More on BP Oil Leak Cleanup

Kevin Costner  says he has the solution that will save the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s ruinous oil catastrophe. He’s not kidding. Watch him talk about this machine that, according to him, extracts 97% of oil from the water.

Costner has been funding this project for 15 years (and invested at least 20 million dollars!), which was spearheaded by his brother. They have a model that processes 200 gallons of water per minute. I don’t know how if it will work in open waters, but it won’t hurt to try. And if it works, let’s build a navy of these things now.

 

Here’s the company:

There is a problem though:
This is well intentioned, but would require huge quantities of these devices and/or much larger ones.

Here is why:
MATH
The most heavy duty of these prototypes is said to handle 200 gallons a minute.
200 / 42 = 4.76 barrels per minute.
It is estimated that 50,000 barrels a day, or 2,100,000 gals per day (34.7 barrels per min), is being leaked.

Apparently BP has already ordered 32 of these. They’ll have to get a whole lot more.

Let’s hope they work.

Another Adobe Security Failure

With recent reports showing that Adobe Flash combined with Acrobat are the largest vectors for malicious software in the last year this news is not good. PDF attacks alone actually accounted for 49% of all web based security issues last year!

Adobe’s reporting a flaw in some (read just about all!) versions of Flash and Acrobat that could allow bad people to remotely control your computer.

From Adobe’s site:

“A critical  vulnerability exists in Adobe Flash Player 10.0.45.2 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems, and the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems. This vulnerability (CVE-2010-1297) could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There are reports that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild against both Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader and Acrobat. This advisory will be updated once a schedule has been determined for releasing a fix.”

Flash 10.1 release candidate isn’t vulnerable – as far as anyone can tell now.
Get it here:

http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html#flashplayer10

Just choose your OS version, download and install.

Remember people keep your systems and applications up to date.

Oil Cleanup Solution

Like everyone else I have been watching the happenings regarding the oil leakage in the Gulf.

I have heard of and seen many solutions – most involving super high-tech, and super expensive solutions to mopping up the oil.

Well here is a guy with a solution that is so simple and inexpensive it is crazy!

I believe you could soak up the oil with the hay and load it onto barges. Then even extract it later if needed!

Sad but this will probably not be used for three reasons – one some stupid shit government regulation would prohibit it, two the contractors being paid millions of dollars to clean this up will buy off the politicians and three the guy is a southerner wearing suspenders.

Homemade Slide Guitar

I’ve always loved the sound of blues slide guitar. Though in two lifetimes I could never approach the skills or sounds of the greats, it’s cool to mess around with the ‘tones’. The sounds just have so much emotion to me.

The easiest and un-coolest way is to go into your guitar shop and buy one. [read me]
The coolest way, but hard to play is using a bottle.

I just came across this article about making your own glass guitar slide out of wine or brandy style bottles that would make Robert Johnson proud.

Slides are usually made of glass or metal. In the early days of Blues the players also used a bone (like Mississippi Fred McDowell, who gave some of his slide guitar secrets to Bonnie Raitt) or a knife. Glass and metal produce a different sound and it’s just a matter of your taste which you prefer. A general rule is that heavier slide create a better sustain.
Here are some good examples of slide blues. Three versions of Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)

1st Robert Johnson’s original

Eric Clapton’s version

and
Led Zeppelin’s hard charging version

iPhone/iTouch Jail Breaking

I’ve been asked a whole lot recently about how to do this. So here are the links I HIGHLY recommend:
Hope this helps.

[UPDATE! The latest & greatest information is now here:
Great new article from Gizmodo on jailbreaking iPhones and iPads]

This is the site to start at!!:

http://www.quickpwn.com/2009/01/jailbreak-firmware-2-2-1.html

Forums which will tell you how to use the downloads below:
http://www.quickpwn.com/2009/01/jailbreak-firmware-2-2-1.html

QuickPWN
Software Version: 2.2.5-2
Creator: iPhone Dev Team and poorlad
Description: QuickPWN allows you to unlock and jailbreak your iPhone and jailbreak your iPod Touch so you can modify it, SSH into it, choose your own theme and many other cool things.
Downloads:
For Windows:
http://www.quickpwn.com/2009/01/jailbreak-firmware-2-2-1.html
Mac:
http://quickpwn2-2-1.googlecode.com/files/QuickPwn_2.2.5.dmg

iPhone Firmware
iPhone firmware 2.2

iPhone 2.2.1 firmware

iPhone 3G Firmware
iPhone 3G 2.2 firmware

iPhone 3G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch Firmware

iPod Touch 1G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch 2G 2.2.1 firmware

Software Downloads

WinSCP – WinSCP allows you to SSH into your iPhone/iPod Touch and add/remove/edit files and execute commands.

AND:

See Here:
http://www.ipodtouchhacks.com/ipod/touch/jailbreak/

Microsoft FixIt Center – diagnostics tools for most versions of Windows

I haven’t used this yet so I can’t give my personal recommendation only pass on the information I received and the reveiws that I have read. But this does look like it should be a great help to users who are not that technically savy or who don’t have ready access to a techno geek.

While a pretty good amount of diagnostics are built into Windows 7, the free Fix it Center aims to expand on these and also bring similar capabilities to Windows XP and Windows Vista.

The service has around 300 fixes built-in, Microsoft has said it can also be useful even if it can’t solve an issue on its own by helping you identify the issue correctly so you can seek out those answers more effectively.

