Dr_Ish writes: According to the BBC, there has been a sudden surge in 'vishing'. This is phishing, but using the 'phone. Apparently old folk in the UK have been targetted and are especially succeptible. Today might be a good day to call your grannie and warn her about such things.
Dr_Ish writes: The BBC is reporting that the opening ceremonies of last the Olympics last year were potentially subject to a cyber attack that could have cut all the lights and power. Of course, it did not happen. However, the interesting question is whether this is real, or whether this is a FUD [Fear Uncertainty, or Doubt] story promoted by GCHQ to help shore up their shredded credibility.
Dr_Ish writes: When Ubuntu moved from version 10.04 LTS to 12.04 LTS, the process looked pretty slick. There was no need to do a complete re-install, save all those files, etc. However, it seems to be slowly emerging that the transition may be far from smooth. Ubuntu forums are currently flooded with reports of system freezes and crashes. To make matters worse, no solution has been offered, other than generic suggestions about updating drivers and the last. Although the move to the Unity desktop was already controversial, this could be the nail in the coffin if the Ubuntu ascendancy. That being said, it may be a boon for alternative distros, like Mint, if Ubuntu does not address the issue rapidly.
Dr_Ish writes: "So, I find in my inbox an e-mail from AT&T marketing their services. At the bottom it says:
"Unsubscribe: You have received this email because you are a wireless customer of AT&T. [I am a land line subscriber, actually]...If you no longer wish to receive future advertising emails from AT&T, please go here to [Some web page] This is an AT&T promotional email.
So, AT&T are joining the 'opt out' crowd? After years of poor service, it is now certainly time to kill my account. You would think that an ISP would know better though?"
Dr_Ish writes: "David Rumelhart, one of the main movers and shakes behind the resurgence of artificial neural network research in the mid-80s has died. There is a brief obituary available at http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/march/david-rumelhart-obit-031711.html. Rumelhart was one of the seminal figures in cognitive science research during the 1980s. His work is still widely cited. He is also the inspiration behind the Rumelhart prize, one of the major awards in the computer science of intelligence. Although in recent years a medical condition had prevented him being an active research contributer, he will still be sorely missed."
Dr_Ish writes: "This weekend is the beginning of Mardi Gras madness. By grabbing the feeds from city traffic cameras, I have put together a page that lets people watch the Mardi Gras parades in Lafayette, Louisiana. They will be starting between 7pm and 8pm tonight and tomorrow, around the same time on Monday (Lundi Gras) and then from 11am on Fat Tuesday (all times are CST). See http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~isb9112/mg/ to access the feeds. Enjoy!"
Dr_Ish writes: Lafayette, Louisiana is a smallish town (*circa* 160.000) that has a publicly own utility system. In the last couple of years, the utility system has rolled out a fiber to the home system, that has massively annoyed the previous monopoly, Cox. After many court cases and resulting troubles, the system is up and running. However, today it was tested to the max, when half the city lost power for a short time. Even though the power was out. the LUS Fiber system remained up and running. When even TVstations were briefly off-line, the system survived. In an area that is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, this was a remarkable feat. So, the question here is, how many of you can still connect to your ISP, when all the power is down? Is this really something unusual and noteworthy, or much less than that?
Dr_Ish writes: Over the last couple of day I have been in e-mail communication with a senior person at BP (The Director of Brand Communications). I have been trying to persuade her that the commercials they are running on the Gulf coast are a waste of money. When I have been out in public places and the commercials run, people tend to say, or shout nasty things (not suitable for here — although I'm sure you can imagine). Similar things happen in private houses too. Apparently, BP think that their commercials are 'useful information for the public'. They seem to think that they have market research to support this view. My suggestion to them is that the money could be much better spent doing more useful things. I would really appreciate input from people who are afflicted by the BP commercials. Do you think that they do any good, are you persuaded? Do you think that the money could be used better elsewhere? Thank in advance.
Dr_Ish writes: A few days ago, I got a sales call from someone attempting to sign me up for AT and T DSL service (I have long distance service with AT and T). I politely told the person to go to hell, as I have much higher speed and cheaper on-line access through my local utility company. This afternoon, a UPS truck pulled up at the house with a package — a new DSL modem from AT and T! When I called, AT and T claimed that the order had been placed by an external contractor, but they could not identify who. They said they would send me a mailing label, but if they did not get their modem back, then I would be charged for it. To me, this appears to be a blatant case of DSL slamming. Has anyone else had a similar experience?