Archive for February, 2006

Countdown to UFC 58!!!

February 10, 2006

GOOD LORD! Can I be more excited!?!? Why, you ask??? Lemme count the ways…

  1. First of all, I’m taking a break from work and going on a much-needed vacation.
  2. Secondly, I’m going to Vegas!
  3. Third, I’m staying at the newly opened Hooters Hotel and Casino! Because it’s new, not because it’s Hooters you perverts!
  4. Fourth, I’m watching a UFC event LIVE!!! (first time in my life)
  5. Fifth, Hawaii’s own BJ Penn will be making his return to the UFC at this very event!
  6. The card also includes the likes of Rich Franklin, David Loiseau, Georges St-Pierre, Diego Sanchez, Joe Doerksen and Mike Swick!
  7. I’m going to get to see some old friends I haven’t seen in a long time! I’m counting on ya Toad and Tom!!!
  8. And if that wasn’t enough excitement, after that, I’M FRIGGEN GOING SNOWBOARDING AGAIN!!!

Anyway, for you curious bees out there, here’s some detailed UFC 58 info for y’all. Look for me on TV!

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UFC 58 USA vs. Canada (Promo Spot)

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UFC CHAMPION RICH FRANKLIN TO DEFEND
MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE AT UFC 58: USA vs. CANADA
SATURDAY, MARCH 4 AT MANDALAY BAY
EVENTS CENTER IN LAS VEGAS

FEATURING
RICH FRANKLIN vs. DAVID LOISEAU
AND GEORGES ST. PIERRE vs. BJ PENN

Las Vegas, NV – With an impressive 21-1-0 Mixed Martial Arts record, current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin will face his toughest opponent yet when he takes on Canadian MMA Champion David “The Crow” Loiseau at UFC 58: USA vs. CANADA taking placeliveat the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday, March 4.

Rich “Ace” Franklin, fighting out of Cincinnati, OH, is an extremely well-rounded fighter possessing great striking and submission skills. Franklin fought most of his career as a light heavyweight before moving to the middleweight division. At UFC 53, he knocked out UFC champion Evan Tanner to capture the middleweight crown. He made his first title defense against Nate Quarry at UFC 56, winning by first round KO and is now ready to face Canadian David Loiseau.

David “The Crow” Loiseau (14-4-0) is fighting out of Montreal, Canada. Known for his excellent striking ability and for having some of the most dangerous elbows in the sport, Loiseau has stopped Mark Wier, Gideon Ray, Charles McCarthy and Evan Tanner in UFC competitions. He’s established himself as a top contender by taking out Tanner at Ultimate Fight Night in 2005 and, at the same time has made his fights spectacular with impressive jumping and spinning kicks.

One of the most anticipated matchups of the year will occur when Georges St. Pierre battles “The Prodigy” BJ Penn. St. Pierre (11-1-0) is also a Canadian MMA Champion and is recognized as one of the most talented fighters in the world, while Penn is the most decorated jiu-jitsu athlete in America. St. Pierre is seeking a win against former champion Penn to position himself as the No. 1 welterweight contender. Penn, making his return to the UFC, also has his sights set on reclaiming the welterweight crown. The first non-Brazilian ever to win the world championship at the black belt level, Penn amazed the MMA world with his quick destructions of top lightweight fighters Din Thomas and Caol Uno. He later challenged Matt Hughes for the welterweight crown and won by a first round rear naked choke. Penn will return to the Octagon where he hopes to defeat St. Pierre and show the UFC he is ready to fight Hughes, once again, for the welterweight title.

UFC 58 USA vs Canada – Complete Card

  • Rich Franklin vs David Loiseau
  • Georges St-Pierre vs BJ Penn
  • John Alessio vs Diego Sanchez
  • Joe Doerksen vs Nathan Marquardt
  • Steve Vigneault vs Mike Swick
  • Mark Hominick vs Yves Edwards
  • Sam Stout vs Kenny Florian
  • Rob MacDonald vs Jason Lambert
  • Christophe Midoux vs Tom Murphy

Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre

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Protecting Your Computer From Evil

February 1, 2006

[Editor’s note: The following column is meant for PC compatible computers. Though written for newer computers, it can also apply for most older computers. Results may vary.]

So you’ve finally done it. You’ve made the improbably come true and bought a brand, spakin’ new computer. And it’s even pimped out with an ergonomic keyboard and optical mouse too? No… you don’t say!?

Now before you go all crazy on us and start surfing the web like a human Google, think about what you’re getting yourself into and ponder with me for a second won’t you?

