Monday, December 08, 2008

Firefox or Internet Explorer:Safe and not so safe

Since information security is my hobby/job/obsession, this particular topic is near and dear to my heart. Just about everyone reading this has seen computers that have been beaten down with spyware - the evil junk that hijacks IE and renders a system virtually useless. How many times have you been called to a family member’s house to clean up their system? Or had to call your techie friend to come clean yours? It’s often quite awkward - the system slows to a crawl and every other mouse click conjures up some species of perverse, obscene image. What most people don’t realize, however, is that there is a very simple and powerful way to defend your system (and/or the systems of your loved ones) in one fell swoop.Don’t use Internet Explorer.What makes other browsers better than IE at protecting vs. spyware and other attacks? Well, it’s simple really - most other browsers don’t make it so easy to install malicious software on your system without you knowing about it. IE makes it relatively trivial through two features called ActiveX and Active Scripting. These technologies were designed specifically for the purpose of giving Web sites more control over a user’s computer. Unfortunately, as we have seen with exploit after exploit - that’s not always a good thing.

In addition to the spyware issues, IE in general has had a terrible track record when it comes to all types of serious security issues. For years now, it’s seemed like every time you turn around there is a new way to have your computer taken over via Internet Explorer. Put “internet explorer” and “allow an attacker to execute commands” (with the quotes) into Google and you’ll see what I mean.

In IE’s defense, many anti-Microsoft types will claim that it’s not possible to lock down IE at all. This is not true. It is possible - but if and only if you have a fair amount of technical know-how on the subject, and the time to do it. My personal view, however, is that tools such as Internet browsers should not require expertise and configuration time to be able to use them safely.


This is likely to get me in some hot water with my fellow security enthusiasts, but I find this issue to be of even more concern than that of IE’s security. The Internet works for one simple reason - everything at its core has been built on agreements that bind it together. Whether a computer is connected from California or Newfoundland, it’s going to speak the same language and obey the same rules - the rules defined by standards. If this weren’t the case there would be no Internet at all. These agreements are forged by a body of people whose goal is nothing short of designing a better and more efficient Internet for everyone. Microsoft, for some odd reason, seems bent on breaking stride with these agreed-upon standards. Case in point: the next time you’re in a bookstore, head over to the technology section and pick up a book on XHTML or CSS. These are two major Web standards that deal with how Web pages are displayed to users, and within any book on the subjects you will find one common theme:

The absolute worst browser when it comes to supporting the standards is Internet Explorer.

Page after page in these books will reveal features supported in other browsers, but not in IE. Ask yourself why a company would choose not to support standards that benefit everyone? The way I see it, it’s for precisely one of two reasons - either they are unable to, or they don’t want to. Given the fact that they are a multi-billion dollar company (one of the richest on the planet), I can’t help but lean toward the second option. Without going into too much detail, they have their own plans, and those plans involve implementing their own standard and forcing it upon the world. Call me a geek/hippie, but the idea of a multi-billion dollar corporation snubbing its nose at agreed-upon standards is nothing short of infuriating.


Lucky for us, we have alternatives. The good news is that the alternative browsers are actually as good or better than IE. There are many out there, but in my opinion the Mozilla products are the best. I personally prefer and recommend Mozilla Firefox. Not only does it keep your browsing sessions a lot more secure and spyware-free, but it also supports the standards religiously and has a wide range of powerful features. Arguably the biggest benefit to using a Mozilla-based product is something called tabbed browsing. What this allows you to do is have multiple pages open within a single browser window. Rather than going from window to window in the taskbar, you can simply switch between clearly visible tabs, all within the same view. You can even do this and many other commands via the keyboard if you are into that sort of thing.

Using Firefox will not require any major shift in your daily browsing habits. It’ll import your favorites automatically, and you can benefit from the improved security starting the first time you open it. With the popup blocking enabled, you can breath quite a bit easier when browsing to unknown sites. Attempts to install garbage on your system that could have easily succeeded if you were using IE will simply be ignored by Firefox. Plus, the whole time you’re browsing you’ll know that you are doing your part to keep the soul of the Internet alive by choosing to use a browser whose developers actually care about standards.

Of course, I still use IE. (pause for effect) …it’s how I get my Windows security updates. : Seriously though - Windows Update is a must, and it only works in IE, so that in itself is a good reason to fire up IE once in a while. Aside from Windows Update though, there is still the occasional site that I go to that doesn’t look right in any other browser. Those sites, by the way, are all the more reason to not use IE. They weren’t written according to the standards, and they look bad in any browser other than IE as a result of that fact. Using IE all the time just because the occasional site is designed so poorly as to look like crap in other browsers is utterly bad form. I implore you not to give into this temptation.

Wrapping It Up

So, in closing, I leave you with two thoughts:

  1. Due to the combination of ActiveX, scripting, and its integration with the Windows operating system, Internet Explorer is more vulnerable to attack than many other browsers.
  2. The designers of Internet Explorer have purposely turned their back on the standards designed to benefit the Internet as a whole. They have done this for years, continue to do it today, and appear to have nothing but their own interests at heart.

I ask that you consider these points and pull down a copy of Firefox, Opera, or another alternative browser. Run it for a week and see how it feels. As mentioned above, I personally recommend Firefox due to its excellent development team and large user base. Once you have had some time to get to know your new onramp to the Web, I think you’ll find that you’ll wish you had switched sooner. No longer will you have to worry about garbage clogging up your system because of your browser, or having to make a mad rush for a patch every time an IE vulnerability is released.

Finally, and most importantly - spread the word. It’s time now for us to put alternative browsers on the map and let it be known that we are aware of our choices. We need not settle for what we are being fed when there are better, more secure alternatives out there.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Windows Key - WorldStart Computer Tips and Computer Help

I just noticed a key on my keyboard that I've never really used before because I have no idea what it's for. It's in between the left Ctrl and Alt and has a "flying window" on it. Can you help?

Ahh, the Windows key. I remember the first time I noticed her... She sat lifeless until someone explained to me the power she possessed. And now I will pass the knowledge on to you so that together we can rule the univ..., well, our computers...

The Windows key can be used in conjunction with other keys to act as a keyboard shortcut for faster access to menu commands. Now, while the Alt key tends to open program menus (ex: Alt+F opens the File menu and Alt+E opens the Edit menu) and the Ctrl key performs actual operations (ex: Ctrl+C will copy and Ctrl+V will paste), the Windows key will open various Windows tools...

Windows key + R will open the Start menu's Run box
Windows key + F will open the Start menu's Find window
Windows key + E will quickly launch Explorer
Windows key + Pause/Break will open the System Properties window
Windows key + M will Minimize all windows
Windows key + Shift + M will undo Minimize all windows
Windows key + D will switch between minimizing all open programs and showing them all
Windows key + Tab will cycle through items on the taskbar
Windows key by itself will open the Start menu

You can also open programs or folders on your desktop by pressing the Windows key + the first letter of the program/folder/shortcut + Enter . Sounds kinda tedious, but if you're in a bind with your mouse, it can come in quite handy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

About Confederation

Newfoundland and Canada: 1864-1949

Whether Newfoundland and Labrador should remain as an independent political entity, or join the federation of the other British North American colonies, was an issue from 1864 to 1949. In 1864, Newfoundland delegates attended the Quebec Conference and signed the resolutions which became of foundation of the 1867 British North America Act. But it was not until over 80 years later, in 1949, that Newfoundland became a Canadian province.Active debate in the colony during the 1860s culminated in the hard-fought "confederation election" of 1869, won by the anti-confederates in a landslide victory.

William V. Whiteway, ca. early 1900s.
Whiteway was an avowed confederate in 1869.
Photo by Lafayette Ltd. Courtesy of the Centre for
Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll-026), Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.

