Posted on 1 May 2006

Tech Radio – April 29, 2006

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The flu/cold/strep bugs hit the Wiscombe family this past week so I need to apologize to all Tech Radio listeners for not recording the show until late Saturday afternoon.  I still feel pretty rough as I write this blog but I simply can’t lie down anymore.  As I mentioned, we finally recorded the show late Saturday afternoon.  Rob Merrill and Matt Reinbold were out of town this week so Mike McMullin with PC Laptops pinch hit and did an admirable job.  My thanks to Quinn at PC Laptops for letting me borrow Mike so we could record this week’s show.  Mike has been a hardware technician for the past 10 years so he knows his stuff.

Here’s a rundown of this week’s Tech Radio show:

Trojan Demands Ransom:  A new kind of malware circulating on the Internet freezes a computer and then asks for a ransom paid through the Western Union Holdings money transfer service.  The malware is one of only a few viruses so far that have asked for a ransom in exchange for releasing control of a computer.  Once the virus has been run, the Trojan freezes the computer displaying a message saying files are being deleted every 30 minutes.  It then gives instruction on how to send $10.99 via Western Union to free the computer.  Hitting the control, alt, and delete keys will not help your situation.  The author of the virus even offers tech support.  If the method of unlocking the computer doesn’t work after the money is sent, the virus writer promises to research the problem and includes an e-mail address.

MICROSOFT NEWS:  Microsoft has introduced a new program that will test to see if customers have a genuine version of its Office productivity suite.  The move is part of Microsoft’s continued effort to prevent software piracy and the distribution of counterfeit copies of its software.

Microsoft has confirmed that it plans to turn off half of the firewall in its new version of Windows Vista expected to ship in January 2007.  Microsoft says it doesn’t think most users need all the firewall’s functionality or can handle its management. 

Is your computer ‘Vista Ready?’  If you’ve been out shopping for a new PC recently, you’ve probably noticed the "Vista Ready" stickers on new machines.  While Microsoft hasn’t disclosed the minimum requirements for its new OS, it’s pretty safe to assume it will require some fairly hefty hardware requirements.  Most specs we found say it will require a minimum of 512MB RAM, a "modern" CPU, and a DirectX 9 graphics processor.  Remember, these are the minimum requirements.  You’ll need a lot more horsepower if you expect any of your software to run.

Some of the other topics we discussed during this week’s Tech Radio include:

  • The Feds issue a security alert for the Firefox internet browser
  • Microsoft is ramping up its XBOX 360 shipments
  • Sony expects a tremendous start for Playstation 3 gaming system
  • Nintendo is replacing the ‘Game Cube’ with Wii (pronounced WE)
  • Miller Beer has signed an agreement with Tempra Technology to introduce self-cooling beer cans.
  • The next version iPod could include touch screen technology and a larger screen so you can watch movies. 
  • Sony is almost ready to introduce the iPod killer.  (yeah yeah yeah – hasn’t everybody)
  • AT&T says they will offer its high speed Internet subscribers a movie delivery service from Starz.
  • Skype says they have 100 million people using their service
  • Phishers using VoIP technology to steal your identity.
  • PhysX (pronounced physics) video gaming chips wants to make gaming  more realistic
  • With gas prices nearing $3 a gallon, many U.S. residents are turning to the web to find which gas stations have the best prices in their neighborhood
  • Rhode Island is building a state-wide wireless network expected to be online  by 2007

As you can see, we covered a fair number of topics during this week’s show.  Please take Tech Radio with you by burning the show to CD or subscribe to the Tech Radio podcast

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