Microsoft Discontinuing Their Advanced Notification Service for Patches

Not the best news to come out of Redmond in a while

For Mom and Pop, they’ll get the news the way they always had, their machine will restart on a Tuesday or Wednesday, they’ll ask someone what is going on, and they’ll hear “Patch Tuesday” out of their grand kids or their children, shrug and go on.  It’s all automatic, isn’t it?

For Businesses and IT support people, this Advanced Notification Service is more important. 

What happened was that it gave someone in the know the advanced notice that Microsoft was going to push a patch to their computers at some level on Patch Tuesday, typically the Second Tuesday of the Month.  It would tell them what the patch would do, and let them know some more background info on the patch.

Great.  It would also warn these people that if your computer is broken when it forces a restart, you may have to back out the patch and restore to an earlier time.  It may allow them a cushion of time to test their servers, create extra backups, revisit whether their computer security policies are up to date.

That Good Computer Hygene is a part of Information Technology.  They’re made by people, people sometimes have an oops.  Best to let them know what’s up and give advanced warning.

The reason you need this information is that it’s entirely possible your entire business sits on “That Computer In The Corner”.  They may not know what it does, but they do know it’s an important box.  They may call it The Server in hushed tones, and give it offerings of tapes from time to time.

They hopefully have backed the machine up, made sure that they could gracefully reverse changes and so forth.

For my own sanity, I turned off automatic updates years ago, and keep turning it off every time I get a new machine or upgrade one.  I then make it a point to manually go to Windows Update and get “up to date” a couple days later.

The reasoning I have behind that is that while Microsoft is diligent in making sure that things work, their tests don’t involve the machine that is in my lap in this exact moment.  That patch may be great on the box sitting three timezones away, but it may break when it gets to me, specifically. 

I tend to be on the trailing edge with Windows Update for that reason.

The blog posting that Microsoft made did say that the service will be available for a fee so their largest customers can manage their server farms with the information that isn’t getting out so widely.

Information leaks, it’s like carrying water in a leaky bucket.  Information will get all over your shoes and water the grass on the way in from the well.

But it does make things a bit less secure since Information is best used when it is widely spread.  It also puts the onus back on the individual or the person in the business who is charged with maintaining them.

Hopefully everyone has their Backups and their Restore Points set, right?

Oops. Caught myself there. It has been a week or three since I have done a proper backup.  Happens to the best of us and the rest of us.

While Manually updating Windows Update is what I personally do, it is a bit annoying and it is something you have to remember to do.  On the other hand, Automatic Updates is a bit like flying in an airplane without a seatbelt.  It is safer to fly than drive, but once in a long time something happens and you hit some turbulence.

It’s all up to you and that is what I think Microsoft is telling us – Security through updates are up to you, after all it is your data and your computer.  Just be aware best practices and of what is going on around you.

New Firefox and Other Browser Update Weirdness

I’m settling in to get some things done and notice a blurb.

There’s going to be a rollout of the next Firefox over the next few weeks.  I pay close attention to that because I use Firefox extensively.  I’d be lost without it. 

I’m so tightly trained to use Firefox that I have to step back and actually “think” how to use any other browser.  Since I use Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Mac OSX Mavericks, and Debian Linux on a daily basis as well as Android and an occasional toe dipped into Apple’s iOS, I have to remain as flexible as possible and Firefox is on all of those computers. 

Except the iPhone but I hardly ever use them.

I will eventually install Firefox on the Windows machines when it tells me that it is available.  I’m not in a rush.  The last time they changed the way it looks, the User Interface or UI, it borked it for me.  I ended up installing things to make it look the way it did before I updated the browser while growling at Firefox in general.  Keystrokes and mouse clicks and all that moved.  They removed the status bar. The bookmark strip got lost, or rather hid, and that stores some of your bookmarks.  They removed the title bar.

Why?  Never heard a reason, but I installed Classic Theme Restorer and it brought it all back.  Immediately after that I installed Adblock Edge to get rid of the blasted adverts and other nasties that hitch a ride onto your computer as a result.  More Privacy means for a faster experience as well as fewer viruses and spyware pushed onto your local computer.  Nobody actually “Likes” ads anyway, we accept their presence and usually are annoyed or distracted by them, but “Like”?  I doubt it.

