Happy New Year from Disney
Thanks to Steve Bass and his great TechBit newsletter for passing this along.
Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"
I hate predictions for the New Year but I have no self-control so here goes.
Solid State Drives
This is one I made two years ago and is probably my most accurate prediction of the past. The market has been flooded with solid state memory and some companies have scaled back production in an effort to keep prices stable. As the year goes on, the cost of SSD’s will come down and the size and speed will go up.
Year of the Laptop/Netbook
Even though we’re getting a new Windows this year, sales of Desktops won’t come close to the increase in large laptops and small netbooks. Companies will try their best to differentiate themselves from the competitors. Lenovo is even coming out with a ThinkPad with a screen that slides out to provide a dual screen experience.
3G Networks When Traveling
I have discovered when I travel Wi-Fi coverage can be spotty. Hotels which boast high speed Wi-Fi connections but they aren’t doing a very good job. Even at a recent Microsoft conference I ended up using my Verizon EV-DO connection because it was faster than the Wi-Fi provided. Currently the best reason to use 3G over WiFi is security. Keep your WiFi networking at home and use 3G when you travel.
Cloud Computing Will Be Boring
I’ll admit I’m not a fan of Cloud Computing. As far as I’m concerned I’ve already done Cloud Computing, it was called a main frame and dumb terminals. The reason we got rid of main frames wasn’t just COBOL.
Newspapers Will Want a Bail out
While television still tops our source of news, a recent Pew study said for the first time the Internet has passed newspapers as a more popular source of news. We will see the failure of many newspapers and you can bet they’ll go to Congress for help in keeping the news print tradition alive.
Windows 7 Won’t Suck
What I’ve seen so far of Windows 7 is promising and I think many people really really want it to succeed. My real prediction is the Microsoft will actually price Windows 7 so that people might actually buy it instead of trying to get a copy from their friend. When Vista first came out Bill Gates said it would be “less than a hundred dollars”. That was the price for Vista Basic which was useless and a downgrade from Windows XP. Expect fewer versions of Windows 7 to be available to ease the confusion.
What are your predictions? Disagree? Click on the Comments link below.
Like many of you we had a very Wii Christmas. Everyone on Twitter seems to be talking about their new Wii and our three adult daughters all received new Wii’s from Santa.
The ultimate addition to your Wii is of course the Wii Fit. This was a popular gift over the holidays. Our daughter Amy has already been shopping online for a Wii Fit hoping to have it at her house in Portland by the time she returns. We had planned on a Wii Fit for her February birthday but she couldn’t wait.
This is probably my favorite. I’m not a real gamer but I’ve had a blast with this one. We have grand kids in Germany and every Saturday we connect to the Internet, play Mario Kart and race against the kids in real-time.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a true game for all ages. Our six year old grandson has mastered this game which requires a combination of fast action and a puzzle-like thought process. We can also play this one together and seriously play as equals.
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels scared me when I first saw it but then I realized the kids don’t actually hit each other. They swing the lightsaber and the characters on the screen do the fighting.
I’ve only scratched the surface of great games and it’s time for me to play again. Please share your ideas. What are your favorite Wii Games? Click on Comments and let us know.
For the programmers out there I have one other recommendation. Learn how to create a program on your PC that uses the Wii controllers by checking out Coding4Fun: 10 .NET Programming Projects for Wiimote, YouTube, World of Warcraft, and More.
May this day bring you all peace, relaxation, fun and lotsa love. I share the following photo of the good cookies to whet your holiday spirit.
I first met Paul and Robin when they were just beginning to be a family and immediately knew they were good folk. Along with the help of many brilliant friends their CastleCops website was one of the top forums to go if you needed help with spyware. They were so successful that they were constantly the target of denial-of-service attacks by the bad guys.
As a Microsoft MVP I was asked to just try Live.com for a week and report back to Microsoft. What I discovered surprised me. In May 2007, I wrote about testing Ask.com. In October 2007 I did some extensive testing of Yahoo Search. So I thought it was time to update my impression of various search engines.
I discovered that I never go to a main search page like Google.com anymore. That means I miss what ever cool Google logo has been created for the day. The main Live.com has nice color photo background which changes daily but I guess I’ll never see that either. Live.com does provide some mouse-over links relative to the image which is nice.
For the last couple years I found myself just using Google toolbar for my search. I’ve actually been using Google’s Chrome most of the time so now I just type my search directly into the address bar and voila. So good bye to toolbars and sayonara to main search pages.
Using my traditional search, the Pytlovany Test Live Search didn’t score to bad. For years I’ve been able to test search engines by using my last name because it’s so unique it has always worked well.
