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Travel Rules for Your Laptop Battery

Many people travel with an extra laptop battery. It is a good idea to have a well charged battery when going through airport security. In having the laptop hand checked through security, you may be asked to boot the machine to prove that it is functioning. It avoids a myriad of problems if the battery boots the laptop flawlessly. If the laptop fails to boot properly, the security people will check further and this is just a step that is to be avoided.

There are travel rules for your spare battery. For example, spare lithium batteries are not allowed in checked luggage. There are further rules for large batteries:

link: Safe Travel

A spare battery is an item that many people have with them for every day use. Little thought is given to having such items. However, there are detailed flight regulations over these common items. The travel rules vary from country to country – and are changing constantly. In the midst of security clearance, you do not want batteries to be an issue. Knowing these travel rules just avoids needless problems – and being an entry on some security data base.

Catherine Forsythe

Memory: A Computer’s Reason to Live

Computer memory is a vital part of any system, without it the system will not boot up or post. The computer is merely a box of electronics until memory is added to bring it to life. Early computers were infants and the memory requirements were very low for the system to run, as the computer grew up, the memory requirements increased the need for larger and faster memory also increased.

Demand for faster computers to perform major tasks with bloated software influences the demand for more memory which allows memory manufacturers to increase their production of high capacity, high speed memory. The computers of today are obese; they are heavily burdened with over endowed software, and high speed processors that demands large amounts of fast memory to maintain its huge caloric diet.  What is in store for the computers of the future, more of the same? Software programmers are driving the memory market, without their ability to write bigger, increasingly bloated programs that demand more memory will slowly begin to taper off and we will see a lull in the market. Is software the only product that demands more memory? The answer in yes, take software out of the equation and you have a computer that would require a very low amount of memory to run DOS. Add an operating system created by Microsoft and you have increased the need for more memory by 100 times. Install an office program that consists of Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint and you have increased the memory requirement by 50 percent more. Memory manufacturers need software programmers, people in general need software. If memory manufacturers stopped making fast, high density memory, software programmers could not continue to create better, bigger, bloated software and we would see less desire or need for memory. Computers are a tool that needs to be upgraded to work more efficiently, and perform to the consumer’s expectations. Memory is that upgrade, it helps the computer to work faster and allow programs to open fast which keeps the consumer happy.

The future of the computer is always changing and the increasing demand for faster systems and more software brings joy to the memory industry. As computer companies continue to churn out more systems with a minimal amount of memory to keep the cost down, the memory industry thrives. The memory industry will continue to grow and thrive in the future all thanks to the ever indulging, overly obese, and never satisfied computer.

Until next time,


WTC Bldg 7 Holds Fascination For Britain

Almost seven years after the occurrence, the collapse of the third building of the World Trade Center holds a fascination for the British conspiracy theorists. An article on the BBC News website explains the story being covered as part of a series on BBC 2.

As the story unfolds, it is apparent that some thought has been put forth here – these are not the ravings of those who would become 21st century muckrakers.

It also begs the question, ‘”Why are we so easily pacified by the explanation given?” I don’t subscribe to the theory that our government was behind the downing of the towers, but the lack of a clear explanation for the loss of Building 7 is puzzling.

There are some things that need so much coverage as to remove any possible doubt about the sequence of events and root cause – this is one of those things. Another is the assassination of President Kennedy, but that is for another day. The reason I bring it up is because I was never so disappointed in any reporter as I was when the late Peter Jennings went on television, shortly before his death, and proclaimed that the Warren Commission was correct in its assessments. Clearly, Peter, and President Kennedy, deserve better.  ABC did the country a disservice by dismissing all the counter claims that have never been fully disputed. It took the easy way out, using the time to appeal to a large audience and then hawk its sponsor’s products. If ever there was a need for more examination, these are the top of the heap. (Jimmy Hoffa remains dead, and it’s of little national consequence.)

These are the types of stories that need so much light as to almost blind the reader with unassailable facts – the kind that few stories get today. Some will speak of the more complicated world of today, that makes clear reasons hard to assess. I believe it speaks to a malaise of the press, brought about by the general loss of work ethic in the nation.

from the BBC

This third skyscraper was never hit by an aeroplane. There is little photographic evidence of extensive damage. Yet seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, this 47-storey building collapsed in a few seconds.