Rule Number One of Software User Experience (UX) is if you change the way something looks, you will break the way people work.  I learned that back in the days of the Mainframe and College. 

Rule Number Two of Software User Experience is that if you do change it there will be unintended consequences.

In My Case:

I have a computer that has what they call a “Clickpad“.  It’s also running Debian Linux.  I know Linux in general fairly well, but Debian Linux doesn’t manage Clickpads well.  Clickpads are those weird trackpads that are flush with the case.  You click on the pad instead of having normal buttons like every other Synaptic trackpad. 

I do know that is fixed in the next version of Debian, and I do know how to fix it now, but it is an annoyance that I have to deal with.  It basically forgets that it has a physical button in Debian Stable/Wheezy, and you’re stuck with whatever you touch on the trackpad.  I only get a Right Click when I tap.  I have since configured a two fingered tap to be a Left Click.

What that all did change did is to break the way Firefox works.  You see, on that particular computer, I can’t Right Click.  I can’t get the pop up context menu.  They changed the UI right away from it. 

Since that machine is Debian Linux, I have to wait for the next version anyway.  It isn’t even using Firefox, but something rebranded as “IceWeasel“.  To put it short, and sarcastic, Debian had a spat with Firefox over the branding.  Since Firefox/Mozilla doesn’t want anything proprietary at all on their default install, someone in the Debian Project grabbed the source code, recompiled it, created the graphics, and renamed everything to IceWeasel.  It works like Firefox but is Older.  About a version back. 

If you’re running Stable, or Wheezy, you could be quite a few versions back.  Jessie has a more current Firefox, but it also has a lot more annoying bugs in it because it is “Testing”.

But Windows?  Yeah, you’ll get it soon.  Just remember Classic Theme Restorer and Adblock Edge, and you’ll be fine.

As for the Mac?  When it is available, you’ll get a blip on the bottom of the screen telling you you’re ready for an upgrade.  You can also go back to the old theme if you want, but I do recommend Adblock Edge as well.

Why the harping on the ads?  It’s a much faster browsing experience when you surf a page without the ads.  No blinky pictures, crawling things, or text ads.  If you don’t download them, you use less data.  Things pop faster.

Trust me on that one.  You can always turn it off later.

Hit Windows Update Yet This Week?

Oh yes, I will admit it, I am stubborn.

I don’t like people monkeying around with my computers which is why I told my windows computers not to go out and grab the windows update patches automatically.

Mind you, I did tell it to tell me when it wanted my attention and check for critical updates.

Small semantic point, but I prefer to be the person who pulls the trigger, and not the trigger that gets pulled.

However…

If you are like me, today is an excellent day to go to your favorite start button, find your Windows Update link in there or in Control Panel, and do a Windows Update.

They fixed a 19 year old bug that is in every version of Windows including and since Windows 95.

I tend to do my own checks later in the week, on a Thursday, although I have been getting reflexive about just hitting the damn button and doing updates whenever I think about it. 

You know, sometimes when you’re bored and you just want to do something that needs to be done and don’t want to really think about it?  I rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic my own way, thank you very much!

The reason why I wait a day or two to do it “officially” is simple.  If you have your system go out and grab the updates as soon as they are there, which is typically on the second and fourth Tuesday at 1 PM in the Eastern time Zone or 6pm in London, and you restart your computer, you may have a bigger problem.  Once in a very long while, some of the same patches will break your computer.  It may not start.

So give it a day or three.   They may have to fix their fix after someone else broke it.

I know, eventually a person just has to shrug and say life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Ferris, do your updates and take your chances.

Today is my turn.  Actually later today is my turn.  I’ve been on Linux for the last two weeks and there’s a very different way of doing things there. I get a little sunburst in my control strip in the upper right and it tells me to go look.

Wait, Bill, How is that different?

It just is.  Now go check Windows Update, just because.

