Monday, December 29, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The process of ripping audio files works on the principle that, many of the audio frequencies that are present in an audio file are not heard by the human ear. The ripper (program that rips) takes off content that is in these unheard frequencies, this obviously reduces the physical size of the file. Another thing that you should know is that, special devices are required to play back MP3 music files. You could play MP3 files on most computers by using a special program. Your computer will need a pair of speakers or a headset to let you listen to the MP3 music files. Portable MP3 players are today available in small convenient sizes. Infact some of these MP3 music players could be easily hung around your neck. A pair of headphones or a small set of external speakers can be used to listen to the MP3 files recorded on these MP3 players. Technology has made such MP3 players very affordable, you could get a MP3 player that holds upto 300 music tracks or songs in MP3 format for under 50 U.S$. This might sound unbelievable but you can see the impossible right here at: http://www.gizmocentral.com/
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
It is felt that people might choose to use public transport instead of being engaged in tedious driving routines. This might happen in a few cities where a large number of people drive to work. The expenses to hire a professional driver are high in the U.S and most European countries. As far as Asian countries like Thailand are concerned, the use of the Internet to do serious business transaction or development is still in it's infancy. Look at the public transport bus and train services in any metropolitan city of India, and you will realize that the overcrowded conditions would really not allow any cool internet surfing. And remember that people who drive a car don't carry just only a pocket sized berry to work. Feeling comfortable with all these in a public transport service might take some time to adjust. So most people would continue to drive to work, they would continue to grumble regarding the traffic but life would go on.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
In early 2007, Michael Fiola was fired from his job. His I.T Department found some really bad material on his computer, these included child pornography images. No one really likes such a man, family and friends abandoned him. Legal proceedings would start soon and Michael would most certainly spend over a dozen years in jail. Michael denied any wrong doing and caused many observers to comment that it was typical for a child pornographer to behave that way. His wife was the only one who believed his story and stood by him during those terrible moments. It took the services of an extremely talented and hard working forsenic investigator, to bring out the truth. As it turned out, the images on the laptop were pretty bad and would prove to be juicy proof in the legal hearing. However it was not Michael who downloaded them, the images appeared on the machine without his knowledge and without any action on his part.
It turned out that the Massachusetts state service that gave Michael the computer was to blame. The I.T department of this office had issued him a laptop that was not well protected. This caused the laptop to be infested with several malware program all without the knowledge of Michael! The story ended well for Michael but it is quite likely that many other computer users could be faced with a similar program. A hacked computer could have it's security compromised and become a puppet, controlled by pranksters and probably fraudsters. The public in general and the legal system in particular has no sympathy for victims like Michael. With the rapid spread of computer and internet usage, frauds related to this technology have managed to keep pace too.
Frightening possibilities exist, a terrorist organization could spread propoganda by sending emails through a computer which had it's security compromised! The U.S could then have the innocent victim rotting in a high security torture prison in the many islands and nations that allow it to open such prisons. Losing a job or being shunned by family members, would be very light as compared to facing systematic physical and mental torture by state investigators. It is unlikely that any lessons will be learned in such cases. The perpetuators of Internet crimes are rarely caught. Special deals with law makers often leave the few that are caught with a light sentence.
There is a very interesting view point that the author of this article would like to make. When you buy a licensed software like MS Windows or MS Office, you do not become the owner of the software. The amount you pay for the licence is something like a rental charge for using the software. It would be illegal to reverse code the software and make any changes to it even if, you are an expert. The reasoning is that, you do not own the software (just rented it) and therefore cannot make any modifications to the software. At the same time, the software publisher (eg. Microsoft) can at any time stop supporting the software and return nothing to you. Given this scenario, it would mean that any security loopholes in the rented software, are the responsibility of Microsoft. The responsibility should not be limited to Microsoft publishing a patch on their website and hoping that you will download it. The resulting damage caused by the security bug should also be compensated for, wait a moment before you criticize this comment. Software publishers are always raising hell regarding piracy and are quick to point out that a software is intellectual property, much like a pen, book, car or house. If this is so let's compare this to renting a house. Let's assume that there was a secret door in the house that you rented, the landlord never informed you regarding this secret door. A thief enters through that door and burgles your house, would the landlord not be held responsible. So let's treat a security loophole in a software as the publisher's (landlord's) respobsibility. The ensuing damages caused by a fraudster exploiting the security loophole should be compensated for by the software publishers. If this is done, the software houses would make a desperate dash to get hold of the fraudsters and the internet would become a safer place to browse, learn, transact and relax in.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Losing one such small storage device means that, a lot of your data could fall into alien hands. There was a very interesting and alarming news report a couple of years ago. The report mentioned that, a local town market in Afghanistan had vendors selling used thumb drives! A small investigation by the mighty and powerful U.S army in the vicinity revealed something quite unbelievable. These thumb drives infact belonged to the U.S army and had information stored by army personnel. The data was probably outdated and they decided to discard the thumb drives. These landed in dustbins and the garbage collectors innocently sorted out the garbage and tried to sell them in the local market.
