April 30, 2012

Still Here

Pulled a muscle or something in my neck while I was sleeping the other day (btw how does that happen? Weird!).  Kinda ruins my whole "let's sit at the computer and see how many words we can type" attitude. Heh.

If you want to see some pics from the last week, head over to my Posterous page where they've been stacking up.  (It's very easy to post pics over there which is why I've been neglecting the extra work it takes to post them here).

Otherwise, more later once my neck stops hurting.

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April 22, 2012

Can you say: Chicken Little!

Okay, okay, maybe I'm being just a leetle snarky, but there are times when I want to tell the news media to just "get a grip people!".

I've seen the following story floating about for the last couple of days. This morning a friend emailed the following:

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July

In a nutshell, here is what happened:

Hackers infected a network of probably more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system.


First let's take a deep breath. A little over half a million computers world wide is a mere drop in the bucket. It's miniscule. However, if you are one of those people who never do updates on your system and therefore have every drive-by virus and trojan known to man, you have far more problems than whether or not you can get online come July.

For those who want to check their systems because they are worried, you can find a nice handy instruction pdf via the FBI that will walk you through checking your system. Although this is a windows problem for the most part, if you get your DNS addresses served up via a router on your network, you'll want to check your DNS even if you're using an Apple or Linux box. The pdf linked above includes instructions on checking your Mac too.

I remember when this first happened. As I recall, there were a number of businesses who had gotten infected. Because it was difficult, for whatever reason, for these businesses for fix their DNS, the FBI set up the safety net DNS for a while to give them time to clean up their systems (sorry... it wasn't because the home user would have problems... that's basically a non-issue for them). So now they are warning these same businesses that the safety net is going to be dropped and they better get on the ball and get things fixed soon.

The thing that bugs me about how this is all presented is this type of statement:

For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.


This is so irritating because you DO NOT lose internet connection! The connection is there, it does not go away. What you lose is the "address book" of the internet.

The DNS (Domain Name Server) is the place where your computer goes to find "where exactly is www.yahoo.com?" When your computer asks this, the DNS computer says "today you can find it at 98.139.183.24". And then your computer can go merrily along its way looking for that address. You don't have to remember a set of numbers. If Yahoo needs to change the numbers for some reason, all it has to do is tell the DNS server the new numbers. It's all fixed in the background without you having to even know about it. Makes browsing the web possible for everyone.

Honestly though, the whole "OMG!!! OMG!!! The internet will be killed!!!! OMG!!!" Is just a bit too over the top for me. Can we now get back to worrying about things that really are scary? Like running out of wine to drink with dinner or something... Sheesh!

Last of all. If you aren't using a service like OpenDNS or even GoogleDNS, then you should be. GoogleDNS provides only DNS service but it should be secure enough.  I use OpenDNS but do not have an auto updater running, I set it up much like one would set up GoogleDNS. The links above are to the basic setup instructions for each.

The reason I use OpenDNS is that it provides DNS plus extra security. They blocked the Mac Flashback trojan well before Apple put out a fix for it. They also allow you to control what comes in over your home network if you want to set up a free account with them.

Either of these services is FAR better than most ISP DNS offerings. They are more secure and up to date. They also don't suffer from major outages like Comcast often experiences. So please think about changing how you get your DNS to your computer. It's well worth it. And if you have a very bad DNS provider, you'll find the web browsing way way faster.

Happy surfing.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 01:48 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 19, 2012

Wherein I explain macro tubes

And I use pictures. It's over on my posterous site.

Kinda like a microscope for cameras

And I show my complete inability to deal with mechanical stuff.

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 02:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 17, 2012

A Photo post!

Yes I know it's been a while. I kinda lost the enjoyment of the whole photo thing for a while. But I just bought myself some "macro tubes" for my camera. So I decided to pull the camera out and play.

For $10 I got 3 macro extender tubes delivered to my door from Amazon. Not bad. They let you get up close for real macro shots. This is using the 50mm f1.8 lens.

I posted three on my posterous blog here and here.

Then I thought I should throw a couple on this blog too.



The above is a tiny weed flower taken with 3 macro tubes.

Or maybe this one which I think looks kinda dreamy. It's flowers on my blueberry bush.



You can check out all 8 of them on my Smugmug folder here.

Anyone see one they like best?

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 06:27 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 15, 2012

When in doubt start pointing fingers

Well it looks like Google is in a bit of hot water with the government

Google fined $25,000 for impeding FCC investigation

That's it?  Twenty-five thou is not even pocket change for this company, it's more like pocket lint.  They lose more than this between the cracks of the server farm frames every day.