Thanks, Apple, But I Think I’ll Pass on Yosemite

I have computers on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.  Various levels and flavors of all of the above actually.

There’s always the question as to when or whether to upgrade them.

Linux is pretty simple – when your distribution changes, give it a week or so and listen to the chatter.  If the chatter is clear, go for it.  I’ve never had a problem here.

Windows.  I have a Windows 7 machine that won’t get upgraded because it’s an old Core 2 Duo machine.  It will either die before Windows 7 does or it will get given away.  Windows 8 became Windows 8.1 as soon as it was offered to me.  Windows 8 was an abortion, Windows 8.1 is manageable.  Just add Classic Shell and it cleaned up almost all of that Modern/Metro hideousness and pushed it aside.  Classic Shell made that ugly block land go away and replaced it with all the desktop land goodness that I need to get things done.  It’s still there, lurking under the hood, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had to use one of those ugly blocky programs that Microsoft mistakenly thinks I need to slice, dice, and make julienne fries.  Other than network access which the Modern/Metro interface gets in the way massively and then drops you back to a desktop app to actually get the job done to disable and enable things.

I don’t.  ‘Nuff said about that.

Then there’s the Mac.  I always liked the sleekness and the design of them.  Beautiful hardware, a well thought out interface.  When I need to use my Mac, it is almost always a pleasure.  I got the thing, installed Snow Leopard, and it purred.  When the Mavericks upgrade was offered, it was free so why not?  I noticed no real problems there, and since I am a lightweight user of my Mac it’s fine.

I’ve heard reports that Mavericks slowed memory access from the prior version, Lion, but like I said: I’m a lightweight user so I don’t notice.

They put out a new operating system, Yosemite.  Since I knew about the memory speed issue, I thought I’d wait.  Let the experts go after it.

I’m glad I did because there are some privacy issues that made me uncomfortable with things.

Everyone likes having search functions on their computers and generally don’t think twice about how things are done.  What happens is that that information you are looking for is sent back to the program to check its indexes and report back to you when it finds what it thinks is the right answer.

That was all well and good back in the good old days when it was enough just to search this current computer.  Some smart people decided that they’d go out and do a search on the internet to give back more content.   It’s a built in function on the desktop called Spotlight that phones home to Apple and does that search. 

Fair enough if you’re actually doing an internet search.  But why do you need that search to go back to Apple if you’re just looking for a file on “this” computer?  If you are searching for movie information or maps, it’s going to send back your current location, as well as the current device you are on, and anything else that it thinks is pertinent such as language settings and what apps you have used.

To be fair to Apple, you can turn this off, but I have done enough support to know that unless someone turns that sort of thing off for you it won’t get done. 

The flip side to that is that if you have turned it off, location services are one of those things that get rather naggy to have turned off.  Your searches get a helpful prompt asking you to turn on location services and eventually you wear down and just leave them on.

Checking my Android phone, location services is turned on there, and we know that all that sort of thing goes on there with Google.  If you want a smartphone these days, you are either going to have Apple or Google put their hand in your pocket and watch over every move you make that they believe they need to, it’s part of the game.

The idea of having big brother was scary enough when I read 1984, but the reality is that we all now have that big brother in our own pocket and don’t think too much about it.

Nothing to see here, keep moving on.

All this was reported in the Washington Post’s technology blog a while back, and apparently Apple has been taking heat about their decisions to make these changes. 

There is a website called fix-macosx.com that promises to give you information how to take back some privacy and turn off some of Apple’s data collection.

This all is a change of heart since the old days where the Mac was more privacy friendly.  Now, they’re going all in and sucking down all this info while you happily go along with it.  Since Apple is notoriously tight lipped about what they do internally, I suspect that it will be a long time before we find out just exactly what they’re doing with all that data.

No thanks, I’ll pass.

Security? Poodles? Sandworms? Here we go again.

If you have any passing interest in computer security, you have noticed a few announcements go by.

If you don’t, you may think it is overwhelming.

Yes, and Yes.

If you are worried, there’s a simple solution.  No matter what the computer, no matter what the operating system – make sure you are up to date.

