June 29, 2011

The Eos

I posted one of these photos the other day on my Posterous blog. But wanted to add a bit more to that small post.

Last Sunday we went sailing. In Boston Harbor you could see the masts of this ship - it was huge!

Here’s the shot I took from the water. (click to make them bigger)

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It’s the Eos one of the world’s largest sailing yachts. And quite a beautiful site. I haven’t yet posted other pics I got that day.

This is the bowsprit which is impressively big in person.

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Then we have the main part of the ship. Look at all that lovely wood. It’s just gorgeous.

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The masts are downright enormous!

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The sails (like all the large sailing ships) are likely computer controlled. I think what I love is that it’s got such wonderful lines and looks so graceful. It’s all very proportionate even if it is large. I would love to see how it’s sailed. However, I’m just glad we got a chance to see it and I have to thank Mr. Diller for having it built. Beautiful things are always good to have in the world.


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June 24, 2011

Let's Talk Email

The other day I was blogging about LulzSec and I mentioned a few things you need to look for before you click that link. But I need to add to what I was saying in that post. 


Do you pay your bills online?  Shop online?  Bank online?  If so, you have an entire category of emails hitting your inbox that you should never click on. 

Basically - all of them. 

Ha - bet you didn't think I was going to say that did you. 

All of the sites you visit regularly, especially those involving money, should be bookmarked.  

Every. Single. One. 

When you get an email telling you your credit card bill is due... DO NOT click the link in the email. Is there a sale?  DO NOT click the link. Special offer from your bank? DO NOT click the link.   Got it?

Sure it's easy, it's right there, what could possibly be wrong? Why go to the extra trouble of finding a bookmark and using that instead of the convenience of saving 10 seconds and clicking the email link?

Database breaches. That's why. 

It wasn't too long ago that Epsilon, an email marketing company, had their databases compromised.  Data stolen.  The bad guys got enough information to create very credible emails.  Emails that would look exactly like an email you would normally receive from the companies involved.  They would be able to call you by name and it would appear to be legitimate.  

So if your email was clockwatcher @ mymail.com and your name was Susan Johnson.  You would receive an email addressed to you - Susan.  Not to "Dear Customer" or "Dear Clockwatcher". 

One scenario is this: You click the link, it takes you to a fake login page that looks exactly like the page you are expecting. You've been here before and you know what it looks like. You try to log in. You hit enter, the page goes away, but comes right back to the login page.  You think "oh great what's wrong now?"  You try to log in again, this time it works.  You think it's a glitch in the system. These things happen.  

In fact what has happened is the first page was harvesting your username/password.  Then it redirects you to the real page so you don't even realize you've been had.  They now have time to use the information as they want.  This is but one method of grabbing your data - there are others. 

It's called Spear Phishing.  They are going after particular people with targeted emails rather than anyone they can get. 

You may think, well, none of the Epsilon companies are those I shop at.  Okay, but what about the data breaches that have not been discovered yet? Oh you can be sure they are out there. What about the data breaches that may not be discovered?  How much extra time do you have to get extra charges off your bill, get your money back in the bank, get your identity back?  

It's worth a little extra hassle to either type the url in by hand (most browsers will even auto complete it before you get too far) or click a bookmark.  If it's a sale, you can then find the sale page and/or enter the promo code from the email.  If it's a bill, you can then pay it. And you will know you're in the right place. 

If the company has made it impossible for you to get to the right page on their site without clicking through their email, you need to loudly complain that they are putting you at risk and you want them to stop or you'll take your business elsewhere. 

It's a simple thing to do. Very simple. It may save you major pain.  Consider this some friendly strong arming... don't click that link! 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:56 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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June 21, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

Where was I?  Oh yes, we had gotten to Fenway, seen the baseball game and were about to leave...


Being fairweather fans and rather tired of sitting, we decided to leave at the end of the 8th inning as the Sox were down by 2 runs.  This way we could stop at the Beer Works and have a drink before catching the train back home.  (I was driving home from the train station so I had iced tea). 

