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Topics - mrainey [ switch to compact view ]

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As if there weren't already enough false positives to explain to software users, now developers are going to have to allow “the wisdom of crowds” to decide whether or not an AV program throws up a warning.  This will be especially wonderful for a guy like me who has a very small user base (no crowds).

"Suspicious.Insight is a detection for files that have not yet developed a strong reputation among Symantec’s community of users. Detections of this type are based on Symantec’s reputation-based security technology.

The reputation-based system uses “the wisdom of crowds” (Symantec’s tens of millions of end users) connected to cloud-based intelligence to compute a reputation score for an application, and in the process identify malicious software in an entirely new way beyond traditional signatures and behavior-based detection techniques.

When detections of this type are triggered in Norton products the user may be warned that the application is unproven, thus allowing the user to make the final decision. Future versions of Symantec's Endpoint Protection products will include this functionality. When used in these products, administrators will be able to configure blocking policies based on their specific tolerance for risk.

Today, the vast majority of malware is generated in real-time on a per-victim basis, which means that each such malicious program will be rated as being entirely new and low-prevalence by a reputation-based system. In contrast, most legitimate software has vastly different characteristics – it often comes from known publishers, has high adoption rates, shares much in common with earlier versions of the software, and so on. The Suspicious.Insight detection, therefore, is meant to inform the user that a given application is unproven and not yet well known to Symantec’s tens of millions of users."

General Software Discussion / Win 7 XP Mode is Hardware-Dependent
« on: January 16, 2010, 06:16 AM »
Apologies if this info has already been posted.  I had somehow thought that having the Pro version of Windows 7 was enough.

"How to confirm your PC can run Windows XP Mode

Although OEMs have been shipping hardware virtualization in PCs for three years, hardware virtualization is not available in all PCs—so even if your PC is new, it may not have hardware virtualization. Additionally, those PCs with hardware virtualization have it turned off by default, so you will need to turn on the hardware virtualization capability before you can use it."

Living Room / Lenovo Reliability
« on: November 04, 2009, 09:30 PM »
The December issue of Consumer Reports came today.  CU rates Lenovo as the least-reliable laptop, based on surveying 75,000 people who bought a laptop between 2005 and the first half of 2009.  That's quite a fall.

Living Room / McAfee SiteAdvisor
« on: July 03, 2008, 09:45 AM »
It's showing "yellow" at DonationCoder this morning.

"In our tests, we found a small fraction of downloads on this site that some people consider adware or other potentially unwanted programs."

Is this something I never noticed before?  What a crock.

General Software Discussion / Excel as a database
« on: April 30, 2008, 06:45 AM »
I ran into this today - always nice to start the day with a laugh.


General Software Discussion / Bug-free software that does -- nothing
« on: November 28, 2007, 06:02 AM »
"Most products we see on the market want to increase our productivity, organize our screen joyfully or make wonders with our sound card, but NaDa™ does nothing. This is a revolutionary whole new approach, a concept far beyond what you usually expect from the software industry.  Download it and forget it."

General Software Discussion / Stoned virus infection of German notebooks
« on: September 17, 2007, 02:38 PM »
Interesting post from Sunbelt Software CEO Alex Eckelberry.  Modern security measures fail against the spears and arrows of the past.

"Thursday, we blogged that the ancient Stoned.Angelina virus had been found on some German notebooks made by Medion.  SecuriTeam has a round-up.

It’s worth noting that a) virtually no PCs ship with floppies these days, making infection of other PCs highly unlikely and b) the fact that an antivirus program can’t remove an ancient boot sector virus such as this one is open to debate.

The virus itself isn’t destructive.  And in Windows XP and Vista, you would have to have a floppy in the drive while the system is booting in order to get infected.  In a way, it's more of a novelty to see such an old virus (which is no longer even on the Wildlist). 

However, the point is that if you’re infected, you would want to clean it, and a number of notebooks shipped from Medion with this virus.  BullGuard, the antivirus product included with the notebook, was initially unable to remove it, although the company has an update on its website which should do the job.

Here is more from Andreas Marx:

    Introduction: Medion shipped some notebooks together with a boot virus from 1994 (!)... and it looks like quite some AV tools had problems with the detection and/or removal of this critter. For example, the AV software installed on the system reported this virus on every reboot, but was unable to remove it.

    To my surprise, Stoned.Angelina is working very well with Windows Vista (x86) — the system gets infected and it is still bootable.
    Windows Vista won't display any message or other kind of warning regarding the boot sector change (unlike Windows 98, for example.).

    The virus is only able to spread to further disks when Windows [itself] is not yet started,…the virus can infect further disks at boot time, but not after Windows has been started.

