Richi Jennings

Trojan+ransom, Microsoft+NYT (and painting+darts)

May 01, 2006 6:09 AM EDT
Pun-tastic! It's IT Blogwatch, in which the latest Trojan horses around [geddit?] and Microsoft climbs into in bed with the gray lady [geddit?]. Not to mention discovering the point of painting... [You're fired -Ed.]

The latest Trojan to hit our PCs wants you to pay to get rid of it! Douglas Schweitzer scores four faults and a refusal: "Whoa -- this horse needs to be reigned in. This latest Trojan horse sets up shop in commandeered computers and then demands a ransom payment from its victim. While the amount is not exorbitant ($10.99, payable via Western Union) those who fall prey are understandably horrified ... aptly assigned the new moniker, 'ransomware,' demand the payment in exchange for releasing control of the computer ... [if you don't pay] files will be deleted every 30 minutes."

» The Internet Patrol: "A nasty new Windows ransom trojan called Ransom-A ... the new trojan is similar to the 'internet infection' virus which locked up the files on your computer and then demanded a $200 ransom last year, however this one demands only $10.99 ... Of course, despite the bargain basement price, one should not give in to such viral extortion ... According to Sophos, the best, if not only, thing you can do is to be sure your virus protection is up to date and protects against Ransom-A ... the best thing to do is to not get it."

Microsoft links up with the New York Times, as Alex Morganis reports: "announced a deal on Friday that would allow NY Times stories to be read within Windows Vista ... The new software, called Times Reader, will allow users to read and download electronic versions of the newspaper, as well as view them on a portable device ... make use of one of Windows Vista's new features, the Windows Presentation Foundation engine, to display the fonts and links to other websites ... The prototype was unveiled at the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors by Bill Gates ... Times Reader should be ready to begin public testing in several weeks."

» What's it all about, Michael Parekh? "If you actually read the press release from the Times on the subject, you realize that the headline of it's own story doesn't quite explain what's going on ... So the New York Times, has developed a software application that leverages components of Microsoft Vista to read the Times online, and that application will be distributed with every copy of Vista ... the Times Reader [will be] available to other publishers to format their content to be readable on PCs, laptops, and the new wave of UMPCs (Ultra-mobile PCs, aka "Origami")."

» Microsoft's Robert Scoble drools: "I saw an early prototype and this stuff is awesome. Comes out of a lot of research and work that teams are doing here about how the human eye works." Some readers didn't agree with him, like Ryan B: "I don’t really see the specialness of this, just is something with fancier fonts, customizable, and such. The MyTimes thing was announced like a week ago. Other sites, such as WSJ, already have customizable views…" and Michel: "Having read the rather vague article and some other posts I must say I think this is not the way to go. RSS/whatever feed tech does this fine; it delivers the content ready to be formatted in whatever shape you want. The rest is just window dressing and personal preference."

» Rob Bushway noted:  "I came across this shot of Tom Bodkin, assistant managing editor at The New York Times demoing the new feature. Recognize the tablet pc? It is HP’s discontinued TC1100. I find it ironic that whenever companies want to highlight how great their new software is, how hi-tech it is, we always end up seeing a picture of the discontinued TC1100 along with it. That tells me that HP really had a good thing with the TC1100 and have let a wonderful thing go."

» Bob Stephno: "In what I hope is an unfortunate paraphrase ... the [American Society of Newspaper Editors] reporter ... refers to the software having 'the look and feel' of the newspaper. Tell that to my neighbor with the new puppy, or to the moth I was just trying to swat."

Buffer overflow: And finally... Mixing painting with darts
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.