Did you get your child a new computer over the holidays? Read on

With the threats worldwide to our children from internet predators every little step we take to protect them counts.

What can you do you ask?

Education - This the most important factor in dealing with these issues, a simple don't talk to strangers will not cut it in todays world as children as a whole love to interact with others online. And may easily fall prey to internet whacko's.

The folks over at MSBLOG have a great post on this very subject here so sit down with your children and watch and discuss this topic to better protect our youth.

I also highly recommend the Report Desktop Abuse Client a well desinged program to help your children immediately report offenders/sites that target them.

Kid safe Search engine

Many of us try to shield our children from offensive websites using software and hardware to filter out the "bad" why not have a search engine designed for kids?

the people over at Zoo.com thought the same way and launched a kid safe search engine back in Q4 of 2006, kudos folks!



Corporate vs Home AV software - why is it lighter?

I see this question asked many times around the Internet in different places or some derivative there of.

First off what people need to understand is that companies rarely update their computer systems as fast as you would at home. A large company roll-out takes at least a year from start to finish, not to mention that is a large chunk of change to spend. If you are missing the resources to complete either of these tasks, your upgrade may happen pieces at a time or not until the resources are allocated.

Another reason is application compatibility, this goes hand in hand with the above statement. If you don't have the resources to test manage the new systems what good would they do your company?

What does this have to do with AV software you ask?
The above examples leads to "legacy" systems being ever present in a corporate environment, since legacy systems are much less powerful than what you would use on a normal day at home the AV industry has taken note and tries to keep the resource usage down.

Speaking of resource usage, this is kept down in most corporate antivirus' by "dialing down" the protection at the end user level.
You may think that is a little crazy but what needs to be kept in mind is that in a corporation there is much more supporting hardware in the network to alleviate threats at the entry points rather than at the end user level. Thus negating the need for "useless bloat" in the program.

The last major reason in my opinion is user intervention, in a corporate environment work stations are managed by the respective IT departments and require little, or more often no user intervention. In complete contrast home users are expected to be able to manage their own systems and more than often they fail miserably in this respect. Just have a look at the root cause of botnet effectiveness. Antivirus vendors realized this early on and are trying to automate and more clearly explain the needs and actions of their software solutions, thus increasing "heaviness" of the utilities.

So in conclusion to the main question of "Why are corporate antivirus solutions lighter than home versions" there is not an almighty above all reason, but in general it is due to user intervention, needs, and money.

I hope this post shed some light on the situation, and please note this is not a definitive answer but rather a general observation.


Exploit surfaces for Windows Vista/XP/2003

Well seems this exploit provides an escalation of privileges to an ALREADY authenticated user.

eWeek article below:
Vista Exploit Surfaces on Russian Hacker Site

I can't yet tell how this is going to effect the adoption of Microsofts self proclaimed "Most secure operating system yet"

Since it is not publically available yet the threat seems low, but if businesses weren't leery enough of adoption yet then this might help seal it. But who knows, definately not me!!



Latest adventure with software

Well this one is going to be quick, but here goes. I was trying to open a large.rar file with IzArc and it froze so I took a step back fired up taskmgr and killed the service. Well needless to say it was not that easy, take a look at the screencap below.

I can't remember when the last time I had to do a manual shutdown and reboot of Windows XP. This just goes to show that more than likely it is the software built for Windows vice Windows itself that is the culprit.

How do I know you ask? Well 7zip, Winrar, Winzip, and Pkzip all worked fine.


Nice find for the holiday season

I was surfing LifeHacker this week and came across the posting from digitalFAQ.com about the DVD+/- media ie. life expectancy and quality of DVD-r's and thought it would be great information to put out in more channels as the holiday season is filled with new technology gifts.

You can read the repot online via the DigitalFAQ link above or download it in pdf here.



First AVERT notice for Vista is here

Tonight I received the first AVERT notice for the new Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, all I have to say is "here we go..."

For those that don't know AVERT stands for "AntiVirus Emergency Response Team" and is run by McAfee.

