Windows Vista has a major security problem..

Go figure, as soon as I get off my lazy butt and install my copy of Microsoft Vista Ultimate one of my friends sends me a link to some (as he calls it) disheartening news.

Apparently two researchers,  Mark Dowd of IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Alexander Sotirov, of VMware Inc., have found a hole in the way Vista’s security system works. The hole in general is that they took advantage of Vista’s framework and architecture and are now able to do basically anything they want with a Vista system.

“The genius of this is that it’s completely reusable,” said Dino Dai Zovi, a well-known security researcher and author. “They have attacks that let them load chosen content to a chosen location with chosen permissions. That’s completely game over.

Source: SearchSecurity.TechTarget.com

The sad thing is that Microsoft has a very large paid staff who should be able to code better and smarter than this, but it simply doesn’t happen that way. I think they should just open up their source and let the public pick at it until it’s bullet proof like it should be.

Thank’s Phred/fearphage for the link. It’s a very weird coincidence that I hadn’t thought about installing Vista for the longest time and then the day after a major security discovery I install it, lol. Sounds like I’m asking for my data and information to be stolen, haha.

Windows Vista Ultimate: The last Microsoft “Ultimate” I’ll buy

This is the last thing that I will be buying from Microsoft that is supposed to be the best possible package. Honestly, I don’t even use the BitLocker feature. I bought Ultimate because I thought that there were going to be a lot of “Extras”…but I was clearly wrong.

I bought Vista pretty much right after it came out and I really enjoyed using it at first just because I thought to myself, “Man…this is the new Windows…how awesome!”, but now that I got tired of it crashing and I switched to Ubuntu for about a year and a half….well, I’m just not impressed anymore.

There really weren’t any “Extras” available when I installed Ultimate the first time, but I expected to find a list of available “Extras” when I installed it last night (over a year later).

What a freakin’ scam! Microsoft should be sued for this! Seriously! There’s basically nothing better with ultimate, nothing! I am glad to be able to run the “Best” version of Windows along side what is in my opinion one of the best operating systems ever…Ubuntu. It’s interesting to see how I work differently in each operating system and how the system can in some cases control you rather than you controlling the system.

I find myself being controlled more when I’m in Windows than I do in Linux, which is weird to me because I used to assume that you couldn’t do much in Linux other than hack and code things. Linux has really evolved these days though! Linux can honestly be as easy to use as Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS X.

In fact, you can even make your installation of Linux look and feel exactly like Windows or Mac if you want. It’s actually very easy and the familiar feel alone will increase the ease of use with not just Linux…but you and your computer.

I find myself coding more efficiently and faster in Ubuntu than I can in Windows. I think the biggest thing that helps me and makes me faster is the fact that I can have so many workspaces and easily switch between them instead of clicking and hunting windows and tabs all the time.

I really like the visual upgrade that comes with Vista (compared to XP), but honestly it’s nothing more than XP with a new theme and optimized a little (or say they say it’s better??). I’ve actually heard buzz around the Internet for a long time now that XP runs games better and faster than Vista.

Well, one thing is for sure. Ubuntu and several other Linux distros use Compiz Fusion for the eye candy and I think they found the sweet spot when they decided to add them into the operating system the way they did. It’s amazing how an open source project like Ubuntu can be leaps and hurdles a head of Microsoft Windows, but at the same time it’s kind of expected that Microsoft isn’t going to ever use their money and power to just “Wow” us when they can just do enough to try to hold us.

It’s cheaper for them to just hold us than it is to run out of the “Wow” material too quickly and try to find something new and honestly most Windows users don’t even realize that the operating system *should be* so much better than it currently is.

Oh well, what are we going to do? Does Microsoft really listen anyway? I know Apple listens. It seems to me that Apple is really good at feeling around to see what users really want and not always just what they know of either. Apple is very innovative and they are good at making something new work very well. The key, I believe, to their success is the fact that they let their products mature before releasing them and they also push for reasonable release dates.

Microsoft had an unreasonably long delay between Windows XP and Windows Vista. Call it what you will, but I call it laziness. I think they just wanted to sit back and see how long the world would buy copies of Windows XP before we realized that everyone else was still progressing (Mac, Linux, etc.).

Microsoft definitely rushed Vista and even had to cut out several features or upgrades that were planned. One upgrade that I was really looking forward to was the new file system that Vista was supposed to have. The new file system, dubbed “Win FS”, was supposed to be worked into Vista, but was cancelled do to problems and delays on releasing Vista.

