Monday, August 31, 2009

Facebook’s 11 Million Farmers

Had the urge to abandon city life and tend a cornfield instead? Millions of others are getting their agricultural fix on Facebook, thanks to the fast-growing game FarmVille.

FarmVille, which social-gaming company Zynga launched on June 19, is a free Facebook app that lets members grow produce and raise animals. They can harvest fruits and vegetables, collect milk from cows and wool from sheep, and expand their farm by selling the goods. They can help other players’ farms and exchange gifts with them, and enterprising players can get bigger by buying more land for their plots. While there’s no “game over” point, negligent farmers wind up with wilted crops.

Danger. Your Mac can be hacked. Again. How?

"Did you catch the headlines? Macs get viruses. Macs can be hacked. Your Mac is in danger. You should buy virus protection software. Mac security is not as good as Windows. Will this nonsense ever end? The number of lies, distortions, mistruths, fabrications, and fear mongering makes the Mac seem like the Silicon Valley version of the health care hot potato in Washington. Who and what can you believe? Is your Mac in danger?

An education often results in a competition between facts and truth, and fear through misinformation. In any war, truth is often the first casualty. So it is in the desktop wars."

20 best new features in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

So you think Apple's new OS has little to offer? Think again

1. Exchange support
2. Better stacks
3. Dock Exposé
4. Minimised window options
5. Malware protection
6. Revamped eject manager
7. Improved Keyboard Shortcuts management
8. Revised Services
9. Smart text select
10. Text replacement
11. Enhanced view options
12. Better accessibility
13. Recording and trimming in QuickTime
14. Date and time in the menu bar
15. Time-zone tracking
16. iCal events inspectors
17. Sandboxed Safari plug-ins
18. Automatic printer driver updates
19. Faster wake and shut down
20. Smaller footprint

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Russians lie the most about where they've been!

If you think you know where your husband or wife is, think again. In our latest global survey, the top response in 14 of 15 countries was lying about one's whereabouts. Russians fib the most about where they've been. (They also have the highest divorce rate among the nations polled.)
Read the full story at Readers Digest

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Russian ambassador urges Schwarzenegger to save Fort Ross

Stunned upon learning that California might close Fort Ross, the Russian government dispatched its ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to save the picturesque wooden outpost from the state's budget guillotine.

"It's not my job to tell the government of California what to do with its budget," he said while touring the fort-turned-park Thursday. "But this place is wonderful proof that the U.S. and Russia have had a very rich, largely positive shared history. We would like to see it remain open."

The ambassador stopped short of offering cash to maintain the fort, which loses about $800,000 annually. No decisions will be made, he said, until the state releases its closure list.

About 200,000 people visit Fort Ross each year, many of them Russians seeking signs of an earlier Russian foray into California. The park is the 77th most visited in California.

Visitors on Tuesday said they wouldn't mind if the Russian government helped keep Fort Ross open.

Read more

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do you hate Adobe Flash?

So your viewing a Flash video and it's using all your CPU or crashing your web browser. Youtube has a new demo posted that demonstrates the potential of rendering 3D graphics in the browser, using O3D, an open-source web API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser. The app shown in the video is coded in javascript and html and runs in a web browser. Learn more about O3D at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apple's "Get a Mac" ad: "Top of the Line"

Apples new "Get a Mac" ad spanks Microsoft yet again!

Vitamin D & You

You may know Steve Gibson from the excellent Security Now! podcast and of the Gibson Research Corporation recently spoke about the importance of Vitamin D in Security Now 209: The Vitamin D Story. If your interested in your health then do visit the links above.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

District 9 Movie Review

Well what can I say everyone has been waxing on about how wonderful this District 9 movie is and so we went to see it. First let me say I am a hugh Science Fiction fan and my wife is not (but she enjoys an interesting movie). That being said we both HATED this movie!!!

• Aliens looked realistic
• Weapons looked realistic and interesting
• Spaceships looked realistic
• My wife liked the little alien bug :)
• Cat food & Nigerian gangsters were amusing

• Documentary story type filming, awful!
• Story line, we hated it!!! We kept waiting for the movie to get better and it never did.
• I kept wishing that someone would kill off the main character! Seriously I was that irritated every time he spoke.
• My wife thought the main character was like Mr. Bean and just could not take the whole movie seriously.
• If you like boring social commentary about South Africa in the from of Science Fiction and movies that end with a dull thud then you may like this movie.
Its been a long time since I have seen people getup and walk out of a movie but they did for this one and I wish we were one of them. What a total waste of money! So if you feel compelled to see this movie save your money and wait till it hits the dollar theater or rent it on redbox.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Think of buying a new car? You might want to think again.

