Dammit, I don’t have a lead-in for this one. There is just nothing going on anywhere that I care about. The Bears blew another one, I don’t care about baseball, the election’s still a week away, I’m still busting my ass for no real reason at work…same shit, different day. Life is uninspiring, and that puts a bind on me in coming up with something to get this thing going. I think I’ll just get on with it…
THE PIMP SECTION
Lucard is departing from the Daily Pulse scene, but he’ll stay on the site, so no problems there.
Ditch has the latest and greatest from the Land of the Rising Yen.
Stein has the latest and greatest from the indies.
West does his Heat thing, while Faria does Epilepsy and Hollyric handles Afterburn.
Morse comes through with a typically great Mean for Taboo Tuesday. Between him and me in the weekend’s Short Form, that PPV got much more attention than it deserved.
THE ANTI-SPYWARE SECTION
Remember, this all started because the slugs at Enigma Software dared to advertise their piece of shit SpyHunter at 411 (one of the reasons why I decided to leave, honestly). So I’m responding every single column with proper anti-spyware information. And guess what? People are actually taking this to heart. They’re asking me for help if they’re infested, or they’re writing me telling me that their browsing experience is less annoying thanks to the stuff I’ve been putting up here three times a week for a few months now.
(And as I understand it, there are some unscrupulous browser toolbar people trying to advertise here at the Pulse. Well, don’t click on that ad, whatever you do. We’ll still get the money from the impressions, and your system will stay safe.)
Big, big Kudos to the guys at the Spyware Warrior Forum for pointing out to everyone the extent of criminal activity participated in by Enigma Software, makers of the bane of advertising on that site, SpyHunter. Slimeballs extraordinare, aren’t they? And in case you need more info about what flaming bags of shit they are, try here. Suzi’s Blog has a great list of other flaming bags of shit that promote anti-spyware programs that are spyware themselves. Consult it if you have questions.
(On a side note, those SpyHunter ads started over at Reality News Online, and BFM, a contributor there, spotted them. He told the webmaster, gave him those links that I cited above, the webmaster read them, the blood drained out of his face, and he contacted his ad provider. No more ads for Enigma products on RNO, thank you. So guess what? If you provide the info, there are sites who will listen.)
One of the leading vectors for spyware is so-called free programs that contain this shit in order to “pay the bills”. No one deserves that kind of treatment. If you’ve got a question about whether or not a certain program contains spyware, head over here. It’s a nice alphabetized list of programs that do contain spyware and should be avoided at all costs.
Here’s a list of the programs you really need to help you get rid of menaces, and, more importantly, prevent them from occurring in the first place:
Spybot and AdAware. The ONLY two spyware removal tools to trust. Do NOT buy any spyware removal tools, because none of them work better than these two, and all of them except these two are suspect.
SpywareBlaster. Will nuke thousands of different potentially malicious ActiveX controls, and now has the ability to prevent a number of non-ActiveX methods of installing spyware for people who use Mozilla/Firefox.
SpywareGuard. From Javacool, like SpywareBlaster. It’s a real-time scanner for spyware. A decent first line of defense.
IE-SpyAd. Throws numerous ad-related URLs into IE’s Restricted Zone, where they won’t display or affect your system. Bookmark this one, since it’s the only one that doesn’t have an in-program update.
A few people have recommended also installing the Sun Java Virtual Machine, since it’s Windows’ buggy, half-assed implementation of the JVM that allows a lot of spyware to install (less so within the past month and a half than before). I STRONGLY recommend that you visit here and update your version of Java.
So many people have asked about a free anti-virus program that I’m also going to recommend AVG. Totally free, and works really, really well, as well as commercial anti-virus programs. Frequent database updates, good heuristic detection, everything you want in an anti-virus package.
Another program that I’d like to add here is a little tough to work with for noobs if it goes buggy (you need to know a little something about your Networking settings in order to debug if something should go wrong). Protowall is a supplement to your firewall or NAT system. It hooks directly into XP’s networking system to block any and all traffic that comes from URLs on a list maintained by the program (all protocols, not just TCP/UDP). It’s mainly designed for anti-P2P purposes (which will appeal to a great many of my readers), but it contains lists to block spyware and ads. Its blocklist can easily be updated using its supplementary program, Blocklist Manager. I have Protowall running and a Blocklist Manager icon on my desktop, and I use Blocklist Manager to update the blocklist every couple of days. You will have problems getting to some sites unless you shut down Protowall temporarily, like ESPN or Sports Illustrated, but it does have a tray icon you can right-click and shut down in a few seconds. It’s the third layer of anti-ad material for me, with IE-SpyAd and AdSubtract running alongside it. Warning, though: it only works with XP. I’d recommend its predecessor, Peer Guardian, for other MS OSes, but it isn’t being developed anymore, and there were still bugs in it when development stopped. You can get Protowall and the Blocklist Manager (which will also work with Peer Guardian) at Bluetack’s site.
