Updates from October, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 9:51 am on October 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kim Kardashian, , ,   

    What Kim Kardashian can teach you about social media security 

    What Kim Kardashian can teach you about social media security

    One of the bigger entertainment stories last week was the armed robbery of reality TV presence Kim Kardashian. She was said to have been robbed of $10 million in jewelry while in her Paris hotel room. Some reports have alleged that the perpetrators may have used her ubiquitous presence on social media to plan the heist. The truth is that you don’t have to be famous to have your social media betray you like that.

    Apps like Twitter and Instagram are constantly trying to get you to post your location. If you’re out in public and away from home this can present a number of problems for your real world security. Mashable, has a great blog post about how to disable your location in several apps. Another safety issue is with check in apps that announce where you may be such as a restaurant or concert. Instead of checking in as soon as you get there you may want to wait until after you leave before checking in.

    The biggest security flaw that has come back to bite social media mavens is being on vacation. It’s become common place to announce your vacation plans on social media before documenting the entire trip. This has the potential to let one of your followers know that you may not be home for a while which has led to burglaries in the past.

    Instead of documenting every moment of your life on social media as it happens, maybe put some time aside at the end of the day to do more of a ‘day in review’ type of update. Your safety and security is not worth a handful of likes and emojis.

  • Geebo 11:18 am on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer arrested on sex trafficking charges 

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer arrested on sex trafficking charges

    Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer

    Yesterday, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on prostitution and child prostitution charges after departing a flight from Amsterdam at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. The warrant, out of the state of California, issued by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, alleges that 99% of Backpage’s revenue comes from the money it makes off of prostitution ads. Along with Ferrer’s arrest, the offices of Backpage in Dallas were also raided and arrest warrants have been issued for Backpage shareholders Michael Lacey and James Larkin. They’re being charged with conspiracy to commit pimping. Lacey and Larkin were Backpage’s founders and at one time its owners.

    While this may appear to be a victory for the victims of sex trafficking, One has to wonder how this will affect the Senate investigation into Backpage? To date, Backpage has caught just about every legal lucky break in their controversial history. However, those were either for legislative or civil lawsuit issues. Will these criminal charges stick? Many hope they do but it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the charges were somehow to be dismissed.

  • Geebo 5:08 pm on October 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Google Fiber, , Webpass   

    Is Google Fiber coming to your home? 

    Is Google Fiber coming to your home?

    If you’ve never heard of Google Fiber, it’s Google’s internet service that is supposed to be the fastest in the U.S. It’s only been rolled out to select cities like Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Missouri. One of the good things about Google Fiber is not only does it give consumers another choice for internet service, but it also causes the established ISPs to step up their game. This usually can mean a drop in price and higher speeds from the entrenched ISPs.

    Recently, Google bought a company called Webpass. Webpass was an internet service provider that would use a type of wireless signal to beam internet to apartment buildings. The only cable they’d have to install would be the ones from the rooftop receiver to the apartments in the building.

    Now, Google has plans to combine the two technologies to provide internet to a wider consumer base. This plan could accelerate Google’s plan to bring its Fiber coverage to the country at large. Since it launched Google Fiber has been relatively slow to roll out, only covering a handful of cities. This is great news for consumers as it may cause companies like AT&T, Comcast, Cox, and Verizon to improve their services and it would also threaten the duopolies or in some cases monopolies that ISPs have in some communities.

  • Geebo 11:18 am on October 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Pasadena, tax   

    Is there a Netflix tax coming soon? 

    Is there a Netflix tax coming soon?

    Since the start of the commercial internet there have been runors and urban legends about certain taxes. There was one that said that the US Postal Service was going to tax every email sent in order to make up for lost revenue. That turned out to be untrue. Then there were rumors that the goverment would be adding taxes to the internet itself, however the government passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act which prevented that. Now there is talk of a tax on Netflix. Is this another urban legend or false alarm? Maybe not.

    With cable prices rising out of control many households are cutting the cord and using online streaming services like Netflix. The more that people start using Netflix rather than cable the more revenue that cable loses. Most cable companies have financial agreements with municipalities to make them the exclusive cable provider of that location. So in turn the more that people Use Netflix that’s money that’s being taken out of the pockets of city governments. At least one city is looking to make up that revenue and Netflix is their target.

    The city of Pasadena, California, is considering taxing Netflix to make up budgetary shortfalls. The proposed tax would only be a dollar but that’s not really the point. This kind of tax requires a public vote which would more than likely defeat the tax. However, the city is saying that the public approved this tax back in 2008 when they voted for a utility tax.

