Black Friday

We didn't take any pictures of the parade (memory card was full and Mo didn't realize). But we enjoyed ourselves. Only problem was when the breeze would pick up and you could really feel the cold. We had to walk about 6 blocks from where we parked the van to the spot where the parade started. It got underway at 8:45am and was done at about 10:50. Munchkin really wants to be a cheerleader when she gets bigger (oh boy). A couple of interesting notes, the balloons were down one street kind of far. They called for "Buzz the Astronaut" balloon to move up and it didn't move. They called again and told them to run (they did that for several balloons before the rest caught on). We saw John Gonzalez and the Boy Scout troop working a Christmas ornament balloon. We said "Hi" and they all ran around in a circle to make the ornament spin. And Santa was the last float in the parade. They had problems with the reindeer not working right at the last moment before they pulled into the parade. It took them a couple of minutes before they pulled into line.

Here are a few links from KMOV-TV to some of the marching bands that were in the parade (ah, the memories of marching in freezing weather):

Belleville East Marching Band
Bayless Marching Band
Mater Dei High School Band
De Soto High Marching Band
Ritenour High School Marching Band
Windsor High Marching Band
Mehville Marching Band
Fox C-6 Honor Band

Today, I had to get up at my regular time and then off to work, like normal. Mo has other plans and is hitting the stores this morning for the little bit of Christmas shopping that still needs to be done. Pretty good Thanksgiving yesterday, not a whole lot of family drama. Which was definitely a plus. Would have enjoyed it more, if I had not had another migraine along with sinus issues in the late afternoon, which left me feeling ill and out of sorts all evening. Still feeling headache this morning and lots of drainage (I know you don't really want to know). Gah! The pain. Oh, the pain.

Our munchkin was really good yesterday, only got a little bit of food on herself and behaved pretty good considering she was tired. She went home with mama and papa last night, so Mo could do her shopping this morning. I won't get to see them tonight as I have to go to work the part-time job at BB tonight, and I expect they will be having dinner with mama and papa. On schedule at BB for 6pm - 1am. *sigh* And have to work tomorrow 6pm-10pm. Hours have really been cut though. Once again, I lose out on holiday hours. This time due to the bad economy. Which, all things considered, I would rather lose out due to bad economy than to illness again. Getting sick during the holidays really sucks.

Don't forget about St. Charles Christmas Traditions starting today at 11am at the Gazebo in Kister Park when Santa arrives via horse drawn carriage! From the official website, "Christmas sparkles each year in historic St. Charles, Missouri during our one-of-a-kind Christmas Traditions festival. While you're making holiday plans, escape to an old-fashioned Christmas with storybook characters, Victorian Carolers, and Santas from around the world." The official website has the dates and times when activities are running.

Also, on Saturday Nov 29, Overland-Occidental #623 is having a Pancake Breakfast (10770 Page Overland, MO 63114) 7am-11am. All you can eat for just $5.00! And Farmington Lodge #132 (221 West Columbia, Farmington, MO) is having a Pancake and Sausage Breakfast 7am-10am. Cost is $5 and includes your drink too. Arrive early and help them prepare breakfast if you'd like. Mmmmmmmmmmm, pancakes...

I saw this in the news this morning. According to an AP news report, the rapper Nelly is teaming up producer Jermaine Dupri to host the third annual Black and White Ball. The event will be used to announce a new scholarship program which will provide full tuition for two students from the St. Louis area to attend Lindenwood University.

IT News for 2008-11-28

Good Morning out there! I trust that you all survived Thanksgiving. It is supposed to be another very fine day in St. Louis metro area, but they are saying we may see snow showers on Sunday (no accumulation).

Anti-virus no defence against botnets, says vendor

A new analysis of botnets has come up with a possible reason for their prodigious ability to infect PCs - many anti-virus programs are near to useless in blocking the binaries used to spread them.


New attack threatens Windows PCs

Microsoft has issued another warning about a flaw it patched last month after confirming that there had been an increase iin exploits of the bug. This followed earlier reports by Symantec that the worm was out in the wild.


Tmobile G1 handsets having DNS problems?

John Kuhn Sent in the following links, which are of some interest.


John of course has impeccable timing given my previous diary entry on OS X based dns changers. Given the lack of solid data to pinpoint the issues that these users are observing we cannot come to any definitive conclusion. If you have a G1 and have been experiencing these issues feel free to contact us with whatever information you have. We would be curious to see if this is an infrastructure issue (dns poisoning comes to mind), some installed application that has a hidden surprise, or previously owned home wifi routers.


CBS page compromised by hackers

Finjan has warned internet users to be on their guard following an apparent compromised webpage on one of the sub-domains on the CBS.com portal.


Christmas tactics already being used in spam campaigns

Websense has identified a spam postcard campaign that is using Christmas as a tactic


Korea is largest sender of malware during November

More malware attacks originated from Korea during November.


Free security tool helps track down bots

BotHunter, a free tool that monitors traffic flows between infected hosts and external attackers helps organizations track down infected hosts and battle botnets in their network.


Microsoft adds malware detection to its Webmaster tools

The malware detection tool looks for malicious code in all retrievable web pages of a site and checks links to external pages for possible infection. This is to enable web site operators to provide better protection for their visitors against attacks


Windows worm infection accelerates

Microsoft is currently observing an acceleration in the spread of another Windows worm that exploits the known vulnerability in the RPC functions of the Server service. The worm is reported to be spreading over company networks in particular


Nightmare Before Christmas: Researchers Warn Of Holiday Shopping Threats

Increases in malware, enterprise vulnerabilities, laptop theft expected


Nat'l Guard Gets Spying, 'Flying Beer Keg' for Iraq

A Pennsylvania National Guard unit will get a new toy before it deploys to Iraq in January -- an odd-looking robotic aircraft, sometimes referred to as "the flying beer keg."


