Show of 4-18-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email form Jennifer: Dear Tech Talk, I bought a computer from at a yard sale. The problem is that they forgot to take off the password. I’m logged in as a user but not an administrator so I don’t have admin privileges. How do I become an administrator? Jennifer.
    • Tech Talk Answers: The problem is that your bought the computer only and not necessarily the software license. This is a common problem for computer bought at secondhand stores. The person who sold the computer may have sensitive data on the hard drive or be infected with a host of malware programs.
    • They failed the first test in selling a computer: wiping the hard drive prior to the sale.
    • The right way now is to get a Windows install disk – perhaps one even came with the machine – and reformat and reinstall Windows, from scratch.
    • As it turns out it’s very easy to gain access by downloading a password reset tool, burning it to CD, and booting from that CD. We have talked about that before. You can find these tools for download on the web. A good one is Passware Kit Basic 9.0. The hitch is that it is $49. You don’t need to be a techie to use it.
  • Profiles in IT: Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis
    • Co-founders of Kazaa, Skype, and Joost. They are devoted to disruptive technologies.
    • Niklas Zennström was born in 1966 in Sweden
      • He has BS in Business Administration MS in Engineering Physics from Uppsala University in Sweden. He spent his final year at University of Michigan.
      • Zennström was hired by European telecom operator Tele2, where he went served in various business development roles.
    • Janus Friis was born in 1976 in Sweden.
      • Friis worked at the help desk of CyberCity, one of Denmark’s first ISPs.
      • He has no formal higher education since dropping out of high-school before starting the job at CyberCity.
      • He met Zennström in 1996. At that time, Zennström headed Tele2 in Denmark and Friis was hired to run its customer support.
    • In 2001, they co-founded Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file sharing program, which was sold to Sharman Networks. Zennstrom served as CEO.
    • Kazaa quickly replaced Napster as the most popular peer-to-peer network as the latter was ordered by the U.S Supreme Court to shut down in July of the same year.
    • They co-founded Joltid, a software company developing and marketing peer-to-peer solutions and peer-to-peer traffic optimization technologies to companies.
    • They sold Kazaa to Sharman Networks when it encounters serious legal challenges, but retained the rights to the underlying peer-to-peer software layer owned by Jaltid.
    • They co-founded Skpye, an Internet peer-to-peer telephony company. It is an application layer built on top of Joltid’s technology.
    • Kazaa and Skype were based on a piece of technology called the Global Index. Skype basically built a communication layer on top of that.
    • The Global Index is actually the Joltid Global Index Software, which is owned by a company called Joltid Ltd.
    • Skype was sold to eBay $2.6 billion USD on October 14, 2005 and only licensed underlying peer-to-peer technology owned by Joltid.
    • The number of users on Skype has exploded since Ebay’s purchase in 2005, from 53 million to 405 million. But despite the increase revenues were only $145 million in the final quarter of 2008.
    • They are now interested in buying back the firm and Ebay may willing to do a deal because an IPO spinoff would be difficult because of the Joltid license.
      • According to the New York Times, Ebay has set a price tag of at least $1.7B.
      • According to a press release issued by eBay, Skype is asking a UK court to resolve a dispute with Joltid Limited.
      • Skype contends that Joltid’s efforts to terminate the agreement are invalid and that Skype is not in breach of the licensing agreement.
    • They are currently working on a peer-to-peer video distribution service called Joost, with ad-based revenue.
    • They were named in Time Magazine’s 2006 list of 100 most influential people.
    • They were the co-recipients of the 2006 Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award.
  • Sweden: Internet use down after file-sharing law
    • Internet traffic dropped sharply in Sweden this week after a new law cracking down on online copyright violation went into force.
    • Based on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, the new law makes it easier to prosecute file-sharers because it requires Internet Service Providers to disclose the Internet Protocol-addresses of suspected violators to copyright owners.
    • Statistics from the Netnod Internet Exchange, an organization measuring Internet traffic, suggest that daily online activity dropped more than 40 percent after the law took effect on Wednesday.
    • Henrik Ponten of the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau welcomed the plunge in Internet traffic as a sign that file-swappers are reducing their activity for fear of getting caught
    • Sweden has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in Europe but has also made a name for itself as a hub of illegal file-sharing.
    • Twelve hours after the law came into force, five Swedish audio book publishers representing 15 authors filed a request to find out details of a server suspected of containing more than 2,000 illegally downloaded works.
    • In a separate case, four Swedes linked to one of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites – The Pirate Bay – are on trial on copyright charges. A verdict is expected this month.
  • Cell Phone Spying
    • The new generation of cell phone spying tools can make you vulnerable to easedropping.
    • All it takes is a two-minute software install and someone can record your calls and monitor your text messages.
    • They can even set up systems to be automatically alerted when you dial a certain number, then instantly patched into your conversation.
    • You can even listen into the cell phone. Dozens of programs are available that’ll turn any cell phone into a high-tech, long-range listening device.