William WhitewayNot yet ready to give up independence, Newfoundlanders had decided that they could survive, prosper even, on their own. The election was so decisive that the idea of confederation was set aside - indeed, it became a dirty word in many circles. Thus Newfoundland became the only British North American colony to try the experiment of independence (within the British Empire).

As neighbours, Newfoundland and Canada had to negotiate and settle a wide range of issues of mutual concern over the years. Fisheries, trade, relations with the USA, the Labrador boundary and defence were among the most important. Sometimes, between 1869 and the second World War, confederation was raised as a possibility, but only once, in 1895, were there serious negotiations. These failed because neither Newfoundland nor Canada were much interested at that time.

Alfred B. Morine (1857-1944), n.d.
In the late 1890s Morine, Newfoundland's Finance Minister, supported confederation.
Artist unknown. From D.W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland, from the English, Colonial and Foreign Records (London: Macmillan, 1895) 550.


With the collapse of responsible government in 1934, followed by War II, Newfoundland entered a new phase in its history, and in its relationship with Canada. By 1945, the Canadians were coming to the conclusion that incorporating Newfoundland into confederation made sense. The British government thought the same. And the referendums held in 1948 showed that a majority of Newfoundlanders now agreed as well. But the vote had been preceded by a long, tense and divisive debate, and was followed by a difficult period of transition. Finally, on 31 March 1949, Newfoundlanders became Canadian citizens. How that happened has been debated ever since.In this year of 2008 I ask myself what have we really gained fron the whole darn thing.The fishery is gone,the railway has collasped,the forestry is looking pekid so what has England's oldest colony really gained.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

antivirus downloads

  by R.F.Brentnall


A new virus strain pretends to remove malware but actually does just the opposite: it infects your system.
Fortunately, you can use a few simple steps to tell the difference between these rogue antivirus programs and legitimate security software.

Antivirus apps may be malware in disguise

A dangerous new virus is making the rounds in the guise of a legitimate antivirus program. Going by such names as "Antivirus XP 2008" and "XP Antivirus 2009," this malware, as described in a recent Computer Associates advisory, succeeds by looking like a legitimate Windows program.
The Internet security blog Donna's SecurityFlash reports that rogue antivirus programs such as these are being promoted through spam messages that link to an automatic download of a virus installer.
With such aggressive methods afoot to fool security-minded users, how do you know when an antivirus product is legitimate? Use the following guidelines to ensure that the security products you download are legitimate.

Choose your security vendor deliberately

Be careful how you select a security vendor. Just because you see an ad for a vendor or product on a highly reputable site doesn't mean the advertiser is reliable.
Conversely, an ad for a reputable product or service on an unfamiliar site doesn't mean that you can trust the site. Advertisements are often distributed by third parties beyond the editorial control of the hosting site. That's why you may find ads for untrustworthy products on legitimate sites, and ads for legit products on bogus sites.
Services such as the free McAfee Site Advisor and the Web of Trust add-on for the Firefox browser evaluate beforehand the safety of the site you're about to visit. (Windows Secrets contributing editor Becky Waring reviewed Web of Trust in her July 17 column.)
Because the ratings generated by these tools may be based on out-of-date reports, they aren't perfect. But they serve as a useful line of defense.
Another way to evaluate sites before you visit them is with the free LinkScanner Lite application. Rather than rely on second-hand reports, LinkScanner analyzes the code of a given site to check for stealth downloads and other malicious behavior.
The free version of the program requires that you right-click a link manually to get a risk analysis before you surf to the site. If you want your Google and Yahoo search results to be scanned automatically (in addition to other added features), buy LinkScanner Pro for $20.
Published reviews praise LinkScanner for detecting hacked sites, although the program fares less well when rated for detecting phishing sites. CNET's review gave LinkScanner an overall rating of 7.5 out of 10. PC Magazine's evaluation was similar, awarding the program 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Finally, never visit a shopping site by clicking a link in a spam message. Even if the message claims to be pitching a reputable product, such as one from Symantec or ZoneAlarm, the link may actually take you to a counterfeit site.

Color-coding the good guys and bad guys

One site that has been tracking rogue anti-malware products since 2004 is Spyware Warrior. If you're considering a product whose validity is not certain, your first screening step should be to search Spyware Warrior's blacklist. Although Spyware Warrior focuses on identifying fake antispyware apps, the service's blacklist of suspicious sites and products also includes a lot of rogue antivirus applications.
Additionally, consult a whitelist of products that have been certified by a reliable independent organization. One such organization is ICSA Labs (formerly the International Computer Security Association), an independent research and certification division of Verizon Business. On its site, ICSA maintains a list of antivirus products it has certified according to its criteria.
Once you've validated a product to your satisfaction via these resources, you're probably safe downloading it directly from the vendor. But to be extra cautious, consider going to a reputable download source that scans every item before placing it in its library. Such sites include CNET's, the Downloads page of, ZDNet's Downloads page, and's security section.
These days, every PC user needs security software to protect against online threats. But when the security software itself becomes a threat, the solution becomes a problem.
Fortunately, with a little care, you can dramatically reduce your risk when shopping for safe and effective security products.

R.F. Brentnall  is columnist of the Windows Secrets Newsletter. He has been contributing since 1999 and currently writes for the Here's How section of that magazine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Come Join Teksavvy Internet/Telephone/Cable

Hello TekSavvy - Goodbye Rogers,Adios Bell

teksavvy logo
It’s official.

I am now accessing the net through my new TekSavvy DSL connection and it is superbly fast, delightfully cheap and comes with no limits on my bandwidth usage. I highly recommend them.

I’ve been with Rogers for years and was constantly bitching and complaining about their inconsistent speeds, arbitrary capping of bandwidth, throttling of P2P traffic and just generally being a useless bunch of arrogant twats. The straw that broke my back and got me jazzed up enough to follow through on my threats to get another provider was when Rogers started hijacking my browser and inserting their own messages to me within the web sites I was trying to access.

rogers message
That’s like blocking my way on a sidewalk so you can talk to me.

That’s like interrupting my phone call and insisting I speak with you.

That’s like grabbing my wrist and keeping my fork full of food from reaching my mouth so that I have to listen to you.

TekSavvy was fast in getting me set up and their support was terrific to ensure I got online without any problems. I work with some rather large media files and I pretty much do all my work online now so uninterrupted, reliable net access and unfettered bandwidth usage is important to me.

I tried to get a business account with Rogers to get around the limits they were imposing on their home accounts - but they wouldn’t let me. Can’t have a business account at your home location. WTF? Nope - you could only get a Rogers business account at a business location. They told me I had to get an office somewhere and then they would let me have a business account. That’s really forward thinking of these f**ktards. The concept of working from home is completely foreign to them.

I shall stop complaining now.

TekSavvy has their own difficulties but not because they are f**ktards. Their problems stem from the f**ktards at Bell who are seeking to throttle all the traffic in the intertubes - even the traffic of their wholesale customers. TekSavvy, and many others, are taking them to court. I’ll be sure to report more on that here as new information becomes available.

But right now — I’m goin’ surfing!!!!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Repair Outlook Express

I received an e-mail the other day from my friend Katie asking for help with an Outlook Express problem. In her own field Katie is known as an intelligent and articulate, one might even say verbose, woman. But when it comes to anything computer-related, she shows a very different face. Her description of the problem consisted of just two lines: “My Outlook Express is acting funny. What should I do?” I resisted the temptation to reply with a witty remark about booking Outlook Express into the local Comedy Club.There's a thought! Maybe we could get Bill Gates to introduce it. I also resisted the temptation to ask her for more details. That could easily have evolved into an e-mail exchange the length of a Newfoundland Soup Supper. Instead I sent her what I present to you here: a basic repair kit for Outlook Express. These steps repair the most likely causes of “funny” behavior in Outlook Express with a minimum of time, sweat, and tears.

