If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy
James Madison (American 4th US President (1809-17), and one of the founding fathers of his country. 1751-1836)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's not a hack, but a feature of Vista

I came across this article "Run Windows Vista for 120 days without activation key" @ Downloadsquad and began to think about the many articles out there that misinterpret this command as a hack. I would say that the mere fact that it is something that can be run from the command line is a clue that Microsoft had it there for a reason. This reason I am sure is more of a feature than the sense that it usually takes someone more time than 30 days to sink their teeth into an OS and see if it is the right fit for their needs. So why not have a means to extend that "trial" period and not give someone an adequate time to test the OS's usability or as a more sinister means to get a person locked into using Vista.

In any event...I like the fact that Microsoft gave users the ability to extend the time in which they have to test run on Vista. Just keep in mind that the evalution period is for 30 days and the command that will follow this post will "rearm" or reactivate the trial period for an additional 30 days for up to 120 days or 3 times after the initial trial period.

To seems more of a good faith that a sinister means...and that is alot considering my paranoia of Bigness (big Business). You make the call...hack unveiled or feature?

1. Click on the start button and type "Cmd" into the Start Search box.
2. Press Ctrl-Shift-Enter to open the command prompt.
3. Type "slmgr -rearm" and hit enter.
4. Reboot the computer.
5. Make sure to re-arm the system again 29 or 30 days later.

Microsoft Quote on this:
Q. What is Initial Grace?

Initial Grace (or OOB Grace) starts the first time you start your computer after you install the operating system. It provides 30 days for the computer to be activated. The Initial Grace period can only be restarted by running sysprep /generalize, or by using slmgr.vbs –rearm. These processes reset the Initial Grace timer to 30 days. This will only work three times.

Resetting the Activation Grace Period

Sysprep /generalize. Using the Sysprep command-line image preparation tool with the /generalize option resets the grace period for activation, providing an additional 30 days to activate the system. Because this is Sysprep, team members will also be resetting the system state, creating a clean slate as they would when imaging the computer.

Slmgr.vbs –rearm. A computer can be returned to its initial activation state for the current license by using the Slmgr.vbs script with the -rearm option. This option resets the computer’s activation timer and reinitializes some activation parameters, including a KMS client’s unique machine ID (also known as client machine ID, or CMID). The number of times this can be repeated is limited and depends on how many times sysprep /generalize has been run to create the distribution media. The maximum number of rearms possible from shipped media is three.

Note Using -rearm requires administrator privilege.

Free 1 year magazine subscription...

Okay...we all love here is a one year subscription for "Games for Windows" magazine via Joystiq at no cost to you what-so-ever...just fill in your information and your credit card information at all. Click the pic below to get your subscription on:

USB Install...

I was doing some digg'in and found this article about installing Vista from a USB driver rather than from the DVD for a faster installation. The article was entitled "How to install Windows Vista from a USB Flash Drive" @ OTGNET and it really did a good job of making this HOW TO in a quick and simple way...although I don't agree with their drive choice as there are faster drives out now if you go and look (i.e. Patriot Extreme Performance with it's mackin' 32MB/sec read speed, 26MB/sec write speed specs).

Anyhow...after reading the article I began to wonder why Microsoft and any other software developer don't utilize USB drives as an installation media. I would be willing to pay a little more for the convenience of having whatever software sold already on a USB drive. I can see a market emerging for this type of media distribution via flash drive...albums, movies, software, games, and so on. I am sure, depending on the size of any given market, that the flash drive manufacturers would give a significant cut for volume purchases of these drives and in the end not add to much to the overall cost of having or selling software on a USB drive.

I guess the really "HARD" part is convincing a software company that this is a viable means of distribution. EA was almost there when they offered a USB Flash drive to those who pre-ordered if only they would go that extra step and just put the game on the drive. I imagine with time you will start seeing this as a more common media for distribution, but for now we just aren't there yet.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Acer Ferrari VS Asus Lamborghini

First we had the Acer Ferrari laptop...built for speed and used as a tool to stir controversy in the blogosphere. Now cometh the ASUS Lamborghini and it seems to be built for perforance as well. The one difference that sticks out between the two is that these bad boys are running on different processor platforms...meaning the Ferrari is using AMD...whereas the Lamborghini is all Intel. This alone would make for a wicked benchmarking/blowout between the two laptops, which I am sure would bring out the enthusiasts of each platform out to see or read the results. I won't be able to do the benchmark battle between the two...I will post some links to sites that have done the benchmarking and you make the call.

