Tico Byte June, 2005


Good morning members. I hope this Tico Byte finds you all well, happy and ready for all the good things coming down the pike in computing. Next Saturday is our regular monthly meeting and I hope to see you all there; 8:30AM, Panamerican School. This meeting will have a lot to cover: personal pages for members on the site, new uses for the club site, class in photo imaging (more), new sound system, classes, and secret new hardware surprise. So come and bring a friend.


Now, on with the Tico Byte:


Item 1: Laptops vs desktops


Last meeting we discussed the pros and cons of laptops. Well this just came out in the news this week:


"In a sure sign that the era of mobile computing has arrived, notebooks have for the first time outsold desktops in the United States in a calendar month, the research firm Current Analysis says. After tracking sales from a sampling of electronics retailers, Current Analysis says notebook sales accounted for 53 percent of the total personal computer market last month, up from 46 percent during the same period last year. San Diego-based Current Analysis does not follow worldwide personal computer sales. Spurring demand for notebooks is their overall price drop as quality has improved, says Sam Bhavnani, senior analyst for Current Analysis. 'Just a few years ago, the performance of notebooks was nowhere near where it is today,' he said."


Item 2: Latest virus news:


A new wave of virus attacks is expected to hit the Internet soon, according to Johannesburg-based Computer Associates Africa. They are warning of Trojan attacks of an "unprecedented scale", seemingly originating from the Far East, and utilising a three-pronged attack involving three Trojans- Glieder, Fantibag and Mitglieder. Together, these Trojans will perform a co-ordinated malware attack that is potentially devastating.

The Glieder opens backdoors that are exploited by the follow-on Trojans, CA said adding, " The apparent objective is to get to as many victims as fast as possible with a lightweight piece of malware." The Fantibag Trojan disables the security of infected systems, while the Mitglieder renders the systems defenseless and leaves them under the control of the hackers.

Meanwhile, SophosLabs are warning of the dangers of Mytob worms, which are currently estimated to account for more than half of the top twenty viruses reported to Sophos in the last 48 hours. This amounts to some 42.9% of all virus reports.

One of the most widespread variants - Mytob-CM - was first seen on Friday, 27 May. Like many of its family members, Mytob-CM spreads via email in an infected attachment. It purports to warn users of security or account issues in its subject line, such as *DETECTED* Online User Violation, Your Email Account is Suspended For Security Reasons and Account Alert.

Mytob-CM does a number of pretty nasty things, including turning off security applications and denying access to several security websites. It also installs a backdoor onto the computer, permitting unauthorized access and remote control of the machine.

As usual, we recommend patching your OS, installing a good anti-virus solution (and keeping it up to date!) and using a firewall.

Item 3: If you read about the announcement by ICE of “Internet Avancada”, you may or may not have read this “fine print”:


 “Si usted está interesado en contratar el servicio de ADSL, en el número 115 le confirmarán si su línea telefónica está en la lista de las que se pueden utilizar.


Las líneas a utilizar deben estar habilitadas en un par de cobre o al menos con posibilidad de que el ICE lo instale.


Los parámetros técnicos del ICE deben ser positivos. Además, no se recomienda estar a más de 3,5 kilómetros de la central telefónica y usted debe ser el titular del servicio telefónico sobre el que se solicitará el acceso.


Como mínimo, su equipo de cómputo debe tener un procesador Pentium III con memoria RAM de 128 megas y 40 megas de espacio libre en el disco duro.


Además, el sistema operativo debe ser Windows 98, Mac OS 7.0 o superior. También es necesario que la computadora tenga una tarjeta Ethernet con interfaz 10/100 Base T para conectarla al equipo ADSL. El equipo adicional lo componen los terminales, que se venden juntos y son conocidos como CPE y Splitter. El ICE ofrecerá estos equipos a partir del próximo semestre y cobrará un dólar mensual por su alquiler.


En caso de que usted quiera el servicio antes deberá comprar el módem para ADSL en una de las tiendas homologadas por el ICE. El precio ronda entre los $50 y los $400, dependiendo de las características de los aparatos.


El monto de la tarifa aparecerá en la factura del servicio telefónico fijo donde se dé la conexión.”


Basically, it says: you can call ICE to see if your number is within those that they will offer service to, and your connection needs to be within 3.5 kilometers of their substation. All this is nothing new. This is the whole problem: they won't give Internet to those of us in slightly outlying areas. Why they made this announcement has to be political. I see nothing new here.


Item 4: Did you forget where to find Scandisk:


To find ScanDisk, click Start>>Programs>>Accessories>>System

Tools>>ScanDisk. In Windows XP, click Start>>My Computer. Right-click

your hard drive (probably C:) and click Properties. Select the Tools

tab. Click Check Now. Regardless of the system, select options to do

as thorough a check as possible.


Item 5: And for fun:


Go here: http://www.shockhaber.com/zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.htm


Item 6: Like I always have said: “Don't update your Zone Alarm.”


A bug in a Zone Labs update caused firewall crashes late on Thursday for about 50,000 users of the popular ZoneAlarm Pro and ZoneAlarm Security Suite products.

The crashes happened after people downloaded the daily Program Advisor update, said Gregor Freund, general manager of Zone Labs, which is part of Check Point Software. Thursday's update contained a bug that had slipped by Zone Labs' quality checks.

Full story:  http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,39020381,39203515,00.htm


Item 7: The big news is, of course, that Apple will be putting Intel chips into their computers.


Story: http://www.newratings.com/analyst_news/article_868893.html


Item 8: Phil and Wil Rogers (two of the nicest people you ever want to meet) are moving back to the states. They are selling their condo in the Cariari:

Beautiful apartment in Villas Cariari. Furnished corner lot on the golf course with 180 degree view. Light and airy American decor. Built-in, custom- made cabinets, including china cabinets and desk. Lots of extras.

Washer/dryer, disposal, energy efficient hot water system, cable television. Excellent security. Garage optional. Call for appointment: 293-8379


See you all Saturday at the meeting.