Categories
Tech Thoughts

Energy Conversion Starts Making Sense

I just came to realize that my most hated subject at the moment, EE204: Energy Conversion,[1] in which I have flunked my exams 2 out of 2, would be useful to me as an aspiring Electronics Engineer. At first, as an ECE student, I thought I’m not going to need this course since I’m not planning to specialize in electric power generation that EEs should be doing.

While browsing through blogs and tech news sites like I usually do, I’ve read about emerging technologies that deals with the use of hand cranks and similar manually-operated power generators, instead of the conventional way of plugging devices onto a power outlet. I’ve also read about environmental issues concerning electric power consumption and conservation with computer and even search engine usage.

We still haven’t gone to discuss DC generators as we are just halfway through the course. But, seeing how the OLPC plans to make human-powered laptop computers by means of a crank, a pedal or a pull-cord in the form of XO-1 to be distributed to children on developing countries who have little access to electricity, I got the insight. Furthermore, I just saw a portable media player utilizing the same idea, thanks to Bernie of Talkin’ Tech.

I know I shouldn’t have been posting this now as our preliminary exam week is just a day away, and the exam on EE204 is first on the list. I am just happy to see current applications of what I am studying theoretically as it gives me more understanding of the subject matter.

So, let me just ask, what would you say about manually-powered electronic devices that use less power than conventional ones? Would you be seen using it in the future or you would just stick to conventional devices until none of them exists anymore? Hand cranks and pedal generators on the nearest Wi-Fi–enabled coffee shop, anyone?

Footnote:

  1. ^ a course dealing with the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy (as with generators) and vice versa (as with motors)
Categories
Attacks Tech

Prevent Autorun-driven Virus Infections

USB flash drives and portable hard disk drives are commonplace today as PCs and digital media are conquering the market. But, while ease of use and portability of the UFD and HDD [as well as their digital content] increases, the spread of malware[1] on them also increases. There are several ways to prevent this from happening,[2] with or without the help of an AV product.

Case 1: Clean PC+AV, Infected UFD/HDD; Automatic

This is the easiest, though not necessarily the best solution[3] to detect and clean autorun-driven malware.

  1. Update the anti-virus product on your computer before plugging in the portable drive.
  2. Do not open your drive contents after plugging.
  3. Scan your portable drive for malware immediately.
  4. Clean all infections found by your anti-virus.

Case 2: Clean PC, Infected UFD/HDD; Manual

In some cases, an anti-virus product or an update is not available, or the anti-virus product is just not strong or smart enough.[4] We could do a manual search and destroy for the malware.

  1. Plug on the drive to your computer.
  2. Use the Folders Explorer Bar[5] to open the drive contents on Windows Explorer, instead of double-clicking the drive icon on the main window; or
  3. Right-click on the drive icon on the main window, and select Explore or Open, and not Autoplay or Autorun
  4. Look for the file named autorun.inf.
  5. Open the file using Notepad or the text editor of your choice.
  6. Take note of the line that says, open=<path\filename.ext>, where <path\filename.ext> is the location of the malware itself.
  7. Locate the malware and delete it along with the autorun.inf file.

Case 3: Infected PC

You would know if your PC is already infected when it copies the malware and the autorun files to your portable drives automatically. If your AV software couldn’t handle cleaning your system from it, or if you have none, consider browsing the Web for manual detection and cleaning procedures as different variants and, therefore, locations of them would be hard to summarize in this post. Try Trend Micro‘s Virus Encyclopedia.

Case 4: Clean PC and UFD/HDD; Prevention

Here’s the nifty part, this is based on a hack from a friend who works on an anti-virus company.

