Updates from January, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:59 am on January 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies 

    How to vote with your dollar over new immigration policies

    Are you a politically active consumer? Do you want to either show your support or opposition to the recent immigration executive order issued by President Donald Trump? Well, we’re here to help with what companies you may want to support or avoid depending on your political leaning.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook had the following to say…

    “Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do. I’ve heard from many of you who are deeply concerned about the executive order issued yesterday restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. I share your concerns. It is not a policy we support,”

    After their previous kerfuffle Uber CEO Travis Kalanick added this…

    “This order has far broader implications as it also affects thousands of drivers who use Uber and come from the listed countries … We are working out a process to identify these drivers and compensate them pro bono during the next three months to help mitigate some of the financial stress and complications with supporting their families”

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had similar concerns…

    “Trump’s actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all,” wrote Hastings. “Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe. A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity.”

    The CEO of President Trump’s favorite social networking platform, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, added this…

    “The Executive Order’s humanitarian and economic impact is real and upsetting,” wrote Dorsey, linking to a similar statement from the Internet Association on Twitter. “We benefit from what refugees and immigrants bring to the U.S.”

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued the following statement

    We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years. No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants. It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.

    Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stated that not only do they oppose the ban but they will be hiring 10,000 immigrants to help fill their positions.

    “There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”

    Airbnb head Brian Chesky has offered assistance to those affected by the ban…

    “Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected,”

    Also such industry luminaries as Google, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Yelp, and Facebook all oppose the ban.

    This is far from a comprehensive list but will give you enough information to make informed choices on where to spend your money or whose services you want to use or boycott if you so choose. If you do choose to boycott, it seems that you have a long road to hoe. Good luck with that.

  • Geebo 1:10 pm on January 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Should you be ashamed for using Uber? 

    Should you be ashamed for using Uber?

    (Disclaimer: This blog post is not an endorsement for Uber or any political policy.)

    Over the weekend a firestorm erupted over taxis and ride sharing services Uber and Lyft. Due to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy deemed the ‘Muslim ban’ a number of people started protesting at major airports across the country. The most major of those airports was JFK in New York City. In support of the protests the NY Taxi Workers Alliance announced that they would not be picking up fares from JFK between 6-7PM this past Saturday. In response Uber announced that they would be picking up riders from JFK and that their surge pricing would be suspended during the taxi strike. This resulted in many people taking to social media not only chastising Uber but stating that they were deleting the Uber app as well.

    Uber came out and apologized for the gaffe stating…

    ‘We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” a spokesperson for Uber said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

    Uber also said that it would create $3 million defense fund to help cover legal, immigration and translation costs for drivers affected by the immigration ban. This hasn’t stopped the technorati from calling for a complete boycott of Uber.

    Unfortunately what some may not realize is that Uber has been a godsend to low-income users who aren’t necessarily serviced by public transportation. In to many locales Uber is the only choice for people who need to get to doctor appointments and the like. So while the tech elite and politically active can afford to delete Uber, not everyone can. If you use Uber, you should not be shamed into using another service just because some of the more reactionary among us now think it’s the devil’s livery.

    If you can afford to boycott Uber then fine, but not everyone is in your financial position to do so. Keep that in mind before shaming someone for using the service.

  • Geebo 2:49 pm on January 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Facebook offers new level of security 

    Facebook offers new level of security

    Recently, Facebook rolled out a new security feature designed to keep your account out of the hands of hackers and identity thieves. You can now purchase a USB key that will only allow someone with the key to access your account. This is a lot more secure than the regular two factor authentication as SMS messages can be intercepted.

    However, there are drawbacks to using this method of security. The first is that it only applies to using Facebook on your PC, a mobile version of this method has yet to be implemented. The second problem is that it will only work with the Chrome and Opera browsers, so if you’re a Firefox or Explorer user, you’re out of luck. Lastly, if you lose the key you’ll be locked out of your Facebook account.

    Unless you use Facebook for business purposes or are some kind of public figure you can probably get away with just the regular two factor authentication with no problem. However if your livelihood revolves around your Facebook, the security key may not be such a bad idea.

