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Got UDP/IP attack from 221.130.184.27!

Written by IT News on 8:43 AM

Today May 31 2007, I got repeated UDP/IP attack from IP address : 221.130.184.27
My location is in Jakarta, Indonesia.

I use Telkomnet instan when got this attack, I assume that Telcom's network is no longer secure. Why? because I only got attack when accessing the Internet with Telkomnet-Instan.

I will report this issue to Telkom by e-mail soon. For everyone I recommend you not to use telkomnet-instan till got notice from this blog. If by any reason you use it, please used firewall in your computer, if you using windows OS, you may use ZoneAlarm to help protect your computer.

When I switch my connection into one of the following providers, the Udp-attack is no longer attack my computer.

  1. Clean network connections:
  2. CBN www.cbn.net.id
  3. XL (Xplore) www.xl.co.id
  4. FREN
  5. StarOne from Indosat

The attackers is look like comes from china, here is the information for Whois, goto https://secure.dshield.org/ipinfo.html?ip=221.130.184.027

Also please block this IP address:



221.130.184.27
60.11.125.52 port 38511
221.208.208.100 port 33750
61.5.104.56 port 4455
221.208.208.101 port 48127
222.161.2.47 port 35598
221.208.208.87 port 35351

XP Hibernate Option

Written by IT News on 8:32 PM

Whenever you want to logoff, shut down or reboot your Windows XP machine you have only 3 choices

  1. Standby ONLY IF the ACPI/APM function is properly enabled BOTH in your motherboard's BIOS AND in WinXP!
  2. Restart
  3. Shutdown.

To properly enable Hibernation in WinXP:

Start button -> Control Panel -> Power Options -> Hibernate tab -> check Enable hibernate support box -> Apply/OK -> reboot

NOTE: If the Hibernate tab is unavailable your computer does NOT support it!
For some reason Microsoft did NOT enable the 4th option:

4. Hibernate, which should be available on power saving (ACPI) enabled PCs and laptops.

But you CAN bring it back: just hold the Shift key while the Shut down menu is displayed on your screen, and notice the Standby button being replaced by a new, fully functional Hibernate button, which can be clicked with the left button of your mouse.

If you release the Shift key, the Hibernate option will disappear once again, to be replaced by Standby.

Recovering a File in Linux

Written by IT News on 8:26 PM

While you've lost what you had on screen, you may have forgotten that the computer still has it stored in RAM. You just need to find a way to get at it.

First things first, every step you take after the realization of the loss of your file can cause pieces of it to get overwritten (since this memory is now marked as free by the OS). So the first step is to create a snapshot of your current RAM. If you have alot of ram like me, this can take upwards of 1GB of space on your hard drive.

cp /dev/mem ~/memory.bin

When finished, you can open your memory file using the command "less":

less ~/memory.bin

When the program starts, it'll report that its trying to compute line numbers. Skip this by hitting ctrl+c once.

Now search for a unique word that you remember typing in your document by hitting forward slash (/) and the word. ie (/trickle). After much churning, matches will be displayed by less. Hit the up and down arrow keys to scroll from the hit point. To continue searching for the same phrase, simply hit / and enter again. Once you stumble upon your document, it may be in bad shape, but there should be enough information left to copy and paste out of the terminal.

Dual-Booting Windows Vista and Linux

Written by IT News on 8:19 PM

Assuming that you are doing a fresh install:

  • First install Windows Vista on your system.
  • After the Windows Vista install, we start with the Linux installation.

Please make sure not to resize the Vista partition during the installation of the Linux distribution! Due to changes in NTFS versions, current Linux partitioning program, no standard Windows partitioning programs can properly alter the partition that Vista is installed on.

Select GRUB as the bootloader to be installed. After completing the install we will be able to boot into Linux only as the MBR will be overwritten.

Now we need to modify the bootmenu to add an entry for Windows Vista.

For this we will edit the file "/boot/grub/menu.lst". To add an entry for Windows Vista, we need to add the following lines at the end of the file.

If Vista is installed on 1st partition 1st IDE hard drive:



title "Windows Vista"
root (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

If Vista is installed on 1st partition 1st SATA/SCSI hard drive:



title "Windows Vista"
root (sd0,0)
chainloader +1

Depending on your Vista Setup, you can modify the above code. The only area that should need modification is the line that starts with "root". The item that will likely need modification is the drive and partition information.

Save the file and restart your system to see the new bootmenu.

Speeding Up Network Browsing

Written by IT News on 8:00 PM

There are a lot of things which can negatively impact how fast XP will browse network shares.
One has been previously covered regarding browsing to Win9x computers.

Other things you can try, especially when there is slow browsing to network shares with a lot of files:

1. Remove current shortcuts in My Network Places

2. Change the registry so shared folders on remote computers are not automatically added to My Network Places when you even open a document from that shared folder

  1. Start Regedit
  2. Create a DWORD value:
  3. HKEY_Current_User \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer \ NoRecentDocsNetHood to 1.
  4. I have also seen setting the following help as well.
    HKEY_Current_User \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer \ UseDesktopIniCache to 1.

