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Comment Re:Method of infection (Score 1) 104

A number of years ago, I encountered a fake Microsoft security warning while using my Linux computer. It said that Microsoft had detected viruses and spyware on my computer. This was on a Linux computer that did not have any Microsoft products installed on it.

It offered to do a free online scan of my hard drive. Despite clicking on No, a progress bar appeared as it started to do a fake scan of my hard drive. After about 60 seconds, it said that it had finished scanning my drive C. It then said that several different viruses and types of spyware had been detected in both my registry and on drive C. The funny thing is that Linux does not have a registry and also does not use drive letters to designate hard drive partitions.

It listed the names of several viruses that my Linux computer was supposedly infected with. Despite knowing that the test was bogus, I looked up those virus names out of curiosity, and found they were all Windows only viruses. Their scareware ad then offered to sell me their antivirus product, to remove the viruses and spyware.

My understanding is that most desktop users of Linux, have never felt the need to use antivirus software, because Linux viruses have never been a problem.

Despite their supposedly thorough scan of my registry and drive C, they had not noticed that I was not using Windows. Has anyone bothered yet to make a Linux version of their scareware ads?

Comment Re:Latency (Score 1) 396

I have a CenturyLink DSL connection here in Arizona. My knowledge about networking is somewhat limited, but when I ping, I get 106 ms. is only 65.7 ms, and is 116 ms.

When I ping the DNS address that is listed on the configuration page for my DSL modem, I get 57.1 ms (that test result is not included below).

At the moment the firewalls in my DSL modem and on my computer are set to not allow a response to being pinged, so I was not able to test their response time. These ping tests were done from my Linux Desktop computer, at home. I have a 1.5 Mbps/576 Kbps DSL connection from CenturyLink.

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_req=1 ttl=54 time=106 ms
64 bytes from icmp_req=2 ttl=54 time=106 ms

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=57 time=65.8 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=57 time=65.7 ms

$ ping
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=247 time=116 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=247 time=116 ms

Comment Re:Thanks, fellow slashdotters! (Score 2) 95

I prefer the basic simplicity of the controls on many of the older vehicles. On my dad's old 1971 Volvo, I did not have to take my eyes off of the road to adjust the defroster, heater, air-conditioner, or radio. I knew where each knob and lever was, without looking, and could easily adjust them by feel.

I still drive a 20 year old pick-up truck which still runs reliably and looks like new. The controls are not as simple as the 1971 Volvo, but they are very simple compared to newer cars. My only criticism is that it has a few too many identical, closely spaced, buttons on the dash.

I do not have a GPS or On-Star. I open the door with a key. It has a 5-speed manual transmission, and I do not have power windows or power locks. The gauges are all analog. I can easily put it or out of 4 wheel drive or low range, by feel and sound, by using the lever on the floor (not buttons). The cruise control can be operated by feel, without looking.

I always wear my seatbelt, and I am not concerned about the lack of air-bags. Living in Arizona, where we do not get very much rain or snow, I am not concerned about the lack of ABS.

The AM/FM radio was unnecessarily complicated to operate while driving, so when it quit working about 15 years ago, I did not bother having it fixed. I preferred how, the radios in my two previous cars both had the far simpler old fashioned setup of just two large knobs and 5 push buttons. There was one push button for each of my favorite stations.

I have never owned a car with an automatic transmission and prefer having a stick shift. When driving an automatic, it bothers me, not having anything for my right arm and left foot to do when accelerating. It also makes driving boring when you can just press the gas peddle and the car or truck just goes.

Having just a large floor mat instead of carpeting is an advantage in the truck, because I can easily wipe away muddy footprints, with a damp cloth.

I hope to keep driving my simple old truck for many more years.

Comment Re:How Ridiculous do you Want to be? (Score 0) 337

I am more concerned about terrorists possibly creating an electromagnetic pulse with several small nuclear weapons, just above the Earth's atmosphere. That could create a severe EMP pulse over much of North America. I am not sure how something like the Carrington Event of 1859 would compare.

When not in use, I normally keep my external hard drives disconnected from their power supply and the USB cable. I am not an expert on electronics, but my thinking is that if those wires were still attached, they could act as an antenna, by picking up energy from an EMP attack. Of course, disconnecting them would also protect them from nearby lightning strikes.

I also have a small wallet sized external USB hard drive that I keep in my safety deposit box at the bank. It has backups of all my photos and everything else from my home computer. I keep it there, so that I also have an off-site backup, just in case of a fire or burglar. I wonder if EMP would be able to make it through the large amount of thick steel around the banks safety deposit boxes? My USB hard drive is not touching the steel itself, because of various paper documents wrapped around it.

I once vaguely recall reading about a series of simulated EMP tests being done on various VHF amateur radio transceivers, back in the 1980s. As I recall, they found that the VHF radios with metal cases, all survived when external wires such as the antenna and power cord were disconnected.

