Vista Pricing and Release Date

It appears that Amazon has Windows Vista available for pre-order on their website. Personally, I’m going to wait for general OEM availability of the Vista Ultimate DVD-ROM, rather than shelling out for the retail-boxed version.

The release date for Windows Vista has been scheduled for January 30, 2007. I’ll leave it up to Microsoft to meet that deadline 😉

Want to get your hands on Vista Build 5536 (pre-RC1)? Well, click here. Hopefully, you’re one of the first 100,000 people to get your hands on it. After that, you can bet it will end up on various BitTorrent sites worldwide for your downloading pleasure (2.58 GB).

Update (9/7/2006):

Click here to download Vista Build 5600 (RC1). I recommend using the provided Download Manager to download the 2.52 GB DVD image.

Adventures with WDS

This past Wednesday (after work), I experimented with a wireless distribution system (WDS) installation at a local cafe.

What makes this WDS installation unique is that there’s a thick concrete wall, metal rafters and a big neon sign that I have to work around. Can you say, ‘i-n-t-e-r-f-e-r-e-n-c-e’? Yes, good times that started with stock Linksys routers.

On one end, I have a Linksys WRT54GL v1.1 router running the DD-WRT v23 SP1 firmware, with a set of Linksys 7 dBi antennas. The other end has a Linksys WRT54G v2.0 router running the same firmware with a set of generic 9 dBi antennas. The former is the host (office), with the latter being the client (cafe). Output transmission power is set to 200 mW (stock is 28 mW) for both. Yes, I tried lower transmission power, but to no avail (going from 28 mW to 100 mW yielded less than a ten percent increase in signal strength).

The distance between the two routers is a mere 100 feet (two floors though). Signal strength you ask? It’s less than ten percent! Yes. Pathetic. Hey! It works, until…

Continue reading “Adventures with WDS”

Life in the Fast Lane

If there’s one thing I really hate, it’s slow computers.

With all the recent price cuts in the CPU world, I decided it would be a good time to upgrade my Pentium 4 3.2 GHz system. It was fast, but when one multitasks like I do, nothing is fast enough.

I decided to go with an Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 CPU paired with an ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA motherboard. As the motherboard supports both DDR and DDR2 RAM, I went with an 1 GB (dual channel) Mushkin EM2 DDR2-667 4-4-4-12 kit. What’s unique about the ASRock 775DUAL-VSTA is its ability to support both AGP and newer PCI-E video cards, as well as DDR and DDR2 RAM (read: one or the other). The motherboard allows for greater flexibility when upgrading existing systems, allowing one to upgrade to newer technology over time.

My new hardware configuration quenches my thirst for speed. Point. Click. Done. That’s the way it should be. A real-life example: 52 Windows XP updates installed in 2 minutes flat. Impressive.

Continue reading “Life in the Fast Lane”

Statistics Canada: Internet users are “weird”.

The results of a recent survey by Statistics Canada caught me off-guard.

According to the survey, a heavy user is someone who spends more than one hour per day online.

I qualify, as do millions of other Canadians (and others worldwide). However, the brief definition of a heavy user is grounds for a flame war.

Spending an one hour online per day does not constitute much time these days, especially with broadband / always-on connections. Maybe a revision to the survey should be in order?

The Effects of Social Engineering

In a survey of office workers in the Liverpool Street Station in London, 71% of employees will part with their password for a candy bar.

You’d think most employees wouldn’t be that stupid. But it happens. All the time. On another note, I’ve seen employees write passwords on everything you can think of — even taped to their monitor (not our workplace though)!

A scene from Hackers comes to mind — one of the first movies depicting social engineering in a similar context (well, a phone conversation).

Bottom-line: one leaked password could cost you a lot more than the price of a candy bar.


Slashdot is covering a similar story on industrial espionage. Like most users said, it comes down to hiring IT people you can trust, and treating them fairly.