I’m trying to sqe-e-e-e-eze two hours of MPEG-1 video onto a CD, and it ain’t easy. Looking for help, I came across Planet of Tunes, which provides lots of on-site information for compressing almost any kind of multimedia file into almost any format for CD, DVD, or web. Instruction comes on online, PDF, Flash, and other formats. I can’t vouch for all their information, but what I reviewed was accurate and up-to-date, and though they’re mostly Mac they’re friendly to all platforms. Good as they were, I coudn’t find information about my particular issue, but they’ve earned a bookmark.——-
Ross Wehner in the Denver Post: “How secure is your computer? ‘Honey pot’ experiment shows unprotected Windows SP 1 at risk.”
Oy oy oy. Pay attention to this, friends. If you or someone you know is using a version of Windows prior to SP2 and you’re not behind a firewall, you are likely a source of spam. How ‘bout that? Also available here: How Secure? Thanks to MyAppleMenu.——-
(Reprinted from The Denver Post. in case this disappears from their site)
How secure is your computer?
ìHoney potî experiment shows unprotected Windows SP 1 at risk
By Ross Wehner
Denver Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 28, 2005 –
A Windows computer without the latest security patches is in big trouble.
That’s the conclusion from a “honey pot” experiment conducted by StillSecure, a Louisville network security firm.
StillSecure attached six computers – loaded with different versions of the Windows, Linux and Apple’s Macintosh operating systems – earlier this month to the Internet without anti-virus software.
The results show the Internet is a very rough place.
Over the course of a week, the machines were scanned a total of 46,255 times by computers around the world that crawl the Web looking for vulnerabilities in operating systems.
Once the vulnerabilities were identified, the remote computers launched 4,892 direct attacks with a staggering variety of worms, Trojan Horses, viruses, spyware and other forms of malware.
The test examined only what happens when computers are turned on and connected to the Internet. The test didn’t evaluate additional dangers that computer users face when they use e-mail, surf the Web, click on Internet links or use file-sharing programs.
The good news is that none of the up-to-date, patched operating systems succumbed to a single attack.
The Windows Service Pack 2, or SP 2, system is the most up-to-date Windows operating system. It received 16 direct attacks.
The Macintosh system received three attacks. Two of the Linux systems received eight attacks each, though Red Hat’s version of Linux received no attacks at all.
But in the end, none of the attacks were successful.
The Linux and Macintosh sytems were installed out of the box without any additional security patches. Windows SP 2 automatically downloads the latest security patches from the Microsoft website.
Windows Service Pack 1, or SP 1, however, was another story. It’s an older version of Windows that was sold in computer stores until a few months ago.
SP 1 was attacked 4,857 times. It was infested within 18 minutes by the Blaster and Sasser worms. Within an hour it became a “bot,” or a machine controlled by a remote computer, and began attacking other Windows computers.
Microsoft responded that the tests prove that any operating system is vulnerable when not patched.
“The results don’t surprise me at all,” said David Brandt, principal technology architect at Microsoft in Denver.
Microsoft stopped shipping SP 1 in August and replaced it with the more secure Windows SP 2. Most computers with SP 1 had been sold from stores by Christmas, said Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall.
SP 2 comes with a firewall and automatic security updates, said Sundwall. These features had to be manually turned on in SP 1, which meant that some users missed out on computer patches.
Many computers around the world are still running Windows SP 1, though exact numbers are hard to come by. Gartner research director Michael Silver estimates that by the end of 2005, half of the world’s desktops used in businesses will still be using SP 1.
“But most companies are pretty good about keeping their PCs patched, and most have corporate firewalls,” said Silver.
Large companies are switching to SP 2 slowly because they have to make adjustments to thousands of different software programs first.
The honey pot test is a good indication that many small-business and home computers are still using older versions of Windows, according to StillSecure chief technology officer Mitchell Ashley.
“Why are we getting hit by Blaster?” asked Ashley. “Because there are infected machines out there. Why are they infected? Because they don’t have the updated patch.”
Microsoft is concerned about security issues surrounding Windows and Internet Explorer, and the resultant surge of Linux, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Most companies, however, chose to pay a Linux vendor in order to receive security patches.
Experts also consider Linux less prone to viruses.
”(Security) is a huge pain point for Microsoft,” said Silver. “Microsoft takes the threat of Linux very seriously.”
Over the last nine months, Microsoft has gone on the offensive with a “Get the Facts” campaign that argues that Windows is cheaper and more secure than Linux.
