Wednesday, March 28, 2012

iPad 3.

So I have a Nuevo iPad in my home. Nice device. Here, after about 2 weeks, is my initial take on it:
  • The feel is essentially identical. Even though it weighs a little bit more, I haven't really noticed.
  • The new Retina screen? Amazing. Today, I worked on an iPad 3 and a original iPad side-by-side while doing a customer upgrade. I started on the new one. When I then went to the old one, it seemed blurry and fuzzy by comparison. Two weeks ago, that display looked state-of-the-art. That says it all in that area.
  • I haven't been on LTE that much. The signal is kinda weak anywhere in Salem but the downtown. I was using it Monday night at a School Committee meeting, though, and it is just as fast as advertised. A few days prior I was at another school for a meeting with it, in a pocket of known bad reception. All I could get there, a half-mile away from where I had great LTE, was a weak 3G signal at best. YMMV.
  • Yep, it runs a wee bit warmer in the back. You can feel it, though barely - it hasn't been warm enough to cause any discomfort. I've played games for at most about a half-hour at a stretch so far. Might warm up more if I played longer, but indications are not so much.
  • Battery life is about the same. But charging time is longer. I'm kind of a battery anxiety kind of guy, so I worry about that. Charging time is longer. As a result, I leave it plugged in whenever I'm not using it, pretty much.
  • Related - you could leave your iPad connected to a regular iPhone power brick before and it would charge OK so long as the screen was off. Not so much now with the new model.
  • The extra 512MB of RAM really helps, especially when swapping apps or tabbing web pages. Way less reloading/relaunching.
In all, a great device. If you have an iPad 1, you likely want one of these. If you have a 2, it's iffy (if you read a lot on it, that's the tiebreaker). If you don't have a tablet and want one, getting anything other than a Nuevo iPad is just trying to make a political point.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ric Romero Reports: Macs not unhackable!

For those who have followed my Apple-centric ramblings over the years, I've never out and out said that you can't infect a Mac with malware. What I do say is this:

- Macs are generally more difficult to target by malware authors
- The consequences of an attack are typically less when they do happen
- It's easier to target the much larger Windows market
- In keeping with rule #1 above, the "drive-by download" really isn't a viable Mac attack strategy

Because of this, while the Internet is filled with Windows botnets, Mac attacks are few and far between. But lately there's been a variation on the "Antivirus 2010" attack that is targeting Macs and has had some success - even a couple of my clients have been hit by it.

The attack is this: Web pages are infected via PHP and/or other exploits to deliver redirects when accessed via a search engine referral. The redirect takes the user to a page that automatically downloads a "MAC Defender" (or related name) fake antivirus program that mounts automatically and launches the Installer. You still have to click on the Installer dialog, give your password, and click Install - it can't auto-install like the Windows versions do (they usually load through PDF exploits on Windows).

In other words, it's malware like in Windows, but it only gets loaded via social engineering - not via a machine exploit. That's an important distinction.

It's also really easy to clear - kill the process via Activity Monitor, delete the application, and remove it from your Login Items. Dead. Unlike Antivirus 2010 and its cousins, which you have to use removal software (I like Malwarebytes) to get and still may need repairs afterwards.

We Mac people can take this as a warning, though. As time goes by, Macs will be targeted more and more often - and Apple needs to be proactive about security. They do a decent job right now but will need to stay on top of it. Are we at the day when Macs need antivirus software? Nope. But that day is a little closer right now than it has been for quite a while.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hacker 'handshake' hole found in common firewalls

Not good news at all...

** or **

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Domain Validation

Do you need to check your domain settings, verify DNS servers records, MX servers records, make sure your mail server is not a mail relay, etc?

Check out:

And it's FREE!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick take on iPad 2

Simple question: Do you want a tablet device?

If the answer is yes, then the next question is "Do you submit your computing choices to a Purity Test?"

If the answer is yes, then maybe you go look at the Xoom. You probably don't get it, though. Any other answer - you get an iPad 2. Period. Because the iPad 2's added features (double the CPU power, double the RAM, lighter weight) pretty much are there to match/trump what everyone else just tried to come out with this year.