No Court Order Needed to Spy on Americans Overseas, Appeals Court Rules

The Fourth Amendment’s shield against invasive searches reaches only partially across the border, a federal appeals court ruled this week, finding that the nation’s spies don't need a court order to wiretap an American overseas, though there has to be a good reason for listening in.


Atlantic makes label history as digital sales surpass CDs

The music industry has come a long way from battling the threat of P2P and through the rise, and ongoing fall, of music DRM. Today, Atlantic has announced one of the most significant milestones in this transition, and one that many record label execs probably considered impossible just a few years ago: the last quarter was the first time in which Atlantic's US digital sales outpaced physical CDs.


AIDS: a good example of why science policy matters

AIDS is a serious problem for Africa. The least developed continent (obviously not counting Antarctica) on the planet has to deal with poor governance and crumbling infrastructure; add HIV/AIDS into the mix and the result is an extra 1.5 million deaths every year. That's a Rwandan genocide every eight months. That need not be the case, argues a study published in The Lancet.


ISP chops last head off Srizbi bot

An Estonian ISP that temporarily hosted the command-and-control servers for the notorious spam-spewing Srizbi botnet, has cut off those servers, according to computer security analysts.


PCs bought for Windows XP as cult grows

Many used PCs are being purchased because people want to get their hands on a copy of Windows XP, according to industry analysts and hardware suppliers.


Micron to launch hyperfast SSD, touts 1GB/sec. throughput

Within the next year, Micron Technology Inc. expects to bring to market a high-end solid-state disk drive that could achieve 1GB/sec. throughput, according to a company executive. The transfer speed is four times that offered by Intel Corp.'s newest SSD, the X25-E.


Benchmarks: AMD's 45nm 'Shanghai' Opteron

AMD's 'Shanghai' processors are the company's first chips to utilize the improved performance and efficiency of 45nm technology. ZDNet Germany tests show that they have made up important ground on Intel Xeon chips.


Online retailers ramp up deals to capture dollars

Online retailers are ramping up heavy-duty deals to turn skittish shoppers into buyers during the crucial Thanksgiving weekend and "Cyber Monday" — but even so, online sales are expected to be fairly flat after years of strong growth.


Silicon Valley Starts To Feel The Sting Of Layoffs

The scene may remind some of 2001 and 2002, when the Internet bubble exploded and dumped hundreds of thousands of engineers in the area onto the unemployment rolls.


U.S. Army Goes Bot Hunting

As an automated network-flow analysis tool, BotHunter uses IDS routines to scan inbound and outbound network packet headers and payloads.


History Reloaded: Changing The Past To Suit The Present

The authors of a new report argue that revisions to the White House Web site reflect a willingness by the Bush administration to whitewash history.


Cheap Blu-ray Players Seen Scarce in Europe

A scarcity of cheap Blu-ray video players and the effects of a recession are expected to delay adoption of the high-definition Blu-ray DVD format in Europe, according to media research company Screen Digest.


Public Safety Airwave Auction Faces Next Test

A renewed effort by U.S. regulators to auction off part of the airwaves to a commercial entity that must share the spectrum with firefighters, police and other emergency workers faces its next test within weeks.


Online Networks a Magnet for Job-Seekers

Janel Landon, who runs a small PR consultancy in Chicago, has long been aware of the potential of online networks: Now in her mid-50s and facing a global recession, she's decided to sign up. "Given the state of the economy, I recently decided to jump on board," Landon told Reuters.


How Windows 7 shames Vista on battery life

If a notebook runs Windows Vista, it will run Windows 7 and it will get better battery life, promises Gabriel Aul of the Windows Performance team. But PC manufacturers and device suppliers are also going to have to do their part to make a big difference to power consumption on new notebooks.


OpenStreetMap grows, spawns ecosystem

OpenStreetMap started four years ago in the UK as a project to create a free and editable world map. What began as a few geogeeks wandering the streets with their GPS’s has turned into a global movement with over 75,000 registered contributors.


My iPhone Is a Mac, My Android Is a PC

I’ve been using an Android G1 phone for more than a month now on a daily basis, but I still haven’t given up my iPhone. The more I use them both, the more that I realize my iPhone is a Mac and my Android is a PC.


Newspaper Death Spiral Continues; Industry Advertising Contracts $5 Billion So Far This Year

The newspaper industry in the U.S. continues to shrink at an alarming rate. According to the Newspaper Association of America,, total industry advertising (both print and online) in the third quarter was $8.9 billion, down 18 percent from the year before.


I Can’t Believe Some People Are Still Saying Twitter Isn’t A News Source

Twitter is emerging as a major force in breaking news. But some people disagree.

Today we saw yet another illustration, when people in Mumbai got the word of terrorist attacks out to the world well before mainstream media even knew something was happening. Mathew Ingram points out previous examples of Twitter users breaking important world news.


Nanomachines Powered by Light

Solar power is great for converting light energy into electricity. But what about harnessing light energy directly? After all, photons—discrete packets of light energy—exert force themselves, albeit on a pretty small scale.


Hopes high for science-friendly approach in US politics

It's early days, but it looks like good news for science and the environment as jobs are handed out in the wake of the 4 November US election.


Down's symptoms may be treatable in the womb

A pregnant woman who knows her unborn child has Down's syndrome might one day be able to prevent some symptoms before giving birth.


Pig organs: Ready for humans at last?

In the not too distant future, a person in need of a heart transplant could be offered a pig's organ. That's the hope of a group that met in China last week to agree global guidelines for the first clinical trials of "xenotransplants".


