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Showing posts from December, 2005

The Last Long Run for '05

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Just completed my last two-hour run for the year. It was a little rough, with me more than once regretting that second glass of cabernet at last night's wonderful holiday party. I've been reading lots of bloggers' annual rundowns on year-end mileage and milestones electronically recorded in logs and journals. I've kept the same record-keeping system since I began road racing in 1992 -- a pocket calendar I either pick up at a Hallmark store or receive in the mail from a charity organization. It ain't sophisticated, but then neither am I. I duly note if I exercised and for how long or how far; I also mention my weekday routes for later comparison. The asterisks represent the onset of "that time of the month" -- a potential PR killer for women like me. I also note trips to help jog my memory and make me feel less guilty about missed opportunities. That's it. By the time W-2 forms arrive in the mail, I'll have misplaced my 2005 race calendar. By

The Week's DMZ Report

Once again, I managed to skate out of serving on a trial yesterday when all three civil cases were settled. So, now I'm back in business and working through my usual scans for interesting security news. My friend Annie R. in North Carolina passed along a Business Week story analyzing the Sony BMG settlement that will provide free downloads and CDs that are "clean" of its prying copyright-enforcement program in exchange for New York dropping what amounted to a national class-action lawsuit. Sony still has to deal with Texas, though, which is pursuing criminal charges for violating its antispyware law. Annie asked what is to be done for those that installed an infected CD on their computer. Sony's issued a rootkit remover tool that had its own problems when first released. I would recommend going with Rootkit Revealer or similar freeware which by now should detect the spyware. Sandy M. in Pennsylvannia sent me a CNN story about the NSA doing something similar to unsus

Watch where you surf these days

It's your trusted computer security reporter here, letting everyone know there's what is known as a zero-day exploit circulating that will automatically download nasty spyware and use your computer to spew out spam (while also looking for you to provide credit card information voluntarily). This one's tricky because there's no "patch" to stop it so it's up to computer users to use common sense to avoid infection. If you get an e-mail, instant message or a pop-up in the corner of your computer telling you you've been infected with spyware DO NOT OPEN THE LINK. That's how they get you. Also, this one can spread merely by you placing your cursor over an infected image on a malicious Web site (one that's been contaminated), so be careful where you browse, especially if you use Internet Explorer or older versions of Firefox. Also, Outlook or the Opera Web browswer. Here's what I just filed before I head off to the Halls of Justice downtown to

Here's What's Going Down in 2006

My weight. I’ve already got a 10-pound head start. But if I’m going to regain any of the running glory of my past, then I’ve got to shed another 15. You will see less of me by mid-year. And you will not see me steer the car into the In-n-Out drive-thru more than once a month. My master’s PR. Okay, that’s too easy considering how much I’ve slowed since turning 40. But running a sub-4-hour finish, given my current track record, will mean shaving more than 30 minutes off my average time for the last four years. And if I do accomplish this feat, I’ll also qualify for the 2007 Boston Marathon. My credit card and debit card use. I’m tired of companies knowing so much about me. I’m going to carry more cash and stick to weekly allowances. This likely will be among the hardest of my goals to achieve, given my bank is 20 feet from my front door and I show up almost daily now on the ATM’s hidden camera. My belongings. We’ve got to downsize at some point, might as well start now by clearing

"Christmas Eve in San Diego"

It's better if you listen along to the free download from Browntide.com. Christmas Eve in San Diego © 2005 Brown Tide Records. All Rights Reserved. Merry Christmas San Diego! I figured San Diego needed a Christmas song To call its own So I wrote this one for y’all . . . It was Christmas Eve In El Cajon And everywhere else San Diegans are known To spend their time Celebrating Christmas In my motel room I was feelin’ alone After a biker bar show In San Anton’ So I grabbed my guitar To make myself less homesick I played a song for Del Mar And folks in OB And people in Alpine And Mission Valley And before you know it I wasn’t feelin’ so down Because I was singin’ To myself And for San Diegans out there Everywhere else About the funny, sunny place We call our hometown CHORUS: I’ve spent holidays In New York and LA And on the road from N’awlins To Chicago Ain’t no place I’d rather be Enjoying Christmas Eve Than back at home In sunny San Diego T

This Is Turning Into a Charlie Brown Christmas

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Without fail, this time of year I always get homesick for Kodiak, Alaska. And during this morning's run, I finally figured out why. Those vintage commercials and TV specials now in circulation tend to trigger memories of a place where Christmas lasted a long time. For starters, we'd tape all the holiday specials from RATNET, the Rural Alaska Television Network, and replay them regularly all winter long. My favorite was "A Charlie Brown Christmas." A close second was "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." To help get through those long, dark winters, people kept up their Christmas house lights longer than is custom, like until April. Soon as we'd get home from day care, I'd bundle up the girls, then toddlers, for a winter walk, only instead of a stroller I'd use a plastic sled and pull them along snowy roads to look at the colorful lights. It took years, and a relocation to the Lower 48, for those two kids to realize Christmas lasts only one day

Now, Where Were We...