Why release a product that isn’t finished? Actually, bad question…no software is ever finished, only abandoned. Rather, why release a product for a release date and not for a maturity stage in the developmental process? Wouldn’t you want your products when they have reached a certain level instead of just reaching a certain age?

Sure it sucks waiting for updates and upgrades, but if Microsoft can’t get their employees to work faster then we should still just wait for a proper update. I don’t like downloading a browser or messenger that crashes all the time when they could have spent a little more time to iron out the kinks.

Vista is still using the file system NTFS that we probably all remember from XP. The thing you might not know is that NTFS was released along side Windows NT when I was 7 years old. Windows NT was more of a networking configuration anyways and never really hit the public much.

The point is that NTFS was released in 1993 and is now a little over 15 years old (to the public). Most Linux or UNIX platforms use ext3 which was released in 1999. That’s still 6 years newer than Microsoft’s! Apple has been looking into upgrading from HFS Plus, which was released in 1998, to a 2004 file system called ZFS.

If you want to look into these file systems and compare them then Wikipedia has a great page for that! I’m actually looking forward to ext4 which has some very good strengths, but it’s not exactly stable yet.

So for now I guess I must be content with Vista (it’s the best it will ever be I suppose) and just log back into Ubuntu when I need to. I seriously hope that Microsoft speeds up and releases something good soon so I can use my NC State privileges to get the latest operating system for free. Hope this very opinionated post was at least fun to read. 😉

Are you a fan of Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11

Well, if so then you have until November 1, 2008 to get a copy of it. After that, Windows 3.11 for Workgroups will no longer be available. It’s hard to understand why Microsoft has continued to support Windows 3.11 while trying so hard to get rid of Windows XP lately.

Windows 3.11 was released on August 11, 1993..which means that it has managed to pack in 15 years of support! Windows XP was released on October 25, 2001 and after only 7 years of support is now being pushed under the rug by Microsoft in an effort to help Vista gain more popularity and force Windows users to open their wallets to purchase what is in my opinion only worthy of being called a Service Pack for Windows XP. Windows XP will only be on sell while remaining supplies last. Currently most retailers still show signs of steady stock, but once it’s gone…well…it’s gone.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/jcoyne/…it-s-the-end-for-3-11.aspx

Mark Shuttleworth says Ubuntu can out-pretty Apple in two years

If you read my blog regularly then you will know that I’m a huge fan of Ubuntu Linux and Open Source projects! Just recently, the Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth called upon the open source community for a challenge that will help Ubuntu to rival the “pretty” operating system that is Macintosh.

Billionaire, cosmonaut and founder of the fast-growing Ubuntu Linux distribution Mark Shuttleworth dreams impossible dreams.

No, not a return to the stars. He believes in something that’s far harder for mortal open source engineers to achieve.

That dream? To produce a desktop more beautiful to ordinary users than legions of Apple programmers supping on the milk of chief exec Steve Jobs’ alleged brilliance are capable of producing. That includes a desktop not funded by a clutter of annoying banner or Flash-based ads, but paid for by subscription-based services.

Now you’re done dreaming, go home and code for the victory.

Source: TheRegister.co.uk

If you’ve followed Ubuntu at all from one release to another then you should know by now that it is a very fast pace Operating System. With updates being released on a six-month basis, it’s easy to see that the open source community is hard at work to bring Linux (not just Ubuntu) into the real world.

Linux has for a long time been viewed as an alternative operating system for geeks and not friendly enough for the average PC user. While that may have been true in the past, those beliefs are fair outdated.

With previous releases of Ubuntu, it was obvious that work was going into the core components and making sure everything “just worked.” Now, with Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, it is clear that progress has been made on making tasks easier to accomplish and minimizing the use of the terminal for average users. Installing a new application is as simple as it is in Windows. Just download the Debian file (*.deb) and double click it. An installer opens just like it would in Windows.

With more and more projects becoming open source, it’s no surprise that Ubuntu has become easier to use. The tools that you once couldn’t find are now included or are in the “Add/Remove” application for installations only a few clicks away.

Now that Ubuntu can be installed on basically every computer system and in most cases “just works” right after installation with very little necessary configurations, it’s time to work on the appearance and that’s just what they are doing.

If you have seen any screenshots of the next release, Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10, then you’ll notice that the default theme is darker and gives Ubuntu a whole new feel. I for one am usually a fan of brighter themes, just like the default theme in Ubuntu Hardy Heron, but there isn’t much that I can say about the new work that has been going into the appearance. I’m sure that it will be changing even more if their goal is to rival Apple, but they can’t do it without YOU.