    If Pasadena were allowed to enact this tax it would set a dangerous precedent. Want to watch YouTube instead of TV? That could be a tax. Want to use an antenna to get free broadcast TV? That could be a tax too. Want to use our own site, Geebo? Well that could be a tax to make up revenue that’s being lost from local newspapers.

    The whole cord cutting movement was born out of the fact that consumers have limited choice when it comes to cable providers. If municipalities were to allow multiple cable companies in their area to promote competition then maybe cable priced wouldn’t be so astronomical. Unfortunately cities are very unwilling to give up well established revenue streams without taxing something new that they probably don’t even begin to understand.

  • Geebo 9:41 am on October 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Facebook Marketplace already showing abuses 

    Facebook Marketplace already showing abuses

    Facebook recently relaunched its Marketplace section. In a nutshell it’s a space on the Facebook app that allows people to buy and sell various goods to each other. The problem is that it didn’t take long for illegal items and items against Marketplace’s guidelines to be offered for sale on the Facebook App. Drugs, guns, dogs and ‘adult services’ have all been offered for sale on the revamped app.

    Facebook has been slow to remove these ads but has said that in the future they’ll use a combination of community policing and employee moderation to keep future objectionable ads off their site. If history is any indicator it doesn’t seem like Facebook will remove these ads in time. If they take their usual 36 hours to remove an ad, that illegal item could have already been sold. More than likely Facebook will rely heavily on community policing, which if you look at craigslist’s community policing it will be more like the inmates running the asylum.

    Another problem with Facebook Marketplace is that Facebook is trying to keep you in their ‘walled garden’. That means they’re trying to be all things to all people in order to keep them on their site or app for as long as possible. Facebook doesn’t want you to go to any other site besides Facebook. The problem with walled gardens is that walls collapse and gardens die. The more Facebook tries to contain their users the closer it gets to being AOL of the 1990s, and who still uses AOL?

    Instead of using an unreliable service, your best bet is to use Geebo, the safer community classifieds. Here at Geebo we moderate our ads to make sure that nothing illegal or harmful is sold. As a socially conscious service, not only did our CEO Greg Collier eliminate the personals section to protect against human trafficking and other related crimes, but he also eliminated the sale of animals to discourage the use of puppy mills and animal related scams.

    While some online classifieds say that they’re socially responsible, Geebo not only talks the talk but it walks the walk as well.

  • Geebo 9:56 am on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Commodore 64, , Poland   

    Auto shop still using Commodore 64 computer 

    Auto shop still using Commodore 64 computer

    One of the most beloved and popular home computers of the 1980s was the Commodore 64. It was so popular that they were manufacturing units until 1994. For $600, at the time, you would get a system that had 64kb of RAM and 20kb of storage. However, for and additional cost you could add a 5 1/4″ floppy drive or a cassette player for additional storage. By today’s standards the Commodore 64 wouldn’t match the computing power of a low-end smartphone.

    That’s not to say that the Commodore still doesn’t have a place in certain corners of the world. Supporting the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, an auto repair shop in Poland has been using a Commodore 64 for the past 25 years to balance driveshafts.

    This really should come as no surprise as the Commodore and other appliances of the time were built to last. In today’s culture we see a lot of our tech devices as disposable. At one time, if your TV broke down you would call a TV repairman, and he would have to come to your house because most home TV’s at the time were too heavy and cumbersome to transport. Now, if a TV has a few dead pixels we’ll scrap it and just buy a new one. The same goes for computers and phones today. Most computers usually have a shelf life of about 4 years while smart phones are replaced even more frequently.

    Does this make us more advanced or more wasteful?

  • Geebo 9:52 am on September 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Houseparty, Meerkat,   

    Is Houseparty an app that parents need to be aware of? 

    Is Houseparty an app that parents need to be aware of?

    You remember Meerkat don’t you? It was the livestreaming app that everyone used for a day before Periscope came along and ate its lunch. Now from the makers of Meerkat comes an app called Houseparty that allows its users to engage in video group chats on their Android or iOS devices. Like most of these type of apps, it’s geared towards teens, so should parents be concerned about the app? Maybe.

    Houseparty is generally used for a group of friends to have group chats with and is intended to be more private than a livestream. In order to join a chat a user needs to know the other users’ phone number or username. That seems to limit the ability of random people to join in the chats. The app itself seems pretty innocuous, however with most social apps parents should be aware but not over-reactionary.