I would think that data stored on CDs or DVDs would be safe, since they the data is stored optically, instead of magnetically.

If the power grid were to go down for a few months, there would be more important concerns that the survival of digital photos. Having some canned or dried food and warm clothing would be important. A source of drinking water, such as an old fashioned hand pump operated for a well, would be great. A person could also protect a few electronic devices, by storing them inside a Faraday cage.

I am a licensed ham radio operator, but have never been active in the hobby. I am looking forward to the peak of the 11 year solar cycle, because the band conditions should improve to where long distance communication will probably be possible again on higher frequency bands such as on 10 and 15 meters. I plan to put up an antenna soon and get on the HF bands for the first time.

Comment Re:Eh (Score 1) 461

The small city where I live, did not yet have a local access number for AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, or a local Internet provider until somewhere later on in the late 1990s. I was told that our local calling area was too small to bother providing us with a local access number.

Later on in the 1990s, it seemed like we must have one one of the last places in Arizona to not have a local Internet provider, or access to AOL, Compuserve, or Prodigy. We did at least have several local computer bulletin boards that I could try out instead.

When Internet access did finally arrive several years later, the telephone lines in our neighborhood were not good enough for 28.8k. Most of the time, the modem would connect at 26.4k, and occasionally just at 24k. I am not sure what year 56k modems became available, but when the did, they would only connect at 26.4k here.

In the late 1990s and beyond, internal modems would only stay connected for a few minutes at a time on the telephone companies old local telephone lines that connected to where I live. Fortunately, I soon discovered that external modems would stay connected just fine.

It was not until fairly recently, like probably about 2007, when DSL finally became available where I live. I did not have cable either (and still don't). It was probably only about 5 years ago, that I was still only able to connect to the Internet at 26.4k.

Comment Re:ask a mechanic (Score 1) 672

Pack rats eating the insulation off of the wiring is a common problem for cars and trucks in my neighborhood. Typically, what happens is that the person goes out to start their car, and it won't start, because of the damage. On neighbor ended up having his roughly 20 year old Lincoln Continental scrapped at a junk yard because of all the damage to the wiring.

A nearby woman had her wiring chewed up twice, on her car. On the second occasion, the pack rats also chewed through a small water hose, such as possibly a heater hose.

About 50 miles away, someone once had the wiring in their Rolls-Royce chewed up so badly, that a new wiring harness had to be ordered. The Rolls-Royce had been parked inside their garage.

About a decade ago, pack-rats built a nest under the air cleaner on top of the engine in my truck. After tearing out their nest of sticks, thorns and dried leaves, for the second time, they finally gave up. Fortunately, I did not have any electrical problems. Perhaps my old GMC truck does not have soy-based insulation. The main wiring harness is also protected by a hard thick plastic shield. Twenty years later, my old truck is still running reliably, perhaps partially because it has relatively low mileage on the odometer for a 20 year old vehicle.

About decade or so ago, I also had a problem with pack rats (or possibly squirrels) building a nest inside the air cleaner of our old mid-1970s era backhoe. The diesel engine had been smoking badly. When the rat's nest was removed from the air cleaner, the engine stopped smoking. If the rats were sometimes inside their nest when the engine was started, I wonder what they thought of all noise, vibration, and wind through their nest.

Comment Re:DuckDuckGo (Score 4, Informative) 128

Startpage does not record your IP address or track your searches. The Startpage the results are actually generated by Google.

Startpage supports SSL. So, when I type in, "https" appears in front of their URL instead of "http." That extra "s" tells me that that encryption is being used between my browser and the Startpage servers.

The sister search engine to Startpage is Ixquick. If I am not mistaken, the Ixquick search results are generated by various search engines other than Google.

Startpage also offers the option of viewing web sites through their proxy service. When selecting something from their search results, just click on "view by Ixquick proxy." Then, they only see the Startpage IP address, instead of your IP address. However, I have almost never actually bothered to use the proxy feature.

Privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht is the enthusiastic spokeswoman for Startpage.

Comment Re:Same thing has happened to me... (Score 1) 624

I realize that both incidents were with an American Airlines representative, not a government official, but I have occasionally encountered government officials who have a similar bad attitude. Such people seem to enjoy being in a position of power.

I do not travel much, but once had a bad experience with a state highway inspector. About 20 years ago, a paving contractor was digging up our driveway at work to install a sewer line. At the end of the work day, the contractor had left his backhoe parked near the highway. As I recall, it might have been roughly about about 15 feet from the highway, which seemed far enough away from the highway.

But an official from the Highway Department or ADOT (or something like that), here in Arizona, happened to pass by on the way back from another job. He angrily stormed into our office and the first thing he said to me was I am your worst nightmare. Then he said that the backhoe was parked too close to the highway, by a couple of feet. He demanded that I have the backhoe moved at once.