Most home users are set up “from the factory” to automatically get updates.  This is true on Windows and on Mac OSX.  My Linux computers pop up a friendly sunburst to say it’s got updates too.

In both cases this will solve these two problems.

Poodle – Make sure your browser is up to date.  Windows update will fix this.  It is a low level problem that is more of a headache for systems administrators. So it’s not a major headache for most people.

The long description that 99 percent of us can skip is that it’s a bug that Google has found in the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) version 3 that is seriously out of date.  It shouldn’t be used at this point anyway, but some folks haven’t updated that.

Sandworm – It’s a worm that goes after Powerpoint files.  Since Windows machines are set up to ask you if you want to open the file, don’t.  If your computer asks you to open anything with a “.INF” extension, don’t.  That is how the worm will propagate.

How to fix it?  Home users, make sure you go through your Windows Update.  It’s a windows problem.  But anyone else should be running the most up to date version of their operating systems that they can.  If their operating system is no longer supported, it’s best that you upgrade as best you can.  No more XP for you.

While you are at it, make sure your virus protection is up to date and you may want to just force a run of a full scan.  You never know what is running around on your computers these days and it is just good practice to do this once in a while.

So how DO you know when your phone is obsolete?

I have a friend who visits about once a year.  I have a standing request that he brings his “Daily Driver” computer with him when he comes.

He calls it a tune up.  What I generally do is go through the machine, run a virus scan, uninstall spyware, and send him on his way.  It runs much faster because I’ve cleaned out the junk.

He’s also been using that machine for longer than even I have expected.  He’s gotten newer machines, but he keeps coming back to that beast of a 17 inch “laptop” because I’m able to keep it going.

Eventually, he’ll have to stop using it, and then it will have a second life as either a table leveler, something to hold a shelf down in the linen closet, or I’ll put Linux on it and it will be good for another 5 years of use.

I’m leaning toward Linux, but that is because I actually do like using the environment.

Computers have a longer life than the manufacturers want you to believe because they exist to make money by selling you new.  It’s Planned Obsolescence.

With a phone, it appears much more clear cut.  Especially with a smartphone, things have a shelf life.  The vendor puts out a new model, it can do more, but does it really warrant you getting a new one?

Again like with my friends beast of a laptop, to me, it appears that it is software driving the decision.

There are two schools here.  Apple and Android.  Not looking at this as a fanboy of either set up, I have a preference for Android because I can do things with it like use the phone as a multimedia computer much easier than I can with iOS.  I look at it as a use case to form a decision as to which works best for me.

Your Mileage May Vary.

With Apple, there is a clear end of life with their phones.  When you can no longer run their current operating system, it is time to consider moving on.  Apple has always done this with their computers as well.  For a while their PowerPC computers were supposed to be the best thing out there.  Then they came out with Intel based computers that made their old computers look horrible and they stopped supporting them after one more upgrade.

My iPhone is an old 3GS.  It will still make calls, but as a computer, Apple is actively pushing it away.  I have software that ran on it until I updated it, then all the sudden the older software is gone, and the newer one doesn’t work because I don’t have the current operating system.  One after another app is going away and eventually that will be the end of it.

Of course if you have the latest iPhone 6, it’s obsolete when you drop it on the ground on the first day it’s out because you just broke the screen.


Android is a different animal.

Android support varies with the company that made the phone or tablet.  Typically, an Android phone will get updates within the operating system version that it was bought with.  After that you are on your own.

My tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, got updates until the current OS came out.  That doesn’t mean that the tablet is unusable, it merely means that it will get more behind the times as I run into the same problem that my old iPhone had.  Software won’t be written for it.

There is another problem with the older versions of Android.  The browser that shipped with every version of Android except the current one has a rather nasty bug in it.  The short of it is that if you have an older Android device, do not use the default browser.  Disable that browser, and install another.  I did that at the start and I use Firefox which is the suggestion that is made by most security groups.

Why is that a problem?  Because if you don’t have a current device that runs the current Operating System, you aren’t going to get an update and you are on your own.  That means you have just hit the wall with using that phone, it’s now obsolete – if you want to be secure.