Asus Lamborghini Review

Asus Lamborghini VX2 laptop @ RegHardware

Asus Lamborghini VX1 (yellow) @ CNET

Official Asus Lamborghini Page
Asus Lamborghini

Acer Ferrari Review

Acer Ferrari 5000 @ PCMAG

Acer Ferrari 5000 dual-core AMD laptop @ RegHardware

Official Acer Ferrari Page

Acer Ferrari

Been out of it...

Well, I guess I have to apologize for not keeping up my posts in recent weeks as I have been dealing with personal issues that have left me hospitalized. No excuse just confirms that there is alot to be said for those bloggers that keep on reserve some articles for situations such as that which I have just experienced. I will try to rectify that for any future absences, but for now...I am back on the ball and intend to do some power posting today. Thanks for your patience and to those that passed on their well wishes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

MS hotfix slipstream packages and downloader updates.

If you like to keep your XP CD udpated with the latest hotfixes slipstreamed in...then you want to know that RyanVM and Xable have updated their packs to include the updates from last Tuesday.

RyanVM's Windows XP Post-SP2 Update Pack 2.1.7 @ RyanVM
Xables Light Update Pack @ Xable

Also, if you like to have all the updates downloaded and on hand...then you would like to know that "Windows Update Downloader" by Jcarle has also updated it's "Updates List" as well with the latest series of hotfixes from Microsoft.

Corsair and great customer service...

I had to take a moment to recognize some great service that I got from Corsair and let everyone know that if you want a great product that is backed by an equally great warranty then get some Corsair memory.

Here is the story...last year I bought 2 gigs of Corsair XMS512-3200XL RAM (4x512mb) to replace some shitty RAM in a used PC I had bought off of Ebay. At the time this RAM did wonders for the PC and over clocked like the shizzy. In any we are nearly a year later and my PC was acting pretty weird...crashing to the BSOD and other memory dumps when loading games or other software. I figured the memory was the problem, but finding out which stick was going to be a pain the most memory tests take forever to run. So, with that...I went and snagged memtest and started the process...with all four stick in the PC. As it turns out...all of them were giving errors, which I found kind of being a freak...I took them out and tested each one at a time...same results. Put them in another machine...tested each one...same results. I was kind of pissed at the time, because I didn't want to fork out the dough to get new I knew I was out of any warranty period at the retailer and figured the same of the manufacturer. NOT...after going to Corsair's site...I found that they guarantee their memory with a lifetime warranty. So, I went to their forum...laid out what the problem was and got an RMA number...I boxed that stuff up and sent it off to Corsair. In about three days I get an email from Corsair Customer Support telling me that in fact my memory was bad and that it would be replaced...but there was a problem...this model was not in stock or manufactured any longer. Was this a problem for Corsair? Nope...they gave me the option of replacing them with the current equivalent, upgrading, or issue a refund based on your original invoice...being that I bought these last year I opted for the replacement.

I have to admit this was the best customer service I have ever experienced with a company...and in I.T. that is saying ALOT! I will update this post again once I receive my RAM and let you all know how this all ended.

Thanks Corsair!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Research shows 70% of websites are hackable!?

If you were like me...when you read the title you probably either thought "Oh Shit!" or "'ALL' sites are hackable". I must admit both of those thoughts went through my head when I read the article "Study: 70% Of Web Sites Are Hackable" @ Information Week. They said there were 3600 sites that they scanned in the course of a year and found up to 66 vulnerabilities on each site and that 91% contained some form of a vulnerability. When I read that 91% had some form of a vulnerability...I figured that kind of contradicted the 70% total in the title...and really...depending on the determination of the "hacker" I would say "ALL" sites are hackable.

