Showing posts from June, 2005

Earth to Google

Let's forget about the privacy implications. Here's a free tool that really puts you in your place from a worldly perspective. It's actually an extension of a mapping tool Google unveiled two months ago that allows anyone to find the exact location of a building, landmark or even patch of grass just by typing in a specific address. With Google Earth , you can do the same but from a different vantage point.

Ice Ice, Baby

I've been nursing a hip injury the last few weeks and was interested in a story I stumbled upon on about properly treating injuries with ice. The gist, in the authors' words: "Ice application should follow the acronym CBAN: Cold, Burn, Ache, then Numb. Ice should only touch the skin if an ice rub is used. Otherwise, a thin fabric should be placed on the skin to buffer the skin from the ice. Yet, the ice must be perceived as cold when placed on the injured area. Proper application of ice isn't comfortable, but the results outweigh the temporary discomfort. This cold sensation will last approximately three to five minutes until a burning sensation appears. The burning sensation will fade into an ache, followed by numbness. Beware that once numbing occurs, remove and discontinue the ice. Continued application following numbing may result in tissue damage." An ice rub, by the way, is frozen water in a paper cup that you then peel away as it melts whil

Here's advice you can bank on

This week I wrote a story about how the impact of recent cybercrimes has not only caused people to reconsider doing online banking and e-commerce (buying via the Web) but some are actually reversing themselves and switching back to traditional billing. This should give pause to anyone trying to legitimately make money online or any company trying to save costs by moving to electronic formats. But it also isn't surprising. Online banking was promoted almost exclusively as a convenience, and securing those transactions has only recently ramped up. Here are some things to consider when you bank or shop on the Internet: **Never, ever provide financial information if you don't see a padlock icon in the bottom right corner of a Web page once you start a transaction. That stands for SSL encryption and is a means of letting you know the data you're about to send will be scrambled in transmission. Any business that doesn't employ it or something similar does not deserve your

Wonderful time in wine country

Unfortunately, I have few photos to show for it. For some reason, not all the pictures I snapped with my camera are coming up when I try to upload them onto the computer. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that Sonoma State University and its immediate environs are quite the step up from what we expected. The campus is home to about 8,000 students and far more competitive than we imagined (1 in 10 applicants gained admission). It's a liberal arts school, and Elise is part of a school within the school called Hutchins that includes a teacher track to prepare students for a career in elementary education, her chosen field (this week). Sonoma also has a thriving arts community, including numerous dance opportunities, and on weekends students frequently head into the country, beach or big city (San Francisco) for a change of pace. But there's plenty to keep them on campus too. More than 150 clubs and a nationally ranked men's soccer team to root for. The ground

Mini-hiatus the next few days

We're heading to the airport to board planes and automobiles bound for Rohnert Park, CA, future home to an aspiring dancer and teacher with genetic ties to this blogger :-) I don't anticipate accessing a computer until our return, but I do see more pictures being posted in the near future.

What went wrong with this 'wikitorial'

I could mention the latest data theft because it's a mammoth one -- up to 40 million MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express cardholders could have their accounts used for fraud. Most interesting may be who blew the whistle -- MasterCard, not the company that was attacked by hackers. MasterCard and Visa hired someone to do a security audit after fraud claims spiked at CardSystems Solutions' Tucson facility. In fact, CardSystems' executives were apparently "blindsided" by the press release, which makes sense since they also violated the card companies' basic policies and stored all transactions instead of wiping them out after processing. But instead I'm going to note a failed experiment just north of here at the Los Angeles Times. Last weekend it tried out what it called 'wikitorials' in which readers created encyclopedic-like entries on a variety of subjects, a la the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. But the "public beta" went bu