It all seems a bit alarmist, but considering how many people use their phones and tablets as their main computing devices these days, it really does pay to be aware of what that device is capable of doing.  It is a computer and they do need to be kept up to date.  But when you can’t do that any more, you have to be aware what not being up to date can mean.

Cool Your Laptop – Downshift Your Power

I use my laptop all day.  For me, most days that means from before 6AM to around 10:30PM. 

They get hot.  Every one I have ever used would get hot, no matter what processor the machine had inside of it.  I tried mats which worked for a while but they can block the vents.  I tried shifting it onto a table and that gave me a stiff neck trying to maintain a fixed position. 

Solution.  I slowed down the processor.   In my case, it was only 10 percent and that was enough to stop my leg from turning lobster pink.

Your mileage may vary, but just knocking 10 percent off of the maximum speed might solve your problem.  You probably won’t notice this difference in speed, I didn’t.

On Windows 7 or Windows 8, or Windows 8.1.

  1. Go into your Control Panel. Start, Control Panel.
  2. At this point, since Microsoft tends to move things around you will make it easier to find if you set the control panel to view by “Large Icons”.
  3. Click Power Options.
  4. The “Choose or customize a power plan” screen will show.
  5. The “Plans shown on the battery meter” line that is highlighted and has a button selected is the one you want.  In my case it is “Balanced (recommended)” but yours could be currently Power Saver.
  6. Click on the blue link that says “Change plan settings” off to the right of the plan.
  7. The “Change settings for the plan:” screen will show.
  8. Click on the blue link that says “Change advanced power settings”.
  9. The Power Options window will open.
  10. Under this window, locate the line that reads “Processor power management” and click the plus button to the left of it.
  11. Locate the “Maximum processor state” line and click the plus button to the left of it.
  12. You can set the “On battery” and “Plugged in” maximum processor speed at this time.  Click on the number to the right of the line and the amount will change to allow you to type in a new amount or click on the arrows to raise or lower the amount.  Mine is set to 90%.

Is It Me Or Is Everyone Updating Computers These Days?

The short of it is that since you’re reading this on a computer go and do your system’s update.

Windows almost always has updates.
Mac OSX has one for Safari for the supported operating systems.

Even my Linux system needed it, but that’s normal when you have 1500 projects updated by probably as many different groups of people.

What got me started on this was that this morning before sunrise when I started the main computer, I saw a “helpful” yellow text show up on Windows.  It was warning me that there was an important update available.

I’ve gotten so that Windows seems to be the Boy That Cries Wolf, but ok let’s check.  Definition Update for Windows Defender.   It’s a built in virus scanner in Windows 8 and above.  It’s the love-child of the old Microsoft Security Essentials.  I’ve used it for quite a few years now, and while I trust it, I have grown to expect a message telling me to update.

Since it is Windows, it is the operating system everyone seems to like to attack.   More ways than one, I’m afraid.

I installed that particular update, and since it didn’t demand a restart of the system, I shrugged and got on with my business.

I also have a Linux machine, two actual laptops, and a number of virtual machines, so just for giggles, I thought I’d check.  172 updates on Linux, but that’s not a shock.  With Linux, avoiding viruses is easy, just go to a known repository and use their software – in Windows terms, only use Windows Update and don’t install from an unknown source.

That doesn’t help with backdoors, and that is what the Heartbleed bug was last month.  Someone had found a backdoor into the software and everyone needed to change passwords.

You did change your password didn’t you?

It went on its happy way, and I realized that I had a couple other virtual machines that needed attention.  Since they’re all lightly used, they’ll get it when I run them.  Virtual Web Servers and the like.

Even Apple has gotten in the mix of it all, since they want an update to their browser.  Part of being popular I guess, and that means that iPhones will probably need it too.

I know for a fact that my Android phone needs an update, but that’s a very different thing.  It’s a very old version of Android that’s named Gingerbread, on a very old phone, relatively speaking.  Even the “alternate ROMs” don’t support this phone fully.  Not to mention the software that I installed through Google Play needs updates.  Since I don’t actually want Facebook on my phone, I tend to ignore things like that.

