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Category Archives: Outbursts

15 yard Facemask??? Whatever!!!

OK, if you missed it, the Cowboys/Redskins game just ended… the hated Redskins won 22-19 on the most unbelievable play I’ve EVER seen.  First the Redskins missed a 49 yard FG.  Then Tony Romo drove the Cowboys down to take an easy 35 yard FG for the win.  Of course the Cowboys have the Colts’ old idiot kicker and he gets his kick blocked.  Sean Taylor picks up the ball and starts running.  During the run, one of the Cowboys grabbed onto his facemask, in what was flagged for 15 yards.  15 YARDS???!!!  His head just gave a slight twitch… that’s not 15 yards… that’s 5 yards… the way they nearly took Larry Johnson’s head off the other day, now THAT is 15 yards… this certainly isn’t 15 yards!  Even Terry Bradshaw just said so.  Whatever, Taylor was taken down around mid field and adding the 15 yards AND the one free play gave the Redskins the ability to kick a FG that should have been 55 yards out, from 45 yards, to STEAL a win!!!
 
Officiating in the NFL has been terrible this season…  I can only wonder what Mike Perreira’s excuse for this one would be…  Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s a "judgement call". 
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Posted by on November 5, 2006 in Outbursts

 

What the hell is going on with the Colts?!

As I sit here watching the Colts totally unable to stop the Jaguars’ rushing attack, I have to wonder what the hell has happened to the awesome defense we had last season?  We have given up over 100 rushing yards in the first quarter alone!  If our guys don’t learn how to start tackling really, really soon, we’ll be in for a world of hurt!
 
For shame Colts D… for shame!
 
Later
C
 
 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2006 in Outbursts

 

The dilemma of phishing…

OK, so I’m a pretty computer savvy guy.
I like FISHING, but these PHISHING attemps drive me crazy!
I don’t get fooled by these phishing messages… never have… hopefully never will.  I got the following email from someone claiming to be 53 Bank.
 
 
The email supposedly was sent from online_support_id_2821853.cust@53.com.
I sincerely doubt the existence of such an email address, though the domain is valid.  The actual return path of the message is alt@0451.com.
Anyway, normally when I get these kinds of messages and I check their sites, the sites have been taken down already.  Not this time.  Either these hackers are finding ways to stay up longer or my email address has moved to the front of the "who to hack" queue.  Whichever it is, it’s not good!
 
One can generally tell it’s a phishing message because there are some dead give aways.  Grammar is always the prime one.  Most of these phishing messages originate behind what used to be the iron curtain i.e. former Soviet states.  Any country where police enforcement of online issues is hampered by normal crime figures being high, is a prime location for these hackers to base their operations from.  As such, English isn’t their first language and grammar is usually poor, resulting in a dead give away as to the message’s illegitimate source.
 
If you look at the email, you will notice that they are getting better and better at it though.  The logo, stolen directly off the bank’s web site at #1 makes it look legitimate.
The URL, with a very valid domain component, lends itself more to fooling the user into believing the email to be valid as in #2 and they even include the copyright footer information in #3.
The only indication of something fishy (excuse the pun) going on is at #4 and #5 where the grammar of the email is not as perfect as one would expect.
One thing that set this message appart from others is the fact that they didn’t just put the link in the message… instead, they encapsulated the entire message in a link object and as a result, clicking ANYWHERE in the message pops open the site as follows:
 
 
Looking at the phishing site, at #1 you can see that the URL mimics that of the real 53 Bank site.  The only difference being that between ".com" and "wps" is a "." instead of a "/" as on the real site.  The same goes for "wps" and "portal".  It would be so easy for a novice user to miss that and think the site is real.
To add to the effect, the "Privacy & Security" link even points to the valid location on the 53.com site.
Of course what these hackers are really after is your information as in #3.
 
Providing them your full name, state, ID and password enables them to logon to your account.  The next thing they will attempt to do is change your password so as to lock you out of the account.  They may require a security verification code to do that.  The most common code people use is either their pet’s name or their mother’s maiden name ala #7 and #8 on the form.  With that information in hand, they can pretty much clean your account out.  Bastards!
 
