article.
  • Tokyo life as seen from an (often humorous) Western perspective: This guy has some good blog stuff! He's been added to my regular visit list.
  • In response to my ponderings about how to handle a large number of bookmarks: Here is a long list of RSS feed ideas. (one of the last ones is titled "Ditch your Girlfriend"). Clever!
  • Reading: My favorite anime magazine: NewType-USA.
  • Promising anime series just out: Piano.
  • Franktisek Straud has some INCREDIBLE photographic images from Japan. These are real "slice-of-life" shots. Really worth seeing the work of a photographer, regardless of your like for Japan.
  • A metal detector enthusiast found a hoard of Tudor era coins in a field on the Isle of Man.
  • Now showing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science: Diana, A Celebration. I've promised Lavie I would take her to this. She has been enthralled with Princess Diana since she was young. One of her favorite memories is when she and her dad woke up early one morning to watch the marriage of Lady Diana to Prince Charles on TV. It is a real shame to have lost such a special woman. She was making such a contribution to the world with attention given to AIDS research and landmine removals.
Time to start wrapping things up. Masterpiece theatre is airing Kidnapped and I still have a few more loads of laundry to cycle through before it comes on!

See you in the Skies.


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