Restart the computer

This simple step can resolve any number of problems resulting from improperly closed files, memory corruption, and damage to system files.
Close other programs
You will need both Outlook Express and Internet Explorer open. Save your work in any other programs and close them. This allows your repair steps to do their job without other programs making demands on your computer at the same time.

Delete the Temporary Internet Files

1.In Internet Explorer, click Internet Options on the Tools menu.
2.In the Temporary Internet files panel, click Delete files.
3.In the pop-up alert window, select the Remove all offline files check box, and then click OK.
If you do not select the check box, the temporary files used by Outlook Express will not be removed.

Clear Cache

Remove all offline files to delete Outlook Express temporary files.

This step often comes as a surprise. Each time you display a message, either in a message window or in the Preview pane, Outlook Express creates a temporary file to help it display the contents of the message. Each of those temporary files is stored in the Temporary Internet Files folder that is used by Internet Explorer. Sometimes one or more files in this folder are damaged, and that can cause Outlook Express to exhibit strange symptoms when displaying messages. All the files in Temporary Internet files truly are temporary, so there is no danger in deleting them. Doing so will not delete the actual messages in Outlook Express.

Compact all folders

•In Outlook Express, click Work Offline on the File menu so that no new messages will be arriving.
•In the Folder List, click on Outlook Express so that no e-mail or news folder is open.
•Close the Folder List by clicking the X in the upper right-hand corner of the list panel. Alternatively
you can click Layout on the View menu, and then clear the Folder List check box.
•On the File menu, point to Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Do not use your computer until the process is complete, which might take several minutes.If an error occurs, close Outlook Express, re-open it, and begin the process again from the top. If the same error occurs again, close Outlook Express, restart your computer (or log off and then log on again), open Outlook Express and then begin the whole process again.


Let the compaction process finish before you try to use your computer.

Many bizarre behaviors in Outlook Express are caused by small errors in the file “Folders.dbx.” This file is the master index of the message store folder and damaged entries there can create all sorts of fun, such as the wrong message or folder being displayed. When you compact all folders you are also updating this master index. If you don’t compact all folders from time to time, you are more likely to see distinctly unfunny behavior.

Reregister Outlook Express

Damaged or missing entries in the Windows registry can prevent Outlook Express from being recognized as the default e-mail client. That it turn can cause odd behavior when replying to a newsgroup message or clicking an e-mail link on a Web page. A simple procedure causes Outlook Express to rewrite its main registry keys and so corrects such issues.

1.Click Start, and then click Run.
2.In the Open box, type msimn /reg, and then click OK.
   (Note that you will not see anything happen.)
3.In Internet Explorer click Options on the Tools menu.
4.Click the Programs tab and select Outlook Express as the default e-mail client and as the default news client. You can change those later if you wish.

Reregister libraries

Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are files that contain functions that may be shared by other programs, such as recognizing hyperlinks, displaying rich content, and so forth. These specific DLLs are used by Outlook Express, and can cause glitches in the visual display if they are damaged. Reregistering a DLL using regsvr32 is similar to reinstalling those functions and thus makes sure they are installed and working correctly.

1.Click Start, and then click Run.
2.In the Open box, type regsvr32 urlmon.dll, and then click OK.
3.Repeat step 1 for each of the following commands:
           regsvr32 mshtml.dll
           regsvr32 shdocvw.dll
           regsvr32 browseui.dll
           regsvr32 msjava.dll

Create a new identity

This will create a new message store folder as well as all new registry keys. This should not be necessary unless our previous efforts have failed to correct the problems.

1.Export your e-mail and news accounts in Outlook Express so that you can import them into a new Identity.

    1.Click Accounts on the Outlook Express Tools menu.
    2.Click the Mail tab and select the default account.
    3.Click the Export button and select a location for the exported file.
        Make sure the extension remains   “iaf” (for Internet account file).
4.Repeat steps 1-2 and 1-3 for all accounts.
    5.After all mail and news accounts have been exported, click Close.

2.On the File menu, click Identities, and then click Add New Identity.
3.Type a name for the new Identity, and then click OK.A new Identity allows you to start Outlook Express with all default settings, a useful way to work around registry or file damage.

4.Click Yes to switch to the new Identity.
5.Click Cancel to close the New Account wizard. If you are prompted to import settings or messages, select “Do not import at this time” or Cancel.
6.Click Accounts on the Tools menu.
7.Click the Import button and select the first *.iaf file from step 1. Repeat until all accounts have been imported.
8.Import the mail messages from your old Identity.

•On the File menu, click Import, and then click Messages.
•Select Microsoft Outlook Express 6 from the list of programs, and then click Next.
•Select the name of the Identity to import, and then click OK.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paddy's Lamentation

Paddy's Lamentation
by Linda Thompson

Well it's by the hush, me boys, and sure that's to hold your noise
And listen to poor Paddy's sad narration
I was by hunger pressed, and in poverty distressed
So I took a thought I'd leave the Irish nation

Here's you boys, now take my advice
To America I'll have ye's not be coming
There is nothing here but war, where the murderin' cannons roar
And I wish I was at home in dear old Dublin

Well I sold me horse and cow, my little pigs and sow
My little plot of land I soon did part with
And me sweetheart Bid McGee, I'm afraid I'll never see
For I left her there that morning broken-hearted

Well meself and a hundred more, to America sailed o'er
Our fortunes to be made we were thinkin'
When we got to Yankee land, they shoved a gun into our hands
Saying "Paddy, you must go and fight for Lincoln"

General Meagher to us he said, if you get shot or lose your leg
Every mother's son of youse will get a pension
Well meself I lost me leg, they gave me a wooden peg,
And be God this is the truth to you I mention

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Cinderella of Empire"

Joey Smallwood's

    "Cinderella of Empire"

The history of this island is an unbroken history of struggle.
The war has widened our horizons and deepened our knowledge of the great gulf which separates what we have and what we are, from what we feel we should have and should be. We have become uncomfortably aware of the low standards of our country, and we are driven irresistibly to wonder whether our attempt to persist in isolation is the root cause of our condition. Our very manhood, our very creation by God, entitles us to standards of life no lower than our brothers on the mainland. We are fifty, in some things one hundred, years behind the times. We live more poorly, more shabbily, more meanly. Our life is more a struggle. Our struggle is tougher, more naked, more hopeless.
We all love this land. It has a charm, it warms our hearts, go where we will,a charm, a magic, a mystical tug on our emotions that never dies. With all her faults we love her. But a metamorphosis steals over us the moment we cross the border which separates us from other lands. We are so used to our ways that we do not even see their inadequacy, their backwardness,their seaminess. We take for granted our lower standards, our poverty. We are not indignant about them, we save our indignation for those who publish such facts. Except for a few years of this war and a few of the last, our people’s earnings never supported them on a scale comparable with North American standards, and never maintained a government on even the prewar scale of service. We might manage, precariously, to maintain independent national status. We can resolutely decide to be poor but proud. But if such a decision is made it must be made by the sixty thousand poor families, and not by the five thousand families who are confident of getting along pretty well in any case. Our danger, so it seems to me, is that of nursing delusions of grandeur. We are not a nation. We are a medium-sized municipality. There was a time indeed when tiny states lived gloriously. That time is now ancient European history. We are trying to live in the mid-twentieth century, post-Hitler New World. We can, of course, persist in isolation, a dot on the shore of North America. Reminded continually by radio, visitors, and movies of the incredibly higher standards of living across the Gulf, we can shrug incredulously or dope ourselves into the hopeless belief that such things are not for us. By our isolation from the throbbing vitality and expansion of the continent, we have been left far behind in the march of time, “the sport of historic misfortune,” “the Cinderella of Empire.”

