Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Samsung may be the wrong choice in a laptop.

Lifehacker today had an article describing how Samsung has shipped a few different versions of their laptops with Keyloggers pre-installed on the system. A Mohamed Hassan found the keylogger after purchasing a Samsung laptop, taking it home, and running his preferred anti-virus software. After removal of the keylogger software, Hassan returned the laptop due to a different issue (video display driver problem) and picked up a different laptop also made by Samsung. This laptop as well had the same software loaded in the same folder as the previous laptop. The keylogger is called "StarLogger".

Lifehacker article
The Discovery by Hassan
Samsung's response to Hassan when confronted

So in short, if you have a Samsung laptop, or any other really, make sure you run a full system scan on your computer to check for the normal stuff but now you need to make sure the manufacturer didn't preload dangerous and privacy invasive programs on your computer.

My preferred anti-virus? I currently use Microsoft Security Essentials.  It's free and is one of the most highly recommended anti-virus programs for Windows Vista/7.  I also run Malwarebytes every week or two.

Enough of the serious stuff.  Here's a video that absolutely makes me think it should be a new advertising campaign for why you should not text while driving.


There are a few things to watch for. Obviously the guy playing Mario Kart. He does some random, crazy, weird, funny things throughout the entirety of the video. At 1:57 the "ad campaign for why you should not text while driving" occurs and is the most important part of the video lol. Also the guy in the tan jacket makes some pretty weird faces. Props the the guys on the piano as they are quite talented at playing and the singing isn't bad though it couldn't be considered farther away from my taste in music. Also there's a mini-remix at the end. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blog Achievements

So it just happened. 150 followers. And earlier today we crossed the 1000 views mark.

Shoot the fireworks!!! Off with their heads!!! So on and so forth.

Sorry for the short post today but I got a 10 page paper to write by Friday and I'm just now starting on it.

EDIT: During a break (can you really call it a break if you haven't accomplished much of anything yet?) from writing the paper I stumbled upon this and it may seriously have been one of the funniest things I've ever read. Take a look and you won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Teh Updatez!!

Today: An update on my Minecraft experience, a new screenshot from Windows 8, and for ctweten a few more links on the PS3 hacks.

As you may have noticed, there was not a new post yesterday.  This was partly due to me sleeping til noon and then going to see a few family members, but also, i wasted more than 5 hours playing Minecraft before I realized what time it was.  This caused me to turn in a paper late for my online class when I realized "Holy Shit!! When did it become 12:30" and the paper was do at Midnight.  I had told myself when I got home, "I need to write that thing but i'll do it after some Minecraft".  You see how well that turned out.

As far as Minecraft goes, you can probably already come to the assumption that I enjoyed the game.  I spent several hours collecting and building a rather large fortress before I realized that I had built it on top of the highest mountain, and that this wasn't a good strategy involving climbing and descending this mountain in search of resources, and then needing a place to hide at night from all the creepers.  So, I destroyed the fortress and rather than simply running down the mountain; I decided I would tunnel through the mountain and come out on one of the sides.  This however turned out not the way I had planned.  I ended up spending over an hour mining through tunnels and caves before i finally broke through to the surface.  Needless to say, it all looks the same underground and without any point of reference or a map, I got very, very, VERY lost.  LOL.  It was fun though and I learned a valuable lesson.  I then found a nice waterfall with a stone pillar near it that looked sexy as hellblahblahblahblah(if you don't wanna read about the rest of my Minecraft experience so far skip to the next paragraph).  I proceeded to set up torches along the cave and extend the waterfall into a lake.  I then built another rather large fortress.  This lead to me thinking it would be a good idea to build another pillar.  So astacking I went before I accidentally fell off of the pillar and suffered my first death.  Thus, losing all my hardwork.  And then I started over.  But enough of that, i'll have more stories probably in the future.

Yet another image of the upcoming Windows 8 has been leaked.  This one previewing the System Restore and System RESET features.  The system restore seems like it will work as it always has by restoring your system to a set restore point.  The system RESET however is the feature that will save you from having to do a fresh install.    This is the feature that Micro$oft says will be able to restore your system to its factory shipped settings in 2 minutes.  If you remember, they also claim that Installation of the OS will be as short as 8 minutes, but who knows for sure about these times as of yet.

As for the PS3, I wrote earlier about it being hacked.  Yes, a hacker called geohotz and his group of hacker friendlies have cracked the firmware for Sony's PS3 in less than 24 hours allowing the use of pirated games and software to be used on your PS3.  The hack itself, is the attainment of the PS3 root key allowing you to have full read and write access for the PS3 potentially allowing the use of unauthorized software to be run on the console.

