Saturday, December 31, 2005

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Here's hoping that everyone out there (all three or four of you who read this blog) has a wonderful New Year - get out and party tonight like it's 2005! I'll be taking next week off, and will be working on my New Year's resolution... get a new job (I really need one). I definitely need the time off, it'll hopefully help me start 2006 right. So here's to Auld Lang Syne and all that - Happy New Year everybody!

Friday, December 30, 2005

AOL's Top Ten list of Spam e-mail subjects

AOL published it's yearly list of the top ten spam email subject lines recently, and here it is -

1. Donald Trump Wants You - Please Respond
2. Double Standards New Product - Penis Patch
3. Body Wrap: Lose 6-20 inches in one hour
4. Get an Apple iPod Nano (or PS3 or Xbox 360) for Free
5. It's Lisa, I must have sent you to the wrong site
6. Breaking Stock News** Small Cap Issue Poised to Triple
7. Thank you for your business. Shipment notification
8. Your Mortgage Application is Ready
9. Thank you: Your $199 Rolex Special Included
and 10. Online Prescriptions Made Easy

In this article from, they talk about the list and also mention that AOL is reporting that they blocked an average of 1.5 billion spam messages each day. The total number of emails blocked in 2005 was OVER 556 billion. Damn! Are enough people actually BUYING penis patches to justify sending out that much spam? Seems like the problem is only getting worse, but the article also mentions that the average amount of spam that actually reached their user's mailboxes declined 75% over last year. Well, that's something, I guess.

Wish I'd come up with this idea...

Alex Tew, a 21-year old student from a small English town, came up with one hell of an idea to come up with money to pay for his education. He decided to start a website, appropriately named, and sold it as a billboard site - anyone who wants can buy 1 pixel on the page for $1. So a 10x10 section would cost $100, etc. He sold a few sections to some friends and family, and with the $1000 those sales raised he issued a press release. Which was picked up by the news media, spread around the Internet, and soon advertisers for everything from dating sites and casinos to real estate agents and even The Times of London were putting up real cash for his pixels, with weblinks to their own sites of course. So far he's raised $936,700 - in only four months. Damn, that's quite a lot of money!! If you want to get in on the action, you'd better hurry - there's only 63,300 pixels left.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Coming to a PC near you - an unpatched Windows flaw that exploits Windows Meta File (WMF files) - The zero-day exploit

It's time yet again to watch what emails you open, which sites you visit, and what IM's you click links on VERY carefully! A flaw in the way Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server OS handles Windows Meta File (WMF) files has been exploited, and it can affect your PC even if your copy of Windows XP is fully patches and you run up-to-date anti-virus. As of this writing, Microsoft has no patch ready to fix the flaw in Windows, and the exploit is rampant on thousands of malicious websites. Read more about it here.
There is a workaround available, thanks to Verisign's iDefense. I've copied the procedure (and the possible drawback) below.

According to iDefense, Windows users can disable the rendering of WMF files using the following hack:

1. Click on the Start button on the taskbar.
2. Click on Run...
3. Type "regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll" to disable.
4. Click ok when the change dialog appears.

iDefense notes that this workaround may interfere with certain thumbnail images loading correctly. The company notes that once Microsoft issues a patch, the WMF feature may be enabled again by entering the command "regsvr32 shimgvw.dll" in step three above.

Hope that helps you if you are worried about this - and I think you should be!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A well deserved honor - TIME names Battlestar Galactica the best show of 2005

And I'd have to agree - it was the best show of 2005. Here's a link to the article so you can read the rest of the list. I don't agree with everything (come on - How I Met Your Mother? Except for Neil Patrick Harris that show blows!!) but most of it is right on the money. Although I would have put My Name Is Earl up higher on the list. The new season of Battlestar Galactica starts on January 6th - and I can't wait!!