MY COMMENTS

Storage and Security by rsjblog

You said 2 months ago:

Hello Robert,
Your post on storage and security was pretty interesting to me, being that I’m a gadget junkie. I carry my laptop, pda, and several other electronic devices everwhere I go. I can’t imagine a world without the convienience of having any information at my fingertips, but I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about security. I store countless amount of personal information on my laptop and I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to keep it safer. Is there any program out there that can disable my usb slots to prevent someone from transfering files?
I guess with all the advances in technology that’s made our lives more convenient, has also made us more vulnerable to identity theft. Thanks for the eye opening post, and if you happen to have read up on any programs that can minimize the threat of any information being stolen please post them. I know a lot of people, including myself, will be grateful.

annwill said 2 months ago:

The storage of data on smaller devices seems to call for some type of newer security. As you suggest, the smaller size of something like a thumb drive offers convenience, but also is a concern for loss or theft. Perhaps these could be tracked to rightful owners by a fingerprint technology or by coding some type of bar code that might imply “in case found–please log on to the following website and enter the code…” If such technology exists, I am not aware of it. There is certainly money to be made where the industry of information technology is a new field for newcomers to the world of theft.

Mike Reining said 2 months ago:

Security certainly is a tougher thing to maintain with the shrinking of data storage devices. There have been several USB drives lost by the British Ministry of Defense over the past few years. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cornwall/7605923.stm) Also, there was at least one incident in the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs regarding the loss of a laptop loaded with veteran’s personal data.

I think this topic should be addressed on several levels at all establishments. The business I work for is very tight on security for product sensitivity reasons. Having a USB key dropped with all of our new products on it could be disastrous.

Robert Johnson said 2 months ago:

As part of the Risk Management department at my work, computer security is never something too far from my thoughts. One of the most important keys is to just be aware. Keep your laptop with you if you have to get up and go somewhere in the library. If you are at work, just lock the workstation when you get up. These simply things will easily thwart a criminal. If you use a thumb drive, make sure you don’t loose it or don’t put personal information on it. If you are paranoid, you can get one that is password protected and self destructs. Check out http://www.ironkey.com. Secondly, get a good virus and firewall package. McAfee sells one as does Symnatic and many others. You need more than just anti-virus software. Look for anti-spyware and a firewall. Next, change all of the default passwords for your devices. This is so important! Hijacking access through wireless is big business. In fact, there is a website where “they” are actively mapping wireless hot spots. You can actually put in your address and find out where unsecured routers exist near you. Check out http://www.wigle.net/.

To be honest, I don’t use wireless at home because you have to really know what you are doing. I also have a couple of USB drives on which I keep personal information, like budget, etc. I only access that information when I’m not attahed to the network. I never just leave my computer attached to the network (DSL). I always “disable” the network interface when I don’t need the Internet.

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Databases .. what would we do without them? by mikereining

You said 3 weeks ago:

I use facebok almost daily, thank god I’m not addicted like many of my friends. I think it’s great for keeping in contact with old friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time. Life takes us all on curious and sometimes confusing paths and I think it’s awesome that there is a database setup that let’s us keep in touch with people that shared something in a point in my life. The best part of it is, it’s very user friendly. You don’t have to be a IT tech in order to navigate it, everything is there with just within a click of a mouse.

Leigh Ann said 2 weeks ago:

I also use Facebook on a regular basis. As I live around eight-hundred miles away from where I grew up, Facebook (which I have only joined over the last year) has become pretty much the only way I am able to keep up with people I knew when I was younger.

I have found the site is fairly user friendly, although it was somewhat of an adjustment going from their earlier interface to their recent change. However, it’s easy to see why they changed the look of the website– with the set-up the way it is now, the ads displayed on the side of each page refresh far more often.

mdholden said 2 weeks ago:

I use Myspace and Facebook daily for personal things. It’s really awesome to be able to keep in touch with old friends and family. They have really improved how you can query their databases to locate specific people or a group of people.

Another interesting use of the Myspace and Facebook database is for recruiting or promoting.You can list jobs for people to view, but you can also do a search to using queries to cue in on certain age groups, interest groups and geographic groups. There have been many studies, including one I conducted last semester, that show that recruiters have great success using these social networking, database based, sites for recruiting and promoting their organizations.

