Tech Today

Keeping Safe

The security of your computer is not just determined by the operating system you use but also by the programs and add-ons you have installed. Microsoft have been working hard to make Windows as secure as possible and have made significant progress. So much so that Windows itself may now be less of a target than some of the applications you have installed. Java and Acrobat Reader are now always in the news as new vulnerabilities are found and exploited by the bad guys. Security is about reducing you attack surface. Don’t install things you don’t need. Uninstall what you no longer need. And make sure you always install the latest Windows updates and updates for all the programs you use.

Secunia reports that 86% of problems are caused by non Microsoft programs.

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Password Cracking Xbox Live!

posted Apr 5, 2014, 5:40 AM by Rolfe James

Xbox password flaw exposed by five-year-old boy

What a great story. A child works out how to access his dad's account without knowing his dad's password.

A five-year-old boy who worked out a security vulnerability on Microsoft's Xbox Live service has been officially thanked by the company.

Kristoffer Von Hassel, from San Diego, figured out how to log in to his dad's account without the right password.

Read more on the BBC news site

BBC Tech News

DA14 Missed Us, But What Hit Russia?

posted Feb 26, 2013, 11:04 AM by Rolfe James   [ updated Feb 26, 2013, 11:19 AM ]

When I saw video of a meteor coming down in Russia on 16th Feb I thought it had to be connected to DA14 it was too great a coincidence not to be. But was I right?

It seems  was wrong. The meteor impact of 16/02/2013 was the biggest to hit earth since the 1908 impact at Tungusk, also in Russia, but it was not part of or connected to DA14.

What Hit Russia on 16th February 2013?

The 50 foot diameter meteor exploded some 12 to 15 miles above Russia with a force some twenty times that of the first atomic bombs.

The remnants of the ten thousand tonne rock should keep the meteor hunters happy and in-pocket for some time to come!

The end is nigh..... yet again!

posted Feb 14, 2013, 9:15 PM by Rolfe James   [ updated Feb 14, 2013, 9:22 PM ]

Asteroid 2012 DA14

An asteroid known as 2012 DA14 will pass Earth at a distance of 17,168 miles today at 7:25pm today.

17,168 miles is pretty close, much closer to us than the moon which is 221,600 miles away and within the orbit of many of our communications satelites. It's the closest asteroid of this size passing this close that we have known about a year or so in advance.It will be live on the web form NASA and others and well worth a watch.

You can see it live on the web at or at the NASA site

Don't lose it!

posted Feb 10, 2013, 10:47 AM by Rolfe James   [ updated Feb 10, 2013, 10:53 AM ]

Getting passed Administrator passwords on a Windows PC is not difficult (worryingly).  Windows domain passwords can be cracked in a reasonable time if the password is not too long. So how do you protect your self? Well first you use a well known secure algorithm, say AES 256. Then you ensure you use a complex password (upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters like *@"#). Finally, as they say, size matters!

The longer the password the more time it takes to crack it. For example if your password is composed of upper and lowercase letters (52), numbers (10) and special characters (say 34) the character set of the password is 52+10+34 = 96. If a six character long password using this character set could be found in 1 day, a twelve character long password would take 96x96x96x96x96x96 days (782757789696 or more than two billion years).

Good algorithm, large character sets and LONG passwords are clearly the answer. But what do you do when you forget your password...... Have a look at this blog by Jeremiah Grossman Chief Technology Officer of WhiteHat Security

Got a virus? Get a new computer!

posted Feb 2, 2013, 9:58 PM by Rolfe James   [ updated Feb 2, 2013, 10:05 PM ]

Well that seems a little over the top. But that's exactly what the New York Times did when the Chinese hacked into their systems.

Checkout this excellent, if a little long, article in the NY Times:


That free PC cleanup/speedup program may be a waste of time…

posted Jan 29, 2013, 12:19 AM by Rolfe James   [ updated Jan 29, 2013, 12:26 AM ]

I’m sure you have all seen adds on the web offering a free check of your PC. And if you have ever run one of these you are likely to have been shocked at what it found was ‘wrong’ with your PC. The program usually then offers to fix the ‘problems’ it found if you purchase it. The problem with these programs is that they often exaggerate the impact of what they find.

If your PC is running slow and you are having problems like crashes then it is worth running Ccleaner from to remove temporary files before running a program like Malwarebytes to check for and remove any Malware you may have on your PC.

Finally a defrag using defraggler also from may be worthwhile

There’s an article on Ars Technica that’s worth a look

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21st Century Libruary...

posted Jan 26, 2013, 3:44 AM by Rolfe James   [ updated Jan 26, 2013, 7:48 PM ]

Libraries start providing e-books!!

I love books and am an avid reader and an avid audio book 'reader'. I've not yet made the e-book transition, mostly because the technology is not quite there yet.

It's getting better but there are for me too may restrictions on content format and presentation for me to change. I used to love
libraries, they were the place I went to find 'new' authors. Some where I could 'try' an author before buying. And I do buy and read a lot

Libraries have always had and I guess deserved a reputation for being reserved old fashioned and odd places. In the late '80s I knew that Staffordshire
libraries had an interconnected computer system, they often used it for me to see if a book I wanted was available in one of the other county librarys. A good system, it worked well. But when I asked if this wonderful search facility was available on the internet (online as we would say now) to the public they looked at me as if I came from Mars!
I'm very pleased to see that libraries now are generally welcoming new technology, they really need to to survive. And they do, I believe provide a fantastic service to society. Perthshire do now offer ebooks, have a look on line .
Ars Technica also have an interesting article on ebooks at take a look. The pricing model might not be right, but it's a start.

Print raw meat with a 3D bioprinter?

posted Jan 21, 2013, 11:18 AM by Rolfe James   [ updated Jan 26, 2013, 2:49 AM ]

Modern Meadow aims to print raw meat using bioprinter.

Comment: An interesting idea, but with a general mistrust of GM I wonder how this will, err, go down...

When you buy some beef at the butcher's, you know it comes from cattle that once mooed and chewed.But imagine if this cut of meat, just perfect for your Sunday dinner, had been made from scratch - without slaughtering any animal.US start-up Modern Meadow believes it can do just that - by making artificial raw meat using a 3D bioprinter.

In the future, your beef may come from a printer, not a cow!

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Gadgets 'made waterproof in an hour'

posted Jan 20, 2013, 7:11 AM by Rolfe James

Comment: Interesting, I wonder if it would work on fabrics.....

Gadgets have a habit of getting wet, whether that be the rain or receiving a text message when in the bath - not to be recommended.

Now imperceptibly thin nanotechnology is hoping to lengthen the lifespan of wet gadgets as Richard Taylor explains.

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posted Jan 20, 2013, 12:32 AM by Rolfe James is the world's most popular portable software solution allowing you to take your favorite software with you. A fully open source and free platform, it works on any portable storage device (USB flash drive, iPod, memory card, portable hard drive, etc) as well as local storage and cloud storage options. With millions of users all over the world and a full collection of open source software as well as compatible freeware and commercial software and partners in the software and hardware industry, is the most complete solution for life on the go.

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