So if you got this far, go find out how to update your Windows Computer (Start, Windows Update), Apple Computer (Apple Menu) and Linux Computer (Software Update or Synaptic or “apt-get update”) and watch the pretty thermometers go.

Now, if you will excuse me, my Linux Virtual Computer says Restart is Required.  Strange that Windows didn’t need it, but Linux did… Never mind that, time to restart!

Gnome 3 in Debian Jessie Using VMWare Workstation 9 With No Fallback Mode

First the “TL:DR” executive summary:  Get Debian Jessie to install to VMWare Workstation 9.0 to have Gnome 3 run in full graphics mode and not gnome-fallback mode.

Instructions to make it work like I did in a cookbook and a narrative follows the instructions after the jump break:

To install

First Boot

  • Go into VM Settings.  Make sure that the CD/DVD virtual Device is connected to the Debian Jessie ISO file.
  • Start Synaptic and install gnome-core
  • Mark upgrades and apply
  • I got a window asking Configuring GDM3 – Default display manager: GDM3, just because I could.  This enables Gnome 3.0 as your default display manager where lightdm is xfce.  Since you specifically wanted a clean gnome 3.0, this is how to enable it.
  • It will run dpkg and install a lot of stuff.
  • Close Synaptic and reboot

Second Boot: Logged in, and ticked the session for gnome, gnome 3.0 is active without fallback.

To install the VMWare Tools

My VM had problems seeing the vmware tools. 

  • In VMWare Workstation, click VM, Install VMWare Tools
  • Having clicked on help, I typed mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom in terminal and got an error, then magically the iso automounted.  I. Just. Don’t. Know.  Linux magic.  Trust me on this one, I was frustrated waiting for it to decide to find the blasted VMWare Tools ISO myself.
  • Extract the files with full path to somewhere useful like your home directory.
  • In root terminal, run vmware-config-tools.pl from the directory you just created and take the defaults.
  • The VM will hunt all printers available to the host machine and tell you that Printer Added a number of times.

At this point you should be up and running with Gnome 3.0 in Full Graphics Mode.  
You can manually tell Gnome to flip back and forth between Full Graphics and Fallback with a command shown at this link.
You will now have the ability to arbitrarily resize the windows.
You will probably need to go into dconf to configure the way your linux works.  There are a lot of tweaks you can do in there.

Personally I prefer xfce for its speed and lack of clutter, but that’s just me.

Now the admittedly long Narrative. 

This weekend’s task was a rescue.  I have a very good friend in another city who helps me out with some technology problems, and I help where I am able. 

He’s a VMWare Guru Wizard.  My level of knowledge of VMWare is much more modest.  I can get things working eventually, and since it is a robust product, that does not take much effort on my part.  I could probably be a VMWare Admin as long as there was a guru on staff.

He’s learning Linux.  My knowledge of Linux is more of an intermediate to expert level, depending on what specific end of the software you are looking at.  I have (paid) experience with Web Development on LAMP as well as mid level support desk experience with Linux.  LAMP is Linux, Apache Web Server, MySQL for Databases, and PHP for programming and scripting.

All this stuff is free to install in Linux, you could do it in an afternoon on your old Windows XP computer that should be gathering dust in the closet.   It runs on older slower hardware to the point where I had a Debian LAMP install on a Pentium 3 laptop that I just got rid of in 2011 because it simply wore out.

Linux people all have their favorite distributions, Debian Linux is mine.  It Just Works.  It just works on old hardware.  It just works on new hardware as long as the drivers are there for the hardware.  It is “mission critical” industrial strength.  I have given laptops to neighbors who have very little knowledge of Linux or computers in general with Debian Linux installed and they took to it as fast as you did when you got your first Windows computer – or faster!

I would be running Debian Linux as my main computer operating system if I didn’t have to use Microsoft Office and other Microsoft products to maintain my knowledge in everyday, mainline, run of the mill Microsoft environment Business Intelligence Project Management.  But you do have to learn a different way of working, and it does not hold your hands – you could kill a stable system by typing in the wrong flag in an install script and I have.

