Security is a process and not a feature. One of the easier tasks is keeping up with updates. FireFox (2.0 and 1.5) and Thunderbird each have security updates coming. They should automatically notice the new versions and offer to update it, but you may need to force it manually if you've somehow disabled updates, or you are working with an older (pre-auto-update) version.
One more time: an attachment, whether it shows up in email, IM, Skype, floppy disk, USB tab or in the transporter room, is from an untrusted source until you can confirm what it is, where it comes from, why its here and whether you should click on it. There are no trusted sources. "Click here for something really cool" is not an offer you should be taking up!
Slashdot posting: Vista Zero-Day Exploit For Sale. Snakepit Bit writes "Underground hackers are hawking a zero-day exploit for Windows Vista at $50,000 a pop, according to computer security researchers at Trend Micro."
I wouldn't pay for it. I hear if you wait a while, it'll show up on your Vista machines, free.
Choice is good, and choice is bad. Edubuntu, for example is a distribution designed specifically for young children, with approachable games, education and entertainment. TrixBox is a distribution focused on small- and medium-sized business phone management (PBX).
So how can choice be bad? David Pogue reviews Vista in last Thursday's New York Times. Vista will be available in 5 different versions, and it's not so much about what's added as what's taken away in the lower priced versions. That's not a feature. Pogue goes on to say:
So after five years, how is Windows Vista? Microsoft's
description, which you"ll soon be seeing in millions of dollars' worth
of advertising, is "Clear, Confident, Connected." But a more truthful
motto would be "Looks, Locks, Lacks."
So, choice can be bad when it's between evils. A better choice if you're facing Vista? Mac OS X? Stay the course with Win2K or XP? 352 Flavors of Linux?
On the way back from a client this week, I got to listen to an audiocast of Eben Moglen's keynote speech from the Plone conference. Darned if I can find the link that brought me to the MP3, but there's a video and audio link here. Mr. Moglen is Chief Counsel for the Free Software Foundation among several other notable tasks, and has some remarkable and far-ranging insights into the importance of Free Software. Worth a listen.
"Now Skype hopes to turn those users into paying customers, as the
company has now announced its intention to sell long distance packages for a yearly rate.
When the free long distance hangs up on Near Year's Day, Skype will
begin a month-long promotion: $14.95 for one year of long distance. The
promotion will also include 100 minutes of SkypeOut for International
calls and over $50 worth of coupons for purchasing Skype-certified
hardware products. After January 31, the yearly fee will increase to
Fifteen bucks a year is a deal for long distance, even if it has to route through a computer. Interesting market offer.
I used Skype for 3-way interstate conferencing on a project this year, and we probably racked up 100 hours of voice time this way. At five cents a minute that still adds up to a few dollars. For solo businesses, this could be the way to go. For slightly larger SOHOs, TrixBox might be a bit more scaleable, with a bit more investment up front.