"We Americans have a love fest going on with our cars. We love ‘em. Where else on earth can you find a couple who is flat broke and living paycheck to paycheck but with two brand new cars in the driveway? The problem is our mindset. We’ve been bombarded with the notion that we’ll always have a car payment. It’s like the auto industry has beaten us into submission, so when the car starts to show a little wear, we just run off and sign a $26,000 note for a new one. Hey, car payments are just a way of life, right?"

Click here to view Drive Free, Retire Rich by Dave Ramsey

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flash Cookies and Privacy, are you being tracked?

So you think your practicing safe computing and you manage your web browsers cookies but did you know chances are more likely then not you are being tacked by cookies even if you have deleted them all?

This may come as a surprise to many computer users but there is a new cookie in town and its called an Adobe Flash cookie. Adobe's Flash program plug-in, which is used to view multimedia content and is installed on millions of computers worldwide, also stores cookies for user preferences such as the volume level of a video. Check out the Wikipedia entry here.

A recent study found that more then half of the Internets top sites are using Flash cookies and most of those are not informing users that they are also being tracked by these extra cookies. Furthermore information on how people navigate those sites even if people believe they've restricted the data collection, according to a new study.

According to the study:
"That means that privacy-sensitive consumers who 'toss' their HTTP cookies to prevent tracking or remain anonymous are still being uniquely identified online by advertising companies,"

"Since users do not know about Flash cookies, it stands to reason that users lack knowledge to properly manage them,"

There are big differences in HTTP cookies and Fash cookies too. For example they have no expiration date by default and they're stored in a different location than HTTP cookies and can contain up to 100KB of information, whereas HTTP cookies can only have 4KB.

"These differences make Flash cookies a more resilient technology for tracking than HTTP cookies and creates an area of uncertainty for user privacy control,"

Many Online advertising companies, however, have embraced Flash cookies since many people regularly delete HTTP cookies.

How can I manage or remove Adobe Flash cookies?

Global Storage Settings panel
Adobe provides a web page with at Global Storage Settings panel that will allow you to manage your Adobe Flash cookies
A Cookie Removal Tool For OS X

Better Privacy
A Firefox add-on called Better Privacy

Manual Removal

Mac OS X:
For Web sites, ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects////.sol
For AIR Applications, ~/Library/Preferences//Local Store/#SharedObjects/.swf/.sol


Windows XP and Vista:
For Web sites: %APPDATA%\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\\\\.sol
For AIR Applications, %APPDATA%\\Local Store\#SharedObjects\.swf\.sol

If your eyes have not glazed over yet you may also want to read:

Study: Adobe Flash cookies pose vexing privacy questions

Study: Flash Cookies Track Even Privacy-conscious Surfers

Flash Cookies and Privacy

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Matt Walker: Secrets of the Sleeping Brain

Proof You Went Psychotic Last Night!
Is Poor Sleep a Factor in Alzheimer's and Dementia?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Save your money with Mint

The $14 million round was led by DAG Ventures, and also includes newcomer Founder’s Fund. Existing investors Benchmark Capital, Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, and Sherpalo Ventures all participated as well. Patzer declined to comment on the company’s valuation, but says that it is “decidedly an up round” and that it was preemptive. Mint hasn’t disclosed its revenues, but Patzer says that they’re up 8x year over year.

Since launching at TechCrunch40 in 2007, Mint has grown to 1.4 million registered users, tracking $175 billion in transactions and $47 billion in assets. The site also reports that it has identified $300 million in potential savings offers for its users. It primarily makes its money by generating leads for financial institutions, but it’s also sitting on a goldmine of user data that it hasn’t even begun to tap into yet.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Mac OS X DNS changer spreads through social engineering

TrendMicro is reporting on a newly discovered4th member of the OSX_JAHLAV malware family.