Sure, 7-inch tablets are smaller and lighter. They can't match the battery life of iPad (or the other 10-inch devices) but they arguably fit in a coat pocket. Apple's not playing in that space, so if you want a 7" tablet you can't go Apple.

The Xoom is the only mildly competitive device in the iPad's class that's shipping (HP and RIM aren't even on shelves), and even then it's pretty clearly still a work in progress. There aren't really any 10" optimized Android apps that play nice on Honeycomb yet, there's no easy direct desktop sync (Google services are the way to go), the 4G upgrade, when it's ready, will require you to mail it out for a week or so, the SDXC slot doesn't work yet, and Flash is still pretty much a pipe dream. Inhatko nailed it when he said that the Xoom, while nice, looks like it was designed by angry Soviet prison labor next to the iPad.

Now, as for what the differences mean - I owned an original iPad. It was one of those devices where you almost couldn't explain it - you had to hold it and just try to use it for something, then you got it intuitively. After I started using it, my laptop became a desktop, tethered to a big screen and keyboard when I was in the house. I almost completely stopped using it in any other room, because the iPad filled that need entirely. Sure, web pages could be a little slow to load compared to a desktop. Yeah, things take a while to boot. But hey, Angry Birds!

The iPad 2 has made that go away. First of all, iOS 4.x's multitasking abilities allow easy switching between apps. The extra 256MB of RAM (now 512MB total) make sure that most apps don't get swapped out to reload fully, and web pages rarely need to refresh. Having 2x the CPU helps as well - rendering is desktop-fast, while games, apps, and the UI are instantly responsive. There's no real difference under the hood otherwise except for the addition of a gyro chip which will mainly impact gaming. The resolution is the same 1024x768 - the GPU though is rated at up to 7x the speed of the last version, and from playing a few games on it I can see the difference even more starkly than the raw CPU power indicates. There's plenty of framerate and rendering benchmarks published so far.

Battery life is still the same - a class-leading approximate 10 hours. Still the same buttons, no extra cruft added on. The same peripherals work as before, minus the Keyboard Dock (which wasn't that popular - a regular Bluetooth keyboard will still work fine if you like). New this year is a HDMI cable with a sync-charge passthrough, it supports display mirroring and presentation mode (mirroring only works with the new iPad - the old one will allow presentations). The missing 4 ounces aren't noticed too much - the thinness, very much so. Even with the Smart Cover it's thinner than the original iPad. The feel is much closer to a unitasker like the Kindle now.

[Edit: added paragraph below 3/15]

As for the much-ballyhooed cameras, yes, the iPad now has front and back cameras in order to use FaceTime (now a standard part of the Mac OS as well, and it'll push away iChat AV over time). The front one is a pedestrian VGA resolution, optimized for video chat and not much else. Serviceable but nothing special - the same as the camera on its iPhone cousin. The rear camera is only equivalent to the camera chip in the iPod Touch - it's optimized for 720p video and takes slightly lower-res still photos. Why doesn't Apple put a better chip in there? I don't know for sure. I think part of it is the thinness of the iPad 2 - it's actually thinner than the iPhone and there may not even be room for a better imager. My main suspicion is that Apple simply decided that you may show/capture video with the iPad but anybody really thinking about still photography with a 10" tablet probably should either get an iPhone or carry a real camera. Even though video chat has become a checklist feature nowadays, I don't even think it'll be as big on iPad 2 as it is on the iPhone - with the higher weight of a tablet, people who use it for chat will need to make sure they keep their nose hair well-groomed!

In the end, the iPad 2 isn't a revolutionary improvement. It's evolutionary, and that's fine. It more than keeps pace with the rest of the market, and given the lead Apple started with I don't see how that's going to change at all this year. When you sell 15 million iPads in 9 months you don't have to reinvent it the following year. The burden is on the rest of the market to catch up. Things like the Smart Covers (held in place with hidden magnets), the GarageBand app, and the latest iMovie? Well, that's just piling on. Apple will likely sell more Smart Covers this year than the completion will sell tablets, combined.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Convert media free, fast and online

Just found this awesome site to convert audio,video, image, document formats....4.9 out of 5 stars for coolness, speed and ease of use! (files sizes are limited to 100MB)

oh and did i mention it was FREE ??!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Skype Outage - what was/is the impact?

The Incredible Importance of Skype

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Adding SMS (texting) to your Gmail!

