February 23, 2011

Finally Catching Up With the Rest of Us

Looks like the NY Times is finally catching up on their tech warnings to their subscribers. Guess what! Firesheep, which was released last October, might be a security problem when using public wifi…

Gee. Ya think?

Well, at least they are finally warning people. A four month lag in that warning seems to be a bit excessive, but better late than never I suppose.

Yeah… using a wifi hot spot is not the safest way to access your internet accounts - especially those things like email that you would like to keep private.

One sentence caught my eye and left me gaping at the screen.

Until recently, only determined and knowledgeable hackers with fancy tools and lots of time on their hands could spy while you used your laptop or smartphone at Wi-Fi hot spots.

Thus she has declared, anyone who bothered to do just a modicum of reading and play around with a couple of freebie tools, available to the world with step by step instructions (for years), is a “knowledgeable hacker with fancy tools” - who knew!


Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 03:04 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 22, 2011

Fun with Teeth and other things

Had a dentist appointment today. Found out the crown I have had for over 20 years has finally decided to crack. It was almost funny... my dentist (who should know me better by now) seemed as if she was trying to convince me to get it fixed. While I was trying to tell her I'd be happy if I could get it fixed right then. It was a comical conversation.

So I go back in a couple of weeks and we'll see what happens when she looks underneath. I'm hoping it hasn't been cracked long (it wasn't on my last visit 6 months ago). But my teeth are notorious for not playing nice. Ah well, time enough to fret once we get to it. The good thing is they have all the latest toys and she can make my new crown right then. If there's no major problem I should be done that day.

Whew.

***

While getting my teeth cleaned the hygienist had the news on. I was not able to find it online, but there was an actual comical story - yes in the middle of the local news not at the end! A man, somewhere around here, was arrested for using large firecrackers to blow up the piles of snow at the end of his driveway. Personally I thought it was an ingenious idea, but the police didn't think too highly of it. Heh.

****

If you are into somewhat more techie stuff, this is involving the group Anonymous and Wikileaks. Here is the back story to get up to speed (it's a quick read)

Lessons Learned Thanks to HBGary and Anonymous

But this is the one that fascinates...

Anonymous Speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack

Which just goes to show how very easy it is to let one thing slide... then another... until it's too late. The domino effect takes over. Had HBGary only missed one of these things, it would have been much harder to break in, maybe even impossible. But the chain had weak links all the way along.

It also shows that security companies are first and foremost "companies". They are in business. If business is too difficult to conduct on a day to day basis, humans tend to fall into habits that make the grunt work easier. This is not conducive to having a very secure system.

This is why, after all these years and with the full knowledge of what "should" be done to keep computer data safe, we still have high profile cases.

There will have to be a breakthrough in computer security methods before anything really changes. As it stands now, security is so cumbersome, time consuming, and such a PITA, I don't think it's possible to keep up with it. I hope someone really smart is out there thinking of some truly radical methods to change things. Or inventing some piece of hardware or software that will change things. Only time will tell.

I wish I was smart enough to do it.

Ah well, that's it for today. Maybe I can eek eke out more time tomorrow.

Posted by: Teresa in Life Stuff at 11:57 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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February 18, 2011

How to Induce Wild Speculation

Periodically I see headlines like this one at the Mac Rumors Web site

Job Posting Sparks Speculation Regarding Apple Television Set

(no I haven’t read it just saw the headline on a feed)

I see similar types of headlines on various other tech sites for every Apple product known and under speculation for being developed. Which makes me wonder if Apple hired someone to create these job postings for grins. I don’t work for Apple, but I find them (the resultant headlines) hilarious.


Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 03:40 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 17, 2011

When Looks Matter

No wonder they’re in trouble… the Wisconsin Dems on the lam.

I mean really. They don’t want to vote on something so not only do they run away on a bus (a bus? seriously???) but then, in an even more mystifyingly idiotic move, they head to Rockford, IL of all places!!! Not that there’s anything wrong with Rockford, but damn… at least head to Chicago where you could make a long weekend of it and even look mildly sophisticated.

The entire demonstration is a #FAIL. They not only look like recalcitrant children, but dull unimaginative children at that. Thanks for the laugh guys.


Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 06:36 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 16, 2011

Just What I Wanted...

Wow! Just what I always wanted… a facebook phone.

Right… I’ll run right out and buy one.

Or not.

Today at Mobile World Congress, HTC unveiled two new smartphones that will feature dedicated Facebook buttons for easy access to the popular social-networking site.

Yep. Now you too can have a phone with a dedicated button just for facebook. And it will “gently” remind you so you don’t forget to post those status updates.

Um… alrighty then.

If we were back in the mid 90’s I would have been just as bewildered if a cell phone company put out an AOL phone. But that’s just me.

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 11:08 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 14, 2011

Who Watches the Watchers?

This was bound to happen at some point. For that matter I'm betting it's happened to others but hasn't been caught yet.

Immigration Officer Sacked for Putting Wife He Didn't Like on Terror Watch List

An immigration officer put his own wife on a terrorist watch list – ­so she could not get home from a trip to Pakistan.

Even though the article gets all angsty about her waiting 3 years, I'm pretty sure she figured out he was jerking her chain after the first couple of days.

So how did he get caught?

