Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All Your Content Are Belong to Us

WXPNews: Published by Sunbelt Software since 2001

Vol. 9, #71 - May 18, 2009 - Issue #379

 All Your Content Are Belong to Us

  1. Editor's Corner
    • All Your Content Are Belong to Us
    • Follow-up: Cell Phone Secrets
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
    • Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • AMD processors that don't support Windows 7 XP Mode
    • Google Outage: Sorry, the Cloud is not Available
    • Your Next Office?
    • Craig's List is under the gun
  4. How To: Using XP Features
    • How to print selected text from web pages
  5. XP Security News
    • Conficker Worm infects Hospital MRI machines
  6. XP Question Corner
    • Can't download pictures from digital camera
  7. XP Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Description of exFAT file system driver update package
    • Disk Cleanup Tool stops responding
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • PC Tune-Up: 4 Easy Steps That Eliminate Frustrating Slow Computer Problems

Your Current (free) Antivirus Costs You $200!

Huh? Yes, you read that right. Do the math with us for a sec. We recently asked you how much you paid for your Personal Computer and peripherals. The vast majority answered that it was about $1,000 total. Now, the average old-style antivirus (paid or free) you install, hijacks about 20% of that PC, in CPU and Memory. Bingo, there's your lost 200 bucks! Time to switch don't you think? Get VIPRE. It's not a resource hog, does not slow down your PC, and is only $30 per year. Get your 15-day eval here and experience VIPRE for yourself:

 Editor's Corner

All Your Content Are Belong to Us

It's been a while since I've addressed the issue of Digital Rights Management, or DRM, but it's a subject that never seems to go away. It's back on the front burner this week after a blog post by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes over on ZDNet about the DRM in Amazon's Kindle ebook reader. You can read it (and vote on what you think about the Kindle's DRM) at

The Kindle connects to Amazon's servers to download the content directly to the reader itself (unlike earlier readers, most of which had to be connected to a computer that had downloaded the books). This makes it much more convenient for users to get new content - but it also gives Amazon more control over those devices. These means that, at least in theory, Amazon could disable specific content so you could no longer read it, or even disable the entire device. Adrian says some folks have had their Kindles disabled because they returned too many items. Ouch! Amazon also disables certain features, such as text-to- speech, for certain titles.

In my opinion, DRM is probably the number one reason that the transition from paper books to electronic has proceeded as slowly as it has. There are numerous advantages to ebooks - you can carry the equivalent of a small library with you on a tiny card that weighs almost nothing, you can quickly and easily search the text for key words and phrases that might not make it into a formal index, you can highlight passages and make annotations without "ruining" the book, and so forth.

When I've written about ebooks in the past, some readers have protested that they don't offer the same "feel" and even the same smell as paper books - but the most common complaint by those resistant to going electronic is that they just don't trust that their books will still be there and remain usable over the years. Proprietary formats mean that if a particular reading device disappears, you may not be able to read those books that were made for it. And anyone who's used a computer knows that digital data can be corrupted or the files accidentally deleted or the media on which they're stored can fail or be lost. That's why we're constantly told to back up all of our important data. But DRM technologies can make it impossible for you to back up data for which you shelled out many dollars.

DRM has probably been at least partially responsible for the music industry's recent financial downturn. It has certainly been the biggest factor in the public's antipathy toward that industry. In attempting to thwart the illegal sharing of their content, record companies have managed to alienate those people who provided much of their income. When anti-piracy measures make it harder for honest people who purchased the content to enjoy it, you push them toward either joining the illegal downloaders or just giving up on the music altogether. Many have pointed out that DRM is like gun control - it only restricts the good guys while those with the pirated copies aren't restricted by DRM hassles.

It's a little ironic that Amazon, with the Kindle, is imposing such stringent copy protection when the company was one of the first to offer music downloads without the DRM that caused many people who bought songs from other services to lose their investments, such as when Microsoft's MSN Music store gave up the ghost.

The most heinous form of DRM is the sort that ties content to a particular device. Most users believe that if they buy a digital song, they shouldn't be restricted to only playing it on the computer they used to download it. They want to be able to play it on their portable players, on their car players, etc. If you buy a movie, you want to be able to play it on both your desktop and your laptop computers. People point out that when you buy a DVD or CD, you can play it on any device that plays that type of disc.