Office computers face another threat from these small storage devices. It is very easy for staff to bring in a thumb drive and load confidential information into the drive. The devices are so small that they can be hidden in shoes, waterbottles etc. A leading jeweler in Asia once faced a situation where one of their designers actually copied the companies designs on to a thumb drive. She then slipped the thum drive into her high ankle shoes and tried to pass security. High security in a jewelry factory ensured that the incident was quickly caught and reported. However, you surely cannot expect this level of security to be maintained in all industries.
Finally, mobile phones with cameras equipped with high capacity small storage devices continue to pose severe security threats. Video clips and images of confidential documents, products and even office and factory layouts can be recorded on these phones. The information can either be carried home in the device or, emailed through the device right out of the office. These phones have their own internet connections and need not tresspass on company networks.
Warning: Information leaked through mobile phones is not easy to detect. Most organizations check belongings of staff only when they leave office. This is not done when staff enters the office. The staff can safely get in a mobile phone equipped with a camera and audio recording facility. The confidential information recorded can include data files, images, video clips and even voice recordings. Once done, the information can be emailed out of the office right from the desk of the staff. The internet connection used is not related to the company network so cannot be intercepted. The staff can then erase the information and leave the mobile phone in the office when going home. A security check at the gate will not find the mobile phone and the information would have left the office without anyones knowledge!!!.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Now start skype, try to login and wow, Bill opens the Gates for the skype program. You will be able to successfully login to your skype account and do a normal usage. Now back to the windows firewall settings, here is the surprise. The firewall would have selected Skype as one of the programs that CAN run on your system. And who ever gave skype the authority to do this, well Bill Gates was probably so busy buying and taking over companies that he never knew when he would pocket Skype. So... he allowed that program to conveniently open up the firewall for itself.
We have news that many other programs have the ability to do this trick and play havoc with your firewall. We also heard that microsoft actually helps softwared developers learn how to do this neat 'trick' at your expense. In our opinion this is downright cheating and manipulation as the user of the windows software was never told that the owner of windows might allow certain softwares to overwrite your firewall settings. In pure technical terms this would be hacking, but in terms of business microsoft refers to these software developers as business partners or value added retailers!!!.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Routers whether wired or wireless, have certain setup procedures. These procedures control important functions that include who, can access your network, when, for what type of applications etc. To do this, the router needs to be connected to a computer, the computer then accesses the router set up interface and allows the user to configure various parameters. Let us call the computer to which the router is connected (for configuration purposes) as, COMP-A. The user sitting on COMP-A would access the router set up screen through a web browser, enter the required password, make the set up changes and then save the configuration.
It does not matter whether COMP-A is connected or not connected to the Internet during the configuration process. However, technically it is possible to allow any computer connected to the Internet to access the router through a web browser. This is a process that is referred to as 'Remote Management' and most technically minded users would be aware of this. But what we need to do is take care of those users who install a router and are not very technically savvy.
If you do not understand the meaning and implications of remote management of your router, disable the feature. You will still be able to configure your router through the computer to which it is physically connected and that is good enough. Allowing remote computers to access your router through the Internet requires a few important precautions to be taken. You will need to restrict the access to a specific IP address or a group of IP addresses. It is always advisable to change the password required to access the router to something that is different from the 'default' password, this is always a good thing to do.
Enabling the remote management function for your router, could allow others to access your router and reset important parameters that relate to the security of your network. So if you are not sure about how to do a proper control when remote management is open, you can either take the services of a professional or disable the router remote management function.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Most budding photographers use the 'Auto' feature for taking images with their digital camera but, this might not give the best result in all situations. In the 'auto' mode, the camera is programmed to set the aperture and exposure time of your digital camera, you just accept the results that you get. Let us know take the situation where you need to take the image of a building, the building is sufficiently far away for you to frame it in the shooting window. However the light conditions are not ideal, your camera in Auto mode would translate the scene as follows.