It’s nice to read what an “IT guy” has to say about this. This week was a bad week for our “IT guy” at work!

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Netiquette Schmetiquette… by mdholden

todsouth said 1 month ago:

Unfortunately, I see everything you describe all the time. I truly think that the people who break all these rules are not thinking about their actions. It is almost common sense to play by those rules. But, I’ve said this before; common sense is not common anymore! These rules are basic common courtesy to treating humans. We should apply these courtesies to everyone whether or not we are online or face-to-face.
The ability to be anonymous allows many unscrupulous people to get away with bashing anything that they are irritated with. I think it is important for everyone to have their opinion but there is an appropriate way of stating a difference of opinion.
As I was going down your list, I noticed that I seem to follow it. Was it because of some class I took? No, just respect.

scoutmstr25 said 1 month ago:

Very Good! Often times we become too slack in our day to day e-mails and online interactions with people we know. This causes us to be slack sometimes with people we do not know. The list that you posted is right on target. I wonder if texting will ever fall into netiquette. Texting is very informal but it is becoming very popular. I have a hard time reading blogs that are filled with garbage and filth. They use excessive language that makes me feel uncomfortable. We need to be cautious about what we say. We never know how the readers may take it.

You said 1 month ago:

Great post, I must say unfortunately I’m guilty of some of the don’ts listed in your blog. I spend so much time text messaging my friends and family it inadvertinly transfers over into my emails. Reading your post made me more mindful on how to respond to people and not offend them. I guess it has alot to do with common manners, I mean would I talk to people in person the way I do in e-mails. I thank you for the reminder and I’m sure all my e-mail recipients thank you.

tchrwannab2 said 1 month ago:

I have heard about netiquette before, but it was good to re-emphasis the importance. I know I am guilty of a few of the don’t as well. People truly don’t think when they e-mail if they would say the same thing if they were in person. I know I personally have been offended by what people have said in emails. I also get annoyed getting forwards from people who have forwarded this to everyone in their list and it’s a mile long email. Most of the time it’s information I don’t even care about and it gets deleted before I even open the e-mail. I know I am going to reread emails before I send them to make sure I am saying what I want to say.

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Computers in unusual places by ddj8

rsjblog said 1 month ago:

That’s really interesting. One of the things people probably don’t realize when they use their navigation systems in their cars is that the satellite technology was developed for military use. Interestingly, another thing developed by the military was the concept of internet protocol (IP), which is the fundamental building block of the Internet. It was really genius, as it is designed to get data to and from even if a portion of the network is destroyed.

You said 1 month ago:

It’s pretty amazing where technology has taken us over the last several years. Now with BFT can you, as the field soldier, see everybody around you in realtime or is it all broadcast to a specific point and only officers see everyone’s location?
I’m very curious to know if the BFT platform had been upgraded to include individual soldiers or is it only to vehicles at this time? I just think it’s great to know f you ever get into a situation where you may need assistance right there’s a way for other people to know exactly where you are. Great post and thank you for your service.

ddj8 said 1 month ago:

Re:
The Blue Force Tracker (BFT) transmits information in near real-time and displays every single unit in relation to each other on a digital map. The BFT has been scaled down to a modular system capable of tracking the individual soldier. The individual system, however, is bulky and still being tested. For more information on the development of BFT for the individual soldier visit http://science.howstuffworks.com/ffw2.htm

mikereining said 1 month ago:

Wow, the BFT was not in place when I was in but we read articles about the work being done with Force 21 which I think was spearheaded by the 3rd ACR, 1st CAV Div, and 2nd Armored Div. I can see where this system linked to the Land Warrior system would make leading in combat easier or would it provide information overload. You can’t dwell so much on the information you forget about that guy around the corner trying to pick you off. You should check out the recent article on Military.com about the new man protable air burst weapon if you have not even already used one. Looks very intriguing and very bad for the other side.

kim74 said 1 month ago:

It amazes me how far technology has come in such a short amount of time. Having the BFT be fully interactive is a wonderful invention. Commanders having the capabilities to see where the troops are helps, not only with the strategy, but also the effectiveness of being able to find our troops when something goes wrong. The cost of the units is quite pricey; however, if the unit has saved the lives of our soldiers, it is well worth it.