For more info about the PS3 hacks see any of the following links:

PS3 Hacked Wide Open: Edge Magazine
Hack Proof Video Games:
PS3 Firmware 3.56 Hacked in Less than a Day...:Engadget
PS3 Hacked Through Poor Cryptography
Playstation 3 Hacked
Sony Investigates PS3 Hack :IGN
The PS3 is Hacked:
PS3 Hacked Again :

Saturday, March 26, 2011


So I've been hearing alot lately about this and I think it may be time for me to jump on the bandwagon.  As most of you know I am in college.  While going to college I don't work during the school year so that when projects and such come up I have time to do them.  So I tend to not spend very much money during the school year (as little as possible.  Only gas, food, cigarettes usually) This cuts my gaming budget alot so I only buy games if I really think that me and my friends will play it for a long time or if it will turn out to be a very interesting play through.  This being said, Minecraft is super cheap and I think I can get away with it.  Hopefully it's as good as everyone says it is.

Do yall play Minecraft? What do you think about it?

In other news.  Nvidia has come out with their newest GPU.  The GTX 590.  This thing is nothing less than a powerhorse completely blowing the current top tier 580 completely out of the water.  With dual cores and 3gb, yes 3GIGS of ddr5 ram, it is quite possibly the most powerful, and fastest GPU on the market right now.  The only drawback? Asus and EVGA both have this card out now but they are priced at ~$800 or more.  Who has that much money to spend on a graphics card.  My Radeon HD 5750 will play most games out right now including Crysis 2 and others with no hiccups.  I think i'll stick with this card for awhile.

Also, I have a softmodded Xbox (you remember that old Mechassault exploit?) with XBMC on it.  The problem? I havent used it or updated it in like 5 or 6 years.  I think this weekend i'll be looking into updating it and using it to stream stuff to the T.V. again.  What do you use your old Xbox for? Do you have any other modded consoles.  I know the Wii can be modded and allow you to play homebrew games.  And just this year the PS3 was hacked to allow the same (this really pissed off Sony and i LOL'd).  What do you do with your old consoles?

Will be posting to tell you how Minecraft turns out later as well as what I end up doing with the Xbox so check back later this week for this update.

Want some more info on these stories?

Nvidia GTX 590
PS3 Hacked

Tell me if there's anything else from this post you want to know more about.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A little bit of Safety goes a long way

I am a college student.  As many college students do, I own a laptop.  Sometimes it happens that when I am sitting in the computer lab, or maybe eating a quick bite at and on campus venue, something comes up where I need to get up and leave for a few minutes.  This could be a phone call, bathroom break, smoke break.  Sometimes you just don't feel like packing everything up for the 5 minutes that you'll be away from your computer.

Now.  There are hundreds of students, faculty, and staff walking around ALL the time right?  So it should be relatively safe to get up and walk away for a few minutes and trust that you're stuff will be left alone.  I have actually done this a number of times.  It is however, becoming more and more unreasonable to trust ANYONE (i really don't trust many people anyways) with anything so I've decided to install a little program called Prey.  Prey is a free, lightweight application that will track you're laptop or other device (works on windows, mac, linux, even android) if it is stolen through its wireless card and even use a built in webcam to take snapshots of the perpitrator for you.  As long as the thief does not plan on wiping your HDD before using the computer, you should be able to get it back.  Once your device is stolen, you can view any of the info including location and webcam shots through any browser you can get to and do several different things including setting off alarms and locking the user out remotely.

Sounds like win to me.  So just to be on the safe side, I'm gonna go ahead and install this on my laptop.  Never can be to careful.  It might just save me a few hundred dollars.

Check it out here.

Its a little random...

During my perusing of the interwebz today through StumbleUpon I came upon this picture:

Feelssketchman.  There is certainly quite a bit of similarity here.  Didn't Disney make a Pocahontas 2?  Yes they did.  It is possible then, based on the similarities in this post, to watch Avatar 2.  Interesting to say the least.

Still don't believe it? Check this out.

I've heard alot of things as I'm sure alot of you have about how James Cameron waited ~20 years for technology to advance far enough along so that he could make Avatar. Honestly though, after all this, he could have rereleased Pocahontas in HD with live actors and done it along time ago. But then again, he needed all that time for people to forget about Pocahontas all together. Something to think about.

On the topic of copyright infringement/pirating, it seems Ubisoft is being scrutinized for selling pirated music in their latest game, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.  Apparently Ubisoft used the popular P2P service, Demonoid, to upload the game's soundtrack almost 4 months ago, and are now selling it in the Limited Edition packages of AC:B.  Sounds a little ironic that the company who is most recently and infamously known for their DRM "Always on" programs require players to be online whenever they are playing one of their games in order to prevent piracy and/or cheating/hacking would be selling pirated material, of its own making, to it's customers.  All sounds a little backwards to me.  Here's a little more, expanded info on the topic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Which browser is REALLY the fastest?