You can read the whole article here, but I doubt you want to it is boring unless you are a geek, hey wait a second.....



Today I have been working on my recovery disk and ran into a program that needs to create a boot floppy, it has been over 5 years since I had a computer with a floppy in it and god only knows how long since i actually used one. So I brought out the USB floppy and started to create the disk. In the middle of the process something struck me as odd, and I was damned if I could figure it out. During the VM's boot sequence I hit me like a ton of bricks, it was the sound of the floppy humming away. Almost soothing, like running into a person from your past that stirs up fond memories. Just you and those 25 floppies to "trial" Windows95 from your friend whos new computer came with the companion cd.

Ok so some may think that is taking it a little far but I suggest you give it a shot, makes me want to install Windows 3.11 from floppies again just to play Doom.....

Ahh the memories...

I must be tired.


Lack of activity

I would like to humbly apologize for the lack of activity here lately. I am actively searching for a job and that takes up most of my time. Hopefully once the phone interviews and face to faces are done I will be able to put up some more informative posts.

And yes I know that practically no one reads my blog, so mainly this is a message to myself.



Wipe it!

Ok first off hope everyone had a good holiday here in North America.

Secondly, over at LifeHacker they had a nice little DLD called Undelete plus, and yes it does exactly what it sounds like. But it also gives you the ability to wipe the found files.
PRESTO!! no more files, how securely they are deleted I cannot confirm, I assume it is one to three wipes. For a completely free program this is a wonerful deal.

Until next time...


Jealous yet?

I figured I would gloat a little bit more about getting a free copy of vista.
Ok done.

The installation was slow but that is to be expected on my notebook.
I tried to install it on my Desktop, which would better handle the load
but it seems there are still some bugs to work out, the error messages were
extremely cryptic. So much so that I couldn't figure out what driver was
missing it told me something to the effect of not being able to find the drivers
for the CD/DVDROM. But I tried to install from both. So I would like to know
how it can boot from either drive and not have the drivers?.....

Needless to say I am putting a hurting on my notebook, a small 1.4ghz with 768MB of ram and integrated graphics. I would have loved to slap it on my Desktop atleast it is a little more powerful 2ghz 1GB of ram and a 128MB graphics card the maybe my Vista experience level wouldn't be a 1. Ugh!!
I really don't get the math they use though, I would give this one at least a 2.

Here are two screen shots before I revert back to XP Pro:

Later all.

Vista for free!!!!

Well it is official I am a VIP in Microsoft's eyes! At least I like to think so anyways.

In all reality from what I can gather in order to get Vista Ultimate or Business for free you had to be an active beta tester and submit one or more "bugs".

All I have to say is I just saved $400!

Here is a link to part of the story from Information week

Later folks!


Microsoft Research VirtualWiFi

I found this handy little program while browsing the Microsoft research webpage today although it has been out since August of last year(2005). I have not seen much about it on the net so I felt compelled to spread the word. Ok fine it is mainly so I don't forget about it in a few months.

Microsoft Research VirtualWiFi in layman terms is a tool to enable you to connect to more than one wireless network at a time using a intricate switching mechanism to make it seem like you are on one wireless network. It is all console based but well documented.

The main area that the researchers from MS and Cornell Univ. is to simply allow one Wireless card 802.11 a/b/g to connect to multiple networks for productivity in the workplace etc.
But in my realm of thinking I tend to think of people who travel a lot, and thus would be able to take advantage at a multitude of free hotspots in airports coffee shops etc.

I know some of you are thinking that if both of my neighbors have Wifi and they are unsecured but only get 1-2 bars of signal in my house if I combine them I may get better "pirated" signal strength. Well so far as I can tell this is true.

Mind you I am not advocating this use at all, I actually frown upon it if you don't have an "ok" from your neighbors to leech the bandwidth.

The above scenario(s) will not be attainable without a little work on your part. Due to the fact that in order to use this software you have to disable Windows built in Wireless zero configuration service, set it to manual and stop it actually. This is the service which pops up those little balloons telling you that you have wireless networks in range and then will automatically set it up for you with a few mouse clicks.

