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Showing posts from July, 2012

Grepping The Gropers: Airport Security

Grepping the Gropers:Airport Security was a talk given at this year's DEFCON by security professional Bryan Halfpap, and is a pretty sorry tale of lax network security at McCarran International Airport in LasVegas, NV - not some rinky-dink regional airport, but one with almost 40 million passengers each year. The basic story is that, because a Guest account was left active on a server (and apparently never checked for several years), it opened up a lot of information to scrutiny. The kicker is, that when Halfpap tried to bring this to McCarran's attention, he was met with silence. BetaNews

Android NFC Hijack Exploit

The Android software that facilitates Near Field Communication (NFC) on mobile devices can apparently be used to hijack the device via the web browser. NFC is one of the Next Big Things, allowing communication over very short distances (a few inches) to allow easy, fast monetary transactions, photo sharing and the like. It's not the NFC protocol that is at fault in this case, but Androids' use of it. Hopefully, this can be fixed quickly by Google. Techspot

Nikola Tesla - Uber Geek!

The Oatmeal has a great piece about Nikola Tesla; the writer is a little bit biased, but it's well done with humor and some fascinating facts about a real uber geek. It's not just a comic, it's not just an Infographic, it's not just an article, it's a mish-mash of all of the above - but it's effective!
TheOatmeal

Just For Fun

Black Hat Keynote Gloomy

The keynote speech at this year's Black Hat security conference was frank, and troubling. Delivered by former FBY "Cybercop", Shawn Henry, it highlighted a ticking time bomb: The attacks we know of are only “the tip of the iceberg” Mr. Henry said. He said the public won’t comprehend the repercussions of a cyberattack until it affects something more tangible like their gas line or water supply. “We knew about Osama bin Laden in the early ’90s. After 9/11, it was a worldwide name,” Mr. Henry said. “I believe that type of thing can and will happen in the cyberenvironment. And I think after it does, people will start to pay attention. NYTimes

Apple's Nod To "Heads Up"

Google's Glass project recently caused some buzz, with it's promise of a wearable "heads up" display that did not look too goofy. Apple has also been working on head's up display technology for some years, and has a couple of patents on the technology. It's unclear if the two will be competing in exactly the same space or not, although I would guess that both wearable devices will be part of a system that includes a smartphone to provide the computing power. Glass was at least initially presented as an augmented reality kind of device, while Apple's technology seems to be intended as secondary display for the iPhone (for watching movies, for example). PatentlyApple

If Apple Made A Bicycle...

...yeah, it would probably look a lot like this imaginative effort:


OS X Mountain Lion Is Good To Go

Apple's latest upgrade to it's 10-year-old (plus) OS-X operating system is a success by all accounts. It's inexpensive at $20, and while it does not add many new items, it does put a nice polish on existing features and smooths out some of the rough edges from the previous version, 10.7 Lion. The latest OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion should be a must have for most Mac users then. One interesting feature they did add is voice-to-text functionality, using Siri technology (although Siri does not appear "in person"). ArsTechnica has a giant review of the whole shebang. ArsTechnica

HTML5 Or Is It HTML5?

Sounds like we are taking a step backwards here, with the revelation that the two Standards bodies that have been working together on HTML5 are going to start doing things differently:
WC3 is going the traditional and much more time consuming route of creating a traditional standard which WHATWG refers to as a 'snapshot' of their living standard. Of course now being free of WC3's slower methods WHATWG can accelerate the pace of introducing new technologies to HTML5.Slashdot

Retro Gaming On Portable Devices

The good folks at LifeHacker have an article on using portable devices in order to play "golden oldie" retro games. There are a lot of resources available, and modern smartphones and the like can be great gaming platforms. The article is separated by hardware type, with plenty of links to get you started. LifeHacker

Just For Fun (again)

Just For Fun...

Cloud Antivirus Software

I started using Panda Cloud Antivirus again yesterday, after they came out with a new version. I had tried it before, and while it seemed to work okay I eventually went back to MS Security Essentials. I wanted to see what had changed with Panda and if it worked with my secondary layer of protection, PCTools Threatfire. It installed quickly, ran an unobtrusive scan and then stayed out of the way. I did a quick test with a standard EICAR file to make sure it was working (it was) and will check on it as the days go by - otherwise, it seemed like the product was more more responsive than previously; looks good so far.