-excerpt from Richard Gywn's "The Unlikely revolutionary"

Monday, June 16, 2008

If we join......Canada

Canadian Taxes
Sept 29 1948
Letter to the editor
Daily News

Dear Sir, The Confederate paper and the speakers over the radio are continually telling the people of this country that there is no tax on property in Canada except in towns. They say the Federal government does not tax such things as houses, fishing boats, land, and so on. It does not matter what authority does the taxing, it is done just the same. Ask anybody who has lived in Canada whether a person living out in country places pays taxes on property or not. In fact, property taxes are levied in every province, and Newfoundland would be no exception. Those living towns [sic] come under the municipal tax scheme, those in country places come under the district or county plan. The property tax rates as high as five per cent. It is all controlled by government authority, with the central power in Ottawa.

The writer of this letter has lived in Canada for some years. We were forced to come back to Newfoundland for the simple reason that it was easier to live in this country, and we had a home to come back to. There are many who would do likewise, if the old home still stood. Wages are no good to a man in Canada to-day, as the government takes practically all.

If Newfoundland enters Confederation, Canada has to take thirty million dollars out of this country. The province would have to raise another twenty million in order to carry on necessary public services. How in the name of common sense can that be got except by further taxation, and it would still be controlled by Ottawa. We are about as far from Ottawa as we are from England. Remote control is one of the most serious disadvantages of any government.

The so-called baby bonus is only a hindrance to a man under wages. It often puts his salary into the taxable class. The most serious thing in connection with this bonus is the fact that it encourages immorality and illegitimacy. This fact is causing alarm in Canada right at the present moment.

Newfoundlanders are descended from pure loyal British stock. They have proved their devotion to King and Empire. The French Canadian is anti-British. The refusal of many of them to fight overseas in the last war shows their attitude to the Empire. They hold views on social life altogether different from ours. Let us keep clear of the shadow of French influence.

Newfoundland fishermen, your ancestors built their homes on this tight little island, and guarded them. They wanted to be free from interference. The degenerate who would sell his native land is not fit to breathe the air of our Terra Nova. His fetid breath pollutes the atmosphere in which we live.

Yours truly,


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Commission of Government in Newfoundland

The Commission of Government in Newfoundland was established in response to an extraordinary set of circumstances. The collapse of world trade during the GREAT DEPRESSION of the 1930s was particularly damaging to Newfoundland's economy, which depended on exporting large quantities of fish and forest products. In 1933, following several turbulent years of severe budget deficits and heavy foreign borrowing, the government of Prime Minister Frederick Alderdice asked the British government to establish a royal commission to investigate Newfoundland's financial difficulties. The commission's report blamed both political corruption and international conditions for Newfoundland's predicament, and advocated replacing RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT with a "Commission of Government" that would rule until Newfoundland was self-supporting again.

Alderdice, Frederick Charles b. Nov. 10, 1872, Belfast, Ireland [now in Northern Ireland] - d. Feb. 28, 1936, St. John's, Newfoundland [now in Canada]), prime minister of Newfoundland (1928, 1932-34). In 1924 he was appointed to the Legislative Council. In the summer of 1928 he assumed the office of prime minister following the resignation of his cousin, Walter S. Monroe, from that post. After the defeat of his United Newfoundland Party in the general election of October 1928, Alderdice led the opposition in the House of Assembly until 1932 when he and his United Newfoundland Party were elected to office. Alderdice was to be the last prime minister of Newfoundland before Confederation. Following the election he also took on the portfolios of Minister of Education and Minister of Finance and Customs, holding the latter office only until August 1932. In 1934 responsible government was officially replaced by commission government (no national referendum was ever held on this constitutional change). Alderdice served as Commissioner for Home Affairs and Education in the new Commission of Government until his death.The commission government took office in February 1934 and remained in power until Newfoundland became a Canadian province in 1949. It was presided over by a governor who acted on the advice of 6 commissioners appointed by the British government. During its tenure the commission government introduced a number of reforms, including a land resettlement scheme, the reorganization of the civil service and the creation of the Newfoundland Fisheries Board. With the outbreak of WWII in 1939, however, large-scale reconstruction was postponed in favour of a total war effort.Gradually much of the original goodwill toward the commission government dissipated, and after the war there was increasing agitation for the return of self-government. Consequently, in the first of 2 referendums held in 1948 to decide the island's future, commission government placed a distant third (behind the restoration of responsible government and Confederation), and when Newfoundland entered Confederation on 31 March 1949, few Newfoundlanders mourned the passing of the commission government.Fred Alderdice on the other hand was rumoured to have been caught with his hand in the gouvernment purse more than a few times.Probably a good friend to Sir Richard Squires and Frank Moores no doubt.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Disable AutoRun on Windows!

Disable AutoRun on Windows!

posted May 3 2008 at 7:00AM

autorun Last week we went off to buy a CD—something we, like a lot of people, do on a regular basis. We wanted to check out "Contraband" by Velvet Revolver, the group formed by ex-members of Guns N' Roses, and the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots. We figured with that much drugs in those boys, there's bound to be a good tune or two in there.

As with all our CDs, we unwrapped 8 layers of plastic on the way to the van and popped it in the CD player for the ride home, so far, so good—not a bad CD at all. After arriving home, we put the CD in our Xbox (as we always do with our CDs) to copy the songs over to the hard drive for use with games or as a jukebox.

Next up, inserted the disc in to our Mic (short for microsoft), started iTunes and then iTunes put the newly created MP3s on our iPod. Also, the Linux box in our kitchen (Xandros) was able to read and make MP3s just fine too.

Lastly, we popped the CD in our PC (Win XP) and also ran iTunes to add the songs to our library.

Was this all a dream? Did it really happen? It did. But it shouldn't have if it were up to the people who made that CD.

After looking around on the web it seems the folks from RCA Records actually don't want anyone to make MP3s of the songs on that disc, they don't want you to listen to the music you just purchased on your iPod or even your Xbox.

The disc has "Copy Protection" from SunnComm called MediaMax, which on some Windows systems will force the user to install software in order to listen to their music, and restrict what they do with the audio (for example you cannot make MP3s). If SunnComm sounds familiar, they should.  These are the folks who were going to sue a Princeton student for 10 million dollars for writing a paper that showed by pressing the shift key while inserting the CD (and of course, pressing the shift key still worked on this CD, according to all reports you can bypass their copy protection.

Sadly, the way RCA and SunnComm want you to listen to music is pretty complicated. You'd need to insert the CD on your PC, wait up to one minute for it to load, click an end user agreement, then only "listen" to the music.  Oh, wait there's more.  It installs software which blocks making MP3s and it requires a web connection to exchange "data" and keys. On the disc there were music files in WMA format, but they don't seem to play on any device we have which plays WMAs—the site says they play only on "approved" devices.  Yikes!

Well, for us, it wasn't an issue.  Why? Well, we have always disabled "Auto-Run" on our Windows based system, since, like, Windows 95. The "feature" will, by default, automatically look for a file called Autorun.inf on any CD you pop in to your system—if it finds it, it will execute whatever programs it is instructed.  This is a big security issue, as there are a lot of spywares and viruses distributed on CDs—so much so, in fact, Microsoft is disabling it in their next security-focused Windows XP Service Pack.  SunnComn and everyone else who is trying to "copy protect" music CDs have really only one option, and this is it: using the autorun file on their music CDs to install their proprietary DRM software.  But many people are becoming more vigilant about securing their systems.

