Remnants that are left over from things that are gone

CCCleaner Hack spells danger for Windows 10 users

I had downloaded and installed the infected version of CCCleaner onto a Lenovo Laptop and wanted to remove it and clean up the system.

The laptop had a free version of Bit Defender AV installed so I updated the signature files and did a full system scan.  It found nothing – about as useful as tit’s on a bull – but you get what you pay for I guess.

So I turned to my trusty Malwarebytes Anti-Rookit. Updated the signature files and ran a scan. It found the CCCleaner malware that had been installed no problem at all, plus the downloaded CCCleaner executable containing the infection. Malwarebytes are a class act in finding infections on a PC.

i’ll throw some coins in the air and the shortest straw loses!

 

We have to move to the other side of the pendulum.

God must be pretty angry with the USA about it’s carbon pollution.

First of all he unleashes storm and tempest on the centre of fossil fuel in Houston, and now, just in case the dummies in the Climate Denier community don’t get it, he sends along Irma, Jose and Katie.

Now Trump and his fossil boosting cronies can bleat all they like about fake science, Chinese conspiracies and natural variations. But to the everyday person, these weather events seem suspiciously like what the climate scientists predicted would be the outcome of increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The cost of damage to Texas and Florida is going to run to a pretty penny, and the global Insurance industry is repricing risk in these torrid times. It will drive the hard heads in Government and Industry to reconsider the true costs of remaining active in fossil fuel industry. You can build a fucking lot of Renewable Energy plants with the billions it will cost to repair the damage to these states.

When Murphy’s Law cuts in, it operates with a full head of steam.

 

A picture tells a thousand words

In today’s social media a picture does more than that

They used to say that a picture saves a thousand words, but with social media a picture is usually accompanied by a thousand words of explanation and comment. Only Twitter forces brevity, which is maybe why it isn’t as popular.

Given the keenness of large parts of society to document their every move, every social encounter, every new purchase, every new love there will be a treasure trove of data for future historians.  They will probably reconstruct today’s world using VR technology and all the Facebook and Google data.

Maybe one day an entrepreneur will sell fully immersive experiences of living like a group of friends in the 21st century, all from gleaned data.  And I bet that Google and Facebook will own the copyright on deceased persons data and use it to profit in scenarios like immersive VR.

Each VR frame will be a thousand words, and there will be thousands of frames per minute to flood the future human’s senses.  Then a picture will tell a thousand words.

 

I think there’s a can of worms brewing here

A difficult trade off between freedom and privacy

Many see the rise of the total surveillance state as inevitable.  The technology is at hand, and those that claim the need for ever greater ability to intrude into the private lives of the citizens are succeeding in panicing gormless politicians into allowing ever more scope.

While those that deploy these awesome capabilities do so to protect democracy and freedom to pursue life liberty and happiness then all is OK.  But what happens when people committed to radical political, social or religious ideology are able to infiltrate sovereign bodies and turn the state to the dark side.

Most people are happy to trade off some individual rights and freedom for the common good, and to prevent the rise of anarchy and the collapse of civil society.  Those with the most to lose are holders of the various property rights and entitlements, the cornerstone of the capitalist system.  Thus the wealthy, powerful elite have an enormous vested interest in the status quo.  They don’t care much for individual freedoms and privacy except when it impacts on their self-interest.

History shows that voters in a democracy will turn to extremist political parties in times of social strife due to economic collapse or rapid change to a new order deemed unfair by the majority.

The white man with 5 eyes will eventually turn dark and evil to save his interests from the geopolitical can of worms that is now brewing.

 

BAUHN Solid State PC

It was on special for $199 so how could I resist

I saw this tiny unit in the display case at an ALDI supermarket in Sydney Australia.  Bauhn is one of the brand names used by ALDI for electronic goods sold in their supermarket.

The box was barely larger than the included wireless keyboard and mouse. It said quad-core CPU, 2Gb memory, 32Gb solid state storage, WiFi, Ethernet, HDMI, plus micro-SD card slot and 3x USB ports. Licensed for Windows 8.1.