Download Reg file to do both

3. Increase the amount of data is buffered at one time to send to a client. On the computer with the shared directory:

  1. Start Regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
  3. Create a DWORD Key called SizReqBuf
  4. Give it a value of Hex FFFF

Speed up your browsing of Windows 2000 & XP machines

Written by IT News on 7:52 PM

Here's a great tip to speed up your browsing of Windows XP machines. Its actually a fix to a bug installed as default in Windows 2000 that scans shared files for Scheduled Tasks.

And it turns out that you can experience a delay as long as 30 seconds when you try to view shared files across a network because Windows 2000 is using the extra time to search the remote computer for any Scheduled Tasks. Note that though the fix is originally intended for only those affected, Windows 2000 users will experience that the actual browsing speed of both the Internet & Windows Explorers improve significantly after applying it since it doesn't search for Scheduled Tasks anymore. Here's how :

Open up the Registry and go to :

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace

Under that branch, select the key :

{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}

and delete it.

This is key that instructs Windows to search for Scheduled Tasks. If you like you may want to export the exact branch so that you can restore the key if necessary.

This fix is so effective that it doesn't require a reboot and you can almost immediately determine yourself how much it speeds up your browsing processes.

This tip aplicable for : WindowsXP, Windows 2000, Windows NT

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment

Written by IT News on 7:38 PM

The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment is a tool that will find computers on a network and perform a detailed inventory of the computers using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Through use of the detailed inventory data, the tool will assess and report whether the computers can run Windows Vista, where to find drivers for devices on the computers, and provide recommendations for hardware upgrades, where appropriate.

The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool does not require the deployment of agent software on the computers being inventoried and assessed. It provides a secure, quick, and easy way to determine which computers, in a networked environment, are Windows Vista ready.

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-Bit x86); Windows Vista; Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • Hardware Requirements:

    • 1.6-GHz or faster processor minimum
    • 1 GB of RAM minimum
    • 1 GB of available hard-disk space required
    • 10/100 Mbps network adapter required

  • Software Requirements: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition for storing inventory and assessment data. Microsoft Word 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Excel 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Excel 2007 for generating reports.
For more information and download please click here

Permanently disable AutoPlay

Written by IT News on 7:23 PM

If you frequently insert and remove CDs, you may want to permanently stop the AutoPlay feature -- specially if you have children that swap game CDs who may not know how to handle "AutoPlays." Unfortunately, you have to take different steps to do this depending on your operating system:

Windows 95

  • Click on "Start"
  • Choose "Settings"and then "Control Panel"
  • Double click on the "System" icon
  • Change to the "Device Manager" tab
  • Double click on the CD-ROM and then the name of the CD-ROM
  • Change to the "Settings" tab
  • Uncheck "Auto Insert Notification" checkbox

Windows NT or Windows XP

  • Run the "Registry Editor" ("Start | Run | RegEdit.exe | ENTER")
  • Select "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
    \System\CurrentControlSet
    \Services\CdRom
    "
  • Double click on "Autorun"
  • Change the value from "1" to "0"
This tip Applicable for : Windows NT, Windows NT 4.x, Windows XP, Windows 95

Disable shutdown button on the Log-in screen

Written by IT News on 7:02 PM

Unlike in Windows NT Server, Windows NT Workstation's log-in screen has a "Shutdown" button which you can use to shutdown the system without ever logging in. Here's how to disable Windows NT Workstation's "Shutdown" button on the initial log-in screen:

  • Run "Registry Editor" (run "RegEdit.exe" or "RegEdt32.exe")
  • Select the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\
Current Version\Winlogon
  • Add a value named "ShutdownWithoutLogon" of type "REG_SZ" and set it to "0".
  • Restart Windows

This tips Applicable for : Windows NT, Windows NT 3.x, Windows NT 4.x, Windows

Create an IP address tracking batch tool in Windows XP Pro

Written by IT News on 8:36 AM

When you're troubleshooting DHCP problems in Windows XP Pro and want to find out which addresses in a range of IP addresses aren't in use, you may open a command prompt window and launch a ping loop with the For…In…Do command. For example, to find out which IP addresses aren't being used in the range 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.100, you might use the command For /L %f in (1,1,100) Do Ping.exe -n 2 192.168.1.%f.

This command will report all the IP addresses, whether in use or not; you'll also have to scroll through a vast number of entries on the command line. You can avoid these inconveniences with a short batch file that returns only those IP addresses that aren't in use, and then compiles the results in a text file. Here's how:

  1. Launch Notepad and type the following commands:
    @Echo off
    date /t > IPList.txt
    time /t >> IPList.txt
    echo =========== >> IPList.txt
    For /L %%f in (1,1,100) Do Ping.exe -n 2 192.168.1.%%f Find
    "Request timed out." && echo 192.168.1.%%f Timed Out >>
    IPList.txt && echo off
    cls
    Echo Finished!
    @Echo on
    Notepad.exe IPList.txt
  2. Save the file as IPTracker.bat and close Notepad.

Keep in mind that the entire For…In…Do command consists of several commands strung together with &&s. The command begins with the word For and ends with the word off, and the entire command must be on one line. Also, be sure to replace the example numbers with numbers from the IP addresses you wish to track.