Disabling Auto-Run is something we think everyone should do, not only for security from viruses and spyware, but so you'll never need to deal being unable able to listen to your music on your devices. Here's how to do it in Windows XP.

In Windows Click Start, then Click Run
Type regedit
Click OK
Click >
Double click "Autorun" the value is set to 1 by default, change it to zero.
Click OK
Now restart, that's it!

See ya now!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Genealogy Tidbits

St. John's Wesley Methodist Marriages

What follows is a list of all Brentnall marriages in the St. John's Wesley Methodist Church records held at PANL as of August 2004. This list constitutes a typescript of my handwritten extraction from photocopies of the original records, which is to say that I may have inadvertantly introduced some errors while transcribing and typing... as always, you should double-check against the original records. That said, if you spot any mistakes that I have made, please let me know.

Some comments about this list:

* The entries below are in the same order as presented in the church records, which was not always in chronological order.

At PANL these records are in several volumes as follows:

* 1905 - 1914
* 1914 - 1919
* 1919 - 1923

The format of most of the entries that follow is as follows:

* Line 1: Marriage Number, and Groom's name, abode, occupation, etc
* Line 2: Bride's name, abode, etc
* Line 3: Marriage date and location
* Line 4: List of witnesses

Entries are separated by one or more blank lines.

James Simmons 25 bachelor Labourer St. John's Father: Joseph Simmonds
Annie Brentnall 23 spinster Gambo Father: Robert Brentnall
11 August 1909 at Wesley Methodist Parsonage
Wm Simmons, Beatrice Pike

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Computers


The more of these suggestions you follow, the fewer problems you should have. Follow them all, and you've probably eliminated at least 95% of all potential problem sources.

Things you should NOT do
1: Use Internet Explorer
2: Use any browser based on Internet Explorer
3: Use Outlook or Outlook Express with the preview pane open

This screen shot shows the Outlook Express window as it's usually set up. The selected message is already visible in the preview pane before the message is "opened". If malicious code was integrated with the message, the damage would have already been done.Open Outlook express click on view and click on Layout.

Uncheck  “Show preview Pane”

4: Open email attachments you haven't manually scanned with your virus scanner
5: Open email attachments you were not expecting, no matter who they appear to be from
6: Respond to spam messages, including using unsubscribe links
7: Visit questionable websites (e.g. porn, warez, hacking)
8: Poke unnecessary holes in your firewall by clicking "Allow" every time some program requests access to the Internet
9: Click directly on links in email messages
10: Use file sharing or P2P programs
11: Use pirated programs

Things you SHOULD do
1: Use a non-IE or IE based browser
2: Always have an up to date virus scanner running
3: Always have a firewall running
4: Install all the latest security updates (the exception to the no-IE rule)
5: Delete all unsolicited emails containing attachments without reading
6: Manually scan all email attachments with your virus scanner, regardless of whether it's supposed to be done automatically
7: Copy and paste URLs from email messages into your web browser
8: Inspect links copied and pasted into your web browser to ensure they don't seem to contain a second/different address


Monday, March 03, 2008

The Greens of Ship Island

My father always spoke with pride of his connection to the Green family of Ship Island, Greenspond, through his grandmother, Mary Anne (Green) Carter, whom he called “Pollie” Carter. Before Dad died in 1981 he told me that his last living relative in the Green family was Fred Green in Greenspond, so when I visited there in 1986 I met three men on the Government Wharf and said to them that I was looking for Fred Green; two of them pointed to the other man and said, “That’s him there!” Well, I thought, what a stroke of luck, I had hit gold with the first attempt. I tried my best to explain the connection between the Carter and Green families but, unfortunately, because of not having done a vast amount of research into the Greens, I was unable to convince him that we were actually related. If I had known at the time that his father and my great-grandmother Mary Anne were sister and brother, it would have made things easier to figure out. Luckily, I had my camera with me and he agreed to let me take a photo of him, and also one of him and his two buddies. Fred died in 1993 at the age of 91 and is buried with his wife in the Anglican Cemetery in Greenspond; I suspect that he was the last member of the Green family living in the Greenspond area. In conversation with Dad’s half-brother, Uncle Walter Meadus, in St. John’s, following my visit to Greenspond I learned that Fred Green was the son of John, Mary Anne’s brother, who was born in 1855 and married Lucy Saunders of Greenspond on December 5, 1883. Fred had a brother and sister, Peter and Nellie. Peter was killed overseas in World War One, Uncle Walter said. I had been trying for years to contact descendants of the Ship Island Greens through the Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society and other means without too much success; however, earlier this year I made friends with Peter Johnson of Frankfort, Ontario, through a letter which appeared in The Greenspond Letter and we have been corresponding since April. It was a wonderful streak of luck; we have exchanged much information, as well as photographs, which has been a welcome benefit to both of us. Peter is the great-grandson of Susan Green, Mary Anne’s eldest sister who married James Tiller of Wesleyville in 1862. Mary Anne married my great- grandfather, Charles Robert Carter, in 1869. Peter informed me that James and Susan Tiller, following the death of Mary Anne (Green) Carter during an epidemic of diphtheria in 1889 at age 40, had taken Mary Anne's youngest daughter Alice (Aunt Allie) to live with them in Wesleyville, until she was old enough to return to Ship Island and keep house for her brothers Sandy, Kenneth (my grandfather) and Frederick. This was a choice bit of information that I had not been aware of.
Aunt Allie in 1906 married Darius Blandford III of Greenspond; they were the parents of six sons and three daughters.

The Plantation Records [Registry of Fishing Rooms, 1805-1806]
In the Plantation Records of 1805-1806, which contained a registry of persons occupying and claiming property on Ship Island, Thomas Green, my great-great-great-great-grandfather, was listed as the owner and occupant of property on Ship Island known as "Green's Room", which he said he had purchased two years before in 1803.It is not known when Thomas Green arrived in Greenspond, but certainly not as early as the Carters, who were reported in the same Records as having built their fishing room on Ship Island in 1725.Thomas Green, in his will which he made December 29, 1818, declared he was from "Christchurch now residing in the Harbour of Greenspond". It is claimed by Professor J.J. Mannion in his book, The Peopling of Newfoundland, that 40 per cent of the people settling in Bonavista North area were from Christchurch in Hampshire, England. He said: "Christchurch, together with the inland market town of Ringwood, account for more than half of all Hampshire origins." In fact, the Carters also emigrated from Christchurch.

The Early Greens

Thomas Green was buried in Greenspond on May 14, 1828, with his age listed as 74 which would place his year of birth at 1753/54. He had two sons: Thomas died before him at the age of 46 and was buried May 29, 1823, meaning he was born in 1776/77; and his son, John, was baptized on November 4, 1833 and gave his age as 53, which places his year of birth at 1779/80, most likely 1780. John, my great-great-great-grandfather, would live for another 15 years after his baptism before he was to meet his death under very tragic circumstances, which was a common occurrence in many Newfoundland families, where they gave up their loved ones to the raging seas. I will give you a more fuller description of that horrific event later.