  • Geebo 10:56 am on January 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different 

    Backpage sued by underage trafficking victims and why these suits are different

    Yesterday, multiple lawsuits were filed against Backpage in four different states by victims who were trafficked on Backpage for sex while they were underage. At the times these victims were being trafficked they ranged in ages from 14 to 17. The suits, filed in California, Alabama, Texas, and Washington, claim that Backpage knowingly profited from the trade of underage girls on its website.

    Lawsuits like these are nothing new for Backpage. Two of the more newsworthy lawsuits were filed in Massachusetts and Washington, but unfortunately those lawsuits were defeated in the courts. These new lawsuits are different that their predecessors for two reasons. The first is the fact that Backpage heads Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey and James Larkin are being named in the suit. The second reason is that these are the first suits being filed after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that Backpage allegedly edits their ads to make the victims appear of age. Previously the Communications Decency Act of 1996 protected Backpage in these suits because the CDA states that a website’s owner is not criminally responsible for the content that their users post. However, if Backpage is editing the ads that their users post, that could render their CDA defense null and void.

    Much has been made in the news about how Backpage shut down their adult section only to have it turn out that the trafficking ads have migrated to the personals section where Backpage is still making money from them. Since Backpage only cares about the money they make, maybe these lawsuits will finally strike a blow against them that will finally make them reconsider their business model of slavery.

  • Geebo 10:53 am on January 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bourbon, Pappy Van Winkle,   

    Man charged for selling bourbon online 

    Man charged for selling bourbon online

    If you’re not the imbibing type, you may never have heard of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. It’s said to be the holy grail of bourbon and is said to be the most difficult bottle of the sipping whiskey to obtain, it’s also said to be one of the most expensive. So it should come as no surprise that when someone came in possession of a bottle of it that they would try to flip it for a profit.

    A Pennsylvania man attempted to sell a bottle of the much coveted whiskey online, but instead of seeing a bidding war for his bottle he was instead visited by agents of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. As it turns out, according to Pennsylvania law, even reselling a bottle of bourbon requires a liquor license. The LCE bought the bottle from the man but it was unclear how much they paid for it. It may not matter how much they paid the man was charged with a misdemeanor and may need that money for court fees.

    So while this may not be Eliot Ness bringing down Al Capone, be careful of what you sell online as it may run afoul of state or local laws.

  • Geebo 10:55 am on January 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , skiing   

    Beware of fake ski lift tickets in Colorado 

    Beware of fake ski lift tickets in Colorado

    Authorities in Colorado are saying that they are seeing a rash of fake ski lift tickets being sold online. They’re allegedly being sold on a less than reputable classifieds site whose name we won’t mention but you can pretty much guess who it is.

    If you’ve ever been skiing, you know how expensive lift tickets can be, so if you can find yourself a deal you’d be remiss not to take it right? Well, it depends on where you get that deal. As far as these fake ski lift tickets go, the tickets are usually worthless by the time that you get them. The scam works pretty much the same way it does with sports tickets. Someone will purchase the tickets with a stolen credit card and will then turn around and try to sell to tickets at a discount. However, when the credit card is reported stolen those tickets then become null and void while the con artist has made off with your cash. One victim of this current scam found themselves out of $2,000 due to the scam. This is without mentioning that most lift tickets are non-transferable.

    Usually with these ticket scams the ‘seller’ has a story on why they have to get rid of the tickets as soon as possible. If you suspect a scam this is a good indicator. Another good indicator is the age-old adage that if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is. Skiing is definitely an expensive activity but it can be even more expensive if you try to score some tickets on the cheap.

  • Geebo 11:05 am on January 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Business as usual at Backpage as trafficking ads continue 

    Business as usual at Backpage as trafficking ads continue

    As should have been expected, Backpage’s grandiose claims of government censorship causing them to shutter the adult section of their site was nothing more than a virtual sleight of hand. The adult ads appear to have allegedly migrated from the adult section to the personals section where Backpage can still collect money for them.

    This was first reported by Cleveland.com who were notified by Andrea Powell, an advocate from the organization FAIR Girls, whose purpose it is to rescue girls from human trafficking. More recently it was brought to light by Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of Backpage. Sheriff Dart had the following to say…

    A couple days after Backpage made the switch, Dart said his officers set up a “date” with one of the women advertising on the site and confirmed she was charging for sex.