Afterwards the thousands of tonnes of steel from the building were taken away to be melted down in the Far East. The official explanation is that this third huge tower at the World Trade Center collapsed because of ordinary fires – but that makes this the first and only skyscraper in the world to have collapsed because of fire. Nearly seven years on the final official report on the building has still not been published. The report is now promised this month.


It is certainly true that on 9/11 the BBC broadcast that WTC7 had collapsed when it was still standing. Then the satellite transmission seemed to cut out mysteriously when the correspondent was still talking. Then Richard Porter admitted in his blog last year that the BBC had lost those key tapes of BBC World News output from the day.

Very strange – and, at the least it calls for a change in reporting policy – where the smallest fact is double checked before rushing to get the story out. I’m certain that many of these fact checks would yield good results – although not the ones originally intended – many of the efforts would yield non-events. That is good, because the time taken up with the reporting of the same news in multitudinous ways yields similar results to the children’s game of passing a story from one person to another, and having a great laugh when the originator finds the last telling has little resemblance to the story at the start of the line.

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Have To Order Domino’s to See New Batman Trailer

Yesterday Domino’s Pizza tried to capitalize on Batman’s magic: Warner Bros released another trailer for The Dark Knight…on a cross-promotional Web site sponsored by the pizza-delivery company. You can only view the trailer if you have ordered from Domino’s within the last 48 hours. Customers who have ordered get this link which has the trailer available for viewing.

Unfortunately, the trailer has made it to YouTube and can be viewed regardless, but I thought this was a rather unique way to promote a movie by a sponsoring company. It beats those corny commercials where the key character is shown enjoying the product in some silly way.


Note to Phone Manufacturers

I want a phone with no external buttons. If you have to put external buttons on it, at least recess the bloody things! Perhaps two: one to shut the alarm clock off, and one to snooze it. The same two could answer the speakerphone and reject it.

Other than that, forget the convenience bullhocky and give me a phone that won’t activate the camera, the music player (which I don’t use) the FM radio (which requires a clunky plug-in earphone to work, so I don’t use it either) the video recorder or the freakin’ keyboard lock whenever I pick it up. If you must cover the thing with buttons, at least give me a way to deactivate the damned things!

Technology creep is a function of the creeps who do the design. Just because you can do something is no good reason to do it. Give the thing to some real people to test, not just a bunch of phone geeks, and listen to their suggestions. I’ll bet you’ll be amazed! I love the cameras and stuff, but y’know what…I can open the phone if I need to use them. They do not need to be instantly accessible. Bet it would make your design chores a lot simpler, too.

And I don’t want to hear about your bloody iPhone, either. I don’t need a phone to surf to blinkin’ Saturn, I just want a communication tool that works on my agenda, not its own.

Convert YouTube Videos With Video Piggy

My name is Michal Pleban and I would like to tell you a little bit about Video Piggy, what it does, and why I created it.

A few weeks ago, my niece needed to prepare a presentation for her college. She didn’t want to create another boring PowerPoint slideshow, so she decided to spice it up with some videos from YouTube. So, she came to me (she knows I’m a technology geek, so I should know the answer), and asked: How do I download YouTube videos to my computer?

At first, I thought it would be simple. But when I tried, I was stunned. You can watch YouTube videos as much as you want, but there is no “Download” button anywhere! They just didn’t provide any way to download these videos.

I started asking in forums, and soon found out that many people had the same problem as me. Then I thought — why not find a way to download these videos so that everyone benefits?

I needed to hurry, because the presentation had to be ready in a week. It took me three nights to figure out how to do it, but, well, I’m a geek anyway, so it was fun :-) After three nights of thinking and programming, I came up with my own YouTube video downloader!

But downloading the video does not suffice. If you are familiar with sites like YouTube, you might know that the videos are stored there in a so-called “Flash Video Format” (FLV). They are not AVI or MPEG files, so you can’t do anything with them! You cannot play them in Media Player, you cannot embed them in your PowerPoint presentation, you practically cannot do anything. That’s why my software not only downloads YouTube videos, but converts them to many useful formats as well!

Download Video Piggy now!

(requires Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista)

Here are some things you can do with my software:

  • Download videos from YouTube and put them on your computer.
  • Convert the videos to AVI, WMV, MPEG, MP4, MOV and 3GP video formats, for easy playback on your computer and DVD player.
  • Extract the soundtrack from the video to an MP3 file.
  • Embed the videos in a PowerPoint presentation.
  • Import the videos to your iPod, Zune, Sony PSP or other portable media player.
  • Listen to music videos on your MP3 player.
  • Put the videos on your mobile phone.