(insert uncomfortable silence here)

The web is lovely and beautiful and yada yada yada, all that mushy stuff, but it’s also a place where them evil Internet lurkers hang out and prey on sweet and innocent computers… much like your fresh-off-the-boat gem that remains unprotected.

“Stop it Ed, you’re scaring me!”

Yeah, I know, but you’ve got to hear it, or another computer will fall victim to these evildoers… And, by golly, I will not stand for it!

So, the first step, above anything else, is to get a Firewall solution. Whattheheck is a firewall you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked that you inquisitive bee you.

Webopedia defines firewall as:

(n.) A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

Now in layman’s terms, this simply means that you need something sitting between your innocent computer and the (sometimes) evil Internet, acting as a gatekeeper of sorts. For this particular column, I will feature Zone Labs’ ZoneAlarm software product, since #1 – it’s easy and #2 – it’s free. (Road Runner customers without virus protection can choose to use the EZ Armor Security Suite, which includes a firewall solution. See addendum below.)

OK, so you took your computer out of the box and set it up – all pretty – on your desk. Assuming you have broadband Internet access like Road Runner, things should move pretty quickly from here. Just follow these steps and you can thank me later:

1) Go to either ZoneLabs.com or Download.com and click on the link to download the latest version of Zone Alarm.

2) For simplicity’s sake, click on “Run” when it prompts you to Run or Save the file (! – Only do this with trusted programs/sites).

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

3) It may prompt you again to see if you really want to run the software, at which point you would click Run (again).

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

4) On the next window, leave everything as is (unless you have a preferred installation location) and click Next

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

5) Enter your information in the next window and click Next (an email address is required to continue). I usually use my real name and address and have never had spam problems with them. If you are extra paranoid and have privacy concerns, you can use a bogus name and x@x.com as your email address and that should work (though you didn’t hear that from me). I also usually check the “I want to register ZoneAlarm so I can download updates.” (though, like I’ve said, I’ve never gotten anything from them) and uncheck the “Inform me about important product and security news.” box (unless you’re that lonely).

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

6) The next window is the License Agreement. Read it (or at least pretend to make an effort to), check the “I accept the terms of the preceding License Agreement.” box and click Install.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

7) ZoneAlarm will then go through its installing and configuring phases

Protecting Your Computer From Evil
Protecting Your Computer From Evil

8) Following the Configuring phase, a User survey window will appear. You can choose to respond or not. I usually skip it and click Finish.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

9) The next window will tell you that Setup is complete and ask whether or not you want to start ZoneAlarm. So, class, say it with me… Yes!

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

10) “Your Security Options” is the next window that appears. This window is basically here to try and “upsell” you to use their ZoneAlarm Pro product. Yes, you can try it for free for 15 days (which I’ve done in the past), but in my experience, I had difficultly with it once the trial period was over. So unless you’re willing to pay for the added security (current prices start at $39.95 for 1 PC for 1 year of updates), just select the (basic) ZoneAlarm radio button on the right and click Next.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

11) Click Finish on the next window.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

12) ZoneAlarm then takes you to the Configuration Wizard. where you will simply click on Finish. Experts can click on Next to individually configure programs, but I would not recommend it, as I’ve screwed up connections before (locked up things too tightly). Just let ZoneAlarm do its thang and then you can take full control over from that point on (I’ll show you a little later).

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

13) On the Configuration Successful! screen, click Done.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

14) ZoneAlarm will then start to configure your default programs’ access rights and prompt you to restart your computer to finish the installation process. (! – Once you click the OK button, your computer will automatically reboot itself, so make sure that you’ve saved all of your unsaved documents. This means that if you’re reading this column as you’re installing ZoneAlarm, bookmark this page – as if you hadn’t wisely done so already! 😛 – or print the puppy out so that you can continue when you come back from reboot. Go ahead, go print um, go… See you when you get back!)

Protecting Your Computer From Evil
Protecting Your Computer From Evil

15) Ahhh… Welcome back. What took you so long? I missed you. Anyway, upon your return from reboot, you probably noticed the following window. If you’re interested, you can click on Tell Me More, but it’s another upsell attempt. I would just click on “No, Thank You” and continue…

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

16) Alas… You’ve arrived! You’ve successfully installed ZoneAlarm if you’ve come this far and now see the main ZoneAlarm program window. Give yourself a high-five for me. There are many sections and options to play with from within this window, but, if you don’t know what you’re clicking on, please read the Help first, confide in a favorite techno geek, or leave things as is.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

17) Go ahead and click on the “X” icon in the upper right hand corner of this main ZoneAlarm window to “close” it. What you’re actually doing is minimizing it to the taskbar so that you can continue working. The first time you do this, you’ll get the following prompt, basically telling you what I just did. Check the “Don’t show this message again” checkbox and click OK.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