Now when you troubleshoot a DHCP problem, you can locate and double-click the IPTracker.bat file in Windows Explorer, and then launch an IP address tracking tool batch that will find only those addresses that aren't in use and then display the results in Notepad. (In this case, the saved batch file becomes an IP address tracking tool that can be created once and used over and over.)

Note: This tip applies only to Windows XP Professional.

Viewing non-present devices in Windows XP's Device Manager

Written by IT News on 8:31 AM

Find out how Windows XP's Device Manager can help you track down non-present devices, which may still cause problems even though they're not physically attached to your machine.

When troubleshooting driver problems in Windows XP, one of the first places you may look is Device Manager, which provides detailed information about every piece of installed system hardware. In light of devices such as removable USB drives becoming more and more common, you may need information about devices that are not currently connected; Device Manager recognizes these as non-present devices. Here's how to get information about these devices:

  1. Go to Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties.
  2. In the System Properties dialog box, select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  3. In the Environment Variables dialog box, locate the System Variables panel and click New.
  4. In the New System Variable dialog box, type DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES in the Variable Name text box and type 1 in the Variable Value text box.
    Click OK twice.
  5. To view the non-present devices, go to Start, right-click My Computer, and select Manage.
  6. Click Device Manager, pull down the View menu, and select Show Hidden Devices.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Windows Vista's Default Programs tool more than what you'd expect

Written by IT News on 8:11 AM

While exploring in Windows Vista recently, I discovered something that I had previously overlooked because of its lackluster name -- DefaultPrograms. I just assumed that Default Programs was akin to Windows XP's fairlyinnocuous Set Program Access.

Cut and paste in Windows XP with ClipMate

Written by IT News on 8:07 AM

Windows XP's Clipboard is handy, but it has its limitations. Learn how you can extend Clipboard's capabilities with a utility called ClipMate.

Note:

  • This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional
  • Please click the link to read the article

Keep DNS servers from contributing to a DDoS attack

Written by IT News on 3:31 PM

Is your public DNS server just waiting to participate in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack? If it's using recursion, then the answer is yes. DDoS and DNS attacks aren't new, but they're on the rise.

Using authoritative name service, DNS servers primarily advertise to the world the various records associated with the domain they serve. Because users prefer common names and networks prefer numbers, DNS servers handle the translation between what a user types in a browser—such as techrepublic.com—and the actual IP address the network understands.

The task of answering a query recursively is completely different. According to a US-CERT report, between 75 and 80 percent of all DNS servers can handle recursive requests.
Recursive DNS provide answers to queries for records by asking other DNS servers and providing that response to the client that made the request. Here's an example:

  1. A user enters www.techrepublic.com into a Web browser.
  2. The computer contacts its local DNS server to determine the IP address of www.techrepublic.com.
  3. The DNS server looks up www.techrepublic.com in its local tables (i.e., its cache) but does not find it listed.
  4. The DNS server sends a query to a root server for the IP address of www.techrepublic.com.
  5. The root server replies with a referral to the top-level domain (TLD) servers for www.techrepublic.com.
  6. The DNS server then contacts the TLD server to determine the IP address of www.techrepublic.com.
  7. The TLD server replies with a referral to the name server for www.techrepublic.com.
  8. The DNS server contacts the name server for www.techrepublic.com to determine the IP address.
  9. The name server checks a zone file that defines a CNAME record, which shows www.techrepublic.com is an alias of techrepublic.com.com. DNS returns both the CNAME and the A record for techrepublic.com.com
  10. The DNS server sends this response to the original client: techrepublic.com.com = 216.239.113.146 (with CNAME record www.techrepublic.com=techrepublic.com.com).

How can a recursive query become a DDoS attack? For the attack to work, the attacker needs to be in control of one DNS record.

He or she then populates the TXT field of that record with information. (The maximum size of the TXT field is approximately 4,200 bytes.) And then the fun begins. Here's how:
  1. The attacker programs bots to continuously execute requests for this record against recursive DNS.
  2. The bots spoof the source IP address of these requests, replacing it with the DDoS target.
  3. The recursive servers take the record from the attacker-controlled zone, and send it along to the IP address they think the request came from.
Multiply this by the number of bots participating in the attack, and you've got a DDoS attack. If your DNS server is a target of this attack, your network will grind to a halt because none of its clients can resolve an IP address.

What's the solution? It's quite simple: Run two different DNS servers. Let the internal server handle all requests from your network (even recursive for your clients only).
On the external DNS server, disable recursion. With recursion disabled, the external DNS server won't send queries on behalf of other name servers or clients, which stops attackers from bouncing DoS attacks off your DNS server by querying for external zones.
Final thoughts


Open DNS recursion isn't the problem—it's a symptom of the problem. IP address spoofing is the real problem, and this spoofing provides a ready venue for DDoS, spam, and other headaches.
In my opinion, IP address verification is the answer, and the tools already exist to solve that problem. I know the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is
looking at the issue, but it needs to stop investigating and take action.