Did you know yesterday was Bruce Browne Day in San Diego? Yep, our very own mailman was honored at a fete last night for his 18+ years of outstanding service to our little community. He retires Dec. 31. I brought a batch of overcooked brownies and managed to bring home more food than I brought, but not many brownies. They apparently were a hit, which makes me think my neighbors have no taste :-) Some of the village elders at the gathering expressed concern with my early morning running and warned me to be careful out there. This was underscored by my friend Louise, who last week at lunch mentioned I might be a tad foolhardy. Cathy from across the street reminded me to break up my routine so would-be predators won't know my usual pattern. Good advice, all. And I decided to follow it and head out this morning, rather than in the evening as is my usual Tuesday routine. I'm not sure if it was the infusion of hot tea or a residual sugar buzz, but I started out strong and just got

Just Cleaning Out My Cyber Closet

The proliferation of posts having little to do with running continues today with some tidbits that I will try to relate to the subject for an extra challenge. I Was a WorldBook Fan Anyway I hope to help the San Diego Track Club develop its first wiki, which is the generic term used for collaborative software that lets lots of folks chime in on a subject. It’s based on the same concept of the open-source encyclopedia Wikipedia, in which anyone can add and edit an entry. As with all things open source, the ultimate goal is to use a collective brain trust to create a superior product to proprietary works created by fewer contributors. So, I’m immediately drawn to all things wiki right now and that includes this piece from Nature magazine challenging prevailing criticism that Wikipedia’s mass-appeal also makes it less accurate. Well, tell that to Encyclopedia Britannica. Internet Encyclopedias Go Head to Head And the i’s Have It -- as in iPods I’ve mentioned my dismay with all the

An Update on Life After An ID Theft

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Many months ago I promised to periodically post about how the theft of my personal financial information has impacted my life. As I wait for a business meeting to begin, now seems like as good a time as any to make good on that promise. To review: Three times now I've discovered (twice through a letter from the State of California and once in the course of my own reporting on a major retail breach) thieves have made off with my private data. Since this spring, I've had a credit freeze in place which has meant I can't take out any more credit, but neither can anyone else. It's led to some hassles and a lower credit rating, but that's to be expected. Under a credit freeze, any time you use your credit card, a warning's supposed to alert the card processor to take extra precautions. If it's a Sunday, the approval may not ever go through, I've discovered. That usually means either a curious stare or averted eyes from the cashier handling the transaction.

What I Learned Last Week from LISA

First, government loves Gmail. Any of those Web-based, third-party e-mail providers that encourage users to store thousands of old e-mail messages are music to the ears of those surveilling you or your friends. The longer messages are at rest, the more risk of them being seen. Remember that if you want to keep a secret. Along those lines, Internet service providers, e-mail providers and just about anyone offering a forum for your thoughts -- such as those so-called anonymous postings to message boards and chat rooms -- well, they may have already ratted you out. A lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that third-party providers are frequently asked by law enforcement and other agencies to divulge information on certain users under investigation. And they frequently give up the goods because it's far cheaper than a legal challenge. Moreover, few feel compelled to tell a targeted user what they've done. Yahoo is one of the exceptions. Most people in IT already kn

Here you go, Susie...

So Susie tapped me and four others to partake in a fun, get-to-know-you blog activity. She -- and you who read this -- may live to regret it, but here it goes. First, the rules: Write 5 random facts about yourself, and then list the names of 5 people whom you in turn infect. Also, leave a post to these people letting them know they have been infected. Now, my own answers: 1. I was born with a double uvula. That’s the appendage that hangs from the back of the throat. 2. I have never had a cup of coffee. 3. Nor have I ever lived in the same house for more than five years. I was born in upstate New York, grew up all over the East Coast (PA, OH, CT, RI, MA, MD, SC, VA…) and until now moved about the country courtesy of the Coast Guard. The two places I miss most are North Carolina and Alaska. 4. I put myself through college working summers at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. During my first year, I brought in more than $1 million in about four months selling general admission ticke

