Archive for the ‘PSA-Types’ Category

WEP Cracking

Posted on November 22nd, 2009 in Downloads, Dumb Things That Happen, Linux, PSA-Types, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on WEP Cracking

So, in the interest of those of us who are poor college students and cannot afford good interwebs, or those of us who just moved into a new apartment and can’t get that internet up in time….
Here are the moderately idiot proof ways of cracking the WEP encrypted network of your neighbors, whom you should bake cookies for and give to them for their kind supplying of internets.
SpoonWep in BackTrack3. Boot into Backtrack 3, KDE Menu>Backtrack>Radio Network>Analysis>80211>cracking>SpoonWep
You need the channel and the BSSID which you can get from BackTrack>Radio Network Analysis>80211>Analyser>Kismet

What this pretty much means…DON’T USE WEP to encrypt your wifi! It keeps no one out, and its pretty much a useless and empty gesture.
Cheers and remember those cookies!

Sweet Dreams…

Posted on April 26th, 2009 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, PSA-Types, Sleep/Naptime!, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

If you live with several people or in close proximity, such as dorms, apartments, etc, you generally will encounter at some point in time the problem of someone being loud when your trying to go to sleep. It could be intentional, but most of the time, its completely unintentional and could probably be easily fixed by popping out and asking nicely. However, if its not, or if you just don’t feel like it, Sweet Dreams can gradually lower your system volume based on a schedule.
What does this mean?
Your trying to go to sleep, set Sweet Dreams to decrease the volume on your computer over the course of 30 minutes, stopping at the final volume of 5%, and tell it to shutdown afterwards. Well…that’s exactly what it will do.
It does it quite gradually, and I really did fall asleep without even noticing that it had gotten so quiet. Very useful if you have some music you can fall asleep to, but don’t feel like having to turn it off or listening to it all night.
Check it out: Sweet Dreams

Weather Reports

Posted on September 19th, 2008 in Dumb Things That Happen, Lacking a Category, PSA-Types, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Weather Reports

You know, sometimes the weather report is just too much. You really don’t need to know that theres a 39.8% chance of rain with a standard deviation of 2, that the relative humidity is going to be 60%, and that, in the next hour, its going to change by 3 percent.
Instead…umbrella today? tells you a very simple thing. Do you need an umbrella today?
It can even send you text messages on the days you need an umbrella (kind of unnecessary).
Kind of useless, but heh, on some days, you just don’t want to mess around.
Check it out:

Interesting Tip for the Summer

Posted on June 29th, 2008 in Hands On/Build This!, PSA-Types | Comments Off on Interesting Tip for the Summer

Kind of out of the range of this blog, but then again, nothing is out of range! *plans a post on the complex math behind string theory*
but, anyways…apparently, a lot of fans can turn both counterclockwise and clockwise. And furthermore…theres a difference between the two settings 😛
Since its summer, Simple Dollar recommends that you use counterclockwise in the summer. The way to verify that it IS right, other than staring at the fan of course, is to stand underneath it and feel if a breeze appears immediately after you turn it on. This makes the most sense during the summer of course. In the winter however, you spin it clockwise. The angle of the fins pushes air upwards, which will allow the cold air to circulate with the warmer air up by the ceiling. Of course, weigh the cost savings of having the fan turned on vs the heating benefit.

Cheers, and thanks to The Simple Dollar

Zac Web Browser for Austistic Children

Posted on June 5th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Labs/Experiments, PSA-Types, Site of the Day, Tech News | 1 Comment »

John LsSieur had trouble finding good software and computer programs for his autistic grandson, Zac. Using a computer (and the internet) was just too fustrating. Zach threw the mouse in fustration. So John built a custom interface. And its free to use or download – for anyone who wants it.

“The Zac Browser greatly simplifies the experience of using a computer.
It seals off most Web sites from view, to block violent, sexual or
otherwise adult-themed material. Instead it presents a hand-picked
slate of choices from free, public Web sites, with an emphasis on
educational games, music, videos and visually entertaining images, like
a virtual aquarium. . .

. . .the Zac Browser disables extraneous keyboard buttons like “Print
Screen” and turns off the right button on the mouse. That eliminates
commands most children don’t need anyway, and it reduces the chance an
autistic child will lose confidence after making a counterproductive
click.Children using the Zac Browser select activities by
clicking on bigger-than-normal icons, like a soccer ball for games and
a stack of books for “stories.””

Read the Boston Globe article here

Get the Zac Browser here

Microsoft says Safari on Windows isn’t safe

Posted on June 3rd, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Dumb Things That Happen, PSA-Types, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News, Viruses spyware and other nasty things | Comments Off on Microsoft says Safari on Windows isn’t safe

“The Windows version of Safari has a bug that’s been dubbed the “carpet
bombing” flaw. It would allow a Web site to place an infinite number of
shortcuts on a user’s desktop — the default download location in the
Windows version — effectively covering the screen with links to
potentially harmful Web sites or code. The same flaw exists in the Mac
version, except that the default download location in the Mac OS is the
user’s downloads folder.”


Security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani, who found this flaw, contacted Apple about it, and got this reply :

…the ability to have a preference to “Ask me before downloading
anything” is a good suggestion. We can file that as an enhancement
request for the Safari team. Please note that we are not treating this
as a security issue, but a further measure to raise the bar against
unwanted downloads. This will require a review with the Human Interface
team. We want to set your expectations that this could take quite a
while, if it ever gets incorporated.”