Food Trucks And iPads

Not a combination you might readily think of, Food Trucks and iPads. There are about 3 million food trucks in the USA and about 5 million food carts - we have ones outside our offices most Fridays, in fact. Mmm, Food Trucks. Sorry. Anyway, they can already use scanners attached to a smartphone to allow them to accept credit cards if needed - and now they can have a fully-fledged point of sale app for their iPad. Indeed, with food joints like In-And-Out Burger dipping their toes into the food cart business (that sounded a bit gross, sorry), that's just the ticket for them, giving them a standardized way to manage things "out in the wild". AllThingsD

Gosh, Microsoft Still Doesn't Quite Get It

Article first published as Gosh, Microsoft Still Doesn't Quite Get It on Technorati.

I have worked with Microsoft software for years, in various capacities, so I take the articles below at face value. Based up my experience, Microsoft still doesn't quite 'get it' in many ways. For example, Windows 8 is championing the new Metro interface, which means to bring touch to Windows in a powerful way and allow Microsoft to jump into the tablet market.

Windows 8 Metro Apps Wanting?

An OSNews article casts real doubt on the capabilities of Metro apps in Windows 8 - particularly since we are pretty far along the road to release now that it's July already. It seems to me that this is A Big Deal - without appealing, functional Metro apps, Windows 8 could be a bit of a stinker. It's hard to understand how Microsoft could really drop the ball on something like this, at such a critical time for them, with sales being taken by tablets and other mobile devices. C'mon guys. OSNews

IT Security Tricks That Work

I am not an IT Security expert - by any stretch. However I am interested/fascinated by it (I even took - and passed - a SANS SEC401 basic security course!), but that's about where it ends in my day-to-day life and work. That said, the article below from InfoWorld really caught my eye. It mentions a lot of things that I once thought were good steps, but since seem to have fallen into disfavor. The article argues that in this day of automated hacker tools and so on, "security by obscurity" and other tricks can really help cause the bad guys move on to the next target. 
InfoWorld

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain

Unless you are a software developer yourself, you probably don't think much about these mysterious creatures. However, developers are people too, and can find themselves getting screwed over just like the rest of us. Blurity is a utility for minimizing blur in digital images. The developer noticed a drop of in the number of installations actually completing. People would download the product, but apparently not finish installing it. Puzzling, and frustrating since those were potential lost sales.

Digg Dug Itself Into A Hole

Digg, one of the first of the current crop of social media sites, is being sold to Betaworks for half a million dollars. To put that into some perspective, Digg was reportedly in negotiations to be purchased by Google a few years ago for 200 million dollars, after having raised some 45 million from venture capitalists. It's tough out there, and the risks and rewards are quite amazing. WallStJournal

ALDI Forges Ahead With EUFI Secure Boot PC

ALDI, the German-based discount grocery chain (!), has a rather interesting claim to fame as it is offering an in-house brand computer that is one of the first commercially available PCs to comply with the Windows 8 Secure Boot specification. The Medion brand computer has EUFI Secure Boot compliant firware, intended to prevent malware from being able to run before the OS starts up. ALDI - who would have thunk it? TheHSecurity

Windows 8 "Time Machine"

Apple's Time Machine backup system is a user-friendly and intuitive backup system for Mac computers running the OS X operating system. In Windows 8, Microsoft is offering their take on the same kind of functionality with File History. The mechanism behind File History is not new; the VSS service has been available since Windows XP, and persistent shadow copies have been lurking around since Server 2003. In Windows 8 though, it will be presented in a more accessible package, as File History. BuildingWindows8Blog

Crappy Old Tech You Can Still Buy

As a card-carrying old fart who works in the tech field,  it pains me to confess that technology can get obsolete quickly, which makes it all the more curious that you can still buy a lot of crusty old tech items new - things like VCR rewinders *shudder*. Or electric typewriters (wth?). Gizmodo has a list of seven other dubious "goodies", you might be able to come up with a few more...
Gizmodo

When Breakfast Breaks

Just for fun...

Modified Camera To Catch Cancer Cells

We probably all know a loved one or friend who has suffered from some kind of cancer, and billions are spent to try to find both cures and better early detection methods. Most cancers have a better survival rate  if they are caught early. One type of detection for breast cancer uses a process call flow cytometry, which uses a special high-speed camera process to analyze blood cells in real time. Researchers art UCLA have come up with a significant improvement to this technique that promises 100 times faster performance than existing analyzers. CNET

'EVER' Project Looks To The Past, Future

Old coots like me (particularly those of us from Europe) probably recall a time when electrified public transportation was very common - buses, tram cars and so on. Well, think of a system that could provide power to electric automobiles but without electrified tracks, pantographs, etc. - effectively giving "unlimited" range to your electric car. The EVER project (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway) in Japan is looking into that possibility. Early days yet, but an interesting idea. Engadget