Log in

Good afternoon everyone. I wanted to post a quick message inviting my reader base to email any questions that you might have to me at brianblass@thetechspotlight.com. Depending on the volume of questions that I receive, I will post both the questions and the answers on as regular a basis as I can. I look forward to seeing what everyone can come up with!

The Dark Knight
With the release of the newest addition to the Batman saga, there has been a great deal of coverage in the media. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I did come across the following article from Computerworld.com. You should go check it out!

Getting the most from your HD TV
Do you have an HD TV? Have you noticed that it isn't as clear or sharp as it was when you first bought it? Odds are you can fix those and a lot of issues with your HD TV by performing a simple calibration. To find out how, check out this great article from PC World:

For even more great info, don't miss this article from PC World either!


Looking to buy a new computer but absolutely do not want to look at Vista? You may be in luck. Take a look at these articles from PC World magazine:



Intel has announced the release of their quad core processor technology for mobile devices next month. Currently, only dual or single core processor technology has been available for mobile devices, though quad cores have been available for desktops, workstations, and servers for a while now. What is the deal with this multiple core technology? Let's begin by taking a look at a central processing unit (CPU.)

This is a CPU. This is the piece of your computer that performs all of the calculations and acts as a central point for all of the other pieces of your computer. Up until a few years ago, all that was available was single core technology, that is, only one physical processor per chip (as seen above.) With the advent of dual core technology, CPU manufacturers have figured out how to put two physical processing cores onto one chip, thus greatly increasing the processing power, as seen below:

With this new advent of quad core technology, CPU manufacturers have taken the dual core approach and doubled it once again. Now we have four physical processing cores per chip, thus greatly improving processing power once again. Below is an image of an AMD chip sporting quad core technology. You can see the four physical cores on the chip.

For more on the Intel announcement, check out this link from PC World:


A Couple of Fun Tech Projects

This first one is a repost from my personal LJ, so I apologize to anyone who has already seen this.

This next one I have completed personally and I have to say this is a FANTASTIC troubleshooting tool!


Welcome to The Technology Spotlight. In case you do not know me, my name is Brian R. Blass and I look forward to discussing the latest in technology. I am currently a Systems Support Technician for Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA, and I have been a technology enthusiast for nearly as long as I can remember and have just over five years of professional experience in the Information Technology field for those of you keeping track.

DNS Poisoning:
A big item in the technology world this week has been the discovery of a flaw made by security researcher Dan Kaminsky regarding the Internet Domain Name System (DNS). This is the system that acts as the Internet's phone book, taking the text "Google.com" that you type into your internet browser of choice and translating that into what the computer needs to actually take you to Google.com of (Google's IP addess.) This bug in DNS has been found to not be native to only one service, but rather is inherently built into every DNS server. Kaminsky was quoted as saying: "It is a fundamental issue affecting the design, because the system is behaving exactly like it is supposed to behave, the same bug will show up in vendor after vendor after vendor. This one bug affected not just Microsoft ... not just Cisco, but everyone."

This flaw in DNS allows a knowledgeable user to hijack domain names, that is, alter the matching of your text input "Google.com" to the corresponding IP address "," thus turning "Google.com" to whatever IP address the user wants. While this may not seem like a major nuisance with Google, imagine someone doing this with something like a US Bank. The user in control can spoof the US Bank homepage allowing you to type in your internet backing information without you being any the wiser.

The major publishers of DNS servers have begun to release patches to address this issue and an alliance has been formed to attempt to ensure that all major internet providers have a fix in place for this issue over the next 30 days. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) announcement published on July 8th, 2008 regarding this issues lists more than ninety software developers and network equipment vendors that may have this vulnerability. The US-CERT notice can be viewed here: http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/800113. Kaminsky was quoted as saying: "This is the fundamental balancing act between how do we notify the good guys without bringing on the bad guys. We tried to give the good guys as much of a nonlinear advantage as possible. We think we gave them a month."

A website has been created to allow end users (such as ourselves) to check and see if our Internet Service Providers have implemented the fix for this DNS vulnerability. You can go to http://doxpara.com/ and click on the Check My DNS button to see.

Yep, it is back in the news. Supposedly Microsoft is once again looking to purchase Yahoo and the media is all over the stories with rampant speculations and the cutesy title of "Microhoo." There has been so much coverage of this in various forms of media already that I am simply going to provide everyone with a couple of links:


My bet is that this is not going to happen, but if you are interested, feel free to do some reading.

Seagate's Newest Hard Drive
Seagate has a great knack for staying on the cutting edge of technology and they do not dissapoint with their newest announcement. Seagate has unveiled the worlds first 1.5 TB (approximately 1500 GB) desktop hard drive and the 500 GB laptop hard drive. This announcement marks the single largest capacity jump in over fifty years with their 500 GB jump over their previous 1 TB model. "Organizations and consumers of all kinds worldwide continue to create, share and consume digital content at levels never before seen, giving rise to new markets, new applications and demand for desktop and notebook computers with unprecedented storage capacity, performance and reliability," Michael Wingert, a Seagate executive vice president and general manager of the company's personal computing business unit, said in a statement. These hard drives are expected to begin shipping in the fourth quarter of 2008 and no prices have been set as of yet. Seagate's current 1 TB drives currently reatil around $210.

Firefox 3.0
Firefox 3.0, Mozilla's answer to Internet Explorer, released on June 17th, 2008 and set a new record for the most software downloads in 24 hours. Check out http://www.spreadfirefox.com/en-US/worldrecord/ for more info on the Guinness World Record, including download data broken down by country. Firefox 3.0 continues the features that you loved from Firefox 2 such as tabbed browsing, and a plethora of fully integrated add-ons and adds a few new features such as significantly improved memory management and increased security. I highly recommend Firefox 3.0 to anyone looking for an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

That wraps up my inaugural post! I look forward to hearing from what I hope will become a community for all things tech!