Earlier today posted an article about this very topic.  Their goal? To test commonly used web browsers and see how fast each of them were in different categories, and compare them to each other.  Considering Internet Explorer 9 just came out a few weeks ago, the stable release of Firefox 4 came out today, as well as the usual updates that come with Chrome and Opera, it's the perfect time to run these tests and let everyone know about the results.

The results?  If you would like to read the entire article with pretty graphs and a few snippets of interesting information in the way the results were determined, or what they mean check it out here.  If you just wanna know "Which browser is the absolute fastest", (based on the six categories tested) the winners are:

Opera 11
Chrome 10
Chrome 11
Firefox 4
Internet Explorer 9 (no real surprise here)

So if you're still clinging to that old Internet Explorer, you may want to think about upgrading to something a little faster.  You'll probably see a pretty large improvement if you were to watch a video on Youtube.

On that note, if you don't need many extensions, or special extras or "goodies" go ahead and try out Opera 11.  It might just shave a few minutes off your daily routine.  Maybe.

Kontingency out.

EDIT:  I forgot to mention something I found the other day, and now is the perfect time to tell you all.  If you like for pages to load faster, theres a neat little trick when using Google Chrome to have your GPU aid your computer in rendering web pages.  Open Chrome and go to "about:flags".  In about the middle of the page there are 3 options.  GPU Accelerated Compositing, GPU Accelerated Canvas 2D, and Web Page Prerendering.  The first 2 Options will use your actual GPU hardware (the graphics card inside your computer) to help load the webpage.  Try it and see if you like it, or notice better performance.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little more about Windows 8

My earlier post about Windows 8 possibly coming out in 2012 seems to have garnered some interest as of late.  In response, I like to keep my followers happy, so here's a little extra insight on Microsoft's endeavors with Windows 8.

Windows 8 Roadmap

Spring Break's over

Which means I'm back in classes today and for the next 8 weeks.  Let the boredom begin....Again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Windows 8?

Yup.  Across the web today there have been a few leaked images of Microsoft's new Operating System.  Some rumors include that Microsoft's progressive download notifications in the taskbar for for downloads through your browser, will now be available for such things as hardware installation.  Also, reportedly users will be able to log into their computers with their Windows Live ID's as Microsoft moves more towards cloud computing.  On top of all this, some think, based on the availability of previous Windows OS's and a leaked strategic plan, that Windows 8 may be out as early as next year.  Think about that.

In other news, Mozilla is supposedly finalizing Firefox 4.0 as the RC (release candidate) has hit their servers.  If you really want to get it now though you can visit the link below.  It appears that Linux/Mac users are able to download 64-bit versions, while Windows users are stuck with 32-bit for now.  The finalized version should be out soon with many improvements in security and user friendliness just like they've always done.

All in all, a pretty exciting day in the tech world.

For more information on any of this, go here:

Windows 8  - A picture of the leaked Windows 8 desktop.

Firefox 4  - Mozilla's FTP server housing Firefox 4 RC.

Firefox 4 new features  - Detailed lists, pictures, and information on changes in Firefox 4.

EDIT: Google Chrome version 10 is now available for download as well. If you haven't done so yet go to options, "About Google Chrome" and let Chrome do it's thing. Then simply restart Chrome and you're good to go. For changes go here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Customize your desktop now with these simple tools.

Many people on the internet today love to have their desktops in just that way. You know, the perfect wallpaper all the Rainmeter skins, custom start orbs, some like an icon for every program on the computer while others can do with only a few.

As far as wallpapers go, many use good ol, plain and simple, Google Image Search. Others go to DeviantArt, or the astoundingly large number of "wallpaper" sites on the web. Ive been to many, seen that I had to download a 500MB folder of wallpapers just to get the one I wanted, or even not been able to find a wallpaper that suits me. Then I StumbledUpon Currently there are 400,000+ wallpapers available freely and with a little searching I am sure anyone can find a desktop background right for them. On that note, 4walled has several search options that you should look at. Keywords can be used to search for a specific type of background, i.e.: kittens, flowers, superman, guns, etc. Almost anything you could think of honestly. There is also a "SFW" tab. SFW for those who don't know stands for Safe For Work. This means that a wallpaper marked SFW can be opened at work, on a work computer, without fear of being punished. That being said, if you are surfing for wallpapers on 4walled at work you would be wise to open that tab and select the SFW option as many of the wallpapers on the site can be pornographic in nature. I can not be held responsible if you open a wallpaper deemed inappropriate for the work environment and your boss catches you.

This leads us to Rainmeter. Everybody knows about the Windows Vista sidebar. Most everybody also knows that one of the first things you did when you installed Vista, was to deactivate the sidebar. It just wasn't very useful. Thousands of people have found Rainmeter and know that it is perfect for everyone from the minimalist to the most extreme computer use who needs to know everything thats going on on their computer, at all times. I find myself somewhere in the middle. I have launchers, the weather, rss feeds, and information about my Computer including CPU/RAM load, HDD capacity, and Network speeds. Of course all of this is customizable to the users wants and needs and there are hundreds of preconfigured skins available online.