The officer was caught out when bosses vetted him after he went for a promotion that required him to have a higher level of security clearance. They realised his wife was on the watch list and asked him for an explanation. ­He had no choice but to confess what he had done – and was fired.

Yes, a real bright boy. Just the kind you want in charge of your country's security. So you have to wonder, is our own Homeland Security any better? Who does watch the watchers?


Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 11:16 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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February 13, 2011

Sunday... February Sunday... Ho-Hum

Yes we have arrived at the mid-February blahs. I dislike February. It’s the middle of winter. It’s cold. The prospects for warming up in the next 2 months are almost nil. It makes doing anything at all feel like a long slow slog up hill in cement boots.

Work. Exhausting unfulfilling work at that.

Valentine’s Day… meh. It does nothing for me.

One thing I saw yesterday did make me very happy. Kristine Rusch announced on twitter that her Retrieval Artist series of books is being reissued. She’s created The Retrieval Artist Website to keep track of the releases. Plus she has more stories coming soon! Excellent! I love this series of books and I guess I’m not the only one.

Like Orson Scott Card (read his review at the link. He has a terrific overview of the stories and it would be silly of me to try and rewrite it) I came across this series on Audible.com as my first free download. It’s read by Jay Snider who does an outstanding job on all the books. The man is a storytelling artist. The voices stay true to character through the entire series of 6 books which I find amazing.

Now they will be reissuing the books in paperback for those who prefer to read a “real” book. The Disappeared has already been issued. The series is out on Kindle (possibly Nook too although I haven’t checked). And new books are coming soon. That almost makes February okay. Yes, I’ve even gotten hold of the short stories on Kindle to read. Definitely worth it.

In his review Orson laments that the books aren’t numbered. I was able to figure out which order they were published without too much trouble, but Kris has the order listed on the new website to make it easy for people who don’t want to try and figure it out. I liked listening to them in order even if it isn’t strictly necessary. The back story does build through each book even if the books themselves are stand alone.

Orson mentions this, but I think I should too… If you are an aspiring writer/small business person - I highly recommend Kris’s Freelancer’s Survival Guide. I’m not a writer and I never will be, but her advice on the business side of writing is worth reading. It’s even worth a look if you are interested in starting some other type of small business. And she’s put it all out on her website for free. Pretty incredible.

So if you’re looking for some reading material to get you through the rest of this winter. Check it out.

Now I think I will listen to this series again. It’s that good.


Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 05:16 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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February 09, 2011

Hand Cramps

That's what I have after scraping the driveway yet again yesterday.  Didn't get the entire thing cleared before the subfreezing temps set in, but did get enough to get the steep parts dried out.  OTOH it hurts to type.  

Some winters you just can't win.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 10:56 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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To Get The Right Answer...

Ask the right question.

Or

To get the right response when doing an internet search...

Search for the right thing.

Of course it helps if you have some idea of what that thing is. 

I have spent a week searching for the solution to a problem we were having with some servers.  I found the answer by accident yesterday when something I read finally got me asking the right question.

One problem down - on to the next.  Yes, I'm now searching for the answer to yet another irritating problem on our work servers.  I keep poking at these search engines hoping I will find something worthwhile.

What I find are a myriad of people with the same problem along with a whole bunch of "helper people" who have no clue, but are throwing out all kinds of weirdass suggestions to solve things.

Reading all this crap reminds me of a time years ago when I stumbled across a forum where someone was trying to get rid of a file left by a virus (back when viruses were more benign than they are now).   The file attributes were set so it couldn't be deleted using windows explorer. 

The helpful "tech" guy went through a long involved explanation to get rid of said file involving rebooting in to safe mode among other things.  As I sat reading it, I was shaking my head wondering if the kid (had to be a kid) giving the tech advice even knew what a Command prompt was.  And that all the person had to do was open such a prompt, change the attribute on the file to +w and they could then delete it - all within about 10 seconds.  No booting into safe mode or any other time intensive idiocy.

It's a jungle full of muck out on the net.  At technical meetings too... Many people full of self importance and "good advice" most of which is to spend money for some software we don't need.  There is a very high testosterone level in this field. All these guys marking out their territory of "this is the way to do things - this way and only this way will do!"

Everyone thinks they are 1000% right and everyone else is wrong. Not to mention the software they like is 1000% better than anything else out there and everything else is complete crap.

All this cruft takes up search engine result space and must be waded through to find the one answer I'm looking for.

That's what I've been doing and it makes me tired. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 12:36 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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February 06, 2011

Still Here

Just been pretty busy with a big meeting and work and email and... well, you get it.  Today I finished filing all the paper laying around in my office closet.  Scanned in some docs I wanted to be sure I had online copies of (I know shouldn't end a sentence like that but I don't really care today - heh). 

Then I got to looking at home office furniture. A most frustrating pastime for me. No one ever makes what I have in mind.  It amazes me that so many makers of office desks assume you have one computer... what if you have two?  Like I do?  Then what? 

I hate hutches - they are never proportioned the way I might need them to be - not to mention that a hutch would not work at all in my office.

I'm currently using a curved Ikea corner computer table.  It has no drawers and that's is an annoyance (always has been).  I've had this stuff for over 10 years.  I would be happy to change it if I could find something else I liked... but so far no go. 

Oh well. Time to end a pointless post that just says "here I am". 

Off to watch the Super Bowl.  Can't wait for the commercials!

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 05:30 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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