The latest variant is once again relying on social engineering, this time spreading under a QuickTime Player update (QuickTimeUpdate.dmg) with a DNS changer component enabling the malware authors to redirect and monitor the traffic of the victim.

More info on OSX_JAHLAV.D:

The Trojan contains component files detected as UNIX_JAHLAV.D and obfuscated scripts detected as PERL_JAHLAV.F. The Perl script then downloads a file from a malicious site and stores it as /tmp/{random 3 numbers}, detected as UNIX_DNSCHAN.AA, which allows a malicious user to monitor the affected user’s activities. This may also cause the user to be redirected to phishing sites or sites where other malware may be downloaded from.

Not only are cybercriminals beginning to acknowledge the “under-served” Mac OS X segment, but also, they’re already borrowing tricks from the Microsoft Windows playbook such as OS-independent tactics like fake codecs and bogus video players. The irony? Both the Mac OS X and Windows malware are hosted on the same domains, with copies of each served on the basis on browser detection.

Read the full story at ZDNet by Dancho Danchev

Still for security, you can't beat Mac OS X because we know of well over 236,000 malicious malware items. These are mostly meant for the MS-Windows environment. Only about 700 are meant for the various Unix/Linux distributions. Current known Mac OSX malware count is even less with 20, so pretty much non-existent at the moment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bank to Offer Check Deposits Through iPhone App

The New York Times has reported that banking and insurance company USAA will allow qualified customers to deposit checks via its iPhone application.
USAA's iPhone app currently allows customers to check account balances, find ATMs and rental car locations, and includes a loan calculator and more. According to the New York Times, the update to the app that will allow check deposits should be available this week.

Why Apple Is More Valuable Than Google

A look at what's behind the Mac and iPhone maker's now firm market-cap edge on the Web-search leader, and how it could one day challenge Microsoft

Now that Apple (AAPL) has once again passed Google (GOOG) in market value, can the consumer-electronics maker maintain its lead?

While Apple's capitalization has risen above that of Google for short bursts in the past, it has remained higher since July 22. As of Aug. 11, Apple was worth $145.87 billion, compared with Google's $143.40 billion. This could be a momentary shift in Wall Street's whims—like when Cisco Systems (CSCO) briefly surpassed Microsoft (MSFT) to become the world's most valuable company in 2000.

More likely, Apple has more solidly unseated Google as tech's No. 2 powerhouse and is now on track to one day challenge Microsoft for the crown. While both Apple and Google are likely to remain highly valuable in the coming years, there's reason to believe that Apple may outshine Google in the eyes of investors.

Read the full story at Business Week by Peter Burrows

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No homegrown seafood for this Nevada

Bob and Pam Eddy have fought to make a go of it selling live 'desert lobsters,' or Australian red claw crayfish. But wildlife officials have made the state even less hospitable to the crustaceans.

Here in Mina -- population about 200 -- Bob and Pam Eddy have pursued an improbable dream. For about 14 years, they've tried to bring seafood, or their version of it, to this remote patch of desert. They've sparred with the state, pleaded with lawmakers and become heroes to sagebrush rebels over their "desert lobsters."

Trying to make the most of his location, Bob had been raising thousands of desert lobsters -- actually Australian red claw crayfish, which can weigh more than a pound -- mainly in a greenhouse just south of Mina. His 10 tanks (8 feet wide, 22 feet long, 3 feet deep) were partly buried to keep the water from dipping below 80 degrees.

On a sweltering morning in 2003, after months of warnings, authorities stormed the greenhouse with a court order and chlorine bleach. Some wore bulletproof vests and carried guns.

"They poisoned them and hauled a bunch off and dumped them out in the desert," Bob says. He had as much as 300 pounds of crayfish at the time.

Nevada: Liquor, Gambling and Prostitution Legal 24 HR but Lobsters are NOT LEGAL!

Read the full article at the Los Angles Times by Ashley Powers

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Judge: Microsoft can't sell Word anymore and pay more than $290 million in damages!

A Texas judge ruled Tuesday that Microsoft cannot sell one of its flagship products, Word, in the United States because of patent infringement.

You read that right: Microsoft cannot sell Word, the judge ruled.

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.

