Monthly Archives: September 2010

Yahoo groups spam

On a couple of Yahoo Groups I’m on, we’ve noted spams coming through from long-time members in the last week or two.

The good news is there’s no need to panic. Most probably a spammer out there has worked out that person X posts to list Y, and is forging emails from them from a remote location. Which means it is unlikely that X’s computer has been compromised. (Though of course it’s good practice to have virus protection and regularly do scans.)

If you’re an Admin of a Yahoo Group, you might like to check the Posting settings (group management / Group Settings / Messages / Posting and archives). There is a Spam Filtering option which I believe is switched off by default (it might be a newly added setting).

On the groups I’m on, we had spam coming through, but setting the Filtering on seems to have prevented more of it.

Thanks a lot, Apple

I was using a USB drive to move copy files from a Windows box onto a Mac.

Easy enough; plug it in, copy the files over.

Then I plugged the drive back into a Windows computer. What do I see? Oh, delightful, MacOS added some hidden directories for Trash and Spotlight.

Apple Spotlight directories

Harumph. Annoying, but no biggy I guess.

Wait a sec, what’s inside those directories? A bunch of stuff, it turns out:

How about: .Spotlight-V100 \ Store-V1 \ Stores \ [long hex string] … and inside there, about 2Mb of junk.

Apple Spotlight crap on my USB drive

Now, I could understand that if I’d copied anything from the Mac back onto the USB drive, thus it might have needed all that stuff to do the wonderful Spotlighty things in the future.

But just copying stuff off it? Why make that assumption and dump all this crap on it? Particularly hidden, so many people wouldn’t even spot it.

Oh well, it’s in keeping with the iTunes bloatware philosophy of dumping heaps of software onto your PC that most people don’t need. Ed Bott’s updated his guide to avoiding that with iTunes 10:

Apple still gives its customers a monolithic iTunes setup program with absolutely no options to pick and choose based on your specific needs.

Why is that important? When you run the iTunes setup program, it unpacks six Windows Installer packages and a master setup program, which then installs nearly 300MB of program and support files, a kernel-mode CD/DVD-burning driver, multiple system services, and a bunch of browser plugins. It configures two “helper” programs to start automatically every time you start your PC, giving you no easy way to disable them. It installs a network service that many iTunes users don’t need and that has been associated with security and reliability issues.

And you wonder why I dislike iTunes with a passion that burns like the fire of a thousand suns?

It’s a must-read if you’re installing iTunes on Windows.

How to fix’s annoying Sydney default

I quite like the web site. The TV guide it displays is quite usable, and can be customised to show your correct channels.

But why does it keep forgetting your region every few weeks, and reset itself to metro Sydney?

Your TV Sydney default

Very irritating. (Well, if you live outside metro Sydney.)

Using your web browser, you can check the cookies. This article describes how, in various browsers.

That’s where the problem is: it looks like the “TvFixGuide” cookie, which seems to hold details of what region you’re in, is only set for a month.

Your TV cookie

It doesn’t look like either browser allows you to extend the time range of the cookie, or otherwise modify it. I suppose there’s legitimate reasons for that.

It is possible to hack it by deleting the cookie, setting your computer’s clock, say, a year into the future, before going back to the site and setting the option.

Yep, it seems to work:

Your TV cookie modified

Don’t forget to set your clock back afterwards.