The Will of Thomas Green
In Thomas Green's will of 1818 there was no mention of his wife, so presumably she had already died; also, he lists only two children, his sons Thomas and John. There may have been daughters as well but, if so, they most likely were married by then; if, indeed, there were daughters, he left nothing to them in his will. This generally was accepted as the proper decision where the male heirs and their families came into possession of the property of the deceased.Although there are no records listing marriages in the Green family before 1823, it is possible they were mislaid or misplaced, as the records in Greenspond before Rev. N.A. Coster's arrival in 1830 were reportedly kept in a very haphazard manner and probably got lost or discarded. Reports say that Rev. Coster pieced together the records now available by gathering together the various notes made on slips of paper lying around the church building. Thank God for his efforts in this regard.Because of the frequency of churches burning down and the records of baptisms, marriages, and deaths going up in smoke, the government brought in a regulation, effective in 1890, ordering the churches to transfer their vital statistics to appropriate forms supplied by the government and have them sent to the Vital Statistics department in St. John's. The forms eventually ended up in the Provincial Archives and I can vouch for some glaring inaccuracies in these records, because they caused some extended labour and time on my part while doing research into my family. In addition to completing these forms, the churches were also directed to report these ongoing statistics on a regular basis.However, we do have to be thankful to some conscientious individual who had the foresight to realize the importance of these records and the number of precious documents that were being lost to their future descendants and researchers through church fires.According to Thomas Green's 1818 will, his sons, Thomas and John, each had five children at the time. By 1830, when most of the baptisms took place in Greenspond, Thomas's family had grown to nine children and John and Elizabeth's to 10; however, John's daughter, Rose, had died and was buried May 6, 1824 at age six. Their children were all baptized in Greenspond between 1823 and 1830 at various ages; for example, Mary, of Thomas and Mary, was 17 and Jane, of John and Elizabeth, was 13 when they were baptized 1830.Thomas Green, referred to as a "planter", or property-owner, from the excerpts of his will of 1818 must have been fairly well-to-do; in addition to leaving the residue of his property and goods to his sons John and Thomas, he also allocated £900 to be distributed to his two sons and their children, noting that the grandchildren would receive their money upon attaining the age of 21. The sum of 900 pounds sterling was considered a very substantial sum in those days. It is of interest to note that he left £100 to Mary Green, daughter of Thomas and Mary "if she doesn't marry contrary to her father's and mother's wishes". (Supreme Court Records, Volume 1, Folio 49). According to burial records, Thomas died in May 1823; Mary was listed as a widow when she was baptized in 1826. She remarried in 1833 to John Farwell of Greenspond.I spent a considerable amount of time searching for my great-great­grandfather's and grandmother's marriage record (John Green and Sophia Starks) and it wasn't until the summer of 2002 when my son, Philip, and I went through the original pre-1840 Greenspond records, which are stored in the Anglican Rectory in Templeman, Bonavista Bay, that the puzzle was solved; and I have to give Philip, with his sharp eye, total credit for that. We discovered that John and Sophia, as well as John's brother James, and his bride Susanna Cross, were married in a double wedding ceremony on November 6, 1837. The officiating clergyman, instead of recording the ceremony on two certificates, entered them on one only, and, when the records were recorded for the government statistics branch as per legislation in the 1890s, the marriage of James and Susanna was listed and John and Sophia's names were entered as witnesses. The problem is now cleared up and I have passed the correct information on to Provincial Archives staff in St. John's who is going to make the necessary notation in the records. I might add that I picked up a great deal of information, not only from church records but also in old graveyards where we had to practically unearth some of the headstones, during our trips to Greenspond and area for research. I mentioned above that my great-great-great-grandfather, John Green had met a tragic end at the age of 67 or 68. The following is a description of that misfortune which I first came across in Robert Dyer's diary of his activities in the Greenspond and Bonavista North area in the 1840s and 1850s. Dyer came to Greenspond from England in 1840 to take up the position of school teacher in the Church of England school and to assist the clergyman as layreader. His diary has proved to be of invaluable benefit in the field of research, not only by me but by many others.In reading Dyer's diary I came across an amazing story of courage and also a story of extreme hardship and disaster which was often the agonizing experience of many Newfoundland families, who lost loved ones in the struggle for survival in the North Atlantic waters.On March 6, 1848 around 5:30P.M. a sudden gale of wind and snow came in from the northwest and caught a number of boats and crews out tending their seal nets. One of those boats had four men aboard: John Green (senior), 68, my great-great-great­grandfather; his son, Thomas, who was 33; and two others named Lush and Wicks who were described as two "stought" boys. The other boats managed to make land at Puffin Island and Little Copper Island, which were situated within a mile of Greenspond, and the crews were picked up later that night around 1 o'clock in the morning by men from Greenspond; however, Dyer's diary noted, in referring to John Green:

"It is thought that they were driven off to sea and frozen to death. Oh, how awful. May all of us take warning and prepare for death!"

An entry in the diary some weeks later on March 27, 1848 stated a follows:"Thomas Green who was cast away on the night of 7 March with his father, Lush and Wicks returned home in John Carter's schooner relating that Wicks died the same night they were cast away and his father and Lush the next day about 10 o'clock"It is almost impossible to comprehend Thomas's feelings about being witness to the indescribable sufferings of his father and friends and eventually being left alone in the boat, and what endurance he had to keep on living. I presume he had to bury the bodies at sea, as there was no mention of bringing them home.
In the Book of Newfoundland, volume 3, page 462, there was also a story included in a section titled, "Stories out of our History", by Joseph R. Smallwood, which described this incident; the story was titled, "Thomas Green's Great Adventure", but the details appear to be somewhat exaggerated, as compared to Dyer's account, but basically correct. Smallwood wrote that the boat got caught in drift ice in the storm and got carried out the Bay and to open sea; he said that the three others in the boat had died by the third day of drifting from the cold, exposure and hunger. A half hour after the last man died, Thomas killed an old harp seal on a pan of ice and for 52 days lived off the fat and meat of the seal, Smallwood said. By this time, he said, Thomas was 100 miles off the coast and saw a schooner which, lucky for him, was jammed in the ice. He left his boat and began the long trek to the schooner walking as quickly as he could. He started late in the afternoon and reached the schooner by midnight where the crew were startled to see a human board their ship so far out to sea. Smallwood further stated:

"It was the fifteenth of April when he finally arrived home in Greenspond. Seventy-two days he had been missing, and he had been long given up for dead. The endurance which many of our Newfoundland fishermen, seamen and seal-hunters have displayed is astonishing. Nowhere in the world have men proved themselves possessed of greater power of endurance, or more stamina and determination. "

Actually, the time Thomas spent lost at sea, according to Robert Dyer, was from March 6 to March 27, but regardless of the inaccuracies in the story in the Book of Newfoundland, it does give some more of an indication of how he managed to survive.Another version of this remarkable event appeared in the St. John's newspaper, Times and General Commercial Gazette, of March 25, 1848:

"Capt. N. Munden, of the Gem, which arrived here on Tuesday last, well fished, from the ice, informs us that on the I6th instant he boarded the sealing brig Jane Elizabeth, of New Perlican,— the master of which vessel (Wills) reported, that on the night of the 14th he fell in with a boat which had been blown off from Greenspond while the hands, four in number (_____ Green, and his two sons and a lad), were in the act of setting seal nets. It is distressing to add, that poor Green and one of his sons had perished in the boat from the severity of the weather and the want of nourishment.The survivors were very much frost-bitten, having been six or seven days exposed to the elements. "