Some content providers have tried to accommodate this by allowing you to "authorize" a certain number of devices. The problem is that you generally have to connect to their authorization servers to do so. What happens when they go out of business and those servers go offline? Ask MSN music owners about that. The other problem is that even if you're using the same computer, it has to be reauthorized if you upgrade or reinstall the operating system, using up one of your allotted authorizations. Many of us get new computers every year or two, either by choice or because the old one dies. Why should that mean you have to pay for your content all over again?

Apparently some folks have actually learned from their DRM mistakes. Sony CEO Howard Stringer said in a recent interview that in the future, Sony will use technologies that are more open; he admits that they made a mistake by not going with an open music solution and says they would have beaten Apple if they had done so:

In other areas, DRM is becoming more popular rather than less. I'm not a gamer but apparently many game publishers stepped up their copy protection efforts in the last year. Irate customers drove down the ratings of a game called Spore because of its overly oppressive DRM. At the same time, at least a few game publishers released games without any DRM and one of those noted that "people who pirate the game are people who wouldn't have bought it anyway."

Anti-DRM sentiment is so high that even a mainstream company like CNET seemingly endorses software to remove copy protection; they recently pointed readers to a giveaway of Wondershare Music Converter, which strips the DRM from popular protected music formats. Of course, removing copy protection is unfortunately a violation of federal law under the DMCA.

Content providers are obviously struggling with the DRM issue. At the Digital Hollywood conference earlier this month, there was a panel discussion about the legal, legislative and social issues surrounding DRM. Not surprisingly, most of the panelists (which included representatives of f RIAA, MPAA and others in the film and television industry) think DRM is a good thing and even accused ISPs of being "enablers of piracy." You can read their perspective here:

So what do you think? Is DRM a good thing, a necessary evil or should it be done away with altogether? How much DRM is too much? What level of protection is reasonable? Is DRM holding back the adoption of ebooks? Was it responsible for the falling sales of music? Or would those industries be even worse off without it? Let us know your opinions at feedback@wxpnews.com or discuss it with other readers in our forums at

Follow-up: Cell Phone Secrets

In last week's editorial, we took a look at the way cell phones can be exploited not just to steal the data you have stored on them and intercept your phone calls, but to even listen to your in-person conversations when the cell phone is in your vicinity.

Despite the risks, most of you leave your cell phones turned on most of the time. Mark N. said, "For a casual lunch, I leave it on. For meetings, generally, no. One thing that I found better on NTT DoCoMo phones is a 'driving' mode. This lets a caller know you are driving and will hold that information for when you turn the mode off. It is also easy to remember since you know a call has come. There's nothing like leaving the phone in airplane mode or driving mode and not remembering to turn in back off. Since my main 'watch' is my phone, after meetings, I still remember to turn it back on."

Many of you do turn off Bluetooth when you aren't using it - but many said you hadn't considered it a security risk; you just turn it off to save on battery life.

Mark P. points out that cell phones have also changed human behavior when it comes to telephone conversations: "We used to be a little more discreet during our phone conversations before cell or mobile phones even existed. We shut the doors to our offices or other rooms, also the doors to public phone booths so we could talk in private. But now, with the convenience of hand-held communication device in such a variety and abundance, people appear to be less concerned about who's listening to their phone conversations while they out in public having them on a cell."

When it comes to cell phone security, Tillman E. put it simply: "I take the same position with my cellular that I take with eMail: Anything that I do not want on the front page of the New York Times (or in every blog on the web), I do not say or store on the phone." And some of you go even further. Chuck C. said, "I don't own a cell phone. Honestly, I think the world would be a much better place if they were never invented."

Carl B. took this position: "If hackers want to waste their time and money, listening to me, I say, 'Go for it'. Surely, they have more productive things to do than try to harass me or listen to my conversations. I can only imagine how boring that would be." And Roy H. wrote, "Come on now. For 99.9% of cell phone users and calls, what would it matter if someone was listening in? ... And why would they listen in? OK, once we start using a cell phone as a payment device I might start getting concerned but I figure by then, the industry or some enterprising individual or company will have come up with a solution."

