So most all of our clocks have been updated with the time-change. I think the ones in our cars still need to be updated. I never can remember if the cellular phones we have auto-update the time or not. I’ll worry about them in the morning.
Last night we had a belated birthday party for little-bro. Ate a mess of NY strip steaks, made some special Valca fresh green-beans, taters…all the usual.
Then we cut up and watched a humiliating loss of UT Texas to Texas Tech. It was a real heartbreaker.
In the end the real highpoint was when I bumped our dining-room table and six cans of A&W root beer rolled off the table onto the floor. It’s a “bistro” style table so the table-top is about three-feet high. I wasn’t looking as they rolled off, but heard them hitting. And they all exploded.
Root-beer was shooting out of tiny breaks in the can all over the place!
Root beer on the walls, all the chairs and table, the floor was coated in root beer. The sideboard. Yep.
Took almost an hour for the first-round of cleanup last night.
This morning I dug out a bucket, filled it with hot water and soap and did a full Cinderella-style old-school cleaning of the room and all known surfaces.
I like root-beer and so does Alvis, but Lavie hates the smell.
Needless to say she wasn’t impressed.
Here’s your link roundup for the week. These should be safe for all ages, unlike those A&W cans.
Guide to Freeing up Disk Space under Windows Vista - Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen – Most Excellent guide to lots of uncommon steps to reclaim your hard-disk space under Vista. Even if you don’t do all these steps, all good Vista buckaroos should be familiar with them.
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta - Windows Vista Team Blog – Brief roundup of what Vista SP2 may deliver.
How to Update Windows Vista SP1 to SP2 - Windows Vista Help Forum. Hack on how to get a pre-release, non-beta version of SP2. I wouldn’t dare consider this, but I do find these exercises informative and fascinating. You’ve been warned.
Chrome beta update lands with security and performance tweaks – Ars Technica. Chrome is not quite the Web darling it was for the two weeks in the spotlight it enjoyed. Nevertheless, they are working hard at tweaking it better.
Beta and Plugin Improvements in Google Chrome - Chromium Blog – More information from the Chrome development team.
The dark (theme) side of Firefox and The dark side of Firefox, unabridged - Mozilla Links. Two excellent posts that compare a number of polished “dark” themes for Firefox. I liked both the Abstract Zune and the Gradient iCool in particular.
Polishing Firefox, Week n (Special Edition) - Alex Faaborg’s blog – Wonderfully well done post that illustrates the amount of time and effort the Mozilla team is putting into the details. Sure it is just tiny GUI elements, but the detail work and attention is crazy (in a good way).
Privacy UI - Alex Faaborg’s blog – Alex reveals that the PrivacyMode indicator for the next version of Firefox is going to be a neat masquerade mask. I think it looks kinda cool. And if you take the time to dive into the comments, you might find a good discussion on this trend in private-browsing in general.
At Mozilla, blowing the lid off security practices - Defense in Depth - CNET News – Robert Vamosi sits down with Window Snyder, Mozilla's chief security something-or-other to discuss security in browsers and what Mozilla is paying attention to specifically. It’s a good background on threat-modeling and the tools used to find vulnerabilities. Interesting discussion.
MinimizeToTray :: Firefox Add-ons – With taskbar space at a premium on my systems, especially when I want to leave Firefox open to run automatic RSS feed update checks with Newsfox, I had a problem. This bitty add-on solved it. It minimizes Firefox to the system-tray. But RSS notifications in Newsfox still pop-up when new feeds are found. Perfect solution.
Desktop Security Updates
Comodo Internet Security – (freeware) - New release of Comodo’s free security software combines both their noted firewall product along with their anti-virus program. In both XP and Vista supported flavors. Download Squad has a great screenshot tour and first impressions review. I have to confess that I have since removed Comodo’s firewall from my XP and Vista systems along with ThreatFire a while back. The reason was that my XP desktop system had been locking up hard with the hard-drive light steady-on. At first I thought my drive was failing again, but the more troubleshooting I did it appeared that both programs were somehow conflicting with each other in a very-bad way. So I removed them both, rolled back to the XP and Vista firewalls and have just been running AVG 8 Free otherwise. Could just be something weird with my configuration, but better steady that not. No problems since.
Hitman Pro 3 – SurfRight - (not quite freeware) – A previously surprisingly controversial program that bundles and throws a heavy posse of anti-malware programs at a potentially infected system. It has quite a lot of things going for it and takes the more-is-better approach at malware removal. MakeUseOf has a great review of Hitman Pro. Well worth reading to get the big-view. For a deeper look at the controversy surrounding this tool, please take the time to read Surfing Safe's breakdown on this program. I’ve not used it and it seems like a good approach…so long as the developer can secure permission from the companies it depends on to integrate. Hitman Pro 3 is free for scanning for threats and allows for a 7-day activation window. After that you have to pony up your $. Hitman Pro 2 was free but ran into a lot of problems with both vendors and users who thought it didn’t allow enough user-control. Worth taking a look at and being familiar with for all you malware-busting ninja’s out there.
Anti-Malware Toolkit 1.03.125 - (freeware) – Previously noted here, this program is only a bit similar to Hitman Pro. What it does, with much less issue, is to enable a key selection of anti-malware busting tools to be directly downloaded to a system for installation and use. Kind of saves a bunch of time in the pre-work. However, you still need to be skilled enough to use many of these tools and there is no guarantee any of these tools will remove the problem files. That may take some deeper l33t skilz for success. It’s a good starting point however, and if you don’t have your pre-loaded USB response stick ready, it can save a bunch of time surfing the web to all the individual sites. Definitely a keeper.
Secunia PSI RC4 - (freeware) – This program is the localized client version of Secunia’s vulnerability scanner. It is a rocking application to make sure your desktops (home) are kept safe and secure. It makes keeping an eye on critical patches for software are identified and able to be easily applied to your systems. See the full changelog here. Strongly Valca recommended.
xp-AntiSpy - (freeware) – Great tweaking tool got another minor update.
8 Best Defragmenters To Keep Your PC Running Like New - MakeUseOf.com. Roundup of several latest generation third-party defragmenters. All are good in their own way, so find one you like and meet your needs and stick with it.
CrystalDiskInfo - (freeware) – Wonderful hard-drive monitoring and health utility. Recently updated.
Process Monitor v2.02 - (freeware) – Sysinternals tool got a minor bug-fix for symbol configuration issues.
Bare Tail - (freeware) – Wicked-cool tool that allows real-time monitoring of log-files. Too cool to pass up! All sysadmins must get this one. This version is free for home and professional use, but there is a Pro version ($) that adds on the features. Check out Confessions of a freeware junkie’s review for a great breakdown of what you may have been missing.
DVD neXt COPY - (freeware) – Offers to turn your DRM managed iTunes files to unlocked MP3 format files. Sure, you can do like my brother did and rip his whole collection of iTunes purchases to CD on your own to get around it (backup) but you probably aren’t single and have the ripping rig he does (nor the time) to do all that. This program might simply that process a bit. As usual, freewaregenius.com walks us through the high/low points of this program. A fuller-featured Pro version is available as well for a few $. Not a magic bullet but could be a time saver for quick rips.
USBDeview - (freeware) – NirSoft utility to manage and get info about USB devices connected (currently or historically) to a system has been updated to include ability to open items in RegEdit.
MozillaCacheView and OperaCacheView - (freeware) – NirSoft utility to read the cache file of Mozilla and Opera web-browsers have been updated to enable saving of cache files in the website’s directory structure. Very helpful when reconstructing browsing sessions and comparing them to websites visited.