Despite the differences in the various reports, it was a remarkable tale of our ancestor's endurance, albeit considering that his father John and two others had perished.Thomas Green died in Greenspond and was buried July 3, 1865; his age was given as 48. However, when he was baptized in April 1830, his age was recorded as 15, which would make him 50 at the time of his death.John and Sophia (Starkes) Green were the parents of my great-grandmother, Mary Anne Green who married Charles Robert Carter on December 27, 1869 and, incidentally, her eldest brother Sylvester Green married Mary Elizabeth Meadus the same day.
In addition to Sylvester and Mary Anne, John and Sophia Green were the parents of: Susan, Jane, Darius, Peter, Rosanna, John, and Thomas. There is no record of Sylvester's birth, but when he died in 1915 his age was given as 75 indicating he was born in 1840. In the baptismal records Sylvester and Thomas are shown as being baptized in 1859, but there were no ages given. It is possible, for whatever reason, that Sylvester was baptized at age 19 according to Peter Johnson.Of interest is the fact that James and Susanna Green (John's brother and his wife who were married the same day as John and Sophia November 6, 1837) had three boys, James, Mark and John baptized February 16, 1859, the same day as Sylvester and Thomas; however, there again were no dates of birth recorded, so unable to determine if they were triplets or not.George Green, who was born in 1884 the son of Darius (Mary Anne's brother) and Jane (Harvey of Cape Freels) Green of Ship Island, often came to visit Grandmother Meadus and Dad on the South Side of St. John's when we were young. George was a sea­going captain of various schooners and was a most proficient master; ships coming from England going to Labrador, whose captains were not sure of navigating in those northern waters, would call into Greenspond on their way and pick up George who would take over the captain's job until he would be dropped off at Greenspond on the way back.Dad told me he was walking down the street one day in Athens, Greece, during the First World War and, lo and behold, who should he see approaching him but his cousin, George. It's a small world! Actually, George and his wife, Winnie Forsey from Fortune were married in 1920 and were the two witnesses who signed my father's and mother's marriage certificate on September 1, 1922. George had one sister, Sophia who was born a year after him in 1885.Uncle Walter Meadus mentioned that Sylvester Green owned three or four schooners, so he must have been heavily involved in the fisheries.I don't know much more about Green ancestors; they would be distant relatives now, like most of the Carters who Dad thought were not related to us.Although there are no Greens listed in the Greenspond telephone directory any longer, it appears that the Greens gradually moved to various places along the coast, as well as to the mainland of Canada and the U.S.A. For instance, back in 1829 and 1833 Robert and Edward Green, sons of Thomas and Mary Green of Ship Island, married two women named Mary and Sarah Gill from Pinchard's Island, possibly two sisters, and apparently moved to Pinchard's Island to live, so the re-location started many years ago.
If anyone would care to add to my history of the Green family of Ship Island, or correct any of my work, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Fred Carter

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome to the world that Microsoft runs

From Freshwater Bay
Viruses are bad enough. You'd think the experts who advise the rest of us on how to deal with them would at least get their facts straight. 
Take the current Nimda virus, for example. (PLEASE take the Nimda virus, as Henny Youngman would say.) Most of the so-called "expert" warnings about Nimda missed the point completely. They failed to note that you don't need to open any attachments to fall victim to the Nimda Virus. It can infect your PC automatically. You don't have to do anything except get your mail. I'll bet this is news to you. You didn't know this, right? 
That's what I'm talking about. Most of the stuff we learn about viruses is full of Newfie poop. We never seem to learn what's really going on until it's too late. Here's the ugly truth about Nimda. It's a script virus. Windows loves scripts. Windows loves scripts so much it practically invites scripts to run -- without so much as asking your permission. So when a script comes sailing into your Windows PC, Windows looks at all the instructions in the script and follows them to the letter. Follows them out the window, in fact. Follows them so blindly that if the instructions say, "Wipe out all the files in this sucker's C: drive," Windows obediently does exactly what it's told. You didn't know this, right? You thought Nimda was just another attachment-type virus that wasn't dangerous at all if you left attachments alone. 
Welcome to the world that Microsoft runs. Script viruses take advantage of one of the dumbest of all dumb things. Microsoft, the Windows monopoly company, did the first dumb thing by leaving out any protection against bad scripts in Windows. Good scripts or bad, nice ones or mean ones, they are all treated the same way. Nobody else who makes a consumer product would make this kind of mistake. GM and Toyota and all the other car manufacturers know that air can be dusty, so all car engines come with air cleaners. Vacuum cleaners have dust bags. TVs have filters that block signals that come from your neighbor's shop vac. But Windows does not care if scripts are good or bad. It just runs whatever comes its way. Windows runs scripts without a moment's thought -- without asking you if it's OK that some brat in Bratislava wants to wipe out 17 files or read your private documents. That's the first dumb thing. It's a bad enough booboo to get all of Microsoft's software engineers a two-hour interview on the way to  Pearly Gates...No dammed relation of Satanic Billy (I'd let them in, but I'm soft-hearted. That Gabriel fellow is one tough cookie, however.) But this flaw is just the beginning. The second dumb thing is almost impossible to believe. In fact, I've sometimes been asked whether I'm kidding when I describe this immense mistake to user groups. But what I am about to tell you is true. It probably could not occur in an open, competitive software environment. It almost surely is a product of Microsoft monopoly mentality -- the idea that anything goes, that any kind of sloppiness is OK, since everybody is going to continue to buy your products anyway. This is the monopoly that is inflicted on millions of consumers by a company run by two billionaires and staffed by hundreds of millionaires. (Bill Gates and his childhood friend Steve Ballmer run the company, and both are super-billionaires. And Microsoft, believe it or not, has 200 or more millionaires on its staff. It rewards loyalty. When you work for The Beast, as Microsoft is called in England, you get rich if you stay loyal.) All these rich folk seem to be looking the wrong way. The flaw in Windows is so bad that they could all be excused from jury duty forever if they told a judge how important it is to fix the security holes in Windows. It's so bad that every millionaire at Microsoft should be running from house to house in communities all over the nation warning citizens about the danger.
   But in fact Microsoft doesn't care.
Here's the flaw.

You tell me whether this sort of bungling is excusable in an era when every possible safeguard needs to be taken to preserve our physical and electronic security: The monopoly e-mail program, Outlook Express, has an open-door policy for viruses and all other rogue programs that slip into your e-mail. This total lapse in security occurs no matter how careful you are about opening attachments. In fact, Outlook Express does not even tell you that it's going to allow viruses to sneak in. It simply does it. Please stay with me. Just about every Windows user who reads this is a user of Outlook Express -- it's the e-mail software that's forced on millions of Internet users by Internet providers who lack the guts to challenge Microsoft's monopoly -- and that means just about everyone who uses Windows needs to pay very close attention.
   In Outlook Express, messages can be opened the standard way -- by double clicking on each message entry -- or they can be viewed or "previewed" in a separate area of the Outlook Express window. This is called the preview pane. This happens by default. If you simply use your e-mail program the way it was designed -- and why wouldn't you? -- your messages will be "previewed" automatically. You won't have to open them (double click on them) to read them or reply to them. When Outlook Express "previews" a message, it doesn't use any tricks. It opens the message. Read the last two sentences back to make sure you are still with me. There are no special tricks or techniques. You never have to open a message in Outlook Express to read it. Outlook Express does that for you. It does it automatically. It opens the message for you. Surely by now you are wondering about the words "open the message." Isn't that dangerous? If you receive a message that contains a script virus -- a virus that's part of the message, not part of any attachment -- isn't it foolish to open that message automatically? Of course it is. And that's just what the monopoly e-mail program does. It opens all messages automatically. If you use Outlook Express the way it comes from Microsoft (or the way it comes from your no-guts Internet provider), it previews -- it opens -- all messages for you. You don't need to open them. Outlook Express lets those viruses loose for you.
   With me so far?
   There's more. Hold onto your keyboard. You ain't heard nuthin' yet. Let's say you're a bright Windows user and you know how dangerous Outlook Express can be. Let's say you never use the preview pane. Let's pretend you've turned it off.
   Do I have a surprise for you! Listen up.
   Even with its automatic preview turned off, Outlook Express wants you to feel its pain. Outlook Express wants you to know what viruses are like. It wants you to know the difference between your five-year-old Chevy and the BMWs in the parking lots where 200 millionaires work. Even with the automatic preview turned off, even if you never view messages in the preview pane, Outlook Express automatically opens the first message that arrives in an empty Inbox. 
Listen to this again: Outlook Express automatically opens the first message that arrives in an empty Inbox. 
If that brat in Botwood creates a script virus that wipes out your files and your weak-brained sister-in-law passes it on to you right after you've cleaned out your Inbox, guess what? You can say goodbye to your files. It does not matter how carefully you've set up Outlook Express. Don't even think about how dutifully you've made sure that you don't open messages that seem suspicious. Outlook Express will handle that for you. Have the millions of Windows users who like the look and feel of Outlook Express lost their minds? Or are they simply complacent?
   What about the millions of others who have never realized that Outlook Express is just one of many possible e-mail programs? Are they like the hapless hunters and mountaineers who shouldered blunderbusses? I don't have answers. I have suggestions.

