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Comment Re:1password (Score 1) 1007

Agreed. 1Password, if you need Mac OSX only, is the bomb. It has a polished feel, handles generation of passwords for different sites with different size/character requirements with ease, lets you know how secure your existing and new passwords are, and allows you to sync between other OSX machines using Dropbox. For those with Windows boxes, there are other options. I can easily export my passwords from 1Password and import them using LastPass (Free), but that's only for my wife who uses my passwords occasionally, and it would suck for normal day to day use. So, if you have OS X only, 1Password is fantastic. If not, there are a few other options that are cross platform and will do the job. Writing them down seems like a bad idea.

Comment Re:Yet you've failed to refute it (Score 1) 672

Because both my wife and my father have purchased $599 Dells in the past, and after about 2-3 years they need to be replaced. With the Mac, sure you might overbuy hardware, but damn (my experience) it lasts and works great! I used to have to get a new computer every 2-3 years, and after switching to Macs, I haven't needed to because both the OS and Hardware continue to work well and now slow down.

Comment Re:It's stupid (Score 1) 180

I thought it was stupid too, but most of credit card fraud these days is card-not-present, stolen from databases. I believe this is a cheap and easy way to thwart that. Because most people don't give up their credit card details to just anyone, having a card with this on it would still allow authentication while the merchant would have nothing to store, because they only have half the information. If they started storing successful auth keys (worthless to them, but valuable to hackers), maybe, but there's little benefit for a merchant to store the success auth strings, since they are no good after their use.

It's yet another level of security, one I would use and benefit from.

I'd much rather this than what I have now, which is no security.

Comment If widely used, tracking will be simple. (Score 1) 180

Once you know how it works, it's easy to assign a numeric value for each LCD window. Conveniently there are 7 panes that make up an LCD, with each one either on or off. Huh, seems very similar to ASCII. You come up with a standard representing that (maybe there is one?), and now I can use ASCII to describe which of the lines are on or off. Using top-to-bottom, left-to-right the one in the video could be described as:

0110010 _ 0011000 0100010 _ 0011001 0010100

2_chr(24) "_â â

OK, so it's not perfect, but still, it would be easy to convert to an easily storable value. Once that is done, you can go further to decode the challenge with a script, and voila, you have all the stuff you need to use the card fraudulently. It would take a bit more work, but once you have it, you're toast.

Not only that, but it would be fairly easy to reverse engineer. Now it WOULD make it harder for people to steal the database and use the card, since that's not stored by any of the merchants who accept cards, so a DB dump from an ecommerce site would result in less fraud if this were widely implemented. Recurring transactions would be problematic though; how could I rebill a credit card each month for a dynamic number without the cardholder entering in the code? And who is generating the challenge? Me? The credit card purveyor? How? Are they sending me an image, or just numbers and I have to generate the image?

A unique idea, and it does solve the problem of stealing credit card databases. And it is cheap and easy to put on a card, it's the whole backend system that is the biggest challenge. Though if Payflow Pro (PayPal) and implemented it, it would probably do a lot of damage to the card fraud industry.

Comment It's all about integration. (Score 1) 199

I have a home phone (Vonage), a cell phone (Sprint), a cell phone extender/femto-cell (Samsung Airave), a VoIP phone connected to an Asterisk server, Skype, Adium, and a Mac Pro.

I work from home, so much of my time is spent in front of my computer. My kids are home from time to time taking a nap, and my wife is at home fairly often as well, so I wear headphones almost constantly so I can listen to music and other beeps and boops from my random communication applications without bothering others, and at a low enough level where I don't get hearing loss, but I also don't hear the outside world.

Although the poster asked only about one solution, I can see where they are getting at -- Telecom integration.

It would be convenient to be able to answer all of my various incoming communications -- cell, land line, Skype, SIP and VoIP -- on my desktop. It would also be convenient to be able to place calls from my desktop to others via whichever route I choose -- Skype, Jajah, Google Voice, SIP, cell phone, land line -- or to be able to build a little LCR (Least Cost Routing) db that chooses for me, based on criteria I can set. Having access to all of those pieces in a desktop format would enable me to do some cool stuff, and also allow providers I use to add new features via an API to make communications even easier.