    Testing: First, we infected a PC with an installed Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista with "Stoned.Angelina", which is quite easy to perform — you only need to "forget" an infected floppy disk in the A: drive and try to boot from it. The virus will instantly infect the system area of the hard disk. However, unlike some other boot viruses, Windows is still able to boot up and it won't display a warning messages. The virus can infect further floppy disks as soon as it's activated (on every reboot) and under DOS. As soon as Windows 2000, XP or Vista (or Linux or any other protected mode OS) is started, the virus code won't be called anymore -- the system is still infected, but the virus itself cannot spread further until the next reboot.

    For our testing, we used the German versions of Windows and the currently available "2007" or "2008" consumer versions of some anti-virus software or security suites (in German language, using updates as of yesterday or today, 2007-09-14). We have tested a total of 10 products (on two OS): Avira AntiVir Personal Premium (v7), G Data (AVK) Total Care 2008, BitDefender Internet Security 2008 (v10), BullGuard Internet Security 7.0, Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0, McAfee Internet Security 2007 (the 2008 version is not yet released), Symantec Norton 360, Microsoft OneCare 1.6, Panda Internet Security 2008 (v12), Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007 (the 2008 version is not yet released).

    The following scanners were able to detect and successfully remove the "Stoned.Angelina" critter on Windows XP and Vista:

        * G Data (AVK) Total Care 2008
        * BitDefender Internet Security 2008 (v10)
        * Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0

    The following tools were able to detect and report the infection, but unable to handle it:

        * BullGuard Internet Security 7.0 (updated information from BullGuard, here).
        * McAfee Internet Security 2007
        * Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2007
        * Avira AntiVir Personal Premium (v7) -- BUT the scan of the system areas (master boot record) is disabled by default, so it has to be enabled or AntiVir wouldn't report anything, as it's not scanning this sector.

    Two of the tools were able to successfully report and clean the virus on Windows XP, but they shred the system area on disinfecting a Windows Vista based system after the infection was found — this means that Vista wouldn’t start anymore after a "successful" cleaning and it has to be repaired (e.g. by booting from the installation DVD and selecting the option to repair the system, see the Bullguard website link above for details):

        * Symantec Norton 360
        * Panda Internet Security 2008 (v12) -- BUT you need to start the tool with administrator rights or disable User Account Control (UAC) or Panda wouldn't be able to scan for the virus on disk and report the system is clean, even if it's indeed infected.

    This leaves one tool -- Microsoft OneCare 1.6 -- which is completely unable to scan for boot viruses on disk (tested on Windows XP and Vista), so the user wouldn't get a notification that his system is infected. As nothing is found, nothing can be removed, of course."

Norton Internet Security 2007
Norton Partition Magic 8.0
Norton Ghost 12.0

The whole enchilada can be had for $5.00 shipping + two rebates

The developer of these two compilers (Aurora and Emergence Basic) has decided to distribute them as freeware, in the hope that charging a small fee for support coupled with much wider distribution will give him a better payback in the long run.  These are both rock-solid programs capable of producing compact, standalone Windows executables.

I use Emergence Basic to create my own commercial software.

Aurora features a syntax similar to C++ with high level commands making it ideal for students and advanced programmers alike. Aurora can create stand alone executables with no runtime libraries needed.

Main Features

    * Fast 32-bit compiler, assembler, and linker.
    * Uses standard COFF and LIB format files for maximum compatibility.
    * Easily upgradeable with add-on command libraries.
    * Integrated editor, source-level debugger, and compiler.
    * Multi-module programming supports unlimited source and include files.
    * Interfaces seamlessly with Windows™ technologies.
    * COM and OOP (class) support.
    * Supports Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista.
    * Intrinsic unicode support.
    * Linux support in development.
    * Built-in GUI/Form designer.
    * Built-in menu designer.
    * Gui, database, string, math, console, file, 2D and 3D libraries included.
    * Integrated resource compiler.
    * All tools can be run from the command line as well as the IDE.
    * Robust data type support including classes, structures and unions.

Emergence BASIC (EBASIC) is a full featured 32 bit compiler for the Windows™ operating system. Capable of producing small, fast executables and DLL's. Emergence BASIC is the perfect language for those that prefer non-oop linear style languages.
Main Features:
- Fast 32 bit assembler, linker, and compiler.
- Uses standard COFF and LIB format files.
- Easily upgradeable and expandable.
- Integrated editor and debugger.
- Multi module programming.
- Supports Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP and Vista.
- Executables created are royalty free.
- Can create and use static libraries.