In their infinite wisdom, The Goog has decided they are not turning anything over to the eeeevil US government merely because some of their more zealous employees broke a little bitty law. Pish and tush!

But Google also collected passwords, Internet usage history and other sensitive personal data that was not needed for its location database project, the FCC said.


After all they are only following the dictum of Eric Schmidt their executive chairman.

"If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”


Which, it seems, the company took to include the collection of your username and password along with other data as they drove by.

However, I guess this bit of government interference has been just a tad too much for the old Goog to tolerate. One of the "don't be evil" founders has taken to the news media to loudly proclaim:

Web freedom facing greatest threat: Google founder

Seriously? Apple, Facebook, and the government are all out to destroy the internet? They are all eeeeevil!!! But the Goog... the Goog is pure of heart and wants only the best for us all!

Right.

While portions of the government seem hell bent on taking away our internet freedom, why do I have the feeling Brin is talking about one particular agency? 

Maybe The Goog should take Eric's advice above.  After all he's one of their top guys. Isn't that why they pay him?

Now, how long before I'm totally delisted form Google for this completely offensive post.  Ha.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 09:47 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 13, 2012

Tadaa!

I'm giving a new app, called Tadaa, a try.  Not sure whether I'll do anything with it or not.  It's a competitor to Instagram and from what I'm seeing, just about as annoying to try and figure out.  Ha!  Mainly because I can't do stuff on my regular computer only on my phone or tablet.

So far Instagram has one thing I like - it lets me post my photos to Posterous and that post sends out tweets and facebook notices.

Of course for those who are really off facebook and want nothing to do with it, Tadaa will send out tweets for you so it might be what you're looking for.  If you want a free camera app with lots of fun filters and some nice editing tools check it out. 

If you do grab the app for either iphone or android you can find me at teresahummel. 

***
You know I thought of something to add to this post in the middle of the night and now I can't remember what it was.  I need a brain that works better. 

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 11:29 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 12, 2012

I Need a Spellchecker for my Spellchecker

I was writing something today and used the word "leapt".  My spellchecker did not like it at all.  Angry red dashes appeared under the offending word.  Scary!  I looked at it again and thought the spelling was correct. 

Then I began to doubt myself.  I could be wrong. It's been years since I've written the word (maybe dating back to my time in high school)  Perhaps I'm not even using the right word.  Horrors!!!!

Off I went to dictionary.com which indeed confirmed not only did I spell it correctly, I used it correctly too.  Well that's a relief.  I guess I'm not totally drifting into senility yet.

I fixed the spellchecker by adding the word.  It does worry me that a modern day spellchecker would not have a regular everyday type of word I learned back in grade school.

However, the burning question is... how many people are being misled on a daily basis by spellcheckers that don't know their words?  Now that is scary!

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 10:47 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Weather News You Can Use

I have a Weatherbug widget on my home page. It gives me the cute little weather summary of an icon to show the type of weather then the high/low temps for 3 days. Underneath that is supposed to be weather headlines. Today there is only one and it reads:

Weather news:

California's weather has something for everyone.

So now a travel blog summary of the climate variety in California is "weather news" I need to know.  Not sure why, but Weatherbug tells me so. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 12:20 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Keeping You Informed

Very soon we will know if man can really head out into space for long periods of time.

Malt whiskey experiment aboard the ISS

****

Sometimes you just get lucky

He wasn't wearing a seatbelt

****

Always remember to read carefully before buying something online.

Robot Books: Google this

****

Study confirms not enough sleep raises diabetes, obesity risks

I'm waiting for them to do a study that will tell us "Study confirms: eating raises obesity risk".

****

Sharpen your brain.

Make mine a double

Although I found it interesting they felt the need to add a completely unsubstantiated comment about sleep being just as good at the end of the article. After all, they have to be politically correct - right? heh.

****

And if you ever wondered how a news media mistake along with sloppy attention to detail can mess things up, this is a perfect example.

Update: Texas Fireball was Real After All, NASA Says

You'd think these people might have learned something from playing "telephone" as children... or maybe they didn't and that's the problem. heh.

Now are we ready for Friday?

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 11:00 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 10, 2012

Patchy - Patchy Please

New windows updates came out today.  Time to patch as there are exploits in the wild already

Interestingly enough on reading the article linked above, we're back to nasty stuff being passed along via Windows Office documents.  Please be careful and don't just open stuff that hits your inbox!

You'd think after all these years people would kinda get that.  But apparently such is not the case. 

In Apple news, they will be releasing software to get rid of the Flashback trojan.  They are also trying to take the botnet offline.  Of course as with any botnet, the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of all of it.  Depends on how distributed it is as to whether they can take it down.  We shall see. 

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of your computer.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 08:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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