Microsoft Claims They Didn’t Modify Update Settings

The second instance of Windows PCs updating themselves without user permission might be a user problem, not another “stealth update” like the one in September. The reports have only cropped up on the AeroXperience website, while Microsoft’s Automatic Updates support group has remained silent about these issues. Microsoft’s update program managers investigated and found that none of the patches changed any settings. User action is required for all five of the scenarios described as possible causes for the changes. Since the problem only affects Windows Vista, I can’t say if it was a Microsoft change or a user thing.

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What Do I Do About a Vulnerability I Find?

If you discover a security vulnerability in the computer system at your workplace or school, do you report it? Whistleblowers seem to have a record of late for getting punished (expelled, fired) when they report a security problem. A student at Western Oregon University, for example narrowly escaped expulsion when he discovered a file containing names, SSNs, and GPAs for 50-100 students at the school. He sent a copy to the school newspaper, which ran a four-page special report on his discovery. The student was disciplined by the university, and an adviser to the newspaper was, according to another student,…

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Partial Explanation for Gmail Storage Lag

Now that I think about it, the storage in my Gmail account always lagged a few hours (at least) behind the counter on the homepage. Of course, no change since 0415 this morning is a bit long, as it’s been about six hours, but my mom’s account is several megs below mine, so Gmail storage must be, like everything else at Gmail, a rollout-type deployment, where groups of users get new features (or disk space). Since the clock is moving faster, it’s no wonder the gap is bigger. I’ll watch over the next few days to see if it stabilizes…

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No, Seriously, What’s Up?

Now I’m really confused. The counter on the Gmail login page says I should have 2,939 MB of storage space, but my account only shows 2,918. I’m behind by more than 20 megs. If Google is really increasing all the storage by five megabytes an hour, which is the rate the counter’s going at, why isn’t my account’s counter increasing? Is it time to comment in a help group?

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My Content is Being Scraped…Badly

Looks like these posts I’m writing are interesting some excerpt bot. I have been getting some reactions on Technorati lately that involve other blogs taking excerpts of my posts, incorrectly naming the author (as “peterblackqut”, “Alex”, “David George-Cosh”, etc.) and often omitting a subject (“[Incorrect name] wrote an interesting post today on”, with no actual what), and linking back to me. I have no real problem with others taking excerpts of my content, especially since they’re linking back and increasing my blog’s reputation, but it’s annoying to be misnamed (differently) every time. I have a feeling the bad author scraping…

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How to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket

Looks like policemen are suckers for honesty and humor. Some folks over on AOL submitted stories about how they got out of speeding tickets, and the resulting compilation was published at CNN Living. There are some pretty interesting methods illustrated there, most notably MaurDrisc’s (being honest), CCCCINTI’s (show respect), and RGLGINC’s (be honest and laugh at your mistakes). Honesty and respect can go a long way toward getting the boys in blue to let you off, and even tall tales (Nexusrider) can help. Sharing a story about how bad your day has been (Pamelakins) is another way to be a…

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A Wi-Fi-Finding Shirt

Looks like technology in search of a purpose to me. ThinkGeek has developed a T-Shirt, available only in black so far, that has a glowing decal on the front with bars to indicate Wi-Fi signal strength. It runs on three AAA batteries and can be machine-washed, though it must be hung out to dry. The decal and batteries, obviously, need to be removed before washing. It looks like an interesting idea, but it doesn’t provide much information, such as encryption status or access control; it only measures signal strength. I think I’ll wait until v2 (or v3) before getting one.

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