Automatically set Processor Affinity in Windows XP Professional

Written by IT News on 8:59 PM

If you have a dual-core processor, you may discover that certain older applications that ran fine on systems with a single core CPU have problems running with two cores. For example, your application may suddenly begin maxing out the CPU usage at 100 percent, appearing to lock up. Windows XP Professional's Processor Affinity setting allows you to work around such problems by configuring older applications to use only one of the cores. Here's how to set it up:

  1. Access Task Manager.
  2. Choose the Processes tab.
  3. Right-click the process associated with the problem application.
  4. Select the Set Affinity command. (If you don't have a dual-core system, you won't see the Set Affinity command.)
  5. From the Processor Affinity dialog box, clear one of the CPU check boxes.

You could perform this manual operation every time you run the application, but the THG Task Assignment Manager (available for download from Tom's Hardware) allows you to create profiles that automatically assign applications to a specific CPU every time you run them.

Note: This tip applies only to Windows XP Professional.

Prevent identity theft by avoiding these seven common mistakes

Written by IT News on 8:17 PM

Identity theft is on the rise. Is your organization part of the solution or part of the problem? Personally identifiable information (PII) is pouring through the security floodgates and ending up in the wrong hands at an alarming rate.

To protect your organization's employees and clients, you need to evaluate how well your company protects its PII. Here are seven common mistakes to avoid.

Keep users in the dark

Users will always be the weakest link in any enterprise network -- and all of the gadgets and controls in the world won't change that. If your users don't know how to identify and handle PII, it's only a matter of time before one of them discloses this data to the wrong source.

The solution is simple: Educate your users on your company's policies and mechanisms to process PII. And don't forget to include regularly scheduled refresher courses.

Partner with the wrong businesses

You've made sure your security is rock solid, and you've trained your users. But can your business partners say the same? Do you collect or share information with businesses that have little or no security?

If your company collects and shares PII with insecure partners, who do you think will end up in the paper and explaining to law enforcement about how a breach occurred? Your company will.

The solution is just as simple as the last dilemma: Educate and train your business partners on how to protect this sensitive information. Charge them for your expertise if you want, but get the job done.

Keep data around past its prime

What do you do with data once it's served its purpose? If you aren't destroying PII when it's no longer required, then you're not doing your job. That doesn't mean throwing it away either -- that means destroying it.

Dumpster divers make a living off of old bank statements and credit card receipts. That's why you need to wipe out PII when it's no longer necessary. If your organization doesn't have a shredder, you need to get one today.

Don't worry about physical security

It's imperative that you implement physical access controls to prevent unauthorized people -- including employees -- from gaining access to PII. Get a door lock and a badge reader, and start controlling access.

Don't lock up your records

If you don't have specific storage areas on your network (as well as file cabinets) for PII, then how can your properly protect it? Take inventory of your network -- and your paper copies -- and develop a plan to protect that data. This would be a good time to research encrypting data-at-rest and locking some file cabinets.

Ignore activity on your network

I've said this before in columns, but it's worth repeating: If you're not going to actively monitor your network for suspicious activity or incidents, then stop collecting the data. Develop a method that's within your capabilities and budget to monitor your network for suspicious activity or incidents. And while you're at it, develop a response and mitigation strategy for security incidents.

Audits? Who needs audits?

A lot of businesses either don't know what security events to audit or don't read their security logs -- or both. If you're not sure which events to audit, find out. Set up security auditing, and start reviewing your logs today.

Final thoughts

Identity theft may be on the rise, but you don't have to make it easy for thieves. You can help prevent identity theft both at home and at the office -- you just need to take a few extra steps.

Microsoft's $3 Anti-Linux Weapon

Written by IT News on 8:50 PM

The company's Student Innovation Suite is an attempt to con the world into using Windows and avoiding Linux. (Linux-Watch)

In Beijing, Bill Gates announced this week that Microsoft's "Unlimited Potential" initiative will now include offering a software package, the Student Innovation Suite, to governments and students in emerging countries across the world at a price of just $3.

This suite, available in the second half of 2007, will include Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, Microsoft Math 3.0, Learning Essentials 2.0 for Microsoft Office and Windows Live Mail desktop. However, Microsoft has no takers for its offering yet.

Officially, the goal is to help bring social and economic opportunity through new products and programs to as many as possible of the potential 5 billion people who do not yet use Microsoft products.

What a lot of bull feces. The goal is to kill open source off at its roots. Microsoft wants to make sure that young people in developing countries get brainwashed into the Microsoft way of computing.

Here's what's really happening. Microsoft is seeing that the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) initiative is taking off. Soon, millions of kids will be using a computer for the first time, and their first computer is going to be running Sugar, an innovative software environment built on top of a Red Hat Fedora-based Linux variant.

PointerRead the full story on Linux-Watch: Microsoft's $3 Anti-Linux Weapon

Why people really don't switch to Linux

Written by IT News on 8:41 PM

Opinion -- Over in the DesktopLinux forums, people have been talking about why -- if Linux is so darned great -- don't people give up Windows and move to it.

The usual suspects show up. There aren't enough applications. The right application isn't available. You still have to use the command line for some things. Some equipment doesn't have drivers.

There's some truth to those, and some nonsense.

The real reason people don't use Linux on their desktops, though, is that it's not already there. They stick with what they know. It's really that simple.