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What is Phishing? by rsjblog

mdholden said 1 month ago:

I’ve found some of the worst Phishing scams to be through ebay and paypal. These Phishers usually play off of people’s pre-existing fear of being defrauded OR they actually find people who have been frauded already. They will tell you there’s been a breach and to verify that everything is ok and they’ll ask you to enter information. It’s horrible…most of the time the intent of ebay and paypal phishing is not to steal money but to steal someone’s user info so they can parasite off of someone’s account and sell illegal merchandise without their own identity being sacrificed.

-Dawn

scoutmstr25 said 1 month ago:

I have often wondered what phishing is. I am very careful when I am on the internet because I fear that someone is on the other side just waiting for my information. There is a lot of junk out there that can lead you into the wrong direction. I am afraid of inputtiing any credit card or social security information. It is very hard to catch a cyber criminal. They could be anywhere in the world. Sometimes they can just a virus which can be very harmful to your computer. It can potentially ruin the hard drive and corrupt any files. I always make sure that I have a good antivirus software to protect me.

rsjblog said 1 month ago:

Ahh.. adding comments to my own blog… network security is such a large topic that I feel compelled to point out a shortcoming in my rather short overview on phishing. Sometimes they are really, really good. McAfee did a demo on a phishing scheme sometime in the Oct/Nov time frame of last year. The e-mail bait was dead on… didn’t ask any person information, just gave you web site link to click on. The key was that their URL was one character difference from the legit URL. Unless someone had memorized the URL, they would never had realized they were being directed to another site. The bogus site looked identical to the bank’s real one. We actually looked at both of them side by side. All the bogus site would do is ask for your account info, just like the real bank, and then send you and error message stating that your password was incorrect and redirect you to the legit site. That’s it. From the user experience point of view, you entered your password, got kicked back, tried it again and continued on your way. Even the manager of the AVERT lab said that he would have never picked up that it was a phishing scheme. Today these kind of things are big business and the bad guys can be sophisticated and professional. It’s a good idea to enable phishing filters and be cautious about clicking on a URL embedded in an e-mail. Better to go to you bank using your own bookmark. Also, the AVERT guy said that in a McAfee survey, they found the general public had got the message about not clicking on links in e-mails– the majority of respondents would copy and past the URL into their browser– unfortunately, that is the same as clicking on it. So don’t do that either. And don’t get me started about certificates… I could go on, but I have accounting homework to do.

mikereining said 1 month ago:

Phishing is most certainly a dangerous nasty scheme we all need to be aware of. I’ve also received the ones posing as ebay ads and paypal as well and I do nto have accounts with either of them believe it or not. The sad thing is that I have seen many elderly fall prey to this. These people just tried to keep up with society and almost immediatly got taken advantage of. A small few are going to ruin the internet for everyone if we are not careful.

You said 1 month ago:

Thanks for the eye opener. I’m always on the go and do everything on line, from banking to even my grocery shopping (sad I know). I can’t start to tell you how many times I’ve turned off my phishing filter without thinking of the consequences. It’s amazing how easily they can get all of my important information. Great post and great follow up comment. I know as for myself, I’m going to try and be a little more careful when using the internet to access my information because of this post.

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Navigating with Garmin by mnd103

T said 1 month ago:

Pretty neat!

kim74 said 1 month ago:

Considering I do not have a GPS system, I had no idea how these worked. It is pretty amazing to me how they can have satellites that can receive the information that you send out, and know the exact location that you need to get to. Then it sends back directions in form that we can understand. Although the cost appears to be minimal at this point, I am still not sure if this is something that I can not live without at this point.

You said 1 month ago:

Great post, I never put much time in knowing how my GPS works. You’ve answered most questions anyone would’ve had. I personally love my GPS. I do a lot of driving, and it’s come to the point where I don’t even have to try and remember where a street was, or the quickest route to get there. I just plug in the address and the directions come up. A lazy mans dream come true!I love it!