I have to admit that when I do read these types of articles that scan so few of the total number of sites that are out makes me wonder if they only scanned one hosting company, how broad was this "scan", and other thoughts along those lines. It was a good read and even though I am skeptical as to the numbers, I figure they ar low balling it, you do wonder if your site was in this evaluation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

MS PATCHED...again

Well...Microsoft put out the patches yesterday and here is the list of those patches that were posted on the MS download site on the 12th and 13th. This list will just cover those patches for XP, Vista, and common ms apps:

- Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 6 SP1 (KB928090)
- Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB928090)
- Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB928090)
- Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (KB928090)
- Cumulative Update for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (KB928090)
- Microsoft® Windows® Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830)
- Update for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter for x64-based Systems [February 2007] (KB905866)VISTA
- Update for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter [February 2007] (KB905866)VISTA
- Microsoft's Software Protection Platform: Planning Activation in Software Development Environments for Windows Vista
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB928843)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB928843)
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB928255)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB928255)
- Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components 2.5 Service Pack 3 (KB927779)
- Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components 2.8 (KB927779)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB926436)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB927802)
- Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components 2.7 Service Pack 1 (KB927779)
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB926436)
- Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components 2.8 Service Pack 1 (KB927779)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB927779)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB924667)
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB924667)
- Security Update for Windows (KB923723)
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB918118)
- Security Update for Windows XP (KB918118)
- Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB923723)

*MS Security Updates ISO DOWNLOAD*
February 2007 Security Releases ISO Image - ISO contains security updates released on February 13, 2007.


WINDIZ UPDATE - Alternative XP update via Firefox or other 3rd party browser; DO NOT KNOW IF IT WORKS WITH VISTA

Pretty cool battery... is probably the coolest idea in batteries that I have seen or used. Why I haven't seen this before in my extensive surfing I don't know...but I was recently given two sets of these bad boys, they come in packs of two, and they work great. Now enough of my rants...the batteries I am talking about are the USBCELL batteries by Moixa Energy Ltd. They are batteries that you can charge via USB and well obviously use for any number of devices. The batteries are NiMH (Nickel Metal Hyrdride) and take about 4hrs to fully charge, but from personal experience you can get quite a bit of use of the battery from a quick 10-20 minute charge. In any event, it is a great idea for a rechargeable power source and very convenient to have on hand with your laptop and at home. I use two of these dudes for a wireless mouse at home and keep another set in my laptop bag for another wireless mouse. I would recommend these to anyone and do anticipate getting a few more for other devices. As it turns out you can get the standard AA size and an adapter for C/D sizes. I believe they will have a battery out for phones as well in the future. They are worth a look, so jump to the site and poke around.

Product Site: USBCELL by Moixa Energy Ltd.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why write a proliferating virus?

I was reading an article over at Information Week via Reuters entitled "China Detains Six Over 'Panda' Computer Virus" (excuse the link of a link of a link crap...but I want to be honest on where I read this stuff and give credit where it is due!). The article is about six 20-something guys who got arrested for creating and spreading a virus to what is suspected to be over a million pc's and getting some money from it. Earlier I wrote about a hacker economy article and it shed alot of light on how a profit is to be made from all sorts of illegal acts, but to spread a most of these people really think they are going to get away with that?

I am sure they think they are so l33t that they have created the end all virus. However, in this day and time of mail and such being so important and the resulting outcry from the public to find anyone who does get a highly proliferated virus out can you think that you won't be found? I am not surprised that the Panda Virus dudes were young as this is generally something some that the younger peeps would try...naive or whatever or to see a quick buck to be made. In any seems that more and more of these people are in fact tracked down and held responsible for what they did.

I guess the sadder part of this story aside from the virus spreading and the fact that so many people still open these emails. What to do?

Really think of the licensing you will use...

I am sure this is one of those stories that every blogger has hit on in the last few days, but I still feel a need to post on the subject as well. Seth Godin a great blogger...found the raw end of the deal for something that was intended to be free. He wrote an e-book entitled "Everyone's An Expert (about something)" that is freely available on his site. Well one of his readers, Anders, found something that kind of shocked Seth...his free e-book had been published and put up for sale on Amazon as a new book...when the free version has been out since '05. In any sucks, creative commons license or not, that someone can take your work that you so nicely put out for people to read and learn from. In my opinion his work has been "stolen for profit" as I am sure the publisher wouldn't touch such a thing without coming out of it ahead or above the investment to print it.

I don't know if Amazon has been made aware of it, but I have to agree with Anders that if it isn't taken down regardless of the creative license that I too will shun away from adds for Amazon. I am a little fish in the pond, but my decision would stand is about the time that if Amazon were reading this they would break into laughter.

Read more on this matter in the links I posted and by all means...DON'T BUY THE AMAZON it for free.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Information rules...