We got to see the end of the game from the bar (they lost - what a surprise).  After the game finished and the crowd piled in, it once again got way too loud in the bar.  After one drink, we left to hang out by the train tracks with a huge crowd of  people even though the train wasn't due for about 30 minutes.  It was nice weather for hanging in the parking lot and it didn't hurt the ears. 

Of course the train was late by about 15 minutes - not bad. I guess it was bound to be late because that's the kind of day it was.  It was the last train out so it was very full. It was also pretty dirty with all kinds of empty food and drink containers on the floor. People are such pigs - they couldn't take the trash and throw it out? No... they left it on the train. Sheesh.  Oh well, at least we got seats. 

OTOH - we had a car full of early twenties - not high school but still young - kids.  Girls with screechy voices, boys showing off.  Definitely a little worse for whatever they had been drinking or smoking... 

One of the boys kept getting up to try and dance in the aisle. They were egging on another boy to do the same. ("let's have a contest"... hooboy, let's not!)  The one kid even tried to do a cartwheel.  Yes he landed part way on a seat looking like an idiot. 

The conductor had to try and keep order. He kept asking them to sit down and to watch their language because there were children in the car. They'd just wait til he left and get right back up again. This time there were no young children misbehaving - only these whacked out kids.  

The other weird thing is, this was a local train, and all the stations were announced (by the clear robotic woman voice not the unhearable scratchy tinny voice).  Yet there were at least one or two people at each stop who nearly didn't make it off the train because they were getting to the exit doors just as we were about to leave.  For one guy they even stopped the train after it started moving!  (that would never happen for me!)

Then we stopped at a nothing station called Wellsley Falls.  By nothing I mean no one seemed to get off at all that I could see.  Oddly once we stopped, the train just sat there and sat... and sat... after about 10 minutes the conductor came into the car and said:

"Sorry folks, but we've had some trouble with a passenger up front.  The police are on the way and we'll get going once they pick him up". 

Ooookay fine.  

That one got lots of looks.  After the conductor left, the kids got up and started dancing again and screeching.  The conductor came back and told them it would be no problem for the police to take them too... 

Oddly enough that put a damper on them and they decided to sit instead of push their luck.  I was surprised.  

Eventually we did start moving again. The girls got off the train at the Natick stop and the boys settled down a bit.  We got back to our station about 45 minutes late. We even got off the train before the boys did.   

And thus endeth our Boston adventure.  

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June 20, 2011

Baseball!

On Saturday my husband and I (and a few other people) headed to Fenway for a Red Sox game. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to Fenway. We decided to take the train to avoid the parking hassles… then the fun started.

First of all the Bruins did this little thing called winning the Stanley Cup. The Powers That Be decided to hold the victory parade on Saturday. (can't blame them - it was a great day for a parade) 

However, this moved the start of the baseball game from 1:10pm to 7:10pm (it was a TV thing). They had added extra trains for the day, but everything was running late. And the majority of the parade goers were headed back as we were headed into the city.

We had to do a train change at one of the stations because the MBTA in their infinite wisdom does NOT have all trains stop at Yawkey (the Fenway Park stop) on game day… Geeze.

This was one of the first amusing things seen that day. Just click it to make it bigger.

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I’m wondering why handicapped people have to wait out in the shrubbery…

So we get off the first train and we’re all thinking we just stay where we are and the next train will take it from there… but no! That would be too easy. They decided since it was such a crowded day, that the train we needed would arrive on the outbound tracks. This meant the entire crowd of people headed to the ball park had to cross over… yep - up the steps over and down again. Older, less able people had to use elevators so it took a while.

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The rest of the trip in was uneventful. We now arrive at Fenway Park.

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Of course we wanted to eat dinner first. So we jumped into line at the Boston Beer Works. It was horrendously loud in there (next time I’m bringing earplugs!) but the food is excellent. I had a fantastic Steak and Cheese sandwich with the most awesome fries.