If you can help develop then I’m sure you could contribute some to the project! If you don’t develop, but instead just use the operating system then they would definitely appreciate feedback and suggestions.

Bill Gates’ Last Day With Microsoft

As many of you may already know, today is the last day that Bill Gates will be working with Microsoft. He will be stepping down from his position with Microsoft and is currently the third-richest man in the world!

Microsoft will undoubtedly continue to prosper without Gates of course, but what he did to build and develop the company will be unmatched for the the rest of it’s existence. Although I’ve long since switched to open source platforms such as Ubuntu linux, I must respect the work and effort that he has put into building the corporate Microsoft that we know today.

While catching up in the news over the past few days, I came across a hilarious video featuring Bill Gates and several celebrities in a short skit. You should check it out!

Bill Gates will now be spending his time and work to contribute to charities. What a noble thing to do! I mean with his wealth and status he could do anything, but he chose a very respectable way to spend his retired time.

Microsoft Royale Theme (MCE)

Contents

  1. Brief
  2. Download
  3. Installation

Brief

This is a Microsoft Media Center theme for Windows XP that I packaged a while back. It adds a clean touch to Windows XP that should have been there in the first place.

If you like this theme then you can get it below. The installation instructions are listed below as well.

Download

Installation

  1. Download the zip package. The link is listed above.
  2. Unzip the archive to a folder.
  3. Open the folder that you extracted the zip file to.
  4. Select all of the files and folders and copy them using either “right click -> copy” or Ctrl+C.
  5. After copying the files, browse to the following folder:
    C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes
  6. Paste the files and folders that you copied into this folder.
  7. Now, right click on your desktop and select Properties.
  8. Open the Appearance tab.
  9. In the Windows and buttons list, change the selection to the item labeled Windows XP style that is not already selected. Now change it back to the first entry labeled the same thing.
  10. The Royale option will now be available in the Color Scheme list. Select it.
  11. Click OK and wait for the changes to take place!

Ubuntu: Mac OS X themed!

So my fiancée loves the way Mac computers look, but who doesn’t? They’re so clean and simple. Well, as much as I like the clean and simple look..I’m not dedicated enough to try to get OS X installed on her HP dv1000.

Don’t get me wrong, her laptop is a mean little machine (especially since I’ve been playing on it lately). The problem with installing OS X is that you have to hunt for all of the drivers and some of them you have to manually configure. Manually configuring in this case also means little to no resources online for many of the things you will have to configure.

There are a few decent places with information about getting Mac OS x86 installed on a non-Apple computer, but trust me…it’s not been simplified enough just yet. 😉

I tried installing OS X on my desktop about a year ago and ran into many complicated situations…so I did the next best thing. I installed Ubuntu! Now that I’ve had it installed and running for ~9-10 months I’m beginning to think this is the best!

So why would I install Linux on my system if I don’t want to manually configure everything? Okay, I don’t mind manually configuring something here and there. Today most Linux distros require very little manual configurations to run properly. Ubuntu literally required none!

The best thing about using Linux is that you can do anything with it! Having this in mind, I took a friend’s laptop (~5 months ago) and installed Ubuntu on it. After getting everything installed and updated I began to Macify it for her. I got a few things done here and there, but just recently I became more interested and began finishing some more of the conversion.

Now, there I’ve seen several screenshots where people have made almost pixel perfect copies of the Mac OS X environment. The screenshots here clearly show some faults, but overall they have the Mac feel going on!

I basically just searched around the web and found little tips here and there on how to get certain looks in Linux. The dock is Cairo-Dock. The web browser is actually Opera, which in Linux has the same skin as the Windows version, but I skinned with a Safari themed skin and altered the toolbar to get the address bar above the tabs.

You can click them for a larger image. I’ll try to post some finished product screenshots once I tidy up the menu bar a bit and add a few more Mac’ish ends. 😉

In the meantime, if you’d like to get started with any of this on your Linux box then you can navigate over to my forum topic with several helpful links to resources!

I’m planning to write a guide for this pretty soon that will step through each little detail for you, but if you can’t wait then go checkout the forum topic. The topic is in no means a tutorial or a guide, it’s really just a note/pastebin for my thoughts and work process, haha. A way for me to hold onto some information in a slightly organized fashion. 😀

Stay tuned for the guide in the near future!

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28 in CrossOver 6.2

Digsby LogoI recently tried to install Trillian Astra in Ubuntu using Wine 0.9.61 with no luck. I ran into several errors and am still working on straightening them out, but I think this could take quiet a bit of time.