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All-in-One Printers Pros/Cons by tchrwannab2

Robert Johnson said 1 month ago:

I have one two and really love it. We don’t use the photo printing capabilities too much because my wife likes to get them professionally printed. Other than the gloss of the paper, I have a hard time telling the difference. I don’t use the scanner/printer as much as I would have thought; but, when I have needed it, it was a real life saver. The only real limitation that I have noticed is that cost and speed of printing regular text. It’s designed to be able to do all this cool photo graphics, but when I just need to print off 100 pages of text, it’s slow and those ink cartridges are costly. That’s probably just me, because I like to print so I can read. I find it difficult to stare at a computer screen and read for hours.

mdholden said 1 month ago:

Ashley,

I also own an all-in-one printer. I have found that I have as many quirks and costs associated with my all-in-one as I had with all three devices I was using before to perform the same functions. This type of device is just such a convenience and time saver for a student or anyone in a creative profession. I’ve also found it be so nice to have extra space on the desk that was originally occupied by a printer, scanner, fax, and camera dock. It is hard to really monitor the ink expenditures, escpecially if you’re not an everyday user. It is true that it’s a complete disaster if one function goes down because the whole printer is down. This is why I keep my old devices stored away. That’s also the same for any other all-in-one devices such as a dvd/vhs combo or a flat screen tv/dvd player combo. As the technology improves so will the negatives…until then I think a extended warranty is the best idea!

You said 1 month ago:

I think I’m one of the few people still left out there that actually has a dedicated laser printer for text, and photo printer for pictures and a stand alone scanner. I don’t know why, being that I use none of them professionally. I think it has more to do with my addiction to just buying a new piece of electronics. I think the only I’d be worried about is the drawbacks, if any that an all-in-one would have. Would the pictures be as clear and the text be as crisp if you were to use seperate components.
The one big advantage I do see is just the space saving ability the all-in-one has. I might start shopping around for a more versatile all_in _one, please let me know. It will be nice to regain some of my desk space back that all the extra components take up.

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HOW ABOUT OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE? by annwill

You said 1 month ago:

It’s not hard to understand why open-source software, such as the Linux operating system is growing in popularity among IT departments. When source code is open, any developer is free to read, redistribute and modify it. This leads to faster bug fixes, improved software and lower development costs.
We all know that Microsoft regards Open Source as a threat to its lucrative business monopoly. Microsoft claims that one reason free software is of such high quality is that it violates more than 200 of it’s patents.
I think Microsoft should be ordered by anti-trust courts to share code with open-source software companies. I believe if their products are so much superior than open source software than they should have nothing to be worried about.
Great write up,I’ll be looking for more posts from you.

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A Day in the Life of Me… by todsouth

You said 2 months ago:

Hi Todd,
I was just wondering how do you like using the Physio Lifepack 12 in your system? In NY we rely on heavily on our Lifepack 12’s and I most say it is one of the most reliable and accurate 12 lead machine on the market to date. It takes an extraordinary amount of abuse and continues to work without hesitation. I guess what I want to know is, has your fire department tried out any other machines that can compare to the high standards of the physio monitor?
I know that in the US the new Lifepack 15 isnt going to be available for purchasing for sometime, due to some sort of goverment regualtion against Physio. So in our company we have starting testing some other models in the field. We used the Philips HeartStart MRx and the ZOLL M Series, but unfortunately they both have sub-standard results when compared to the lifepack 12. If your fire department has starting trying out any other monitors and have found favorable results, please let me know. We’re always trying to keep our options open.

todsouth said 2 months ago:

Hey Alex,

My department is a little different from what you are used to I’m sure! My department is a combination department with both career and volunteer personnel. And with that being the case, everyone wants something different.

In my department we use three different types of monitors; Phillips, Zoll, and Physio. I have use all of them when I am transferred around according to staffing, but predominantly use the Lifepak 12.

The Lifepak 12 and all the other Physio monitors I have used has always been a reliable product. I cannot say that for the Zoll and especially for the Phillips, which has fail with me on many occasions.

These other monitor may be fine when they are in a clinical setting but perform rather poorly out in the field where we need them to work properly. I don’t think they design them to get banged around like what happens out in the uncontrolled world.

You can try the other monitors but I think that in the end, you will still be happy with your Lifepak 12. I really can’t imagine using anything else!

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