So Long to Lazy Sundays

My ideal Sunday starts before the sun’s up. I’m well-rested, caffeinated and eager to turn on my mp3 player as I head out the door before dawn for my long run. If I’m lucky, it’ll be chilly enough that I can see my breath. I’ll return two, sometimes even three hours later, with the Sunday papers in my sweaty arms. As a new pot of tea brews, I’ll get back into my pajamas and stretch. This sounds gross, I know, but it really helps the chafe marks heal before I hit the shower. I’ll eat a well-earned breakfast with lots of bread (my dietary weakness) and start in on the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Los Angeles Times while soaking in the early morning sun beaming through the solarium. Throughout the day I’ll read -- newspapers, magazines, books and blogs. Mid-afternoon, I’ll do my best Food Network TV chef imitation and whip up a nice meal that we eat at the dining room table. Together. I’m only a little embarrassed to say that sometimes -- not often, mind you -- I’ll still be in my fl

More on Why You Should Be Wary of CDs

I'm on my way to Usenix's LISA conference for the next two days. Before I leave, I wanted to pass along the latest from a number of CD producers, including Sony BMG, showing that other copyright-protected discs also put your computer -- and all the data you have on it -- in jeapordy. Haven't had a chance to really read up on it, so here's what Princeton University professor Ed Felten has to say. Meantime, I confided in some of you that I've had some health issues since this summer and I'm happy to report that the results of yesterday's colonoscopy are very good. Nothing that begins with a 'c.' As others have mentioned to me, the prep was worse than the procedure, with the exception that I had some IV issues (and a very bruised hand this morning) and awoke too early -- as the scope was in its final stages. Good thing I have a high threshold for pain.

Drink Up, People

I just don't know if I believe this one. Moderate Drinking May Lower Obesity Risk And I am most certainly not advocating alcohol consumption, let alone as a diet aid, especially to any of you reading this that are underaged and still under my maternal influence. :-)

The Streets of San Francisco

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By the time I slipped into my running tights at 6 this morning, I’d been stood up, chewed out and hassled by some homeless guy. I was kinda crabby. I woke at 4:30 yesterday morning so I could get in my two-hour run before heading to the airport to catch a flight to San Francisco. While waiting on the BART platform, I called my co-worker and discovered she wasn’t expecting me for a few more hours. So I could have slept in, not rushed and taken a later flight. Then, on my way out of a downtown train station, my ticket didn’t work and an agent essentially accused me of turnstile jumping. At my age. And with all my bags. Really. I had three hours to kill until check-in at the spectacular Harbour Court Hotel along the Embarcadero, and I decided some food might get me out of my funk. Food writer Amy T. over at California Eating had given me several recommendations at the Ferry Building, which I later learned from a street vendor was completely renovated years after the ’89 earthquake dest

Race Review: Mainly Masters 10k

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Fiesta Island is an interesting section of the Mission Bay recreational complex. Lacking any amenities other than portable toilets and not boasting the nicest scenery, it still attracts a lot of locals to its laidback sandy shores and dog-friendly beaches. Sure it can heat up like a furnace in the spring and summer, but it’s flat and circular and this morning it drew about 120 runners for the annual Mainly Masters 10k. Like most San Diego Track Club events, this one’s inexpensive (always a plus this time of year) and low-key. I had a tiny conniption when I checked my e-mail at 5 a.m. and discovered I was slated to do synch sheets at the finish line. But by the time I arrived about an hour later the Volunteer Coordinator had realized his error and I worked the registration table instead. This was an easy assignment, given the event is divided into two races – one for those 39 and under at 7:30 a.m. and one for those 40 and up at 8. So I had plenty of time to do my club duty and still

The price of convenience: Your privacy

I'm going out on a limb and suggesting a majority of my faithful blog readers aren't daily viewers of PBS's News Hour and missed a recent segment with two former journalists who've written books on Google. So, in the spirit of promoting widespread paranoia, I direct you to the transcript of an interview with David Vise and John Battelle . And for the time-pressed and ADD sufferers, here's something to send a chill down your spine: DAVID VISE: I think one of the most important things for all of your viewers to be aware of is that every time they do an Internet search on Google, Google saves it on its computers. Every time, if they happen to use e-mail on Google through what's called G-mail or Google mail, all of those get saved indefinitely as well. Think about for a moment billions and billions of searches being saved and being matched to your Internet address. Federal government investigators operating under the Patriot Act could get access to that kind of i