Pictures from Elise's graduation

Thought I'd share some photos from Elise's big day Friday night. We had family from Southern California, northern California and Virginia come down for a pre-graduation party at our house before leaving for the ceremony, which began promptly at 7 and ended exactly on time an hour and 15 minutes later. Not bad for 450 graduates in a very busy section of downtown San Diego. The ceremony was followed by an all-night party put on by parents at the high school.
During a pre-graduation family gathering, cousins Bailey, 5, and Austin, 8, from Virginia. 
Elise with her great-grandmother, 91-year-old Helen Saita, just before leaving for the ceremony. 
The waiting line at Golden Hall in downtown San Diego an hour before the doors opened. 
Elise with diploma in hand. 
Alex and Aunt Colleen with the graduate after commencement 

When your work life is out of whack

Back when I became a new mom, The Virginian-Pilot went to extraordinary lengths to come out to the country and install a word processor in my home so that I could work from there while my daughter was young. But I quickly discovered I could not parent and produce solid news stories simultaneously and a few months later asked that the device be removed. A decade later, when I successfully lobbied to have our bureau's first Internet-connected PC, I was doomed to longer hours as the lone reporter with e-mail and Web access. Since then the line between work and home has blurred immensely as a remote employee. To no one's surprise, especially my own, a new study confirms that the last few decades' technological advances have sabotaged our personal time. I doubt it's unintended. I learned quickly that company-issued cell phones were a bad idea. Sure they pay the bills, but they also require that you be available to answer them on their terms, not yours. Ditto the Blackberr

Tsunami warning issued last night

Lots of movin' and shakin' going on around here this week. Sunday morning, while we were going about our routine, a 5.2 earthquake hit near Palm Springs that was widely felt throughout San Diego. Probably most interesting for us was that we could actually hear the trembler moving through, towards the ocean. Then last night around 9 the National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas. It turns out a 7.0 quake struck off the northern California coast. Some of the latest news accounts: Tsunami Warning Rattles West Coast (L.A. Times, reg. req.) Southern California Earthquake Center 7.0 Quake Shakes Up North Coast (San Francisco Chronicle)

Guess silicon beats sand in this survey

The inhabitants of Silcon Valley are apparently on a healthier track than their post-dotcom economy. A new survey puts San Jose, Calif., at the top of the 50 healthiest metropolitan areas in the United States. Now, I’ve been to San Jose and I’m gonna have to take their word that it’s as great a place to decompress as these folks say. But you’ll never convince me that Oakland and Austin, Texas have any edge on Orange County and San Diego in the rankings. Both made the Top 10. I mean, Oakland? Home of rabid NFL fans that beat up people for fun? And Austin? Hot, sticky, bug-infected, buffet-riddled Austin? Apparently Kristin Armstrong’s campaign to help her hometown gain street cred is paying off, still. And Boston beat out my adopted hometown, too, which strikes me as odd. I mean, I lived in that metro area for several years and found nothing stress-less about it. But look closely and the authors include New Hampshire and Maine, two of the mellowest states in the union. Talk about ba

Keeping a lid on it, courtesy of Ben & Jerry's

Here's an interesting trinket I just found online , which leads me to believe mine isn't the only household with an ice cream thief. I'm also thinking it's great when you are your own worst enemy and need to resist that pint of Cherry Garcia. And, in a weird way it meets this blog's criteria (stretched as it always is...): It's about security and it's something you can use as a reward after a good, long run. Now you have the scoop.

If you can beat 'em,...

I may live to regret such a public display of affection, but I decided to start posting personal pictures since there are quite a few milestones and big family events this month. Enjoy!
Alex and Elise with their dance instructor, Crystal, after last week's Scripps Ranch High School dance show. (Sorry about the red-eye...) 
Here's a picture just prior to Elise leaving for her senior prom last Saturday.  

Keeping an eye on e-mail

Here's a snippet from a computer security blog done daily by high-tech journalist Brian Krebs on a new survey of outbound e-mail at larger companies (more than 1,000 employees). Keep it in mind when you send mail from work. "The study found more than a third of companies employ staff to read or analyze outbound e-mail, with more than 40 percent of companies with 20,000 employees or more reporting that they do this. Many of the companies that said they don't currently monitor employee e-mail say they soon will, with one-third of this group reporting that they plan to hire people to scrutinize their employees' e-mail communications. The study offers the rather obvious analysis that as more reports surface about employees sharing (or selling) insider information, companies will increasingly monitor outgoing e-mails to ensure the employees aren't undermining their employer's best interests or internal corporate e-mail policies."