Trillian LogoAfter googling for some clues and solutions, I came across a program called CrossOver and decided to give it a trial run. The test cases were Trillian Astra Build 78 and Digsby Build 28. I’ll go a bit into detail on the whole experiment with both test cases and let you know what does and doesn’t work.

Trillian Astra Build 78:
I’ve been wanting to get Trillian Astra running on my Linux box for a while now (since I was invited to alpha test with them), but have had little to no luck. The issues seem to almost always be related to the rendering of the application more than the functionality of it.

Please don’t ask me to send you the installer, for a link to the installer, or for a crack. If you want to use Trillian Astra then you can get in line like the rest of us have done to alpha test or you can wait for the public beta and final releases 😛

I started by downloading the latest version of Trillian Astra and right clicked the installer file and selected the option to ‘Open with “run with CrossOver”‘ (I know that sounds weird, but that’s what the menu option says, lol). During the installation process, I noticed that the graphics and overall rendering of the installer were a bit slow and delayed. Everything rendered in the installer, but you could see images load almost like watching an image load on a web page.

I was able to move through the installation steps with errors. Everything seemed to run fine with the installer, however, the installer is the type that is used by several different software developers who just bundle their software with this type of installer. So basically, the installer probably gets used more and therefore debugged more in order to run smoothly than individual applications that are installed with the installer program.

After the installation, Trillian Astra launched the log-in window. First off, the graphics were a bit off and rendering was a bit ugly, but it did work fine. I was able to enter my credentials and successfully log-in to the Astra service.


I think the over-all rendering was better when I tried this with Wine as I mentioned earlier. This window just looks terrible in it’s current state!

Now that I’ve successfully signed into the Astra service, Trillian went a head and grabbed my contact list and loaded the list into the messenger. This was all good and great, but the window turned out to be in a frozen state. I was unable to move the window, select any elements on the window, etc. It was basically a part of my background image.

After spending a few minutes trying to do something with Trillian Astra, I gave up and closed the application. I feel like, even though there are more elements that are visible on the contact window in CrossOver than there are in Wine, that it will be easier to debug and fix this application in Wine. It just seems like Wine was at least a little helpful with the errors it returned.

That’s as far as I could get with Trillian Astra in CrossOver. If you can get further and have any suggestions then please post them in the comments!

Digsby Build 28:
This was a rather disappointing installation. I opened the Digsby installation file with CrossOver and moved through the installation process with ease, except for a simple error message that warned about the python.dll library or something. I clicked “OK” and the installation continued and finished successfully.

Successfully completing an installation, however, doesn’t guarantee anything will work in Linux. 😛 After the installation I attempted to launch the Digsby application, but I was prompted with two different error prompts that were familiar.

Both of these errors were back to back and Digsby did not load at all. This was a mission failed sign. If you get past these error messages and at least get the log-in window then please post your steps in the comments and versions of applications used!

I immediately wanted to remove the application since it appeared that there was no hope, so I found the “Windows Applications” menu that CrossOver made for me and navigated to the uninstall menu item in the Digsby folder. I was impressed that the uninstaller seemed to work flawlessly and even opened a web page in my already open Opera browser upon completion. The page that was opened was the typical uninstall survey web page.

Conclusions:
CrossOver is developed pretty well, however, the applications that you come across and want to install have to be very popular applications, apparently, to work properly. Trillian was much closer to working in CrossOver 6.2.x than Digsby, but neither messenger was in a state worth suggesting to a friend to try.

For now, I’m unfortunately forced to stick with a messenger that is decent, but has never been cutting edge at anything. That messenger is of course Pidgin. Pidgin really isn’t a terrible messenger at all, but when you compare it to the messengers that are available for Windows and do a feature comparison…well, it’s just sad to say the least.

Trillian Astra Build 78 and Wine 0.9.61

I installed Trillian Astra Build 78 (I’m an alpha tester as well) via Wine 0.9.61 today and got a couple of errors. I’m using the very latest version of Wine and the very latest release of Trillian in this test. My operating system is Ubuntu 8.04 x86_64.

  1. ALSA seemed to be encountering some problems when I started Trillian since I had Rhythmbox playing in the background. I closed that and then restarted Trillian and got the following:
  2. dwmapi.dll error. I downloaded a copy from dll-files.com and configured Trillian Astra to use Windows XP settings and linked the dwmapi.dll library after placing it in the trillian install folder. The results were, Trillian Astra started and allowed me to sign-in to the astra service and launched the buddy list, but the rendering was terrible. It was un-useable. Then I started getting error pop-ups about explorer.exe that seemed to be related to:fixme:xrender:X11DRV_AlphaBlend not a dibsectionThey would only popup when I would move the mouse over Trillian Astra or the Trillian tray icon.

