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Comment: Adobe Flash update "stealth-installing" Chrome! (Score 1) 3

by Pancho Pistolas (#37588600) Attached to: CNET "selling" freeware...Booooo!

I got a question from one of my users-- turns out they needed a Flash upgrade for their browser, so I ran the install. This is a pretty regular routine; I run the installer, look and double-check for opt-outs (e.g., toolbars and "services"), etc.

Imagine my surprise when-- as part of what was labeled an "urgent security update"-- the update installed Chrome on the machine, without confirmation, request, or even a smug little after-the-fact pop-up! I just saw the short-cut suddenly appear on the desktop, and had to go uninstall it.

Now, I got nothing against Google creating a new browser, or even with Adobe from trying to "encourage its use", but I'm pretty peeved at unsolicited software installing itself without my permission. It's no different from malware, especially if it then requires security updates to keep it from being a back door to OTHER unsolicited installs. I didn't ask for it, didn't want it, and wasn't even told it was "bundled".

Shame on you, Adobe. And Google, for being "especially evil".

Comment: Re:I have seen this mentioned somewhere (Score 1) 3

by Pancho Pistolas (#37506020) Attached to: CNET "selling" freeware...Booooo!

Well, on further investigation, I discovered that they're not actually wrapping the program (despite what my browser was telling me), but rather pulling a bait-and-switch. By tacit acceptance of their "secure download", what one is actually downloading is a separate program that (after doing lord-knows-what on your machine in addition to installing a toolbar) then downloads the actual program.

So, no wrapper, no mucking with licenses, but clearly bait-and-switch. And the kind of stuff that nefarious trojan loaders pull all the time.

User Journal

Journal: CNET "selling" freeware...Booooo! 3

Journal by Pancho Pistolas

[I know I'm probably not the first one to notice this, but I'd not seen mention of it anywhere else.]

I recently got a link from a coworker for TrueCrypt. For those who don't know what it is, it's a free whole-disk encryption program, and it looks pretty nifty. Anyway, the link I got was through CNET and offered a "secure download". This turns out to be a 3MB file.

Comment: My cool solution... (Score 1) 15

by Pancho Pistolas (#31875028) Attached to: SOLVED: Peanut butter problems

When I buy peanut butter (the natural stuff with no additives), I store it upside-down (lid down) at room temperature for at least a few days. Then when I open it, the stuff's been shifted around and softened a bit. At this point, I give it a really good stirring to mix things up again. Then I stick it in the refrigerator. Once it's properly mixed, this keeps it from separating-- period-- since the natural peanut oils are solid at 'fridge temps. This also keeps it from going rancid.

User Journal

Journal: A new form of chocolate?! 1

Journal by Pancho Pistolas

So I'm reading in an article in Time magazine about how one of my favorite chocolate makers (Callebaut) has invented a new form of chocolate that they call "Vulcano". It's supposed to be low-fat-- about 90% fewer calories than regular chocolate-- and it melts at a much higher temperature than chocolate-- around 130 degrees Fahrenheit; however, it melts readily in the presence of saliva enzymes(!). That just sounds...weird.

Comment: Holy crap! (Score 1) 2

by Pancho Pistolas (#29232219) Attached to: Now we know!

I laughed so loud that a few folks came over to see what had me hooting so loud! I told them it was a citrus thing, and they wouldn't understand.

I couldn't help but remember the Haribo logo I saw on their gummies-- something like "Everybody Loves Them So".

Apparently they're loving pretty hard all by themselves-- an veritable bacchanal in every bag!

Comment: Oh, don't get me started! (Score 1) 6

by Pancho Pistolas (#28530493) Attached to: Dear Microsoft Customer Support:

*&#$ Microsoft keeps insisting upon bundling IE "updates" (that have NOTHING to do with security) under the same aegis of critical security updates on auto-update. It cheeses me off when I select NOT to take an 8.0 IE update (especially since I don't even run it) and NOT to ask me again, then next update it tries to install a 7.0 IE update, and then when I choose NOT to take that one, next time it tries 8.0 AGAIN, repeat ad nauseum.

I'm counting the days until they start selling the auto-update pop-up as ad space.

Ooops. I did NOT say/write that out loud.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MICROSOFT...MOVE ALONG...

Comment: Oh yeah, seen LOTS of these... (Score 1) 4

by Pancho Pistolas (#28390021) Attached to: Odd phishing spam

The random spaces are to discourage just cutting and pasting the displayed URL, and the embedded URL is to fool folks. And it fools a lot of 'em, especially since most folks don't know even the basics of HTML. Even those folks who do know-- both about HTML AND phishing-- can easily forget for the split-second it takes to click a link (since that's what most of the internet encompasses-- click, click, click).

It's one of the reasons I really dislike the push for "one-click" ANYTHING. Lots of things really shouldn't be that easy, especially where one's finances are concerned. I mean, banks benefit from making you wait in line to do anything involving a person at a brick-and-mortar...so why don't they realize that the internet back door hurts them just as much as us?

Kudos to you for solving the mystery yourself-- I remember figuring it out ('cause c'mon, we KNOW phishing when we see it, no? Those inserted spaces are TELLING!)-- it was pretty kewl.

