Rootkit Virus Fun

I spent the bulk of today continuing to battle a virus infection on a computer at a clients. I’ve worked on this computer a number of times before already in the last few weeks and every time I work on it, I find more malicious applications. By the time I leave, the system is running way better than it was when I started and it seems like I’m done. But then I get a call a few days later telling me something just still isn’t right.

At this particular company, every computer essentially I’ve touched I’ve found something wrong with it. Most of them have had viruses, users running as administrators, computer not joined to the domain, and my personal favorite, users logging in as the previous user!

I think they are having most of these problems because they haven’t always had someone managing and monitoring their systems. There doesn’t seem to have been an established policy about what software is installed and used and how filtering would be done. I need to work on developing a plan to bring all of these computers back into line with anti-virus and malware as well as keeping the software up to date.

Are your systems being managed and watched to ensure every endpoint is compliant with your established policies and industry best practices? I understand that money is tight, but some preventative maintenance is nearly always cheaper than putting it off and waiting for the system to go down. Not only are you at the mercy of your IT professional’s schedule at that time, but your employees that you are paying aren’t able to do their work which is probably impacting your revenues even greater than your expenses if it is a customer facing position.

iPhone 4 Case

Having been an iPhone 3G user for nearly two years, when I made the mistake of installing iOS 4 on my 3G, I quickly decided I was due for an upgrade. Currently being out of work (at least not employed full-time), I was reluctant to spend money on a new toy that I knew was more of a perceived need than an actual need. The need did in fact become real and the good news is though that I can sell my 3G out of contract for nearly what I paid for my 4.

I was a bit nervous about the upgrade with all the talk about antenna issues. I was relieved to hear that Apple was giving out free cases though and that is when I decided to purchase. I just received my free case through the iPhone 4 case program Friday and have been getting used to it.

First off, I’m not normally a fan of cases. I think they normally don’t provide that much protection and the negatives outweigh the positives. I was originally looking forward to the Apple iPhone 4 Bumper Case (Amazon affiliate link), but I was worried that it wouldn’t be easy to slide in and out of my pocket. After agonizing for weeks over which case to order, I ended up an an Incase Snap Case (Amazon Affilate link)

I’ve actually found that I enjoy holding and using the phone more with the case. It gives the iPhone a great feel when holding and talking on the phone and it doesn’t add that much bulk to it either, which was one of my major concerns. I really didn’t experience too much antenna issues prior to obtaining the case, but service is pretty horrible in my neck of the woods, so I am constantly dropping calls. I was hoping the case would improve things if I happened to be a victim of the antenna issues.

The case also came with a little stand which I haven’t figured out what the purpose is behind. I suppose if you use your iPhone to watch movies on all day long it could be useful. I’ll probably put it on my desk and use it once a week or so.

I like that the case essentially recesses the buttons on the phone. I feel that it actually makes the phone a little bit easier to use. I spoke with a friend who shared the same feeling that the phone felt more comfortable in her hands when using a similar case.

The drawbacks I’ve found with the case are that I can’t use my iHome Alarm Clock/Radio to charge it. The phone does come in and out of the case easily, so this isn’t too big of an issue, and if you are simply plugging your iPhone in to charge and sync instead of using a dock, you won’t experience a problem with leaving the case on.

Verizon FIOS: MoCA, Actiontech Router, Ethernet Tested

I have long wondered why my FIOS seemed so slow at home compared with the FIOS that I was used to in the workplace. We recently had Verizon out and I had them switch our programming over to allow us to use the Ethernet port instead of having the Actiontech router get the WAN over MoCA. I did a little test and it seemed like my latency went down about 2-3 ms by going with direct Ethernet instead of using the MoCA. It was an improvement, but it didn’t seem like much.

I downloaded and installed the software from Apple that updates your ethernet settings for high latency connections. I understand it makes your tcp window settings larger which may seem to reduce the effect of the latency. I didn’t save my test results from before and after this, but I did some further testing.

I was concerned that the poor Actiontech router might be slowing things down a bit too. Obviously, any device in the chain is going to impact your performance in some way. For my test I performed a simple test of pinging google.com and apple.com through terminal. I performed about 10 pings each and will report the data as min/avg/max/stddev as reported by terminal. (I should have restricted it to 10 pings each time, but this was an impromptu  test and I didn’t plan it out very well.) I also performed a test on speedtest.net. We are on the 25/25 FIOS plan.