You can use any computer with Internet connection to get started with Fix it Center. Simply download the Fix it Center client and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup. You can install Fix it Center client on as many PCs you like.

You can, if you wish sign up for Fix it Center Online during setup so you can manage all your computers from a single location on the Internet yet can view solutions specific for each PC. [This is Microsoft’s push into the SMB market.]

Loads of common errors can be fixed — from broken Aero transparency to network adapter glitches to Windows Media Player library and DVD issues. There’s even a system maintenance option which checks for broken shortcuts, date and time problems, disk volume errors, and more!
 
The site is HERE.
 
Fix it Center can be installed on:

* Windows XP SP3
* Windows XP Pro (64-bit) SP2
* Windows Vista
* Windows 7
* Windows Server 2003 SP2
* Windows Server 2008
* Windows Server 2008 R2

Increase the performance of your Windows 7 netbook (or other Win7 PC)

I had a post about this previously but the HowToGeek just put up a simpler one.
If you are someone who has a Windows 7 Netbook or other Windows 7 system with limited RAM this is a great way to add some real performance to your system.
Again Netbooks will see the most dramatic increase in performance and even some batter life increases!
Check out the HowToGeek article HERE.

Legal spying via the cell phone system

I don’t think many people know about this or can even really technically understand it.
But this article should serve as another warning to people – you have very little REAL privacy. Just about everything you send or receive via the internet, cell phone or even publicly switched telephone system is very open to ‘evesdroping’.

The NSA has been doing this for years. But now some ‘regular’ guys are showing how it’s done very easily with publicly available tools and techniques.
So for the truly paranoid time to put on the tin foil hats.
🙂

McAfee fix for killed XP machines

I am not a fan of McAfee security and AV products and haven’t been for years. Their software has become a huge drain on system resources and worse, seems to get more false positives than actually stoping malicious software. I highly recommend Microsoft Security Essentials. But if you are one of those that have had this issue I hope this helps.

McAfee recently put out an update that literally killed many machines.

If you are one of those people here is a possible solution.

1. If your computer is forcing you to shutdown (you are getting an error with a countdown), go to Start – Run and type cmd. At the command prompt type ‘shutdown -a’ without the quotes. [This will abort the Windows shutdown.]

2. Open up the McAfee console (Start -> Programs -> McAfee)

3. Disable Access Protection and On-Access Scanner

4. Double click your Quarantine Manager in that window, and restore the files there (right click on it and select restore).

5. Go to your services console (right click on My Computer, select ‘Manage’, and click on the services in the left pane). Make sure both RPC (Remote Proceedure Call) services are running.

6. Start (or restart if already running) the McAfee Framework service.

7. Back in the McAfee console, select Tools -> Rollback DATs.

8. Reboot and you should be all set.

Here is McAfee’s own solution:

http://vil.nai.com/vil/5958_false.htm

Creating Bookmarklets and Smart Bookmarks

Bookmarklets are small pieces of JavaScript code that can be bookmarked to perform the intended action later on any web page. The are a way of making your browsing and web searching much more productive.
With the advent of more applications being ‘cloud based’ the browser is becoming the ‘operating system or portal’ to most information and applications. Using bookmarklets to better perform repeated and common tasks makes lots of sense.
Bookmarklets and Smart bookmarks can be made and used in Firefox, IE and Chrome.
I primarily use Firefox so I will demonstrate how to create them there. The process is nearly identical in Chrome, and Internet Explorer.

Here is one way to create some custom ones.
Open up the Bookmarks Organizer by going to the Bookmarks Menu, and click the Organize Bookmarks option.
image
In the ‘Library’ windows that pops up select the ‘Bookmarks Menu’
image
Click the Organize Menu and choose the New Bookmark option:
image
Now you need to type in whatever name you would like for the Smart Bookmark. In the location field, however, is where you will insert the specialized “URL” which we’ll cover in the next section. This screenshot shows an example location that will return the top 10 bookmarks you visit the most:

The Smart Bookmark that you just created should now be visible in the Bookmark Organizer, and you can place it wherever you would like. The content will dynamically change based on the criteria that you specified in the previous step.

The beauty is that you can create all kinds of specialized queries and actions.

As an example someone asked me about searching for films that certain actors or actresses have been in. Since IMDB is pretty much the place to start looking why not do a Google search OF the IMDB.COM site?

So just follow the steps above and call your bookmark ‘IMDBfinder’ or something and copy in this java code into the ‘Location’:

javascript:var searchterms = escape(prompt(‘Actor or Actress’));var query = searchterms + ‘ site:imdb.com’;window.location=’http://www.google.com/search?q=’ + query;

to make a Google search of that site.
image
In action – when I click on that new bookmark I am prompted to enter a name
image
and the results are then presented. Google searches only that specific site and returns all results from it.
image
This can be really valuable for limiting searches to specific sites you may frequent.  I have some for Lifehacker, HowToGeek, Drudgereport, Mediafire and many others.

The really cool thing is that bookmarklets can run all kinds of code to do things like resize images, browser windows, do translations and much more! The limit is up to you and your creativity and willingness to learn.
Mozilla has some pretty good ones here:
http://mozillalinks.org/wp/resources/bookmarklets-collection/
Simply right-click and choose ‘Bookmark this site’ (in Firefox) or ‘Add to Favorites’ (in Internet Explorer).