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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Results of 99 Cents Software Experiment

I had hoped to spend this weekend posting a complete evaluation of my crazy 99 Cent Software Experiment but the data is still coming in. I can tell you I have thousands of new WinPatrol PLUS members who will now have safer computers.

I regret I under estimated both the server traffic and a high volume of questions in my Inbox. For now, my main priority is to respond to Email. There were some peek times where folks did not receive their PLUS codes. I’ll be spending my time this weekend working to make sure everyone is happy with their WinPatrol experience.

I am very happy with all the positive comments especially from folks who had never heard of WinPatrol. The cost of WinPatrol PLUS will return to normal and I hope our new fans will let people know it’s still a good deal. I’m sure I will have some kind of specials in the future but I can guarantee you’ll never see another 99 cent experiment. :)

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Great 99 Cent Software Experiment Initial Results

Many of you have been patiently waiting to hear how my Great 99 Cent Software Experiment is going. It’s probably no surprise that most folks seem pretty happy with the concept. I have some good and bad results to report so far.

It appears obvious that people like the idea of software for 99 cents. Some people will spent 99 cent even if they don’t know what they’re buying. Many of our new customers had never heard of WinPatrol. I’ve had many comments like Mark who said, “This is great. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of WinPatrol. Thank you LifeHacker for making me aware of this great software”.

The bad results is due to my under estimating the popularity of this offer. Normally I would be able to handle the support for thousands of new users. WinPatrol is easy to use and understand so my support Email is usually simple. Unfortunately, a failure in the step that creates PLUS codes has increased my Email today.

When folks purchase the PLUS upgrade it’s via a 3rd party storefront or PayPal which can easily handle the traffic. At the completion of the order they’re sent back to WinPatrol.com where we create a PLUS activation code. Unfortunately, this is the point where our web traffic is backed up.

If you’ve purchased WinPatrol PLUS but didn’t get your PLUS code just Email support@WinPatrol.com. I’m working as quickly as possible to make sure everyone receives their PLUS code so they can activate WinPatrol PLUS.

As I mentioned, many of our new fans have never used WinPatrol. If they haven’t already, they also need to download the free version of WinPatrol. This process also uses up some of our web traffic so I’ve been recommending alternate download sites like Download.com or
SoftPedia. Users can download the free version of WinPatrol from other sites but get their activation code from WinPatrol.com.

So, it looks like I’ll be busy responding to Emails for a long while. If for some reason I hear that folks who weren’t able to purchase Plus today, I will extent the experiment an additional day.

Note, support@winpatrol.com gets priority to replies to comments on the blog. So if you have a critical question it should be sent via Email.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Great 99 Cent Software Experiment of 2010

Have you noticed that most of the software you’re buying these days is only 99 cents?

The traditional software industry, like many, has been hit hard by slumping economic times. At least that’s what appears to be happening. I can’t help but notice traditional software distribution is in a state of flux not unlike the media and publishing industries.

The music industry which dealt with the downloading of free music has created a successful 99 cent per song model. Using mobile devices we’re now downloading decent software for as low as 99 cents. Who can’t afford an impulse purchase of $0.99. The Apple App Store made many new millionaires almost overnight at 99 cents a pop.

What about the rest of us who have spent years developing fully featured software on the Mac or Windows platform. Are customers going to revolt against prices which range from $30 like my own WinPatrol PLUS to programs like Photoshop which retails for $700?

I’m curious and thinking a crazy single day experiment could be fun and may be worth the risk. So what the hell. If you want to upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS on January 29th, I’ll give you a lifetime WinPatrol membership for less than a dollar. Instead of the regular price of $29.95 I’ll provide a coupon on WinPatrol.com that brings the price down to $0.99 USD. That comes out to approx. .70 € to our international friends

one_time_fee

This will be a one-day only “experiment” starting at 12:01 AM EST on Jan 29th and will last 24 hours. Will over 30 times the normal number customers upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS? If so, will other software developers notice?