First, stop believing in faeries (Can't believe I said that! We're good people). The world is a tough place. As long as you accept the way Outlook Express works, you can be sure that someone is writing a virus with your name on it.
Second, protect yourself against scripts that are intended to do you harm. Get Script Sentry. It's free and easy to use. Find it by searching for it on Google. (If you don't know about Google, you also need to push that rock out of the way. You've been sleeping under it for too long.)
Third, get a good antivirus program and use it.
Fourth, update your antivirus program every two or three days. Usually, you can do this in a minute or less.
Fifth, don't use the preview pane in Outlook Express unless you have Script Sentry installed. (Note well: If you follow suggestion No. 2, you won't have to worry about using the preview pane. What are you waiting for?)
Sixth, consider switching to a safer e-mail program. There are many. An excellent modern e-mail program for Windows that emphasizes safety is a program with the unusual name of "The Bat!" from RIT Labs. (Google will help you find it.)
Seventh, stop treating e-mail as if it comes from God. Delete all mail that you have any doubts about. Delete all mail that's not from someone you know. Delete all mail that has attachments. (Try it. After a week or so, someone who was actually sending you something important will ask why you didn't respond. You can then write back and explain that your mail program deletes all attachments -- yes, blame it on the software -- and you can then tell the people who send you attachments that they need to send plain messages instead. After all, if they are trying to tell you something, what's wrong with typing a message?)
Eighth, stop treating Windows as if it came from the 12 disciples. Windows is a badly designed monopoly operating system. The way you free yourself from Windows is simple: You stop using it. You get a Mac. (Don't give me all that sobbing and wailing about not being able to run your favorite programs on a Mac. That's just ignorant babble. You can get Microsoft Word and the other parts of Microsoft Office for the Mac. You can get Outlook Express -- a SAFE version of Outlook Express. You have Internet Explorer for the Mac. You have Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe image editing programs. You even have ACDSee, the best image viewing program for Windows, for the Mac. The list goes on and on. You have a choice of hundreds of thousands of commercial programs and shareware-and-freeware programs for the Mac.)
Ninth, don't let Windows hide the true nature of files. By default, Windows refuses to show you the "extension" on the end of a filename. That lets viruses romp around your computer system by hiding their actual purpose. Call the store that sold you the PC and tell them to help you change Windows so it displays all filename extensions. Don't let them off the hook. If your Ford dealer sold you a car without headlights, you'd be banging down his door. The same goes for this inexcusable lapse in Windows. Tell the store (or call the manufacturer) and demand to be shown how to change this setting. Threaten to sue if you have to. (No, I'm not being cute. The first time a virus slips in under this cover and sends out salacious or threatening e-mail under your name, you will be ready to sue in earnest. Get this fix done NOW.)
Tenth, pay attention to the way your Windows PC is used, whether by you or by others in your family. Don't download every file that comes your way on the Web. Choose downloads carefully. Don't accept files sent your way by an instant message program. Don't trust your sister-in-law or your husband's best friend or your Aunt Suse when they send you mail. They don't know anything about safe e-mail. Don't let your friend Jennifer send you a zillion attached messages every three days. Tell her to stop, and block her mail if she doesn't. (All good mail programs let you block mail from specified senders.)
   Do these things now. Do them as if your safety depends on it............. Because it does.

Be Kind to yourself and Your computer.

Roderick B

Thursday, February 07, 2008



NfldMap2     January 6, 1918
As a reward for valor and for services in the world war, Newfoundland, England’s oldest colony recently received the title “Dominion of Newfoundland “ from the British Government. According to British officials and army officers In New York City, the change In name will not mean a change In Newfoundland’s already “very liberal government, it shows that Britain’s oldest colony, often referred to by British writers as the Cinderella of England’s provinces,” is by her own efforts and the bravery of her soldiers and sailors coming Into her own. A native of Newfoundland. who is one of the most recent arrivals In New York City from that colony, said that out of her 250,707 population Newfoundland had given to the British infantry alone a battalion of 1,100 men. It’s also said that Newfoundland’s Forestry Brigade had at present 500 men, and that there were 2,500 men In Newfoundland’s National Militia. This man spoke of the part the Newfoundlanders played in the Somme fighting. In which 900 of her men took part. Of these, he said, only 95 survived. Word had reached St. John’s of the more recent activities of the Newfoundland troops In the Cambrai drive, in which he said there were heavy casualties among the troops of his colony. When asked regarding the part Newfoundland had played—the part which has won for her a distinction awarded to no other colony by the British Government during the war—Geoffrey Butler, head of the British Official War Exhibits, with headquarters at 511 Fifth Avenue, said that the number of men Newfoundland had given to keep up her battalion of infantry at the front was close to 5,000. Besides this, he Quoted from an official report of the “Contributions of Dominions and Colonies to the Common Cause,’ an official bulletin of June. 1916, that as early as that date Newfoundland had contributed 1,500 naval reservists to the British Navy.” “Within a month after Britain’s declaration of war,” wrote A. M. de Beck In “The Imperial War,” a recently published war work, “a. thousand men, drawn from a class of the community of the ‘very best type and every One of them Newfoundland born, were drilling at St. Johns, and by November were completing their training in the historic castle at Edinburgh. This work has been going on from that day Until the present time. The foremost advance on the Suvia Bay front, Donnelly’s Post on Caribou Ridge, was made by Newfoundlanders. It Is called Donnelly’s Post because It was here that Lieutenant Donnelly (a Newfoundlander) won his military cross. The hitherto nameless ridge from which the Turkish machine guns poured their concentrated death into our trenches stands as a monument to the initiative of the Newfoundlanders. It is now called Cariboo Ridge, as an acknowledgment to the men who wear the deer’s head badge, (Newfoundlanders.) The part played by the Newfoundlanders In the ‘Great Push’ of July 1 is quite equal to anything performed by any of the troops that took part in that great forward movement. The Newfoundlanders were brigaded with the Eighth Army Corps, commanded by Lieut, Gen. Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, K. C. B., D. 0. S. In July a letter was addressed by the General to all the men who took part in the ‘Great Push,’ and it is one of the proudest possessions of the Newfoundland troops who survived.Colonel hunter-Weston also sent a letter to the Premier of Newfoundland, In which he recounted in detail the gallantry of the men of England’s oldest colony.” Except for almost incessant wrangles between the British settlers and the French fisherfolk, Newfoundland has had a peaceful history. The peace of Utrecht In 1713, which subsequently was ratified by the treaty of Paris gave sole sovereignty of Newfoundland to England, with certain rights granted to the French fishermen. France possesses two small Islands, St. Pierre and Miquelon. The fishers rights were definitely settled as late as 1904. This removed obstructions to local development. The Government of Newfoundland is similar to that of Canada, but the province Is in no way connected with the Government of the Dominion of Canada.

Published: January 6, 1918