    While Houseparty seems to have its act together when it comes to security of its users it only takes one bad apple to start the abuse of the app. Since the group chats depend on who is hosting the chat, friends of friends can join the chat of the host allows. It’s those friends of friends that could be a predators way in to a conversation with your child.

    So as is with most apps Houseparty is just a tool that’s used to communicate in this social and digital era. It’s up to parents to make sure that the tool isn’t being used the wrong way against your children.

  • Geebo 10:05 am on September 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blackberry,   

    Blackberry announces they’re no longer making phones 

    Blackberry announces they're no longer making phones

    To answer your first question, yes, Blackberry was still making phones until recently.

    Anyway, in a story that’s reminiscent of MySpace’s virtual defeat at the hands of Facebook, the once mighty Blackberry has announced that they will stop making their signature phones. At one time Blackberry ruled the cell phone landscape. Not only was it the cell phone of choice for most companies but it also had a devoted consumer market as well. The practice of people being face down into their obsessive device started with the Blackberry, hence the nickname it received at the time, the Crackberry.

    Then in 2007 an event happened that started the death knell for the Blackberry. That event was the release of Apple’s iPhone. Instead of having a physical keyboard and a mouse-like roller ball, the iPhone had a fully interactive touch screen with a virtual keyboard to provide more screen space than the Blackberry ever had. It also didn’t help that Google came out with its own smartphone operating system called Anndroid. While the iPhone was aimed at more affluent users, Android allowed most everyone to have access to a smartphone. Whatever edge Blackberry had soon eroded to the point of it being a punchline in jokes. People would say “Remember Blackberry?” before laughing derisively then returning to their iPhones or Smasung Galaxies.

    That’s not to say that Blackberry didn’t have its hardcore base of fans. There have been many reports of the Blackberry faithful buying multiple devices and keeping the spares in their freezer when the financial writing was on the wall. It remains to be seen how long those devices will be supported now that Blackberry will focus mostly on software.

  • Geebo 11:59 am on September 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brad Pitt, , hoax,   

    The rumors of Brad Pitt’s death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device 

    The rumors of Brad Pitt's death have been greatly exaggerated, but the news of it will infect your device

    Whether you wanted to know it or not, you’ve no doubt probably heard the news of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced. The power couple, nicknamed Brangelina, are calling it quits after an 11-year-relationship, two of which they were married. Facebook news feeds filled up with links announcing the split, usually followed by people saying they don’t care while posting the link.

    However, even this minor news story has brought some hoaxsters out in full force. In your Facebook news feed you may see a story that claims Brad Pitt has committed suicide in the wake of his recent talks of divorce. Not only is the story not true, the link is disguised as a Fox News link to send you to a hoax page. (Insert your own joke about Fox News and hoax page here.) The fake page is designed not only to get your Facebook details but to also inject malware into your device.

    If your Windows computer does become compromised with malware many tech experts recommend downloading anti-malware protection. Malware Bytes is one of the most trusted anti-malware tools in the industry. If you have been infected by malware, ,start your computer in safe mode by pressing the F8 key while your machine boots up. Then run your anti-malware program to clean out your system.

    To modernize an older quote, don’t believe everything you see and only half of what’s posted on Facebook.

  • Geebo 9:55 am on September 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: discrimination, , Palantir,   

    Company founded by Peter Thiel sued for discrimination 

    Company founded by Peter Thiel sued for discrimination

    In what some may call a bit of irony, a company co-founded by Peter Thiel is being sued by the US Department of Labor over discrimination allegations. Security company Palantir is being accused of allegedly discriminating against Asian applicants. The lawsuit claims that Palantir routinely denied Asian applicants either at the resume stage or after phone interviews.

    Palantir is no mere tech start-up either. They specialize in tracking down terrorist activity and financial fraud with their software. They’ve been credited with assisting the government in finding Osama Bin Laden and have several government contracts with many military and investigative branches of the government. These contracts are said to be valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars and Palantir itself is valued at $20 billion.

    The reason some may find this bit of news ironic is because of Peter Thiel’s financially backed lawsuits against the former Gawker Media, most famously the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that drove Gawker into bankruptcy. It’s been alleged that Thiel backed these lawsuits as a form of payback against Gawker who outed Thiel as gay on their website. Some may even say that Gawker’s story could be considered discriminatory. So, on the surface it could appear that there could be double standards at play. However, if the lawsuit does have merit and is successful, it’s very doubtful that the government would order a settlement that would bankrupt Palantir.

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