Archive for October, 2008

What I’ve been doing this weekend – Far Cry 2

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I know, I know. Far Cry 2 (like Crysis: Warhead) is loaded with restrictive DRM, and I know that ultimately I'm only renting the game, but I couldn't help picking up a copy of the game. To be honest, I've had it on pre-order since well before the whole DRM brouhaha happened (I think I've had it on pre-order with Amazon since the beginning of the year).

Now, after a few hours of game-play under my belt, I'm quite happy with the purchase. I'm not going to give you a review of the game (Google is your friend there) but I will say that it's an immersive and quite addictive. I'm not sure if it lives up to all the hype that it generated initially (the weather system doesn't seem an awful lot more advanced that in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the 50 sq KM map feels smaller than I thought it would, and some of the side games feel a little repetitive) but I think that there's a good 100+ hours of fun there, plus fun repeating missions and going through the whole game at a harder level.

Far Cry 2

Is it worth $50? Yeah, I guess it is, especially when compared to a trip to the movies or a night out.

Get Patchin’

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Yesterday Microsoft released a critical patch for Windows (critical for Windows 2000/XP users, but still important for Vista users). Have you installed the patch yet?

No? Then go run Windows Update right now and bring it it. Don't delay! According to the good folks at Sunbelt Software, a worm that will take advantage of this vulnerability is only days away.

Get Patchin'!!!

A quick peek at Vista SP2 pre-beta

Friday, October 24th, 2008

A few readers have pinged me with questions about the Vista SP2 pre-beta that's making the rounds and wondering what I have to say about it.

Here's a quick Q&A based on the questions I'm getting:

  • How do I get it?
    Details here.
  • Do I need to install this?
    No. At present there's nothing new to see beyond patches and updates that have come in normally for Windows Vista since SP1.
  • Is it safe to install?
    Don't even think about installing this on your main PC as bad things could happen! Install it onto a test system or a virtual machine.
  • How big is the download?
    A shade under 300MB. There's also a 4MB servicing stack update.
  • What's it look like?
    Install process + the changes made to the system ID can be seen here.
  • When will this go public?
    Probably around Q2 '09.

Microsoft to rush out emergency Windows Update today

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

It's not a Patch Tuesday but that's not stopping Microsoft from rolling out a critical patch today (Thursday 23rd).

It must be something pretty serious for Microsoft to release an "out-of-band" - the last time I remember this being done was April '07.

Microsoft is planning to release the Windows patch at 10:00 PT.

The patch is rated as CRITICAL for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, and IMPORTANT for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

More details when it's released.

UPDATE ... UPDATE ... UPDATE ...

The patch is out.

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067

Here's the info on it:

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Server service. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an affected system received a specially crafted RPC request. On Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability without authentication to run arbitrary code. It is possible that this vulnerability could be used in the crafting of a wormable exploit. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect network resources from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter.

This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and rated Important for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

CD/DVD burning – on the go!

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I love having a USB key full of apps. Why? Because when I'm on the move I can never be sure that I'll have access to the things that I want - a good web browser, antivirus software or a CD/DVD burning suite.

On my main system I've moved away from big, cumbersome commercial applications such as Nero and on to CDBurnerXP, which is lightweight, pull-featured and free. Well, now I can augment that with a mobile version for my USB key!

CDburnerXP - Portable

Sweet!