Your computer is not working properly …

June 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm (computers) (, )

I heard of this scam and we experienced it first hand today.  Someone gets your name and phone number and rings you up to tell you that your computer isn’t working properly, and you have to do something about it.  And the thing you have to do is connect to a certain website and get someone to ‘help you clean it up’.

The scam of course is that they talk you into going to a website that actually contains malware, a virus or some other kind of dodgy stuff.  If you do that, and ‘ok’ the right messages after going to the website, your PC will soon really get infected with all sorts of nasties and then you really will have problems!

One of the ways the scam works though is to be really agresive and pushy on the phone, and then people naturally tend to want to avoid the vocal confrontation and so follow the instructions to get rid of the person on the phone.

Thankfully for us, my wife just told them to stop pestering and hung up.  Also, she wouldn’t have been able to have anything installed on the PC without the administrators password anyway, so they picked the wrong person for that one.

However, how many people do you know who have a computer with no checks for administrative operations, won’t realise that people don’t tend to ring you up, and don’t understand that connecting to a website that your given and then running arbitrary commands on their PC is a Bad Thing. I can imagine this scam working very well for a lot of the time.  You have been warned …

Kevin.

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Video games inspire art

June 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm (art, computers, interesting, music) (, , , , , , )

I’ve seen one or two musical items inspired by video games.  There was Andrea Vadrucci who drums along to Mario Bros.  Just found a violinist who plays the mario game music and sound effects in real time along to a game as its being played.  I’ve seen opera in virtual worlds.

But I think the animation I’ve just found is quite excellent.  It’s 80’s video games animated out of everyday objects.  I particularly like the pacman near the end.  Very well done. Its called Game Over and you can see it here on YouTube.

Kevin.

Kevin.

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Wireshark lua problem on Windows 7

June 18, 2010 at 6:02 pm (computers) (, , )

Warning: geek post, largely as a reminder-to-self if I have this problem again!

I wanted to use lua with wireshark and followed all the instructions on the web to get it running … but it wouldn’t work.

After quite a lot of head scratching, I finally went off to a dos box running as admin to run wireshark and look at the files to see if I can see what was going on (everything I could see from the Windows GUI Looked fine).  It turns out that the uncommenting you need to do in init.lua to make it worked hadn’t been done … but I had done it!

I think what was happening is that the new filesystem virtualisation stuff in Windows was kicking in.  As a normal user, I could edit the init.lua file in the wireshark directory and even save it and see it again.  But Windows wasn’t changing the real file.  When I opened it as admin, I could see that the change hadn’t actually been made to the real file – so I changed it as admin and now it all works.

I can see the reasoning behind all this, from a security and backwards compatibility point of view.  But if you get caught by it, it can waste a lot of time!

Kevin.

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Mike Nelson – The Coral Reef

June 8, 2010 at 9:07 pm (art) (, , )

Had a very cultured moment and visited the Tate Britain gallery in London.  Of everything there, whilst having to admire the old portraits of kings, queens and the gentry and recognising the quality of the artistry in the Turner galleries, some of the things that I enjoyed the most were the modern pieces.

Of them all, the one that stuck in my mind the most and I still think about now, was Mike Nelson‘s ‘The Coral Reef’.  This is a labyrinth of 15 or so very small rooms, created in 2000 for Matt’s gallery, that now resides in Tate Britain.  It has dingy corridors between the rooms, mostly in a state of disrepair, conjuring up the impression of people having moved in, made them their temporary home, left very little impression on the space other than one or two belongings left behind and then moved on leaving very little to recognise the fact that they were there at all.

You get to wander around the rooms as an observer and really do feel like you’re outside of their world, looking in on a snapshot of their life.  You get hints of each story – enough to know that there is a story to tell, but not enough to make any real sense of what it could be.  It creates an impression of the story but nothing more.  And there is a real sense of disorientation, especially near the end!

Here is what the Tate have to say about it:

“To enter Mike Nelson’s The Coral Reef is to enter a parallel world. Rooms, doors, passageways, all bear traces of habitation and decay. Different, often conflicting, ideologies or belief systems are presented through these traces. The implied occupants of Nelson’s world appear to be detached from the political and economic centre, left to exist at the margins of globalised, capitalist society. The work’s title alludes to this collection of complex, fragile belief systems that form an obscured layer – a coral reef – beneath the ‘ocean surface’ of prevailing orthodoxies.”

Apparently Mike Nelson has made his name making art spaces like this and I would be really interested in seeing some other pieces of his work.  I would also love to see an online, walk-through, virtual version of his work – it would be so possible to do and make it accessible to a much wider audience.  But as far as I can see, the artist doesn’t even have a website.

If you get the chance and find yourself over that way, I do recommend having a look.

Kevin.

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