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June 26, 2009

Windows 7 Pricing Announced!

Windows 7 is an amazing OS, and I highly encourage everyone to get it. Ill be getting the Pro version for work, and Ultimate for home. Unless you need the domain connectivity and security benefits of the professional version, or the media features of the ultimate edition, home basic is what you want.  

Also, starting in mid July, all new computers purchased with Windows Vista, will be eligible for a free upgrade to the equivalent version of Windows 7 when it is released, and as much as I like Vista, after using Windows 7, I have to say, your computer will probable run even better after the upgrade.

 

For the home user: Windows 7 Home Premium

Full Version: $199.99

Upgrade from XP or Vista: $119.99 $49.99- Limited time pre order offer.

 

For Business Users: Windows 7 Professional

 Full Version: $299.99

Upgrade from XP or Vista: $199.99  $99.99 – Limited time pre order offer

 

For those who want it all: Windows 7 Ultimate

Full Version: $320.00

Upgrade from XP or Vista: $219.00 (sorry guys, no special here)

 

Special Pricing ends July 11, 2009

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June 24, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

So last night was the premier of Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, and as someone who loves movies, I was totally down for a midnight showing. Before going, I read up on a lot of the reviews, and was very disappointed with what I saw, I mean Rodger Ebert called the movie “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments.” All I can say to Mr. Ebert is, Suck it.

Now, if you decided to go see Transformers and thought you would be walking into a hear moving, and deeply touching film, then 1. You are an idiot 2. You have no idea what the hell Transformers are and were basically setting yourself up for disappointment. If you went to the movie expecting some awesome giant robots shooting, punching, kicking and stabbing, then you got exactly what you wanted. I thought the movie was great. It was exactly what I wanted, a plot that was only there to tie together giant robots fighting, no more, no less.

Awesome things about the movie:

1. Giant Fighting Robots

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2. Sexy Women (*cough*Megan Fox*cough*)

 

3. Sexy Cars

transformers

Seriously? Do you need more?

Bottom line: No, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is not the next Citizen Kane, but it is a decent action flick, and if you want big explosions, fighting robots, and good looking women, go see the movie. If you want a deep, heart warming movie, go see something else.

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June 23, 2009

Apple’s MobileMe Helps Owner find “lost” iPhone

I am about as hardcore of a Microsoft/Windows fan as you can get. I love the company and the products, but I can also recognize when someone has made a great product,  and Apple has done that. The iPhone is a fantastic device, and with the release of the 3.0 firmware, it has gotten even better, and Kevin (www.happywaffle.com) has found this out first hand.

Kevin and some friends went to have a drink at a bar after a Lego convention (yea, he is THAT awesome), but unfortunately, left his precious iPhone behind when they left. Like any good (and by good I mean addicted) phone user, Kevin noticed his error very quickly, but by the time he got back to the bar, his phone was gone. Of course, Kevin was bummed, but then it came to him, not only did Kevin have an iPhone, but he had set up the “Locate your iPhone” feature on apples MobileMe! And so Kevin’s journey (hunt) began.

Multiple unanswered texts, several ignored calls, some luck, and a high speed chase brisk walk through a crowded urban neighborhood, and Kevin, with friends, was able to track down the person who *found* Kevin’s phone! And while I don't necessarily recommend chasing down bad guys, you can help but cheer on Kevin.

Read the full tale on Kevin’s rarely updated blog

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June 22, 2009

Virus Harvests Confidential Banking Info from ATMs

A new virus has been discovered on ATMs throughout Russia and the Ukraine. The ATMs; running Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, appear to have had been infected with a 50Kb piece of malware. The malware, which ran under the guise of lsass.exe, an executable which is normally used to cache users credentials to make accessing data easier, evaded normal virus scans and security checks.

As the piece of malware sits undetected, it gathers not only the card number of any card used on the machine, but also the start and expiration date of the card, the pin, and the 3-digit security code. All of this information was stored on the ATMs hard drive until the person controlling the virus decided it was time to collect. The method for retrieving the data was also very smart and likely contributed to staying undetected for so long. When the thief was ready to collect, they simply went to the ATM, inserted a preprogrammed “trigger” card, and all of the data was printed out via the ATMs receipt printer. So far, the malware has been found on 20 ATMs, and the experts at SpiderLabs, the company that located the bug, has said that it is likely it if more wide spread, and likely to continue to spread. It is up to banks to now tighten up their security procedures as well as pay careful attention to the audit trails that up until now have been used to make sure customer data was being transmitted securely.

As a bank user, the best thing you can do is pay careful attention to your bank and credit card statements and your credit report. You can get a free credit report for the Big 3 credit agencies by visiting https://www.annualcreditreport.com/, or check with your bank/credit card company to see if they offer free/cheap credit monitoring.

 

 

See the article on New Scientist for more info.

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June 19, 2009

FBI agent looks back on time posing as a Cyber Criminal

A good Q&A with FBI Special Agent J. Keith Mularski (AKA: Master  Splynter), the agent who went undercover for 2 years pretending to be an infamous hacker and spammer to infiltrate "Dark Market"; an online group of cyber criminals.

"It was like a soap opera. There was constant drama going on. A lot of people were accusing one another of being cops."

After spending 2 years undercover, the sting ended with over 60 arrests in Germany, Turkey, The UK and the United States, with charges ranging from Identity theft to kidnapping.

Q. What sorts of crimes were they doing on Dark Market?
A. They were doing all sorts of identity theft. They were hacking into companies and stealing credit card numbers and selling them. They were selling counterfeit drivers' licenses and other photo documentation, as well as manufacturing fake credit cards. They were selling harvested bank accounts and brokerage accounts and selling different types of malware or spyware programs or Trojan horses that you could infect peoples' computers with. The whole gamut of the cyber underground was available there. If you needed it you could get it there on the site.

"The attackers have changed with the emergence of organized crime into these cybercrimes...It's all about the money now and not just about how elite my hacking skills are to get into this Web site. Profit is driving these groups."

Q. How old are they?
A. The average guy is in his mid-20s or so. We've seen guys in their 40s. Ages range from 17 to 40something, typically. A lot of the guys who we arrested were in their mid-30s.

Q. The stakes are higher now for everyone?
A. Definitely.

Read the Full Q&A on CNET

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