Microsoft’s leadership position means that more viruses are written for Windows, said Silver, who estimates that 96 percent of all desktops and laptops worldwide used Windows at the end of 2004. Macintosh has 2.5 percent of the market, while Linux is at 1.3 percent, Silver said.
“There are going to be security holes in just about any operating system,” said Silver.
Silver predicts that Linux will climb to 3 percent of the market by 2008.
As of this month, 25 million people around the world have downloaded a free Web browser, Mozilla Firefox, which a variety of security experts have trumpeted over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Microsoft is racing to roll out its new Longhorn operating system in 2006.
But for the moment, it’s sticking with Windows, for which it rolled out a new patch Tuesday.
“SP 1 is not a current operating system,” said Sundwall. “It doesn’t surprise me that it only took 18 minutes to get infected.”
Staff writer Ross Wehner can be reached at 303-820-1503 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Operation Honey Pot
StillSecure, a Louisville-based network security firm, connected six computers – with six operating systems – to the Internet for a week without any virus protection. The results: 4,892 direct attacks by viruses, worms and other types of malicious code, and 46,255 scans by remote computers looking for weaknesses.
Here’s what happened:
Windows XP Service Pack 1
Results: Attacked successfully within 18 minutes by the Blaster and Sasser worms. Within an hour, the computer was taken over and began attacking other Windows machines.
Windows XP Service Pack 2
Results: Survived all attacks
Apple Mac OS X Jaguar
Results: Survived all attacks
Linux, Suse Professional 9.2
Results: Survived all attacks
Linux, Fedora Core 3
Results: Survived all attacks
Linux Red Hat 9
Protecting your PC
Computers are vulnerable to viruses unless three basic protections are in place: a patched operating system, anti-virus software and a firewall for blocking viruses.
1. Patched operating system. Windows users should visit www.windowsupdate.com , a Microsoft website that will scan your computer and suggest updates. Linux vendors and Apple also offer patches.
2. Anti-virus software. Windows SP 2 automatically alerts users if they don’t have a working anti-virus software program.
Experts say spyware programs are also necessary for Windows users. Microsoft is offering a free beta version of its spyware program at www.microsoft.com/athome , and Webroot is offering its spyware program free to Colorado residents through April 15 at www.webroot.com Free spyware programs are available at www.download.com
3. Firewall. Windows SP 2 comes with a firewall, as does Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2005 and other security software packages. Zone Alarm firewall can be downloaded free at www.zonelabs.com– By Ross Wehner
Viruses vs. Spyware
There are many types of malware, or malicious software. Experts often divide them into two groups:
Viruses are a form of computer vandalism that often have no other purpose than to prove the prowess of the virus’ author. Viruses are classified by how they spread:
Trojan Horses hide themselves within an apparently innocuous computer program.
Worms take over a machine in order to attack, and spread to, other computers.
Spyware, unlike a virus, has a financial driver. The most lethal forms help identity thieves gather information from computer users without their consent. Spyware gets on computers in the same way viruses do. Apart from making a computer run slowly, it rarely announces its presence.
Some forms of spyware:
Key loggers record keystrokes and then transmit credit card numbers and other sensitive information to identity thieves.
Cookies are used by online companies to track user preferences.
Adware causes annoying pop-up ads but often harvests information like spyware.
The best way to know if your computer has spyware is to run an anti-spyware program.– By Ross Wehner——-
Tryst: App Allows Sharing & Commenting On Video Over Network">Tryst: App Allows Sharing & Commenting On Video Over Network
“Tryst is an amazing video streaming solution that allows you to broadcast the movies and video clips that reside on your computer over Bonjour (nee Rendezvous) to others on your network so you can share them just because, or watch them and comment on them together! One VersionTracker reviewer said it best ”...it’s like iTunes sharing but for movies!” You can even have a private viewing by using the password protection feature.”
This could work in Cobb County, allowing network sharing and discussion of video clips among students in more than one classroom, without having to set up a projector: clips of the principal, student-made videos, clips on volcanoes and rainforests and the Oregon trail. Now combine this with blogs for the students, RSS feeds of them for their teachers and parents, teacher blogs with RSS feeds as well, and… well, the possibilities are fascinating.——-
Looks like iBooks may be on the way to a metro Atlanta county school system:
“Three Cobb County school board members and Apple representatives were on hand Wednesday for the first of four community meetings, designed to educate the public and answer their questions about the laptop computer program. The majority of the comments at the meeting were from people in favor of the initiative, which would provide laptops to teachers and middle and high school students.
[...]Board member Johnny Johnson said he is in favor of better technology, but he’s not sure whether laptops are better than improving existing computer labs. Wednesday’s meeting convinced him that teachers are excited about the possibility.