Don't buy that because it's too simple-minded? Look around. As I write this on May 17, 2007, the AAA is reporting that gasoline prices hit a record high for the fifth straight day. The average price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded gasoline in the U.S. is now $3.114. It will be higher tomorrow.

So, everyone is looking for alternative means of transportation, right? They're switching to hybrid cars, yes? Or, at least, they're not driving as much, correct? Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

The AAA's survey of Americans travel plans found that a record 38.3 million will be traveling 100 miles or more over the Memorial Day holiday. That's up 1.7 percent from last year.

Why? Because not only do we love our gas-guzzling, mobile money pits, most of us don't even seriously think about switching to a hybrid. Heck, from what AAA is telling us, we don't even consider cutting down on optional driving.

It's the same thing with Windows. It's what powers our PC. Oh, some of us use alternatives like Linux-- but so what? Some people use biodiesel, but how likely are you to see someone driving next to you on the freeway with it fueling their engine?

Or, looked at another way, the vast majority of cars sold today run on gasoline. You can get one that runs on an alternative fuel, but when you go to get a new car at a dealership, what do you see? Acres and acres of the same old internal combustion engine-powered cars.

It really is the same thing. People grumble about the price of gas, people grumble about the pain of keeping Windows patched. People go to buy a car at a new car dealership, CarMax, or AutoTrader, and they come out with a gas-powered car. People want a new PC so they go to CompUSA, Direct Buy, or Circuit City and come out with a Vista-powered system. It's just the way it is.

I know that today there's no common job you can't do on a Linux PC. I know that when people say "Linux doesn't have the right application for me" they're wrong 99 percent of the time.

I also know that most desktop Linux users will need to go to a shell to type in commands as often as their Windows-using brothers and sisters will need to manually adjust the registry. And yes, some equipment doesn't have Linux drivers that work very well. On the other hand, have you you tried running Vista with an NVIDIA video card lately?

The difference, the real difference, is that people are used to dealing with Windows problems. They -- sort of -- know that "Windows security" is an oxymoron, and that Vista is a pig of an operating system that won't run on most older systems. But, it's "the devil they know."

Linux may be better, but they don't know Linux. They can't just pick up a phone and buy Linux from a vendor they already know.

That last scenario is about to change, though. By month's end, Dell will be offering consumer PCs with Ubuntu pre-installed.

Dell supporting desktop Linux isn't going to change the world overnight. But, just like Toyota's Prius opened the door for the better hybrid car alternative -- 51 MPG highway, folks -- Dell is opening the door for the better Linux PC alternative.

“Halo 3” to Make Entertainment History on Sept. 25

Written by IT News on 8:37 PM

Countdown begins for what promises to be bigger than any movie launch in history; beta preview and collectible Zune-Halo 3 edition digital media player add to early excitement.

LOS ANGELES — May 15, 2007 — In a year when Hollywood is launching its biggest blockbusters ever, a video game is set to conquer them all. “Halo® 3,” the final chapter in the groundbreaking “Halo” trilogy, is set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25. Created by legendary developer Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, “Halo 3” will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in Master Chief’s epic battle to save humankind. “Halo 3” will be available to audiences around the world starting Sept. 25 and will release in Europe on Sept. 26.

“‘Halo 3’ is much more than a video game release; it’s the biggest entertainment event of the year,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. “On Sept. 25, we intend to deliver a finale that will go down in entertainment history and leave people around the world with an experience that will be shared and enjoyed for years to come.”

Fueling the early buzz around “Halo 3”, Microsoft unveiled the multiplayer beta on the eve of its release at a star-studded event in Hollywood. Beginning tomorrow, May 16, Microsoft Game Studios will kick off the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, which provides audiences worldwide with an exclusive, early look at some of the multiplayer elements of “Halo 3” on Xbox LIVE®. Adding to the excitement, Microsoft is also announcing a special edition Zune™ digital media player inspired by the hugely successful “Halo” franchise. On shelves next month, the Zune-Halo 3 edition comes loaded with a collection of “Halo” content, including videos, soundtracks, trailers, ads and artwork.

In November 2004, the world’s view of video games changed forever with the release of “Halo 2,” which generated a record-setting $125 million in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the most-played game on Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged to date.

The unveiling of the “Halo 3” launch date comes on the eve of the release of the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, which will debut to audiences worldwide via Xbox LIVE on May 16 at 5 a.m. PDT and run through June 6 at 11:59 p.m. PDT.* The “Halo 3” multiplayer beta will provide audiences worldwide with an exclusive early look at some of the multiplayer elements of “Halo 3” on Xbox LIVE. Gamers who are interested in experiencing the multiplayer beta of “Halo 3” can still participate through the purchase of the critically acclaimed, Xbox 360-exclusive title “Crackdown™,” which was launched in February. Starting May 16, the specially marked copies of “Crackdown” will act as a key for gamers to participate in the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta. In addition to giving gamers their first opportunity to get their hands on the new levels, weapons, vehicles and game types, the multiplayer beta will also provide valuable data that Bungie will use in continued development.

