Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I Have Seen the Enemy, Yahoo, Google GMail, Etc.

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Bad Service from Yahoo Small Business Web Hosting and Email, details below.

In short, these people want to learn and retain as much as possible about each and every one of us, in order to make a buck. Let's do the best we can to ELIMiNATE Yahoo and GMail and Google as "must have's."

They do not give a darn about what uses such information can do in the wrong hands, like say those of a paranoid government, or shady dealers working identify theft.

Of late I've been scolded by both services for using Zone Alarm and having the nerve to delete "their" cookies from my machine. Or for not using IE6, a very easily manipulated part of the Windows OS, especially in the older versions, as MS has given up blocking the hacks.

Cookies were originally invented to help in one session situations (when you close Mozilla, or IE6, or Opera, it's over, and all is forgotten), but have been quickly modified and adopted as market tracking tags. Retaining cookies from session to session serves no other purpose. They can log your IP and compare it to previous log-ins to see if it is likely that it is you. They have the password as a primary ID security device.

How the heck to they handle you when your at a library or using a friend's machine, if they're so desperate for cookies ? They know via IP addy you're at your home machine when they demand them. They know you're elsewhere when that changes, and they don't demand such crap, because they know they can't get it.

At this point I had to request a new security code from Yahoo. Not my login password mind you, but yet another deeper code. I was trying to set up an email account in a simple domain for which I am committed to pay them 11.95/month till this coming October. I can't do it without the key. I sent for a refresher. I got a new, "one time use key" It didn't work. I tried online help. It went in a merry-go-round of "identifying the problem" and then coming back to square one with no answers. I called up billing (no tech support phone or email!) to let them know I was close to cancelling. They informed me I had to leave their cookies alone, and take down the firewall.

They apparent do not care that I will leave Yahoo altogether at the end of October, never to return. Yahoo Web Hosting SUCKS ! I may have to leave even sooner, if I can't even manage the account, having to spend $100 for services I'll never receive.

If Yahoo and the others, GMail, Google especially, don't realize that we as consumers have needs for privacy rights, and don't want out personal information winding up in questionable places, AND STOP COLLECTING IT, then we have no choice other than to use GoDaddy.com, and findnot.com, and wierd browsers and email programs other than the standards.

You can use Word 97 and up to create very nice web pages, and simple FTP programs to post them on-line. You don't need GeoCities.

My machine was clearly being used by outsiders until I got Zone Alarm, and God knows how much of our personal info was harvested, and may now be just waiting for someone to attempt to get into our bank accounts and credit cards. Check with www.grc.com, I think that is the addy for Steve Gibson Research, whom I have trusted since the early 80's, for more information.

Here's an easy way to tell if your machine is "Zombied." Right click on the double monitor icon in the lower left corner. Choose "monitor." Do nothing with your machine and see if there are outgoing bytes. It is normal for about 1/9 of the amount of incoming numbers to show up in out-going. That is part of error checking. If the numbers are higher, your machine is sending. If you do nothing at your machine and the outgoing numbers are increasing, your machine is sending stuff without your permission. It's possible it's just check for new email. But it doesn't take .5 meg to check. You have a zombie machine if the numbers are out of these ranges.

The stuff being sent could be every Word and Excel and Quicken file you've got. At least password protect them. Advanced options under "save as." It could be SPAM to a targetted machine for a Denial of Service attack, or to many machines in an ad program. Don't be part of the problem, get a firewall now!

Coming soon, hardware firewalls for everybody.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Malware, Some More information

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I now have Zone Alarm Pro, ETrust Antivirus, Lavasoft Adaware and ADwatch Pro, and ToniArts EZ Cleaner all working at once. I've also shifted over to Mozilla and Eudora. Various machines on my ISP's server farm still appear to be making inappropriate overtures to my machine, or so Zone Alarm tells me. My ISP is analysing my logs. This is such a waste of time!

