Thursday, 27 September 2012

The spy in your pocket - the KitKat that "phones home" when you eat it!

After seeing the news that the candy snack "KitKat" have made some of their product able to "phone home" and notify the makers, Nestlé, that you've started unwrapping their product....

I thought I'd have a playaround with Photoshop....

This was a rough Photoshop job, I'm not going to waste any more time on it! And yes, I know the plug isn't properly aligned with the socket.

The Nestlé scheme is, only some of their bars have a GPS tracker in the wrapper, and apparently a team follow the signal and pounce on you and give you a reward. But what if you're somewhere you want to keep secret?

- like visiting a prostitute? Or off work with flu but you'really at a rock concert? 

zonealarm vsmon doesn't like bittorrent?

Today I was getting so fed up with vsmon (a part of Zone Alarm) maxing out my CPU and slowing my bit torrent download that, at around half past two, I switched ZA off, thus killing the vsmon.exe process.

And this was the result:

This is a screenshot of µTorrent's display of its download speeds.  What a difference it makes, killing that vsmon thing!

The mean (average) download speed had been a pitiful 6 or so kB/s, whereas after I shut zonealarm down, the speed was then averaging around 50 or 60 kB/s. OK, that's still a fairly rubbish download rate, but it's ten times better than before.

So why does vsmon stick its nose into arriving bittorrent packets? And why doesn't zonealarm let me 'wave my bit torrent client through' so to speak? This issue's been raised on the ZA help forum (here) but that was in July 2011.

Incidently, you can see from my above graph that my download speed is up and down like a tart's knickers, but I think that's a separate issue relating to using a wireless connection. When I can find that yellow network cable of mine, I'll try directly linking my PC to my router and see what happens.

Oh, yes, and I suppose I ought to say that switching one's firewall off is not a very good idea, even if it seems beneficial in one localised way. So there you go.