18) To access ZoneAlarm again in the future, just doubleclick on the ZA icon in your taskbar. To shut it down completely (which I don’t advise), right-click on the ZA icon and select Shutdown ZoneAlarm.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

19) Following is what you can expect to see on a day-to-day basis with ZoneAlarm:

One of ZoneAlarm’s greatest features is that it prompts you whenever a program you’re using is trying to access the Internet. For the most part, the everyday computer user will only need Internet access for software like a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox or Netscape Navigator) or email clients (Outlook, Eudora or Thunderbird). Other programs that commonly require Internet access are Instant Messenger types (AOL, MSN, Yahoo!), Virus Protection types (McAfee, Norton) and others. If you’re using a program (or not), that is not one of the above, and ZoneAlarm strangely tells you that something is attempting to access the Internet, you would probably be safer Denying access to that program (you can always adjust the access control from within the main ZoneAlarm window).

If something comes up that you’re not familiar with, do a Google search on the .exe name that appears next to “Application” and you’ll be able to figure out what type of program it is and whether or not you can trust it. A couple good web sources to search through are: www.processlibrary.com, www.liutilities.com/products/wintaskspro/processlibrary, and www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process.

Now, let’s take a look at what I’m talking about. Using MSN Messenger as an example, below is what you’ll see when you first launch Messenger after installing ZoneAlarm.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

The first positive sign is that the prompt popped up immediately after I started MSN Messenger. When the prompts pop up without you even doing anything, you may have spyware or badware issues, but that’s another column altogether. In any case, I naturally need Messenger to connect to the Internet in order to log in to the server to jump into the instant messaging world. In this case, I would click on Allow. Since I use Messenger quite regularly, I would also click on the “Remember this setting” checkbox so that it doesn’t continue to prompt me every time I launch Messenger.

! – Take note of the colors of the window. If it’s a new program requesting access, it’s the above yellow tinge. If it’s a repeat program, the window’s color will be green-ish (in addition to saying repeat program).

Sometimes, however, a blue-ish prompt requesting server access comes up (see below). Most times I deny it vehemently and with all my might. There is almost always no reason why a program you run (unless you’re an expert computer user with advanced software) would need to operate as a server. Basically, this means that your computer would become available to accept connections from the outside (connections coming in) in addition to the connections going out. Some features of your program may not work completely (like file sharing & webcam in the Messenger example below), but it’s things I can live without. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, “Stop being such a worry wart, Ed” and that I may be a bit paranoid with this, but I think many more of you will agree that it’s a small price to pay to keep your computer secure.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

Another great feature of ZoneAlarm is that it will prompt you when it senses activity trying to come into your computer (see below). If you’re an advanced user, you can probably do a lookup on the IP and figure out why or what it’s doing (a good resource for this would be DNSstuff.com) or even who it may be. For the rest of you, I would recommend clicking on our favorite “Don’t show this dialog again” checkbox and letting ZoneAlarm take care of it (block it) in the background. Trust me, you don’t want that prompt to keep popping up every time there’s activity going on.

Protecting Your Computer From EvilProtecting Your Computer From EvilProtecting Your Computer From Evil

From time to time ZoneAlarm will automatically prompt you to let you know that it’s time for an upgrade, which is also free. You can also manually check for an upgrade by going into your Preferences tab within Overview.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

If there’s an available upgrade, just select upgrade now and click OK. If your ZoneAlarm is up to date, you’ll get the following prompt.

Protecting Your Computer From Evil

Well, that’s it! Pat yourself on the back. You’re now protected by a software firewall solution that will prompt you of Internet activity coming in and out of your computer. Even if you have an older computer, I highly recommend installing ZoneAlarm (or another trusted firewall solution). In addition to the protection and peace of mind, it will give you a good idea of what kinds of programs and/or “attackers” are trying to send/receive info to/from your computer. You may have been unknowingly sending info via spyware/badware before, and clicking on that “Deny” button now just makes you feel like the master of your own domain, you know?

Keep in mind folks that this is just the first of many layers of protection that you should use to secure your computer. Additional layers of protection (and possible future columns from me) include using WindowsUpdate regularly, and installing Anti-Virus software and Anti-Spyware software.

A little protection will go a long way in securing your computer so that you can continue to get your fill of this wondrous World Wide Ed column. 🙂

Happy Surfing!
-Ed.

Addendum: Road Runner customers can choose to use the FREE EZ Armor Security Suite, which includes a firewall solution. This software is free for all Road Runner customers and comes with additional PC protecting software, so it is especially beneficial for those of you who do not have such things as virus, spam and spyware protection and pop-up blockers.