So now you are thinking it might be a little harder than not to do, trust me it is easy as stated earlier the instructions are simple and all most fool proof. Emphasis on almost.

Ok, what you need:
1. MS VWF program
2. Access point "sniffer" like Netstumbler
3. 2 or more wireless networks in range and open for access

1. Install the MS VWF program
2. Type services.msc in the "Run" box of the start menu
3. Find, stop, and set to manual the Wireless zero config service *note you can do this after you are connected to one of the networks in this scenario it actually makes it less work for you.
4. Open a command prompt at or navigate to the folder where the software installed


5. Input "VirtualWiFi install" without quotes - see readme if driver signing issues arise
6. Now check to see it installed there are two ways to tell
a. Check task manager to see if virtualwifisvc.exe is running or
b. in the open command prompt type in "virtualwifi helper -op getssid" without quotes

Now if everything went right and you see a response similiar to the above it is time to add our other network(s) into the equation.

7. Fire up your AP "sniffer" for get the next best signal
8. In the command window type in "virtualwifi addnetwork -ssid YourSSID -mode IS or AH

Now you should be able to use two networks at the same time

Hope this was educational, any questions or comments please feel free to post them.




I fixed some things with my Blog today, mainly I setup the comments. So feel free to leave feedback.

BTW, I hate being electrocuted...

Touch me

Well I must say I was getting PO'd at my notebook after a re-install of my entire operating system. The problem was the drivers for my touchpad were not loaded correctly and my cursor would fly all over the screen and randomly select things. Now that was annoying.
So being the tweaker that I was I downloaded the latest Synaptics Touchpad drivers and gave them a whirl. While flipping through the settings I noticed an option under Tapping called Tap Zones, come to find out I can set each corner of my touchpad to do a different action, from the right click option to a simple macro or porgram. What an idea!
I immediately put it to the test and I must say it works like a champ. For now the only one I have setup is the top right as a right click, it is so convenient. Scan, Send to, Delete all right there from your touchpad. Some of you may say, "You are a lazy SOB, the button is right below it." I know it's there but if you are like me and have big hands you have to cramp it up to use one hand normaly to hit those buttons or use two hands and that is just a pain on a smaller size notebook like mine. So that is my rebutle to you!

In other words don't knock it until you try it. I can say taht almost 100% of the time if you try it you will get addicted to it.



Dell tech Support far from #1

Ok I got an itch to bother Dell tech support with a dumb but simple question that may be asked by a novice user.
Scenario: Person formatted the PC and lost the wallpapers provided by Dell and would like to get them back.
Simple answer right? WRONG!!! 20 minutes later the answer is Google.com
I posted the excerpt here for your enjoyment, note he first says go to Support.dell.com then rebukes his statement and says use Google.
You = Myself
RTS = Dell Support

2:30:53 System Welcome .
2:30:53 System Connecting to server. Please wait...
2:30:53 System Connected to chat2.us.dell.com
2:32:22 System RTS Abriaul S has joined this session!
2:32:22 System Connected with RTS Abriaul S
2:32:32 RTS Thank you for patiently waiting, you have contacted Dell Hardware Warranty Chat Support. Would you please verify the person or company name that owns the system, your phone number and e-mail address so I can better assist you?
2:33:12 You
2:33:32 RTS What's the service tag#?
2:33:38 You xxxxxxxx
2:33:52 RTS Is this a new or existing case?
2:34:04 You new, simple question actually
2:35:22 RTS I will be happy to help you today. Can you provide any other information regarding what is happening with your system today?
2:35:42 You I formatted my pc and found all the drivers and the like but all the Dell wallpapers are gone do you know where I may obtain them?
2:36:07 You I know it sounds silly and I am sorry for wasting your time but I couldn't find the answer anywhere
2:36:32 RTS xxxxx, I'm sorry you are having this problem today, but I will gladly assist you with this issue.
2:37:05 You Thanks
2:38:16 You I am not saying I can't change the wallpapers, I know how to do that, it is just the Dell specific ones are gone and I am wondering if there is a place on the Dell website or FTP I may find them.
2:39:52 RTS xxxxx, Please give me 2-3 minutes while I look up some other information on this issue.
2:40:20 You Thanks
2:41:32 RTS xxxxx, have you tried right clicking on the icons under the start Menu. Click Copy and Paste them to the desktop.
2:42:34 You I am asking about the background images of the operating system desktop, like the Windows XP bliss pictures and the like
2:43:19 You but the ones that are specific to Dell. ie. dell.bmp etc. I remember that one
2:44:43 RTS Xxxxx, there's no way to get the wallpaper back, you can search for the wallpaper.
2:45:03 RTS You can go to support.dell.com and download the specific wallpaper.
2:45:31 You I have been to the support site and found no links could you point me to a URL?
2:45:41 You besides support.dell.com
2:45:55 You maybe a little more indepth ie. what options etc.
2:50:13 RTS xxxxx, you can go to www.google.coma and type in Dell wallpaper and try searching for specific wallpapers.
2:50:43 You So Dell doesn't offer them as a download?
2:51:23 RTS There's no way to get that wall paper back.
2:51:47 You Thanks I guess

