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Configuring a Windows PC For a Senior Citizen?

cyberbian least privilege (823 comments)

Having spent days (weeks, months, years?) configuring Windows XP over the years I tend to follow a pattern that works for me, ymmv.
Windows still installs broken (imco) in that the first user installed becomes an Administrator by default. With Windows, we all know by now that running as Administrator is asking for it (some have likened it to pulling ones pants down and bending over the chair.) So it's important to remove Administrator group privileges from the primary user, having them run as Users only. This prevents a host of malware and other malfeasants from gaining illegitimate access to the computer.
Install a good anti-virus software, my personal favourite is Symantec Corporate for it's ease of configuration and automation for updates. I set the software to live update daily, perform a startup scan of files loading into memory at boot time, and a weekly full scan of everything on the hdd.
Ensure that you're running Windows Update to the last iteration and get all of the updates installed correctly. Turn on automatic updates, and set it to install automatically.
Run MBSA... follow the directions provided.
Install Firefox, and the NoScript add-on. Make it the default browser in all profiles by logging on and making that choice. Ensure NoScript is up and running correctly.
The base system has excellent accessibility tools, ensure the user is familiar with them, and perhaps ensure that accessibility shortcuts are available from the desktop if necessary.
Teach... (who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?)
Wash, rinse, repeat.

more than 5 years ago
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What Restrictions Should Student Laptops Have?

cyberbian built to suit both purposes (1117 comments)

Having worked extensively with a private school in this situation exactly, we chose to have roaming profiles, which allowed the student to log in to each machine locally, but their work was synched to their class server next login on campus. While logged in on campus, all internet content is filtered, we use jabber and bonjour messaging locally and the kids love it, these services are not given wan access.

When the student is logged in off-campus they can make documents, and use the internet as their local administrator (parent/guardian) deems appropriate. In those environments, it is considered the responsibility of the parents/guardians to provide content filtering and/or monitoring of their child's internet use. As the students are just plain users, they have few rights with respect to system modification on their local accounts, any software that they wish to install is handled via a parental request form. Machine software images are netbootable so it's quite trivial to refresh each machine.

It's important to remember that if the student and their parents ostensibly 'own' the machines, they should be granted any leeway they request, yet not undermine the local regime. Well implemented network services can ensure that your local rulesets are followed.

more than 5 years ago
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Most Hated Computer Component

cyberbian HDD (716 comments)

Despite the recent increases in capacity, long term storage continues to be the bottleneck in todays high powered computing. Your new super fast quad-core still needs to wait while the arm seeks and reads the data stored on disk. Even with the newest hard drives they are still orders of magnitude slower than the rest of the system, chug power and consistently keep data-recovery labs in business. Not that I mind data-recovery labs, it's just the prices...

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Happy Pi Approximation Day

cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 5 years ago

cyberbian (897119) writes "Today is 22/7 which marks one of two holidays that celebrate our favorite irrational number. "Pi is one of the most important mathematical constants: many formulae from mathematics, science, and engineering involve ." So take some time today to break out of your circular reasoning and have a nice slice of pi(e)!"
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Net Neutrality Issues Facing Canada Now

cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cyberbian (897119) writes "It seems that Net Neutrality is also becoming a problem for Canadian Businesses and Consumers. The Progressive(?) Conservative Party have already pushed for deregulation plan for telecommunications in Canada, despite the objection of a Parliamentary Committee that was formed to study the issue.

Given the importance of internet communication to a country as large as Canada, it's imperative that we increase awareness of the net neutrality issue, and ensure that the public is raising its voice against the profiteering telecoms.

"When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end" — Sir Tim Berners Lee.
"

Link to Original Source
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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cyberbian (897119) writes "As part of the efforts of the BSD Certification Group to standardize certifications for BSD skills with the support of the BSD Community, Jeremy C. Reed has created a WIKI based book for self-paced training for the BSDA certification:
A collaborative, short-term open source authoring project to quickly write a book covering the basics from the 2005 BSDA Certification Requirements Document was recently started. The BSD Certification Group's BSDA (BSD Associate) Certification is for BSD Unix system administrators with light to moderate skills. Using a wiki, authors, reviewers and readers all contribute to complete the book by the end of February. This bsdwiki contains over a hundred pages each with the topics defined by the BSD Certification Group. And a PDF in book format is periodically generated from this wiki content. To contribute, please join at http://bsdwiki.reedmedia.net/
"
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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cyberbian (897119) writes "The Washington Post reports(may require signup) that 1100 (!) laptops are missing including at least 250 from the Census Bureau containing such personal information as names, incomes, and Social Security numbers.

This disclosure by the department came in response to a request by the House Committee on Government Reform, which this summer asked 17 federal departments to detail any loss of computers holding sensitive personal information.