Major North American breakthrough for dialysis patients

Suffering from end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a growing number of patients at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), have become the beneficiaries of a North American breakthrough: high efficacy hemodiafiltration



Happy Thanksgiving

I didn't get around to posting anything yesterday, other than IT news headlines. I was trying to finish up stuff at work and then had to leave to go down to CIS in downtown St. Louis. Since we have filed to go to Vietnam and adopt a brother for the munchkin, we had to go down and renew our paperwork. The paperwork is active for 18 months and then everything has to be refiled again. We've been in the pipeline for 18 months now. *sigh* It just doesn't get any easier. I'm hoping that with a new administration that the State Department actually gets to work to resolve the differences between our two countries and allow the people that have passed the documentation test to continue to adopt.

I am thankful this Thanksgiving. In no particular order: I am thankful that my father is still with us. I am thankful that my wife and I have the munchkin. I am thankful that the problems that munchkin has had appear to be being resolved and she is doing and feeling much better. I am thankful that we still have our jobs, house, friends, and neighbors with us. I am thankful that this year's election cycle is finally over, that a president was elected in a fair contest, and that the transition of power seems to be underway. I am thankful that I am able to help out (in my spare time) at my lodge and the Scottish Rite. I am thankful that the people that I knew that had to rotate out to Iraq have made it back home. I am thankful that my friend that is currently on duty in Kosovo will be able to be back home soon. I am thankful that I am able to brew good beer.

Take it easy out there and be safe. Or at least as safe as you want. :) We'll be heading off to go see the parade downtown soon. Then it is off for a day of eating!


IT News for 2008-11-26

Melamine Traces Found in U.S. Infant Formula

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had discovered the toxic chemical melamine in infant formula made by an American manufacturer, raising the possibility that the problem was more extensive in the United States than previously thought.

While few details were available late Tuesday, agency officials said they had discovered melamine at trace levels in a single sample of infant formula. It was also discovered in several samples of dietary supplements that are made by some of the same manufacturers who make formula.


Fraudsters use chancellor's announcement as phishing material

Phishing campaigns have appeared following the chancellor's pre-budget announcement

MessageLabs believes malware and phishing will become more sophisticated next year

Morphing malware and phished social networks will increase in 2009.

Spam Back on the Rise with Srizbi Resurrected

After McColo was partially disconnected from the Internet by it’s peers global spam dropped noticeably.
It seems however that the spam was emanating from a zombie network and the control servers were hosted by McColo, the creators of the botnet (Srizbi) were smart about it though and built a fail-safe system into the the malware.

Further MS08-067 Woes

First let me say, “PATCH your systems” if you have not done so already! Seriously, you and your machines are sitting ducks for attacks such as MS08-067, which we learned about from Microsoft last month. This type of attack is especially dangerous if your Windows Updates or security products are not up to date. Microsoft released its out-of-cycle emergency patch on the 23rd of October–more than one month ago–so you have no excuse today for being at risk!

Spam is silenced, but where are the feds?

On Oct. 14, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, with help from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and New Zealand police, announced that it had shut down a vast international spam network known as HerbalKing.

Spam levels fluctuate as crooks try to revive botnets

Two weeks after a hosting firm's shutdown sent global spam volumes plummeting, some researchers continue to claim that junk mail rates remain dramatically down, while others say spam has already bounced back.

TiVo reports profit in fiscal 3Q

TiVo Inc. recorded a profit for its latest quarter because of a $105 million settlement it received in a patent suit, but revenue declined, the maker of digital video recorders said Tuesday.

Gmail 'vulnerability' turns out to be phishing scam

Reports that a purported Gmail vulnerability was being used by unauthorized third parties to hijack domains turned out to be nothing more than a phishing scam, Google announced Tuesday.

Obvious Mistakes Caused Europeana Site Failure

"Brussels, we have a problem." That was the message to the paymasters behind Europeana, an Internet portal designed to pool all of Europe's most treasured cultural icons, as it tried unsuccessfully to launch last week

Lenovo Service Disables Laptops With Text Message

If a laptop is lost, now there is a new way to remotely shut it down -- just text it. Lenovo plans to announce on Tuesday the Constant Secure Remote Disable service, allowing users to remotely disable a PC by sending a text message. Users also receive a confirmation text message that validates the disabling of a PC.

Sling takes its video portal public

Sling.com, the streaming site of Slingbox maker Sling Media, has emerged from private beta and is opening up access to its video content to the public.

Why is Yahoo peddling old plug-ins?

It's hard not to pity Yahoo's very public decline, but that doesn't keep us from scratching our heads over the once-great Silicon Valley powerhouse's recent promotion of a plug-in that debuted a year ago and which its developers say is sorely outdated.

Microsoft ranked fifth worst spam service ISP

Microsoft is listed fifth in the Top 10 list of the worst spam service ISPs compiled by Spamhaus.org.
Spammers are advertising links to sites that "peddle fake pharmacy products, porn, and Nigerian 419 scams" on Microsoft's Live.com and Livefilestore.com sites because they know that the Microsoft sites won't get blocked by antispam groups, writes Brian Krebs on his Security Fix Blog at the Washington Post.

Fedora set to boot up faster

The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Project has released Fedora 10, the latest version of its Linux operating system, with what the company claimed was a wide range of improvements in areas such as virtualisation management, networking, boot time and security.

Mozilla slips an extra beta into Firefox schedule

Mozilla is to add a third beta to the development schedule for Firefox 3.1. The move will enable the company to get a better handle on remaining bugs and give several new features, including a faster JavaScript engine and a private browsing mode, more testing time, the company's browser director said yesterday.

Experts urge rapid DNS patch

Experts and vendors are urging the US government to rapidly deploy security mechanisms at the top level of the DNS hierarchy, which is known as the root zone.

Tweeting from Mars: NASA's outreach for the Phoenix lander

It's pretty easy to get people to pay attention when NASA does something big; the press will happily jump on both major discoveries and mishaps. But the actual research process is typically a collection of small triumphs and tragedies; conveying that to the public is much harder. With the Mars Phoenix Lander, NASA used Twitter, a microblogging service, to get its message out, and the Twitter feed attracted nearly 40,000 followers. Ars talked with the JPL's Veronica McGregor about the experience.