Inside the box was the keyboard, mouse, power plug-pack (18W, 5V @ 3A) and the PC unit itself which is in a tiny black plastic case which weighs surprising little. Batteries were supplied for both the mouse and keyboard.  The USB wireless dongle is housed inside the mouse and occupies one of the USB ports in normal operation. Also included were an HDMI cable, and an adapter for the single micro-USB port. Everything you need to get up and going – I like teutonic practicality.

It was pretty easy to get up and running. Fit the batteries to the keyboard and mouse.  Put wireless dongle in one of the USB ports. Plug in HDMI, network cable, and power supply.  Hold the power button for 2 secs until the light comes on. It booted no worries, everything worked out of the box.  It prompted me immediately after the user account setup to upgrade to Windows 10 which I did.  That took a few hours to download and install so I left it overnight.  In the morning I finished off the install.

This is a fantastic little unit for light PC and Internet work.  It runs an Atom CPU and has no fan. The case gets mildly warm during use, about the same temperature as a WiFi router or modem.  It boots up Windows 10 very quickly due to the solid state storage, far faster than a laptop running a HDD. I’ve augmented storage by fitting a 32Gb Class 10 micro-SD card and set Windows 10 to use it as the user data store for audio, video, pictures etc.

If you happen to be in an ALDI store, have a look in the display case.  If you see one of these for $199 or less, just buy it.  Someone in your family will be able to use it, as long as they aren’t a gamer.

 

ASUS Transformer T100 (Part 2)

Tablet hangs during Windows Update and then won’t boot

I quite liked the T100 however it was always a little flaky.  Occasionally not waking from sleep, sometimes no keyboard would popup for input.

Then it finally failed during a Windows Update.  The updates had been downloaded and were being installed when the system hung with a memory exception error. Since it didn’t respond to either screen or keyboard activity I was forced to power it down.  But bad news when I powered up – no Windows, and worse, no functional recovery partition.  It had to go back to ASUS for Warranty repair.

This wasn’t such a bad experience.  I phoned them, explained the situation, gave them Serial No. and Purchase date etc.  They emailed me documents to print out for their courier to pickup the unit.  The courier picked up the T100 from work, and about 10 days later it was sent back to work via courier – all at no cost to me – which is the correct response in my opinion.  So well done ASUS Australia and the telephone support guys.

The motherboard needed to be replaced as the SSD was damaged. This means pretty much everything except the screen and case is new. It worked far batter from the get go than the old one ever did, it’s a completely different user experience now.

 

 

ASUS Transformer T100

How a brief mishap trying to connect to a public WiFi network lead me to do a full system recovery.

I bought one of these and set it up from new – funny how it’s like an Apple Mac or Google Chromebook – you need to be online for it to work the best. Both have a locked ecosystem, and this is no different, Microsoft have now adopted the same business model as the other major players.

I wanted to get into Windows 8.1 because my main laptop is an HP running Windows 7 64bit and I wanted to try out the Microsoft tablet ecosystem so as to keep up with the latest offerings in that space. I naturally wanted to pay as little as possible for a decent solution that would allow me to experience the full UI.

For around $500 (on special offer) it offers a combination of a 10.1 inch Windows 8.1 Tablet running a Bay Trail Quad Core Intel Atom CPU with 64Gb SSD, 2 Gb Memory, 1.2 MP forward facing camera and an included keyboard that turns the tablet into a Windows 8.1 Netbook. It also comes with micro-USB port for data and charging, micro-HDMI port, mini-SD card reader, and headphone jack. The keyboard includes a single USB3 port to connect peripherals.

Construction standards are fairly low end plastic for the tablet case and the keyboard, and the screen fingerprints badly compared to an iPad. However it was obviously built to a price so the keyboard could be included in the hardware bundle.

The software bundle is also a bonus, you get ASUS Cloud storage for 1 year, MS Cloud (Skydrive) and it also includes MS Office Home and Student, which really makes the ASUS T100 a great value proposition – full marks to ASUS.