    • Finding spyware on your phone isn’t easy.
    • The easiest way to make certain that your phone is clean is to take it to your service provider and have them initialize it.
    • That will restore the factory settings and clear out any hidden software.
    • Some cell phone spying software
    • The same type of software is available for PCs including turning on Webcam.
    • Most of the advertised applications for the spy software are illegal in the US.
    • In 2003 and 2004, the FBI used cell phone spy software to eavesdrop on the conversations of organized crime families in New York, and it used those conversations in its federal prosecutions.
    • Safeguards: Keep cell phone with you. Don’t allow any Bluetooth downloads.
  • Pirate Bay Loses Court Battle
    • The four men behind BitTorrent tracker website The Pirate Bay were handed stiff sentences of one year each this morning and ordered to pay $3.6m in damages.
    • to the entertainment industry.
    • The defendants were The Pirate Bay founders Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, aka Anakata, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, aka Brokep, and Fredrik Neij, TiAMO as well as Carl Lundstrom.
    • But the site will almost certainly continue to operate and the legal battle will carry on for many months – or even years – to come.
    • A final verdict could take years to be reached especially if we go all the way up to the Supreme Court.
    • The Pirate Bay will appeal, they will drag out the process. Even if the co-founders don’t carry on they will hand over the baton to someone else.
    • Pirate Bay called the trail a Spectrail because it was half spectacle and half trail.
  • Pirate Party Membership Surges
    • As a result of the guilty verdict, membership for the Swedish Pirate Party has sky rocketed.
    • Membership grew from 14,692 to 17,846 members the day the verdict was announced.
    • By the end of the first day, The Pirate Party has surpassed Folkpartiet Liberalerna, which is The Liberal Party of Sweden.
    • The Swedish Pirate Party’s top European Parliament candidate, Christian Engström, is seeking a seat in the June elections.
  • Spam overwhelms e-mail messages
    • More than 97% of all e-mails sent over the net are unwanted, according to a Microsoft security report.
    • The e-mails are dominated by spam adverts for drugs, and general product pitches and often have malicious attachments.
    • The report found that the global ratio of infected machines was 8.6 for every 1,000 uninfected machines.
    • It also found that Office document attachments and PDF files were increasingly being targeted by hackers.
    • Paul Wood, a senior analyst at e-mail security firm Message Labs, said his analysis shows that around 81% of e-mail traffic we were processing was identified as spam and unwanted.
    • The report, which looked at online activity during the second half of 2008, also pinpoints the countries that are suffering from the most infections of malicious software, or malware.
    • Russia and Brazil top the global chart of infections, followed by Turkey and Serbia and Montenegro.
  • EC starts legal action over Phorm
    • The European Commission has started legal action against Britain over the online advertising technology Phorm.
    • It follows complaints to the EC over how the behavioral advertising service was tested on BT’s broadband network without the consent of users.
    • But the commission has said Phorm "intercepted" user data without clear consent and the UK need to look again at its online privacy laws.
    • BT admitted last year it had tested Phorm’s technology on its network with thousands of customers without asking for their consent or informing them of the trials.
    • It later carried out further trials of the service, which it markets as Webwise, with the consent of users.
    • Phorm’s works by "trawling" websites visited by users whose ISPs have signed up to the service and for whom the technology is switched on, and then matches keywords from the content of the page to an "anonymous" profile.
    • Users are then targeted with adverts that are more tailored to their interests on partner websites that have signed up to Phorm’s technology.
    • The technology differs from other behavioral advertising systems which tend to use data only from partner websites visited by users, and do not work in conjunction with internet service providers.
    • The service has proved controversial for some campaigners who believe it breaks UK data interception laws.
    • Amazon has said it will not allow online advertising system Phorm to scan its web pages to produce targeted ads.
    • Phorm builds a profile of users by scanning for keywords on websites visited and then assigns relevant ads.
    • This technique is also called Deep Packet Inspection and has been the subject of US Congressional hearing.
  • More Google Search Tricks
    • Use these 10 tricks to maximize Googles’s full potential!
      • define:{word} to see a definition for a word. (define:woot)
      • ?title:index.of? {file type} {file name} to find the files you need, (?title:index.of? mp3 beattles can’t buy me love)
      • time {city} to see the current time for a city (time boston)
      • weather {city|zip code} to see the 5 day forecast for a city (weather boston)
      • {movie name} {city|zip code}, To see movie times for a city., slumdog millionaire boston
      • {business name} {city|zip code} to see business listings for a city (burger king 02116)
      • homes {city|zip code} to see real estate listings for a city (homes 02116)
      • {airline} {flight number} to see flight status for arriving and departing US flights (united 500)
      • {quantity} {current unit} to {convert to unit} to convert from one unit to another. Also works on currency. (1 in to cm)
      • {stock ticker symbol} to see current market data for a given company or fund. (GOOG)
    • You can also use Google’s advanced search
    • Go to Google home page and click on advanced search to the right of the entry box.