The “Halo” franchise has expanded beyond video games into The New York Times’ best-selling books, graphic novels, collectible merchandise and now a new, special edition Zune digital media player. Encased in collectible packaging, the Zune-Halo 3 edition digital media player comes pre-loaded with artwork, trailers and music from all three “Halo” games, as well as an exclusive new episode of “Red vs. Blue” from the fan-adored machinima creator Rooster Teeth Productions LLC. The Zune-Halo 3 edition (estimated retail price $249) will be available exclusively at GameStop starting June 15.

About Bungie Studios

Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon Trilogy” and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.7 million units worldwide, logging nearly 1 billion hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE, and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel and more. Bungie is currently at work on “Halo 3,” which represents the third chapter in this “Halo” trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox®® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport®”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.” and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows




Why unified communications bring out the best in VoIP

Written by IT News on 8:29 PM

Unified communications (UC) is the new buzzword in the IT industry, but what does it really mean? Do you need VoIP to implement UC or vice versa? How is UC helping to drive the adoption of VoIP in the business world? Deb Shinder answers these questions as she explores the relationship between VoIP and UC.

Unified communications (UC) -- also called unified messaging or UM -- is the new buzzword in the IT industry, but what does it really mean? In some cases, it depends on whom you ask; vendors tend to put their own spin on the definition depending on what they're trying to sell you. But by most definitions, UC refers to the ability to integrate different types of communications -- including voice mail, e-mail, faxes, instant messages, and video conferencing -- into one common interface and/or repository.

That said, there are many ways to implement a unified communications solution in an organization. In its simplest form, it provides a way for users to access their faxes and voice mail messages via their e-mail clients. More sophisticated implementations provide advanced features such as the ability to hear e-mail messages read to you over the phone as well as the ability to dictate a reply and send it as an e-mail, instant message, fax, or audio message.

You don't necessarily need VoIP to implement UC; you can use the regular phone system. But VoIP does make it easier: VoIP services already include mechanisms for forwarding voice mail to e-mail, Find Me Follow Me (FMFM) functionality, and other features used in a UC system. In addition, you get more scalability and better integration with VoIP than with UC-type products that rely on traditional phone services.

Combining an asynchronous communication type such as e-mail with a real-time communication type such as telecommunications presents some challenges. However, it gives users far more flexibility and allows each of them to receive, process, and send messages in the way that works best for that individual.

Using UC in the business environment

Not surprisingly, UC has taken off more quickly in the enterprise environment than in the small and midsize business (SMB) world. Although it simplifies life for end users and can also reduce operational and maintenance costs and overhead, the initial implementation can be a bit costly and complex for smaller businesses. However, as competition in the field increases and costs for UC products decrease, VoIP-based UC is catching on with SMBs.

Some of the standard features of a UC system can greatly increase productivity, especially in companies that rely on daily (or more frequent) communications with customers, partners, vendors, and within the company. A UC system can give users the ability to:

  • Use the same device and interface to access e-mail, voice mail messages, faxes, etc.
  • Set priorities on messages or callers so users can retrieve high-priority messages and act on them more quickly.
  • Respond to a message without exiting the messaging system, or forward a message to someone else within a single call.
  • Send voice messages as e-mail attachments to other users, including setting up automatic forwarding so an assistant or other designated person will always get a copy of the user's voice mail.
  • Send messages to multiple persons by making a single call.
  • Use text-to-speech translation to have e-mail messages read to the user over the phone.
  • Answer e-mail messages by dictating a reply over the phone.
  • Access information about new fax messages over the phone.
  • View fax messages from an e-mail client on any computer or mobile device.
  • Forward faxes to others as e-mail attachments.
  • Get notification of new voice mail messages, e-mail messages, or faxes via pager or cell phone.

Another important feature of a good UC system is the ability to locate the user wherever he or she is available via one phone number. The FMFM feature will ring different numbers (e.g., office, home, cell) in specified order or allow callers to opt to leave a message instead, which the system then delivers immediately to the recipient's cell phone, PDA, laptop, desktop computer, etc. Recipients can designate a different number for use during different time periods (e.g., after-hours, weekends).

Users can screen their calls, choosing which ones to answer immediately and which to send to the voice mail system. In addition, they can access messages via their e-mail accounts using POP, IMAP, or HTTP (i.e., Web-based mail).

On the administrative side, the repository for all these different types of communications is a messaging server, which typically uses LDAP-based directory services for identifying and authenticating users.

Vendor support for UC

Major equipment vendors such as Cisco Systems and software vendors such as Microsoft have gotten into the UC game. For example, Cisco's UC software is its Unified Open Network Exchange (uOne). Of course, there are many other vendors that offer UC solutions, especially at the enterprise level.

As you might expect, Microsoft based its UC solution on its Exchange e-mail server software, Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS) -- the successor to Live Communications Server -- the Office Communicator client software, Microsoft Office 2007 applications, and the Outlook e-mail client.

OCS 2007 integrates voice, video, instant messaging, and data communications into Office, and it also supports VoIP and smart phone devices. You can conduct video conferencing with Microsoft RoundTable, a device that incorporates a panoramic video camera and microphone with software for conducting online meetings.

