Yearly Archives: 2008

Wireless Security #2

Wireless-security

Last week we spoke about the need for Wireless Network security and we follow on this week by covering the different standards available.To set up or alter your wireless security settings you will require the manual for your router as the configuration process varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.This should have been provided in the box in either paper format or on a CD-ROM but if you don’t have either to hand then a copy should be freely available from the manufacturers website.

WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) – Introduced back in 1999, WEP is still one of the most popular encryption protocols.Despite the fact it has several serious weaknesses and can be readily cracked in minutes with freely available software, it is the default choice presented to a user when setting up security on a wireless network which probably explains its continued popularity.

The standard is so weak because it relies Read the rest

Wireless Security Part 2

Wireless-Network

This week I was in a moral dilemma; we have just moved in to the new house and haven’t yet got a phone line or broadband connection.Writing and sending my Click article does require a certain amount of Internet access and so resigned myself to travelling back to the office at ten o’clock on this Tuesday evening unless someone out there was kind enough to be broadcasting a wireless signal that I could hitch on to.

Whilst I theoretically know how to crack a wireless network with minimal encryption, I decided that this could be considered a little un-neighbourly and so drew a line by saying I would only make a connection in the unlikely event that there was someone broadcasting with absolutely no security installed whatsoever.It turns out that what I assumed would be an unlikely possibility was actually surprisingly obtainable; as I sat in my conservatory I quickly Read the rest

iPhone Part 2

iphone

Whilst I dedicated an article to the iPhone when it was first announced I haven’t touched on the subject since.This was until my Sony handset broke a few weeks back and for what seems like an eternity whilst I wait for it to be repaired, I’ve been left using a four year old girly pink clamshell Samsung phone borrowed off my girlfriends sister.

The fact I’m now using a handset which I’m afraid to use in public for fear of ridicule has somehow made me appreciate how much of a statement your mobile phone makes about you; similar to the watch on your wrist or the shoes on your feet.Whilst I have never considered such things particularly important and would never advocate living your life by third party perspective, I doubt I would ever go out wearing a watch won from an arcade grab machine or a pair of plastic Read the rest

Mahalo

Mahalo

I came across an interesting search engine the other day which appears to be heading in a completely different direction to practically anything else available at present.As you probably know, search engines function by using crawlers that search the Internet endlessly picking up new and revised content and then cataloguing the whole lot neatly in a central database.When a user types in a phrase, the search engine refers to this database and, by using a number of algorithms, returns the sites that it feels most appropriate.

The relatively new search engine Mahalo (Hawaiian for ‘Thank-You’) puts a spin on proceedings by pitching itself as a human powered search engine.Of course this doesn’t mean that whenever you perform a search that humans immediately start searching the net for relevant material, but rather that contributors create their own results pages which are then returned when a specific search is performed.The idea verges Read the rest

Microsoft Photosynth

Microsoft-Photosynth

I do like innovative new ideas, especially if they come from an unlikely source such as Microsoft; despite being one of the largest and most successful companies on the planet, they do have a reputation for sticking to a tried and tested formula rather than risking money on groundbreaking new ideas.

It is especially pleasing therefore when Microsoft create something a little fresh and exciting so this week we will be looking at Microsoft Photosynth; although currently in its infancy I believe the technology could become quite special if it is allowed to mature.

To get started you should download a small file from https://www.bing.com/photosynth/ which will install both the environment creation software as well as a browser plug in that will allow you to view both your work and that of others online.The idea is that if you provide the application with a number of photos taken from different Read the rest

Google Chrome

google-chrome

I’m considering giving up my reviews of Internet browsers in the future; things are changing far too quickly to keep abreast of developments and it seems once I’ve got on top of things the entire playing field changes dramatically and I have to start again from scratch.Some might argue that I spend too much time on the subject of web browsers but due to the huge differences between them, along with the large amount of time the average user spends using one, I would have to disagree.

It was always surprising that given Googles’ prominence in the Search Engine market, they hadn’t created a browser of their own but rather chosen to focus their software on themes un-associated with their core business activity; Earth, Picasa and Sketchup to name just a few.At the beginning of last week however, completely out of the blue, they announced Google Chrome (www.google.com/chrome) Read the rest

Money Saving

money-saving

I hate the phrase ‘credit crunch’ and actually take offense whenever anyone around me uses it.As a society we appear to be able to talk the country in to and out of financial difficulty particularly easily and without fail, whenever we hear a little bit of bad news the entire nation takes steps to make it rapidly worse.I’m going to have to be careful not to get on my soapbox here but I remember the problems with Northern Rock some months ago when after a leakage of bad financial news customers queued around the block to draw there money out which resulted in the group being bought to their knees in literally days.

We can certainly give the economy the strongest chance of bouncing back by trying to stick to existing spending patterns as much as possible rather than putting our lives on hold or changing our lifestyles whenever the Read the rest

Googleplex

googleplex

I like to think that working at Refresh can be an enjoyable experience however after reading through an article featuring the Google campus at work this morning; I feel our employee benefits package may be woefully inadequate.The article focused on the Googleplex complex which is situated a few miles from San Francisco bay and forms the headquarters for one of the most powerful companies in the technology industry.

Although comparatively dwarfed by Microsofts Redmond complex, Googleplex currently houses two million square feet of office space with an additional one million feet planned for upcoming expansion.It is home to approximately 8,000 workers and due to the typically young age of its workforce it has been likened to a college campus.

Looking purely at the physical characteristics, the Google complex includes:

-A number of free cafes that will serve food at any time of the day; these cafes between them serve Read the rest

Defragmentation

defragmentation

One of the easiest ways to gain a little extra speed from your computer is to defragment the hard drive every now and again.As your computer uses files it has a habit of splitting them up in to different clusters of data on your hard drive which results in something called fragmentation - rather than storing everything in a neat sequential order your data gets dotted around the place.The result of this is that when your computer comes to use a file that has become fragmented it has to access from several places on the disk which results in slower loading times.

A disk defragmenter is designed to organise your hard disk back in to some kind of order so that your computer has to do less work and hence becomes more responsive.I have in the past talked about this subject but made the mistake of suggested the defrag utility Read the rest

Data Formats

8-inch-floppy

Whilst arranging my old belongings in preparation for moving home I came across an old computer cassette that I created years ago for a covertape which was to be given away with a fanzine I used to edit when I was younger.The publication focused on the retro Commodore 64 computer and every issue we would put either a 5¼” floppy disc or cassette (depending on whether or not the customer owned a floppy drive) filled with game demos on the front cover.

With this standard audio cassette filled with ancient games in my hand I glanced across at a BluRay disc on my desk and realised quite how far storage media had progressed in recent years.At the time I thought that this week it would be a nice idea to have a brief stroll down memory lane together to recap on the formats of yesteryear:

Punch Cards – Whilst they Read the rest

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