If you look at the 53 Bank site as follows:
 
 
You will notice the logo at #1, which was stolen and used on the phishing email and site.
Furthermore, at #2 you will notice the URL that was mimicked on the phising site.  The real URL being:
while the phishing URL was:
Notice the subtle differences?
Oh, and of course the "Privacy & Security" link, also stolen for the phishing site…
 
So what are we to do?  Law enforcement can’t touch these guys.  They setup their sites and break them down so quickly that it’s almost impossible to catch them.  The fact that they are sitting in Russia doesn’t help either.  Actually, on this one, the site is hosted in Taiwan and the domain owner is a Russian named Fedor Burof.  The WHOIS record for the domain is as follows:
 
 
How do we handle such threats to our finances, in fact our lives?  I don’t know… I honestly don’t have an answer to this one.  I know how to handle it if the guy was in my city, or even my state or country, but the internet has not only exposed all the information we could possibly want to anyone and everyone, it has also made us more vulnerable to such attacks from far, far away.

The only way to counter such threats is to be alert, trust nothing coming in via email, question everything written in email and above all, educate ourselves, so please stay safe…
 
Later
C

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2006 in Outbursts

 

Who the heck came up with this design anyway!?

OK, so I have to say it…
 
One of my biggest pet peeves is the Windows’ download logic.
So here I am, answering email.  In the background, I’m downloading a 250 MB file.  Upon making the download selection, I chose the target folder for the file to go.  Of course when the download begins, Windows saves the file to the Temporary Internet Files folder instead of the folder that I designated for the download to go!  
 
If you’re ever downloading something like a DL DVD image at 7 or 8 GB in size and your laptop’s C drive doesn’t have enough space for the file, the download will fail, but of course, not until you run out of space spending hours downloading the file!
 
Anyway, I’m downloading the file in the BACKGROUND and answering an email in the foreground.  Then suddenly, once the download has been completed (to the location I did NOT specify) Windows will move the file from the Temporary Internet Files folder to the location I had previously designated.  Of course, Windows will insist on popping the move process that was in the BACKGROUND back to the FOREGROUND and on top of that, set FOCUS to it as well!
 
1+1=2 and if you’re writing an email or doing anything actively when this stupid action takes place, you’re inevitably going to be pressing the SPACEBAR somewhere in there.  If you know anything about the File Move dialog window, it is that the CANCEL button has focus and that pressing the darn SPACEBAR will abort the move of the file and effectively also kills your download!!!
 
So that’s why I want to know…  Who the heck came up with this design anyway!?
Why not just save the darn file to the location I designated for it to go right from the get go.
When you’re creating a ZIP file, it has a temporary name and once complete, it’s renamed to the actual name.
Why couldn’t downloads work like that?
Oh well, at least I feel better now.  Time to go and figure out which one of my downloads I killed leading to this rant…
 
Later
C
 
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Posted by on July 27, 2006 in Outbursts

 

Boo Hoo Hoo… poor Adobe…

 
WHATEVER!!!
 
Of course they allow Open Office to print to PDF and get this… they won’t take on Microsoft in the U.S. courts with their "objection" either… nope, they go and complain to the EU!  Cowards!
 
Instead of crying like a bunch of old women Adobe should instead add the Microsoft XML Open Document format to their products since it’s now an open standard.  Doing that they’ll allow their current users to exchange documents with Office users as apposed to pushing them towards adopting Office and abandoning PDF.
Of course they will allow Microsoft to keep the feature if they charged for it.  So why don’t they make Open Office charge for it?
 
The interesting part of the article was this and I quote courtesy of CNet News:
 
"Microsoft contends that Adobe is seeking to avoid competition, by wanting the software giant to charge for its own XPS technology and also for Adobe’s PDF format.
 
