Saturday, 16 August 2014

Any Video Converter malware

Invited by Any Video Converter to update to the newest version, I downloaded the relevant installer file.... and it summarily closed my browser without any warning. And placed an Internet Search icon on my task bar. 

Recognising these rather unsubtle signs of computer interference, I cut the power to my machine and set about tidying up any damage Any Video Converter or its bedfellows were seeking to do.

In "safe mode" and after a look at msconfig, I ran Malwarebytes, which reported three intrustions - all OpenCandy, an installer system with whom Any Video Converter is closely associated, and whose reputation (or lack of it) can easily be ascertained in a Yahoo or Google search.

Fifteen minutes wasted already. Next, I had a quick whirl on the powerful Hijack This utility and removed several unwanted items.

The search icon sends traffic to linkeyproject, a site that is highly praised on one website - - and seems universally condemned everywhere else! Any Video Converter are making strange friends, these days, aren't they?

Restarting my computer, my antivirus then immediately reported a "suspicious attempt" at changing my system registry. Ah, right. Thanks, Any Video Converter. 

Finally opening my browser, I found the Firefox extensions list had been infiltrated, various settings changed, and my preferred homepage altered. So, more tidying up was required.

By now, I'd wasted THIRTY MINUTES cleaning up after AVC's activities.

It's interesting to note that if one types "Any Video Converter malware" into Yahoo or Google search, the autocomplete offers the full phrase in advance of completion. Presumably other people have had to look this up before! 

I wonder if that Linkey Search thing would also reveal this??

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Earthworms live in weird places

I don't see why even upwardly-mobile worms choose to live under bags of rubbish.

I shifted a bag today and saw eight worms underneath. Do they discontentedly burrow around in flowerbeds and pop up every night for a look-around, and then one day think: "Aha, that's where I'd rather be... lying on a hard surface, squashed under a smelly bag of trash."

It seems a bit odd, to me.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cakewalk default folder and registry edits

One problem about Cakewalk Guitar Tracks Pro is, version 2 won't launch properly if the drive that used to hold the raw data suddenly no longer exists.

(They may have fixed the problem on CW3, for all I know, but I regard that version with contempt and never ever use it.)

The reason that CW2 couldn't "see" the drive it expected to see was, I'd disconnected it, as I no longer trust that drive.  I'm in the middle of salvaging my data off of it right now. Thing is, CW2 should spin up properly and then allow the "pointers" to be changed - but in actaul fact that appears not to be the case.

I researched the problem and saw a load of hysteria about registry edits, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. To me, the Windows Registry is just a glorified *.ini file - an initiation file that establishes basic parameters. Yet the talk on the forum was about hacking and stuff.

It seems some people regard their own registry editing as "hacking" yet I regard it as routine taking-charge-of-your-own-computer stuff.  To me, hacking is where you break into somewhere where you're not meant to be. You know... like, you access the USA's military computers and then send the stuff to Wikileaks.

I can see where the doubt might be, thouigh. Suppose your house electrics go wrong one day, and you randomly mess around with your fuse board, and swap a few wires around. And then you switch on again. Are you then really surprised if there's a brilliant blue flash, and your house burns down?

I think registry edits are like mains electricity. Totally safe, if you know what you're doing and take all appropriate precautions.

Just stand on a rubber mat before running regedit, eh.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Is Ubuntu / Linux for geeks only? (Part 2: partitions)

Part two of my journey in search of lands beyond MS Windows.

Within a couple more minutes, the installer looked at my hard drives, and reported on what was available. Unfortunately, it reported the partition sizes in decimal gigabytes, rather than binary gigabytes, and I didn't recognise any of the numbers.

(This is the same effect as when Windows users buy a 500 GB drive and only see 465 GB reported in 'My Computer'. Both values are correct, they just have slightly differing units.)

Seized with doubt about which partition to nominate for installation, and suspecting (but not knowing for sure) that SDA1 equates to Disk 0, First partition, I aborted the installation and restarted Windows, to write down a few vital statistics from 'My Computer'.

Armed with this info, I restarted and spun the Ubuntu install disk up again. I wanted to install on my Drive G, which meant nominating SDA2 in the setup program. And I was told that "No root file system is defined".  


I was invited to correct this from "the partitioning menu". Well, the drive's already partitioned. Into four chunks.

I don't want to repartition it, and screw up my existing Windows OS, do I?  So I didn't even look for any obscure partitioning menu, I just aborted the install, restarted the computer, and fired up Windows once again.

Researching, I got the impression that Ubuntu can't be installed in an NTFS partition. OK, Ubuntu can 'see' NTFS partitions, and access files from them, but it seemingly needs a different environment for its own little nest.

Groan. Why wasn't I told about this beforehand?  Again, a simple "things that Windows users need to know" guide would do the trick.

I get the distinct impression that the Ubuntu people aren't really that interested in helping Windows users explore alternatives.  Maybe they're geeks, maybe not. But useful info on their website is damned hard to find.

Anyway, that's as far as I'm going, right now. I'm shelving the whole thing til another week.

Is Ubuntu / Linux for geeks only? (Part 1: WWBMU)

Desiring to try out an operating system that isn't Windows, I downloaded the Linux Ubuntu installer yesterday, and burned it to disk, to create an installer disk.

It's not the fault of Ubuntu that the Windows file icons can mislead people into performing an 'extract' on the initial 'ISO' file.

And it's not Ubuntu's fault if people then create a data disk instead of an image disk; then encounter a DOS prompt; and then, choosing to run the one and only executable - WWBMU - end up reading pages of German text.

These are known pitfalls: I did a brief search on the internet and found that others had strayed down this dead end. No, it's not Ubuntu's fault - however, a "Guide for Windows Users" or a strategically-placed README could certainly be offered by Ubuntu.

Anyway, having belatedly created a proper disk image, I spun it up, with the aim of installing Ubuntu on a spare partition. And then encountered more problems!

(To be continued.)

Monday, 19 November 2012

BBC withhold important election results data

The day after the PCC Elections, the BBC posted various pages that purported to give the results.

 Yet all of them have the same recurring phrase: Turnout does not include spoilt ballots.

Here's a copy of my complaint to the BBC about withholding Spoilt Paper numbers

Type of complaint:
BBC News (TV Radio Online)
What is your complaint about:
General News
Complaint category:
Contacted us before:
Complaint title:
Incomplete info on election results
Complaint description:
Your reporting of the PCC Election results did not include the Spoilt Paper numbers. Why not? I spoiled my paper, and I want to know how well we did. This business of spoiling of papers was a recurring topic in media coverage the day after the election, and the BBC deliberately denied us basic information on how many spoiled papers there were..

Friday, 16 November 2012

And the results of the police commissioner elections are...

...nothing'll change!  ( Except for the worse, of course.)

Yes, sometimes there's nothing to be done except spoil one's paper. The police will continue to abuse every power that's granted them, and go for the easy options like arresting people who comment on Facebook or Twitter, while homes are being burgled left, right and centre.