Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What on Earth is “Cloud” Computing

The new big buzz word in the computing world is “Cloud” computing. In the past I’ve been critical of the concept and even poked fun at Cloud Computing.  Last month I released WinPatrol Cloud Edition and quickly learned that most people have no clue what Cloud computing means.

In simple terms, Cloud computer refers to having programs and data reside on an outside network device instead of permanently on your local hard drive. In theory it turns your browser into a flexible smart terminal and the main program you execute. The program you run and data you store is somewhere else on the planet similar to the old concept of a main frame. 

Even the term cloud comes from the representation of actions defined by newer tools used to create programmer flow charts.

So why are we going backwards to terminals and main frames?  It turns out in this day of application embed browsers and high speed internet “some” applications are very well suited for a cloud environment. If you’re using Amazon or Facebook, you’re already using a cloud application. A cloud can be public or private and becomes most valuable when a service or data can be shared.

You may be surprised to learn data including your photo may already shared by various cloud applications. Here’s an example of how my Email add-on called Xobni uses data uploaded to the LinkedIn service. This information is automatically displayed if I select an Email from Chris.


Other applications may use your photo along with information from your Twitter or Facebook account.  While I love having someone’s personal data available while answering Email you might want to consider reviewing some of your privacy settings on various social applications.


The WinPatrol Cloud
The planned release of my new software made me wake up to how little folks understand about the Cloud Computing. The WinPatrol Cloud Edition is considered a “Software-as-a-Service” version of a cloud and relies on a collaboration approach to bring a huge value to all it’s users. There are two parts to our new PLUS service.

One part is based on software behavior and actions taken by WinPatrol FREE and PLUS users. The WinPatrol cloud will track how users handle their decision to handle configuration changes. This information is accumulated continuously and will be available to other WinPatrol PLUS users.  It’s like the Millionaire's "Ask the Audience" feature.  User based information is available now and in the future additional information on software behavior will help users decide if a program is worth keeping.

The second part of the WinPatrol Cloud is a poll where users can provide their personal feedback on files that are detected. The poll data will be available to both FREE and PLUS users.

winpatrolcloudex Click image for example of complete information available to PLUS users.


Microsoft | Cloud Services



Google App Engine

Share on Facebook

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WinPatrol Cloud Edition Public Beta


WinPatrol Adds the Newest Technology Available.

You’ll now have access the knowledge of thousands of WinPatrol users shared in real-time within the new WinPatrol Cloud.  You’re not working alone anymore when you have to decide on keeping or dumping a file found on your system.

The new WinPatrol Cloud Edition allows collaborate and share feedback on both legitimate and malicious files found on their system. When requesting PLUS Info users will have even more information to base their decisions on.  Even WinPatrol Free users can participate and will benefit from the over one million WinPatrol users. While WinPatrol is over 11 years old, the new Cloud Edition adds the newest technology available to already proven, popular software.

One example of shared Cloud data.
Want to see the full page of PLUS Info just click the image above.

Additional Changes

  • * Fixed bug monitoring DWORD registry types
    * Fixed bug in changing Service status.
    * Quicker Detection of real-time changes.

This is still a beta and only the beginning.  As more shared data becomes available and beta testing continues the results will be the most stable, powerful version of WinPatrol in years.

Interested in testing?

Download WinPatrol Cloud Edition Beta

Share on Facebook

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Anyone who uses Twitter, DO NOT use the Twitter web interface until further notice.

There is a code injection vulnerability being used that will send malicious tweets in your name just by mousing over an infected message.

If you’re using Twitter use your phone or other device, not the web interface. 

If you see this message then you’ve retweeted the infected message.


If you can, use your phone to delete your last message.

Here’s an example of what you may never see, but you may repost without knowing it.



Update: Twitter Security Team reports this XSS attack has been fully patched.  Personally, I’m going to wait until later today to use the web interface just in case. ;)

Share on Facebook

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Forget the DVD & Save on your New Laptop

I’ve written before about the coming death of the CD/DVD’s for data storage.  While that time hasn’t come yet for desktop there is one realm where CD/DVD players are no longer needed. If you’re getting ready to purchase a new laptop the one place you can really save is by shopping for a machine without a CD/DVD player. Not only will you save cash, but you’ll also save big time on weight and energy consumption.

What about Installing Software?
One of the benefits of a CD/DVD player has been for installing new software that is sold on disc format. In these days of broadband access, it’s more common to install entire applications from the web. If you’re using a home network with any other computer that has a CD/DVD then you already have one. It’s a simple process to set any CD/DVD as a shared device. It can then be mapped to your laptop so it behaves like a local device. Windows 7 makes it even easier.

What about listening to music or watching movies?
My guess is most of you have little devices called iPods, MP3-Players or Smart Phones that store plenty of music and even play movies. Why would you use all the power on your laptop to play a movie off a DVD when you can read it off an alternate digital storage device. If you don’t have one now you’ll be able to afford one by not purchasing a CD/DVD on your new laptop.

Invest the cash you save
I was asked to write an article about saving money. So, you’re saving money by not having a CD/DVD let’s spend it!
The most expensive new option on laptops is the one I recommend the most. More than CPU speed, 64 bits or even memory I encourage folks to choose a Solid State Drive(SSD).  I’m sure I’ll get some arguments and hopefully the future will bring better prices I put a high value on my data now. The cost of data restoration for a normal hard drive will be more than the cost of your laptop. 

The next time you’re on a plane look up at the overheard compartments and check out how much vibration there is even on the smoothest flight. A SSD is more expensive but has no moving parts. It may hold less data but if you’re on a home network you really want to store much of your data on a single networked machine that performs regular backups.

Prices via 9/12/2010

Do you really need 500 GB on a laptop? Two years ago I could only get a 64 GB SSD on my ThinkPad X61. Even with 10 GB used for restoration data I still have 14 GB free. That’s amazing considering I have all my development tools(Visual Studios 2010), photo tools(including Photoshop), video tools and Microsoft Office Ultimate all installed on this system.


While I do store a number of photos and music on my laptop, most of my photos are saved on a network drive which can also be shared by other family members.

If you have other ideas on saving cash on a new laptop let me know.

Share on Facebook