Tuesday, September 14, 2010

check the security status of your browser (all of them) and your addons/plugins (all of them)


is a free web browser checking tool to check whether the addons are up to date or known to be vulnerable --  whether the installed versions are up to date or known to be vulnerable:  flash, quicktime, realplayer, acrobat reader, wmediaplayer, silverlight, etc as well as the basic browser.

NOTE:  it does install a plugin/addon/ depending on your browser, but there are clear instructions on how to remove it as you wish.     When updating your addons/plugins, read what you are agreeing to and DON"T INSTALL THINGS YOU DON"T NEED (or don't want).

I checked my IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari and they all came back with different versions of the plugins, in varying combinations of "up to date" and "vulnerable"  .  

NOTE2:   the RealPlayer update seems to want to install Pro when you select "Fix It", so I just canceled; I'll get the free one myself later.

NOTE3:   Apple software update will update sw from Apple, but does not seem to check the status of the add-ons and plug-ins.

Note4:  if you own a web site you can have qualys check it for malware (say installed by an advertiser or vulnerable component  on the page.  that service is free also:  http://www.qualys.com/forms/trials/stopmalware/.

Monday, September 13, 2010

charge your electronics by walking / breathing ...


Professor Michael C. McAlpine
Biomechanical Energy Harvesting
The development of a method for integrating highly efficient energy conversion materials onto stretchable, biocompatible rubbers could yield breakthroughs in implantable or wearable energy harvesting systems. Piezoelectric nanomaterials represent a particularly interesting class of smart materials due to their highly efficient electromechanical coupling. Printing piezoelectric nanomaterials onto flexible rubber and plastic substrates has enabled the development of highly efficient energy conversion hybrids, which could result in energy scavengers for converting breathing and walking into portable power.