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Uninstalling the Clickonce Support for Firefox

http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/archive/2009/02/27/uninstalling-the-clickonce-support-for-firefox.aspx

Uninstalling the Clickonce Support for Firefox

A couple of years ago we heard clear feedback from folks that they wanted to enable a very clean experience with launching a ClickOnce app from FireFox.  James Dobson published FFClickOnce and got very good reviews, but we had many customers that wanted ClickOnce support for Firefox built into the framework… so in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 we added ClickOnce support for Firefox!     This made ClickOnce apps much more accessible to a wide range of customers.

We added this support at the machine level in order to enable the feature for all users on the machine.  Seems reasonable right?  Well, turns out that enabling this functionality at the machine level, rather than at the user level means that the “Uninstall” button is grayed out in the Firefox Add-ons menu because standard users are not permitted to uninstall machine-level components.

Clearly this is a bit frustrating for some users that wanted an easy way to uninstall the Clickonce Support for Firefox.  But good news!  We have a fix in place (enabling each user to uninstall the feature for themselves) and our testing team is making sure that is rock-solid now.. I expect that to be out in the next few weeks.   I’ll be sure to post more information on that when I have it.

Update (5/2009):  We just release an update to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 that makes the firefox plug in a per-user component.  This makes uninstall a LOT cleaner.. none of the steps below are required once this update is installed.

Update to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 for the .NET Framework Assistant 1.0 for Firefox

In .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, the .NET Framework Assistant enables Firefox to use the ClickOnce technology that is included in the .NET Framework. The .NET Framework Assistant is added at the machine-level to enable its functionality for all users on the machine. As a result, the Uninstall button is shown as unavailable in the Firefox Add-ons list because standard users are not permitted to uninstall machine-level components. In this update for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and in Windows 7, the .NET Framework Assistant will be installed on a per-user basis. As a result, the Uninstall button will be functional in the Firefox Add-ons list. This update will also make this version of the .NET Framework Assistant for Firefox compatible with future versions of the Firefox browser. Updates to the .NET Framework Assistant may include updates to the Windows Presentation Foundation Plug-in for Firefox causing it to be enabled upon its initial update.

————————————————–

In the meantime, if you want to disable the Clickonce Support for Firefox here are the steps directly from the dev in charge..

Stop-gap Solution To uninstall the ClickOnce support for Firefox from your machine

1) Delete the registry key for the extension

i.                     From an account with Administrator permissions, go to the Start Menu, and choose ‘Run…’ or go to the Start Search box on Windows Vista

ii.                   Type in ‘regedit’ and hit Enter or click ‘OK’ to open Registry Editor

iii.                  For x86 machines, Go to the folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Mozilla > Firefox > Extensions

For x64 machines, Go to the folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Wow6432Node > Mozilla > Firefox > Extensions

iv.                 Delete key name ‘{20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b}’

OR alternatively

i.                     Open a command prompt window (must be ‘run as Administrator’ on Vista and later)

ii.                   Copy and paste the appropriate command below and hit ‘Enter’

For x86 machines:
reg DELETE “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\Firefox\Extensions” /v “{20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b}” /f

For x64 machines:
reg DELETE “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Mozilla\Firefox\Extensions” /v “{20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b}” /f

2) Reset the changes made to the Firefox user agent

i. Launch Firefox, go to the Firefox address bar and type in ‘about:config’

ii. Scroll down or use ‘Filter’ to find Preference name ‘general.useragent.extra.microsoftdotnet’

iii. Right-click on the item and select ‘reset’

iv. Restart Firefox

3) Remove the .NET Framework extension files

i. Go to the Start Menu, and choose ‘Run…’ or go to the Start Search box on Windows Vista

ii. Type in ‘explorer’ and hit Enter or click ‘OK’

ii. Go to ‘%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Windows Presentation Foundation\DotNetAssistantExtension\’

iii. Delete the ‘DotNetAssistantExtension’ folder and all its contents

Published 27 February 09 12:00 by BradA


# Silvr said on April 1, 2009 4:18 AM:
According to annoyances.org (http://www.annoyances.org/exec/show/article08-600)

“This update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for websites to easily and quietly install software on your PC.”

