Sunday, July 18, 2010

Downloadable Media – the Future?

    In the video above, long-time Microsoft enemy Larry Ellison rants about how he hates Windows.  He made this statement back in 1996.  In effect, he was talking about our current transfer to downloadable media.  While this change is inevitable, I have my own thoughts on it.
    I am very reluctant to buy a game or movie that is download only.  The reason?  If I don’t like the game or movie, I want to be able to get rid of it.  I do this in one of two ways.  I sell it or trade it.  When the item is downloadable, it is impossible for me to get rid of it or at least get some of my money back.  I have only bought two download only games so far.  One of them was only $5, so what the heck.
    I’m more than a little bit gun shy about buying download only software for a very good reason: I’ve been burned.  Several years ago, I downloaded and tried a very good download acceleration program.  I liked it so much I paid $30 or so when the trial period ran out.  The paid-for program worked for several weeks and then it told me that if I wanted to continue using it, I would have to buy it.  After waiting some time trying to contact, I gave it up for lost.
    The video game companies do not want you to buy used games.  They are losing income because of used game sales, especially in the last few months of this year.  In this economy, gamers are thinking, “Why should I spend $50 on a new games when I can get it for half price if I wait a little bit.”
    Another thing about downloadable media, it has to be stored on your hard drive.  There is no way I could have I have all my DVDs and games on my hard drive.  Then again, the prices of external hard drives are falling at a pretty fast rate.  You can get a 1 terabyte drive for about $100.  This could store quite a few games and movies
    Think economical.  Buy used games and DVDs.
    Comment below if you have had similar trouble with download-only media.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Does Open Source Security Make Sense?

    I have been thinking about open source software lately, especially security software, and I thought I would share my thoughts with you.

    First of all, let’s define what open source means.  Open source is the idea in technology, especially software, that says everyone should be able to see the source material used to create it.  This means that if a program is written and distributed as open source, anyone can get a hold of the source code that makes it run.  The idea behind this is that people can take this freely available source material and either build upon it to create their own program or merely improve the existing program.

    Okay, now let’s take a look at what open source means for your computer’s security, primarily anti-virus.  If the source code for an anti-virus program is available, it would be child’s play for a dedicated virus creator, who wants to create havoc, to acquire that code and use it to discover and exploit weaknesses in it.  To me, the whole idea seems seem akin to building a wall around your castle to protect you from an outside enemy and then posting the blueprints for that selfsame wall, complete with all the secret passages and weak points marked, where any invader can easily access them.

    I think the majority of people would and do agree with me on this.  Why?  Because almost all of the anti-virus programs on the market are close source, meaning only the company that created it has access to the code that makes it run.  Think about it.  The top anti-virus companies, Norton, McAfee, Panda, Trends Micro and Avira, all keep the source code for their programs under wraps, probably because they understand the risks.

Clam      In fact, there are very few open source.  One of the best known is  ClamAV.  However, I’m not sure how long this will continue.  It appears that a company called Sourcefire has acquired the trademarks and copyrights to ClamAV, so that may change too.

    In closing, don’t trust the security of your computer to a company who posts the blueprint of your castle for all to see.  You might just get bit.

    Please feel free to comment.