Like our current $30 plan, the 99¢ license will be good for life. Like sales in the App Store or Droid Market however, this license is only valid for a single computer. Sales are also limited to one per customer. Sound fair enough? If you’ve been someday planning on upgrading to WinPatrol PLUS, January 29th is the day to remember. Just go to www.WinPatrol.com this Friday and you may be a part of history.

Do you think the traditional software industry is in danger? If you think 99 cent software is coming or I’m just crazy than write about this on your blog. I will need enough people to know about this experiment to make it valid. That’s also why I had to pre-announce a special offer which may kill sales between now and Friday.

Contact Support@winpatrol.com for questions or confirmation this is real. To all our fans who paid $29.95 I hope you’ll understand that this is just a crazy experiment and does not diminish the value of WinPatrol PLUS or how much I appreciate all your past support. This weekend I’ll evaluate the experiment and post the results.

If you’ve forgotten why WinPatrol fans are so loyal see "Top Ten Reasons to Try WinPatrol Again".

New F.A.Q.
How will I receive my special coupon?
Originally, a coupon was going to be made available and valid for one day only. To make the transaction easier all upgrades on Jan 29th will see the same 99 cent special.
Just go to http://www.winpatrol.com on Friday and click on "Upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS".

Can I use my 99¢ WinPatrol PLUS on multiple computers.
This experiment is meant to compare a software purchase to those purchases from the Apple App Store or Droid Market. Unlike our $29.95 license or $49.95 Family Park, this purchase is good for one computer at a time.

I heard a new WinPatrol version is coming soon. Will I have to pay again for this version?
No way. The PLUS activation you purchase for 99¢ will work with all future versions. You'll love the new custom Registry Lock feature coming with WinPatrol v18.

Can I purchase 1000 copies.
I'm sorry but purchases on 1/29 are limited to two per customer.

Do I need to download anything in advance?
If you already have the free version of WinPatrol no additional download is required. If you don’t have WinPatrol you can download and become familiar with WinPatrol at http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html. On Friday you can purchase your activation code which will convert the free version into WinPatrol PLUS.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dangers from Haiti Spread to the World

It’s been wonderful  to see how the good people of the world have done everything in their power to aid those currently suffering in Haiti. Unfortunately, I’ve also watched as bad people try to take advantage of everyone they can with new scams and money making opportunities.

When a world wide event like an earthquake occurs there are actually people who celebrate the news with a party. They react like I would give my WinPatrol program was mentioned on the Today Show or by Oprah.

By evening of the day the earthquake occurred I started to see my Email inbox fill with scams. They ranged from fake plea’s for money to “click here to help” which downloaded fake AntiSpyware programs to my computer.

I’m sure many of you are cautious but I find it necessary to remind folks again.  Even if a message appears to come from a friend or one of your Farmville neighbors don’t click on strange links. There’s no reason you can’t wait until you talk to your friend in person and make sure they don’t have any new computer infections.

There are other not so obvious steps you need to take because of the scope of this disaster. Of course,  read your credit card bills and verify all your purchases. I’m sure that’s something you do anyway but this month be like Santa and “check it twice”. I’ve already heard from folks who had small charges from companies with names that appear to be affiliated with the Red Cross and other international aid foundations.

The same is true with your phone bill. The cell phone companies have made it easy for legitimate companies like the Red Cross. You can text the word “HAITI” to 90999 and $10 will be donated. Most legitimate companies will text you back asking for confirmation requiring you to text “YES” back to them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of deceitful companies and it’s not the phone companies job to police them. Check your bill. If you did donate make sure any fees taken out are going where you expected.

I’m pleased to see the cell phone companies are waiving any text messaging fees for the Red Cross and most other organizations using text donations. Unfortunately, not all organizations are getting this waiver so again, know who you’re giving too.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Opportunity for 3rd Party Application Developers

As the time grows closer to the release of WinPatrol 18 I wanted to use BitsFromBill.com to share new possibilities to my friends in the developer community. The new custom Registry Lock feature could be a application all by itself but instead it will be integrated into the robust real-time monitoring of WinPatrol PLUS.

