Jeffrey Lee Parson of Hopkins, Minnesota has been charged with spreading the MSBlast virus that crippled thousands of computers in the past couple of months. The 18 year old is suspected of creating a variant of the virus which caused many computers to crash.
He has been charged under "intentionally causing and attempting to cause damage to a protected computer" and if found guilty could spend up to 10 years in prision and a fine of $250,000. John McKay, the public prosecutor in Seattle, said Mr Parson's arrest was a "significant step forward" in the hunt for the original culprit.
"The Department of Justice takes these crimes very seriously. We will devote all available resources to tracking down those who attack our technological infrastructure," Mr McKay told a press conference. Investigators searched Mr Parson's home on 19 August and removed seven computers for analysis.
If he is found guilty it could defer other people from releasing such virus' on the Internet. The FBI have not yet found the original writer of the virus however they are making progress on this and other similar virus'.
The virus targeted Microsoft Windows computer in a flaw in how files were transferred over the net. Once the machine was infected it looked for other vulnerable computers, with millions of Windows computers around the world the virus spread quickly. Anti-virus firm Symantec estimated that more than 500,000 computers worldwide were infected by the worm and its variants.
I started writing this as a blog post however as it continued in length it started to sound more like an article so here goes.... For doing IT support at work we had to learn Windows Vista and while we haven't had much interest yet it is inevitable that something will go wrong for us to fix. The majority of other reviews I've read online have not been particularly positive with many people commenting on the DRM restrictions and lack of anything ground breaking.
I wanted to see for myself and of course share it with the wonderful ImAFish fans. To save reinstalling I opted to use Virtual PC 2007, it made sense as it meant I could do XP and Vista support from one computer though it made it hard to see the performance differences. My rig is an Athlon 64 3000+ with 2GB Memory, I gave Virtual PC 1gig of memory and used Vista Business Upgrade. Installation seemed to take forever and wasn't helped by the fact I had to install XP first then install Vista. Three hours later and a couple of restarts I had a Vista desktop. At this point Vista was painfully slow to do anything , I managed to slowly install the Virtual PC additions and reboot the system. This vastly improved things however I tweaked the performance settings a bit more to give maximum performance. At this point i'm sure your all gagging for a screen shot so here we go Windows Vista... (click to enlarge)
As you can see from removing all of the high performance settings you get what looks like Windows 2000! This unfortunately made me lose the "wow" factor so I enabled "Use visual styles on windows and buttons" from the performance options.
This made Vista look like....
You probably recognise this from many of the other Vista screen shots. It's hard not to like the new theme, even without Aero its a lot more polished, smart and has an almost calming effect on what you do. Also in the screen shot is the new start menu, finally they have discarded those annoying nested menus that required pin-point mouse accuracy to follow. Start menu items now simply display below the folder title, more like files in Explorer view. Once you start doing anything you will notice lots of confirmation windows popping up, these tend to be incredibly annoying, I got 3 pop-up boxes just when trying to install Flash Player in IE7.
Fortunately these can be turned off in Control Panel > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control on or off. It will ask you to reboot but its well worth it. You will also need to turn off alerts in the Windows Security Centre to stop Vista from constantly reminding you that account control is disabled.
I tried a couple of common applications, Firefox and SmartFTP both worked fine and didn't look too misplaced within Vista, in fact IE7 looks more out of place with its annoying interface. The majority of Vista can be customised like XP and as you can see from my first screen shot its not hard to pull away the glossy interface though as I said before it is nice.
Most of your favourite tools will be in the same place such as msconfig and the command prompt though incidentally these are now run from the start search box. This can also be used for launching applications, if I was to type in 'Internet' it would launch Internet Explorer, or if I type in 'ass' it launched Remote Assistance. Search has been deeply improved, instead of it taking three minutes to search your hard drive its takes three seconds. Microsoft have redesigned control panel again but give you the option to go back to the classic view.