Performance wise I’m actually quite astounded.  Compared to the older Dual Core Atom Clovertrail tablets this has a far snappier response time, and it comes with Intel 4000 graphics as well, which are more than adequate for the 1360×768 screen. It looks bright with good contrast, and wide viewing angle. Overall a very nice and smooth little unit, the touch is accurate and responsive.

Only one problem has occurred that took some dedicated fixing. It started when I attempted to connect to the Free WiFi at my regular cafe shop. There was a connection, but no Internet. Everything began to run strangely and then locked up. I manually powered down and then powered up again, but the tablet was a mess and wouldn’t respond to touch or keyboard and trackpad. It gave every indication of being totally bricked, and I began to think the unit was faulty.

I needed somehow to restore to Factory Defaults, and reload a fresh copy of Windows from the Recovery partition on the SSD. I managed to succeed by using the hardware key combinations:

  • To power up to BIOS, hold down Volume – key and the power button
  • To power up to inbuilt diagnostics, hold down Volume + key and the power button.

Once I was able to start the diagnostics (by choosing the Windows Bootloader option) the Firmware concluded it needed to be recovered and provided a number of menu options – I picked the one where everything is reset to Factory Default – it also had the option of a reset but leaving user data untouched.

It successfully restored the Factory image, and then restarted, so I could set the tablet up again from scratch.

Moral of the story is even though it looked like it was a brick, it wasn’t, and it is now running as I’d hope. I won’t attempt another WiFi connection at that Coffee Shop. Wonder what would have happened if I wasn’t an IT guy and knew what steps to follow.  An RMA claim followed by denial that there was an issue ?

 

The Nuclear thing

Yet again the risks of using fission reactors to produce electricity is clearly shown.

Whatever possessed the Japanese to build so many nuclear reactors on a homeland so prone to seismic events is beyond comprehension.  In some ways, they deserve all the impacts that this fundamentally flawed decision will lead to.

As an exercise in risk management it is clearly a failure as you wouldn’t need to be a genius to know that often tsunami and earthquake goes together.  So, for convenience and cost saving purposes they located the plants close the coast.

Like the rest of the world I hope the Japanese engineers are able to bring the whole debacle under some sort of control without lasting consequence to the local environment from radiation fallout.

Hopefully this will provide further impetus for developing solutions to base-load power generation that is environmentally neutral.  Coupled with a review of the energy needs in society and the way it is consumed by the industrial and the domestic sectors should assist in aligning energy supply and demand.

WikiLeaks attacks the Status Quo

Julian Assange could well go down in history as a man who changes the world forever.

Wikileaks is a demonstration of the power of the nascent cybocracy movement.  Based on the principles of free exchange of transparent information, and the way in which it empowers every person who lives in a parliamentary democracy with a truthful understanding of the global society and its personal impact on them.

I can understand the virulent reaction in some sections of the US Government to the release of these cables. In a curious way, Wikileaks is a kind of information 9/11, where the US Government is exposed in all its manipulative duplicity and is seen to be powerless to contain the damage. In such circumstances they go feral, with grown men and women exhibiting all the self restraint of a 5 year old playground bully.  This over reaction only goes to further demonstrate to the citizens of other nations how untrustworthy, self serving, hypocritical and deluded the US Government really is.

Attempts by the US Government to undertake a rendition of Julian Assange to Gitmo and all that that implies will leave the world angry and perplexed that a nation that used to be a model of good behaviour could sinker lower than an alcoholic on skid row.

What value now is Barack Obama, another Kevin Rudd, lot’s of promise, but no real skill in great political policy achievements.  Poor compromises that penalise the ordinary people and enrich the wealthy and the large multinational corporations.  Wikileaks represents a clear and mortal danger to him and these other vested interests.  So they are marshaling forces to choke off its supply of funds, discredit the concept of free and truthful information, and harass the people behind an organisation that is merely the messenger of truth.

The political system in the US seems to be at an inflection point now, as it realises with massive fear and trepidation that it has waning influence now that it is the hands of its Chinese Bankers.  It is now debasing its currency to reduce the real value of the debt it needs to repay, while at the same time lecturing the world on the virtues of market capitalism.  This new and revealing outbreak of truth and transparency is just another nail in the coffin of its fading empire and diminishing global influence.