AUTORUN.INF and Flash Drive Infections Spread Faster than Cholera in Developing Countries

Viruses are often spread by something inserted into the orifices of unprotected hosts, although some are virulent / evolved enough to get around basic protection as well. In Thailand, USB drives spread nasties faster than digital treatment can be applied, so after several years of taking care of many computers, I’ve decided that vaccination is the best option*.
This consists of planting a hidden and practically undeletable AUTORUN.INF file in the root of a removable drive.
I use Panda USB to vaccinate.
*Like all vacs, you run a chance of getting sick if you have a reaction. Specifically, you could lose all the data on your NTSF-formatted drive in a worst case scenario (most “handy” drives are formatted FAT32). My advice is not to use this feature until it comes out of beta.

Sharks and Casting

Here’s a couple of outstanding photo links from this week:
Worker Safety In Chinese Factories (lost-wax casting photo series)
This is just awesome photography.
(via Mark on Buzz)
Photographer Dale Kobetich survives a dramatic shark encounter
(via Jason K on FB)
This is the shark that the Old Man calls Dentuso. I hate sharks. I don’t wish them all dead; I just wish they didn’t have teeth (so we could have headlines like, “Surfer Furiously Gummed in GW Attack”). Seriously, this is the most chilling photo series I’ve seen in a long time.
A great passage from OMATS:

The shark was not an accident. He had come up from deep down in the water as the dark cloud of blood had settled and dispersed in the mile deep sea He had come up so fast and absolutely without caution that he broke the surface of the blue water and was in the sun. Then he fell back into the sea and picked up the scent and started swimming on the course the skiff and the fish had taken.
Sometimes he lost the scent. But he would pick it up again, or have just a trace of it, and he swam fast and hard on the course. He was a very big Mako shark, built to swim as fast as the fastest fish in the sea and everything about him was beautiful except his jaws. His back was as blue as a sword fish’s and his belly was silver and his hide was smooth and handsome. He was built as a swordfish except for his huge jaws Which were tight shut now as he swam fast, just under the surface with his high dorsal fin knifing through the water without wavering. Inside the closed double lip of his jaws all of his eight rows of teeth were slanted inwards. They were not the ordinary pyramid-shaped teeth of most sharks. They were shaped like a man’s fingers when they are crisped like claws. They were nearly as long as the fingers of the old man and they had razor-sharp cutting edges on both sides. This was a fish built to feed on all the fishes in the sea, that were so fast and strong and well armed that they had no other enemy. Now he speeded up as he smelled the fresher scent and his blue dorsal fin cut the water.
When the old man saw him coming be knew that this was a shark that had no fear at all and would do exactly what he wished. He prepared the harpoon and made the rope fast while he watched the shark come on. The rope was short as it lacked what he had cut away to lash the fish.
The old man’s head was clear and good now and he was full of resolution, but he had little hope. It was too good to last, he thought. He took one look at the great fish as he watched the shark close in. It might as well have been a dream, he thought. I cannot keep him from hitting me but maybe I can get him. Dentuso, he thought. Bad luck to your mother.

Damn, Papa sure could write when he wasn’t being an asshole..

Google Acquires Aardvark – Will it Be Integrated into Buzz?

Aardvark is a free service I’ve been using for a while now that lets you ask questions and finds people who can answer them… I’ve used it to ask questions about food, cars, soldering, and baby issues. It’s integrated into Google Chat and Gmail, so I’m used to using it with Google products… and they’ve been in the spotlight at recent tech conferences, so it only make sense that Google has acquired them.
I will update my prior post regarding Buzz predictions, as I believe Aardvark functionality will be merged with Buzz eventually.
UPDATE: Aardvark is listed as an application in Google Labs but is currently only a static page with a link to the Aardvark website.

Predictions about Google Buzz

(most of these have already been posted in my Buzz feed)

  • Google Buzz will directly or indirectly help cause the downfall of Facebook and maybe Twitter as well
  • Google Wave functionality will be integrated into Buzz; Wave may eventually cease to exist
  • Those worried about the privacy issues regarding people being able to see who you communicate with the most will finally realize that e-mail and chat perhaps aren’t the best way to go about having an affair anyway – just ask any senator


  • Aardvark functionality will be merged with Buzz eventually, even if only as a default category,filter in Gmail at first (with a cute little aardvark icon located under the ambiguous one for Buzz).
  • Buzz needs permalinks for entries and comments, especially for shared ones Update: Done.
  • Come to think of it, Google Chat needs to be integrated into this big mess as well. Update: There is now a Reply by Chat link under every Buzz post and comment made by a user with whom you’re allowed to chat… Was it always there? I thought I looked for one.
  • Depending on how well this integration is carried out, Google will either have created an indispensable all-powerful app, or a huge mess (that will probably still be indispensable, just more of a pain in the ass). It’s kind of like an MS Office moment for Google.
  • In addition to the permalinks for every post/comment updated above, you can perform a Buzz search with the following string, by adding your search terms at the end (join multiple search terms with a plus symbol in between):
  • Anybody can comment on any Buzz marked as Public

Related: Stop Google Buzz From Showing the World Your Contacts
Having to set buried privacy settings that should have been activated by default? This is sounding more like Facebook every day. Now all we need is mindless games in the vein of virtual crime syndicates and point & click agriculture!
My latest Buzz:
“I’m not worried about Buzz privacy concerns because Google already pwns all of my e-mail, scheduling, and contact info anyway. I just assume that they will one day do something stupid/evil with it so I won’t be as disappointed when that time comes.”