First off was my test of my computer (a MacPro) plugged into the Actiontech/FIOS router. In all tests the Aciontech was connected to the ONT via cat5e/ethernet. Terminal reported 16.401/19.388/21.840/1.818 ms to google.com and 21.259/22.547/24.383/1.340 ms to apple.com. Speedtest reported 25.46 Mb/s down, 19.19 Mb/s up and a ping time of 29 ms.

Secondly, I tested the computer connected directly to the ONT without a router. I first got results of: 19.374/21.092/22.507/1.308 ms to google.com and 23.638/24.259/24.817/0.361 ms to apple. Something had to be wrong! We realized that my DNS settings had changed. I had been using openDNS through the router and the computer was getting the DNS via DHCP and using the router. I manually changed the DNS settings to use OpenDNS directly and immediately noticed an improvement: 18.740/19.428/21.589/0.912 ms to google.com. I must have annoyed the traffic police at apple, as they stopped responding to my icmp requests/pings. Speedtest.net reported 25.47 Mb/s down, 19.92 Mb/s up and 24 ms ping time.

Finally, I tested the computer connected to a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB WNR3500L (Amazon affiliate link). Terminal reported 18.743/19.741/21.669/0.918 ms to google.com. Speedtest.net reported 26.10 Mb/s down, 19.55 Mb/s up and a ping time of 26 ms.

All speedtest.net tests were reported as if going to the same server in San Diego, CA. Obviously the data was close enough to show that it doesn’t make a difference on the speed, but potentially does on the latency reported through the ping time.

In the end I went back to the Actiontech router since it was free and I didn’t want to pay currently for the Netgear. (I had it here to setup for a customer and figured a quick test wouldn’t hurt anything.) Maybe someday I’ll test a real (Cisco) router in line and see if that changes anything.

Dropbox

If you aren’t using Dropbox yet, you’re missing out.

Dropbox is a great utility you can install on your Mac or Windows machine to share files between computers, your iPad, iPhone and any web browser. If that doesn’t cover you, I don’t know what else would. A friend turned me on to it as an alternative to iDisk (Apple’s MobileMe cloud based folder storage) and I’ve been loving it for a few months now. It’s free for two gigs of storage and if you sign up with the link below, we both will get an extra 250 mb of storage.

You can even share folders from your dropbox with other users who can access those files in a shared folder in their dropbox or via a web browser. It’s a great way to get files onto your iPad and to access them on your iPhone as well. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve used it to access a file on my iPad and even to share it from there. Since I’m constantly switching between my dekstop and laptop, Dropbox is invaluable to me as a central resource for files too that doesn’t involve the hassle of connecting to a server.

If you need more than two gigs of storage, you can purchase moderately priced plans for additional storage needs.

So there you have it. That’s my recommendation for Dropbox. Please go ahead and signup with this referral link:

Sign up for Dropbox now!

By using this link we will each get 250 mb of free additional storage.

Have you found dropbox useful? If so, how? If not, what are you using now to accomplish these features?

How to Determine Airport Speed on a Mac

I always use MenuMeters which is a great plugin that will allow you to see your network activity, cpu usage and so forth. I don’t know if my wife would find is so useful though, so it isn’t installed on her MacBook Pro (Amazon Affiliate Link) as it is on all of my machines.

Anyways, we just signed up for a new Verizon FIOS account and got the new Actiontech router to go with it. She’s the only one of us lucky enough to really take advantage of the new 802.11n features built-in though and I wanted to see if it was actually working. I was suprised that the Mac doesn’t show you the speed of your airport connection anywhere, so I had to search and found this great tip to just push the option button while clicking on the airport menu icon.

I hope you will find this useful as I do.

Twitter Updates for 2010-06-15

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Twitter Updates for 2010-06-04

  • We finally had to break down and turn on the air conditioner. That afternoon sun just bakes our house. It feels so good… #
  • @GirlinYourShirt and no one brought me doughnuts yet today? in reply to GirlinYourShirt #
  • wow, I am so not going to make it through this summer. It's only 83 today and I'm ready to die. Thank you for a/c! #
  • @robdeloach Hopefully you'll be spending all your time IN the river! #

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