Are consoles dead? Is it time to return to PC gaming?

As the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 approach, I suddenly feel less compelled than I have to join the fray. Recently, my time has been taken up by other things, but it’s not just a lack of time. I could be the most busy person you know, but if I really wanted to, I would make time for the next chapter in the Halo universe! But that’s not it. I already got in to why I’m not buying the Xbox One at Launch, but it continues to nag at me. Continue reading “Are consoles dead? Is it time to return to PC gaming?”

No, Sprint, I will not resubmit my ATIV S Neo review

A few weeks ago, I wrote a review on for a phone I picked up in August. The Samsung ATIV S Neo. Unfortunately, the phone has a few issues – and Sprint’s customer service isn’t going to help you fix them. I think this should be known to potential customers. Unfortunately, I received an email stating that my review would not be published until I removed my complaints about Sprint’s customer service. Customer Service is part of the problem with this phone. Not the individual agents – they care, I know they do. The problem is that they aren’t being informed of a much wider issue, and all it does is frustrate those of us with ongoing issues!

Below, I have decided to post my entire, uncensored review of Sprint’s Samsung ATIV S Neo. Enjoy.

I love Windows Phone 8. Just as I loved Windows Phone 7 before it. It gets a bad wrap for not having a lot of apps, but all of the apps that I actually use on a day-to-day basis are right here when I need them. I can do my banking, all of my email and chat programs, social networking, etc… several of the networks can be integrated directly with the phone, even without the specific app installed: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can all be updated from the “Me” tile with just a couple of taps

The downside seems to be a known issue with Windows Phone 8 that Spring and Microsoft have refused to officially acknowledge and tell us whether or not a fix is on the way. The overwhelming majority of WP8 users (both this Samsung model and the HTC model) are reporting that the voicemail indicator does not work. You have no idea that you have a voicemail until you actually force yourself to manually call in and listen – hoping “there are no new messages” is all you hear. This is a massive frustration we have brought to Sprint’s attention in the support forums, and they try to go through troubleshooting steps with you each time, as though it is a problem that can be resolved on the headset when it appears that THOUSANDS of WP8 handsets have the issue. Windows Phone 7 had no such problem, and I’ve strongly considered going back to my HTC Arrive because of this.

The phone ITSELF, though, is amazing. The hardware design is beautiful, it’s nearly identical to the Galaxy S4. The processor and memory make for one of the fastest WP8 devices you can buy, the screen supports beautiful 720p resolution, and although it’s no Lumia 1020, it takes beautiful pictures and video, although I do find the flash to be slightly off which can lead to difficulty when trying to use something like the Chase bank app’s Quick Deposit feature where you need to photograph checks. I don’t buy cases for my phones, and even riding in my pocket with change and other items, the back and screen of the phone are scratch free and still beautiful to look at. The large screen can make the phone a bit wide for some peoples hands, mine included, but I don’t mind the size when the image quality is just SO good.

Just a reminder, John McAfee is insane

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw someone post a link to an NBC News article about John McAfee being asked to take a look at some of the problems with the Obamacare website. Look, I don’t care where anybody stands politically, or what opinions one may have of Anybody, and I mean anybody who thinks that asking the guy who appeared in the video below just a few short months ago to take a technological “look-see” at something, is out of their minds! Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian… why would anybody want to associate themselves with this? I’m still waiting for an “October fools” follow-up to this article. Warning: the video below is likely not safe for work.

File Auditing is a MUST for Server Admins

File-Count Audits are a necessity in modern computing and security. Any number of security and auditing tools will automate this process for you, and notify you of discrepencies, but even the smallest IT firms can easily perform this task by hand with a simple search application. First, let’s discuss why.

Recently, companies as large as LexisNexis had their networks compromised by files that could’ve been anything from remote access trojans to botnet zombies. One article on Slashdot mentions that a file named nbc.exe was placed on the servers and resided there for months. Months!? Really? Nobody caught that? The file name is obviously suspicious, but not once did it come up in an audit of new files? People fall for “system.exe” or “OS.exe” or “Windows.exe” all the time – but to have a corporate server with a file named nbc.exe and nobody to take a second glance at it is quite poor.

I get it, some companies have extremely large datasets. Auditing every little change might be practically impossible, or at the very least, excruciatingly expensive (both in terms of financial and system resources!). Still, even when the data you house changes, it isn’t typically going to be executable data. This is an easy thing to spot! Even free tools like the one shown above, WinDirStat, can be used to keep a running count and list of .exe files on your server. Your .exe filecount should practically never change, particularly without your knowledge. Some Windows Update installers / uninstallers might include new .exe files, but typically your server isn’t in a position to have the active number of executable files in flux.

Say you even have User directories on your Active Directory server, and a user uploads a .exe file into their directory. You still have no reason not to audit the contents of those directories, and perhaps enforce a security policy that executables cannot be stored on the server.

Performing a file-count audit once a month, even if it is just of critical filetypes such as .dll, .exe, and .bat; simple behaviors like this can protect you in the long run. Even if you don’t know every file name in every folder, just get a count of how many .EXE files there are, and if that number changes without you doing something, then you can pull the list of executables. Even with nothing to compare it to, I would hope a name like “nbc.exe” would jump out, particularly if it were in a nested folder where nobody would normally place a file. Use common sense and protect yourself, your company, and your customers.