Thursday, March 22, 2012

Generic Trojan Horse Removal

Many of today's trojan horse variants are using the same method to hide from your antivirus software.  They hide in the recycling bin's folder structure.  This method will work for much of the modern trojan horse malware.  I have written this for a user with basic Windows experience, but I recommend getting help if you don't consider yourself to be an advanced user.  The common symptoms of this type of malware are, a slow system, browser re-directs, popups, and a resistance to anti-virus software.  You may also get periodic crashes, and even the dreaded blue-screen-of-death.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting browser crash in XP, and a solution.

I was dealing with an XP SP2 system where Internet Explorer 8 was throwing one of three errors depending on how I configured it.  The action in question was a link to an application that loaded from a webpage.  In this case, it was a scanning tool to control an attached image scanner.  depending on the settings in Window's data execution protection panel, the user would get a generic the memory could not be read message, or this page attempted to access memory in an unusual way, or ie would just close without any error at all.

The setting that fixed it was in the advanced portion of settings.  Un-checking the use SSL 3.0 checkbox did the trick.  I cannot claim this solution was mine, but I credit a fellow coworker who remembered that this was a requirement of a similar web-page-loaded app he had dealt with earlier.  Although I haven't tried it, I would maybe put a check in the SSL 2.0 box instead of the 3.0 box and see if it still works.

Any explanations from my readers?  Respond in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Your Computer Out Of Trouble

...and keeping it that way.  This is a presentation I did for the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club (LIMARC) last night.  Here are links to many of the utilities I spoke about and a link to download the presentation and handouts.


  • My email address: neil(at)neilgoldstein(dot)com
  • Landing page for all of my blogs:






  • Paul’s rule of software licensing: NEVER RELY ON SOFTWARE YOU DO NOT OWN!
  • Irwin’s rule of discounting: BEWARE OF DISCOUNT PARACHUTES!
  • Neil’s fat-finger rule: Computers do not make mistakes. THEY AMPLIFY THEM!
  • Jill's helpdesk rule: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!

The Verge

My former Aol / Engadget colleagues from ThisIsMyNext  have finally launched their new technology site,  Check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This is my next..

The former editors at Engadget who have left over the last couple of months have a temporary home to publish their reviews and editorials until they get their all new site up this fall. For now you can read posts from Joshua Topolsky, Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Ross Miller, and Chris Ziegler at This is my next .com

Good luck everyone! Can't wait to see the new site

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Quite a number of years ago, I was sifting through the links at a favorite website,, and came across QNX. It was described as a system-on-a-floppy. Now, an OS on a floppy was possible in the PC world. DOS could boot from a single floppy, and contain a few useable tools, and there were also some single-floppy Linux distros out there. QNX was different. It presented the user with a full GUI interface, with network support, a browser, editor, file manager, 3d graphics demo, terminal, and even a game. Pretty impressive at the time when Windows was growing to such huge proportions. You still might be able to find it today, but the drivers are a bit out of date. There are a couple of other projects today that are similar if you are interested, my favorite is MENUET OS, which is also a full GUI OS on a floppy, written entirely in machine code. QNX makes a full-blown version of their floppy OS for commercial use called Neutrino RTOS, mostly for embedded systems. It was fast, and stable. Perfect for kiosks and other public-facing applications that require long-term stability. A real-time OS (RTOS), is usually for use in embedded systems, robotics, research, and other applications where processing time can have an effect on final results, but makes for a snappy, reliable OS on the desktop too.

The reason I bring this up, is that QNX was purchased by RIM (Blackberry) recently and is this base OS for RIM's new tablet The Playbook. With such an efficient design, and 30 years of history behind it, QNX is a good solid choice for RIM to build on. I look forward to trying out the Playbook when it arrives. I also believe that RIM will build a version of QNX for their handsets too. The Java-based OS they currently use is long in the tooth, and not adapting well to the needs of smartphone users. Time will tell, but I think the rumors of Blackberry's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Commodore Returns ?

The company known as Commodore stopped producing computers sometime around 1994. Several attempts were made to revive the Amiga line of computers since then, but nothing has been successful yet. Although I was an Amiga user, and greatly appreciated the platform back in the eighties, the fondest memories of Commodore are of the Commodore 64. The 64 was the first computer for so many people. We had a 64 when I was a kid. Paul and I learned the thing inside-out, backwards and forwards. Paul had become quite a C64 hacker. When he and I were sharing an apartment in High Falls, we ran a BBS system for the Hudson Valley Commodore Club. We had three 1541 floppy drives, serving software to the club members, and a blazing-fast 1200 baud modem! Wow.

The return of everyone's favorite computer is coming in a familiar form, and offers something for the modern users as well. Commodore USA, launched pre-ordering for the new Commodore 64 yesterday. The new C64 is built around an ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and the latest Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset. Commodore has packaged this into a case resembling the original C64. In addition to functioning as a PC, the new C64 will include an emulation layer for running old C64 software (although from the notes on the website, it appears they are still engineering this). Ubuntu will be shipped with early units until the new OS gets ironed out.

It looks like the new C64 has a DVD drive, VGA, HDMI, and DVI output, and multi-card reader. This makes it an interesting option as a media-box running Boxee, XBMC, etc. It will be interesting to see if they can pull this off. Until someone actually gets one though, only the brave optimists among us will pony up $595 for the pre-order. The first systems are scheduled to ship early June.

Commodore USA is also offering two other pc-in-a-keyboard systems with a more modern look, the VIC slim (pictured), and pro models. Good luck guys. I'm cautiously optimistic.