I’m looking further into this. Maybe there is another library that can be replaced. I’ll be back with some updates and hopefully screenshots of Trillian Astra working under Wine!

UPDATE:
I can’t seem to find anything useful searching google about most of these errors that Wine is returning in the console.

I’m still working on getting this running, however, the MSVCP90.dll library that is mentioned in the errors is not easy to understand. The dll is already available, as well as the events.dll library. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to let me know! Here is all I’ve got so far:


The rendering is still off, but at least it is legible. The buddy list window is a mesh of horrible rendering lines. It’s not clear enough to use. That’s the main thing that I’m working towards now. As long as the errors aren’t crashing Trillian, I can work towards getting it to render properly and then focus on catering to the warning errors.

Windows XP SP3 is set to release today!

For those of you who are still using Windows XP (if you haven’t already made the switch to Windows Vista or Ubuntu Linux :D), Service Pack 3 is set to release today. However, contrary to what you may have seen other blogs post about it, it is not set to include Internet Explorer 7. This seems to be floating around the Internet like crazy. I just wanted to get the facts straight on this one.

After digging through Google for a while I came across an official Microsoft document that blatantly states that Internet Explorer 7 will not be included in this update. If you scroll through the document and fine the section labeled “What Is In Service Pack 3“, you’ll see the new changes.

Further, Windows XP SP3 does not include
Windows Internet Explorer 7. For more information about Internet Explorer 7, visit
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/ie/default.mspx.

The source that I retrieved this information from can be found here (pdf).

I’ll just go a head and sum up the changes that you will see in Service Pack 3.

Basically, Service Pack 3 will contain all of the updates that have already been made available to you since the release of Service Pack 2 via Microsoft Update. According to the overview, the updates will include the following:

  • Service Pack 3 will not be adding many brand new feature that were released with the coming of Vista.
  • SP3 will include Network Access Protection (NAP) to help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of some of the new features in the Windows Server® 2008 operating system.
  • Windows XP SP3 does not include Windows Internet Explorer 7.
  • Microsoft® Management Console (MMC) 3.0
  • Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 (MSXML6)
  • Windows XP SP3 also includes a small list of previously unavailable functionality, including NAP and an update of Windows Product Activation. With this update, users will be able to enter their product key after installing Windows XP SP3 instead of during installation.
  • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) 2.5
  • IPsec Simple Policy Update for Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP
  • Digital Identity Management Service (DIMS)
  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) 2.1
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)
  • “Black Hole” Router Detection
  • Descriptive Security Options User Interface
  • Enhanced security for Administrator and Service policy entries
  • Microsoft Kernel Mode Cryptographic Module

Their Summary on the overview is as follows:

Windows XP SP3 combines all previously released performance, security, and stability updates. It also
provides a limited number of new and enhanced functionalities, although it does not significantly change the
Windows XP experience or bring most Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP.

If you don’t see the option to upgrade your system to Service Pack 3 yet, they you can grab the package yourself! If your interested in the links then you can find them all at GHacks.net! The package itself is ~316mb, but if you don’t want to download all of that then you can just wait until it is made live. Chances are, you won’t have to download that much from Windows Update since you probably have most of the older updates installed already.

If you just want to go a head and get it then I say do it! I’m currently installing it myself on my laptop. Enjoy the early links while their early!

Also worth looking at is the article Loopholes keep Windows XP alive.

UPDATE:
Just after releasing the service pack this morning, Microsoft removed it from Windows Update temporarily to fix a flaw with the package. Microsoft says it has since uncovered a compatibility issue between Dymanics Retail Management System (RMS) and Windows XP SP3. There was no time estimate on the delay, however, the direct download links are available if you can’t wait! Look above for more information on that.

UPDATE 2:
If you get an error message that says “Access Denied”, then you can get around this using one of a couple different methods. I’ll list them below, but the information that I found came from:
http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=3265169&SiteID=17

  • Solution 1:

    1. Make a backup of your registry.

    2. Download and install subinacl.exe.

    3. Create a file called reset.cmd with Notepad. Copy the text below into the file reset.cmd and run reset.cmd with administrative rights (it may take a LONG time):

      cd /d “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools”
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subdirectories %windir%*.* /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
      secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

    4. Reboot at SAFE MODE and try install SP3 again.

  • Solution 2:

    By installing Sp3 under a a user account you cannot acccess the registery properly. Please use the Adminstrator account instead of a user adminstrator account. Subinacl.exe was created to act as a way to access the registery properly. And the Reset. com to grant FULL adminstrator account.Also the other tips apply here, Turning of and diabling Antivirus, anti-spyware protection programs. Backing up information.What isn’t clear as when we used w2k was the panel showing full adminstrator vs. adminstrator and power user. Then press F8 during boot-up to log-in as Adminstrator is able to install sp3 with out running the subinacl program.

    See here for an clarifacation see here.
    http://www.microsoft.com/protect/computer/advanced/useraccount.mspx

    The things that applied to installing sp also apply when attempting to install Sp3
    www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/sp2/sp2_whattoknow.mspx

  • Solution 3:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then press ENTER.

    2. For Windows XP, type the following command, and then press ENTER:

      secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\repair\secsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose

      You receive a “Task is completed” message, and a warning message that something could not be done. You can safely ignore this message.
      http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;313222

If these solutions are confusing then I apologise. I simply got them from a forum discussion and didn’t feel like rewriting them. If you’re confused about any of these steps then just ask about them in the comments and I’ll explain them the best I can.

UPDATE 3:

Windows XP Service Pack 3 is available once again via Windows Updates! Go get it!

UPDATE 4:

Endless Reboot after installing SP3
You may already be aware of the problem Service Pack 3 has caused to AMD PCs. If your, not familiar with the problem then it can be summed up by this: Some of the users who installed Service Pack 3 on their AMD Processor based computers reported that their PCs rebooted endlessly and would not allow them to use their computers.

If this sounds like something that has happened to you while installing Service Pack 3 then you will need to complete the following instructions to repair your version of Windows XP SP3.

The fix for the problem…

Jesper Johansson, who was once a program manager for security policy at Microsoft and currently an MVP who works at Amazon.com, has come up with a fix for the problem.

He has created a small 16K VBScript file which checks whether the PC is running an AMD processor, if yes; it examines the Windows registry to find out if a device driver (IntelPPM driver) meant for Intel-based machines is set to load. If it is set to load, it will offer an option in order to disable it.

You will need to download the file from here and run it. To run it just double click on it.

If you need to check many computers on a network you can do it by running the following script from the command line:
removeIntelPPMonAMD.vbs <computer 1> <computer 2>…

For more information have a look at the blog post on Jesper’s blog.

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition

Canonical has released the newest stable version of Ubuntu! I’ve personally been using Ubuntu 8.04 since late 2007 when it was available for the public as Alpha 1. You can take a look at the release schedule and road-map that the developing team followed for version 8.04! Ubuntu has really come a long way during the time that I’ve spent using it.

I first started using Ubuntu with version 7.04. Ubuntu builds are now given “code names” as well as release versions. Ubuntu 8.04 is given the “8” from the year that it is released and the “04” from the month that it is released. The code name of Ubuntu 8.04 is “Hardy Heron“. Ubuntu 7.04 was released in April 2007, 7.10 was released in October 2007.

The next version of Ubuntu to be released is Ubuntu 8.10 and is code named “Intrepid Ibex“. The release time should be obvious to you now! If you’re like me and like to use the latest bleeding releases possible then you can upgrade your version of Ubuntu to 8.10 in the near future by typing the following into your terminal:

sudo update-manager -d -c

This will launch the update manager window and prompt you about upgrades. If you’re currently running 7.04 or 7.10 you can upgrade to 8.04 or 8.10 by using the same step as mentioned above. You will however have to upgrade in order of releases. You cannot upgrade immediately from 7.04 to 8.04 or from 7.10 to 8.10. That shouldn’t be an issue, you can just upgrade to one and then upgrade to the other after the first upgrade has completed!

With Ubuntu 8.04 came a great deal of stability and many new features! It also includes the ability to install Ubuntu from within Windows! If Ubuntu looks interesting to you then you should give it a try! They’ve made Ubuntu very easy to install and very easy to use and get used to. Ubuntu is quickly becoming the synonym for Linux in today’s world. Don’t let yourself miss out on this ground breaking release!

Go get it now! It’s available by free download or free mail (delayed as they only send a certain amount per month). You can also spend a small fee (just a couple dollars) to have them mail it to you very quickly!

Update 2008-09-23:
Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex Alpha 6 has been released. Here is how to update your system to the latest version of 8.10!