Of course, only download them from the links provided above. And only download those programs; don’t fall for the ads that are shown at various websites.
With AdAware and Spybot, check for updates using their internal update function at least once a week. Run them at least once a week or whenever you think you might have problems. Remember, the new version of Spybot has browser protection capabilities, so have that run at startup and leave it running. Check for updates to SpywareBlaster once a week. It only needs to be run once initially in order to establish protection. Then, after it downloads updates, just click on the line that says “Enable Protection For All Unprotected Items” and kill it. It doesn’t need to be active. For IE-SpyAd, bookmark the site and check for updates twice a week, since it has no kind of internal updater. Since all it does is add Registry entries, it doesn’t eat up anything. Run the Blocklist Manager every couple of days to make sure that you keep up on the latest banned URLs.
If you’re having trouble with spyware or a browser hijacker, or think that you do, head over to the SpywareInfo Forums, where the pros there can help you diagnose and get rid of stuff. I was promoted to Full Helper status there and ended up joining ASAP, the Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals. Look for their symbol.
The Ravin’ Cajun asks me to recommend a good client-side spam filter for MS mail programs running under Windows. Now, this is something I don’t have experience with because my ISPs have always had good spam filtering, plus, I use Thunderbird, which handles the remainder quite nicely, thank you. Some readers wrote in and recommended SpamBayes, which is totally free and supposedly works very well, so I’ll add it on to the anti-annoyance list that we’re building up here.
Now that it’s moved to a release candidate status, I feel good in recommending Firefox as an alternative to IE. Go grab a copy and see what you’re missing.
ANY NEWS AT ALL?
No, not really. Nash will be appearing on Impact in a taped vignette on the same day TBS will be appearing on Enterprise, so Friday will be a good day for the big men. Cena’s still having his injury faked and Johnny Devine is claiming theft of circumstance in order to try to remain relevant. Raw’s pre-show was thrown into chaos due to Vince changing his mind about shit and not being there to follow up on it, thus necessitating a flurry of phone calls to Stamford and a pre-show meeting that was two hours late. This, folks, is what I have to choose from to elaborate on and give the “opinions” part. It just isn’t worth it sometimes, you know.
And speaking of not being worth it, let’s cover Raw with the Short Form…
THE SHORT FORM
Shelton Benjamin over Chris Jericho, Intercontinental Title Match (Pinfall, body scissors takeover): A better match than the Taboo Tuesday match, but that’s damning with faint praise. Great chain wrestling sequence, good mat-based wrestling, a bit of psychology thrown in…it’s about all you can ask for in a Raw match at the IC level at this point. The program with Benjamin and Christian should be interesting, because their styles are a pretty good match. I’m actually enthused about the IC title scene at this point.
Maven over Dave Batista (Pinfall, rollup): Naptime.
Gene Snitsky over Mister Regal (Pinfall, pump-handle slam): I woke up for this one, but only because Regal was involved. And because the match was under a minute. Oh, this show is such a disaster…
God Almighty over Randy Orton (Pinfall, Evo-ference): Not a bad match, but didn’t we just get confirmation of the fact that Flair will sell for Orton last Tuesday, in a much more vivid fashion? Unnecessary repeat.
Who Needs Klonopin?: Thirty minutes of Taboo Tuesday reiterations and a content-free Evolution/Orton promo that was more of a circle jerk than a statement of position…I had to fight hard to stay awake, especially since it was way past my bedtime. Even worse was the “transition promo” from Michaels. He didn’t need to make a statement about how the business was disconnected from its audience; the ratings prove that. The promise of any type of reconnection comes across as hollow when coming from him. Let Vince say that, or let Trip say that (it’s the same thing these days), and maybe, just maybe, I’ll believe them. If they weren’t both pathological liars to begin with, that is.
That’s it from this end. I’ll see if I can come up with something remotely interesting for tomorrow. Until then, do what you gotta do.