  1. Create a folder on the root of your portable drive.
  2. Rename it as autorun.inf.
  3. Right-click on the folder, and click Properties. Alternatively, select the folder, then go to the File menu, and select Properties. KB shortcut: [Alt]+F, R
  4. Under the General tab, on the Attributes section, check Read-only and Hidden. KB shortcuts: [Alt]+R, and [Alt]+H, respectively

The above instructions would prevent other infected computers from copying an autorun directive to your portable drive. It doesn’t necessarily mean an instance of the malware itself would be prevented from being copied as well. It just protects you from your own muscle memory of instantly double-clicking the drive icon to open the contents, but instead, running the malware to be installed on your clean PC.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ malicious software; collective term for viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, et al.
  2. ^ Cases assume you’re on the virus-prone Microsoft Windows platform.
  3. ^ Your AV would probably delete only the instances of the malware and not the autorun.inf file for it is intended as a convenience feature for legitimate software manufacturers. You could safely delete the autorun file manually.
  4. ^ This pertains to my experience with a fully-updated AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition on my classmate’s notebook, which was not able to detect a simple autorun-driven malware.
  5. ^ If not visible by default, go to View on the menu bar, locate Explorer Bar, and then check Folders. KB shortcut: [Alt]+V, E, O
Categories
Experiences School Tech

Scrap Metal

One day, I thought I heard a distant explosion—one you could think of as a failing transformer on an outdoor electrical post. My computer’s power flickered but It came back just nanoseconds later. But I was wrong. My computer wouldn’t turn on anymore. I realized what I heard was a discreet boom from the power supply.

My whitebox computer exploded Monday last week as I was about to print a document for our Electronics I report. It felt like the sky fell on top of my head. Panic struck me, though I came up with a way to retrieve the data. Besides, only the power supply really blew up. I just removed the hard disk drive from the system unit and plugged it into the external hard disk enclosure bought with our 250-gigabyte hard disk. I made a mess in my room trying to fix things. But, I wasn’t able to print it right away as our notebook doesn’t have a parallel port. Oh well, at least the data wasn’t lost.

My uncle gave [or lent] me a spare power supply unit from an unused computer to replace that scrap metal I had been using since 2002. I’ve just finished replacing it yesterday along with a busted floppy disk drive and the much larger hard disk drive [the one bought with the enclosure]. I could really describe my computer as katay, which is Tagalog for butchered—a rather exaggerated term for something taken apart [then replaced] piece by piece.

If you could remember my past article, my desktop computer had its motherboard and CPU replaced. Now, I’ve just replaced the power supply, hard disk drive and floppy disk drive. Hmmm … I wonder when I could build my own computer from scratch with new parts.

Easy answer: Not today. *tee-hee*

Categories
Love Me Rants Tech

Frustrated Entry

My fixed desktop PC Whew! My desktop PC had just got through from a major overhaul. A couple of months ago, my desktop occasionally hangs even before Windows finish starting up and that incident became worse every day. I was just happy I have a notebook on which I can continue school work and Web work. We brought my dead PC to my uncle, but even after replacing the memory modules and the processor, it still was a wreck. That was when we concluded that the motherboard was the problem. It was now replaced with a new one that includes a whole lot of new features — more USB 2.0 ports, an on-board LAN, support for AGP 8X, and 400-Mhz DIMM slots — I was glad. 😀

Gawd, I’ve written that [paragraph above] about a week ago. But since I haven’t got all the time in the world, I was not able to finish, especially with all my school work that was nearing their deadlines and finals week that was coming. Now everything that I haven’t been able to write earlier just faded into [my] memory that I am not able to put into words anymore.

I so hate it when that happens. A Gift from My Princess Good thing my baby gave me this cute little stuffed toy: a tiny fat pig. Oh, you see our resemblance? 😆 Ehehe … I love you, princess! 🙂

Well, everything has been fine with me unless of course I try to think about my Phys 205 grade, which I have a very bad hunch about. I really hope I’m ready to know what it really is come this Friday. Oh, please wish me all the luck I need …

Err … I just can’t seem to forget that this entry was a frustrated post. I really hope it won’t happen again. I’m really not so worried about ruining my story, it’s just that I’ve realized I have ruined memory. Oh stop it. I’m not getting that old. 😆

Now I am thinking: Maybe those wrecked motherboard and slow memory modules that were on my PC caused my memory to leak, too. Waaa!

OK. I’ll stop now.