Adobe’s desire to hold pricing discussions on these matters may violate antitrust laws surrounding price fixing, Heiner said. He added that antitrust laws prohibit competitors from working together to lower or raise prices and, as a result, Microsoft has refused to enter into such discussions."

Good for Microsoft taking the high road.  OK, enough ranting for now…

 
Later
C
 
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Posted by on June 2, 2006 in Outbursts

 

Why the TelCos are so rich…

Ever wondered why the Telephone Companies are so darn big and profitable?
Because they’ve been gouging their customers for years!
OK there… I’ve thrown my hat into the ring…
Some of the more famous and outspoken columnists in the business, like John C. Dvorak, have been talking about how the big telcos have been abusing their customers for years.
 
The U.S. is the land of opportunity, the land where monopolies are busted up… remember Standard Oil… Bell Labs…  It’s to the point where monopolies are just about illegal… that is unless you’re a Cable Company or a Telephone Company that is…
 
I’ve never had more than one option for a cable carrier not to even mention local phone service.  Cable has always been Comcast and local phone has always been SBC.  At least we had options when it came to long distance right?  There was AT&T, MCI and Sprint.  Well now that SBC has swallowed up AT&T, the options become even less.
 
I talked about how we’re going to save a bundle of $$$ with Skype by dropping our long distance from our phone bill in my previous post.  So I called SBC/AT&T today to drop long distance from my account.  The conversation went something like this…
"I’d like to remove the long distance options from my account please."
"Certainly sir.  Do you wish to change your carrier for long distance?"
"No, I want to DROP my carrier."
"Certainly sir.  Do you wish to designate a local toll* carrier?"
"NO!  I want to DROP ALL long distance carriers from my account.  I just want Local phone service."
"Certainly sir.  Be advised there is a $4.81 charge for setting your long distance carrier to None."
"WHAT?  Are you telling me that you’re going to charge me just to stop using your service!?"
"There is no charge for changing your long distance carrier."
"If there’s no charge for changing my long distance carrier, why are you charging me $4.81?"
"There is not charge for changing your long distance carrier from one carrier to another, but changing it to None incurs a charge of $4.81."
"You’ve got to be kidding me!  Fine!  Whatever!  Just do it!"
"Bla…bla…bla…and some other legal dribble…"
 
 .  
 
Amazing!  Can you believe they’re charging us to DROP their service!?
OK, so instead of saving $273.91 between now and the end of the year, we’ll only save $269.10…  I hope Skype puts SBC/AT&T out of business!  (Wishful thinking I know, but a man can dream right?)
 
It’s not that I want free service, even though the TelCos’ infrastructure has long since been paid for by consumers.  Instead, I believe it should work like it does with RevolRevol is a new wireless carrier that simply charge a flat $47 per month and gives their subscribers unlimited local calls, unlimited long distance calls, unlimited txt and unlimited pix!  Now THAT is how it is done!  Check them out at http://www.revol.us.
 
LONG LIVE SKYPE!!!
 
Later
C
*Local Toll is just another way the TelCos gouge their customers.  Even if you have Local as well as Long Distance carriers on your account and you call from one side of town to the other side they get to charge you outrageous rates.  Of course, it also provides them with yet another item they can charge you extra for on your phone bill.
 
 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 25, 2006 in Outbursts

 

Just not my day…

I am out in Seattle this week for the SharePoint Conference 2006.  Of course as we all know, life doesn’t stop when you attend a conference.  On the contrary, it seems to speed up more!
 
I arrived on Sunday and headed over to the Pre-Registration event to go and network with some of my fellow SharePoint Geeks.  That put me back at my hotel by 10 PM Seattle time, but I was still on Indy time which meant 1 AM already.  I got into bed and of course woke up at my usual 6 AM… literally!  I woke up at 3 AM Seattle time when it was 6 AM in Indy.  No amount of tossing and turning could get me back to sleep again.  Oh well…
 
Monday went pretty well.  The sessions ran until about 6:30 PM every day.  Had dinner and caught up to email just to find myself at 11:30 PM already.  Went to bed and you guessed it… woke up at 3 AM again!
 