The light around the image would be calculated, the camera would set the aperture and exposure time for your digital camera. It is likely that you will get a dark image, the exposure time might be too long for a humanly held digital camera. This will mean that the image is out of focus and dark, but what if you wanted a better exposed image with little or no camera motion.
Firstly, you would set the digital camera to the 'Aperture Preferred Mode', this is often marked as 'P' on many digital cameras. The aperture is also called the 'f'-number and could be in the range of f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f22 etc. The larger the aperture number the smaller the aperture. The aperture is like a hole controlling the amount of light that will pass through the lens. The more the light passing through the lens the better the exposure, remember that there is a possibility of over-exposure too. As the aperture number increases (the aperture size decreases), the portion of the scene that remains in focus (depth of field/focus) increases. The bigger focus area is ideally suited to take images of buildings and monuments.
So the first thing that you will need to do when in the Aperture Preferred Mode is to, set an aperture number that is as high as possible. This will mean that the aperture size gets reduced and the amount of light passing through the lens decreases. To compensate for this, the camera will (automatically) set a slower shutter speed which, will in turn allow more light to pass through the lens. So you now have a smaller aperture size (large aperture number) and a slow shutter speed. A slow shutter speed will most likely cause your hands and the digital camera to shake, this will ofcourse ruin the sharpness of the final image.
In such a situation use a sturdy camera stand (tri-pod) and mount the camera firmly on the tripod. When you have framed and composed your image, gently depress the 'shoot' button on your digital camera. The chances of the camera moving or the degree of the movement will be drastically reduced. You will end up with a sharper and better exposed image. There are a few devices that can help you trigger the 'shoot' button more smoothly (no chance of moving). One of these devices is a cable that fits on to the 'shoot' button. The other end of the cable has a trigger button that can be depressed to shoot the image. With technical advancements, many digital cameras today have an option to trigger the shoot with a wireless device.
Experiment with the 'aperture preferred' mode on your digital camera, the results will gradually become more impressive. The aperture preferred mode is an option that lies between the 'auto' (completely automatice) mode and the 'manual' (both aperture and shutter speed are manually set) modes.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I am xyz from Singapore (or Indonesia or Nigeria) and would like to buy some items from your website. But before I do this, I need to know if you accept Visa (or Mastercard or AMEX). Let me have this information and I will place the order.
Another fraud which is similar to this has the content as shown below:
I have seen your website and would like to buy 50 pieces of 22k Gold Chains payment will be through my AMEX card. I will need you to ship these chains to my retail stores in Nigeria.
The important thing about the the 22k Gold Chains mention is that, the cybercrook picks up the exact title of some merchandise that is listed on your website. The words are so similar that it is very likely that a cut and paste operation was used for the text.
Beware of these online frauds, stay away from such emails and delete them the moment they arrive. What is alarming is the text content, it has a surprising uniformity and has remained this way for many years now. There is every possibility that, one large group of fraudsters is behind this fraud. Many honest and budding online sellers have got financially ruined by falling for this internet fraud. The thought of being able to make a big sale brings about an excitement and not even a small degree of caution is felt.
Monday, May 12, 2008
It is highly advisable to place a wooden spoon or even a tea bag along with the water in the microwave oven. Technically the water in the microwave gets superheated, this can prove dangerous if there is only water in the container that is placed in the microwave oven. A slight jerk or movement to the vessel with water that is superheated can cause the water to 'burst' out of the vessel.
There have been cases of accidents reportedly caused by boiling water in a microwave. If you can avoid it, use a stove or other heating decide to boil water. But, if you must boil water in a microwave oven, read the report on this topic at this link: http://www.health.food-recipe-cooking.com/boiling-water-in-a-microwave-01.htm
Friday, April 25, 2008
On walking through the office we noticed almost every desk loaded with an active session of MSN messenger, some computers had Skype installed too. The managers were boasting of the communication costs saved by using these IMs. Fax and telephone bills across branch offices were almost completely eliminated. It was certainly a great achievement but most of them were not aware of other hazards created by these Instant Messengers. The fact is that almost any type of document or image can be sent out of the office by merely clicking a few keys on the Internet Messenger software. Staff did not have to play tricks with the security staff, physical checking would reveal nothing. By using a scanner and digital camera, no information in the office was confidential. You could even use the mircophone attached to these IMs and record voice inside the office, then send the file right out of the premises through the IM itself!
