Wednesday, November 26, 2008

bags and wallets/billfolds block radio waves

I was surfing around and stumbled across the Oakley Vertical Computer Bag 3.0:
"...If you have a Bluetooth-enabled PDA or mobile phone, the accessory pocket uses RF shielding to help prevent unwanted access by nosey jerks."

With so many cards (identification/access/etcetera) having RFID in them, also take a look at:
a RFID Blocking Passport Billfold...
a RFID Blocking Wallet...

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Saturday, November 22, 2008


Have you considered ridesharing? Services exist that you may not be aware of...

I was watching a television show where a member management of GoLoco was interviewed. Knowing that there is a government sponsored service in my area, I became curious about other possible services.

My first suggestion is to search the internet for: "ride share", and your city or area. When I did, I noticed that eRideShare and craigslist have services to try to connect those needing transportation with those who need some.

I live in an area with no public transportation, and I don't own a vehicle of any type. Speaking for those in a similar situation as I: it would be life enhancing for those who have transportation to share it.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

digital cameras are traceable

(This should be of no big surprise to anyone.)

Digital photos can be traced back to cameras leave a telltale fingerprint buried in the pixels of every image they capture. Forensic scientists can use this fingerprint to tell what camera model was used to take a shot...

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

USB monitors

We received an e-mail message asking about connecting a monitor to a USB port...

I found three monitors that connect via a USB port:
the LG L206WU-WF 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor...
the 19" Samsung UbiSync 940UX...
and the 4.3" Century LCD-4300U.

You will find adapters available from various sources...EVGA Corporation has a couple of USB-to-monitor adapters:

UV Plus+ | Model: UV16
Part Number: 100-U2-UV16-A1
Max Resolution (Analog and Digital) 1680x1050

UV Plus+ | Model: UV12
Part Number: 100-U2-UV12-A1
Max Resolution (Analog and Digital) 1440x900

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USB ID (for humans and animals)

"Medic ID bracelets or medical alert emblems have only a word or phone number on them. MedicTag is designed to let you carry all your emergency information with you at all times..."

MedicTag is a USB digital memory chip drive that contains your emergency information. Any emergency service, ambulance, police or rescue squad with a laptop computer can have instant access to all your emergency information: emergency contacts, existing conditions, allergies, medications...

It could be useful to: joggers, cyclists, hikers , hunters, those with alzheimer's, those who live in areas where natural disasters could happen (hurricanes/fires/floods/earthquakes/tornados)...

The CARE Memory Band is a USB drive-integrated wristband.

For pets, there's the PetSafe Micro I.D. Rescue Collar (available in 3 sizes PETCO retail stores nationwide and online).

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Monday, November 10, 2008

software from trusted sources can be bad

Just a reminder that breaches in security can happen to anyone...


November 06

"...I was trying to download a sandbox application...I got unexpectedly re-routed to

"...then I got re-routed to another page on list of recommended software includes AntiVirus Defender, an adware program that we detect as not-a-virus:AdWare.Win32.OneStep.z...

" assures users that all programs available via the website have been analysed, and don’t contain any malicious’ve got to stay very alert indeed to make sure that you don’t get caught out."

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pure Networks Security Scan

I tried the Pure Networks Security Scan on one of my computers...some of my results are below. You must enable Active Scripting to run test...


Pure Networks Security Scan

Redirected Websites
"...File and Printer Sharing might have problems due to the guest account being disabled. This can cause problems if you are trying to connect to shares on this computer from older Windows systems like Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows ME. It can also cause problems if you don't have exactly the same user names and passwords on all of your PCs."

Software Firewall
"The 'Microsoft Windows Firewall' firewall is enabled on your get file and printer sharing working between computers, you need to open some ports in the software firewall...If you are interested in easily sharing files and printers on your network, download the free version of Network Magic - it takes care of everything for you. If you are having problems getting the most out of your network, download the free version of Network Magic. It will even show you a Network Map and tell you which PCs have a firewall installed and which ones don't."

[I DID NOT FIND A "FREE" VERSION ON THEIR WEBSITE...maybe they mean that there are some free features available in the trial version... - SLICK]

Antivirus Software
"No enabled antivirus software was found."

Windows Update Not Automatic
"Windows Update is not set to automatically download and install updates."

Internet Connection
"Not connected to the Internet."

Dynamic IP Address
"Your computer is configured to automatically receive an IP address...The IP address that this computer is using is..."

Router Present
"Found router (make, model, and IP address)...We found a hardware firewall inside the...router which is protecting your network."

Router Password
"Your router has the default password set. The password for your router is currently set to the well-known factory default. All routers from a given manufacturer ship with a well-known default password. Having a default password is a bad thing because hackers can then use this to access your router..."