Tuesday’s sessions was not quite as good as Monday, but still.  Had an MVP Dinner afterwards and only got to my room at 11 PM.
 
Wednesday morning… I’m starting to adjust to the time zone change.  Woke up at 4 AM.  Sessions went all day and we had the Attendee Party at EMP in the evening.  Got to bed at midnight!
 
Thursday morning… Yep, definitely adjusting now.  Too bad really cause I’m going to have to adjust back the other way in two days time.  Oh well… Woke at 5 AM this time.  Last session finished 6:30 PM and went out with a bunch of MVP’s and other French attendees.  Dropped Renaud Compt at the Clarion hotel at the airport and headed to my hotel.  Got in around midnight and still had to do some work and email.  Finally got to bed at 2 AM.
 
Today… woke up at 6 AM.  Dog tired.  Partner Event is today.  Had to fix a problem for a client too.  Of course as I’m in the MIDDLE of making the change, they decided to make an IP address change.  I get knocked out and have to call to get access restored.  Finally got them on their way.  Well I’m at the airport and it’s early.  I chose to try and catch a stand by flight and see if I can make it home earlier than Saturday morning.
I did find it interesting that the rental car agent had told me that it was "complicated" to get to the closest gas station when I asked at rental time where the closest one was.  I didn’t believe him and wasn’t going to pay their ludicrous gas up rates either.  So on my way to the airport, I figured out just how "complicated" it really was.  As you are leaving the airport, heading for Interstate 5, take the very first exit and turn to the right.  I believe its 190th Street.  Drive two blocks and fill at the Shell on the right.  Boy that was "complicated".
OK, enough of the tangent.  So coming to the conference I had my trusty red suitcase and my backpack.  Of course Microsoft gave us some cool bags which just had to go with.  So now I’m carrying three bags into the airport.  I check in for standby and the person at the American counter says nothing about my 3 bags.  Then I try and get through security… Oh boy!
 
Nope… only 2 bags allowed.  WHAT?  OK, so I’m sure there’s some stupid rule about it somewhere, but I know that I’m going to gate check my one bag.  I just didn’t want to check it without knowing I’m on the flight as well.  Regardless, they won’t allow the third bag in.  There’s really nothing in it except some DVD’s and a notepad.
Fine!  FINE!  FINE!
 
So I take a seat at a bench nearby and simply proceed to shove the bag into my red suitcase which now seems pregnant!
I step back in line and they let me through.  Go figure.
 
Then I get to the gate and sit down.  I have a Venti Mocha Frappuccino which I position on the floor.  I have my laptop out and am thoughtfully going through email.  I reach down to pick up my Starbucks.  Half way up, the cap comes off and it slips from my grip, hitting the ground and splattering all over the place!  Boy a Starbucks bomb has quite a reach!
So off to the rest room I go to get paper towels to clean the stupid mess up.  Can it get any worse!
 
Then I finally get the final, that’s right, the absolute FINAL seat on the plan from stand by.  As I get to the counter before entering the door, I ask for a gate check tag.  The steward says they will check it and I can get it at my final destination.  Mmm… but I’m on stand by in Chicago.  So you’re telling me my luggage is going to Indy weather I’m on the plane or not?  Yep, that’s what they’re telling me.
Then the stewardess asks me why I’m on the earlier flight.  Isn’t it obvious?  I want to get home earlier.
Then she finally makes things a little more clear for me.  They don’t have any flights until tomorrow so weather I take the earlier flight or the red eye, I’ll be on the same flight to Indy.
Besides the fact that I don’t understand how a large airline like American can NOT have a flight from Chicago to Indy on a Friday night after 8 PM Chicago time, why didn’t anybody tell me this when I first checked in?
 
So I happily gave up my seat to one of the people on stand by.  I took a seat and started catching up on email… and now blogging!
 
Come to think of it, it may not have been my day at all, but its turning out pretty good in the end!
Later
C
 
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Posted by on May 19, 2006 in Outbursts