And yeah, plain text is the only way to go. The other pet peeve is the push for HTML-based email readers (ESPECIALLY when they come as default settings in some of the free ones-- don't they realize this hurts them?).

Comment: Yikes... (Score 1) 7

by Pancho Pistolas (#28320667) Attached to: Gnome + MAYA = fail

I'd hope that this is the kind of error they'd look into and fix relatively soon, 'cause I'd be surprised if you were the only one to notice this.

Man, I really do wish I could help out on those kinds of things...I can't tell you the number of times I've wanted to jump into the source code and just FIX stuff that nettled me about a program, or add something. Just all those pesky compiles and re-compiles!

Good luck whichever route you go, and you my sympathies! It was just this kind of thing that got me to try out Ubuntu in the first place, and I'm still quite glad for the tools it affords me for doing thing my way. Who knows what nifty goodies you might find by straying over to 'the other side'? :^)

Comment: Daaaahhh!!! (Score 1) 13

by Pancho Pistolas (#28266291) Attached to: Computer temperatures and maya under Linux

I remember the first time I noticed one of my disks running so hot it almost burned me (a brand new 1 terabyte drive!)-- it really spooked me, considering it wasn't getting the best air circulation given the crappy case design. I used to have disks fail on me on occasion, after about 4-5 years of very _gentle_ use. These days I have HDs running full-tilt upwards of 16-20 hours a day, on multi-processor CPUs running my disks to their limits.

The temperatures you're quoting are within spec, but always take operating specs with a grain of salt. It's a fact that-- all things equal-- electronics components running hot will break down sooner than those running cooler. They're making the parts better and better, but heat will always be a factor for both chemical and mechanical breakdowns. For example, most kinds of electrolytic capacitors (a common part on motherboards and power supplies) have a spec lifetime that's defined as a function of operating temperature. At 150 degrees (F) it's less than a year, while at 70 degrees (F) you can expect upwards of _15_ years.

A chilly room helps, but not as much if your case has poor air circulation. At the very least, I'd suggest you make sure you have fans (two)-- one pulling air in (near the bottom if it's a vertical case), the other pushing it out (near the top, etc.), and clean up the inside of your case where you can-- replace air-blocking ribbon cables for DVD-ROM drives, vacuum out heavy dust build-up, etc. And remember that power supplies need cool lovin' too. Make note of which direction it's pulling the air (usually out) and keep those vents unblocked.

I also recommend that if you run your equipment hot (a lot), get the right heats sinks and fans for your case and _check those temperatures_. It's a bit of a pain to actually get good parts that actually can FIT, nevermind work well, and the final measured temperature (inside the closed case at peak use) is the only real metric. Large heat sinks, good contacts, decent air movement rates (and somewhere to actually PUSH it to in your case), as well as noise levels-- all these can be discerned to varying degrees by careful inspection before you buy.

You'll thank me when you can see a 20-degree difference at peak disk usage.

And fer crissakes, back up your data regularly.

Comment: ::green in the gills:: (Score 1) 4

by Pancho Pistolas (#27881029) Attached to: Truly Amazing News

I was catching up on email while EATING LUNCH. It was a little chicken and BROCCOLI stir-fry I threw together (leftovers).

"Oh, good news! THIS should make for good lunchtime reading!"

I almost hurked on my keyboard. It's one thing to read about it. It's ANOTHER THING ENTIRELY to hit a link and SEE A PICTURE OF IT. Man, Fox "News" really needs a clue-by-four.

Comment: Ugh! You're getting these calls on your CELL?! (Score 1) 8

by Pancho Pistolas (#27705225) Attached to: Credit Card companies should offer this

I do like the feaux-number idea, but I think it would be a hard trick to implement.

I've been getting these kinds of calls on my land line *forever*-- the same voices, both live person and automated, claiming that I needed to contact them immediately to keep from [insert doom and gloom about my car insurance/credit card/the Baldwin Brothers].

(Okay, I made up the part about the Baldwins)

I signed up for my state's Do Not Call list, but the list rules are a joke, since if these guys don't identify their company or their number, they can't legally be pursued.

But I was under the impression that cell phones were exempt from this kind of thing-- like fax machines *used* to be.

I don't know if it would be of any help in your situation, but awhile back I was getting text-message-spammed on my cell phone, and the originators were being listed as email addresses. Seeing as I didn't have email functionality on my cell, and I was paying 15 cents a pop for messages from people who I never gave my number, I called up my cell company and read them the Riot Act, telling them that if they didn't fix this, I'd not only be happy to take my business elsewhere, but also send a written complaints to the attorney general and department of commerce for my state, Consumer Reports, and anybody in the media who'd be willing to cover the story. I'm thinking somewhere in there I must've used some magic words, because I was transferred to someone who confirmed my info and informed me that it might take up to four weeks before it stopped.

Then just like that, I haven't received any spam since.

Now, while I'd like to believe that I'm all that, I don't think it was just my charming disposition that got results, so I'd consider giving your provider a call. And have your schpiel ready to rip.

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