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We arrived at the game after Milwaukee had already gone up by 2 runs in the top of the first. This was about the last out of the inning. Yep we were up in the bleachers in the second to last row.  It's a unique vantage point.  Not to mention Boston fans are definitely entertaining - almost more than the game.  Fun.

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The kids sitting in front of us were riveting all by themselves. The chick with the red hair (the back of her head seen in the pic)… is this a new style I missed out on? She was not the only person who had her hair standing on end - a saw an elderly lady with brown hair, but the exact same style!

The blonde chick sitting next to her was even more um… entertaining. As I told one of the guys who came with us… all you need to know is that she is - blonde, has a waterfall ponytail, talks in a baby voice, is waving a foam finger, and has a gangbanger BF next to her. The fact that she had multiple belly button rings and was wearing a belly shirt along with short shorts and a rhinestone belt - was merely icing on the cake. The BF had the flat brimmed baseball cap with the sticky tag on the bill and the droopy pants…

Yes, all in all a fun night at the baseball game. Very memorable. Tomorrow you’ll get the story of the ride home. No pictures, but it was nearly as fun as the rest of the day combined.


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June 16, 2011

Lulzsec - Careful there

You may or may not have heard of Lulzsec. In the online world they have been grabbing attention by grabbing info.

Massive Gmail phishing attack hits top U.S. officials

They've gotten gmail users, Sony, Citigroup, the IMF, the US Senate, the CIA, and oddly enough writerspace.com (an online website service for writers), probably a few more I'm not aware of or forgot after reading all this.   But I think this conveys the idea... they are prolific, proficient, and they have an agenda.

Today I received an email purporting to be from someone concerned because my email address was in the list of those that had been compromised.  I was sent several links where I supposedly could check for myself...

Ooookey dokey... I'll get right on that. 

While anything is possible. It's highly unlikely that the email was real.  First of all, I have to go through major contortions to get at my gmail password... I don't know it so I can't just type it out. I use 1Password and I never have to type my passwords once they are stored, the passwords are long and random.   I don't have them memorized and I have not gone to the trouble to find any password and pass it on.  Along with other safety features and 1Password, I am pretty sure I'm covered so far.

So, unless I missed something, I have not been "phished". 

It's always possible that someone broke into the gmail servers and managed to steal data.  Google claims this did not happen, but in the world of 1's and 0's anything is possible. 

What I did NOT do is respond in any way to the email I received.  I did not click any links, I did not write them back.  I trashed it.  I also changed my password as a precaution and I'm keeping an eye on my sent email box to make sure nothing is going out that I did not send.

If you happen to receive anything similar, I highly recommend you do the same. Unless you have a computer you feel like trashing along with an email address you'd like to abandon, it's not worth the problems to pursue trying to find out what's at the other end of the links. 

Consider this your email safety tip of the day.  Watch what you click!  Before you hit that link, think about what might be at the other end. 

Yes, you can receive emails from the email box (or return email address) of a person you know. This does NOT mean it comes from that person. Their email account may have been hijacked OR someone may be "spoofing" the return address so what you see looks like someone you know. 

Here are some things to look at when deciding whether or not to click a link or respond:

Does it look suspicious? 
So one of your friends sends you a link that ends in .ru - all it says is "Watch this".   Really? Are you going to click it? 

Does it even begin to sound like someone you know? 
You get an email from a friend but it's spelled strangely, it's not at all how they usually write, and the link looks strange (or is one of those compressed urls).  Are you going to click it?

Do you know the person?
A "good Samaritan" sends you an email telling you to "check here" to see if there is a problem. Are you going to click the link?

If you answered yes to any of the above - you are already or soon will be in trouble.  At the very least, if it's a friend, email them back and ask if they sent the link.  Better yet, just give it a miss. Trash the email.  There is very little out there that you will miss by doing this.  And you will keep yourself a little bit safer.  (No you won't see the latest naked celeb... what a shame)

There are more I could add here, but I hope this is a nice little sample to get you thinking. Even if I mentioned every type of phishing email I've seen, I'd still miss one. The real point is think before you click.