The custom Registry Lock feature has the added benefit for other programs to have their critical registry locations be protected.

reglock1

To Trusted Developers,

I’ve always been pleased that WinPatrol runs fine along with your program. I plan on continuing to promote WinPatrol as a non-intrusive program well suited to run along side your favorite full featured AV/Security programs and/or firewalls.

The new Custom Registry Monitor provides the ability for users to keep a watch on a limitless range of registry keys. WinPatrol will either lock them down or users can be notified if they change. WinPatrol will also log any attempts to change the default value.

Having the average consumer add an individual registry entry isn’t the best usability experience so I’ve solved that problem too. As a service to other developers I will create custom add-on scripts of registry entries related to a particular theme or 3rd party programs like yours.

I’d like to offer you an opportunity of both added protection for your customers and promotion of your program. Your program could be listed on our “Suggestions” web page not only as compatible with WinPatrol but I would create a custom add-on which would be available as a free download. This add-on would protect critical locations needed for your program to function properly. When WinPatrol 18 is released next month over 70,000 PLUS members will be directed to this suggestion web page.

Participation is Simple
All I would need from you is a list of basic regist
ry entries which if modified indicate a possible problem or perhaps an indication that Malware is trying to remove you or shut you down. I recommend a list as few as 2 or as many as 10 entries. You can decide if these values should never change or if you’d like your customer notified. These default values would exist in our own registry tree so it would be WinPatrol’s responsibility to remove them at uninstall time.

WinPatrol has never been a target of malware programs trying to disable us so having Scotty protect our mutual customers is a win for everyone

If you’re interested just send me a list of registry keys and values you’d like monitored. Even if this doesn’t meet your needs I still welcome any registry entries you’ve seen abused lately. WinPatrol 18 will be very flexible in protecting our fans.

Thanks,

Bill Pytlovany
support@WinPatrol.com

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Submit your Tips on Dangerous Registry Values

Soon you’ll be hearing more about a new version of WinPatrol. I hope to have a beta test start by the end of the month. I’m confident WinPatrol fans will be happy with all the work I’ve done to continue making WinPatrol a must have addition to their computer protection.

reglock WinPatrol 18 with Custom Registry Lock

One of the many goals of WinPatrol has always been to prevent changes to critical registry values. Many locations are unique which makes WinPatrol ideal secondary protection for your regular AntiVirus/Malware program. Some WinPatrol features include locking down file type associations, changes to Windows Update status, changes to UAC status and more.

The newest malware has expanded their reach into the registry values including locations which make it difficult for popular AntiVirus to do their job. The new version of WinPatrol will greatly expand registry protection and customize what gets monitored based on your configuration and even 3rd party applications. Here are some of the new registry values which will be protected by WinPatrol.

regmontab

Many locations listed above are monitored in previous WinPatrol versions but I hope they’ll make good examples to help you think of others. Many users don’t know that Windows can be set to “DisableRegistryTools” or AntiVirus tools. The ability to disable SafeBoot is used by the bad guys more than legitimate purposes.

These days there is no limit to potentially dangerous registry keys and values. The newest WinPatrol will be to ready protect them. In preparation for launch, I’m looking for advice from my fellow malware researchers and malware victims. Have you experienced malware that messed up a registry key or value. It’s now possible to share that info and protect others.

I’m anxious for your suggestions and especially looking for groups or themes related to registry values. Are you a software developer which has found your software disabled by malware, corrupted by faulty registry cleaner programs? I’ll help make a special script to protect your customers and promote your program as compatible with WinPatrol.