Oh, Eudora just barely runs with all the other stuff loaded in 256 megs of Ram, 1.8 gigs of free space. I still see unknown grey unlabelled squares in my program tray from time to time, at which point I back out and restart the machine.

How Many Bats are there in your Belfry ?

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Here's a 21st century parlour game.

I'm sure somebody else has already thought of this, but if not, I shall spread the joy of "The Estimate is Closest," which is sort of like "The Price is Right."

Open up your favorite search engine.

Open up your favorite dictionary.

Pick words at random and put them in the search engine.

Everybody guesses how many hits there will be.

Closest guess wins the round.

Typical example: "Bats in your Belfry" 569 hits "Belfry" 2 million plus hits.

Obviously this could have variations, like picking the words out, or using phrases.

The consequences of being farthest off could be like that of a certain form of poker, or having to consume something, etc. Far be it from me to suggest something specific that allows somebody to come back and sue me for their own foolish behavior.

Have fun!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Why Blog ?

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Probably it's just a way of yelling, "aaaarrrgghhh" while going down on the Titanic. Like my old notebooks, at least if I've written it down, I can ignore the throughts if they come rushing in around my head again. When you get right down to it, all the nasty stuff that happens elsewhere to other people does not directly affect you, at least not physically. See "For Whom the Bell Tolls," for the mental side.

If you're worried about nutcases like the guy who just killed some ex-cop because he was wearing a baseball cap with a big letter "A" on it, there's really very little you can do, except dogs, detection systems electronic, fences, and weaponry, and that's only good while at home. Well actually, I now often take at least one dog into town with me, and that way I don't worry to much about picking up a hitchhiker, or being carjacked. Anyone who will get into a truck with a large shepard rottwieller might really be crazy, but they're really going to be restrained too.

Oh, the guy who killed the retired cop with the big "A," claims he thought it stood for "anti-Christ." That's even worse than the gang killings of innocent people who happen to wear either red or blue. Love to see the Crypts and the Bloods at the Democratic and Republican Conventions..... Why can't a third party be formed with the best of both, leaving the dreck behind ? Money responsibility from the repubs, social care from the Dems, that how I see it.

Cutting Corners, upping the "bottom line, " and dumping USA

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I keep on wondering if I'm crazy, or if the Chinese will really buy out a badly deluded USA, which is self hypnotizing itself via just plain strange choices of things to think about on the daily "news." To me, a story like the one below, is real cause for alarm.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


By Anonymous

Posted January 10, 3:00 a.m. PST Pacific Time

For most of the past 10 years I was a computer operations manager for the
R&D department at an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company. Initially it
was a small operation. But as time passed, we were gobbled up by bigger
and bigger fish. Finally, last year, we were swallowed by a Great White
Shark. My site was the most productive one in the entire company, but it
was poorly located and expensive to expand or upgrade. The Shark decided
to close it.

The first staffers to go were the scientists; they were highly paid, so
firing them would produce the biggest financial bump. More than 150
scientists were given less than two weeks to prepare their projects for
passing along to other divisions. I was asked to hang around for two
more weeks to help turn out the lights.

As those two weeks drew to an end, my VP called me in. He'd pointed out
to his superiors that a huge amount of data had been produced during
various research projects -- and that this data hadn't been documented,
backed up, or organized in any way. He suggested bringing back a few of
the scientists, but no one wanted to spend the money to do it.

Still, the Shark knew that the FDA is quite interested in documentation
and frowns on companies whose early data has "disappeared," so it hired
(what else?) a consulting company. Sadly, the consultants were much
better at moving equipment than data. These guys had never seen an
echocardiogram administered, let alone analyzed the 40GB of data that
one produced. I won't even tell you about the equally humongous data
sets produced in chemistry, biology, or genetics labs. The scientists
who understood what that data meant were already signed on with other

As the last experienced IT person standing, I did have some ideas about
how to move and organize the data, ...

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