So, apparently, Apple doesn’t feel that this could be harmful in any way.
What would you think if Safari let your desktop look like this, and get covered in spam, viruses, and other junk?
(Image from Dhanjani)

“Now, Microsoft has issued a security alert
regarding the flaw, calling it a “blended threat.” Microsoft isn’t
supplying technical details about just how the threat works, but does
provide some basics:

What causes this threat?
combination of the default download location in Safari and how the
Windows desktop handles executables creates a blended threat in which
files may be downloaded to a user’s machine without prompting, allowing
them to be executed. Safari is available as a stand-alone install or
through the Apple Software Update application.

What might an attacker use this function to do?
attacker could trick users into visiting a specially crafted Web site
that could download content to a user’s machine and execute the content
locally using the same permissions as the logged-on user. “



Posted on May 16th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Downloads, Dumb Things That Happen, PSA-Types, Tech News, Viruses spyware and other nasty things | 2 Comments »

For those of our readers in England, heres a post for you guys. Firstly, before we start, if you’ve been reading this blog all this time, we apologize for spelling words in the US way, although some of the spellings make more sense without the -u- in them..but, enough about that.

If you live in the UK, most likely, your ISP is BT and have had dealings with Virgin Media. Chances are…you have a program installed on your computer called Phorm which sits at your computer and reports browsing activity and sends it back to the company. This is such a ridiculous piece of software, that really, if it got installed on my system, I would be writing rant after rant. Instead, however, theres AntiPhormLite, which is a program for XP and Vista that runs in the background generating fake browsing activity. To save up bandwidth, it only loads the text of a page. Pretty much, it lets you do whatever you want, and screws with the company who installed it. As i quote:

Just run it and go and watch TV if you want. Someone somewhere will
assume you like to shop for red shoes and caravans and be rubbing their
hands with glee.

Brilliant! Thank you AntiPhorm

PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

Posted on March 10th, 2008 in How To's, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, PSA-Types, Science!, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | Comments Off on PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

I’m not going to list reasons why you should wear your seatbelt.
I’m simply going to show you what happens when you DON’T wear your seatbelt.

If you’d like to have an impression of your face on the steering wheel at 30mph, thats up to you.

And, if you must have them :

In 2005, 43,443 people were killed in the estimated 6,159,000
police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, 2,699,000 people were
injured, and 4,304,000 crashes involved property damage only.

It is estimated that seatbelts saved 15,632 lives in 2005.


Seventy-three percent of the passenger vehicle occupants who were in a
fatal crash in 2002 and were restrained survived; of those who were not
restrained, only 43 percent survived. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts
2002, October 2003]

In fatal crashes, 73 percent of all
vehicle occupants who were totally ejected were killed. Only 1 percent
of restrained occupants were ejected. Safety belts are effective in
preventing total ejections. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts 2002 –
Overview, July 2003]

In 2000, safety belts prevented nearly 11,900 fatalities and 325,000
serious injuries, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost
productivity, and other injury-related costs. [NHTSA, Economic Impact
of Crashes, May 2002]
In the year 2000, the total economic cost of
motor vehicle crashes in the United States was $230.6 billion. This
represents an amount equal to 2.3 percent of the gross domestic
product, or $820 for every person living in the United States. [NHTSA,
Economic Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

The lifetime economic cost to society for each fatality is over
$977,000. Over 80 percent of this amount is attributable to lost
workplace and household productivity. [NHTSA, Economic Impact of
Crashes, May 2002]

[Ed. comment – Even if YOU wear your seatbelt, and your buddy DOESN’T]

Overall, those not directly involved in crashes pay for nearly
three-quarters of all crashcosts, primarily through insurance premiums,
taxes and travel delay. In 2000 these costs, borne by society rather
than by crash victims, totaled over $170 billion. [NHTSA,Economic
Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

Stats from THIS page.

Naps May Help Boost Memory

Posted on January 15th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, PSA-Types, Science!, Site of the Day, Sleep/Naptime!, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on Naps May Help Boost Memory

Although not exactly a computer tech post, I think this is at least just as important, if not more so 🙂
Besides, a computer is only as good as the commands and programs that the end users tries to run on it.

“New research conducted by brain researcher Avi Karni of the University
of Haifa in Israel explores the possibility that naps help lock in
sometimes fleeting long-term memories. A 90-minute daytime snooze might
help the most, the study finds.

“We still don’t know the exact mechanism of the memory process that
occurs during sleep, but the results of this research suggest the
possibility that it is possible to speed up memory consolidation,”
Karni said. “In the future, we may be able to do it artificially.””

Read more about these promising developments, and what you can currently do to help improve your memory, and feel better and more awake, here :

PSA : Blogathon 2007

Posted on July 24th, 2007 in How To's, PSA-Types, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | Comments Off on PSA : Blogathon 2007

Okay, time to link to something different for a post. . .
(it’s been a while since we had a real PSA)

Its almost time for the Blogathon 2007. The idea behind the blogathon is a 24-hr marathon fundraiser of blogging every 30 minutes for 24 hrs straight, to raise money for charities around the world. You support the people you know doing it by either giving them blog topics to blog about, or by sponsoring their blog and making a $$$ donation.
Read more about it here

Flashladybug isn’t participating this year (a bit of a lack of time, and I only found out about this yesterday. . . .), but we might next year, and I know someone who IS participating this year, raising money and blogging for the National Kidney Foundation. Her blog is here
If you want to search for other charities to donate to, take a look at the list here