The best place to run, regardless of the polls

The longer I live here, the more convinced I become that San Diego is a runner's nirvana. The weather, the changes in topography, the myriad races and fun runs,...all contribute to making this city No. 1 in my book. Unfortunately, it's No. 2 in another one: Runner's World. It lists San Diego as the second best city for running in its newest issue. Somehow, San Francisco slipped into first. I think it's because our neighbor to the north is a publishing mecca and the folks deciding rankings are in the publishing business. Not as many chances to come this way and explore and enjoy what we locals know is the best place to pound the pavement...or trail.
La Jolla Run/Photo by Scott Ross (SDTC) 

Interesting legal challenges ahead

Now that we're on Michael Jackson verdict watch, here are some other legal issues to weigh while we wait to see if the pop star goes to the pokey (no pun intended). For a long time now, the IT industry has insisted the insurance and legal communities, not politicians or consumers, would ultimately prompt companies to be more secure. With this week's notice from Citigroup that a UPS carrier lost private data on 3.9 million customers, that certainly remains real. Insurance companies are beginning to finalize actuaries to determine just how much in premiums it takes to cover the costs of these losses, thefts and attacks. Unfortunately, the costs will be borne by customers, much like medical malpractice insurance today. Lawyers also are chomping at the bit to get at some of these companies, and this week the rumor is that a precedent-setting liability lawsuit is about to be launched. There's already one case that was initially dismissed as frivolous but now is being closely

Race Review: Rock 'n' Roll Marathon-San Diego

Despite ideal weather and an improved course, I had a less than stellar time at this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. Just why that is remains a mystery, other than the lack of some serious sleep and the onset of my menstrual cycle. Once I recovered from serious lung infections this winter, my training improved and I was on par to finish as early as 4 hours and no later than 4:15. I had the 4:15 pacer, a guy named Terrell from our track club, in front of me for the first six miles through Balboa Park, Hillcrest and into downtown. Then I lost sight of him, and my time goal. We hit what I consider the hardest part of the course a little later with this year’s changes to minimize street closures and trolley stoppages. That’s where we run for several miles along the scenic 163 freeway. Southern Californians find freeway running cool, but the road, with its undulating hills, is terribly slanted and this year my quad killed for the duration. My training partner Tara and I did get

Good Google-y Moogly

Today's New York Times Arts section has a first-person story on a woman's quest to remove or at least reduce an unflattering photo's ranking on Google. As vain as it sounds, 'Googling' your name periodically is a good idea if only to see what is publicly available on you. If you have a common name, refine the search with other keywords, such as your hometown, to narrow it down. If what you find is flat-out wrong and libelous, there is a recourse. You can contact the search engine to report the abuse (the e-mail addresses constantly change intentionally) but it's an uphill battle. Just ask the woman who is suing Yahoo for $3 million after it failed to act on her request to remove nude photos posted by a creepy ex-boyfriend, who also provided her work phone number online. Similarly, a few weeks ago I wrote about common but disturbing practices called 'pagejacking' and 'screenscraping.' If you or a friend have a Web site or blog, you might want to

Dangers of Trawling for Love Online

The Columbia University news service has an interesting article on the latest trend in online dating services -- background checks. Those sites that use them say they make for safer dating. But those who perform background checks for a living say such systems are flawed and create a false sense of security. Meantime, a startling statistic in the story says about 90% of sex offenders monitored by one enterprise engage in online dating. One reason I've yet to incorporate photos on this blog is for fear of having them lifted and used illegally. My neighbor had her profile and online photos stolen off, with the thieves then posing as her elsewhere to lure would-be lovers into their scam. The company's done nothing since receiving the complaint, she said. Guess for, it's no love lost.