Tag Archives: firefox

downloading Adobe Flash Player annoyances

Every so often, Adobe releases updates to fix security holes after researchers and other security specialists find holes and exploits in their Flash Player. These updates are usually critical and require you to update your version of Flash Player on your computers asap.

The problem is that installing and updating Flash, in my opinion is a pain in the ass. This is one of my bigger annoyances since its very widespread and affects pretty much anyone.

The Adobe Way of updating these browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox: Updating flash is a bit of an annoyance for Firefox users. I don’t want to use Adobe’s Download Manager. I’d prefer to keep extra extensions off my Firefox profile.
  • Internet Explorer: Updating flash for IE isn’t super easy/friendly as well, it involves downloading an ActiveX plugin containing Adobe’s Download Manager.
  • Google Chrome: Probably the easiest browser to update since Google actually pushes updates to your computer. When a Flash update is released, your browser should automatically update Flash after the next restart.

I think Adobe’s way takes too long and is a headache. Too many clicks, too much user interaction needed.

My solution is to download the local installers directly and just run them. Its a lot faster, simpler, and easier. Whenever I’m working on client’s computers, I take this route.
Unfortunately, finding the link for the direct downloads can be quite hard sometimes, also taking an excessive amount of click and searching. I finally decided to use my favourite URl shortener service Bit.ly to make my life a lot easier.

If you go to http://bit.ly/dlflash it’ll take you to the page that has the manual download links for Internet Explorer and Firefox/Opera/Safari…etc. Feel free to use this link. It’ll work as long as Adobe doesn’t change and/or remove the links..

Hopefully this’ll make updating flash easier and faster for you.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if your Flash Player does need updating, visit http://www.mozilla.com/plugincheck and it’ll tell you if it needs updating, as well as other plug-ins installed on your browser.

conficker a dud so far

Well today was April Fools day and our favourite media virus Conficker was written-up many times over the past week in the papers and shown via newscasts all over the world. Surprise! The virus did was it was told it contacted its generated servers, only to do nothing, and the internet is still alive!

This threat is NOT over! Why the media and security organizations chose April 1st as doomsday is a mystery and was based mainly on speculation by reverse engineering the code. There are still many unpatched computers out there which need to be attended to. This day has been anti-climatic, CNET’s Conficker blog was boring to read, and we’ll have to wait until the hackers decide to make their next move, most likely during a quiet time when less IT and security staff are working.

My shift at the CCS IT HelpDesk in the library consisted of a 10-second power outage and the regular library help questions. The power outage turned off all desktop computers with stressed students working madly away to finish their last-minute assignments. I delt with about 6 lost assignments after the power outage. I was only able to recover 2 of the 6. Its ironic how people who lose their assignments almost always recognize that they SHOULD have been saving to the designated places stated on the desktop backgrounds. It’s unfortunate that most computer users do not read anything on their screens and continue to click OK and YES the majority of the time. You can blame Microsoft and Apple for accustoming their users to this.

On that note, those devious hackers also figured out how to get their search ratings high-up on Google’s results. Simply googling “Conficker” in Google generates many results, the majority of which are bad (as they have viruses or malware ready to download). This caused many curious users are used to just “clicking” to infect themselves with the virus.

If you haven’t done so, please patch your computers, use Firefox, and make sure your virus definitions are up to date. If you’re running an illegal version of the windows, make sure you check your computers thoroughly or buy a real copy.

The internet is a dangerous place. Be prepared. Lets see what the media says about Conficker now. If you’re looking for more information about it, please refer to the links below. I’ll keep you updated on its status.

Some links:
Microsoft – Bulletin MS08-076
McAfee Avert Labs – Conficker.C observations with wireshark
Wikipedia – April Fools
CNET – Conficker silence
Vancouver Sun – Conficker
Ars Technica


Well….Microsoft released IE8 today to the world. I haven’t tried any of the beta versions which have been released over the last few years…

First thoughts…

  • It definitely loads faster
  • Top bar is too thick…gotta disable some of those toolbars. Screen real estate is key and the default IE settings don’t cut it.
  • The lighbox javascript doesn’t work …typical though since their API has probably changed which breaks ajax and js scripts (not smart)
  • EPIC ACID3 TEST FAIL – 20/100! (click here to test)

Hopefully there is some sorta patch for the Acid3 test. I’d like to see IE get at least 50/100!
Firefox 3.0.7 currently scores a 71/100 on both PC & Mac.
Chrome scores a perfect 100/100 and loads extremely fast.
Safari beta 4 also scores a 100/100 (my mac friend gave it a try on his computer)

Lastly, the compatability mode seems to render the browser in an IE7 shell which allows the lightbox to work on the images below. I tested my theory below.

User agent string w/o compatibility:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506; Media Center PC 5.0; InfoPath.1; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.5.30729)

User agent string w/ compatibility:
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; WOW64; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506; Media Center PC 5.0; InfoPath.1; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 3.5.30729)

So….when is IE8 going to work with acid3 properly?