“They [kids] learn differently than we do. They’ve had this their whole life,” Johnson said after the meeting.
The school board votes March 9.”
Go to http://www.bugmenot.com for a login and password to read the whole article.——-
Shout Out – A Kid’s Guide to Recording Stories
This is absolutely the most basic TOOLS Guide we have on Transom. It’s the place to start, and it’s born of the experience of Katie Davis, who has been a foreign reporter, a writer, and a host of All Things Considered, but mainly she works with kids in the neighborhood where she grew up and still lives, Adams Morgan in Washington, DC. She runs a group there called Urban Rangers that “gives kids the tools for life”—service projects, conflict mediation, a bicycle recycling program, an oral history booth. This last one has taught Katie what kids need to get started in recording and gathering stories, and she has laid it out in a simple guide with pictures. Come download it and find a good way to use it where you live.
This is a wonderful guide – putting technology in the hands of kids, giving them the power and skills to learn, listen, and teach – combine this with podcasting, and where couldn’t it go?——-
Jay Allison’s introduction: “If you work in sound or film, you will come to know the name Walter Murch by your colleagues’ tone when they say it. This is the man responsible for movies you remember for the dance between sound and picture-
he shaped them both The Conversation, The English Patient, Apocalypse Now, Cold Mountain-and those are just a few of his picture editing and sound mixing credits. He has won multiple Oscars in both categories and is, well, generally regarded with some awe.
Walter has created for Transom a new essay called Womb Tone as a companion to his lecture, Dense Clarity – Clear Density, now illustrated here with sound and film clips, detailing Walter’s process. It’s amazing. Take a chair in the classroom, and sit quietly. In case you think this will be a gut, let me quote this from Walter’s bio, “Between films, he pursues interests in the science of human perception, cosmology and the history of science. Since 1995, he has been working on a reinterpretation of the Titius-Bode Law of planetary spacing, based on data from the Voyager Probe, the Hubble telescope, and recent discoveries of exoplanets orbiting distant stars.”
Walter will be around to answer your questions, but only intermittently because he is now editing and mixing Jarhead, about which he noted in email, ”...the strange thing is that there is a clip from Apocalypse Now in Jarhead: a scene of the marines watching the helicopter attack as they get themselves pumped up to go to Kuwait. The experience, for me, is like being trapped inside an Escher drawing.” “
Found this by accident – I just requested they start an RSS feed so we can find posts like this more easily.——-
Here’s a site with well-thought-out Microsoft Office tutorials for pre-service and in-service teachers. I think relying too closely on any proprietary format is a mistake* in the long term, but this is the lingua franca of office suites, and teachers especially need the help using these tools.
- A new professor here at GSU came from a Mac-based university and had all her files in WordPerfect format. We’re a MS campus, and you can guess that Word doesn’t easily open WordPerfect files. She’s had a devil of a time of it, but it reinforces the value of – say it with me – Rich Text Format. It’s an open, non-proprietary format, and unlike Word files, can never carry a virus.
Since every word processor can save in RTF, you should use it, unless you need some specific formatting capability unique to your word processor. Why? What if you need to send the file to someone with an older version of the word processor, or they use a different OS (Mac or Win)? RTF means it will work anywhere.
Think about it – why should you have to buy a very expensive word processor program to write letters? Or read them? My two cents.——-
“Advanced basic”??? Yes, it’s an oxymoron, but advanced editing in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker is still basic compared with Final Cut Pro, Avid, or Sony Vegas Video. This is a link to very smart comments and tricks from Joe Brennan, an Illinois high school teacher.
“If you and your students have been using iMovie (or another entry level video editing program) for awhile, you are probably wondering what more you can do. Well, there are a few things you can do for yourself, some resources on Apple’s site, a couple dozen free plug-ins and transitions from five companies that sell hundreds of them, and several free or inexpensive programs that can help turn you into another Ken Burns. One caveat, though, some of the following will only work in Mac OS X. PC users, don’t despair. Except for third party plug-ins, most of the following do-it-yourself strategies should work with any video editing programs.”——-
Transom Tools: Editing/Mixing: Digital Editing Basics">Transom Tools: Editing/Mixing: Digital Editing Basics
“Keeping the breath at the end of a sentence or phrase preserves the speaker’s rhythm.”
Transom.org is a grass-roots group seeking new voices for radio. (I’ve posted about them before.) Their site offers information and contacts for new and independent producers of radio programming. Look through their tips for cheap and free audio tools as well as detailed lessons, complete with screenshots, for improving your audio editing.