Language Features:
- BASIC like syntax.
- Rich command set, over 400 built in commands.
- Extensive operators and math functions.
- Built in linked-list handling.
- Easy window, dialog and control creation.
- Inline assembler for optimizing code.
- Text console support.
- Advanced and easy pointer operators.
- 'C' style pointer operations.
- Built in music and sound commands.
- Case insensitive keywords.
- Graphics primitive operations for quick and simple drawings.
- Text and graphics printer output support.
- Web enabled application development with the integrated html browser control.
- Simple common control commands and functions.
- Quickly interfaces with the Windows API, C runtime libraries, and static code libraries.
- Optional and default parameters for functions.
- Supports indirect function calls.
- ANSI compliant UDT and UNION types (structure).
- STDCALL and CDECL function calling conventions supported.
- OOP support.
- Built in database support.
- Built in 2D gaming commands.
- Built in Unicode support.
- Built in COM support.

Living Room / Medieval Tech Support
« on: May 27, 2007, 10:33 PM »
Funny video - monk meets book.

Living Room / engineer joke
« on: April 04, 2007, 08:47 PM »
There are four engineers traveling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer. The car breaks down.

"Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again", says the mechanical engineer.

"Well", says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system."

"I thought it might be an grounding problem", says the electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead."

They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say: "Well, what do you think?" "Ummm perhaps if we all get out of the car and get back in again?"

Living Room / Recipe for Java Cookies
« on: January 20, 2007, 08:50 PM »
cookery for coders - don't know if mere scripters can handle this recipe.   ;D

Living Room / Russinovich on Malware Cleaning
« on: December 31, 2006, 01:55 PM »
Very interesting video featuring Mark Russinovich discussing "Advanced Malware Cleaning".  He uses some of the free Sysinternals programs, plus mentions some other rootkit-detection software.

The video runs an hour or so.  You have to login to see it.

Living Room / Tofu Makes You Gay
« on: December 15, 2006, 07:12 AM »
Another reason to stick with bacon cheeseburgers?

Living Room / Solid Potato Salad
« on: October 19, 2006, 07:16 AM »
Three young women from the forties, giving new meaning to the word "flexible".  Really unbelievable.

General Software Discussion / Free Borland IDE's Coming Soon?
« on: August 15, 2006, 01:12 PM »
From a Borland press release:

"The Turbo product set includes Turbo Delphi® for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .NET®, Turbo C++® and Turbo C#®. Each version will be available in two editions: Turbo Explorer, a free downloadable version, and Turbo Professional, a version priced less than $500 which is designed to accept thousands of available third-party tools, components and plug-ins. All Turbo editions enable developers to rapidly build high performance GUI, Database, Web, and Web Services applications for Microsoft Windows. Turbo Delphi for .NET and Turbo C# support the Microsoft .NET and ASP.NET platforms. More information is available at"

General Software Discussion / Clueless Product Manager
« on: July 03, 2006, 04:06 PM »
"As a software development manager, A. Selvan sees his fair share of WTF's. Though most are suited for the likes of Dilbert comic strips, every now and then he'll come across a story that best fits here. Today I'd like to share one of these stories in the form of an email conversation between A. and the new Product Manager..."

    From: {Product Manager}
    Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 8:41 AM
    To: A----- Selvan
    Cc: {Marketing Director}
    Subject: Software Version

    I've noticed that in several places (most prominently, Help-About),
    there is the product version, build number, etc. Please have your team
    remove this information in our next release.

It gets better.

Living Room / Is Your Son a Computer Hacker?
« on: May 30, 2006, 02:07 PM »
Thanks for the heads up.   ;)


General Software Discussion / WebBuilder - Even I Could Use It!
« on: March 13, 2006, 12:48 PM »
I know there are lots of programs out there for creating and publishing websites without coding.  I'm not sure how many of them are idiotproof, affordable, bug-free, and have incredible support from the developer.  WebBuilder meets all of these criteria.

I know very little about html or websites, but was able to create a site with no problem at all, using WebBuilder.  My wife knows even less, and her site came out very nice as well.  Judging from the message traffic on the WebBuilder forum, dozens of other people have had outstanding results.  I can't recall seeing a dissatisfied customer.

Pablo, the developer, usually responds to messages within an hour.  He's happy to give detailed instructions to help you create the effects you want.  If your site doesn't look quite right, he'll visit it and offer suggestions.  Pablo will even study your source code to help fix whatever problems you might be having.  He'll also tell you when WebBuilder can't do something.

The cost is $29.95 and there's a free trial available.  WebBuilder is available here:

For those of you who understand it all, here's a list of the features.