The majority of items within control panel are unchanged, though there are a few new additions such as the option to upgrade your copy of Vista online. The networking section has the most changes and is now branded under the Network and Sharing Center (even though I set my language to English they still cant spell centre right). At first this is a little confusing however it ends up being a nice way of organising various connections. The system tray now only shows one network icon for all your connections making it easier to forget if you keep a VPN connected by accident. The network map is also a nice tool as it shows other Vista computers and how they are connected. Useful stats such as IP address and computer name are also displayed.
Here you can see many more of the tools common in XP have not changed greatly for Vista. I could fill another four pages with Vista comments but its not really worth it, on the surface Vista is not hugely different. It's stable, has working applications and looks nice. If I brought a new PC having Vista would not put me off however I wouldn't upgrade my current desktop. Vista might be a lot different deep down but on the surface its not and for the price of
One of the most anticipated games of the year has been delayed until the holiday season (Christmas) in a statement announced by the games developer Valve.
?The previously announced September 30th release date for Half-Life 2 is being pushed back. We are currently targeting a holiday release, but do not have a specific "in-store" date to share at this time. We will release that information as soon as we have confirmed a new date.?
The game was meant to ship next week on September 30th but only a week before this release date the game has been delayed. Less than a month ago Valve told the European press at the ECTS in London that the release date was unchanged.
Valve have not set another release date allowing for people to speculate when they expect the game to launch. The fall of this year is going to be very competitive for first person shooter games with Doom 3 and Unreal Tournament 2004 both being released between now and Christmas.
Valve will be hoping that the extra media coverage generated by the set back of the game will help drive sales in the end. While the set back may be annoying for some people looking forward to the game, overall its unlikely to make a lasting bad impression.
For many of the people behind ImAFish University is only a few weeks away, which will split the community across the country. For most people this wont be a problem as they will have Internet connections in their rooms or within the University. Myself and Simon wanted to have one final version of ImAFish that would be the best so far and in some ways a final release.
While this is unlikely knowing myself it would mean that if we didn't want to update the design again it would still look good for months and maybe years to come. In concept 4 months ago ImAFish 7 seemed a long way off, the idea was to create a flexible professional web portal based around what ImAFish had been building on over the past 2 years ? its articles.
We now had over 200 articles on a range of subjects making it in some ways messy what was needed was different sections depending on the article type, while articles already had categories they themselves were getting in a mess. The idea was to split the site up more into different sections, after much debate they were decided to be: Entertainment Tech Gaming IRC News Each would be article based but would contain other information such as IRC would host xbot. The next step was to decide on a design, this I did while doing my A levels (which I did very well in), and more importantly a logo of some sort.
This went through many design stages and only after about 4 weeks was I happy with the final design. I had also been working on an overall design for the site which I was happy with in the end. The next stage was to start coding. In ImAFish 6 Simon had done 99% of the coding so for ImAFish 7 I was going to give it ago, I quickly learned CSS and put together a template using divs as the idea was not to use any tables. While this was ok for the overall design a lot of the page content still uses tables as simply tables are still best for displaying things in certain ways.
One thing I quickly learned about CSS is that getting it to work in one web browser does not guarantee it will work in another. Then getting it to validate is another problem however in the end validation was put a side for getting it to work right. Overall ImAFish 7 is the most complex and advanced version of ImAFish yet, making it even easier to use and attractive. Thanks to everyone that has made it possible and lets hope the site keeps on growing!
The mobile phone retailer Phones 4U says it will ban all of its 2500 employees from using email. The statement was released yesterday saying that the company will save about ?1 Million a month. The CEO John Caudwell, would rather employees talk to staff and customers rather then write emails, he said that he was fed up of seeing workers glued to their computers all day.
Apparently each employee should have an extra 3 hours a day free because of the ban. "I saw that e-mail was insidiously invading Phones 4U, so I banned it immediately," Caudwell said in a statement. "Phones 4U staff have been told to get off the keyboards, get face-to-face or on to the phone to colleagues. The quality and efficiency of communication have been increased tremendously in one fell swoop; things are getting done; people aren't tied to their PCs," the CEO said. While this may seem a bit extreme could we see more companies in the future taking similar measures or could we see the introduction of more voice typing programs?