Oh yeah - never ever ever give your password out to anyone.  If you ever find that you have given out a password - even for what seems to be a good reason... change it as soon as possible.

If you use gmail - you may want to enable their new 2 factor authentication.  They explain it here.

That's just a few little things.  I didn't want to write a book so do not consider this to be complete.  Just something to jog your elbow and make you pay attention.

Stay safe!
 

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:20 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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June 15, 2011

Time to Break Out the Real Victory Dance!

The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup!!!! They were the definite underdogs.  They were going to lose in 4 games.  Vancouver was too good for 'em.

Only problem... the games have to be played and the Bruins decided to play. 

So here's your victory dance!



They'll have to add a verse to the song I think.

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June 14, 2011

I Might Have Posted Earlier

Except I can't post anything from my ipad.  It was working for a bit then Pixy must have changed things back.  Ah well, I've been so busy - or exhausted - I didn't quite make it into my office to post on my real computer (which I prefer using in any case). 

Over the weekend we finished our sailing classes.  It was a wild and crazy final - we sailed around Long Island (no not the one in NY, the one in Boston Harbor - ha).   I'm fairly certain our instructor had a bet on with the others as to who would finish first.  So we booked it around that island - most of the time heeled over at a 45 degree angle.  I managed to fall twice (once with the tiller in hand) but didn't go overboard.  Nuns and cans figured heavily into the final day of sailing...

I think we'll be sailing at a more sedate pace and sticking to the inner harbor until we are way more comfortable when we go out on our own.  It was instructive if only to show what the boat was capable of doing.  But it's damned hard to do that when you don't have a good feel for how you need to brace to keep yourself in the right place.

Oh yeah, it was raining most of the time too. This cut down considerably on the harbor traffic which we were very happy about.  We'll make our share of mistakes, but I think we'll be okay.  We'll certainly be doing things much much more leisurely. 

In other news, Microsoft released a big patch blob of code today so do update your systems if that's your flavor of OS. 

Now I'm off to read for a bit.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Kindle?  Well I do.  I love all my toys, but the Kindle has made reading easy for me to do again. 

I only got a few pics over the weekend - none from the boat.  I was too busy trying to sail it, or pick up our "man overboard" - we called him Pete - and answer questions.  All in all fun, but lots of work.  My knees will take a while to recover, they are very bruised up. heh.

More later.


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June 09, 2011

On the Water

In an effort not to damage our good cameras, we bought an Olympus p&s waterproof camera to take with us on the boat. The tide pics and those we took on the water were done with that camera. Not too bad, although it's really hard to get a clear shot when the boat is bobbling all over the place.

Here’s a fairly decent one of Boston.

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This is less, clear but with more white caps!

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The view from the floor. heh. You can see it’s a bit wet where the water has been splashing over the bow.

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Coming in for a landing at Logan

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Last of all we have this lovely boat that sailed by. It was a beauty. Wish we’d gotten a better pic of it.

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Hope you enjoyed the virtual sail.


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June 08, 2011

I Can Tell You Why

Saw this headline on my NECN feed

Vermont boating season off to slow start

That would be because they are all sailing around Boston Harbor.  All of them.

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Tides!

You may not know this but the tides in Boston Harbor are around 9.5 ft on average. That’s a lot more than I thought it would be. (no idea why that information surprised me but it did) I got some pics at low tide when we arrived for sailing on Sunday morning. Then again at mid-day. We missed high tide because we were out on the boat. You can see where the high tide marks are on the piers and on the walls, but it’s fun to see the difference in pictures.

Here’s the dock at the Boston Sailing Center. (as always you can click to make ‘em bigger).

The boat named "Katrina” is a Soling the one named "Alex" to the left is a J24.  The Soling is the type of boat we’ve been sailing.

Low tide - you can see the corner on the right is not under water at all:

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About mid-tide you can see the water is half way up to the high water marks.

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This floating dock is pretty cool. We think it belongs to some condos but not sure:

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Later it is definitely riding higer.

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Fun with tides. Tomorrow I might have boats.


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