press here to print Newsletter
Issue 23 - November 3, 2007
Table of contents:
Smaller, better Windows:
Hot dog swindle:
One rotten apple:
Plain speaking:
All PC users should have this:
Musical spam:

Introduction:[ TOP ]
There are so many scare stories about internet fraud and identity theft that we sometimes forget the risks we take with our credit cards in the real world. The next time you are in a restaurant and you hand the waiter a card to settle the bill, consider this:
The waiter takes your card to the counter where he swipes it through a card reader he bought on the internet (
He then memorises the three digit security code on the back, slips the card into a genuine card transaction device and returns to your table with the polite request that you enter your pin. Whether or not he is able to see your pin doesnt matter much.

At the end of his shift he connects his reader to a computer and downloads all the information he needs to start spending your money. A skilled operator can perform this scam without even leaving your table! Take a look here:

In this edition we have the usual roundup of geek inspired news, some tips for computer users, interesting websites, downloads, and a curious creature called a spongefish.

If you feel inspired to comment on anything you've read, we are reopening the Talkback section. Any contributions will be featured

Smaller, better Windows:[ TOP ]
I'm sure that joy will be unconfined when I tell you that Microsoft has 200 programmers beavering away at writing the next version of Windows. Code named Windows 7, it will apparently be smaller and better than anything that has gone before. Frankly, I don't care, until the day arrives when I am forced to use it and to go through the never ending process of applying patches and fixes for all the things those 200 programmers forgot to include.

Hot dog swindle:[ TOP ]
Nigeria is famous for it's (rather pathetic) internet scams. Most involve you being offered large amounts of money to help "king thingamajig", a tribal chief to launder his ill gotten gains and help him escape to Europe. The snag is you have to send the air fare for him and his fifteen wifes and several hundred children.
The latest, and in many ways funniest, is an "adopt a puppy" scam. Stop laughing, many people have gone for this one!
Apparently a missionary couple have a puppy who is suffering in the African heat. Needless to say rescuing this puppy involves a lot of money, air fares to bring the poor darling to more temeperate climes etc. And it is a very special puppy, thousands of you can own it, and none of you will ever see it because it doesn't exist.
These Nigerian fraudsters seem to have the idea that we are stupid and will fall for this crap. Unfortunately they are right, and many of us do!

One rotten apple:[ TOP ]
Apple Computers have been inundated with calls from users upgrading to the latest version of its Leopard operating system. Under certain conditions (which Apple have yet to identify) a reboot after the install produces a "blue screen of death" error.. When turning off and rebooting, it happens again, and again.

Spongefish:[ TOP ]
A spongefish is a curious creature that swims in your bathtub and excretes a delicately scented soap. It has a coarse skin which, as it rubs against your body, gently cleanses you.

OK, I am lying, spongefish is actually the name of a social networking site, a place to share what you know via text, photos, video, webcam capture, office documents, and more. The idea is to share information, by adding what you know to the growing number of articles, hints, tips and general know-how that is growing daily at

Even if you dont feel like contributing, there is a great deal to read and learn from; its a kind of Wikipedia for everyday things. Some of the articles I found there today are:
How to start your own website.
Top ten spring break destinations in Texas.
Top Ten Tips To Make Friends At College
How to bluff in poker.
How to keep your shoes dry in the snow.
Spice up your sex life.
Free things to do in London.
Advanced sales techniques.
Those are some of the thousands of pieces of information at some of it is trivial, some serious, and some simply funny. Whatever you are interested in youll find something for you at Spongefish. Why not take a look.

Plain speaking:[ TOP ]
Here is a piece of utter twaddle I stumbled upon the other day:

"Cisco and VMware's new virtualization products and strategies change the nature of the relationships among data center personnel to the point that a new role may be emerging, that of the virtual infrastructure expert who sits very close to the storage, networking and server disciplines."

If you find any mangled or unintelligible verbiage on the net, please send it to me at
Put Twaddle in the subject line, I'll publish the best.
Thanks, Phil.

All PC users should have this:[ TOP ]
At we are often asked how to find out the type of memory installed in a computer, or what is the make and model of the graphics card, and even how do I find my Windows CD key. The answer to all these, and many more information needs is to install the Belarc Advisor.

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

You can get this useful program (which is free) by logging in to and entering the Downloads section. Not only will you find the belarc Advisor, there are close to two hundred other downloads for you to enjoy.

Talkback:[ TOP ]
You can express opinions on the content of by emailing and putting Talkback in the subject line.

If you would like to write items related to computers, please feel free to do so. If selected for publication you will be credited as the author.

Please include your name and location in the email.

Musical spam:[ TOP ]
Spammers have hit on a new way to get past your spam filters and get their message delivered to your inbox. the message arrives as an MP3 file! This delivery method has been used by several companies urging recipients to invest in stocks and shares. I listened to one and was very disappointed to find that the words were spoken rather than sung.

Credits[ TOP ]
Editor Phil Dodd

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