But others are a bit more concerned. David G. said, "I am thinking a Faraday cage is the appropriate case to carry this device in now. My phone no longer seems like such a nice gadget!"

Finally, several of you wanted others to know that a deactivated cell phone can still be used to call 911 and suggested giving your old phones to friends or relatives who don't have cell phones, to be used for this purpose.

Thanks to everyone who wrote on this topic.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

PS: Did you know this newsletter has a sister publication called VistaNews? You can subscribe here, and tell your friends:

And for IT pros, there's our "big sister," WServer News, at

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Quotes of the Week

Free speech is intended to protectd the controversial and even outrageous word, and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection. - General Colin Powell

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. - Oscar Wilde

Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy. - Sir Isaac Newton

Keep The Bad Guys Out With The Sunbelt Personal Firewall

Why do I need a firewall? Together with antivirus and antispyware, a firewall is a "must" to protect your computer. PC Magazine gave the Sunbelt Personal Firewall a "Very Good" rating with 4 Stars and a conclusion of "good protection". Check out the Reviews on the site and it will be clear why you need the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to protect your PC. One good example: Unlike the Windows XP and Vista Firewall, you can tell the Sunbelt Personal Firewall to look carefully at the data leaving your browser, so that sensitive information like your credit card numbers, email address, bank account, social security number and PIN code do not get stolen by hackers!

 Cool Tools

Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without


Before You Kick that Computer to the Curb. Free PC Diagnostic Scan

Never reinstall your XP again. New technology: no set-up, no loss of data or applications. The ultimate professional repair tool. Free PC booster with every scan, get it now!

PC Tune-Up: 4 Easy Steps That Eliminate Frustrating Slow Computer Problems:

Registry First Aid 7.0 - New Release Is Faster, Safer and Even More Effective

Improve your English writing skills with WhiteSmoke a smarter solution for high quality writing. Download the free trial version here.

Rip DVDs for your iPod/iPhone or Apple TV. Bundle includes video converter too! Try it free!

Vista gets bogged down very quickly! Advanced Vista Optimizer will tweak Vista for Max performance. Easy to use:

Backups? GoodSync is an easy and fast way to backup and synchronize your emails, photos, iTunes, MP3s, and other important files.

Spotmau PowerSuite Professional 2008: Fantastic! All the tools necessary to fix most common computer problems. Clone and backup too!

Print Screen Deluxe is the realistic upgrade of the Windows version. You can crop - before the capture! Very quick!

 News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

AMD processors that don't support Windows 7 XP Mode

AMD has provided information about which of its processors won't support XP Mode virtualization technology on Windows 7, which allows you to run applications on XP in a seamless virtual machine for backward compatibility. The Sempron processor is the only currently shipping model that won't work with XP mode, but there are several older models that suffer from the same problem. You can read more about them here:

Google Outage: Sorry, the Cloud is not Available

Last Thursday, I was working on an article, as usual. Also as usual, I fired up Google to search for some information on the technology I was writing about - but my browser wouldn't connect. Uh oh. Was there a problem with my software or my Internet connection? Nope - I could access Live Search with no problem. It was just Google that was down. Unfortunately, "just Google" covers a lot of ground. Apparently there were problems not only with the search engine, but also with other Google properties such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Docs, Blogger, etc. Is this what we have to look forward to if the push to put all our apps and data in "the cloud" is successful? I think I'll keep my local programs and storage, thank you very much. Read more about the outage here:

Your Next Office?

Speaking of local programs, the next generation of Microsoft Office, called Office 2010 (does that give you an idea of when it's slated to be released?) is now in technical preview. It's not available to the public, but screenshots have been leaked to the web and there is a whole gallery of them posted over on ZDNet. The good news is that there will be a 64 bit version. It definitely has a new look. Check it out here:

Craig's List is under the gun

Craig's List is a popular site for finding what you need, from a new apartment to someone to paint your old one. I've used it on many occasions to get rid of "junk" like old computer parts, working but outdated TVs and appliances and old furniture. Now, though, the site is getting a bad reputation as people use it to offer more unsavory services (such as prostitution) and now a killer has reportedly used its ads to lure victims. Read more about why this useful Internet resource is in legal jeopardy at

 How To: Using XP Features

How to print selected text from web pages

Want to print just a part of a web page? One way to do it is to copy the text you want and paste it into Word, then print the document - but there's an easier way.
  1. Highlight the specific text (or image) you want to print.
  2. Press CTRL + P or click File | Print.
  3. In the Print Range dialog, click the option button for "Selection" ("All" is the default).
  4. Click OK.
This will print only the selected portion of the page.

