Wednesday, February 18, 2009

T-Mobile Dance

I could bring up Intelligent Design here, but I won't. Let me just say that, if this doesn't put a smile on your face, well, God bless you. Be sure to watch in high quality.

T-Mobile Dance on YouTube

Monday, February 09, 2009

G1 photography with Snap Photo

This photo of my dining room was taken with the G1 using Snap Photo rather than the default Camera app. Post processing in Pic Say.

Snap Photo uses the G1's accelerometer (!) to provide digital image stabilization. Seems to work. Keep in mind that this was a low-light challenge. No flash, no sunlight, just one incandescent light.

I adjusted saturation in Pic Say but color in the original shot was better than I expected because Snap Photo let me adjust the WB.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A better browser for Android: Steel

Haven't gotten the 1.1 firmware update yet, but I am happy to have discovered something really good for Android: the Steel browser.

Steel has a touch-screen interface, including an on-screen keyboard. I still don't want to type a lot on a virtual keyboard, but it's very useful to have the option for, say, entering a url or password.

Steel also displays pages really nicely. I think the Opera mobile browser is downright ugly. The default browser built into Android - NOT Chrome, as I understand - displays pages quite well. Steel just does better.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

You don't have to be a tech genius to outsmart malware

The other day while Penelope was surfing the Web, she suddenly saw a scary screen saying the computer was infected and asking her to take action. She handed the computer to me. Here's what we saw:

Notice that the presentation looks "official," but is in fact completely generic. Next we got the following messages:

Behind the dialog in front there is a dialog with the even more official-looking title "Windows Security Alert," showing a list of allegedly infected files.

It looks official. But wait a minute. Does Windows ever display the hierarchy of my hard disk in Firefox? If Windows ever wants to use a browser, it launches Internet Explorer.

The other strange thing here is, the front dialog - the one that's telling me to download Antivirus 360 - is coming from the web page antimalwarescaner-dot-com. (WARNING. Don't go there!) I use Microsoft's OneCare to protect my Windows computers. If malware is detected on on my computers, I expect to get an alert from Microsoft OneCare - not from some web page I've never heard of before.

In short, I knew that I didn't want to say okay to these warnings. Instead of clicking OK, I clicked the red "x" to close the window. Unfortunately, my efforts to cancel these dialogs were ineffective. The dialogs kept popping up. That was an additional clue that something was wrong and this not a valid alert.

When this happened on my wife's computer, I ended up holding down the powerkey for 10 seconds to shut down the computer. Two days later, the same thing happened on my computer, and I got out by hitting cntl-alt-delete and quitting Firefox.

A little Web research fairly quickly explained that the problem is due to a piece of malware called Antivirus 2009. It's a piece of "rogue security software" that "hijacks" your web session and redirects you to somewhere you don't want to go. Rogue security software is like a bad cop. Hijacking is like, well, like being hijacked. Ever landed on a porn site by accident? You got hijacked. Anyway, I knew that I didn't want to GO to the web site identified as the source of the alerts, so instead, I Googled it. That search led me to this page, which in turn referred me to the excellent site I downloaded Malwarebytes's freeware utility Anti-Malware, installed it, let it update its database, and ran the default quick scan. No virus found. Whew.

What's the moral here? You don't have to be a tech genius to outsmart malware. If you don't know where something coming into your computer is coming from, block it. Don't open email attachments unless you know who sent them and what they contain. And don't let web sites do anything to your computer unless you're really sure you trust the site. In short,
  1. stop
  2. take a deep breath
  3. THINK
Oh, and it's not a bad idea to have good security software installed.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Speed Dial add-on for Firefox 3

Speed Dial - Gallery

One of the things I liked about Google's new browser, Chrome, is the way it displays thumbnails of my most frequently visited pages when I open a new tab. But there was a lot to dislike about Chrome, as well. First, Chrome displayed 9 thumbnails only. Second, it didn't ever seem to update them. Third, I had no control over what thumbnails were displayed. And I should add, fourth, Chrome doesn't support add-ons.

Which is why I still use Firefox 3 for 90% of my browsing. One of Firefox's biggest advantages is that it supports add-ons. Among my favorite add-ons are FireFTP (a full-featured ftp client built right into Firefox), Deng Google Bookmarks, Tiny Menu and Scribefire. Scribefire is a blog editor: I'm using it right now to write this post, because it's a better editor than the one built into Blogger. Anyway, my newest favorite add-on for Firefox is Speed Dial.

Speed Dial displays thumbnails of web sites, much as Google Chrome does. You can load the thumbnails any time you want - or you can configure Speed Dial so the thumbnails are loaded when you create new tabs and/or windows. Click a Speed Dial thumbnail, the page loads, just as in Chrome.

But with Speed Dial, I can have more than nine thumbnails. I can assign pages to any location in the thumbnail list. Note in the screen shot that I've configured Speed Dial to display 16 locations, and some of the locations are, at the moment, unassigned. Better still, I can have more than one list. Note above the thumb nails that I've configured two different lists, my A list, and a B list with less important sites. Finally, with Speed Dial, I don't have to view the thumbnails at all, because Speed Dial allows me to type a site's location number to load the site. In other words, to get to my Gmail account, I just type cntl-3. To get to The Online Photographer blog (one of my favorites), I type cntl-1-5, that is, I hold down the cntl key and type a 1 and then a 5. Brilliant.

About Me

I am an event photographer living in Dallas, Texas.