Conficker - Should Mac Users Be Worried?


So I was watching 60 Minutes last night (I can still hear that tick, tick, tick, tick, tick of the clock....and I am still amazed that Andy Rooney is still around!).

Their lead story was regarding internet viruses, particularly the Conficker virus that is supposedly just sitting dormant on many, many hosts waiting to be triggered.

There are rumors that this virus is going to be triggered on April 1st -- of course, April Fool's Day. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. But it got me thinking......

Should Mac users be concerned?

From what Leslie Stahl was reporting on 60 minutes last night, all internet users should be freaking out about this virus. Maybe that is the case. I don't know, really. I thought this was primarily a Windows virus. But a Symantec VP in the 60 minutes piece thinks that Norton will be able to help all users.

So, are you Mac users running out and buying Norton AntiVirus for the Mac? Do you still think that Mac users don't need to be worried about anti-virus software?

I have a feeling I know where most people fall on this debate ;-)


Choosing an Online Backup Service - Revisited

[Update 3: After tweeting Backblaze about me not being able to use their service because of no Mac support -- I get a reply inviting me to their private beta. Thanks Backblaze! But now my decision is that much harder :-)]

[Update 2: I just realized that Backblaze does not currently have a publicly available Mac version. That rules them out, for now]

[Update: I have received two more candidate possibilities from Twitter of all places. ScottBourne of Mac fame recommended BackJack which looks interesting, but maybe a bit overkill for me. SpiderOak_Inc must have seen my posts and recommended SpiderOak, and, while I was wary and had never heard of them, their service is quite compelling, especially the zero knowledge policy. And here I thought I had almost made my decision].

Back in December, I wrote about my desire to choose an online backup service. Since then, I am still without a true service (I am doing some hodgepodge things right now to give me some semblance of offsite backup; but nothing very formal).

The desire to choose one is still there; and for whatever reason, I really wanting to choose one like right now.

I have narrowed my choices down to 4:

  • Carbonite (they finally have a Mac client; plus I can support Leo Laporte and TWiT since Carbonite sponsors Leo's awesome and free podcasts)
  • Backblaze (they are less known, but get great reviews; plus their front page "ad" is kinda cool :-) ---- Mac version currently closed to public, but I have beta invite)
  • SafeCopy (I believe they are quite new, but people have given them thumbs up; but are they too new??)
  • DropBox (There free service is actually quite compelling; I use it....but I think they are the costliest of the bunch here when it comes to getting more storage)

[Mozy -- you are out because you still cannot handle encrypted files from what I understand -- prove me wrong!]

Let me give you my current thought process:

Use the free version of DropBox to share files between my Windows laptop and my MacBook Pro, and then use Carbonite to backup offsite. I would need DropBox because Carbonite and many others only allow you to register one computer for backup, so I would use DropBox to move files I want backed up from my Windows computer over to the Mac (which will be my primary, registered computer). But, something like a SafeCopy would allow me to have unlimited computers registered because their pricing is based on storage.

So help me out. I would appreciate it. I would especially appreciate any representatives from the above companies coming by and selling me on their service.

Thanks!


Choosing a Windows Web Host Is Difficult - It's A Jungle Out There

UPDATE: I added 2 more hosts to my short list

A friend of mine is looking for a host for his website. His website is old school, with a bit of original ASP and, now, SQL Server 2005 (it was....gasp....SQL 7 until I converted it).

Anyway, his requirements are light. Not a lot of traffic. Not a lot of size needs (e.g., the database is < 100 MB). But given there is a data need for inventory management and entry, I need to be diligent on helping him choosing the proper host.

I think for my friend, a shared host will work just fine. Other than the possible security benefits and control, I cannot justify the cost of going VPS (and certainly not dedicated).

But it is a jungle out there trying to choose the best web host. Trust me, I had a lot of heartache choosing my current host.

How do you know which one to choose? Reputation is actually my number one factor, even over cost (well, to be fair, I know when the cost is outrageous). The problem comes when there are multiple companies with good reputations. Then how do you pick?

Here is my short list of possible hosts:

I actually have put one of those ahead of the other 5, and am planning to try them out. I won't say yet who that is because I want to give them a whirl first.

But, I would appreciate any recommendations from you on who to choose or avoid, especially from my list above. Anecdotal evidence would be most welcomed. First hand accounts are the best aides to decision making.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance


Google Chrome is "Officially" Released; and Gmail is still in Beta?

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Well, talk about interesting. As seen in this article, Google has dropped the beta label from its web browser, called Chrome.

  Why do I find this interesting? Well, a product coming out of beta into release is actually kinda normal in software development. But, I have been using Gmail for over 4 years, and it is still in Beta!! I even wrote about this before.

  Something tells me that Gmail is a little more stable than Chrome at this point in time. Maybe I am wrong. Heck, though, there isn’t even a Mac version of Chrome yet! :-)

How I Resolved the “There Was A Problem with this Installation. Windows Live Suite Was Not Installed” Catastrophic Error

So I wanted to install the latest version of Windows Live Mail. I figured OK, that should be easy. (Note: I am running Vista x64 w/ SP 1)

I went to http://www.windowslive.com/Explore/Mail and clicked on the Get It Now Button

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then I clicked on Download Now

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After clicking on Run for the Windows Live Installer, accepting the agreement and allowing it to try to start installing, I got this:

 

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I was thinking what the heck is this. I tried again, and same thing.

So I did what every person would do in this situation – GOOGLE!

Doing a search with these terms:

"There was a problem with this installation. Windows Live Suite was not installed" "Catastrophic Failure"

yields many results with help options like:

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After thinking about this and really not wanting to go through a workaround for something that I think doesn’t require a workaround, I realized that I already did have Windows Live Writer installed. As such, I figured I would look into my Control Panel Add/Remove Programs.

And here is what I found:

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Ahh Ha!

Right click on it and you will get an option to uninstall or change Windows Live Beta.

I then choose Install or uninstall

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and click continue.

Then you get to a window that shows you all of the programs that you have not installed. And you click a check box to the one(s) you want to install, and it works like a charm!

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I had already installed Mail Beta before I wrote this post; that is why this is checked.

There are two things that I am still unclear on:

  1. Why did the original installer still not work? Was it because I already had an installer available locally?
  2. Did I install the latest version of the Windows Live Mail Beta? I think so according to my research, but I am only 99.9% confident.

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I hope this helps at least one person. Let me know if you have any questions.

Boot Camp 2.1 Update Gave Me Hell!

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I have a MacBook Pro, 2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM laptop. I can dual boot either into Mac OS X Leopard or Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit via the Boot Camp technology provided by Apple.

So here I am minding my own business in Windows Vista, when Apple's Software Update prompt appears saying a new version of Boot Camp is available, 2.1. I figure, cool, maybe it fixes a few problems and it is only a .1 release (I am currently running 2.0), let me go ahead and download it.

Well, that was mistake #1.

The update failed. I tried downloading in manually, and running it failed. Then I noticed some funky things going on with my current Boot Camp installation, like what happens when an installation gets 1/2 way through but didn't finish.

I was like "Oh no! That's not good"

So needless to say I spent the better half of the weekend reinstalling Windows Vista Ultimate from scratch and I am keeping Boot Camp 2.0 until Apple gets this whole installation thing figured out.

I am surprised Apple would release something that has had so many problems; I generally have had a good experience with them.

Please release Boot Camp 2.1.1 soon Apple!

I recommend staying with Boot Camp 2.0 until things stabilize a bit. I sure am.