It might be useful to stay updated with such information, avoid problems before they occur and stop living with a false sense of security. Get more information at this link: http://extrajewel.com/security/
Thursday, April 24, 2008
There are few suggestions for mothers to follow, the idea is to remind the parent that the baby is in the back seat of the car. One suggestion is to place the baby's diaper bag on the front seat next to the driver. It is expected that anyone getting off the car will notice the bag and remember the baby. Another option could be for the mother to keep her handbag on the back seat near the baby.
Technology now seems to have come up with useful devices too. One such device consists of two portions. One portion is latched on to the baby seat, the other portion could be kept along with car keys of the diver. When the driver walks away with his portion a sensor is activated. This devices senses the physical separation of the two portions, when the distance between the two portions exceeds a few feet, an alarm is sounded. The driver who just walked away from the car is alerted about the child left alone in the car.
Most people comment that forgetting children in cars is related to negligence on the part of elders. While this could be true or false, the important thing is to protect innocent infants and keep them away from danger. Help could come from sharpening ones memory or through advancements in technology. Get more information on this topic at: http://www.health.food-recipe-cooking.com/forget-child-in-car.htm
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
There are a few options here, one of the popular ways to get more mileage out of printer catridges is to get the refilled. Such services are very popular in many Asian countries. You are sometimes sold a plastic bottle of the ink and a plastic syringe, feel free to refill the cartridge yourself!!!!. Another option is going for a fake catridge, this means that you get the brand label on the catridge pack but it is not a genuine product. The law is after such manufacturers but it seems that the law is far behind in catching up with them. Another popular offering is ink catridges is products made and labelled by third party manufacturers. They do not infringe on copyright issues and are therefore openly sold even in reputed I.T outlets.
The problem faced by many users is where the printer prints the document with bad colors, very light colors or fine lines throughout the document. Tell the computer technician about this and they will be quick to ask you whether you are using a genuine ink catridge! While it is true that the quality of the ink catridge could affect the printing quality, a simpler explanation can sometimes be found. Below is an explanation and a possible solution too.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So are you wondering about those onboard instructions that asked you to turn off your cell phone when aboard? The airlines complained that the cell phone emitted signals that could disturb delicate flying instruments. Well the song in this case is a bit different, we are told that the new system of making calls on flight will get signals from satellites and not from ground stations. That is the safety factor being taken care off but, another problem persists.
Could you imagine the amount of noise that would be generated by people chatting over their cell phones during the flight. Most people would need to raise their voice to make up for the internal noise that is always present in an aircraft. This would get quite interesting as people chatted away in different languages, moods and on different subjects. One can imagine the chaos if, all the adjacent passengers in a row decided to make their cell call on flight. There does not seem to be any thought given to this issue so far, it is unlikely that any satisfactory solution might be found. This is a classic case of technology moving ahead of real life situations!
Extra ease: If all you need to do to access your wireless network, is turn on your laptop, think again. There is no technology that can restrict the access of your wireless network just within your home or apartment. This would mean that a neighbor or anyone in the active vicinity of your wireless network could also access your network!
Dumb password: Most manufacurers of wireless network equipment prefer to make the process of installing and using the equipment very easy. Buyers are thrilled with a wireless network that can be set up in minutes. It sure does make the work of technical support easy by using a standard password across all the wireless equipment that is produced. But this could be your nightmare, every hacker would be aware of the standard passwords used by each equipment manufacturer. Get smart, refer to the manual that came with your wireless equipment and read the section dedicated to changing the password, change your password as soon as possible.
The technicals: If you are technically minded, you could add a few more chinks to your security armour. If you are not technically qualified, get professional help to implement a few security measures. These are very important for any wireless network so do not overlook them. Firstly, change the password for your wireless network device every 2 to 3 weeks. Find the settings of the equipment that controls the wireless device from 'broadcasting' itself and turn it off. Work on the MAC address and WEP security settings.
None of the above measures will bring 100% security to your wireless network. But that should not keep you away from implementing these and other measures. Network security is much like being a safe driver, you still know that a druken driver could lead you into an accident but, that does not stop you from being a safe driver. The people who could do damage to your network could be simple pranksters or professional hackers. The professionals know every trick of the trade but fortunately the simple pranksters outnumber them!