Wednesday, 18 August 2010 21:43 Written by Truong Nguyen
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 malwareWindows Security AlertWindows 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 AlertVulnerabilities 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 WarningApplication cannot be executed. The file avgupdate.exe is infected. Do you want to activate your software now? Y/NInfiltration Alert - Virus AttackYou 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/NUnder 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.
Published inVirus & Malware Removal
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.
Friday, 14 May 2010 12:52 Written by Truong Nguyen
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.
The new update to Facebook brought a controversial feature called Open Graph which shares your personal information with third party apps and website without your consent. Facebook touts this feature as a good way to be even more socially connected, but to many it's a great privacy concern. Here are some quick steps to opt out:1. From your Account drop-down list, select Privacy Settings. 2. Click the Applications and Websites link. 3. Click the Edit Setting button in the Instant Personalization section. 4. Uncheck the box labeled Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information with I first arrive on their websites. 5. When prompted, click the Confirm button. 6. Back at the Applications and Websites section of the Privacy Settings, click the Edit Settings button next to What your friends can share about you. 7. Remove the check mark from every single item listed and then click the Save Changes button.There are currently 3 applications that make use of Open Graph, you need to block them from accessing your information. Follow these links (Docs app, Pandora app and Yelp app). Locate the Block Application link on the left hand side of the page then click it. If done correctly, Open Graph will be completely disabled in your Facebook account.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 21:37 Written by Truong Nguyen
Apple today updated the MacBook Pro line with faster processors, powerful next-generation NVIDIA graphics and even longer battery life. The popular 13-inch MacBook Pro features the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor for up to 80 percent faster graphics and a groundbreaking 10-hour built-in battery. The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Apple's new automatic graphics switching technology that toggles seamlessly between powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and energy efficient Intel HD Graphics processors.ProcessorsApple stuck with Intel Core 2 Duo processors for the 13" MacBook Pros, bumping the two standard configuration models from 2.26 GHz and 2.53 GHz to 2.4 GHz and 2.66 GHz. The 15" and 17" models, however, saw a bump from the Core 2 Duo line to Core i5 and i7 processors offering Intel's Hyper-Threading technology that allows for four virtual cores on the dual-core processor. While the processors run at slightly lower clock speeds than the Core 2 Duo in the previous generation, the smaller 32-nanometer process, Hyper-Threading, and other enhancements yield performance improvements of up to 50% according to Apple. The Core i5 and i7 processors also support Turbo Boost, pushing clock speeds for the i7 models as high as 3.33 GHz for single-threaded tasks.GraphicsOn the new 13" MacBook Pro, Apple debuted the NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics processor that offers 48 processing cores, three times that of the previous generation. Apple claims a performance boost of up to 80% with the new graphics capabilities while also being able to deliver up to 40% less power usage. The GeForce 320M is reportedly a custom production for Apple, offering greater performance than NVIDIA's standard integrated graphics without building in discrete graphics capabilities.The 15" and 17" MacBook Pro models utilize the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with either 256 or 512 MB of dedicated memory, offering more horsepower while also delivering up 30% greater energy efficiency. The 15" and 17" MacBook Pro models also offer automatic graphics switching, allowing the system to seamlessly switch between the dedicated NVIDIA graphics processor and the included integrated Intel HD graphics processor for optimal balance of power and efficiency. Previous MacBook Pro models have required users to manually switch between integrated and discrete graphics and log out of their account for each switch.BatteryAll three MacBook Pro models offer greater battery life than their predecessors, a feat achieved through a combination of larger battery capacity and greater energy efficiency. The 13" MacBook Pro now offers up to 10 hours of power, while the 15" and 17" models boast battery life of 8-9 hours. The previous generation of the MacBook Pro offered 7 hours on the 13" and 15" models and 8 hours on the 17" model. The batteries in all three machine sizes are non-user-replaceable and are designed for up to 1000 full charge and discharge cycles. While designed to last five years for typical users, Apple offers a battery replacement service priced at $129 (13" and 15" models) or $179 (17" model).DisplayThe 15" MacBook Pro has gained a new option for a high-resolution display, offering users the opportunity to bump the standard 1440x900 screen to 1680x1050. The high-resolution display is available in both glossy ($100 extra) and anti-glare ($150 extra) versions. Notably, an anti-glare option for the lower-resolution display does not appear to be available. The 17" MacBook Pro continues to sport a 1900x1200 screen in either glossy (standard) or anti-glare ($50 extra). Apple also continues to offer a single standard glossy display running at 1280x800 for the 13" model.Hard DriveApple is offering up to 500 GB, 5400-rpm SATA hard drives across all three sizes, with the 15" and 17" models also offering the option of up to 500 GB, 7200-rpm drives. Solid-state drive capacities have increased with the addition of a 512 GB option, although it carries a hefty price premium of $1300-$1450 depending on which base hard drive the customer is upgrading from.Inertial ScrollingThe new MacBook Pro offers an enhanced multi-touch trackpad supporting inertial scrolling. The feature, already present in similar forms on Apple's iPhone OS devices and the Magic Mouse, allows users to "flick" while scrolling as the trackpad senses the momentum of the gesture and smoothly scrolls through long documents and libraries.In the U.S. and Canada, Apple's new MacBook Pro line is currently showing 2-4 business day shipping windows for standard-configuration 13" models, while base 15" and 17" models are showing availability within 24 hours. Apple's international online stores are showing shipping windows ranging from 24 hours to 5 business days for various standard-configuration models, with the 13" models and the mid-range 15" model most frequently seeing the longer delays.