I have already talked about custom start orbs so next up is icon management. I use a little program distributed by StarDock called fences. Fences is a program that allows you to make areas on the desktop (fences) that are resizable, renamable, etc which house icons in a neat way that keeps your desktop from becoming too cluttered. Along with this application comes the ability to hide all your icons inside fences by double-clicking anywhere in the desktop area. So for those who like icons for easy access to programs and applications, but don't like the desktop clutter, you can hide or reveal all your desktop icons with 2 clicks. Very simple, very nice.

Throughout this post I have mentioned several programs. Following are links to download these programs.

4walled -Desktop Backgrounds
Rainmeter -Desktop Information
Fences -Desktop Icon Management
StartOrbz -Custom Start Menu buttons

This is a picture of my desktop with all the aforementioned items in use.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I switched from Windows 7 to Ubuntu 10.10

In early February I posted here that I had reformatted my laptop hard drive and installed Windows 7. Well....this week I reformatted again and install Ubuntu 10.10. Why? Well, I use my laptop mainly for school and rarely at home (usually use my desktop computer while I'm at home) and I decided that Windows was just to costly. I realized that I always have to do virus scans at school because their network isn't exactly the most secure, Windows was very heavy on RAM and CPU usage, it was slow to load in some cases especially when I had a lot of tabs going or when i needed to run more than one application at a time. So, I decided to get away from the mass marketed OS and switch to something lighter, more cost effective, funner, and something that would teach me new things.

All this lead me to Ubuntu. The most used Linux distribution in the world. The transition was fairly easy as most things that I didn't know were just a short Google search away. I must say, my laptop's battery lasts about an hour longer (sometimes more depending on what I'm doing) even with all the desktop affects. All my documents for school can be saved with the window's extensions so the teachers can still open and read them. Everything pretty much worked as soon as I booted up. The only real thing I had to do was install flash and get it working in chrome, which took me about 15-20 minutes. I've been tweaking different things here and there since I installed, but none of it is necessary for most users, and I've been learning alot. This may have been the best decision I'll have made all semester.

For those of you who like the look and feel of Windows 7, you can install themes that give your Ubuntu installation the same taskbar, you can run commands allowing you to have the Windows Snap feature, and you can even allow your wallpapers to cycle. The Ubuntu community works hard to make everything as easy as possible and to provide options for every user to customize their setup, as they see fit. They are also much more helpful than Microsoft's online support.

All in all I believe I made a good decision in switching to Ubuntu. I even got one of my best friends to switch to it on his laptop.

If you want to know more you can go here and read up on Ubuntu and what features it offers. You won't be disappointed.

If you want to keep your Windows 7, or Vista, or XP or whatever other operating system you are using then you can always burn a "Live CD" of Ubuntu which you can use to load the OS on your system and give it a "try-out" without installing it. You simply run it off the CD and you can then test drive it yourself and see if you like it. If you decide you like it, but you play games on your Windows PC, you can download Wubi here and install Ubuntu on a separate partition on your hard drive, along side your current Windows OS and then choose which OS you want to boot into at startup. This way you keep your Windows OS for whatever reason (games, editing, etc) but you can play with or use Ubuntu whenever you like as well.

Also, let it be known that Ubuntu gets major revisions in April and October of every year. These are optional if you like the current version but often add most stability or support. Like windows however each version of Ubuntu is supported for 2 years after deployment. This being said, the current version 10.10 came out in October of 2010. In April of this year 11.04, code named Natty Narwhal, will be released and many communities on the web are expecting great things.

For further help websites like Lifehacker who this week is actually doing segments on fresh installs of Ubuntu and how to get your OS the way you like it, as well as Ubuntu Guide, and Ubuntu's own help page will be of great help to a new user. As always Google can assist you, and the vast Ubuntu community is always somewhere willing to help.

Tell me what you think and if you switched in the comment box and let me know how you like Ubuntu, or why you think Windows will always be better :).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


So several days after I installed the Windows 7 SP1 I now realized that before hand I had made custom start orbs (the button you click for your windows start menu) because the original Windows one was, to me, bland and boring. I was now on the hunt for the program I used previously and after I finally found it I now have new start orbs.

My start button now has these images for Normal, Hovered over, and Pressed, respectively.

Much more fun to look at then the boring little circle with the windows logo in it in my opinion. If you're interested in downloading and using the program that I used to change my start orb it can be found here.

This is the best program that gives many more options than the other programs I tried to use. My recommendation if you're planning on changing your windows 7 start orb with little hassle and as much freedom as possible.