The IT Sage
Monday, 24 January 2011 18:04

Happy 27th Birthday, Macintosh!

Written by Truong Nguyen

Major news outlets are portraying Net Neutrality Laws passed just yesterday as another way for the current administration to control our daily activities. Rather than providing mere rhetoric, below I've listed the specifics of the Net Neutrality rules. The regulations are based on three fundamental rules: transparency; no blocking; and no unreasonable discrimination.

Transparency: the transparency rule requires Internet service Providers (ISP) – fixed and wireless – to be more transparent about their activities. They need to be upfront about how they manage their networks, how well (or poorly) their networks perform, as well as details about their plan options and pricing. Most ISPs would argue that they already do this, but if you disagree, you could conceivably take it up with the FCC. In layman's terms, if your ISP slows down its network at peak times, imposes a usage cap, or charges roaming fees without explicitly stating them, you can report such incidents to the FCC directly. One example that comes to mind is mobile ISP such as AT&T. AT&T provides what it calls an "Unlimited Data Plan", but which actually caps usage at 5GB.

No Blocking: fixed providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, and non-harmful devices. Fixed providers also cannot charge providers of these services simply for delivering traffic to and from the network. Wireless providers, meanwhile, would be banned from blocking access to lawful Web sites or blocking applications that compete with their own voice or video telephony services. It does not apply to mobile broadband app stores. Comcast would not be able to block access to Netflix's streaming service, for example. Likewise AT&T cannot block Skype over its 3G network.

No unreasonable discrimination: broadband providers cannot unreasonably discriminate against lawful network traffic. Reasonable management of network traffic remains acceptable. Such management is defined as appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network purpose. In other words, Comcast could slow down its entire network to handle an influx of users, but it could not cut off a specific, bandwidth-heavy service – like Xbox Live or Youtube. The FCC acknowledges that network management is necessary to prevent harmful content such as malware and child porn from making its way onto ISP networks.

The intention of this blog entry is to clear up the confusion and misinformation surrounding Net Neutrality and how it will effect us, the end consumers.

During the past 2 months, I have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding a malware, most commonly named Antivir Solution Pro. This particular malware is extremely annoying because it doesn't allow you to run any program as well as disables internet access by making changes to Windows DNS settings. Even worse, it masks itself as an anti-virus software that reports a fake scan of your computer that found infections/intrusions/attacks, then repeatedly prompts you to buy the full version in order to remove and protect your Windows computer from what is essentially itself.


Here are some messages one may receive once infected with this nasty malware

Windows Security Alert
Windows reports that computer is infected. Antivirus software helps to protect your computer against viruses and other security threats. Click here for the scan your computer. Your system might be at risk now.

Attention! Spyware Alert
Vulnerabilities found.
Your computer is infected by spyware - 34 serious threats have been found while scanning your files and registry. It is strongly recommended that you disinfect your computer and activate realtime secure protection against future intrusions.

Upgrade to full version of antivirus software to clean your computer and prevent new security and privacy attack. You will be able to download daily updates and get online protection against internet attacks. Activate your antivirus software/Stay unprotected.

Security Warning
Application cannot be executed. The file avgupdate.exe is infected. Do you want to activate your software now? Y/N

Infiltration Alert - Virus Attack
You computer is being attacked by an internet virus. It could be a password stealing attack, a trojan - dropper or similar.

Do you want to block this attack? Y/N


Under no circumstance should one use a credit card and pay for the so-call solution provided by Antivir. Reason being, in the best scenario the problem would go away for a few months and probably $50 down the drain. In the worst case however, one's personal information and credit card might be sold to third party.

Monday, 31 May 2010 07:57

Before Our Coals Turn Ember Red...

Written by Truong Nguyen

Summer is a beautiful thing. Especially so when we get to start it off with an extra day off from work to enjoy barbecuing in the wonderful company of our loved ones. The good life, all but warranted to us by those who have served.

Today we remember and honor our service men and women who have given their lives so that we may live in freedom.

Since the launch of the iPad, many have expressed their concerns about the lack of support for Flash on a device that is supposed to be a mainstream portable media player (among other things). Steve Jobs made his point loud and clear, Apple does not want Flash or its developing platform on the company's Touch OS which the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are running. Why you may ask.

In short, it's a battle between the new and upcoming web standard, HTML5 against Adobe's Flash technology, a de facto in video streaming on the web today. Some say Apple is shooting itself in the foot for not supporting Flash but promoting a technology that is foreign to end users. They have their valid points, however Apple has armed itself with a strong argument to say otherwise.

The iPhone and its touch OS has been released to the public through 3 different generations in the past 3 years. So don't think for a second that Apple never gave Adobe a chance to develop Flash for the iPhone (one that is not a resource hog which shortens battery life and slows everything down). Adobe simply failed to deliver. Case in point, Adobe recently demoed its beta build of Flash on the Android mobile platform, it crashed and burnt. Adobe at this point in time, simply doesn't have a working product on any mobile platform at all.

One would then think a simple solution for Adobe to get back into the game is to put more engineers to work and make Flash stable and available on all the mobile OS as soon as it possibly can. Well, that's not what Adobe is doing. Rather than investing in research and development, it spent money on marketing to portray Apple is foul-playing. Yes, the image shown in this post is one of the many used in this campaign.

Don't just take my words for it though because to most, I would appear to be a hardcore Apple fanboy. Personally, I'm falling off the Apple bandwagon as of late because Apple's current product offerings are not appealing to me. Read up on HTML5 and how it will change the web.

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