Do you want to send SMS (texting) via gmail. Now you can!

go to the "labs" section and enable the following two labs:

SMS in Chat gadget
Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat

Now you should see "Send SMS" as an option on the left under "My Contacts"

Now go to your contacts and add a contact or updated the mobile number of an existing contact and you now should have an option to "send an SMS" under the chat option when you click on your contacts name!

** Note you get a "Bank" balance of 50 SMS messages to start. For every SMS you receive you get 5 additional SMS's to send.

Please note this works to phones outside the US also. Put a + in front of the number!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Google Chrome Pilot program

Do you want a chance at a "free" Google Chrome laptop? Information is below!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cisco Seminar - "Security: What You Need to Know"

Cisco Seminar: "Security: What You Need to Know" With Former FBI Agent, Patrick Gray

October 28th 8:30-11 in Natick.

Tell em BNUG sent you!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Google URL Shortener

Google is now in the URL shortening business at:

The advantage of using the Google shortener is that they will tell you how many people have clicked on your shortened link!

.gl is the top level domain for Greenland. Who knew? :)

Monday, June 07, 2010

HP Looks to Change the Way We Print

This is a trend that could be important in the near future, cloud printing via email.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tabnabbing: A New Type of Phishing Attack

How The Attack Works

1. A user navigates to your normal looking site.
2. You detect when the page has lost its focus and hasn’t been interacted with for a while.
3. Replace the favicon with the Gmail favicon, the title with “Gmail: Email from Google”, and the page with a Gmail login look-a-like. This can all be done with just a little bit of Javascript that takes place instantly.
4. As the user scans their many open tabs, the favicon and title act as a strong visual cue—memory is malleable and moldable and the user will most likely simply think they left a Gmail tab open. When they click back to the fake Gmail tab, they’ll see the standard Gmail login page, assume they’ve been logged out, and provide their credentials to log in. The attack preys on the perceived immutability of tabs.
5. After the user has entered their login information and you’ve sent it back to your server, you redirect them to Gmail. Because they were never logged out in the first place, it will appear as if the login was successful.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Portable Apps to Go!

Do you sometimes need to run Putty, Winscp, OpenOffice, a pdf reader or similar and you do not want to go through the hassle of downloading and installing on the system you happen to be using?

Do you own a usb flash or hard drive?

If you answered YES to the above then check out:

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Be Afraid....BGP rules internet data flow paths

Worth the read to understand the issue that Jack Daniel mentioned at last week's BNUG meeting.

"How an unfixed Net glitch could strand you offline"

Friday, April 30, 2010

What the iPad means

Now that it's here, and also now that we know almost all of what the new features of it with OS 4.0 will be (See the video of the 4.0 announcement a couple of weeks ago for details), it's time to take stock of the impact it's had in the mobile marketplace.

Microsoft's cancelled one of their tablet projects.  HP's cancelled their Slate, and instead are buying Palm so they can have control of a mobile OS (I suspect it's a doomed union, as almost all defensive purchases turn out to be).  Windows Mobile 6.5 is the end of the line, and the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 will look pretty, but feature-wise not even be quite up to iPhone 1.0's full capabilities.  Every vendor has started to push into the tablet space (though virtually nobody has a shipping product), and most interestingly, the shine has really started to come off the netbook market.  Who wants a cheap underpowered PC when for about the same money you can have a more elegant device?

The real impact is that Apple's pretty much put all their cards on the table at last.  They are designing products for a post-PC, cloud-oriented future.  And they are also basing it on an ecosystem they can control and manage.  You may or may not agree with their system, but they tell a full, complete story about the Apple world of devices.  And other vendors are going to have to do something similar if they want to stay relevant.

Remember about a decade ago when Apple was all but through?  How's that working out now?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Open Source Cloud AV by Clam AV - Windows 32/64 bit

I have used ClamAV on my Linux installs for years!