I came across an article entitled "How does the hacker economy work?" over at Information Week and actually found it to be a great read. There is something about learning how the other side works that just peaks my interest. It is also amazing what some of these people get away with, especially in regards to extortion to decrypt any given companies data. This happens mostly in Russia, but I was like coming up with options to avoid such a thing in my head as I read on. I don't want to spoil the article by giving away so much, but do read informed mind is a ready mind.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

This is for my brother...

This post is for my brother Jason and the band..."Jason and the Punknecks". They are a pretty hard rockin' band. They have no genre....they are unique in every sense of the word, both in their music style and in each of their own personalities. The image is of Jason, but by taking the jump (click the image) you will be in the ctrlzone gallery where you can find more pics of the band. By all means check 'em out at the sites below!

- PUNK-space

Where is the aluminum foil?

Time to make some aluminum foil hats or some other means of blocking the "Pre-Cog" brain scans. This story totally scares the shit out of a person who thinks internally of the "what if" in all situations that I read about and so on. I am sure I would go to jail for these mental journey's I take. I would never do anything illegal in real life, but the "Pre-Cog" doesn't know what is a real thought or just an active imagination. It would really suck to be locked up in a prison like that of the "Minority Report" for something you thought of, but how far off are we from such a technical means of reading thoughts. Well by this article at The Age entitled "We knew you would read this story", the title pulled me in, kinda makes you wonder just how close this is. By all means go and read this article...give yourself a little freak out.

Hrm...I guess Vista isn't the ultimate OS!? this to me seems just a tad bit early to announce the replacement for something that is less than two weeks old...if that. Anyhow...the folks over at PCWORLD are running an article entitled "Microsoft: Vista Follow-up Likely in 2009" that, as the title implies, is about the future replacement of Vista. I think it is bad judgment on Microsoft's part to be pushing out information on the next OS when Vista is so new. In my opinion it kind of says wait until the next version of windows if you are cool with XP. Most people don't upgrade until the first service pack usually and that isn't expected until the end of the year...why not wait another year to see if they actually put a replacement out. If they don't by that time...go ahead and go the Vista route, as I would hope that a majority of the bugs will be worked out by then. Not to mention the patching routine has started as well with the release of 12 patches by Microsoft this Tuesday. Although there is no specific mention of Vista in the technet bulletin, but I am sure it is affected with these patches. Hopefully there will be more information in the Microsoft webcast the day after these patches are release. Here is more info on that:
Language(s): English.
Product(s): Security.
Audience(s): IT Professional.

Duration: 60 Minutes
Start Date:
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada) CLICK HERE!

Don't get me wrong now...I know that a company HAS to begin working on its next "best" as soon as one rolls out, but why not keep it mum for awhile. To me and others it just seems to instill a lack of confidence in the product...especially with the release of patches 2 weeks after the OS release and the plans for a service pack to be put out so soon. I will wait until at least the service pack comes out if not later. What upgrade track are you on?

Taking one for the team...

There is a story over at Product Reviews that tells of a soldier who always kept his trusty and hardcore Panasonic Toughbook with him at all times while serving his country abroad. doing so he saved his own life as this Toughbook took the bullet for him. It looks like the screen was wasted and maybe even the keyboard...I wonder how far the bullet went and if it still worked. I only wondered if it worked after I read the dude didn't die...otherwise that would have been pretty heartless, thus I would have wondered in silence.

I have to mention on a side note that I have wanted one of these bad boys for awhile...but they are just too expensive. I have seen some field techs for various telecom companies use these and in playing with theirs...they do look and feel sturdy . The newer "pretty" Panasonic Toughbook laptops seem to be the shizzy...would love to get my hands on one to play with. If you're reading this Panasonic...HOOK ME UP with a review machine...I will send it back after rigorous testing to see if it can stand the test. Anyhow...good article and from my limited knowledge, online reviews and playing with older models, of the laptop it seems pretty tough as the name asserts, Panasonic Toughbook.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Steam hardware survey....

Today I came across the Steam hardware survey results of nearly 1 million players. Some of the results were quite surprising...such as, nearly 50% of those surveyed were running less than 1gb of memory. When you consider this is a "gamers" survey...that one stat about floored me. You need to read it for yourself and you too can gasp at the thought that nearly 10% of folks are still using DirectX7...WTF!?