Users with mobile devices can use Office Communicator Mobile to provide a similar interface to Office Communicator on the desktop. And users can use Office Communicator Web Access when they must work from a public computer or another device that doesn't have client software installed. Again, the Web interface is similar in appearance and functionality to Office Communicator 2007.

Summary

The growing adoption of VoIP makes it easier for companies to implement unified communications, and the increasing recognition of a need for UC within the organization is a force that's helping to drive the adoption of VoIP in the business world. The two technologies complement one another -- and while they aren't inseparable, it's a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The VoIP/UC combination is quickly becoming the standard for managing communications in large businesses. Like other technologies such as Internet access, Web presence, and so forth, it's likely that this will eventually become the standard throughout the business world.

Want more tips and tricks to help you plan or optimize your VoIP deployment? Automatically sign up for our free VoIP newsletter, delivered each Monday!

Deb Shinder is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. She currently specializes in security issues and Microsoft products, and she has received Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status in Windows Server Security.


Tweaking Windows XP for Performance, Step 6

Written by IT News on 11:49 PM

FINAL STEP

6. Restart!

Finally after doing all this tweaking you should restart and see how much faster it goes! Another thing I want to mention is to always defrag reguarly or else performance will slowly degrade.

7. New start up times

:: Before

Boot up (time to get to logon screen) = 59 Seconds
RAM used at startup = 60MB
Processes = 15
Time to load after logging in = 35 Seconds


:: After
Boot up (time to get to logon screen) = 52 Seconds
RAM used at startup = 42MB
Processes = 12
Time to load after logging in = 15 Seconds

The results may not seem very impressive, but this IS on a very outdated machines. Your results will differ depending on how fast your machine is. After tweaking XP on my main rig the startup time went from one minute to get to the logon screen to a mere 20 seconds!

8. Last Words

If you don't want MSN Messanger to start at startup simply logon to your accout and go to tools --> options to disable it. If you don't have an account, as it won't let you change the options without first logoning on to an account. Click on the Start Button --> run and type in "regedit", then go to,

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Currentversion\Run

Delete the key that says,

MSMSGS - REG_SZ - "C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe" /background

And Another thing, if you're the only person that uses the computer you can easily disable the fast user switching feature by going to My Computer --> Control Panel --> User Accounts

A new windows will pop up, on the menu to the left click on "Change the way users log on and off" and finally, unselect the "use welcome screen" option --> apply option

9. Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you out and made your computer just a little faster. Because Windows XP comes with so many useless things you can easily disable them to increase performance. The performance isn't with a price though. There won't be any "eye candy", fading folders or menus, previews of pictures and mp3's, and no more Windows Themes. In other words it won't look nice and pretty with all the effects turned off, but it won't really matter once you realize just how much faster things are!


Tweaking Windows XP for Performance, Step 5

Written by IT News on 11:43 PM

STEP 6

5.
Windows Services

One of the most crucial components of Windows. In this section of the guide we'll disable unnecessary servies. I really don't want to explain what each and every service does as it would take quite some time. If you curious here's a link to a fantastic website that's all about Windows services and what each service does, click here. What I'm going to do is list all the services you can safely disable without worrying it'll screw up windows, all the services you should leave at manual, and the services you should always leave at automatic.

A. First of all right click on the My Computer icon and click on Manage, a new window will pop up on the left is the menu, go down click on the plus for "Services and Application" to expand the menu. Last, click on the little icon with the gears named services.

B. To disable a service right click on it's name --> properties. I new window will pop up and with a description of the service, startup type roll down menu, and buttons to stop/start/ pause/resume. Simply select "disable" from the "start up type" menu to disable a service.

C. Services you can safely disable:

:: Services
1. Disabled - Alerter
2. Disabled - Application Layer Gateway Service
3. Manual - Application Management
4. Disabled - Automatic Updates
5. Disabled - Background Intelligent Transfer Service
7. Disabled - Clipbook
8. Manual - COM+ Event System
9. Manual - COM+ System Application
10. Disabled - Computer Browser *1
11. Enabled - Cryptographic Services *1b
12. Disabled - DHCP Client *2
13. Disabled - Distributed Link Tracking Client
14. Disabled - Distributed Transaction Coordinator
15. Automatic - DNS Client
16. Disabled - Error Reporting Service
17. Automatic - Fast User Switching Compatibility *3
18. Disabled - Help and Support *4
19. Manual - Human Interface Device Access
20. Disabled - IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service *5
21. Disabled - Indexing service
22. Disabled - ICF/ICS *6
23. Disabled - IPSEC Service
24. Manual - Logical Disk Manager
25. Manual - Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service
26. Disabled - Messanger
27. Disabled - MS Software Shadow Copy Provider
28. Disabled - Net Logon
29. Disabled - NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
30. Manual - Network Connections
31. Disabled - Network DDE
32. Disabled - Network DDE DSDM
33. Disabled - Network Location Awareness
34. Disabled - NT LM Security Support Provider
35. Manual - Performance Logs and Alerts
36. Automatic - Plug and Play
37. Disabled - Portable Media Serial Number
38. Disabled - Print Spooler *7
39. Automatic - Protected Storage
40. Disabled - QoS RSVP
41. Disabled - Remote Access Auto Connection Manager
42. Disabled - Remote Access Connection Manager
43. Disabled - Remote Desktop Help Session
44. Automatic - Remote Procedure Call
45. Manual - Remote Procedure Call Locator
46. Disabled - Remote Registry
47. Disabled - Removable Storage *8
48. Disabled - Routing and Remote Access
49. Disabled - Secondary Logon
50. Automatic - Security Accounts Mangaer
51. Automatic - Server
52. Disabled - Shell Hardware Detection
53. Disabled - Smart Card *9
54. Disabled - Smart Card Helper *9
55. Disabled - SSDP Discovery Service
56. Manual - System Event Notification
57. Disabled - System Restore Service *10
58. Disabled - Tast Scheduler
59. Disabled - TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
60. Manual - Telephony
61. Disabled - Telnet
62. Disabled - Terminal Services *11
63. Disabled - Themes
64. Disabled - Uninterruptible Power Supply *12
65. Disabled - Universal Plug and Play Device Host
66. Disabled - Upload Manager
67. Disabled - Volume Shadow Copy
68. Disabled - WebClient
69. Automatic - Windows Audio
70. Disabled - Windows Image Acquisition *13
71. Manual - Windows Insatller
72. Manual - Windows Management Instrumentation
73. Manual - Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions
74. Disabled - Windows Time
75. Disabled - Wireless Zero Configuration
76. Disabled - WMI Performance Adapter
77. Automatic - Workstation

