2006/10/10

NEW NET Back To Tuesdays

The NEW NET weekly tech enthusiast meetings are being moved back to Tuesdays, starting with next Tuesday, October 17.

The move to Monday night as a way to see if Monday was more convenient for people did not result in an increase in attendance. Additionally, the Monday was inconvenient for several Tuesday people. The meeting night may be changed again in the future if it appears it would be beneficial. But for the foreseeable future, it will stay on Tuesday nights. Sorry, Steve! It seemed like you've got lots of other things going on right now with the family and other things anyway. Hope all is going well with the cross-border issues and everything else!

Last night's meeting was an interesting demo of the intricacies of upgrading a Linksys router to Linux. Certainly not a procedure for the uninitiated or faint of heart. Making the change to Linux allows the wireless router owner to gain all sorts of magical powers, including but not limited to increasing the router signal strength, controlling the bandwidth of individual users, and making it so no one person can hog all the bandwidth by using P2P or other large-volume applications.

Eric H was going to install the Linux software on a WRT54G router at BarCampMilwaukee, but he said that couldn't be done on a version 5 of the unit. I'm pretty sure the demo last night was on a version 5, so possibly at BarCampMadison, either Luke or Bob P could do a demo on installing Linux on a WRT54G v 5!

There were also a couple interesting conversations about malware at last night's NEW NET gathering. The two main issues were the problems seen by Internet Explorer users when the security hole was in the news and MS ended up patching it out-of-cycle. myDigitechnician has not yet seen malware infestations that seemed directly attributable to that issue, but that is likely because most myDigitechnician clients are home pc users rather than business users. One piece of advice from the meeting last night is for everyone to install the free Webroot SpySweeper malware scanner. It won't remove any malware, but it will prevent quite a bit of malware from jumping on your machines. And it will notify you if you have malware that you should use something else to remove. Or if you want, at that point you can pay Webroot for the annual use license and use SpySweeper to remove what it's found. None of the anti-malware products are foolproof, but SpySweeper is consistently one of the best.

The other malware discussion centered around the 'Chinese' attacks on US government computers. Bob P had an interesting explanation of how flashing the BIOS memory would allow other changes to be made on a computer hooked to the internet, which would allow the computer to be infected with no way to detect it (or almost no way we know of right now). The bad guys are taking malware to a whole new level. Kind of scary as to where we'll end up with online computer security and privacy in another year or two...


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