Showing posts from April, 2005

Runner's high

Last night I went to meet one of the most amazing and influential runners in America today. Dean Karnazes is an extreme ultramarathoner who's run 262 miles straight (that's 10 marathons in a row) and won some of the most prestigious races in the country, including Death Valley's Badwater and The Western States. Amazingly, for all his exposure on "Late Nite with David Letterman," "60 Minutes" and other television programs, the guy's still humble about his accomplishments. During the book signing for his Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner , Karnazes talked to each of us individually and convinced me to aim higher. Just how different is this guy? In addition to having been genetically encoded to run those distances without ever suffering an injury, he needs only four hours of sleep daily. He cross trains by surfing and rock climbing. He carries a cell phone and credit card and orders ahead for pizzas to eat while on his long runs. H

From the homefront: guns, stuns and no-funs

The girls came home yesterday all aflutter over an arrest at the high school. A sophomore apparently bought a pellet gun to school. It shoots ammo similar to BB's. Both that student and the one that sold it to him were arrested near the math building, which was locked down while Alex was inside. The school immediately sent a letter home explaining what happened and advised parents to ask their kids to keep their weapons home. A story in today's Union-Tribune sheds little insight into the incident. Just part of a crazy week here at "Enron by the Sea" in which the mayor abruptly resigned after Time magazine named him one of the worst big-city mayors in the country and the deputy mayor could be in prison by the time he assumes office. He and another councilman are on trial for illegal campaign contributions in exchange for voting to repeal the city's no-touch strip club ordinance. San Diego, meantime, sails onward into bankruptcy as its financial problems grow. The

Newest addition to our household

We just bought a brand new Scion tc sports coupe, black cherry pearl . Cool looking car that should show off Gilbert's mid-life crisis nicely :-)

Rock 'n' Roll Marathon: Status Check

With just a little more than a month's worth of training left, I'm feeling strong and starting to think I might PR after all at my 10th marathon. After a rough start due to extended illness, my body's responded well to the constant pounding and increased mileage. Ran 17 miles on Sunday and could have done more. This weekend is the critical 20-miler on a course that will take me from Sea World/Mission Bay to Point Loma to downtown to Balboa Park, Hillcrest, Mission Hills and Old Town. The official marathon course has been changed, and I hope for the better. We run around the downtown area more, where it's relatively flat. Downside: We hit the dreaded 163 freeway, with its steeply sloped roads, farther into the race. The headliner band at the free concert is Pinback, a local duo with a couple of hits under its belt. And we'll be the first in the country to try the new Coke Zero beverage since it's the new title sponsor.

Latest fraud wave involves fake money orders

Criminals are latching on to the potential of counterfeit Postal Service money orders sent for U.S. goods and services. The biggest offenders tend to come from Nigeria, Ghana and Eastern Europe, where people connect via an online site, such as dating or auctions, and make the exchange using fake currency. In addition to losing money, the victims who try and cash the bogus money orders are arrested. Let that be a lesson to never take money from a stranger, even one that professes to love you. A Common Currency for Online Fraud (New York Times, reg. required)

Find Out What Companies Have on You

Most people now know they're entitled to a free credit report annually. But most folks don't realize they also are entitled under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act to find out what reporting agencies issue to insurance companies, prospective employers, landlords, mortgage companies and even physicians. A news article in today's Kansas City Star outlines how to track down this information, at least from the best known collectors and disseminators of private data. Some shortcuts if you're interested: ChoicePoint Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (which influences your insurance coverage) ChoicePoint pre-employment background check (used by employers) ChoicePoint tenant history report (for renters) Medical Information Bureau (keeps records on how you use life, health and disability insurance) ChexSystems (for your financial records)

And they were blue suede shoes, I swear

Here's a column I wrote today on my take on the DSW data theft and its intersection with a California notification law that is finally bringing the problem to light. Unfortunately, it appears we're all walking targets. LexisNexis admitted to Congress it was attacked 60 times before it was finally forced to go public with the SB 1386 law.

If the shoe might cost you a bundle

The national discount shoe chain DSW this week alerted customers that hackers made off with information from 1.4 million credit card transactions and 96,000 check processings between mid-November and mid-February. Almost 110 stores in 25 states are involved, so if you bought a pair of shoes from one of those stores, there's a good chance your banking data is now in theives' hands. You need to call the credit reporting agencies and put a fraud freeze on your accounts. Then talk to the bank that issued the credit or debit card or check. See if your city is on the list first.

Quick! Run to your television!!

If your state/employer/significant other is among the 35 billion to not celebrate Patriot's Day and you missed live coverage of today's Boston Marathon , you get another chance to see who wins and by how much. The Outdoor Life Network, which also televises the Tour de France each summer, plans an encore Monday night. Check local listings for time and channel.