Synthetic Viruses Could Explain Animal-to-Human Jumps

In a technical tour de force with potentially profound implications for the study of emerging diseases, researchers have built the largest-ever self-replicating organism from scratch.

Give Thanks? Science Supersized Your Turkey Dinner

Your corn is sweeter, your potatoes are starchier and your turkey is much, much bigger than the foods that sat on your grandparents' Thanksgiving dinner table.

HP Calls PC Sales Environment 'Challenging"

Hewlett-Packard is gaining market share in every segment, and is at or ahead of its integration plans for computer services provider EDS, Chief Executive Mark Hurd said on Monday.

VW to speed up rollout of cut-price EV

German car maker Volkswagen is to accelerate development of its two-seat electric city car, it has been claimed.

Facebook spams social networkers with phishy email

Facebook has taken the unusual step of sending its users email asking them to click on a link so they can restore site configuration settings that were recently lost. Facebook isn't kidding, and neither are we.

Unofficial fix issued for Vista networking flaw

A system-crashing bug with potential malware implications has been uncovered in Vista. But a fix for the vulnerability, which revolves around flaws in the operating system's network stack, may have to wait until the next service pack.

Dell Adds 3G Option For Mini 9 Netbook

The device, powered by AT&T in the United States, supports download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 Mbps.

Fewer Than Half Of Available PCs Reused

Transportation costs, import tariffs, and environmental legislation are among the hindrances cited by refurbished PC exporters.

Europe tackles space ambitions amid financial crisis

European nations met on Tuesday to decide how to carve up €10 billion of spending needed to maintain the region's activities in space and tackle new initiatives amid rising pressure on budgets.

Hope for Rabies Victims: Unorthodox Coma Therapy Shows Promise

Four years ago, Jeanna Giese, now 19, became the first person to survive rabies without a preventive vaccine. Now, the medical procedure developed for treating Giese may have saved the lives of two children in South America.

Induced Current


Early Thanksgiving

It is supposed to be a beautiful day today, sunny and a high around 52 degrees F. It would be great fishing weather according to one of my co-workers. Mo gave me the approval to purchase 2 kegs for my home brewing, so I'll be able to start kegging early next year. Woot!

It's an early Thanksgiving dinner tonight. We're having our first Thanksgiving dinner tonight at my lodge (Polar Star Rose Hill). We will also have the DDGM and DDGL in attendance, so the meeting will actually be short.

If you are out and about on Wednesday (Nov 26, 2008) a friend of mine has a band that is playing at Rich's Place in St. Charles. The band is Who's Drivin', which is a classic rock and dance band. They'll be at Rich's Place from 9pm - 1am. Rich's place is at 4149 S Old Highway 94, St. Charles, MO 63304. It is in the Plaza 94 strip mall, the same one with the Post Office, License Bureau, and is just southwest of Kohls.

We'll be having a long Thanksgiving day on Thursday as we'll be spending time with my side of the family at Grandpa's nursing home (they're letting us have one of their big rooms) in the morning and then off to Maureen's side of the family for Thanksgiving dinner. And Sunday we'll be having Thanksgiving dinner for our families. Making home-made cranberry salad, home-made mashed potatoes and candied yams, and home-made pumpkin pie. Yeah, I imagine I'll be putting on weight.

News just came out this afternoon from the Orchard Farm School Board pertaining to the new elementary school to be built. Well, it is not in New Town. And it is only going to serve grades Pre-K through 1st grade starting with the 2010-2011 school year at first. Since the first part of the message is about the size of the lot that has been acquired (19.8 acres), I am assuming that this was done to accommodate future growth of the school. Especially since the housing growth has tremendously slowed, there is a little more breathing room for the OFSD to grow at a reasonable rate that won't incur too much debt. Here is the info from the Orchard Farm School District newsletter:


I am very proud to begin this newsletter announcing the purchase of 19.8 acres just off of Highway 94 and the end of Mercantile Drive in St. Charles for the construction of a new elementary school. In April of 2007 the voters approved construction improvements on the main campus and the construction of a new elementary school in the southern portion of the district. The improvements on the main campus are in full use providing valuable resources for the students and staff. The new land purchase will provide a valuable resource to the district initially serving the primary grades PK – 1 beginning in 2010. I am currently working with our architect to design a master plan of the site with the intention of starting construction in May of 2009. More information will follow and be posted on the district website for your review at www.ofsd.k12.mo.us.

Another thing that came out of the OFSD newsletter was that beginning December 16, 2008 people interested in running for the school boards 2 positions that are coming up may start registering at the district's main office. The 2 board positions are for a 3-year term and the election is scheduled for April 7, 2009. Anybody in the area planning on running? I don't know if the two people whose terms are coming up are planning on running.

In the news this morning was a report showing that St. Louis metro area housing sales dropped 63 percent since October last year, for the biggest drop in the nation. And home sale prices dropped 9% from last year. The Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report found that sales fell in 10 out of 12 midwestern metro areas. The two exceptions were in Minneapolis and Detroit because of the wide spread foreclosures and buyers that are taking advantage of the deep discounts that are being offered.

For a positive bit of news, the employment picture in Missouri and Kansas was statistically brighter than the national labor market. The nationwide numbers for job losses was 240,000 in October, whereas the number for Missouri had a net gain of 5,300 jobs in October (3,800 in September). Unemployment numbers are 1.1% higher (6.5%) than the same period in October 2007.

Also, gas prices continue to decline. Missouri has some of the lowest prices per gallon of gas in the nation. I actually saw $1.48 yesterday at the Quicktrip at St. Charles Rock Road and Highway 170 (I think that is in St. John). The most expensive gas is in Alaska, where the average price is $2.866.

IT News for 2008-11-25

Buffer overflow in Vista's TCP/IP stack

A buffer overflow in Windows Vista's TCP/IP stack can be exploited to overwrite kernel memory


Wal-Mart is victim of phishing campaigns

US supermarket giant Wal-Mart has been the subject of recent phishing campaigns.


Guessing ahead of cybercriminals is crucial to prevent infection

Companies need to step up their ability to guess where cybercriminals will strike next.


Symantec values market for stolen data at $276 million

The buying and selling of stolen credit card and account data on the black market is in the millions, according to a new report from Symantec.


Browser Rider - Web Browser Exploitation Framework

Browser Rider is a hacking framework to build payloads that exploit the browser. The project aims to provide a powerful, simple and flexible interface to any client side exploit.


Europol to establish a centre to fight cyber crime

EU home affairs ministers have adopted a conclusion to establish an EU-wide platform for collecting information on cyber crime and child pornography


Feds Put Brakes On ID Theft Ring That Targets Home Equity Accounts

Four arrested in scheme to steal money using customers' home equity lines of credit


Cybercrime Servers Selling Billions of Dollars' Worth of Stolen Information, Illicit Services

New Symantec report puts dollar figures on full potential value of stolen financial data, malware, and pirated software


Dell Offers 'Black Friday' $349 Notebook

Dell also slashed the price of the Vostro 200 Slim Tower and the PowerEdge SC440 single-socket tower server on its Web site.


Best Buy cuts MacBook prices by up to $150

Best Buy has cut prices of Apple Inc.'s MacBook laptops by between $100 and $150, with the cheapest model now selling for under $900.


Opera Mini 4.2 jumps into final release

Only yesterday Opera Mini 4.2 beta joined Google's Android Market. On Tuesday, the mini update to Opera's mobile browser for Java phones became the app's new benchmark


YouTube videos get widescreen treatment

YouTube announced Monday that it has expanded the viewable width of all videos appearing on the site, creating an image that viewers will likely associate more with a movie theater screen or high-definition television.


Program your DVR from the road with TiVo Mobile

TiVo is launching a cell phone-friendly Web site that will allow users to search programming and set their TiVo DVRs remotely. TiVo Mobile will be a free service available "with any Internet-enabled phone through any network, regardless of carrier," according to the company. Any user will have access to the program listings, but only TiVo owners (Series2 or Series3/HD) will be able to set their home DVRs to record programs they would've otherwise missed.


LinkedIn unveils new search platform

Nearly a month after unveiling a new developer platform, business social-networking site LinkedIn took the wraps off a new search platform Monday night.


Forecaster lops 10 pct off 2009 online ad estimate

A marketing research firm is dimming its Internet advertising outlook for the next four years, the latest sign of the more austere times looming for the high-tech sector.


Blockbuster to rent through new on-demand device

Blockbuster Inc. will start renting movies and television shows through a new gadget that may give consumers another reason to bypass the struggling video chain's 7,500 stores.


Blockbuster takes on Netflix with new set-top box

Blockbuster Inc on Monday said it would roll out a new digital media player that brings fewer, but more recent titles from the Internet to consumers' televisions than a six-month old offering from rival Netflix Inc.


Windows Vista, Multimedia Codec Vulnerabilities Found

Certain administrative rights are required for the vulnerability to be exploited, making it a risk primarily for malicious insider scenarios.


MySpace App Shatters BlackBerry Download Record

In a sign that BlackBerry is gaining traction in the mainstream market, the social messaging app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times in its first week.


Facebook Wins $873 Million Judgment Against Spammer

The penalty is the largest award yet under the 2003 Can-Spam Act.


BlackBerry Storm Sees Long Lines, Delays

Analysts estimate the first touch-screen BlackBerry sold more than 100,000 units over the weekend, but the demand may be outstripping supply.


Lenovo ThinkPad Notebooks Will Use Text Messages for Additional Security

Lenovo is using text messaging to add an additional layer of security to the company’s line of ThinkPad notebooks. Starting in 2009, Lenovo ThinkPad notebook users can use an SMS text message to shutdown a laptop that has been stolen or has been lost. This new feature, called Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable, was developed in conjunction with Phoenix Technologies to work with the ThinkPad’s BIOS.


Phishers Increase Abuse of Specific Top-Level Domains

A study from the Anti-Phishing Working Group shows phishers are increasing the use of top-level domains in their campaigns to breach security through social engineering. According to the APWG research, the .hk and .th domains lead the way with the most phishing attacks per 10,000 domains.


Apple Sued over Tech That Helps iPhone Surf Web

A lawsuit claims the way the Apple iPhone lets users browse the Web infringes on a patent granted in October. The lawsuit was filed by EMG Technology in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, by Los Angeles real estate developer Elliot Gottfurcht and two co-inventors. The suit alleges that the technology the iPhone uses to navigate and display some Web sites designed for small phone screens infringes on a patent obtained by Gottfurcht and his co-inventors and assigned to EMG.


What Not to Buy in 2008

Powerful financial waves are buffeting the USS Economy in extraordinary and dangerous ways, making it clear that this will be a holiday buying season unlike any other. But if you think recession (some say depression) concerns are going to keep me from producing my fourth annual guidance report on what to buy, consider, and just plain avoid, you're sorely mistaken, my friends.


US utilities moot massive EV order to boost car biz

The idea of somebody picking up the phone and ordering 10,000 Chevy Volts should be more than enough to improve any General Motors executive's day - and it may not prove to be that hopelessly optimistic.


NASA's Juno set for Jupiter jaunt

NASA has confirmed a 2011 launch date for its Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft, equipped to probe the planet's "formation, evolution and structure".


Tax break phishing scam aims to harvest details

Fraudsters with their finger on the financial pulse have launched a scam designed to exploit interest in UK government tax breaks.


NASA's lost toolbag filmed from Earth

The tool bag lost by NASA astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper during an ISS space walk has been filmed sailing over Earth by a veteran satellite observer over the weekend.


Security breach gives PayPal phish the personal touch

Skype users who use a piece of software dubbed Pamela to manage their online phone accounts should be on the lookout for customized phishing attacks following revelations that one of more user databases containing names and email addresses have been breached.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie trailer

Warner Brothers has been delayed the new Harry Potter movie for a July 2009 opening. But to tide people over cable network ABC Family is hosting a weekend of the four “Harry Potter” films PLUS a “first look” at portions of “Half-Blood Prince” December 5-7.

Couple of teaser trailers for the movie


Star Wars Parrot

The Japanese owner of this parrot is a huge Star Wars fan, and his love for the movies seems to have rubbed off on his pet. The bird is singing along with Star Wars music and imitating Darth Vader.


Apple updates Safari for second time in two weeks

For the second time in less than two weeks, Apple Inc. updated its Safari Web browser by issuing version 3.2.1 today.


HP results lifted by laptop PCs, EDS buyout

Hewlett-Packard (HP) reported a 19% jump in revenue for the October quarter, lifted by its EDS acquisition and strong sales of laptop computers and blade servers.


Bug allowed free access to Sirius radio service

Sirius XM Radio has quietly fixed a bug in its satellite radio system that since 2002 had provided a way for former subscribers to gain free access to the Sirius service, according to security vendor TippingPoint Technologies.


U.S. agency sees robots replacing humans in service jobs by 2025

A U.S. government intelligence agency thinks robots may be so capable by 2025 that questions such as "Would you like fries with that?" may be uttered by a smiling machine at the order counter.


USB flash drive gets eSATA port

Kanguru Solutions has announced the first USB flash drive that also has External eSATA connectivity.


Video demand fuels 40G demand

The 40Gbits/s market is moving into general deployment phase due to video-stressing network capacities, according to research firm Ovum.


Credit crunch hits Google workers

Google may be preparing to lay off thousands of workers, if a Silicon Valley information service is to be believed.


Teacher in porn popup case dodges jail but loses creds

Substitute teacher Julie Amero's life was hijacked along with her browser, but her long legal battle is finally over -- along with her teaching caree


Americans hugely addicted to TV, but money doesn't follow

Internet usage isn't killing TV; in fact, TV watching has hit record levels in the US. So why aren't broadcasters rolling in fat autumn piles of cash?


Cell jammers still illegal, but may come to state prisons

In the US, cell phone jammers can only legally be used by federal law enforcement agencies. But a move is afoot to expand their use in state and local law enforcement, an effort promoted in part by a company that makes the hardware


New Longevity Drugs Poised to Tackle Diseases of Aging

Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease: All have stubbornly resisted billions of dollars of research conducted by the world's finest minds. But they all may finally be defied by a single new class of drugs, a virtual cure for the diseases of aging.


Alien-Like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Deep Drilling Site

A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible's camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and—strangest of all—"elbowed" Magnapinna squid.


Amazon Kindle 2 Slated For “Early Q1″

Update on the Kindle 2: It was scheduled to be released in October in time for this holiday season, but Bezos himself reportedly pulled the plug for last minute changes to the software. Our sources now say it’s tentatively scheduled to go on sale in “early next quarter.”



Prop M - The other shoe drops

Totally forgot to mention this, since I was originally going to say something last Friday. Anyway, on last Friday, Metro approved a 25-cent fare increase for MetroLink and public transportation buses, effective Jan. 1. So one-way fares will increase from $2 to $2.25 along the light-rail line, and from $1.75 to $2 on Metro buses. Both fares will increase again by another 25 cents July 1, 2010. Monthly bus and train passes will increase from $60 a month to $68 a month. And passes will increase, again, to $70 on July 1, 2010.

The Metro board is supposed to meet again on December 11 to discuss more cuts to service. One proposal is to cut the train intervals from 10 minutes to 15 minutes during rush hour and from 15 minutes to 20 minutes in non-rush hours.

Metro claims that they are facing revenue shortfalls which Prop-M would have covered. I don't know as I haven't looked at the books. And really, a lot of people didn't take Metro's threat seriously. And the Metro really needs a lot of cleaning up before people are going to be able to trust them again. It is unfortunate that we have to have this crisis (of their own making) at this point in time.

Good Morning, where did the weekend go?

I managed to get sick last Thursday. Actually, it started Wednesday night with a massive migraine, but it continued over into Thursday with sore throat and that achy feeling in my bones. I slept off and on and drank plenty of fluids. I was feeling better by Friday morning, but it was still quite the chore just to make it out the door and into work. And Friday was pretty much playing catch-up all day with several projects. Mo said she started to feel bad Friday afternoon and so she wasn't feeling too good by Friday evening.

My father continues to improve. It is, of course, a slow road back to good health. He said the therapy really makes him tired and he usually takes a nap when he gets home. But the doctor has advised him to start cutting back on the naps as his sleep pattern has been getting off. When I talked to him on Friday afternoon, he was feeling very tired. He has gotten a lot of the feeling back in his arm and his leg is starting to get some feeling back in it. They are continuing the work with getting strength back in his leg. They are also working on his eyesight and there is the possibility that he will be able to drive again after all.

On Saturday, I took the munchkin to "Breakfast with Santa" which was an event at the Maplewood Applebees that was being run by Bethel 19 of Job's Daughters to raise money. Mo stayed home as she still wasn't feeling all that well and needed some more sleep. Our little munchkin was a little shy at first and didn't want to have anything to do with Santa. Eventually she did get over her shyness and sat on Santa's lap so I could snap a couple of pictures. The pictures are still in the camera, sorry about that. Then we sat down for a pleasant breakfast of eggs, pancakes, and sausage. Munchkin had fun, so all was well. When we got back home, we played a little, read a few books, and watched a movie. After we had lunch, I had to get ready to head off to work at the part-time job. I was working the closing shift so it was pretty late by the time I got back home.

We didn't do a whole lot on Sunday. I didn't have to work, so worked some around the house and getting some cleaning done before the holiday. We drove down to Mo's parent's house and I helped move their cable box to a different television. Then we drove over to Mo's sister's house. She is doing much better now that the doctor has said that she can start driving again. She had cut her hand in an accident a while back and has been unable to drive or use her hand for anything. She has been doing well in therapy and I believe the prognosis is good for getting over 90% of the functionality back.

The pumpkin beer is now bottled and resting in the basement. It has a good taste and quite a bit of sludge on the bottom of the fermenter. I'm hoping that I get good carbonation this time around. The alcohol level looks to be about 4.5%. The color was close to a orange or reddish-brown. It didn't really have a lot of the pumpkin pie aroma though. The bottling process wasn't too bad and I wasted very little beer. The bottling wand worked very well this time around. Of course, I took flack for getting the floor sticky after it had just been cleaned. Not to mention the counter top ended up being sticky as well, since I overflowed several of the bottles by just a little.

I came across what looks to be a clone recipe for Young's Double Chocolate Stout and I'm going to price out the grain bill. BYO printed a clone of this Stout a while back, here is the recipe:

3.1 kg of pale ale malt
0.31 kg Crystal 60
0.37 kg Chocolate malt
0.34 kg Lactose
0.23 kg Invert sugar
0.11 kg Cane sugar
0.17 Kg Cocoa Powder
9.4 g Liquid Chocolate extract
1/8 tsp yeast nutrient
40 g Fuggles
7g EK Goldings
Wyeast 1318

Mash at 67C for 60 min
Boil for 90 minutes add the cocoa after 75min.
Add Liquid Chocolate extract to the secondary

Coming up this weekend, on Friday November 28, 2008, is the Christmas Traditions Opening Ceremony at 11:00 AM in the Gazebo (400 Block of S. Main Street, Kister Park). Santa arrives by horse-drawn carriage to open the holiday shopping season. Festival runs 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

IT News for Nov 24, 2008

Large quantity SQL Injection mitigation

As botnets and other automated tools are hammering at websites trying to exploit SQL injection vulnerabilities, site operators are trying hard at defending their websites. ASProx and other botnets were hitting hard at the ASP + MS SQL platform, millions of websites fell victims to the SQL injection vulnerabilities already.


Malware laden USB sticks stoke holiday attacks

IBM's ISS division said consumers and businesses face increased security risk as cybercriminals take advantage of the holiday season with phishing and malware laden USB sticks.


Orphaned Bots Not Necessarily Free Or Clean

Half a million former bot machines are at risk of reinfection or are still under cybercriminal control


Mac OS X targeted by Trojan and backdoor tool

Two pieces of malicious software affecting Apple's Mac OS X appeared this week: a Trojan horse with the ability to download and install malicious code of an attacker's choice, and a hacker tool for creating backdoors, according to security vendors.


Gmail exploit may allow attackers to forward e-mail

A Gmail security vulnerability may allow an attacker to set up filters on users' e-mail accounts without their knowledge, according to a proof of concept posted Sunday at GeekCondition.com.


Picture Printing Kiosks & Flash Memory Devices

Whether its the Secure Digital device in your Digital Camera, or the USB Flash Drive that you carry around the office, the convenient and widespread use of Flash Memory Devices also offers a negative element - as an effective method of malicious software propagation.


Symantec identifies underground criminal economy

An underground criminal economy is booming.


Fortinet predicts bleak future for security industry

Stronger security and greater attacks are the predicted trends for next year.


Apple iPhone 2.2 firmware has critical security patches

Apple addressed a dozen iPhone and iPod Touch security issues, including dangerous flaws in its Safari browser that could allow an attacker to gain access to sensitive information.


Internet Freedom and Security Are Necessarily At Odds

When people are free to run whatever they want to on their own computers there's no way to make the overall system secure


Do You Know Where Your Laptops Are?

Laptop thefts are a huge problem for individuals and companies of every size. Personal and corporate information are at risk when they're stored on devices that can "pick up and walk away" easily. This video discusses tools that help prevent laptop theft and that minimize the damage in case a mobile machine is stolen.


Script Fragmentation Attack Could Allow Hackers to Dodge Anti-virus Detection

Stephan Chenette of Websense describes a new Internet attack vector that could allow hackers to bypass anti-virus protection at both the gateway and the desktop. The technique, called script fragmentation, involves breaking down malware into smaller pieces in order to beat malware analysis engines.


Botnet Operators Likely to Change Tactics in Wake of McColo, Intercage ISP Shutdowns

Botnet operators may change their tactics due to the shutdowns of ISP Intercage and Web hosting company McColo.


Samsung demos amazing folding phone

A video has appeared online of what’s claimed to be an OLED display able to fold itself in half to become a mobile phone.


Western Digital opens door to flash

Western Digital is open to entering the solid state drive (SSD) market when it presents "appropriate opportunity."


NASA celebrates return of the Zeppelin

NASA got a great big balloon for the 75th anniversary of its iconic Moffett airfield in the heart of Silicon Valley.


Be-A-Magpie Is PayPerPost For Twitter

Like much-criticized PayPerPost for blogs, German/UK startup Be-A-Mapgpie will pay you to insert advertisements into your Twitter stream.


Facebook Getting Serious About Classifieds; May Relaunch This Year

Here’s a rumor that won’t go away - Facebook has been quietly searching for a partner to take over their year and a half old classified listings application, and may relaunch as early as the end of December.


How To Buy A Laptop

Whether you are a road warrior, daily commuter, or media mogul, make sure that your next notebook is a good fit. We look at gear from Lenovo, eMachines, HP, Sony, and Acer.


Job Cuts At Akamai, Despite Net Usage Gains

Growth was driven by new undersea cable links, the launch of many global WiMax networks, and new fiber-to-the-premises services.


Dell Profit Beats Wall Street Expectations

Dell posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit Thursday as cost cuts offset lower revenue, sending its shares up about 6%


Random House to digitize thousands of books

With e-book sales exploding in an otherwise sleepy market, Random House Inc. announced Monday that it was making thousands of additional books available in digital form, including novels by John Updike and Harlan Coben, as well as several volumes of the "Magic Treehouse" children's series.


Hands-off hackers: Crooks opt for surgical strikes

Internet criminals have been getting more "professional" for years, trying to run their businesses like Big Business to get better and more profitable at selling stolen data online. Now the bad guys of the cyber-underworld are exhibiting other unexpected traits: remarkable patience and restraint in stalking their victims.


First Look video: Picoli for iPhone

Until Apple blesses the iPhone with a camera worth talking about, you're just going to have to improve photos by transferring them to your desktop to edit.


Windows Live Search to be rebranded Kumo?

There have been tremors on the Web that Microsoft was considering a new brand name for Live Search, and now LiveSide.Net is reporting that Microsoft has taken control of the domain name Kumo.com from its registrar and directing internal traffic to it as a test site.


IE8 Release Candidate Coming on 1Q 2009

Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 apparently will have its product debut sometime next year, according to an announcement released on Wednesday by the company. The Web browser is currently available as IE8 Beta 2, and Microsoft hopes to get some more feedback from the public and technical community before finalizing it.


Microsoft's Ballmer ordered to testify in 'Vista Capable' suit

A federal judge on Friday ordered Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to testify in the "Vista Capable" class-action lawsuit, rejecting the company's contention that Ballmer knew nothing about loosening hardware requirements for the marketing program.


Judgment favors Novell in ongoing SCO case

Another chapter in the lengthy legal saga between SCO and Novell is closed, with the release of a final judgment by a Utah court on Thursday.


Apple patches 12 iPhone bugs, adds Street View, podcast downloads

Apple Inc. early today released iPhone 2.2, the first update to the phone's firmware in more than two months, patching a dozen security vulnerabilities and adding several new features, including Google Street Views to the device's mapping tool.


Wii Boxing Gloves: Score Virtual Points for Real Violence

Wii Boxing just got a whole lot more realistic. While these Everlast branded gloves are little more than a regular pair of boxing gloves, with the addition of pockets into which you can slide a couple of Wiimotes, they change


Biofuel-Powered Flying Car Cleared for Takeoff

Parajet is preparing for the inaugural flight of SkyCar, a biofuel-powered land/air hybrid vehicle the company says will deliver rally car performance on the ground and aircraft performance in the sky. Since it runs on biofuel and features an aluminum frame, ParaJet says it's jut a matter of time before the clean, green SkyCar is the airborne equivalent of a Toyota Corolla.


Old worm infects Department of Defense computers

Department of Defense computers have been hit with an old worm that the DoD won't discuss other than to say it is taking steps to mitigate its effects.


Toshiba Demonstrates Quick-Charging Electric Bike

This past week, Toshiba exhibited a snazzy power-assisted bicycle manufactured by Cannondale Sports Group that uses a quick-charging lithium ion battery. The SCiB battery uses lithium titanate for enhanced safety and is made up of ten battery cells connected in series.


Play Doom online - thanks to Adobe Alchemy

One of the games that started the FPS genre - now in your browser.



Class Project

The following note was sent to me from a friend of mine. I think it is a worthwhile venture, especially with the amount of problems going on with the economy today. By the way, the USDA yesterday released a press release that said the number of children that went hungry in 2007 had increased more than 50% from the previous year. Overall, the 36.2 million adults and children who struggled with hunger during the year was up slightly from 35.5 million in 2006. That was 12.2 percent of Americans who didn't have the money or assistance to get enough food to maintain active, healthy lives. Here is Angie's email:


My American Schools final course assignment is a whole class project. We are collecting donations of food, school supplies and warm winter clothes.

The food we collect and the new winter clothing items will go to Food Outreach. Food Outreach does a project with needy children that do not have food at home over the weekends. Food Outreach fills a backpack with food that the kids can take home for their weekend meals.

The school supplies and the used winter clothing will be delivered to Youth in Need by my class as a whole on Wednesday December 3.

There are children in our communities and our neighboring communities that need help. These children don't get regular meals, don't have warm clothes to protect them and do not get school supplies to take to school.

They need help, even if it is a pair of mittens or a hat that costs no more than a dollar or two. They need soup to eat and a breakfast bar to help with their hunger. They need their own school supplies so they feel ready to learn. They need our help.

I know it is Scouting for Food time, every child you know is asking you to buy something from their fundraiser, you're worried about how to buy your own food and winter clothes for your child. But please remember that there are children you don't know that need your help too.

I am asking for your help, to help a child you have never met. I will be collecting and accepting donations until Sunday November 30.


Angela Gonzalez
Elementary Education Student
University of Missouri - St. Louis

You can reach Angie by email at asgmtf [at] umsl.edu if you would care to contribute. Or drop me a note and I can get it to Angie.

Letter from the Instructor

This University of Missouri-St. Louis student is collecting items (food, clothes, and school supplies) for needy children. This is being done as part of a course assignment - teaching future teachers about the importance of teacher leadership and student advocacy.

If you have any questions, or comments, please call me on my cell phone at 314-210-4241, or send me an email at the address below.

And, thank you so much for your kind support of this initiative.

Robin R. Wiseman, MBA, MEd
Adjunct Faculty
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Teaching & Learning Department
ruawise1 [at] sbcglobal.net