Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Late Night (Early Morning?) Linkfest

I've been crunching numbers for work and am done with it.

Here's some stuff I've seen today but am just too darn tired to deal with much more:

Google Webmaster Linking Stats Reports!

I've been using Google Analytics to get a good picture of how many visitors have been dropping in. However, while it has some strengths, finding out where folks have made links to my pages here is a bit of a challenge. On Tuesday, Google released a great companion tool to Google Analytics to dig that information out. Me Likey! It is easy to set up. Free. And provides the stats in a very easy to obtain manner! Wow!

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Discover your links

Official Google Blog: Who links to your site?

Google's webmaster tools and also at Webmaster Tools

Ignoring Enhanced Online Banking Security Features: Technology or User Weakness?

So my bank was one of these that recently changed the online login process for authentication. Besides all kinds of complex passwords, I also had to pick an image (from a limited set) to recall. When I log in, I should be presented with the image. Basically, if I don't see my image, then I should bail out as the site might be a phishing attack and not really my bank. OK. Fine. Whatever.

Well, a recent study found that a set of participants kept on clicking, even when HTTPS indicators were removed from the browser (indicating a secure session was active) or when they failed to see their authentication image, or when security certificate warnings were presented. Yikes!

The researchers are reported to have concluded that image-authentication security methods in use by banks is ineffective.

I was going to write a long fuss about this...not so much the study as I think it is pretty well on the mark, but how the real issue isn't with the technology, but how users fail to follow safe computing/surfing rules... It doesn't seem to be a technology issue, but (again) a user compliance and understanding issue.

But then, HTZRegz over at .:Computer Defense:. did a much better job putting it into words.

The study however isn’t my concern… my concern is with the NYT article… It’s misleading to readers… There’s no flaw in the websites of major banks… and if I were these banks I’d be rather upset at the NYT for the equivalent of slander right now… As I said in the title this article could have been called “Common Knowledge: Users Regularly Click-Thru”… This is where the problem lies. Users will common click next.. Call Tech support, what do they say, “Click next until you’re done” (This is negligence on the tech support companies part)… Instructions on websites will commonly say, click next until you’re done… Users have come to accept, “Click next until you’re done” as the standard… in an effort to make computers easier for the average user… we’ve made them more vulnerable… we’ve been complacent in our duties to keep the end user informed…. to pass along knowledge… Basically, we’ve failed them.

The problem now is how do we re-educate them… The NYT should be addressing and answering that question… addressing the issue of users that “Click-Thru”… This study is alarming but not for the reasons that the NYT addresses… it’s alarming because so few users know how to act and respond… They want the ease of use…

Quoted from .:Computer Defense:. » “Study Finds Security Flaws on Web Sites of Major Banks” or “Common Knowledge: Users Regularly Click-Thru”

Study: Users ignore bank security features - Network World

Yeah, what he said.

About that Vista Firewall...

I haven't had the time to really play much with my RC1 Vista build. I haven't and probably won't load it on any of my XP systems here at home until at least near the end of the summer. So I can't speak with any amount of authority on the Vista firewall, just yet.... But until then, here is some stuff to chew on. Sounds like Microsoft is trying to make some progress, decide.

» Screen Gallery: When is a firewall not a firewall? When it’s Vista’s built-in firewall | Berlind’s Testbed |

Vista’s Windows Firewall with Advanced Security - via

And while we are on the subject....

Microsoft OneCare fails virus test -

Bummer. Although once I got to reading the article, OneCare (and some others) actually seemed to have failed on malware detections...which isn't (to me) quite the same thing as viruses. On the other hand, it did seem get 99.91 percent of the that must be one high-bar test to jump over to pass. And if I am reading it all correctly, the test consisted of 37 malicious programs. Hmmm. I'm confused now...I think I will just click on through, and click on through, and click....

Windows Live Writer's almost like a backstage pass!

I'm waiting for the next release version of Windows Live Writer. I love the current version, but there are a number of features I want to see!

According to discussions at the Windows Live Writer Group the next release is still a while in coming, but to gain some insights into the development process for WLW, go read the posts. --via CyberNet News

PCLinuxOS 2007-- Looking Wicked Cool!

I've tried the Beta1 version out and love it. Really love it. It has been completely redesigned and seems faster, cooler, and more polished than ever before. Once it goes "final" I'll be loading it on Alvis's pc as soon as the burned ISO file cools.

In the meantime, check out this review over at PCLinuxOS 2007 Beta 2 (Test 1)

More to drool over...

Screenshots - PCLinuxOS 2007

PCLinuxOS: News

Make it BIGGER! You know you want to!

Yeah, I know that sounds like a bad-spam subject line...

God bless Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - How to change the width of the text insertion cursor

I never realized that one could make the blinking insertion point cursor wider. I just needed to tweak mine one notch, but it makes a world of difference when editing documents.

Who knew it could be that easy?

Texas, Oh Texas....Home of wide documents?

Slashdot | Texas Bill For Open Documents

I just spotted this over on Slashdot. I work for the State of Texas. I'd like to consider myself a proponent of open-source software and all the benefits that go with it. However, as an technology insider...I'm not sure how I feel.

So for now I will just quote Yossarian from Joseph Heller's Catch-22:

"I suppose I have an ambivalent attitude toward it."

Yep. That describes my feelings about it pretty well for now.

Better than Web 2.0...Create a Useless Account!

Feeling left out? Didn't get on the wagon in time for the latest Web 2.whatever?

Don't fret!

Go right now and create your very own Useless Account.

Heck, create as many Useless Accounts as you want!

Then leave them behind and never go back to them again.

It's guiltless fun!

No web-developers will be upset for once at the inflated sign-up numbers, but brought crashing back to earth when only a handful of users end up sticking around, long-term.

-via Download Squad

Yawn...Is it time for breakfast yet?


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