Email your suggestions to support@WinPatrol.com and you can say “WinPatrol 18 with Custom Registry Lock Down was my idea!” ;)

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Tech Brings Domestic Violence Dangers

As a security researcher one area I’ve always cared about is the use of tech in domestic violence cases. My regular readers know how I feel about people who advocate keyloggers as a parental tool. Wake up people, over 90% of the keylogger market is used to spy and control ex-spouses and lovers. Detection and removal of keyloggers is one feature I still always include in the free version of WinPatrol.

It has been over a year since I’ve written about the risks to domestic violence survivors and based on recent experiences it’s time I share some new tips. My past presentations still apply so before I talk about new risks here are links to previous information I presented to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

safetyalert



New Tricks

GPS Tracking: The Good and Bad.
One new tech tool for kid safety has been popular but may put survivors in danger. Many cell phone carriers provide GPS tracking for as little as $10 a month. This service allows you to track the location of your child and see where they go and how long they stay. As a parent/grand parent I think this is a fantastic use of technology. Unfortunately, it could also be used by controlling ex-partners. If the words, “Look mom, Dad bought me a new cell phone for Christmas” sound familiar you should think twice. Perhaps I’m a little more suspicious than most but I’ve already advised more than one mom in abusive custody fights how to turn off the GPS feature. If your ex can track your child when in your care, they can track you as well.

30 Day Hold for your Mail
The United States Postal Service has implemented a lot new technology but may still need to add some safe guards. I was recently asked to help a woman who was arrested for failure to appear in Schenectady County Family Court. According to the court she was sent notices advising her of family court matters which she was required to appear. Turns out she never received this mail. She also never received her electric bill and other important correspondence. It turns our her husband went online and with little effort had the post office put a “hold” on her mail without her knowledge. A nice little trick which I hope my readers are good people and won’t abuse this information.

Donate your Phone
Lastly, I know you all have old cell phones sitting around that could be put to good use. Domestic Violence shelters and national organizations like NNEDV still accept donations of old cell phones. These phone are critical to domestic violence survivors and can be a lifeline to help. Check with your local agency or get more information at “Donate Your Phone”.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Access All Windows 7 Tasks with God Mode

Recently news of what some still consider an easter-egg within Windows 7 was shared via the social networks. The news spread fast due to the unique name, “God Mode”. While a much better name could have been chosen God Mode is actually a useful feature.

God Mode isn’t really an Easter-egg but will create what you might consider as a Super Control Panel.

Creating God Mode is simple. Just right-click on your Desktop or any folder and select New –> Folder from the menu.

godmode0

Just name this folder by using copy and paste.

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

The results will be
godmode1

The truth is you don’t have to call it God Mode. Any text in front of the CLSID numbers will work. NOTE: Some report this may not be supported by x64 bit Windows. See comments.


You could also copy and paste the following.
BillP’s Super Control Panel.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
godmode4

When you click on the new icon Windows Explorer will open. The right side will include a huge number of Windows 7 configuration and management utilities. Technically this is the Windows 7 “All Tasks” list, a useful tool.

godmode2

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

WinPatrol Info Integrated with Twitter

One of the main goals of WinPatrol has always been education. When unknown files are detected even the free version of WinPatrol provides as much information as possible.  Our PLUS version provides additional information created by our research staff as well as alternate research sites.

Starting today I’ve added a link that will provide an easy way to share your query with friends and the millions of users on Twitter.com.

Here’s is a small part of the WinPatrol Free screen when info is requested.

twnonplus 
If you’re still not ready to upgrade to WinPatrol PLUS just click on the Twitter link and get help from your friends on Twitter.

When you click on the Twitter link we’ll format a message to Twitter including the filename. No message will be sent without your knowledge. If you don’t like the text you can always edit the message.

twhelp

Twitter account required.  Twitter integration is also available to WinPatrol PLUS members along with a number of alternate research tools.

The following research tools are available from our partners are provided to WinPatrol PLUS members in addition to our own detailed research.

twplusExample when request for information on flash10c.ocx is made. Click above to see other examples.

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