Live Search reported it found 4,710 results
Google reported “about 5,720”
Ask.com now reports 1,330
Yahoo claimed the most with 32,500 pages in English. I didn’t get a chance to check them all out.
Typically, I never go past the first page of displayed results so the number of pages found becomes less important. I was surprised to see that Ask.com cleaned up their results so it no longer included a lot of the bogus sites they used to list. I started to test other search terms and Ask.com failed again. Live.com and Google both provided the best results in the way of relevant pages.
I did notice one big change in Google from previous tests and other search engines. They now seem to give more weight to the social Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter.
Danger of Ads and Related Sites
Google and Live.com did best in presenting related ad based sites. Yahoo and Ask.com failed and displayed sites that are either dangerous or use keywords of their competitors to steal your business. I could still find some questionable ads on Google and Live.com so they both need to spend more resources on reviewing their advertisers.
Like Google, Live.com has been introducing some special features that will help bring on new users but as expected Google still maintains its hold on the search market. According to my most recent research Google still holds over 65% of the search market. Yahoo and Live/MSN are still doing their best to put a dent in this but Ask.com has all but disappeared from the stats.
You never know what how the market will flow so Google will need to continue to innovate. During the coming year it will be fun to watch and evaluate what Google and Microsoft come up with. I’ll also be keeping an eye on other unique search engines like the following…
And for real-time information you can’t really beat Twitter Search
Over the years most of you have been inundated with buzz words like virus, spyware, worm, trojan, rootkit and over the last year Zero Day has been popular. The zero-day term refers to an attack or virus which is previously unknown so no patch or virus defination is available to catch it on day zero. It won’t be caught by your antivirus scanner because they don’t know about it yet.
A Zero Day “Vulnerability” is the worst. This attack uses a flaw in a program such as the browser that allows code to execute with no warning to a user. You don’t have to be tricked into downloading anything. All you need to do is to visit a web site or in some cases just be connected to the internet. The only protection will be programs like WinPatrol that monitor for changes to your system.
This week Microsoft has released an advisory to protect users until a patch is available. Click “Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution”. Microsoft advises some pretty serious work arounds including.
- Set Internet and Local intranet security zone settings to "High" to prompt before running ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting in these zones
- Configure Internet Explorer to prompt before running Active Scripting or to disable Active Scripting in the Internet and Local intranet security zone
- Disable XML Island functionality
- Restrict Internet Explorer from using OLEDB32.dll with an Integrity Level ACL
- Disable Row Position functionality of OLEDB32.dll
- Unregister OLEDB32.DLL
- Use ACL to disable OLEDB32.DLL
- Enable DEP for Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista and on Windows Server 2008
- Disable Data Binding support in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2
These are pretty drastic actions but this threat should be taken seriously. Most experts are recommending folks stop using Internet Explorer completely until Microsoft has a patch available. I’m among those experts who also recommends finding a new browser for a while. Personally, I’ve become a fan of Google Chrome which is now out of beta and has an official version 1.
Alternate Browsers in order of my preference:
Update: Microsoft has released an emergency patch to fix this serious vulnerability. http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms08-078.mspx
Download Apple Safari (You may have already be tricked into installing this along with iTunes)
WinPatrol is known for many functions and is often classified as a spyware monitor or an AutoRun program manager. Over the years I’ve packed a number of important functions into two small program files that make up WinPatrol.
WinPatrol was a first of its kind intrustion detection program 11 years ago and continues to have many unique features not found in other utilities.
WinPatrol is a program I use personally on every computer I own. It really runs in the background without slowing down other applications. Its small foot print, robust proformance and new features are based on what I want myself and I hope you do too.
I’ve put together a list of features that some folks may not know about.
If you haven’t looked at WinPatrol lately, I’m hoping you’ll give Scotty another look. It’s a small download at http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html.
(International versions available as well)
Thank you to everyone who has supported the development of WinPatrol by upgrading to WinPatrol PLUS. I wouldn’t be able to continue adding new features without your support. Feel free to add some of your own favorite unique features as comments.
First, thank you to all for the cards, Emails, Prayers and well wishes while I was recovering from a recent hospitalization. Everything is progressing according to plan and I’m anxious to get back to work on new WinPatrol features.
While I was recovering I was able to spend time doing a little holiday shopping. I know most of you will be doing the same this week so I wanted to offer some specials on the purchase of WinPatrol stuff for your friends and family.
This week I’ve reduced the price of our WinPatrol 1 GB wristbands and WinPatrol Sport Shirts.