Ok, all that background aside, here’s the back story of this specific problem.

My friend had decided to attack Debian Linux, which was mostly my doing.  He got it running on his Raspberry Pi and was reasonably happy with it despite it being raw and not completely user friendly.  I kept hammering the point that it works well on a regular computer normally.  That is, if you have hardware that accepts the drivers you need – no weird hardware that there are no drivers for.

So since VMWare emulates an older hardware chipset, it *should* just work. 

It did until he tried Gnome 3.  Gnome 3 ran but came in Fallback Mode.  You know you are in Fallback mode because you get an ugly black box at the top right of your screen yelling at you that your drivers did not work because you don’t have 3D Acceleration drivers enabled. 

This is a known bug within Debian and VMWare communities and this wall of text is how I solved it for myself.

With Windows, you surf your video card’s website, download the latest drivers, and you’re running.

Not that simple with a VMWare install of Debian in this specific case.  Debian is built with a number of theories or ethos. 

Debian Theory One:  It intends to be free of proprietary software – licenses are not allowed other than the GPL.  You can recompile Debian to fit your needs if you have the knowledge.  You can sell a computer with Debian freely.  You can also include proprietary or “non-free” software since it is YOUR computer. 

Debian Theory Two:  It intends to be rock stable.  Never Crash as long as your hardware doesn’t “die”.  If Debian installed, and your hardware matches, you will see actual running uptimes measured in terms of years and not days.  My Windows 7 computers never really go past 3 days without having Firefox crash because of memory leaks.  I did get to 8 days once and it wasn’t pretty.   I have had Debian uptimes over 6 MONTHS and I only restarted it because I clicked the wrong button.

Debian – it’s THAT good.

There are other Linux versions or Distributions or Distros that can be as good, but Debian just clicked with me.

After going through a day of  my friend’s annoyance that Fallback Mode kept coming back no matter what he did, I pushed away from the problem and gave it a day.  It became my weekend project.

The research arc spiraled to one specific program area.  People were looking for guides to enable 3D Acceleration in Debian Guests.  Some solved it others didn’t.   Following the instructions meant doing some additions to the base operating system.  Following those instructions with a “clean room” install from the directly downloaded “Squeeze” install disks didn’t work, I ended up with a broken install where I was staring at a login prompt and a broken graphics window.

The Program that needed upgrading ended up being the server for Xwindows itself – xserver-xorg-video-vmware that had been upgraded to the next version in Jessie.

Squeeze is the stable version, Jessie is the “next” or Testing version.  Testing or Jessie is stable enough for daily use but it is quirky and more cutting edge software.  Not quite bleeding edge, but more raw.

So I downloaded the newest Jessie install disc and installed it.  It came up in Gnome 3 correctly first time.  It ran as we intended after installing all that software at the top of this long article.  There are some configuration quirks, and I may not pursue all that for my own use since I prefer XFCE which is simple and fast, but Gnome 3.0 is behaving.

Got Windows? Hit Windows Update – Even Windows XP

So that bug I have been banging on about?

The one that is a bug of doom, effects every version of Internet Explorer from Version 6 through present?

Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
and
Windows 8.1?

Yeah, the fix is in.

Microsoft has relented since 1/4 of the entire PC Market is still running Windows XP.  Not to patch this one would cause havoc on the Internet and crash web servers, and make little babies cry.

This morning, I started finding messages in the security blogs that mentioned it.  This bug, the 1776 bug, with a rather nasty hole has been exploited.

As far as XP is concerned, Microsoft has said in the past that while support has ceased for it, they may at their own choice make patches to it in the future.   Since this was a big one, and it is the future, take advantage of it.

Even if you don’t use Internet Explorer, you will want to get this fix.

The steps are simple.  You may have already downloaded the fix and there could be a message waiting for you to either shut down or restart your computer to apply the fix

If not, just:

Click Start
Click Control Panel
Click Windows Update
Click Install Updates

and you’re on your way!

Now, if you will excuse me, my computer wants to be restarted.  I guess I really do need to take a break anyway!