Thursday, 25 February 2010 10:47 Written by Truong Nguyen
A couple weeks ago, I posted about a sales at MicroCenter where you can get a brand new latest model MacBook for 20% off Apple retail price. I was one of the first people to take advantage of this great deal and got myself a unibody MacBook. I upgraded the RAM to 4GB the moment I got her home. That was a nice upgrade but I felt something was still missing as the speed-bump wasn't that much appreciable over the PandaBook that I've been using.It was faith when I found out Newegg was having a sale on this OCZ Agility SSD. I couldn't resist and pulled the trigger. This is "the single best computer upgrade" I've ever done. The increase in responsiveness throughout was unbelievable. Applications launch so quickly now that it seems the computer actually waits for your next command rather than the other way around. I partitioned the drive to have just enough space for Windows 7 and Mac OS X to be installed on this MacBook. Both show incredible performance on this solid state hard drive.It may not be time for these SSDs to go mainstream just yet, but let me tell you the performance is well worth its price tag (at least for a geek such as myself it is). So go ahead early adopters, push your computers to that point of diminishing return!
Thursday, 25 February 2010 10:26 Written by Truong Nguyen
I got a call yesterday morning about Skype not being able to recognize the external firewire iSight's built-in microphone. The lady who I was on the phone with tested iChat and everything works fine. So all the hardware-side of things were hooked up correctly. The only possible hiccup is with the settings with Skype. I guided her through different screens of settings both in System Preferences and Skype to start the process of elimination to eventually seek out the wrong setting. Input Sound settings in System Preferences was showing the buil-in microphone for iSight as selected. So the last place to check was Audio settings in Skype.It happened that the Apple Mac desktop she was using has a internal microphone already, and Skype by default selected that one rather than the one in the iSight camera. Changing the Input Audio device in Skype to iSight fixed the problem.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 09:52 Written by Truong Nguyen
I got a call last night for help with a liquid spill incident. The client was working on his MacBook and accidentally knocked the water bottle over, right on his laptop. Like most of us would react in such horrify scenario, he kept trying to power the MacBook on to see if it still works. However that might be the worst thing to do right after a liquid spill.Liquid and electricity simply don't mix... if it's wet, then it's bad. The logicboard in the MacBook will be fried if enough liquid get to where there is active current. So to limit the chance of this happening, cutting the power supply to the laptop is the best thing to do. It will greatly increase the chance the MacBook would work again after it's dried out. Typically 48 to 72 hours for water spill, and 96+ hours for other liquid spills.
Monday, 08 February 2010 19:32 Written by Truong Nguyen
Almost 10 years ago, Apple unveiled a very special computer to the world. It was truly a "magical and innovative" product back then and still has a very strong fan-base today of which I'm a part. That computer is the beloved PowerMac G4 Cube.Never before had that many features and power been made available in such a compact and beautiful design of a computer. In fact, it was one of the most powerful offerings from Apple at the time with all the latest technology (in 2000) such as G4 PowerPC processor, discreet Nvidia video card, Airport card for Wifi access, and slot DVD burner... all packed into an 8 inch cube. It's remarkable how a computer this powerful can be fully functional in a tiny shell, without a single fan! That's right, there is no other moving component except for the hard drive. Thus, it runs in virtual silence. The PowerMac G4 Cube was not only an amazing testament in the advancement of technology and engineering early in the 21st century, but it is also a stunning piece of art.However like all things in life, perfection is unobtainable. Apple did everything right but failed in its marketing execution for this computer. The price was simply outrageous. The PowerMac G4 Cube was short-lived, only available on the market for just over one year before Apple pulled the plug. The company learned a very valuable lesson of combining design, features, usability, and price. Apple understood the lesson so well that only a few months after the Cube's death, a mega-success that is the iPod was first introduced. The iPod had the design, features, usability, and most importantly a price-point that made it a great value.The Apple PowerMac G4 will be remembered as a commercial failure in recent memory to the bean counters among us. To Steve Jobs and many Mac fanatics like myself, the Cube has a very fond place in our vintage Mac collection.
- Video of Macworld Expo 2000 Keynote - One More Thing: Steve Jobs introduced the Apple PowerMac G4 Cube
A question I get asked all the time is what kind of computer I use on a regular basis. Today, I had some spare time to take a few pictures of my custom laptop that I put together using parts from a couple of donor MacBooks. Here's my workhorse, the PandaBook. :)This was a fun project piecing together all the different parts to complete a fully working MacBook. The black display was from a MacBook with a fried logic board, and the bottom white enclosure was from a white MacBook with a broken display. All the keys were swapped between the 2 MacBooks, one by one... a very painful process (mentally and physically). After all said and done, it took me almost 5 hours to put together this rather unique and interesting looking PandaBook.
Published inLaptop Screen Repair
Monday, 01 February 2010 10:36 Written by Truong Nguyen
As shown in this video on Youtube, anyone with a computer and can follow instructions could hack a WEP protected Wifi network in a matter of minutes. So if you are currently using WEP password to protect your network, change it to WPA or better yet, enable MAC address filter immediately. How to hack WEP Wireless network videoKnowledge is power, but power doesn't mean you should be a jerk, or do anything illegal. Knowing how to pick a lock doesn't make you a thief. Consider this post educational, or a proof-of-concept intellectual exercise.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 14:26 Written by Truong Nguyen
Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage Wednesday to deliver a keynote in which he introduced Apple's highly anticipated tablet device, the Apple iPad. Jobs called the iPad his most important work to date. All name jokes aside, the men who were in attendance had a valid reason to cheer and applaud. The iPad may first seem like it has no reason for being. It is after all just an iPod Touch on steroids. Someone with an iPod Touch wouldn't want to upgrade, and those with a full size laptop wouldn't give it a second glance. What is so special about this new device, then? First, let's look at Apple's core business and its phenomenal growth in the past decade. Apple reinvented the way people listen to music on the go with the iPod. The iPod is what saved the company and made Apple hip and cool once more. However, the life cycle of this product line is approaching saturation, and if there's a company that's going to kill the iPod, it may as well be Apple. There's no doubt that Jobs has one of the sharpest minds in his industry. He put his engineers to work years ago on this new product line. The ultimate goal Apple has for the iPad is to reach a new target market, namely people who oppose using computers but have to in order to stay connected with extended family and loved ones. Soon enough, the women in our lives will have another kind of pad to call a necessity.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 11:46 Written by Truong Nguyen
Every January since the second coming of Jobs, Steve has been sending out his messages via a keynote to once again solidify Apple's commanding lead in the computer/personal electronics industry. This year is no exception. Perhaps it is even more exciting than ever with the anticipated arrival of a brand spanking new Tablet.Among our Mac-geek-circle, we refer to Steve's keynote as Apple's State of the Union. And as of right now, the field of reality distortion is in full force at one special place in southern California. I'm heading there virtually to see what magic Steve has this year besides the iPad. :)
Monday, 25 January 2010 19:04 Written by Truong Nguyen
CUPERTINO, California—January 25, 2010—Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2010 first quarter ended December 26, 2009. The Company posted revenue of $15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $11.88 billion and net quarterly profit of $2.26 billion, or $2.50 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.9 percent, up from 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter’s revenue. Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter. During the quarter Apple elected retrospective adoption of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s amended accounting standards* related to certain revenue recognition. Adoption of the new accounting standards significantly changes how the Company accounts for certain items, particularly sales of iPhone® and Apple TV®. “If you annualize our quarterly revenue, it’s surprising that Apple is now a $50+ billion company,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The new products we are planning to release this year are very strong, starting this week with a major new product that we’re really excited about.” “We are very pleased to have generated $5.8 billion in cash during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue in the range of about $11.0 billion to $11.4 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share in the range of about $2.06 to $2.18.” Apple will provide live streaming of its Q1 2010 financial results conference call utilizing QuickTime®, Apple’s standards-based technology for live and on-demand audio and video streaming. The live webcast will begin at 2:00 p.m. PST on January 25, 2010 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq110/ and will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.