Restart XP from Task Manager
If the computer locks up and you can't access the Start menu, you might still be able to invoke Task Manager using the CTRL+ALT+DEL key combination. You can restart your computer from there:
  1. Click the Shut Down menu
  2. Select Restart
This is better for the system than doing a hard reboot (turning the computer off with the power button).

 XP Security News

Conficker Worm infects Hospital MRI machines

You probably knew that your XP computer could be vulnerable to the infamous Conficker worm, but who would have guessed that the malware could infect MRI machines and other hospital equipment? Turns out that some of these are connected to the Internet, and at least one has been found to be infected with the worm. Read more here:

 XP Question Corner

Can't download pictures from digital camera

When I try to download a bunch of picture files from my digital camera with a USB connection to the hard drive on my XP computer, it will seem to be copying the pictures to the hard disk but then it will stop and do nothing for several minutes. Finally, the dialog box disappears and there is a file on the hard disk but it is empty (says 0 bytes in size). Other times, I can download files okay. Any idea what causes this? Thanks. - Eloise K.

This sometimes happens when a device uses the PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) to transfer files and there is a problem with the PTP driver (ptpusd.dll). The workaround is to use MSB Mass Storage Class (MSC) instead of PTP. When you use MSC, the computer recognizes the camera's memory as a removable drive so you can read and copy the files with Windows Explorer. You can find out about this and related problems with transferring photos from a camera in KB article 814390 at

 XP Configuration and Troubleshooting

Description of exFAT file system driver update package

Microsoft released the extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) file system driver for Windows XP on January 27, 2009. This is the successor to the old FAT32 file system, which can handle larger files and enables better interoperability between desktop computers and portable devices. To find out how to get the update and learn more about exFAT, see KB article 955704 at

Disk Cleanup Tool stops responding

If you're trying to compress old files with the Disk Cleanup Tool to save space on your XP computer, sometimes you might get a message that says "Disk Cleanup is calculating how much space you will be able to free on " but no matter how long you wait, nothing happens. You can fix the problem automatically using the "Fix it" link in KB article 812248 or see the instructions for editing the registry to fix it yourself.

 Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: WXPNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

 Product of the Week

PC Tune-Up: 4 Easy Steps That Eliminate Frustrating Slow Computer Problems

PC Tune-Up™ is a highly effective tool for improving your computer's speed and reliability. Just selected as the Microsoft WUGNET Shareware Pick and highly recommended software.

The PC Tune-Up™ easy-to-use interface is designed for all user levels. Not everyone has the time - or interest - to understand the reasons behind a slow running computer. You may not know what "registry repair software" means, and that's just fine. Even so, PC Tune-Up™ will easily guide you through the process of repairing your slow running computer to restore the performance of your PC - in just four easy steps! More advanced users will find they have the control they need during configurations. Vista News readers can get an exclusive instant $10.00 off discount. The trial version fixes quite a number of registry errors. Try it or buy it here.

 About WXPnews

What Our Lawyers Make Us Say
These documents are provided for informational purposes only. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Sunbelt Software on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Sunbelt must respond to changes in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Sunbelt and Sunbelt cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


This newsletter and website and may contain links to other websites with whom we have a business relationship. Sunbelt Software does not review or screen these sites, and we are not responsible or liable for their privacy or data security practices, or the content of these sites. Additionally, if you register with any of these sites, any information that you provide in the process of registration, such as your email address, credit card number or other personally identifiable information, will be transferred to these sites. For these reasons, you should be careful to review any privacy and data security policies posted on any of these sites before providing information to them.

The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document. This document may be copied and distributed subject to the following conditions: 1) All text must be copied without modification and all pages must be included; 2) All copies must contain Sunbelt's copyright notice and any other notices provided therein; and 3) This document may not be distributed for profit. All trademarks acknowledged. Copyright Sunbelt Software, Inc. 1996-2009.

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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.