    “We went out and arrested a person off the site,” he said. “We answered one of their ads and it was no different.”

    While it is free to post ads in the personals section, there are upgrades you can purchase to keep the ads in better positioning and circulation. The Senate Subcommittee that investigated Backpage alleged that Backpage had moderators that would edit the ads for prostitution to make them seem less illegal. If they used their moderators for that purpose then potentially couldn’t they use them to keep the prostitution ads out of the personals?

    Let’s not forget what’s really at stake here. While Backpage is playing games with Congress, there are still women and children being forced into slavery by their traffickers on Backpage. Nothing has changed. Law enforcement and the government must not forget that these victims are still out there and must continue the fight, even if we have to remind them.

  • Geebo 12:03 pm on January 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Meitu   

    Be careful what permissions your apps want on your phone 

    Be careful what permissions your apps want on your phone

    I’m sure when most of us download the latest fad app to our smart phones we just bypass the permissions screen and grant the app whatever permissions it might need to work properly. A new app is now causing concern for asking for too much permission.

    Meitu is an app that can take a photo of you, or anything else you want, and allows you to change the subject into an Anime inspired character. The problem is that Meitu is supposedly asking for way more permission than it needs. If you download the app from the Google Play store it will ask for such permissions as your location and your phone number. On the iPhone it also checks to see who your mobile carrier is.

    So why would a harmless app ask for such detailed information? According to CNET it’s so that the app’s creators can sell your information to advertisers. Meitu isn’t the only culprit here though. Many apps ask for almost total access to your phone in order to harvest your information to be sold to the highest bidder which can lead to even more obtrusive advertising than mobile devices already have to contend with.

    So the next time that screen pops up asking for your permission, maybe we should all check to make sure what permissions the app is asking for and if it’s too many maybe forego that app.

  • Geebo 10:37 am on January 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fruitfly, , , osx   

    Apple users have two new threats to deal with 

    Apple users have two new threats to deal with

    If you’re a fan of the Apple ecosystem because ‘they don’t get viruses’ you may want to rethink that reasoning. While still not receiving as many threats as Windows machines Apple devices are still vulnerable to glitches and attacks. Two of those issues recently made the news.

    The first, and less damaging of the two threats, is a glitch in iOS that can cause you’re iPhone to crash. If someone sends you a text with the white flag emoji, the number zero, and the rainbow emoji, it will crash your iPhone if it is running iOS 10. You don’t even have to read the text before it freezes your phone. Luckily, this glitch does not cause any lasting damage and your iPhone should restart.

    The second problem is a piece of malware called Fruitfly that is targeting Mac computers. If your Mac is infected a bad actor can take control of your webcam and can take screenshots of whatever you’re working on. This malware seems to be only targeting a specific industry and may not have spread into consumer machines just yet. However, Apple has issued an update to OSX to fix the exploit.

    No matter whether you use Mac or Windows, iOS or Android, you still have to be concerned about your device’s security.

  • Geebo 10:24 am on January 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    New phishing attack targets GMail 

    New phishing attack targets GMail

    For those of you who may not know, phishing is a type of scheme where an entity casts a wide net to a number of users in order to obtain the personal information of a few random victims. It’s like fishing but with a ‘ph’ because the internet likes to misspell things.

    A new phishing attack has appeared throughout a number of GMail accounts. If you use Google’s free webmail service the phishing email appears to be from someone on your contact list. That probably means that their account has probably been compromised. The fake email will have an attachment included in the email and when you click the attachment a new tab or window will pop up asking you to reenter your GMail login info. However, the new tab or window does not take you to GMail but rather takes you to a webpage designed to look like GMail, but in actuality is a fake page waiting to steal your login info as soon as you enter it.

    Some of the tips to avoid phishing attacks include not clicking on random attachments from strangers and in some cases from your friends. If it’s an unsolicited attachment there’s a pretty good chance it could be part of a phishing attack. Also, when logging in to your account check the URL, or web address, in your browser’s address bar. If it doesn’t belong to the service you’re logging into you could be compromising your info.

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