As it is now, in theory this is all possible, but no one has come up with an easy way to integrate it all. Sure, there are hacks like Asterisk, but then you have to run an additional server or Virtual Machine, and it isn't for the feint of heart. A desktop app that could do this would be very slick, but there is still the difficulty of integration. Is it a single device which handles your cell and land lines? Can you transfer a call in Skype through your desktop to your home phone line, so you can take a call in the bathroom? Maybe I need to leave and want to continue talking on Jajah but transfer to my cell.

It just doesn't yet exist, and if it does, it is difficult to do.

Comment Re:Something wrong with Firefox/Linux (Score 1) 273

I too was getting frustrated with Firefox. Daily restarts, things slowing down, etc. So I decided to learn a bit more about how to troubleshoot FF.

My first problem was having to shutdown and restart Firefox every time I wanted to enable or disable an Addon. Addons are EXTREMELY useful to me, both as a web surfer and a web developer. Firebug, Web Dev tools, mouse gestures, undo close tab, session savers... they all improve my web surfing experience.

So I learned about Profiles, and how to run multiple instances of Firefox SIMULTANEOUSLY each with different Profiles. This way I can run ALL the addons I want in one profile, a known-stable set of addons for daily surfing, and a set of addons for when I need to be doing web development. The fact that I can run all three simultaneously with the --no-remote flag makes this fabulous.

I took out the Firebug addon, as well as a few others, and Firefox 3.1b2 and now b3 have been much more solid and speedy than before.

The other useful thing about Firefox is the Session Manager Addon. Instead of having 4 windows each with 15 tabs open, I keep one or two Auto-Save Sessions. What does that mean? It means, I can have context-based sessions, and quickly switch between them. It even saves the text I've typed into the comment box on Slashdot but haven't submitted when I switch sessions. It means I can have a personal surfing session, a consulting session (individual sessions for each client even!), a work session, and even other specialized sessions. And I don't have to save when switching -- just choose a new session, and your current session is saved and stored away, and your new session is opened exactly where you left it 5 minutes or 5 weeks ago.

Between Profiles and Session Manager (and 1Password, but that's mac only), Firefox allows me to surf quickly, do complex tasks, and work efficiently. That is why FF is my primary browser. Sure Chrome is super-fast, and so is Safari 4, which I do use in addition to FF for simple surfing. But at the end of the day, the powerful addons are what make Firefox rock.

Comment Re:My experience with Sprint (Score 1) 121

Looks like Sprint claimed to have deployed extra capacity. Just not enough:

" To handle the increased traffic, Sprint is planning to deploy resources usually reserved for hurricanes: COWs and COLTs.

The acronyms stand for Cell On Wheels and Cell On Light Truck. The vehicles use satellite and microwave technology and act as mobile cell towers. They are typically deployed to disaster sites when towers get knocked out.

For the inauguration, Sprint says it will increase calling capacity. A COLT will be able to handle about 1,500 extra callers, though only 60 calls can go through simultaneously.

On Tuesday, Sprint technicians added 30 percent more capacity to one site on top of the World Health Organization building in downtown Washington."

60 simultaneous calls?!? Weak! 1.5 million people, let's guess 200,000 Sprint customers. Sprint would have needed 134 COLTs to handle the extra customers. I'm guessing they didn't.

Comment Re:Looks like the setup needs to be tweaked more. (Score 1) 121

Untrue -- Government officials and emergency personnel have a special code they can use to dial numbers on their cell phone, giving them priority access to the cell towers.

Dial *272 and then the number you want to call. If your phone is flagged as allowed to use WPS, then your call will be accepted and given priority over all other calls. I believe there are differing levels of access, so a local volunteer fireman might have a lower priority than say Secretary of State Clinton.

Comment Re:My experience with Sprint (Score 1) 121

I too was about 250m from the Washington Monument, and trying and failing on the Sprint network. I had full bars, but was only able to send 3 text messages between my 10am arrival and 2pm departure. Most got rejected with Network Busy.

Calls and data never worked during that period while on the Mall.

A friend who had Verizon did not have any trouble making calls or texting.

On NANOG, a Verizon employee described that they spent 6 months planning capacity and rolling out COW's (Cell On Wheels) and had gotten either microwave or fiber connections to each COW to handle the traffic.

My Sprint phone works fine, most of the time. Though I live in Northern VA where my neighborhood seems to have bad service, even according to their coverage map.

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