This breach of personal privacy could lead to a host of identity thefts, and fundamentally undermines the privacy of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Of the Census Bureau machines, only 107 of those missing were fully encrypted."
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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cyberbian (897119) writes "Amateur astronomers will be excited to note that they can witness the impact of the SMART-1 probe crashing into the moon. NASA reports:

There's nothing wrong with the spacecraft, which is wrapping up a successful 3-year mission to the Moon. SMART-1's main job was to test a European-built ion engine. It worked beautifully, propelling the craft in 2003 on a unique spiral path from Earth to the Moon. From lunar orbit, SMART-1 took thousands of high-resolution pictures and made mineral maps of the Moon's terrain. One of its most important discoveries was a "Peak of Eternal Light," a mountaintop near the Moon's north pole in constant, year-round sunlight. Peaks of Eternal Light are prime real estate for solar-powered Moon bases.

Solar-powered Moon bases! Where do I sign up?"
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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 7 years ago

cyberbian writes "After a highly successful 3 year mission SMART-1 is about to crash into the moon, reports NASA.

Why is SMART-1 crashing? There's nothing wrong with the spacecraft, which is wrapping up a successful 3-year mission to the Moon. SMART-1's main job was to test a European-built ion engine. It worked beautifully, propelling the craft in 2003 on a unique spiral path from Earth to the Moon. From lunar orbit, SMART-1 took thousands of high-resolution pictures and made mineral maps of the Moon's terrain. One of its most important discoveries was a "Peak of Eternal Light," a mountaintop near the Moon's north pole in constant, year-round sunlight. Peaks of Eternal Light are prime real estate for solar-powered Moon bases.
Solar-powered Moon bases! Where do I sign up?"

Journals

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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 8 years ago

the more you give, the more you lose...

not a complete troll yet, though I thought the GWB memo was pretty funny... I guess only Americans can laugh at American politics, for the rest of us, it must be DEADLY serious...

so much for the spirit of cooperation on the internet, we should ALL be able to laugh at American politics, esp. those of us who are affected MOST by it, those of us living outside of America...

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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 8 years ago

For the record, it was never my intent to defraud Apple out of anything, and it was suggested to me by their CSRs that this might be the case!

On a brighter note, the iMac issue seems to be resolving itself, while I still wasn't provided with a refund, which I still argue I'm entitled to, we're getting a new iMac duo core shipped post haste. Apple even had executive services contact me to thank me for pointing out the error in their Sales Policy, and is upgrading my machine to the maximum currently available for iMacs... 2GB RAM and 500 GB HDD... jeepers! David v. Goliath: 2-0 ! If you see something wrong, invest the time and energy in seeing it corrected. You will make the world better for your efforts, and who knows? It may be exactly why you're here?

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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 8 years ago Dear Sir, While I appreciate your quest for excellence and in many respects subscribe to the 'think different' philosophy, I must suggest that your current business practices in Ontario leave much to be desired. To outline the case: 1. Took delivery of new iMac G5 January 6, 2006! machine did not function with remote out of the box, further troubleshooting indicated machine was DOA. 2. Asking for a full refund for product purchase price. Flatly denied a refund, offered a 'like for like' exchange. 3. Was told by Scott Gibeau of Apple Canada that to pursue a refund I would need to contact web sales support. 4. Telephone contact of web sales support who assess machine as DOA but cannot assist as machine is purchased by a Canadian, must see Canadian Support. 5. Contact Scott offered same terms, like for like replacement. Now informed that as Apple purchase was made through education portal, must see the bookstore for refund. 6. Bookstore refers us to you for a refund. 7. Contact corporate customer relations: Advised them of the infinite loop condition for Canadian customers, was advised that I can contact canadian support for help. Under Ontario laws, I am entitled to a full refund of the price of purchase, your current operational practice does not allow for this to happen: I contact Canadian support and refused a refund as it's purchased through education webstore, I'm referred to webstore, webstore refers me to point of purchase, point of purchase refers me to Canadian Support... etc. ad nauseum! I do not want to wait to pay full price for a new iMac and have it be here in 3 weeks and refurbished deprecated technology as well. I have suggested that the only reasonable way out would be a full refund of price of purchase which I am entitled to. Please refer to the guidelines for consumers in Ontario: http://www.cbs.gov.on.ca/mcbs/english/26fa_3ea.htm You will find that your company is not working within its corporate mandate for this geography. May I refer you to your corporate ethics document as provided: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol//10/107357/corpGov/Apple_Ethics.pdf In your role as Chief Executive Officer I would assume that sentence one of: http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/10/107357/corpGov/CorpGovGuidelines.pdf Would demand that you ensure Infinite Loops only occur at the street address, not in your software, nor to your customers. Sincerely, Sean Swayze sean.swayze@gmail.com

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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 8 years ago and I got a new iMac G5 for my b-day! w00t! things betwixt G and I are at a new high, Hannah is coming along nicely... life is good... must remember to stay positive :D S.

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cyberbian cyberbian writes  |  more than 8 years ago was my two front teeth... and I got a killer low tech Star Wars watch AND my story got published on /. !! w00t! herry qwanakkadanmas!

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