Houses, pets, and awesomeness

hey guys!
It's been ages since I've written a personal entry here. (thought I'd try a little bit of tech journalism too)

I wanted to let you know that Don and I are well on the way to purchasing a house in Gladstone.
We've got 2 inspections to get the results of, and we'll know for sure.

The house is http://www.domain.com.au/Public/PropertyDetails.aspx?adID=2007641712

It's 3 bedroom, high-set (garage under the house) 6 foot (dog-proof) fences around it.  Nice place, and at a good price.

So, we're somewhere that we're able to have dogs!  That means that Don and I can have the ones we've wanted!

Don wants a Belgian Shepherd, he's called a breeder, Mirribandi, who's got a bitch about to come into season.
Mother – http://www.mirribandi.com/Mirribandi_Romance__Romany.htm
Father – http://www.belgnte.com/Tervuerens/Aspen/Aspen.htm

I'm getting a maltese, and unfortunately, my breeder's not very IT-savvy (edit: she's much better than I orignally inferred, and she's a quick learner to boot), so we've not seen photos of her pups (she has some pups at 7 weeks old at the moment.  the breeder's schneewichen, and if you search for schneewichen maltese, you'll find a couple of her dogs' offspring, but no examples of her actual dogs. 

So!  Things are going swimmingly, and the house is just around the corner from some friends of ours, so yay being near people we know!

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Keystroke logger “protection” and you

The other day a customer returned a piece of security software as she deemed that it would not fulfil her security requirements because it did not have keystroke encryption to protect her from key-loggers.  I wondered how this encryption worked, and how you were actually protected.

WARNING – Technical Content

Well, I finally got in touch with the manufacturer today, to ask the question.  I learned a couple of things:
1) The protection is only installable into a specific array of browsers, and will not protect you from a keylogger if you are, for example, typing a Word document.  The particular software I was loking at supports Internet Explorer 6 and 7, as well as Firefox 3.

2) I was expected to take on faith that it is "designed to protect against keyloggers".  When I asked how it was protecting me (including information which should be made public, such as the encryption algorithm being used (Security 101- only use peer-reviewed, publicised encryption algorithms.)) I was told it was against SOP to provide the details.

I still don't know enough about their implementation to know whether it really works or not.  I'm looking at what seems to be a similar product here (http://www.guardedid.com/images/GID_Graphic_r2.gif) and it claims to replace the hardware driver, bypassing the software driver and standard set of controls for keystrokes entered while in the web browser.
I completely fail to see how that could work in a functional sense, or how they can be sure that the bad guys haven't done the same thing.  We'll see whether they get back to me, but I find this a difficult claim to validate, or even be satisfied of its plausibility

Edit – 31 May, 2009.
So, they, Trend Micro,  never got back to me, never sent me the mail I was told (along with the warning that it might not be the depth that I was after)

What all of this means for you, the end user?
Don't just rely on your antivirus to protect you.  At the end of the day, they're not liable if you *do* catch a virus, so their only motivation for protecting you is that bad press gets around a bit.  You need to be a bit savvy… keep an eye on that lock in the bottom-left if you're doing anything you don't want people to see, and don't open attachments that you're not expecting from people, whether you know them or not.   Scan every attachment you are expecting before you open it, just in case.  https (the protocol you're using when you've got the lock there) protects your information as it travels the internet, but makes no guarantees about the computers it's connecting either from or to.  Act safe online, and you'll stay safe online.  It's that simple.

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QotD: Birth Order

What is the birth order in your family? Do you think it has an affect on your personality?
Submitted by aynge.

Me, Renata, Rowan.

I have no idea, the only way to test it out would be for me to be born a second time (And I've already done the Christian thing) in a different order than that.

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