*1 = If you only have one computer in your network you can leave this service disabled. If you have more than one computer in your network, at least ONE of the computers in your network must be running this service in order for computers to show up when you go into My Network Places --> Entire Network --> Microsoft Windows Network --> Name of workgroup.

*1b = Needed for verifying updates downloaded from Microsoft (Windows Update, DirectX, Service Packs, etc...)

*2 = If you're using DHCP in your network, leave this service at Automatic.

*3 = If you have more that one person (e.g. family computer) using the computer you'll be tweaking leave this service on automatic.

*4 = Need lots of help? Leave this service on automatic instead of disabled.

*5 = Leave this service on automatic if you like XP's integrated CD burning feature.

*6 = Leave on automatic if you use ICS to share a connection with other computers on your network

*7 = Have a printer? If you do leave this service on automatic or else you won't be able to use your printer at all.

*8 = If you have a removable device in your computer leave this service on automatic.

*9 = Use Smartcards? If so leave both on automatic?

*10 = The psychotic paranoid type who thinks his/her computer is going to die at any minute people should leave this service on automatic.

*11 = If you use Remote Desktop leave at Automatic.

*12 = Leave at automatic if you use a UPS.

*13 = If you have a scanner attached to the computer and use it, leave at automatic


Continued to final step..

Tweaking Windows XP for Performance, Step 4

Written by IT News on 11:39 PM

STEP 4

4. Getting rid of all the extra programs Windows XP installs

4A. Double click on My computer --> control panel --> Add/remove Programs. To the left of the Add/remove Programs window there are three options, choose the last one "Add/Remove Windows Components"

Once the Windows Components Wizard window pops up start unchecking everything except Internet Explorer and Update Root Certificates. When you unselect MSN Exploer it will give you a warning message, just ignore it and click yes. There are some small programs in "Accessories" like calculator, paint, and the games that come with XP. If you need any of them click on "Accessories" then click on "Details" and check and uncheck the ones you need. When you are done with all this exit back to the Wizard and click next. When it's done, click on finished.


Continued to Step 5...

Tweaking Windows XP for Performance, Step 3

Written by IT News on 10:56 PM

3. Increasing file system browsing

Another thing XP has changed is the way the folder icons look. It used to be small icons for the all the drives and the controll panel now it's made up of rather large icons that consume their fair share of the system resources.

3A. To prevent the large icons from taking up too much system resources start by clicking on the view button --> list

3B. Next click on the view button again --> status bar.

3C. Double click on my computer, a window will pop up, at the top of the window click on the tools button --> folder options.

A. General tab, you won't need to do anything here.

B. View tab, it's comprised of two sections, folder view and advanced settings. In the advanced sections area start by making sure you have the same settings as listed below,

:: Folder Options
  • Uncheck - Automatically search for network folders and printers
  • Uncheck - Display file size information in folder tips
  • Uncheck - Display simple folder view of Explorer's Folders list
  • Check - Display the contens of system folders
  • Check - Display the full path in the address bar
  • Check - Display the full path in the title bar
  • Check - Do not cache thumbnails
  • Check - Show hidden files and folders
  • Uncheck - Hide extensions for know file types
  • Check - Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
  • Uncheck - Launch folder windows in a seperate process
  • Uncheck - Remember each folder's view settings
  • Uncheck - Restore previous folder windows at logon
  • Check - Show control panel in My Computer
  • Check - SHow encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color
  • Uncheck - Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items
  • Check - Use simple file sharing

After you're done checking and unchecking all of of those options, click on apply button at the bottom of the window, then at the top. Click on the "Apply to All Folders" button to apply the same settings to ALL windows folders. Click on the X to close the window. You won't need to do anything else on the other tabs.

Now browsing through the Windows file system should be immensely faster.

Continued to Step 4...

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