Showing posts from May, 2005

Not exactly a 'photo finish'

Just got done relaxing in the backyard with a cup of hot tea and the morning newspapers. I stumbled upon a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune about photoprocessors refusing to print amateur digital photos for fear of copyright infringement violations. In at least the instance mentioned, the pictures had been doctored using Photoshop or some other photo editing software. It's something to keep in mind for those shutterbugs stretching their digital capabilities, especially during vacation season. Elsewhere in the same issue, Boston Globe technology columnist Hiawatha Bray wrote a piece that should humble some MacIntosh users convinced they are immune to the malware typically targeting Microsoft Windows customers. Bray warns that a new feature in Apple's latest upgrade for the operating system, Tiger's Dashboard, will automatically install programs that may or may not come from a trusted source. This means you could accidentally install a worm or virus that looks like a l

Putting Your 'Best Foot Forward'

Though it afflicts runners especially, toenail fungus is a growing problem for a lot of people who either exercise in improper shoeware or go barefoot in dangerous places, like a gym. This year an antifungal company is visiting road races throughout the country with a "Toe Truck" to promote the screening and treatment of people who suffer from the embarrassing, potentially dangerous problem. Here's an excerpt from an article on the subject: "Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a persistent fungal infection of the nails that affects approximately 35 million Americans. Nail fungus occurs when fungi called dermatophytes, usually Trichophyton rubrum, invade the nail. The incidence of nail fungus increases with age and is higher in men, but it can affect people of any age or gender. The symptoms of nail fungus include changes in color and thickness of the nail. As the disease progresses, the nail thickens and causes pressure, especially when shoes

AOL the 'gateway drug' for hackers?

Wired News apparently interviewed the trio believed behind the Paris Hilton hack and Lexis Nexis break-ins that exposed more than 300,000 unsuspecting consumers to ID theft. The three New England teens say they did it for bragging rights and haven't used the stolen information for harm. Thus far, law enforcement officials say there's no proof to dispute that claim. Database Hackers Reveal Tactics

You may lose your appetite after this one

Not because it's gross, but because the chances of a terrorist slipping poison into our food remains a very real threat that the federal government is trying to address. By the end of the year, all food processors are expected to have modern computing systems in place that can track a food's source and any trail of tampering -- and produce such a report to the feds within 8 hours of a reported threat. Meantime, keep your fingers crossed since many smaller companies remain dependent on antiquated systems. If you'd like to read up on what the government's doing, read these reports from the FDA .

This bears repeating: Beware of Caller ID

I remember watching convicted-hacker-turned-consultant Kevin Mitnick on (then TechTV's) ScreenSavers as he changed the Call ID name and number on a cell phone. At the time, it just looked like an interesting trick, but in the past six months the security industry's finally caught on to what Mitnick was demonstrating: the newest way for scam artists to get your money. Most Internet users now know to never, ever give up your financial account information soliticited via e-mail. Don't even click or hold your cursor over the links in the message -- they aren't real and most likely install nasty keystroke loggers on your machine. Now that public awareness has grown, these "phishers" are spoofing Call-ID numbers to look like it's Bank of America, PayPal, eBay, etc., calling instead about an irregularity with your account. For verification, they ask that you provide your account number. Then you can watch your money slip away. Unfortunately, it's getting h

Linking Hilton to Hackers: Now, That's Hot

Looks like The Washington Post has an exclusive story on the link between the Lexis Nexis data thefts and the hackers who lifted lewd photos off Paris Hilton's Sidekick and posted them online. First, someone posed as T-Mobil supervisor to get Hilton's password and then the gang posted photos and celebrity phone numbers on various Internet sites. The pictures had been hosted on a T-Mobil server. From the news story, it appears the same hacker group installed a Trojan horse (a sly type of code that does bad things) to record key strokes of anyone who opened an e-mail promising child porn. A policeman was one such taker and then later accessed a Lexis Nexis account for law enforcement. By gaining his account password and username, the stage was set to access the Lexis Nexis database and steal away. Looks like the average age of the alleged offenders is around 18.

Watch where you walk in public

This news item in today's New York Times (subscription required) is disturbing, to say the least. Now we've got a new reason to avoid walking on sidewalk grates.

More research to sleep on

From WebMD: Lose weight while you sleep From The Herbalist: Dieting, Weight Loss and Sleep

More 'pillow talk'

Like I said earlier, I'm becoming fascinated by the connection between fat and sleep. Just found a Psychology Today report from earlier this year that nicely spells out the connection between lack of sleep and extra pounds. It mentions that Americans now average two hours' less sleep daily since the 1960s, which is also around the time the weight explosion began. Sleep the Fat Off

How to eat without making fat

Been reading up a lot on sports nutrition and sleep and here are some tidbits to pass along: --Apparently you can eat what you'd like within two hours of hard exercise and the food will not convert to fat. Unfortunately, I learned this from a well-informed biochemist three hours after I quit running on Saturday. --Think you get enough sleep? Take this simple test. If you fall asleep well within 15 minutes, you're coming up short. Not sure what taking longer than 15 minutes suggests, besides switching to decaf.

This Week in Chicago

I'm doing dual duty this week as an emcee/staff worker and our lone reporter covering Information Security Decisions in Chicago. No time to run this trip. No energy (or decent footwear) to sightsee. No having "fun." Airplane trip: uneventful. Weather: warm and humid. Hotel: Chicago Hilton, across from Grant Park. Nice room, usual amenitities. Wish I could explore more, but business is business.

Good humor is always appreciated

It's the end of a very long work week for some of us. Enjoy some satire from the highly talented folks at The Onion . Arizona Man Steals Bush's Identity

The 411 on 911

Yesterday's post had to do with difficulties getting emergency information to you. Today's has to do with getting emergency help to come to you. One of the big stories this week is a push by the FCC to mandate voice over IP (VoIP) phone service (such as Vonage) provide 911 service to all its customers. If you've made the switch -- and a lot of folks are -- or you rely on your cell phone as your main form of telecommunications, be sure to read these reports. Who answers 911 San Jose Mercury News FCC boss proposed 911 for Internet phones Reuters

'Thar she blows...'

If you belong to AOL and want to know if a hurricane, tornado or other weather-related emergency is about to hit, you need to add your local emergency management system's e-mail address to your address book. The Associated Press reported this week that its weather warnings were flagged as spam in one Florida community. Chances are, it impacts all areas using a similar warning system.

That marathoner deserves a day in court

So what does everyone think should happen to Jennifer Wilbanks , the southern deb and so-called 'runaway bride' that went for a marathon training run and ended up three days later telling police she was kidnapped and dumped in New Mexico?

Technology now all the rage?

Today's Washington Post has a Page 1 story on crisis counseling now needed to placate users who want to scream at their computing devices. Oh, the humanity of it all! Loss of Gadgets Creating 'Computer Rage' (reg. req.)

Tag! You're It!!

Among the miscellaneous news last week was word California is trying to ban the use of RFID tags in state-issued documents, including employee badges, student ID cards and driver's license. Wired News outlines details and what led to the bill. Essentially, a small town's elementary school outfitted its students with such surveillance equipment to keep tabs on kids. Parents were furious and had the program pulled. RFID technology is going to be pervasive in the next couple of years and brings with it a host of security and privacy problems. Eventually, if manufacturers have their way, everything we buy, including clothing and food, will have them embedded. Think about the consequences.