Google Gives Better Portal, Too

For the past 10 years, I’ve tended to use MSN as the homepage for all my browsers, no matter which browser, or operating system.  I became used to it after a time of using MSN dial up service, and did not really look around to change. I have looked at the others available over the years, so I know the changes they have been through, but nothing made me want to switch.

At the outset of internet usage for non-collegiates, I was frequenting AOL, as I had used them for dial up service before MSN, but the interface was always poor, and a bit too precious for my taste. Jamming many things together without regard to readability is not my idea of fine design. AOL stays that way today, except for the fact that the ‘angry fruit salad’ color schemes have been dropped in favor of pastels that would make any designer proud.

Yahoo, once the king of start pages, is today, a jumbled mess of things put together by a fifth grader (and I’m being kind with that grading scale). I remember the days when its categories were the entire front page, and you could easily navigate – no retelling of the news in any fashion, and most I know liked it that way – but it did not really fit that idea of a portal until it added the cheesy news stories.

MSN, although a part of the company that has, over time, evoked more hate from me than any other emotion, has been steadfastly my choice until lately. The subdued hues of the pages, and the carefully planned pages caused me to stay there for more time than anywhere else. But today, the number of little things I don’t like about it has added that straw to the camel’s back. I am so tired of being told that my browser is not supported, because I choose to use Opera, and avoid any problems with nasty ActiveX sites, and like the idea of a browser that is most compliant to established standards. I somehow think that if MSNBC, another Microsoft venture, can be Opera-friendly , MSN could be too. The other thing that springs immediately to mind is the way that MSN uses groups of pictures as part of a story, and then makes the user wait 60-90 seconds between switching of pics. This is independent of browser, or connection speed. Very bad.

As a Verizon DSL customer (as of this moment), I have tried to give their home page a fair shot, but try as it might, the page keeps the shameless self-promotion at the top of its goals. Too bad, as since I have been a salesman, trained to know certain things considered part of the sales process, I can easily say that one thing a good salesman does is shut up once the customer has accepted the sale. Verizon still has not learned this – if they had it would be realized that since you are on their page, you have about an Ivory soap percentage of being a customer, no further selling is needed.  (For those younger, or not possessed of great attention spans, Ivory bar soap used to stress in its commercials that it was 99.44 % pure.)

I have been trying out the Google News page, and it gives good news, doesn’t crowd it too much together, and avoids any devices to hold me on a certain page for a length of time ( MSN and pics). It also follows a layout style that reminds me of the New York Times – not a bad thing to shoot for, in my estimation.

I think I have a new start page – for sure.

Quote of the day:

Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts. – Jim Morrison

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Frank Simorjay And Dan Griffin bring NAP And Forefront Together

Live from the floor at Tech Ed IT Week in Orlando Florida, Richard and I talk to Frank Simorjay and Dan Griffin about NAP and Forefront. Network Access Protection (NAP) is a technology for controlling access to the network for workstations, especially laptops that might fall behind in patches and upgrades. Forefront is the client protection technology from Microsoft. Together they make an effective solution for keeping mobile worker systems safe.

Dan Griffin is a software security consultant in Seattle, WA. He previously spent seven years at Microsoft on the Windows Security development team. Dan can be contacted here. Frank Simorjay, CISSP, CET, is a technical program manager and security subject matter expert for Microsoft’s Solution Accelerator — Security and Compliance group. Frank is responsible for designing security solutions for Microsoft customers, which include organizations of all sizes. Formerly Frank was a senior engineer for NetIQ and for NFR Security, where he designed security solutions for enterprise networks in banking and telecommunication for more than 10 years. Frank is an actively engaged speaker and author of several publications.


Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

The future of New York City will be in gamers’ hands this fall and starting today Activision, Inc. is allowing them to determine the Spider-Man: Web of Shadows package image. Starting today, members of the Spider-Man consumer VIP community can go to SeizeControl.com to vote for their favorite videogame package options, all featuring the heroic web-slinger as he prepares to confront a devastated Big Apple. The consumer control campaign will continue through launch, giving fans the opportunity to vote on various aspects of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows marketing campaign.

To date, members have already helped Activision cast voice actors for actual roles in the final game, based on auditions that were held at this year’s New York Comic Con. Voting has also commenced to find the perfect models to portray fan favorites Black Cat and Mary Jane in the Activision booth at San Diego Comic-Con in July. Fans will continue to have unprecedented control over the campaign with upcoming votes including gifts for pre-sell, gameplay content to be posted on the community Web site, packaging layout, and more.

In development by Shaba Games and Treyarch, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is scheduled for release this fall and has not yet been rated by the ESRB. Fans can learn more about Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and the full consumer control campaign details here.

Troubleshooting Permissions In Vista Part I

Troubleshooting permissions in Vista is no easy task. Tracking down an access denied error is particularly difficult when you start mixing share permissions with NTFS folder and file permissions. In this series of articles, I’ll discuss two of the common problems individuals run into when working with permissions — cumulative permissions and moving or copying resources.

Understanding how permissions interact isn’t difficult if you stick with these rules:

  • When working within a certain permission type (sharing or NTFS), permissions are cumulative. The most lenient setting wins for a particular user or group. Deny always overrides Allow and negates any permission with which it conflicts.

  • When there’s a difference between the sharing permission and the NTFS permission, the most restrictive setting wins.
  • Permissions are not cumulative across groups; each group’s permission is calculated separately. For example, if a user is a member of Group A, which has Full Control sharing permission but no NTFS permission for an object, and also of Group B, which has Full Control NTFS permission but no sharing permission for the object, that user has no permission for the object.

Let’s look at some examples. Say that on Tim’s PC is a folder, FOLDER-A, containing a file, PRIVATE.DOC. Tim has shared FOLDER-A with the Marketing group with Contributor permission level and with the Everyone group with Reader permission level. In the NTFS permissions for the folder, he has allowed for the Marketing group to have only Read access. He has removed the default permissions to the folder for the Everyone group. If Sarah from Marketing accesses PRIVATE.DOC, will she be able to make changes to it? The Marketing group has Contributor (for sharing) and Read (for NTFS), with a net result of Read. The Everyone group has Reader (for sharing) and None (for NTFS), with a net result of None. So Sarah’s permissions are the least restrictive of Read and None — in other words, Read. So no, she cannot make changes.

  Sharing Permission NTFS Permission Net Permission
Marketing Group Contributor Read Read
Everyone Group Reader None None

Cumulative permission = Read

Now, suppose Tim adds another group to his list of NTFS permissions: Managers. He gives the Managers group Modify access to FOLDER-A. If Sarah is a member of the Managers group, will she now be able to make changes to PRIVATE.DOC? The answer is still no, because even though permissions are cumulative within a type, they’re calculated as a whole on each group. As you can see below, the new Managers group has no net permission to the folder because it has no sharing permission, so it doesn’t help
Sarah to be able to modify the file.

  Sharing Permission NTFS Permission Net Permission
Marketing Group Contributor Read Read
Managers Group None Modify None
Everyone Group Reader None None

Cumulative permission = Read

Permission changes don’t take effect until the end user logs off and logs back on. After Tim changes the permissions, Sarah must log off and back on again or close the network connection to Tim’s PC and reopen it in order for his permission changes to take effect on Sarah’s end.

If Tim wanted to make sure Sarah had the ability to modify the file, he could:

  • Give the Marketing group Modify (or better) permission under NTFS permissions.
  • Give the Managers group Contributor or Change permission under sharing permissions.

Let’s say Tim takes the first option and changes the Marketing group’s NTFS permission to Modify. Now the chart looks like this:

  Sharing Permission NTFS Permission Net Permission
Marketing Group Contributor Modify Change/Modify
Managers Group None Modify None
Everyone Group Reader None None

Cumulative permission = Change/Modify

Now, suppose Tim uses the NTFS special permissions to deny the Managers group the Write permission. Will Sarah be able to edit the file? No, because the Deny option settings override any Allow settings. Even though the Marketing group still has the right to edit the file, Sarah is also a member of the Managers group, which is specifically denied access.

  Sharing Permission NTFS Permission Net Permission
Marketing Group Contributor Modify Change/Modify
Managers Group None Deny Write Deny Write
Everyone Group Reader None None

Cumulative permission = Deny Write

If Tim wanted Sarah, but nobody else from the Managers group, to be able to change the file, he could either remove Sarah from that group or create a separate group containing everyone from Managers except Sarah and deny that group the Write access instead of denying the Managers group.