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The Griffin Spot Feature Archive
Articles featured on The Griffin Spot are posted in this archive.


Monday March 1, 2003

Lego Sculptures

People do some wild things and they also post it on the Internet for all to see. Henry Lim is an artist. He creates sculptures out of Legos™, that's right, the very popular building block toy for children. You can see some of his amazing work at Henry Lim's LEGO Sculptures. One of his most outstanding creations is the playable Harpsichord.


Friday February 20, 2003

Beware of Hotbar - Spyware

Someone in the house downloaded and installed Hotbar onto their computer. This first appears to be a useful addition to your computer, but beware, it is ladened with spyware that can cripple your computer and is difficult to remove. I've learned more about this little nasty program while trying to remove it from the computer. Read this Technofile article to learn more. And more on this parasite can be found at Thundercloud. My advice, don't fall into the spyware trap, don't install Hotbar.


Saturday November 15, 2003

Poor Man's Segway

You may have read about the Segway™ Human Transporter that was announced a couple of years ago. It's a high priced toy that was supposed to revolutionize human transportation. Well, after a couple of years, it seems to be struggling as some communities are banning it's use because of perceived safety hazards.

I recently came across an article on the Internet by Trevor Blackwell that describes how to Build a Balancing Scooter of your own. Tinkering techno-geeks should find this article interesting. But is all this expensive technology necessary? An article written by Maddox has found a way to Render the Segway Human Transporter Obsolete.

Read Previous Features


Saturday October 25, 2003

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing concern. Statistics show that identity theft is the fastest growing crime today. It is a crime that has captured the attention of law enforcement and the legislature. I have read so many accounts of this devastating crime that I now shred all documents with identifying information. I personally know people that have been victims of identity theft.

I recently read of couple of articles authored by Robert Cringely on identity theft. Why Identity Theft is a Growth Industry describes his own experience with stolen identity. Now if you still think that it won't happen to you, the article Why Identity Theft is Only Likely to Get Worse, Not Better puts in perspective why you should take charge of own affairs to protect yourself.


Saturday August 30, 2003

Alert!
Is there such a thing as a 'Good Worm'

This has been one busy summer with all the worm and virus activity. Another new category 4 worm type virus alert has been issued from Symantec for the W32.Welchia.Worm.

W32.Welchia.Worm is an interesting worm. It's been assigned a high category rating due to it being so widespread. But what does it do? This worm actually attempts to update your operating system to the latest service pack level, remove the W32.Blaster.Worm and then in 2004, remove itself from your computer.

Certainly a worm propagating through the network creates traffic. But considering this worms' good intentions to remove known vulnerabilities and eradicate a known bad worm, should this worm be considered a bad thing? Share your thoughts with me.


Wednesday August 20, 2003

10-10 Phone Rates

With long distance calling rates changing so much, many people have opted for one of the attractive rates offered by the many 10-10 dialing plans. You can use these plans without changing your long distance provider and still have it billed to your monthly telephone bill. Plans offered vary and most usually have a per minute charge. In addition, many plans have a connect charge for each call and some charge a monthly service fee too.

I have used 10-10-811, but they recently added a monthly service charge in addition to their connect and per minute fee, so I started shopping around. I can't recommend a particular plan because you have to find a plan that fits your calling habits and also because the rates change all too frequently. While looking I found the 10-10PhoneRates.com web site which puts the different plan rates in a table and helps you compare the different rates side-by-side. Sort of a consumer report for 10-10 rates.


Monday August 18, 2003

Alert!
Yet Another Computer Worm

Another new category 3 worm type virus alert has been issued from Symantec for the W32.Dumaru@mm virus/worm.

W32.Dumaru@mm is a mass-mailing worm that drops an IRC Trojan onto the infected machine. The worm gathers e-mail addresses from certain file types and uses its own SMTP engine to e-mail itself. The e-mail looks as if it is a patch to fix a virus, however, opening it will launch the virus.

Be sure to keep your anti-virus definitions up-to-date and your operating system up to the latest patch level. Install your patches directly from Microsoft's web site, not from an attachment sent via e-mail.


Tuesday August 12, 2003

Alert!
Computer Worm Spreads

Symantec's anti-virus research center rates the W32.Blaster.Worm a category 4 which is the highest rating on their scale. It's a serious threat for computers using Windows NT, 2000 and XP and can give complete control of your computer to hackers. This threat has even caught the attention of the Department of Homeland Security as they have also issued an advisory on this nasty worm. Please ensure you are running up-to-date anti-virus software and keep your Microsoft Windows operating system up-to-date as well.


Saturday August 2, 2003

Alert!
Mass-Mailing Worm

Now there is another worm W32.Mimail.A@mm that spreads by email. This one is rated a category 3 threat by Symantec's anti-virus research center. It comes as an e-mail that looks like it's from your mail admin and includes an attachment titled message.zip. Don't open this attachment. Microsoft has issued an advisory on this nasty worm too.


Saturday July 12, 2003

Alert!
Mass-Mailing Worm

The W32.Bugbear.B@mm worm has recently been upgraded to a category 4 threat by Symantec's anti-virus research center. It's a mass mailing worm that can also spread through network shares. It even attempts to kill some anti-virus and firewall programs. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and be wary of any unexpected e-mail.


Sunday April 13, 2003

Is it real or a hoax

This week I read a story on Yahoo! titled 'Time-Traveler' Busted For Insider Trading which caught my interest. Then I found the same story on UFO digest titled Wall Street Wizard Claims He's From Future. It's all too wild to believe, what do you think?

Well, maybe this article on Snopes.com titled Insider Trading will proclaim the truth.


Monday March 31, 2003

Do Not Call List

If you hate getting called by telemarketers while you're eating dinner, then relief is on it's way. Californians can now pre-register for the nationwide Do Not Call list that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to launch this summer. California is joining in the national Do Not Call registry which is FREE to consumers. Now if we can only get the same protections against SPAM. Maybe we will in the future.


Saturday March 29, 2003

Tiny Garden

I keep finding creative people on Internet. Here's one fellow that takes his real world hobby to the virtual stage of the Internet. He takes macro photography of his garden, and puts together a superb presentation on mytinygarden.com. This fantastic site will require the latest version of Flash.


Saturday January 25, 2003

Alert! - Internet Worm

A new threat has been unleashed on the Internet. The W32.Sobig.A@mm worm has been upgraded to a category 3 by Symantec's anti-virus research center. It's a mass mailer that sends itself to all addresses it can locate on a computer. It also attempts to install a backdoor. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date and be wary of any unexpected e-mail with an attachment.


Saturday January 25, 2003

Corporate Greed in SBC

InfoWorld recently published "SBC tries to enforce patent on frame-like browsing" an article on the use of frames in websites. Frames is a technique used by many websites to keep a set of navigation links or buttons in one frame of a web page while loading the content into another frame of the web page. This technique is part of the HTML standard and to think that SBC can patent it's use is absurd. Yet SBC has patented the use of frames and has demonstrated it's corporate greed by requiring small websites that use this HTML standard, to pay license fees. Take this letter sent to museumtour.com, SBC's sole interest is taking percentages of revenue from other businesses just because they use a standard technique of HTML.

The use of frames has long been a debatable topic among designers because of various pros and cons. Now there is yet another reason to abandon the use of frames. Talk about an innovative way to deprecate the use of an HTML tag.

I dislike corporations that try to squeeze every penny they can from the consumer for the products or services they sell. But I lothe any corporation that tries to take revenue from smaller companies through litigation. This is one designer that will not use frames and will not patronize SBC in any future business dealings.


Saturday November 30, 2002

Segway Human Transporter

The mystery invention by Dean Kamen has long since been announced as the Segway Human Transporter. Amazon.com has a terrific review on the Science Behind the Segway. They also have a short movie demonstrating the Segway in action. This looks like a lot of fun and it's available now from Amazon.com. But beware, it's a pricey toy.


Friday November 29, 2002

Home-brew Wi-Fi Antenna

Want to improve your wireless signal strength, but short on cash? Some people have been known to build their own Waveguide Antenna from a tin can and other inexpensive materials. Then there was the article from TechTV.com titled Pringles Can Wi-Fi Antenna that described to to build an antenna from a Pringles potato chip can.


Monday September 9, 2002

Crash Bonsai

Art comes in many forms. This art form is uniquely creative. Artist John Rooney takes little bonsai trees and combines them with specially malformed plastic model cars to simulate miniature car crashes he calls Crash Bonsai.


Wednesday July 17, 2002

Hot or Not

Here is a novel idea. Two guys were discussing women and rating them on a scale between 1 & 10. Then they got the crazy idea to create a web site that let's people submit their own picture and have the viewing public rate them. It seems a lot of people wanted to know how the public viewed them. So why not take a gander at some real people and fulfill their ego at Hot or Not.


Tuesday April 23, 2002

Scams Galore

Generally we put our faith in people and businesses, but some people are bad and some businesses can't be trusted either. Bad people are basically cowards when they target weak and elderly people. This scam artist claimed she was a hit-run victim just to steal some money from a poor little old lady.

When you see all those little signs posted on telephone poles that claim you can work from home and earn big bucks, don't believe it. This investigative article from Cockeyed.com tells the whole story, a very interesting read.


Saturday April 20, 2002

Spam, Spam, I Hate Spam

Do you get spam in your electronic inbox? If you have been using the Internet for any length of time, then you probably have seen those annoying messages for easy credit offers, international drivers licenses, get rich quick schemes and many more. Learn more about spam and how to avoid spam scams in this excellent article at the Federal Trade Commissions web site titled "You’ve Got Spam: How to "Can" Unwanted Email".

 


Sunday January 20, 2002

Whoa! Banner Ads ... Not

You probably noticed the banner ads at the top of our home page. We normally don't endorse banner ads and would not want to impose them on you. But these are special Public Service Ads from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They link to informative pages at the FTC web site to help consumers avoid getting taken by the many scams and sales pitches out there. So we hope you find these unobtrusive and informative.

 


Tuesday January 1, 2002
Top Ten Dot Cons

Just because you found an offer on the Internet doesn't mean it's credible. Granted there are many reliable businesses on the Internet today. But many scam artists are now using the Internet to try and con you. Start the new year off right, get your guard up and be smart. Learn to recognize a con by reading the Top Ten Dot Cons from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) web site.


Wednesday December 5, 2001

- Red Alert -

It's getting nasty out on the Internet. Three new worms were set loose recently. Symantec Anti-Virus Research Center has rated each of these as a Category 4 threat. On a scale of 1 to 5, Symantec translates a category 4 as a severe threat.

As posted by Symantec;

  • "W32.Goner.A@mm is a mass-mailing worm that is written in Visual Basic."
  • "W32.Badtrans.B@mm is a MAPI worm that emails itself out as one of several different filenames."
  • "W32.Aliz.Worm is an SMTP mass mailer worm that can be executed just by reading or previewing the file."

Protect yourself, practice safe computing, be certain to run Anti-Virus software and keep your virus definitions updated regularly.


Wednesday November 28, 2001

Cool News!

It's been a big secret for the last year. Known as project "It" and recently announced is Dean Kamen's latest invention that is supposed to revolutionize transportation as we know it today. You might have seen it on the news recently or read about it during the last year. Well, it's certainly a clever contraption. You can read more about the Segway™ Human Transporter, it's official name now, at How Stuff Works.


Tuesday September 11, 2001

Terror Attack on America

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked America by flying hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center Towers in New York and into the Pentagon at Washington DC. This was a terrible day in history for all Americans. Visit our special feature: Terror Attack on America to reminisce the tragedy.



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