I said that I would have to phone the owner of the business, to get the name of the contractor, and give them a call. That made him made him furious. As he started venting his anger at me, he threatened to have rented signs installed at our expense, unless I called the contractor right this instant.

After telephoning the owners of the business, I soon had the name and telephone number of the contractor, and gave them a call. The contractor said he would come out and take care of the problem. The ADOT official then left.

By contrast, I have also encountered government employees are were quite courteous and helpful.

Comment Re:What's the problem? (Score 2) 355

A whistle-blower or political dissident could purchase an inexpensive printer in cash, without using their shoppers discount card. Then they could print the files from the USB device and then quickly dispose of the inexpensive printer.

Not wanting to risk loosing their job, or getting sued or harassed by their corrupt employer, they could even go so far as to purchase the printer in cash from a store in a different city. That way, records would show that the printer had been sold to someone in cash, in some city other than when the whistle-blower actually lives.

Does downloading updated printer drivers involve sending the printer's serial number and IP address back to the manufacturer? I do not know if that actually happens or not. To cover that possibility, a technically adept whistle-blower could disconnect their computer from the Internet and then boot up from a Knoppix disk or some other live Linux CD, before printing the documents. Most likely, the Linux live CD will already have the Linux driver for that printer, already on the CD. They could then dispose of the printer and the LiveCD before connecting the connecting their computer to the Internet and then booting it back up in Windows or Mac OS.

An alternative to using a Linux live CD, would be to purchase an old used computer in cash. Presumably, the driver for the printer could be installed from the CD without never having to be connected to the Internet. The inexpensive old used computer could then quickly be disposed of.

When mailing the documents to an activist group or the press, they could also mail if from a different city than where they actually live, so that the post mark would not show which city they live in.

Unfortunately, most whistleblowers or political dissidents probably would not know about the tiny yellow dots. Of course, it would be preferable if most criminals do not know about such technology. Most terrorist organizations are probably already sophisticated enough to avoid such mistakes, unfortunately.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 355

The need for yellow ink would probably also explain why when one of the color cartridges runs out on the printer at work, the printer will refuse to print in black-and-white. Presumably, they would need the yellow cartridge to print the yellow microdots on the black-and-white documents. That is on a Hewlett-Packard combination printer/copy/fax machine.

Since 99% of what I print at work is in black-and-white, it is quite annoying to suddenly have it quit working when it suddenly says that it just ran out of one of the three colors. I then have to take an hour of my time to drive into town and back to go get that particular color ink cartridge.

That same printer, will also not allow me to even try to print on an ink cartridge that is starting to run empty. They probably do not want to risk not having the microdots not show up clearly.

The older Hewlett-Packard printers that I had used at home and at work, in the past, would all allow me to continue printing in black-and-white or color, when the color cartridge was empty or starting to run out. Until now, it never occurred to me that it might because of the needed to print yellow microdots, as a tracking device.

Comment Re:BOGUS STORY (Score 1) 554

What if the parent is a vegetarian or a vegan?

The article says "that means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home."

The required serving of grain could be a problem for children who suffer from celiac disease. It is an auto immune disease, where their bodies have a reaction to gluten which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale . My understanding is that celiac sufferers can eat millet, sorghum, rice, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat. Celiac disease is a very common problem.

Various diet and nutrition authors have been arguing for years about what type of diet is best. The inspector was making sure that the lunches meet USDA requirements. The USDA requirements are just one viewpoint. Government inspectors should not be able to force their preferences on parents, especially when the child shows up with a fairly normal reasonable lunch.

Comment Re:Linux vendor? (Score 1) 193

I have both a Linux computer and a Windows XP computer at home and, for me, they both seem quite polished and easy to use. I have been using both for many years, so by now I am equally comfortable using either Linux or Windows. I see advantages and disadvantages to using either operating system.

Some past versions of Linux did have a few noticeable bugs or other problems. But, Kubuntu 10.04 seems to be working quite well on this computer.

Kubuntu uses KDE instead of Gnome, IceWM, Enlightenment, or one of the other free desktop environments available for Linux.

Like most Linux users, I have never needed to use a virus scanner. I do not know how a new computer user would think Linux and Windows compare. But, I do know of several older people seem to have trouble keeping their Windows computers working properly.

In some ways, installing, upgrading, and installing security updates is now easier with Linux than Windows. After downloading and installing the Synaptic package manager, I had a simple point-and-click tool to install, uninstall, and upgrade all of the software. That is unlike my Windows XP computer, where Windows updates itself automatically, but it is a constant struggle to keep everything else updated. I also like how it is safe and easy to download whatever free software I want from the official Kubuntu repositories.

Synaptic is a GUI front end for the APT, which is a command line tool. The Synaptic Package manager and official repositories are used on some versions of Linux such as Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and PCLinuxOS. Other versions of Linux do it differently.

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