Monday, 18 January 2010 21:50 Written by Truong Nguyen
A couple weeks ago I got a call to assist with an iMac that failed to boot into Mac OS X. A quick assessment over the phone gave me enough information to know it's the hard drive which was on its last leg. I took the iMac home attempting to retrieve the data on it and replace the hard drive. It's worthy to note that the iMac was not even 2 years old, very unusual for a hard drive to die in such short period of use.The moment I had the iMac opened, I knew exactly why the hard drive had such short life. There was dust pilling up every where inside the iMac. Essentially the dust blocked the air flow and kept all the heat trapped inside the computer. The hard drive on these Aluminum iMac is right in the middle of the chassis and arguably take the most punishment from the heat build-up. Luckily though, the hard drive was the only component that failed and not the other crucial parts (which are much more expensive to replace).So if you have an aluminum iMac at home and in a room without much ventilation, check the bottom vents often to make sure there's no blockage of air flow. A quick way to do so is the tap either the bottom right or left of the iMac and watch to see if there dust particles falling out. Seeing a chunk of dust drops out of the vent is a sign you should call The IT Guy for help immediately. :)
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 19:38 Written by Truong Nguyen
I had the chance to meet Rev. Tomkin Coleman this evening to help him fix the broken superdrive in his Apple MacBook Pro 17". He contacted me a couple weeks ago for help and I was able to point him to an online store that sells these OEM drives at a really good price. He proceeded to order it and kept me updated once the superdrive arrives so that we can set up a time for me to perform the replacement on his Mac laptop.Normally this procedure of replacing an optical drive on a MacBook Pro would take over an hour to complete which I quoted Mr. Coleman through our brief phone conversation. However, he told me he would have to run in 45 minutes upon my arrival. He said I can stay to finish the job, but I felt that wasn't going to work for me. That put me on the hot seat to get it done in 40 minutes or so. Boy, was I glad to see it took me less than half an hour when I put the last screw back in the laptop.
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 11:30 Written by Truong Nguyen
Since yesterday, many have noticed that they're seeing something strange in their search results on Google. Well, wouldn't you like to know that real time search came to Google yesterday? The new addition is live feeds from Twitter being streamed to the top of Google search results. You may now be able to keep up to date with who's the latest attention-whore who claims she's one of Tiger Woods' mistresses.Click here to watch video demo of Google real time search
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 20:53 Written by Truong Nguyen
Many web designers prefer to build their websites in test folders and when their development is over to move their Joomla applications to the root folder of their hosting accounts.For the purpose of this post, let us presume that we have a Joomla 1.5 installed in the public_html/test folder in our account and we want to move it to the public_html directory so that it will be directly accessible through www.yourdomain.com. This change consists of the following steps:
Move Joomla folder to a different location 1. Move all of the files and folders from your Joomla folder to the new directory. In our case from public_html/test to public_html2. Reconfigure your application. You should edit your configuration.php file and make the following changes in it:Change: var $log_path = '/home/user/public_html/test/logs';To: var $log_path = '/home/user/public_html/logs'; Change: var $tmp_path = '/home/user/public_html/test/tmp'; To: var $tmp_path = '/home/user/public_html/tmp'; Change: var $ftp_root = '/public_html/test'; To: var $ftp_root = '/public_html'; Change: var $live_site = 'http://www.yourdomain.com/test'; To: var $live_site = 'http://www.yourdomain.com';3. Remove the content of your cache folder (public_html/cache in our case)Now when you reload your website it should be working flawlessly from its new location.
Monday, 07 December 2009 23:02 Written by Truong Nguyen
A very interesting question was asked of me earlier this evening about how to print return labels using Address Book application in Mac OS X. A lot of us may have used this print feature before to do mass mailing and it does save us a lot of time, if we know what we're doing. I was caught off guard as I have never used this feature and didn't quite figure it out on the spot. So on the drive home, it occurred to me that Address book would only understand there is just one return address associate to the main account. Thus when one tries to print this return address, there is only one return address and lots of empty space.The goal is to fill this empty space up with one address, and creating a new group for this purpose is the right approach. I ended up making a new group and named it "return labels". Then copy an address to use as the return address, and paste it in this group 30 times (or as much as your labels sheets can print). This works great and takes about 5 minutes to make your mailing task a bit easier.Click here to watch video demo of this handy tip