So apparently Google is now a Dell support site....
#1 Rated customer service?


The end of Zer0-Tec.net


Down for good

This is a sad day for me as it brings to an end our favorite hangout

The main reason it happened was a lack of participation from members, probably not anyone reading this.

Second I got a message from 1and1 that said this:

Three great years coming to an end
As a special thank you to our first customers, who signed up
for the Professional Package Preview, we offer you to keep your
package at a great price. Click the button to see this great deal or other upgrade options.

I took this as an omen, and posted this message, it also seems fitting that "All that you give" by Cinematic Orchestra is playing on my other PC....

Let the oddities continue...

As I said it has been fun.

Keep in touch

This message will self destruct tomorrow...

Why I dumped Firefox

Ok so I was just as excited as the next guy about the new release if Mozilla's Firefox(2.0) but boy oh boy what a smack in the face it was.

  • Spell checker

  • Speed
  • Memory usage - HOLY CRAP!! 100MB+ for a browser????

  • Stabilty - I had it crash about 10 times in 2 weeks, it was a fresh install btw

  • Bookmarks - I have never had as many problems with them as I did with this version

  • Just didn't feel done

All I have to say is thank god they released another version of 1.5

Mozilla needs to stop worrying about IE7 they know Firefox is superior, if they keep on rushing releases they will end up just like Microsoft and nobody wants that. Not EVEN Microsoft. Hell look at Vista the KING of delays....



Customize me!

I get asked a few times a month where I go for wallpapers and the like so here are some links

Themes - I only use Microsoft themes. I don't like patching my uxtheme.dll, I guess???
Royale -

D/L from MediaFire

Zune -

D/L from MediaFire

Wallpaper Sites
Mandolux - Hi-Def photography and design . This guy is amazing!
Interfacelift - Great spot for not only walls but also icons and visual styles
DeviantArt - An oldie but goodie for Widescreen wallpapers
PlasmaDesign - Nice spot for some 3D and fractals etc. costs $$ for Widescreen though
Skinbase - Have fun sifting through them all.
TSS2000 - A few too many ads and not enough walls

There are many many more. They are out there if you get past the Google top list....
Feel free to comment on some that are high quality Ad/Spy free.


Well looky here I have made a post that is not over one year from the last. It must be Christmas, no wait it is only November. Oops.

Whatever, so with the soon to be lack of a forum on ZT I decided to post here. More than likely this will happen more often than not now. I know I know I have said it before, but I promise!

The goods:
Ok so is anyone else pissed that Microsoft has pushed the release of Windows XP SP3 back to 2008, or is it just me? Four years and four hundred patches later...

But wait Microsoft, you say the EOL(end of life) for Windows XP will be Holiday season 2008 two years after the release of Vista as per here.

So is this a ploy to push Vista to consumers?
I hate to join the CToA (Conspiracy Theorists of America) but I have to say YES!
Time will only tell.....

Until next time...