[The router doesn't belong to me...I am not the subscriber of the internet service is a DSL router... - SLICK]

Multiple Router Check
"Your router is connected normally to the Internet. You are connected normally to the Internet through one router."

Router Firmware Version
"Firmware possibly out of date."

Default Network Name (SSID)
"Your network name...has been changed from the factory default. Your wireless network name (SSID) has been changed from the router's factory default SSID. Excellent work. Having your SSID set to the factory default can be bad for two reasons: 1) if your network isn't encrypted, other users are more likely to connect to your network unexpectedly and 2) if you use your computer outside of your home, it is more likely to unexpectedly connect to other networks using that same default SSID."

Signal Strength
"Your wireless network signal strength is 'good'..."

Secure Wireless Connection
"You are connected to a secure, encrypted wireless network...using the 802.11 WEP standard. The wireless network you're connected to is using an encryption method called WEP."

Wireless Network Name (SSID) Conflict
"Your wireless network is the only one in range with the network name..."

Wireless Encryption
"You have 802.11 WEP enabled, but your router supports 802.11 WPA encryption which is stronger encryption. Your router is correctly configured to use an encryption method called WEP...Your router also supports the more secure WPA encryption method. WEP has a number of security flaws that make it easy for hackers to crack. We recommend you consult your router vendor's manual about configuring your wireless router to use WPA instead. (Note that there are some devices that support WEP but not WPA, so you should check all devices that connect wirelessly to your network to verify they support WPA.)

[See my statement below about my experience with modifying Qwest DSL modems... - SLICK]

Network Magic Wireless Protection Compatible
"Your router is fully compatible with Network Magic Wireless Protection. Your...router is on the list of routers that are fully supported by Network Magic Wireless Protection..."

MAC Address Filtering
"Your router is not using MAC address filtering...We recommend that you enable MAC address filtering..."

SSID Broadcast
"Your router is broadcasting its SSID."


I've had trouble attempting to configure Qwest DSL modems: changes I made, that I consider to be simple, had disabled wireless internet access. So, I refuse to try to make any adjustments for this Qwest DSL subscriber unless: I have a full day to devote to it, and I have a Qwest technical support person on the phone with me.

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geek dating flowchart

Friday, November 7, 2008

WPA2 secure, but not completely

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) was the latest version of encryption...more secure than that which came before it (Wired Equivalent Privacy/WEP). As has been, that which can be "locked" can be "broken into"; there are no absolutes in security. A presentation about this issue will be given at a conference in Japan: "Gone in 900 Seconds, Some Crypto Issues with WPA" - Erik Tews...

First, I suggest you consider updating:
your operating system...
any software you use related to (wired and wireless) networking...
and your hardware (routers, network cards, etcetera).

The weak portion of WPA is the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), not the Advanced Encryption System (AES). If you can, in your wireless router, consider (only using AES and) disabling TKIP.


Links to more information:

The Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)/Wireless Provisioning Services Information Element (WPS IE) update for Windows XP with Service Pack 2

Battered, but not broken: understanding the WPA crack

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

AT&T To Take A Gamble In Reno, Nevada, Capping Limits Of Internet Services

AT&T serves up a new 'trick' and takes away the 'treat' in Reno, Nevada
as noted in an October 31st letter to the Federal Communications Commission by AT&T's General Attorney, Jack Zinman, where in AT&T outlines its' intent to place limits on the amount of usage any one account can upload or download each month.

With all the uproar over Comcast's 250GB limitation recently imposed on their customers, Reno AT&T Internet Service customers are sure to want to beat the house when they discover that their ISP has raised the table stakes by capping their 'unlimited service' at only 20GB for some users and 150GB for others.

"For customers that exceed their bandwidth allotment more than once – the size of which varies based on the service level, starting with a 20 GB limit for 768kbps customers and topping out at 150 GB for 6 mbps lines – they will find an additional charge of $1 per gigabyte on their monthly bill," reports Tom Corelis, blogging for Daily Tech.

The filing notice points out that only a small minority of customers "consume a disproportionately large amount of the total bandwidth available," and that as of now (The letter says this "trial" begins "in November.") customers who exceed 80% of this cap will be notified that they are getting close to their limit and be reminded of the usage tier and that additional charges will apply if they exceed that limit.

The letter does state that new and existing customers not willing to participate in this "trial" run, will be permitted to "cancel their broadband internet access service without an early termination penalty."

I don't know about you, but this is a bit distressing for "Joe the Plumber," and others that I've spoken to about this issue of limiting "unlimited" service.

AT&T is promising an online meter that customers can monitor usage with in order to avoid an overage, but if their problem is with "a small minority" of their clientele, why set up the majority for potential problems except to profit from it?

Can't they just deal with the high-rollers by tossing them out of the game on a case-by-case basis?

What do you think about all this and how might a 20GB/150GB cap effect you?