Question is :

Is the above statement true. Is Brad Adams or anyone from Microsoft able to disprove it.

I respect this site since it gave me a lot of help for a lot of stuff microsoft had long-since discontinued support for, and it has provided me great troubleshooting advice.

I agree with other comments that this  secret install borders on the level of malware.(Sony anyone?)

It was stupid on Microsofts part for the following reasons :

1. Risking flak from security community and firefox community(if this indeed creates vulnerabilities in firefox)

2. Add the fact this was install without any user notification or consent. All my other plugins and extensions were installed with permission from me.

3. Risk antitrust allegations for using microsoft update to promote microsoft products over other(java).

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June 1, 2009 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Security, Windows / Microsoft | Leave a comment

Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/05/microsoft_update_quietly_insta.html

Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension

A routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component installed on tens of millions of computers has quietly installed an extra add-on for an untold number of users surfing the Web with Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser.

Earlier this year, Microsoft shipped a bundle of updates known as a “service pack” for a programming platform called the Microsoft .NET Framework, which Microsoft and plenty of third-party developers use to run a variety of interactive programs on Windows.

The service pack for the .NET Framework, like other updates, was pushed out to users through the Windows Update Web site. A number of readers had never heard of this platform before Windows Update started offering the service pack for it, and many of you wanted to know whether it was okay to go ahead and install this thing. Having earlier checked to see whether the service pack had caused any widespread problems or interfered with third-party programs — and not finding any that warranted waving readers away from this update — I told readers not to worry and to go ahead and install it.

dotnetext.JPG

I’m here to report a small side effect from installing this service pack that I was not aware of until just a few days ago: Apparently, the .NET update automatically installs its own Firefox add-on that is difficult — if not dangerous — to remove, once installed.

Annoyances.org, which lists various aspects of Windows that are, well, annoying, says “this update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC.” I’m not sure I’d put things in quite such dire terms, but I’m fairly confident that a decent number of Firefox for Windows users are rabidly anti-Internet Explorer, and would take umbrage at the very notion of Redmond monkeying with the browser in any way.

Big deal, you say? I can just uninstall the add-on via Firefox’s handy Add-ons interface, right? Not so fast. The trouble is, Microsoft has disabled the “uninstall” button on the extension. What’s more, Microsoft tells us that the only way to get rid of this thing is to modify the Windows registry, an exercise that — if done imprecisely — can cause Windows systems to fail to boot up.

When I first learned of this, three thoughts immediately flashed through my mind:

1) How the %#@! did I miss this?

2) The right way would have been to just publish the add-on at Mozilla’s Add Ons page.

3) This kind of makes you wonder what else MS is installing without your knowledge.

Then I found that I wasn’t the only one who had these ideas. Microsoft has heard these criticisms from others who long ago commented on this unfortunate development (see the comments underneath this post).

Anyway, I’m sure it’s not the end of the world, but it’s probably infuriating to many readers nonetheless. Firstly — to my readers — I apologize for overlooking this…”feature” of the .NET Framework security update. Secondly — to Microsoft — this is a great example of how not to convince people to trust your security updates.

// By Brian Krebs  |  May 29, 2009; 7:40 AM ET

June 1, 2009 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Security, Windows / Microsoft | Leave a comment

Western Digital for the win!

I am so glad that I have been using Western Digital drives for quite some time.  Seagate used to be a good brand but lately they’ve been on the lagging edge of quality.  And here’s why I don’t use Seagate/Maxtor drives.

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/21/0052236
“Two months after acknowledging that their flagship 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11s could hang while streaming video or during low-speed file transfers, Seagate again faces a swell of complaints about more drives failing just months after purchase. Again, The Tech Report pursued the matter until they received a response acknowledging the bricking issue. Seagate says they’ve isolated a ‘potential firmware issue.’ They say there’s ‘no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive;’ however, ‘the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on.’ If users don’t like the idea of an expensive data-laden paperweight, Seagate is offering a firmware upgrade to address the matter, as well as data recovery services if needed. By offering free data recovery, Seagate seems to be trying to head off what could become a PR nightmare that may affect several models under both the Seagate and Maxtor brands.”

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/17/0115207&tid=198
“The latest firmware updates to correct Seagate woes have created a new debacle. It seems from Seagate forums that there has yet to be a successful update of the 3500320AS models from SD15 to the new SD1A firmware. Add to that the updater updates the firmware of all drives of the same type at once, and you get a meltdown of RAID arrays, and people’s backups if they were on the same type of drive. Drives are still flashable though, and Seagate has pulled the update for validation. While it would have been nice of them to validate the firmware beforehand, there is still a little hope that not everyone will lose all of their data.”

January 21, 2009 Posted by | General Computer Tech | Leave a comment

While nobody is looking…

During the inauguration of the United States of America’s 44th President Barrack Obama, while no one is looking and the media is flooded with coverage of the event and every possible detail, the Washington Post decides to publish this article about a massive data breach where millions of credit card transactions may have been compromised.  Why post this during the inauguration?  Couldn’t they have posted this the day after so that other news agencies and media outlets could pickup the story and get the word out that the compromise of a credit card processing company had happened?

Well, the short version is Heartland Payment Systems was infected with a sniffer application on their network and had millions of transaction recorded.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/01/payment_processor_breach_may_b.html

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/20/1930252
“Brian Krebs over at the Washington Post just published a story that Heartland Payment Systems disclosed what may be the largest data breach in history. Today. During the inauguration. Heartland processes over 100 million transactions a month, mostly from small to medium-sized businesses, and doesn’t know how many cards were compromised. The breach was discovered after tracing fraud in the system back to Heartland, and involved malicious software snooping their internal network. I’ve written some additional analysis on this and similar breaches. It’s interesting that the biggest breaches now involve attacks installing malicious software to sniff data — including TJX, Hannaford, Cardsystems, and now Heartland Payment Systems.”


January 21, 2009 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Politics, Security, World News | Leave a comment

Hippies and WiFi

I saw this today and I laughed so hard that I had to share this with other people.  I mean, seriously, do people actually consider this as some kind of science?  And exactly how do you measure this “negative energy” and how could you prove that the energy given off from this Orgone Generator is “positive energy”?  Is this “energy” even measurable by any reliable or proven scientific method or is it like every other hippie idea and just something you have to “feel good” about?  I can’t stand this drivel given off by some people as if it is something to be taken seriously.  I know that Fox News is reporting it as news but the underlying ideals that some kind of “mystic energy” is being given off by a radio transmitter is absolutely rediculous.  Damn.  I hate hippies.  I should probalby sit down one day and write up all of the reasons to hate hipppies, but I’m afraid it would take too long.

Hippies Say WiFi Network Is Harming Their Chakras
http://idle.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/07/1439210
Which links to the original articles at: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,475206,00.html

Anti-Globalism writes “A group of hippies is complaining that a recently installed WiFi mesh network in the UK village of Glastonbury is causing health problems. To combat the signals from the Wi-Fi hotspots, the hippies have placed orgone generators around the antennae.” Although there have been many studies that show no correlation between WiFi and health issues the hippies say, “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

January 8, 2009 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Politics | Leave a comment

Microsoft to hide Irish Tax Haven data of subsidiaries that have saved it billions of dollars in US taxes

I can’t help but wonder if our new President Barrack Obama would keep his promise of making US corporations keep jobs in this country after reading this article.  While the article is not really about job, it does speak volumes about Microsoft’s business practices when they use Ireland as a way to dodge US taxes and remove millions of dollars from the US economy.  Between the contemptible thieves of Wall Street and the horrendous leadership that allowed the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac disasters to happen, I can’t be too surprised to discover this one.  And the next logical question that comes to mind is:  How can I pull this off?  Could I somehow hide my earnings from US tax interest by moving it off shore to some other location.  I’m sure there probably is, but I just don’t make enough money yet to get away with it.

http://www.finfacts.ie/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_10005150.shtml

US software giant Microsoft has taken steps to shield from the public, the value of Tax Haven transactions of two Irish-registered subsidiaries that have enabled it to save billions of dollars in US taxes.

Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin – Microsoft’s Round Island One is Ireland’s biggest company. It operates from the offices of corporate lawyers and reported  €3.23 billion ($3.88 billion) in fiscal 2004 pretax profit and paid $308 million in Irish corporate tax.

The company applied to the Irish Companies Office on Monday to re-register its Round Island One and Flat Island Company subsidiaries as companies with unlimited liability. Unlimited companies have no obligation to file their accounts publicly. The two companies operate from the Dublin offices of corporate lawyers Matheson Ormsby Prentice.

The move to change the legal status of the subsidiaries follows a November 2005 report in The Wall Street Journal and weeks after the US Treasury Department said it was developing new rules to prevent US groups transferring intellectual property and patents abroad as a way of minimising their exposure to US tax.

Last November, The Wall Street Journal wrote that “a law firm’s office on a quiet downtown street [in Dublin, Ireland ] houses an obscure subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. that helps the computer giant shave at least $500 million from its annual tax bill. The four-year-old subsidiary, Round Island One Ltd., has a thin roster of employees but controls more than $16 billion in Microsoft assets. Virtually unknown in Ireland, on paper it has quickly become one of the country’s biggest companies, with gross profits of nearly $9 billion in 2004.”

Flat Island Company made a profit of $802.4 million in 2004 on sales of $2 billion, but paid no tax. It issues licences for software in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Ireland’s low corporate tax rate of 12.5% on trading profits has been a magnet for multinational companies who are responsible for 90% of Irish exports and a significant contributor to the success of the modern Irish economy, commonly known as the Celtic Tiger.

In addition, an Irish tax exemption on patent income, has promoted the parking of US multinational company overseas profits in Ireland, through transfer pricing and other accounting measures. Ireland is the most profitable location of US multinationals and in the period 1998-2002, the profits of US companies with Irish facilities doubled.

Ireland’s annual corporate tax revenue is about €5.3 billion ($6.3 billion). The Wall Street Journal said in its report that a Microsoft Dublin-based company that is used for routing patent a royalty income from overseas operations, paid the Irish Revenue $300 million in taxes last year.

Up to 50% of Irish corporate tax revenue may relate to taxes paid on income earned by US multinationals outside Ireland.

Microsoft’s effective global tax rate fell to 26 percent in its last fiscal year from 33 percent the year before. Nearly half of the drop was attributed to “foreign earnings taxed at lower rates,” Microsoft said in a Securities and Exchange Commission August filing. Microsoft leaves much of its profit in Ireland, including $4.1 billion in cash, avoiding U.S. corporate income taxes. But it still can count this profit in its earnings.

Microsoft did not explain why it chose to re-register the two subsidiaries when questioned about the move. “As part of our strategy to facilitate and support future business growth, Microsoft is re-organising some of its legal entities within the group,” it said in a statement to The Irish Times. “Microsoft Ireland Operations Limited (MIOL) is the primary operating legal entity in Ireland, employing over 1,200 people in four operations based in Sandyford. MIOL remains unaffected by any changes and will continue to publicly file its financial statements.”

IRELAND TOP LOCATION OF US MULTINATIONALS’ PROFITS

Ireland is the world’s most profitable country for US corporations, according to analysis by US tax journal Tax Notes. In a study by the journal’s Martin Sullivan that was published in 2004, it was found that profits made by US companies in Ireland doubled between 1999 and 2002 from $13.4 billion to $26.8 billion, while profits in most of the rest of Europe fell. In his analysis Sullivan termed Ireland a ‘semi-tax haven’ for US firms, because firms are involved in real productivity in contrast with locations such as Bermuda.

Between 1999 to 2002, US multinational corporations increased profits in countries with no taxes or low rates by 68% while sharply reducing profits recorded in countries where they engage in substantial business activity, the study published in the journal Tax Notes shows.

In 2002, US companies reported $149 billion of profits in 18 tax-haven countries, up 68% from $88 billion in 1999, according to Tax Notes, which analyzed the most recently available Commerce Department data. This compares with a 23% increase in total offshore profits earned by US multinationals during the same period-total profits of US multinationals’ foreign subsidiaries around the world stood at $255 billion in 2002.


January 1, 2009 Posted by | Copyright / P2P / Law, General Computer Tech, Windows / Microsoft, World News | Leave a comment

FTC kills scareware operation that duped over a million users

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/12/10/2319233.shtml

http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/36235

“The Federal Trade Commission today got a court to at least temporarily halt a massive ‘scareware’ scheme, which falsely claimed that scans had detected viruses, spyware, and pornography on consumers’ computers. According to the FTC, the scheme has tricked more than one million consumers into buying computer security products such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus. The court also froze the assets of Innovative Marketing, Inc. and ByteHosting Internet Services, LLC to preserve the possibility of providing consumers with monetary redress, the FTC stated.”
I have been waiting for this to happen.  I have fought this garbage software many times overthe lest few years, and I keep seeing it.   Several variations of the same crap.  Regardless of the details, same basic principles.  Convince some poor user that their computer will roll over and explode in a few minutes unless they pay for the software that is causign the problem.  Regretfully, as the software vendor is outside of US jurisdiction, I doubt this will be any more than an minor annoyance for the crooks.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Security | Leave a comment

Massive hole in windows..(another one anyway)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/12/02/0133231.shtml

“The worm exploiting a critical Windows bug that Microsoft patched with an emergency fix in late October is now being used to build a fast-growing botnet, said Ivan Macalintal, a senior research engineer with Trend Micro. Dubbed ‘Downad.a’ by Trend (and ‘Conficker.a’ by Microsoft and ‘Downadup’ by Symantec), the worm is a key component in a massive new botnet that a new criminal element, not associated with McColo, is creating. ‘We think 500,000 is a ballpark figure,’ said Macalintal when asked the size of the new botnet. ‘That’s not as large as some, such as [the] Kraken [botnet], or Storm earlier, but it’s… starting to grow.'”

Some background on this hole and how it works:
http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/10/23/1713220.shtml?tid=201

http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail;jsessionid=8cbbb6719c907342334ffd9256d8?execution=e1s1
http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/bulletins/SB08-294.html
http://www.intelliadmin.com/blog/2008/10/smb-vulnerablity-found-emergency-patch.html

Microsoft Response to the hole:
http://blogs.msdn.com/sdl/archive/2008/10/22/ms08-067.aspx
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS08-067.mspx
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms08-oct.mspx

I found proof-of-concept code available through google.  Took all of a minute.

December 2, 2008 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Security, Windows / Microsoft | Leave a comment

Vista and the Myth of Upgrading

OK.  So I ran into this today and really felt like this was something to share with people.  First, keep in mind that I try to read Slashdot almost every day.  Here’s the article that caugt my attention:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/12/01/0317244.shtml

Several readers pointed out a ComputerWorld UK blog piece on the expanding ripples of the Vista fiasco. Glyn Moody quotes an earlier Inquirer piece about Vista, which he notes “has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system”:

“Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading. Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future.”

Moody continues: “What’s really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realized that they do have a choice — that they can simply say ‘no.’ From there, it’s but a small step to realizing that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic.”

The Slashdot article links to 2 other articles:

Punters buying used PCs to avoid Vista

http://www.theinquirer.net/feeds/rss/generic/en/GB/inq/latest/gb/inquirer/gb/inquirer/news/2008/11/27/punters-buying-old-second-hand

Punters are apparently scrambling to get their hands on used, second hand PCs, not just because they offer a cheap fix in tough economic times, but mainly because they come loaded with Windows XP rather than Vista.

Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading.

Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future.

Josh Kaplan, president of computer repair outfit, Rescuecom, told PC World people wanted to stick with XP to avoid standardisation problems. His company has resold XP-based PCs to companies that use software that is incompatible with Vista and which would require a substantial upgrade to become compatible. ” Having five PCs that are Vista and five XP can create training and compatibility issues,” he said.

Of course, buying a second-hand PC without having to shell out for a Vista license is also much cheaper and certain cheeky resellers are attempting to bump up their own profits even further by selling computers with illegitimate copies of XP bunged in, something which Gartner severly frowns upon, by the way.

Naughty, naughty, chipping away at Microsoft’s billions like that.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Tut, tut.

and

http://www.computerworlduk.com/community/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=1573&blogid=14

The Outlook for Vista Gets Even Worse

As someone who has been following Microsoft for over 25 years, I remain staggered by the completeness of the Vista fiasco. Microsoft’s constant backtracking on the phasing out of Windows XP is perhaps the most evident proof of the fact that people do not want to be forced to “upgrade” to something that has been memorably described as DRM masquerading as an operating system. But this story suggests an even greater aversion:

Studies carried out by both Gartner and IDC have found that because older software is often incompatible with Vista, many consumers are opting for used computers with XP installed as a default, rather than buying an expensive new PC with Vista and downgrading.

Big business, which typically thinks nothing about splashing out for newer, more up-to-date PCs, is also having trouble with Vista, with even firms like Intel noting XP would remain the dominant OS within the company for the foreseeable future.

What’s really important about this is not so much that Vista is manifestly such a dog, but that the myth of upgrade inevitability has been destroyed. Companies have realised that they do have a choice – that they can simply say “no”. From there, it’s but a small step to realising that they can also walk away from Windows completely, provided the alternatives offer sufficient data compatibility to make that move realistic.

That may not have been the case before, but the similar poor uptake of Microsoft’s OOXML, taken together with the generally good compatibility of OpenOffice.org with the original Microsoft Office file formats, implies that we may well be near the tipping point for migrations to free software on the desktop.

That doesn’t mean everyone is going to rip out Windows and replace it with GNU/Linux, simply that they will stop upgrading Microsoft Office too, and start using OpenOffice.org on new systems instead. More people will come into contact with OpenOffice.org, and start using it at home – not least because they are actually *allowed* to take copies from office systems. Throw in Firefox usage that is starting to creep up to significant levels, even in the UK, and you have the recipe for a subsequent migration to GNU/Linux systems running these same apps that is almost painless.

I’m obviously not the only one thinking along these lines. Last weekend, Dell was advertising its new Inspiron Mini 9 in at least one national newspaper. This would have been unthinkable even a year ago, when the company’s fear of upsetting the mighty Microsoft by mentioning the “L” word would have been too great, and is further evidence that GNU/Linux is indeed becoming a mainstream option.

I’ve included the original text of the articles linked to here in case they disappear from the Internet.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | General Computer Tech, Windows / Microsoft | Leave a comment

NVIDIA GPU Update for Dell Laptop Owners

NVIDIA GPU Update for Dell Laptop Owners

http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2008/07/25/nvidia-gpu-update-for-dell-laptop-owners.aspx

Earlier this month, sites like Ars Technica and ZDNet blogged about NVIDIA’s statement regarding a potential issue with some of NVIDIA’s Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) used in notebooks. According to NVIDIA, these affected GPUs are experiencing higher than expected failure rates causing video problems. Though this issue is not unique to Dell, some of these affected GPUs are used in certain Dell laptops. That’s why I wanted to take a few minutes here to explain the issue and to let customers know what to do next.

The issue is a weak die/packaging material set, which may fail with GPU temperature fluctuations. If your GPU fails, you may see intermittent symptoms during early stages of failure that include:

  • Multiple images
  • Random characters on the screen
  • Lines on the screen
  • No video

Dell recommends that you flash your system BIOS (see links in the table below). Each of these BIOS updates listed in the table below modifies the fan profile to help regulate GPU temperature fluctuations. Note: if you are already experiencing video-related issues like the bullet points above, updating the BIOS will not correct them. Dell will provide support for customers who have experienced GPU failure according to the terms of the system warranty.

August 1, 2008 Posted by | General Computer Tech | Leave a comment