Here is their latest release of a cloud based version 32/64 bit for Windows.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

19 Tips Every Windows 7 User Needs to Know - MaximumPC

Cool tips in the article:

19 Tips Every Windows 7 User Needs to Know - MaximumPC

Thursday, February 11, 2010

higher semiconductor prices mean more expensive hardware

February 15, 2010


Jessica Ramirez

Ten years ago, the dotcom bust caught the semiconductor industry
with its pants down. Cratering demand left chip makers with a
glut of products and idle factories. So when the financial
crisis hit, chip makers, keen not to repeat the same mistake,
quickly scaled down by closing plants, cutting production, and
decreasing overall costs. A year later, it appears they may
have overreacted. Although global chip sales fell by 9 percent
(a dip of roughly $22.3 billion) in 2009, demand grew faster
than expected in the second half of the year, leaving supplies
tight. The resulting chip shortage is expected to drive up some
prices through 2012.

That’s good for chip makers; no so much for consumers. For the
first time ever, the price of the semiconductor components of a
PC will rise over the previous year. Brian Matas, of the
market-research firm IC Insights, expects the cost of DRAM
memory chips to increase 17 percent this year, 22 percent in
2011, and another 10 percent in 2012. “What you’ll see is less
memory in a computer, or they’ll pass the price on to consumers,”

he says. Flat-screen TVs also may get pricier, especially ones
with LED screens. Flat-screen monitors could rise by as much as
20 percent, says Ben Lee, an analyst at the IT research firm
Gartner. Officials at the Semiconductor Industry Association say
it’s too early to forecast long-term impact, but analysts say if
anything, those estimates are conservative. Either way, the
little chips that make our gadgets go are likely to carry bigger
price tags in the near future.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Create encrypted PDFs - CuteFTP Pro

Do you sometimes need to email PDFs to clients that are encrypted and do not want to pay the price for Adobe Acrobat?

Check out cutePDF Pro, free to try (with a watermark), $49.95 (or less based on # of licenes) to buy!

If you need to just create PDFs check out their FREE Cutewriter:

Please note that you will need to install GhostScript as well:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Complete guide to XP mode in Windows 7

Don't forget that you need virtualization support in your CPU!

Complete guide to XP mode in Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Lost your Blackberry - Oh NO! Set off the Alarm :)

RoBlock for your mobile device!

Well worth the $10 !

Saturday, January 02, 2010

SpamAssasin Y2K10 Rule Bug - URGENT

Y2K10 Rule Bug - Update Your Rules Now!

Any emails received after 1/1/10 and processed by SpamAssassin will trigger this rule and may lead to false positives.

Add "score FH_DATE_PAST_20XX 0" without the quotes to the end of your file to disable the rule.

For further info see:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

FTI: The Microsoft Virtualization Tour - Waltham December 9th

TechNet Unleashed: The Microsoft Virtualization Tour

Join our TechNet IT Evangelists as they hit the road again this fall to bring you the highlights of Microsoft’s great virtualization solutions. We’ll go from the desktop to the enterprise, starting with VHD native boot – a new feature for Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2. Next, we’ll move into Windows XP mode, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V™, and finish with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Alternative Browsers for your BlackBerry or other Smartphone

As anyone that owns a BlackBerry can attest the included browser is not the fastest. Here are two alternatives. Bolt is much easier to work with in filling out forms using the touchscreen and virtual keyboard.



** Make sure to turn off "inline editing" and to turn on "split screen" options.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The First Cloud Anti-Virus? - Panda Cloud AV Free 1.0

Panda Cloud Antivirus Free Edition 1.0,2817,2355827,00.asp

Monday, November 16, 2009

Do you need to determine the speed of your connection from various servers located in the US & the world?

If so check out !

Monday, November 09, 2009

And yet another reason to keep your PC clean! - AP IMPACT: Framed for child porn -- by a PC virus

AP IMPACT: Framed for child porn -- by a PC virus

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Droid Syncing with Standalone Outlook - FAIL

Please note that correct to today, Nov 3rd 2009, the new Droid phone from Verizon will NOT naively sync with standalone Outlook (IOW w/o exchange)

I am searching for a 3rd party tool that will do this but the only ones i can find are for syncing with the "googleplex" or with MS Exchange.

TY for the offer but I do not want to share my private data with the "cloud."

Palm and BB have done syncing for years....amazing Droid FAIL!

Morotolla/Verizon please please fix this if you want me to buy this product!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smartphone Showdown: iPhone 3GS vs Motorola Droid

Smartphone Showdown: iPhone 3GS vs Motorola Droid