To correct a letter regarding software (Microsoft Windows):
I do consider myself an expert in this area for several reasons. Partly because I do it for a living, but past jobs have required off grid computing for various security reasons.
1. All current and and past versions of Windows can be activated without a network (Internet) connection. This is generally accomplished via an automated call to Microsoft through the use of the keypad and voice prompts. I’ve done this on ALL versions of Windows. Some companies and government rules require that certain computers are always off the grid and Microsoft is aware of this. As a result, they continue to make this available. To accomplish this, try installing Windows from a disk or USB and then try to activate it without an Internet connection. It should give the option of using phone. It is easy to do, and does require any personal info.
2. Additionally; most software that normally uses the Internet for activation will also allow phone or email activation. When using email, you would of course use a separate computer.
3. Many OEM (original equipment manufacturer) operating system restore disks will automatically activate upon installation as long as they are installed on an approved machine. For example, most Dell operating system disks will re-install and be pre activated when installed on compatible Dell PC’s.
4. I believe the reason the first author suggested using Windows XP, was because he/she believes it was written before the invention of mass spying by corporate and government interests. This is probably correct, but not provable. Most commercial software written today is ,effectively encrypted in a way that prevents unauthorized persons from analyzing it for bugs, or other intentional/ unintentional flaws. This is good for keeping your work safe for copycats, but is not ideal when looking for “bugs”.
5. Without getting into too many hypotheticals, I believe that no matter what software or version you choose (Apple, Microsoft, Linux, DOS, etc) there is a level of security risk that comes from using code (programs) written by someone else. Even the most highly secured system is not immune from attack. What you can be reasonably sure about however is that a computer without an outside network connection is orders of magnitude safer from attack than a networked system. The most common and unsafe connections include WIFI, Ethernet cable, (including VPN) Bluetooth, dial up, or sneaker net (look it up).
6. As a side note, I recently read that the German government recommended against using Windows 8 due to known back doors. http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/34119/german-federal-government-warns-on-the-security-dangers-of-windows-8/
Stay informed and aware as technology changes overnight. – A. Techie
There is a fantastic free piece of software for managing a digital library called Calibre. The especially nice thing about it is that the portable version can be run directly from a CD or thumb drive without installing. With this application you can categorize and search your books instead of having to dig through hundreds or thousands of different different files or folders.
I have an external hard drive and a laptop in my EMP stash with over 5,000 digital books stored. (Just In Case.) – Elizabeth G.
Ralph in Hawaii later noted: A new 1.2 Release( on September 6, 2013) of the software is available at Calibre-ebook.com. The new Windows 32bit, 64bit and Portable, OS X and Linux versions are there as well as Video Demo, Help and other links.