WYSIWYG Web Builder features:
• No HTML knowledge needed!
• Drag and drop objects from the toolbox on the page: Text, Lines, Images, Marquees and Tables.
• Site Management. Easily add, edit, clone and structure your web pages from a single file.
• Customizable menus, toolbars, keyboard accelerators, dockable windows, tabs, autohide windows.
• Form layout object to create forms, including actions, hidden fields etc.
• Supports Form fields: Editbox, TextArea, Checkbox, Radiobutton, Combobox and Button.
• Rich text support: text object can contain different fonts, colors, links and sizes.
• Option to add custom HTML for each object (Before Tag, Inside Tag, After Tag).
• Custom HTML object to insert your own HTML or Javascripts.
• ActiveX, JAVA, Flash, Windows Media player, Quicktime, Real Audio and other Plug-In support.
• Publish your entire web site, a single page or a group of pages (to local drive or a web server)
• Easy Photo Gallery creation.
• Build-in Banner creator.
• Rollover images.
• Customize scrollbar colors for Microsoft Internet Explorer.
• Navigation bars
• Ready-to-use Javascripts
• Template support. Already more than 100 templates available!
• Support for Cascading Style Sheet positioning (layered layout)
• Insert Symbols (special characters).
• Verify links tool.
• Rotating Image component (useful for Ad Banners).
• Support for third-party add-ons, using the Web Builder Component Developers Kit.
• Import existing HTML pages.
• Hyperlink Style Sheet, to customize the colors/formatting of hyperlinks
• Show optional rulers.
• Page transitions in Page Properties.
• Inline Frame component (IFRAME)
• Go menu: easily create a drop-down navigation menus.
• Menubar: powerful menu script that can mimic complex menus found in popular GUI applications.
• Shape object (rectangles, rounded rectangles and ellipses).
• Embedded OLE component.
• Embedded page object. This allows you to re-use objects from other pages (master page concept)
• Multi-language support. Dutch and English available

General Software Discussion / Free Visual Studio 2005
« on: March 10, 2006, 07:35 AM »
Following copied directly from the announcement:

Get your complimentary ASP.NET 2.0 Development Pack.
Attend three webcasts, either live or on-demand, and you’ll receive*:

    * Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 Standard Edition (Not for Resale)
    * Five chapters of Programming ASP.NET 2.0 Core Reference, by Dino Esposito
    * A 30-day hosting account to try out your custom Web applications
    * Microsoft Developer Security DVD with how-tos, white papers, tools, webcasts, and code samples that demonstrate how to write more secure code
    * A 50% discount on a Microsoft Certified Professional Exam so you can add your new skills to your resume
    * A voucher that allows you to buy Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with an MSDN® Professional Subscription at renewal pricing (a $400 savings)

Altogether, this complimentary package has an estimated value of $400.

Found Deals and Discounts / Possible Large Directory Opus Discount
« on: December 15, 2005, 08:34 AM »
I cut this from a GRC newsgroup post this morning.  I'm assuming it's legit.  I know that Directory Opus is as good as it gets.

Directory Opus is *by far* the best file manager I've tried.

It costs about 85 AUD/ $64 / £36 . I paid full price in July 2003,
and (despite being a cheapskate, and despite a similar discount
being available at Xmas 03 <sigh>), haven't regretted it.

But I've received this offer (no good to me ;), which appears to be
a genuine 47% discount (down to 45 AUD / $34 / £19 ).

The only catch seems to be that it expires on January 1st, 2006,
thus effectively reducing the trial period (if you start now) from
60 days to about 15 days.

But if you decide about things quickly, have nothing to do over the
holidays, or have tried and liked it before (but balked at the
price), then this might be of interest :-


  Dear Directory Opus User,
  This message is an early Xmas present from GP Software!
  In the past you have downloaded Directory Opus from GP Software
  (either to evaluate it, or you have purchased an older version).
  We would like to thank you for your past interest in our software by
  offering you a discount on the purchase of the latest version of
  Directory Opus from the GP Software website!
  The Discount Code for this offer is:
  This code entitles you to $40 Australian Dollars (approximately $30
  US Dollars) off the purchase price of Directory Opus (either 1, 2 or
  5 install licences). That brings the cost of a single-install
  licence of Directory Opus down to just $45 Australian Dollars (about
  $35 US Dollars)!
  This offer is not being made available to the general public - it is
  a special one-time "thank you" from GP Software to people who have
  taken the time to look at our software in the past.
  You can use this code yourself, or give it to a friend to use - or
  Please note however that this code expires on January 1st, 2006.
  You can download the latest version (8.2) of Directory Opus, and
  purchase it online, from our website at
  Thank you very much again for your past interest in our software!
  Dr. Greg Perry
  GP Software

I program pretty much exclusively with IBasic Professional.  It can be used for anything from small utilities to major Windows applications, and produces small, fast, standalone executables.

Support from the owner and user community is outstanding.

Until the end of the year, you can buy the complete package for $24.99, which boggles my mind.

Here's a screenshot of a commercial application I wrote.  It's got a non-standard interface, but IBasic can be used to create programs with a traditional Windows interface quite easily.


For people who are thinking of taking the plunge into programming, or just wanting something different, I'd highly recommend having a look at IBasic Professional.

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