Read the full story here

Macintosh users may want to consider: NeoOffice, OpenOffice, StarOffice, NisusWriter, iWork

Windows users may want to consider: OpenOffice, StarOffice, WordPerfect Office

Using Old Soap To Save Lives

You've probably seen those tiny bars of soap in hotel rooms. After you wash your hands a few times and check out of the hotel, what happens to that soap? Some people are using them to save lives.

Clean the World Foundation, Inc. was founded in February 2009 by Shawn Seipler and Paul Till. They got the idea in Orlando, where millions of people use hotels to visit theme parks.

Read the full story here

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Outlaw Legends: Secrets of Russian Hackers

Is your neighbor stealing your wifi???

Securing your wireless in an alternative fashion
My neighbors are stealing my wireless internet access. I could encrypt it or alternately I could have fun.

I'm starting here by splitting the network into two parts, the trusted half and the untrusted half. The trusted half has one netblock, the untrusted a different netblock. We use the DHCP server to identify mac addresses to give out the relevant addresses.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Facebook can threaten relationships?

A Canadian report finds that postings on the social media site can trigger escalating feelings of jealousy between romantically involved individuals.

Never mind the perils of cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and posting photos that could endanger your future job prospects:Facebook could be ruining your relationship and driving you toward compulsively jealous behavior.

Social psychologists from the University of Guelph in Canada queried college students who were in romantic relationships about their Facebook use. Their preliminary findings, described in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior, suggest that rather than enhancing communication between romantic partners, Facebook use may be fueling wild flights of jealous investigation, as users in relationships perceive hints of potential infidelity and then scramble to find evidence of a partner's unfaithful thoughts or behavior.

Invariably, it seems, they end up feeling more jealous.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Apple's iTunes 9 rumored to have Blu-ray, social media support

A new report suggests that the next version of Apple's iTunes could carry support for Blu-ray discs, visual management and rearrangement capabilities for App Store software, and integration with social media Web sites.

Citing a "pretty reliable source," The Boy Genius Report revealed Saturday what could become new features in an anticipated upcoming new release of Apple's digital media software.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Apple working on device abuse detection technology

Apple has investigated a system where portable devices like iPods and iPhones would detect and store into memory "consumer abuse events" such as exposure to extreme cold, heat or moisture in void of warranty, a new patent application reveals.

The invention, entitled "Consumer Abuse Detection System and Method," was discovered byAppleInsider in a new patent application disclosure this week. Apple originally filed for the patent on Feb. 1, 2008. The concept aims to detect issues, like a dropped iPhone, that might void the warranty on the device.

Friday, August 7, 2009

No More Perks: Coffee Shops Pull the Plug on Laptop Users

They Sit for Hours and Don't Spend Much; Getting the Bum's Rush in the Big Apple.

A sign at Naidre's, a small neighborhood coffee shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., begins warmly: "Dear customers, we are absolutely thrilled that you like us so much that you want to spend the day..."

But, it continues, "...people gotta eat, and to eat they gotta sit." At Naidre's in Park Slope and its second location in nearby Carroll Gardens, Wi-Fi is free. But since the spring of 2008, no laptops have been allowed between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekends, unless the customer is eating and typing at the same time.

Amid the economic downturn, there are fewer places in New York to plug in computers. As idle workers fill coffee-shop tables -- nursing a single cup, if that, and surfing the Web for hours -- and as shop owners struggle to stay in business, a decade-old love affair between coffee shops and laptop-wielding customers is fading. In some places, customers just get cold looks, but in a growing number of small coffee shops, firm restrictions on laptop use have been imposed and electric outlets have been locked. The laptop backlash may predate the recession, but the recession clearly has accelerated it.

Read the full story in The Wall Street Journal by Erica Alini

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adobe patches 12 Flash bugs, 3 caused by Microsoft

Adobe on Thursday patched 12 vulnerabilities in Flash Player, including three it inherited from faulty Microsoft development code and one that hackers have been exploiting for at least a week.

In a security advisory published Thursday afternoon, Adobe briefly spelled out the dozen vulnerabilities, 10 that were pegged as potentially leading to hijacked systems or with hackers executing their own malware on a machine.

The vulnerabilities affect the Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Flash Player. Still to patch: the Solaris edition.

Flash Player and for Windows, Mac and Linux can be downloaded from Adobe's Web site. Alternately, users can use Flash's built-in automatic update mechanism to grab the new versions.

Read the full story by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld US