I made it! Thank God it is Friday!

Good morning out there!

Well, we made it to another Friday. It's cloudy and raining here in St. Louis (as of 5:30am). And they are predicting snow flurries after midnight tonight. Woot! Other than that, working on my second cup of coffee and not feeling so great. I don't know if I mentioned it, but they are saying that the west end of the Hwy 40 reconstruction project may open the first week of December. The east end of the project is going to start before the end of the year, but they haven't officially stated when yet. MoDOT is having a press conference at 10am CST to talk about it.

On another note, the pumpkin beer has a nice heady foam on top so the fermentation is going along quite nicely. Ah well, I'll probably be bottling it next week. One of my co-workers is working on a making mead. That is also something I'm thinking about trying, but it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year just for the fermentation to finish, and up to another year before being able to drink it. Definitely a longer term project.

Also, if you are in the St. Louis metro area, there are 2 MoChip (http://www.mochip.org/) events on Saturday, Nov 15. One event is at the St. Louis Science Center from 9:30am - 4:30pm (http://is.gd/7ta1) and the other event is at the UMB Bank in O'Fallon (http://is.gd/7ta9).

I saw gas priced between $1.85 and $1.88 a gallon between home and my drive to work. I'm definitely not going to complain about not having to spend all that extra money, things were getting quite a bit tighter around the house when gas cost closer to $4 a gallon. I do worry that with gas prices low and still dropping apparently because of the economy, there will be less pressure to continue on with development of alternative sources of energy and mass transit projects.

In the past, we (as Americans) have pretty conveniently forgotten high fuel costs and their byproducts as soon as the costs ease. Of course, this time around the costs were so severe that our economy, and really the global economy, was pushed down. Now the reason for lower prices at the pump is because we are still driving less because a lot of people don't have the jobs to drive to. I think that it's going to take a while to get the economy humming again. But we shouldn't take our eyes off the ball. We still need to research, invent, or innovate our way into an acceptable solution to get out of foreign fuel dependence.

And we should continue with projects to extend the reach of mass transit. Nothing says says loving to potential employers like being able to get their workforce to work. For the city of St. Charles, there is a potential plan in place for a streetcar line and an expanded bus route. By making sure that a large number of the citizens of our fair city can ride mass transit to get to work, we also help to decrease their cost burden and increase their spending potential. If we had mass transit that made it easy for people (residents and tourists) to get down to Main Street, other shopping areas, government buildings, and large employers, I think we would have the potential to see: an increase in retail sales (and subsequent city taxes), more people at the resturant businesses in those areas, and with the added advantage of more of the local money being spent locally.

The biggest problem in trying to get mass transit going at this time is that we are seeing a huge drop off in the amount of taxes that are being collected from retail and big ticket items. House sales down. Car sales down. Big screen T.V. sales down. Resturant business down. But with the new administration promising some love in the area of mass transit, it would behoove us to really start looking at it now, so that we can get on board before everybody else jumps the line and gets in front of us. That's my opinion anyway, for what it is worth.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Men accused in mortgage fraud scheme seek low bond
The two men accused of pocketing almost $500,000 from a mortgage fraud scheme pleaded poverty Thursday in seeking a low bond while they await trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lewis Blanton set the bond at $20,000 each for Robert Wrolstad, 59, and Russell T. McBride, 46, after the attorneys for each man said they were unemployed and could not afford the higher $50,000 bond sought by assistant federal prosecutor Paul Hahn.

From green to red
Times are bad for Highland Homes — until recently one of the area's high-flying house builders.
The company website is up but the office phone is disconnected. Liens and lawsuits over disputed bills abound. St. Peters is condemning at least part of its largest project.

Missouri gets disaster declaration from September flooding due to Ike
The White House this morning granted Missouri's request for a disaster declaration as a result of the September storms and flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ike.
The declaration from President George W. Bush makes federal funding available to people and businesses in St. Louis, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Lincoln County and elsewhere in Missouri.

Some recently updated tools
A few of the tools I'm rather fond of have been updated recently, if any of our readers use them, you might want to update. We already mentioned that Wireshark has been updated to v1.0.4. Tcpdump and libpcap have been updated to v4.0, I saw the announcement thanks to the wireshark folks. Also, our friend Daniel Cid has updated OSSEC to v1.6.1. Matthieu Suiche has updated win32dd to v1.2

Green address bar only affects minority of internet shoppers
More is needed to encourage the public to feel secure online than the green address bar.

Microsoft hits back at counterfeit and illegal software sellers
Two former company owners have pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit software to customers.

PC users experience loss of data due to poor backup methods
PC users are storing vast amounts of data on their home computers with 46 million users losing valuable data last year.

Web-borne malware targets unexpected industries
A rise in social engineering tactics leave some industries more at risk to malware exposure, according to a report from

Express Scripts offers reward in hacker extortion case
Online criminals threatened to expose sensitive member data.

Maltego - Forensics and Intelligence Application & Information Gathering Tool
Maltego is an open source intelligence and forensics application. It allows for the mining and gathering of information as well as the representation of this information in a meaningful way.
Coupled with its graphing libraries, Maltego, allows you to identify key relationships between information and identify previously unknown relationships between them. It is a must-have tool in the forensics, security and intelligence fields!

Friend at the Window
Recently, we at Avert Labs received word of a new Windows CE/Mobile polymorphic, companion virus. This was a bit odd since companion viruses used to be more popular in the days of DOS and we haven’t seen too many on newer platforms.
Unlike more standard file infecting viruses, companion viruses do not infect program files but instead pretend to be the original files. A companion virus will rename a clean file to a hidden or random name and rename itself to the clean file’s name. The result is that the user runs the virus when intending to run the original program. To avoid raising suspicion, the original is run once the virus is done executing. There may not be a noticeable delay before the original program runs.

Schools Suffer One-Third of Total U.S. Data Breaches
New report reveals 12.4 million student and consumer profiles were compromised in 324 breaches at colleges, K-12 schools

Widespread Account-Sharing Threatens Corporate Security, Revenues
Many users break security defenses by simply handing over their credentials to colleagues, friends, experts say

Dell CTO to Leave in January 2009
CTO Kevin Kettler plans to leave PC vendor Dell in January after trying to help the company reshape its approach to technology. In the past year, Kettler has focused much of his time as Dell's CTO on storage and other IT hardware technology.

Pimp My Programming Language
It's hard out here for a programmer! Should programmers be allowed to add personalized bling to their languages of choice? Programming language experts debate to what degree developers should be able to tweak standardized languages.

CA to Buy Role-Based Identity Management Vendor Eurekify
CA has agreed to purchase Eurekify for an undisclosed sum. The deal is meant to deepen CA's ability to offer role-based identity and compliance management and is the fruit of several months of collaboration between the two vendors.

AVG Offers Free Subscription for Deleting Key File
Security vendor AVG said Thursday that the company will offer a free year of service, after its antivirus software misidentified a key Windows system file as malware.

AMD to Launch 'Phenom II' at CES
As suspected, Advanced Micro Devices will launch its Phenom II microprocessor at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this coming January, executives at AMD's annual analyst meeting said Thursday.

Tens of thousands of kids need to be protected from ContactPoint users
Data on about 55,000 children will need to be protected from estranged and abusive family members, or because they are under police protection, according to figures from local authorities.

Google to launch iPhone voice search app
Google is set to launch an iPhone application that’ll let you search the web using the power of speech.

AMD readies 'Yukon' for netbook gold rush
AMD has, as expected, announced its plan to tackle arch-rival Intel's dominance of the netbook arena. But its efforts will centre on a new CPU: a 45nm dual-core part dubbed 'Conesus'.

eBay bans sale of Obama inauguration tickets
eBay has agreed to ban ticket sales for US President-elect Barack Obama's upcoming inauguration ceremony on its websites.

Microsoft: 'Patents are gibberish - unless you're a patent lawyer'
Microsoft's internal advice when you're potentially treading on someone else's patent? "Ignorance is bliss."

DARPA: Self-repairing, learning kill-robot tech is go
Once again the observant techbeat watcher finds his or her lower-torso garments endampened by fear, as news emerges that heavyweight US military nerds believe that they have developed IT tech which can "regenerate" autonomously, allowing it to self-repair in the face of shutdown attempts - and even to learn and develop its capabilities. More terrifyingly still, plans are afoot to put this technology into the US forces' next generation of robotic weaponry.

Mars Rover Contact Reestablished, Spirit is Alive!
Just when we were growing concerned that we might be losing two Mars surface missions within a week of each other, it turns out Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has survived its recent run-in with a Sun-dimming dust storm.

Rescued Moon Photos Restored to Unprecedented Detail
Earlier this week we had a story about old data from the Apollo missions that could potentially be lost if an "antique" computer from the 1960's can't be renovated. But now comes good news about more old data which has actually been restored and enhanced to an exceedingly high quality.

GirlInYourShirt: $75 Buys Your Startup Marketing For A Day
I imagine more than a few startups will take JenaĆ© up on her offer to wear your startup shirt and talk about your company for a day. It’s $75, and she posts videos on her site, YouTube, Seesmic and Viddler, posts pictures on Flickr and tweets about it all as well.

'Invisible' transplant organs now in sight
Pigs really could save our bacon. Organs that are invisible to our immune system and so won't be rejected when they are transplanted could be ready within 10 years, thanks to a faster way of genetically engineering pigs.

Moon takes a backseat in new space plan
The US should be aiming to put astronauts on Mars in the long term and on asteroids in the short term, according to a new report from the Planetary Society.

ICANN Shutting Down EstDomains Nov. 24
A day after Web hosting site McColo had its Internet access cut off for serving spam and malware sites, Internet registrar EstDomains was notified that it will be deaccredited on Nov. 24, a decision that will put the controversial domain registrar out of business.

'Lich King' Chapter Of World Of Warcraft Begins
The massively multiplayer online role-playing game requires the player to have the original World Of Warcraft game and its first exten

New WATCHMEN Trailer online!

University of Florida warns 333,000 dental school patients of breach
In an incident that is likely to further reinforce the reputation that college networks and systems have of being notoriously insecure environments, the University of Florida yesterday disclosed that it has notified more than 333,000 people about the potential compromise of their personal data following a system intrusion at its dental school.

Sysadmin under house arrest for blackmailing finance company
A systems administrator accused of trying to blackmail his former employer out of money and even good job references after being laid off was ordered today to remain confined to his home.

Hosting company says London power shortage is a myth
A hosting company has poured scorn on the received wisdom that data centres in London are struggling with shortages of power

Apple job listing hints at iPhone nearing China launch
A single listing on the Apple's career pages suggests the company has pledged itself to releasing the iPhone in China, one of its most elusive markets.

Apple releases Safari 3.2 with phishing protection
Apple on Thursday afternoon released Safari 3.2, a recommended update for all Safari users that delivers protection from fraudulent phishing websites and better identification of online businesses.

New Intel Xeons offer upgrade path for Mac Pro in early 2009
Intel during the first quarter of next year will introduce a total of 13 new Nehalem-based Xeon chips, at least two of which are likely to turn up in a long-awaited upgrade to Apple's Mac Pro workstations.

Bush Administration: Dismiss RFID 'Mark of the Beast' Lawsuit
The Bush administration on Thursday urged a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a group of Amish farmers in Michigan claiming RFID chips required on cattle "are a mark of the beast."

Dual-Core Atom Not Much Faster Than Single-Core
PC Pro has been testing Intel's new dual-core Atom 330 processor, and while it's faster than the netbook-favorite Atom N270, it isn't by much.

October Game Sales: Wii Rocks Face, Fable Tops Charts
Microsoft's Xbox 360 role-playing game Fable II topped the U.S. game sales charts for the month of October 2008, beating out newcomers like Sony's LittleBigPlanet and established hits like Wii Fit.

Sci Fi Orders Second Season of Sanctuary
With TV shows dropping like flies, Sanctuary seems to have found a safe home on Sci Fi Channel: The network ordered a second season of the green-screen-heavy show Thursday.

US healthcare lags in care delivery for chronic conditions
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund compares the experiences of patients with chronic healthcare needs in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK, and finds that high costs and a lack of access to healthcare are impacting care in the US.

Businesses warm up to the iPhone
The original iPhone was not welcome in corporate America. While the BlackBerry still rules the boardroom, the second-generation iPhone is getting a fresh look.

Telecoms: Don't mess up the Net with regulations
A congressional staffer said Net neutrality and broadband legislation will surely be reintroduced in the next Congress, but representatives of the telecom industry say there are better ways to keep the Internet open.

American Airlines getting in on that cellphone boarding pass fad
American Airlines has joined its peers at Continental in offering boarding pass barcodes that you can download to and display on your BlackBerry, iPhone, G1, or whatever have you. Presently the airline is only offering the option on domestic, non-stop flights departing from O'Hare -- LAX and Orange County will start on the 17th.

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