Grab a cup of coffee and get ready for a jolt

A lengthy transcript of last week's Congressional hearing on identity theft shows some startling statistics. One company singled out by a senator (but not named) is Bank of America, which lost credit card data for approximately 1.2 million cardholders, including members of Congress, by sending unencrypted tapes that were lost or stolen in transit. Of interest is the legislator's comment that it's no wonder BoA acted so cavalierly in sending sensitive data through commercial airlines. BoA execs have their own private jets and probably haven't lost any luggage lately.

That hydration mantra doesn't hold water now

Conventional wisdom has been endurance athletes can never drink enough water during intense exercise. Turns out that's not true. With deaths from a condition known as hyponatremia on the rise, medical experts have finally drawn a link showing it is not only possible to dilute your body of vital nutrients but it's probable under the right conditions. Interestingly, this wasn't a problem until the marathon's popularity soared and slower runners joined the ranks. The longer you're out there, the more you tend to drink....

More reason to worry about who has dibs on you

LexisNexis usurped ChoicePoint in terms of total impact of its data breach. As of this week, more than 300,000 unwitting souls are at risk of having their finances destroyed and good name ruined. The company that sells your personal information admits it vastly underestimated the scope of 59 incidents since January in which thieves stole data. Congress is reacting quickly with soundbites and rhetoric. LexisNexis Breach May be Worse Than Thought (ABC News) LexisNexis flap draws outcry from Congress (

Shake shake shake...shake shake shake...

Naturally I was on the toilet when a small earthquake (4.0) struck here this morning. It was jarring, but no injuries or damage reported. Glad I hadn't made it into the shower when things started rockin'. Earthquake rattles San Diego

'So I have this friend with a problem...'

Later this month I'm scheduled to interview CNN's The Ethics Guy . If you've got a situation you'd like me to have him address, e-mail me and I'll see if I can slip it into the conversation -- as a hypothetical, of course. Meantime, comment on what you thought of the Ethics Quiz on his site once you take it.

To those of you still trying to kick the can...

Here's just another nutritional rundown showing how destructive soda is to our systems . Not nearly as dramatic as the cola vs. water comparison someone sent me a few years ago, but a good reminder to gulp more Dasani, less Diet Coke. Cheers.

Some Insight Into the Company I Work For

Our PR department just informed employees of two cover stories featuring members of TechTarget. One's a mini-profile of our CEO, who was named a visionary by a popular trade magazine.

The vanishing Social Security Number

Mark my words: Eventually our Social Security numbers will be so abused by careless companies and thieves they'll be rendered useless as a personal identifier. Instead, at the moment, I predict a biometric (fingerprint, iris, facial scan) will become the most common way to authenticate us. The infrastructure still isn't there yet, and the technology itself needs work, but we'll move away from using anything a machine issues to that which only parents can provide. Facial recognition stands the least chance, given the booming plastic surgery industry. My bet's on fingerprint. This morning's Washington Post has an interesting article on the vulnerability of Social Security numbers. An accompanying story provides tips on how to protect those digits, but unless you've lived in isolation most of your life, the train has left the station. Get ready for a crash. Net Aids Access to Sensitive Data (free subscription required)

Race Review: El Cajon 20K

Left the El Cajon 20K today feeling like I ran it faster, only to discover I actually ran a minute slower than 2004. And that time was pretty bad. Tough course (hills, hills and, oh yeah, more hills ) made all the harder by a cloudless sky and very warm temps. The sunshine, though, accentuated all the finer points of this course in the country. This winter's rains have left the landscape drenched in wildflowers. Running for several miles with the race director, Judi Richardson , was a blast. She's a great lady. The finish is at Granite Hills High School, which some people may remember as the site of a horrific school shooting several years ago. Today, it was the gathering place for good times (and, well, one bad one...).

Best April Fool's Joke of the Day

Hat's off to the geeks at Google for coming up with the best spoof .

An interesting read on the ChoicePoint saga

My colleague Mike Mimoso at Information Security Magazine landed an exclusive interview with the CISO of ChoicePoint , the embattled data broker with some big problems on its hands. Company got duped into providing criminals 145,000 private citizens' data for ID theft. Declined to alert any of them until it was too late. CEO lied about its track record with crooks. Will maybe end up behind bars with them when this is all over. In any case, the theft woke the world to just how much information companies gather and sell without our knowledge and, at present, without enough safeguards.

This online science magazine worth bookmarking

The science journalism department at my alma mater, Boston University, has created an edgy student-produced online publication called Resonance Magazine . Some great material for anyone interested in bugs, aquatic mating habits and even the ethical morass surrounding spam.