Friday Humor

Sometimes the best response to a joke is ACK.

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I’d tell you this great TCP joke but if you don’t get it I’d have to retell it…

Petya Ransomware Attack

The WannaCry ransonware infected over 250,000 computers, Petya is just getting started. Protect yourself now.

A new ransomware attack has started spreading recently (see my previous post for a description of ransomware and tips to protect yourself).  This new software known as Petya or GoldenEye is similar to the WannaCry ransomware that hit about a month ago but security researchers say this one appears to be more sophisticated.  Most importantly it does not have the “kill switch” that was used to stop WannaCry.

Petya spreads in multiple ways.  It uses the same EternalBlue vulnerability used by WannaCry but it also appears to be spread through Microsoft Word documents with malicious macros embedded.

If you haven’t already patched your systems you need to now.  Microsoft has made patches available for Windows XP so even if you have an old system you should be able to get patches.

Lastly, never open any email attachments from suspicious emails; emails from people you don’t know, emails that don’t match what people you know normally send you, or emails you aren’t expecting.  For attachments that you believe are legitimate I suggest saving the attachment to local file and scanning it with your anti-virus software before opening.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. In your email client or web browser select the email message with the attachment
  2. Right click on the attachment and select Save As from the context menu that opens
  3. Save the file where ever you like
  4. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the file you saved
  5. Right clock on the file and select Scan from the context menu that opens

A Picture is Worth A 1000 Words

This is the start of a series on how to get the most out of your digital photographs.

Who looks at a photo album anymore?  I’m guessing there are some out there asking what a photo album is.  For the younger generation let me explain, back in the day you purchased film for a camera, took your pictures, sent the film in to be processed, then went back and picked up your printed pictured and put them in a photo album to save the memories.

You wouldn’t know if you had a good photo or a bad photo until you got your pictures back, which by then it was too late to retake it if it was bad.  We would flip through the photo album laughing at all the pictures of the photographer’s thumb covering half the shot, someone’s head being cut off in a group shot, or the one person whose eyes are always closed in the shot.  We accepted this because the film and the processing were expense so you didn’t want to waste shots taking the same photo multiple times.  The photo album worked for storing our photos because we didn’t have that many.

Digital photography changed all that.

Photos have essentially become free.  This has led us to take more photos.  We take photos all the time now; birthdays, holidays, vacations, school events, back yard fun, everything is photographed now.  We don’t just take a few photos of each event we take dozens or hundreds.  Why not?  They are free.  No need to worry about getting “the shot”; take ten shots and one is likely to be “the shot” you hoped for.

So where do we keep all these photos?  Many people keep them on the memory card not knowing what else to do with them.  We know the traditional photo album doesn’t work anymore:

  • While taking the photo is free printing it is not.
  • Most do not have the space needed to store hundreds or thousands of photos.
  • Organization is a nightmare; do you really want to flip through that many photos to find the one you are looking for?

Something else is needed.  Enter digital photo albums.  Digital photo albums are software packages that allow you to organize your photos on the computer to make it easier to view them.  Most of the camera manufacturers have digital photo album software that ships with the camera (or can be downloaded from their website).  Many of the printer companies have photo management software that has a digital photo album capability.  There are free solutions (FastStone) and paid for solutions (Adobe Photoshop) from third parties as well.  Lastly, there are cloud based solutions (Shutterfly) to help you well.

Asking which one is best is like asking what car is best.  It depends on your needs.  Questions to ask when looking at photo management software:

  • How many photos do I expect to have?
  • Do I need to edit photos or just display them?
  • Do I want others to be able to see my photos?
  • Where do I want to be able to see my photos – digital frame, phone, computer?
  • How much time do I want to put into using the software?

I’m starting a mini-series on digital photography.  I’ll try to stay vendor neutral as much as possible.  This will be written for the average home user – not professionals or enthusiasts.  One thing to keep in focus (see what I did there) is this series will be on photo management after you have taken your photograph; not how to take better photographs.  I hope after reading this series you are able to get more enjoyment out of your photographs.

If you are interested you can see a collections of my photographs at my photo site; let me know what you think.

Friday Humor

Apparently not all circles are created equal…

Sometime the best humor isn’t a joke as in this case.

The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change.

— FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers