marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Since myself and others will probably be running XP for some time despite how end-of-service (April 8th) has already come and gone (my main reason for keeping it is Aesop here can and will run anything: 7, Vista, 8 - she's run them all - but she was made for and simply runs XP better) I figured I'd do a quick writeup on how to keep an XP computer safe and light on its feet and how to run the newer and more fancy Microsoft fonts on XP.

Best Practices For Installing and Using XP after April 8th End-of-Service Date

  • Don't! Use it! At all! Ever! Again! (from The Book of Do As I Say Not As I Do, Chapter XP)
  • Turn on Automatic Updates (users who install or use anything less than a fully updated copy of XP running SP3 Build 5512 Final will get all updates needed to bring their OSs current despite being past end-of-service date)
  • Don't use anything less than Service Pack 3
  • Turn on Windows Firewall
  • Turn off possibly dangerous services
  • Don't use anything less than Internet Explorer 8. Once SP3 is installed, IE6 or IE7 will take you to the IE8 download page so no worries. Install IE8, then go to the Menu Bar-->Tools and click on Tools, then on Windows Updates. IE will take you to Windows Update where you can install more updates you'll need
  • While still running IE8, go to Tools-->Internet Options-->Advanced and turn off ActiveX, all scripting, meta refresh, cross-domain content, automatic downloads of anything, and turn on all certificate checks (especially after Heartbleed); under the Security tab set all Zones cookie handling (except for restricted sites, which are already set to high) to medium-high; turn off all third-party cookies
  • Download Firefox, close Internet Explorer and don't open it again; install Firefox and set it as the default browser (it's worth mentioning that all three of you worldwide still using an AOL web browser are running whatever version of IE is currently installed on your computer every time you use it; older copies of AOL's browser, newer versions of it, and AOL Explorer itself are just IE disguised in an AOL hard-candy shell - same goes for Avant and Maxthon browsers, so you should stop using them, too)
  • After Firefox is installed get Web of Trust for search engine safety and to avoid entering dodgy websites; for better password management use a secure password manager; I use LastPass
  • Before logging into any website or email account, check for Heartbleed vulnerabilities both past and present; change passwords once affected websites are known to be patched
  • Don't install Java - uninstall it if it's already on your PC (link for this and next tip)
  • Don't install Flash - uninstall it if it's already on your PC; instead of Flash use the HTML5 Player on Youtube (it plays everything, just search for what you want and click on the desired result)
  • Don't go without antivirus but don't use classic antivirus. Yes, you read that right; try Webroot SecureAnywhere instead. It doesn't download virus definitions nor use heuristics to analyze any possible virus - instead, it analyzes program behavior to stop dangerous activity before it can damage your computer, and it's supposed to leave the lightest footprint and offer the most practical realtime protection - we'll see

Vista/7/8 Fonts on XP

You can get all the basic Windows Vista/7/8 fonts from two sources.

  • For fonts that begin with the letter "C" (nope, I'm not kidding;, they all do) download PowerPoint Viewer, which will also install a useless thing called ctfmon.exe; if seeing it run in Task Manager 24/7 drives you nuts (it drives me nuts) use this to get rid of it
  • For Segoe UI, download Windows Live Mail (it's not as bad as it sounds - the downloader includes five or six programs but you can uncheck them all except for Live Mail, and you never have to use it; it won't run on start up or otherwise get in your way); download link and some good tips

If I left anything off my lists (or if you'd like to debate me or each other about anything on my lists - I'm sorta democratic like that) please let me know and/or go ahead in the comment section...

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
The good: the CD I used to reinstall the OS has all the standard games on it which of course includes Internet Reversi. [personal profile] silveradept can imagine how happy this makes me; what he or she may not be able to imagine is how bad I am at it after years of not playing (which is good! moar challenge): really, terribly fucking bad. Even on the easiest games I'm like "Whut" like I've never seen the board before. Which is uh, great! Almost like having amnesia. Yeah.
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

All morning it poured as low, heavy winds assaulted our humble three story abode yet the utilities chugged away as though nothing was happening. As I got out of bed around 11:30 the rains died down and the Internet went out; about two hours later the sun started shining and we lost the power. I was deep-cleaning the refrigerator and therefore less than completely delighted - you probably could've heard me cursing the power company from down the block.

The power company rep I reported the outage to warmly assured me we'd have power again by 4:30 - yet at 3:00, the automated phone system couldn't estimate any repair time at all. At 4:30 the automated system told us to wait until 6. At 6 it told us to wait until 7, and all because the sun suddenly shined, which apparently snapped all the lines in this county. When I called the cable company around 12, they told me the Internet would be back on by 3 - but then we lost the power at 1:30 so it didn't matter. But when the power came back on at 7, guess what? So I got back on the phone with the cable company, who told me all those little bits of information that normally fly around the house would be flying around it again by 8.

By the time the Internet came back on that didn't matter, either; we were starving from not opening the fridge all day so I had to cook dinner while Fiance Person had to run to the store. And because the power had just come back on after being off for six hours I couldn't open the fridge without risking losing all the food - also, I have nearly zero budget for buying any more of it this month - so I got down on my hands and knees in front of the fridge, opened the door from the bottom by just one tiny little crack, and inserted my hand through said crack to pull out the Italian sausage, green peppers and onions I'd been planning to fry up, anyway. Then I spent the next two hours cooking and cleaning it all up.

Then I had to do laundry because Fiance Person needs work clothes for tomorrow! And the water heater won't let you take two showers in a row (you have to space showers about three hours apart for maximum hot water and I use all the hot water every time, so yeah) so I let Fiance person go first (he has to work tomorrow so he takes priority over me, since I have exactly nothing to do tomorrow) and then I collapsed in from of the computer to write this.

Oh, and how did I spend the entire day without power? Ha. Let me describe the ways: I dusted the entire inside of the house, scrubbed the kitchen, cleaned the box fan in the living room inside and out, ate cold leftover meatloaf with potato chips for lunch while I read the paper (this was the only break I took), scrubbed the glass shower stall, scrubbed the toilet, swept 3 flights of stairs outside from top to bottom and back up, and repeatedly called the power company for updates. Fiance Person made his first trip to the store during this time after happily hand-building gaskets all day (don't ask) only to find out their power was out, too.

On his second trip to the store the trucks for the power company, the cable company and CenturyLink all passed him on the road pretty much in a row and the store hadn't even turned its computers back on so he had to wait in a line that snaked around the back of the place, which was how he came to learn everyone lost everything today. Whoever came up with today can shoot it right between the eyes because I am done with it (time to throw the laundry in the dryer...grrrrr)...

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

pulchritude explains (you'll need website images enabled; she has many screen shots). Also - if needed - comments on this post will remain screened...just tell me what you think, y'all.

Btw...using anything to hide background images, like I mentioned I did after seeing this shot, will still show DW's usericon images in the sidebar because they're not part of inline background images but are baked into the page layout itself. They'll show up no matter what unless you choose a method that hides all images on a web page.

ETA, 4-13-14: As a workaround and because I've been meaning to do so forever but never thought I could without screwing up just about everything, I've added entry linkbar/comment linkbar textlinks back in (the layout never originally called for any; the original, untouched CSS uses pure iconery without any text - which, just to be on the safe side, was set to font-size: 0; - yes, horrible for usability, but sooooooo damn lovely to look at).

But the comment icons in particular have always annoyed me, so no big loss. I can see just fine, but they were oh-so-vague and completely confusing (and no, I don't think there's enough room for icons and text; when I tried that, some linkbars started wrapping to four lines with totally random-sized chunks of white space). Not to mention page load is like ziiiip now without them.

Plus if you chose to surf without background images enabled (this is not an odd or unusual choice; proxy users, ABP users who choose to right-click and block images en masse, Web Dev users on Fx/Chrome, Fx Userstyle.css users, and users on dial-up all come to mind) you couldn't leave a comment or manage or edit your own comments without first switching to "style-light" or site scheme from the navbar (if you were already using the navbar, since I don't enable it by default!) or else by disabling my CSS altogether, which I'll admit sucked. A lot.

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

Heartbleed is this lovely little OpenSSL vulnerability. It's a newly discovered way to break SSL (secure socket layer) https:// encryption by decrypting keys that encrypt all traffic on a website. That means usernames, passwords, emails, PMs, your credit card number, and so on can be read in plain text by anyone (the linked article says by "anyone on the Internet"). As a fairly irresponsible Dreamwidthian it's my duty to tell you, fellow Dreamwidthians - before you get too bug-eyed with vague anxiety - that Dreamwidth seems safe for now from this threat, while any possible vulnerability on our servers has been patched.

That said - and dear God, I'm not naming them because this is bad enough without pointing anyone in the right direction - at least three websites I spend half my online life are vulnerable. Conveniently enough, I haven't logged into one of them in over a month because I took a break from visiting it to recode my blog, but I don't know how long Heartbleed has been around nor if not logging in has saved my personal info from attack, so there's little comfort in thinking, "Well, at least I've been avoiding that website, anyway". Of course, now I'm afraid to log into it (not until they can tell me the issue has been fixed), so I may never know.

ETA, 4-10-14: My thinking on this was very much right though I almost rewrote the entire paragraph above before posting over doubting it somewhat; just read exactly how the vulnerability works. Basically, anything in short-term memory is up for grabs, so not logging into a website for the last month or two - or not logging in for the next month or two on sites slow to upgrade their OpenSSL or apply a patch - would work to protect you from this attack. Alternately, if it's possible for you to log into a site deemed vulnerable with a throwaway username/password combo and still get what you want done, that will do the trick, too - as far as protecting your real credentials on the site goes.<--end ETA-->

Another vulnerable website is one I have no choice but to log into multiple times a day which is owned by, uh, one of the top three tech giants, which is neither Google nor Apple. Yes: Fuuuuuck. Another is one I log into maybe once a month but now I'm afraid to ever log into it again. If you'd like to sink even further into despair (my misery would sure love some company: TIA) here's a pre-compiled list of vulnerable websites. The list does not currently agree with everything this site says, so caveat emptor. I have Kleenex™ and wine on hand if you're nearby and want to come get drunk and weep with me over this.

Meanwhile, the page I'm using to test servers on is throwing strange errors for anything on Apache (like AOL) and a few non-Apache websites like MSN (or wait, does MSN use Apache, too?). The error is always some variation of this: dial tcp 65.55.206.228:443: connection refused. At first I thought it was literally trying to dial-up each website (which is what I get for writing about dial-up for three years) but then I looked again and sank into befuddlement. At any rate the tech giant that's not Google nor Apple can pretty much bite my ass; they're carrying tons of heavy, sensitive traffic all over the world and how dare they leave this vulnerability open for all of us to get caught up in?

ETA 4-10-14: Everything you need to know about the Heartbleed SSL bug (via [personal profile] andrewducker)

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