Stemming the Tide

With all the accounts of Phishing horrors and IT security advisories warning against it, FBI’s breakthrough against a US-Egypt Phishing scam is definitely a welcome in the war against identity theft.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said 33 people were arrested across the United States early Wednesday while authorities in Egypt charged 47 more people linked to the scam.

A total of 53 suspects were named in connection with the scam in a federal grand jury indictment, the FBI said.

Authorities said the sophisticated identity theft network had gathered information from thousands of victims which was used to defraud American banks.

While there are a lot that remains to be done, the headway provides at least some sense of justice to those paranoid about their privacy and financial information in a world becoming more and more interconnected everyday.

Straight from its Nest

Screenshot-PidginI’ve been dabbling with Linux functionalities again these days so I found the inavailability of Pidgin since the previous weekend somewhat a hassle. I’m used to being available for relatives and friends using YM that’s why I took notice. I let a day pass thinking it could have been a temporary glitch.

I decided to look at it more closely, however, when the problem was still there the dawn on Tuesday. So to anyone still in the dark here, read on.

Turned out, according to Celtic Wolf, that an update in the Yahoo Network last June 17 was the culprit.An update seemed to be order so it was off to Pidgin’s official site. There, a confirmation of the problem was posted right at the main page so everything was straightforward from there.

After a few clicks and copy-pasted lines at the terminal, Pidgin was back in action.

Over OCR

I’ve never given a thought on OCR stuff much before because I never thought of a situation I would end up actually needing it.

Just early this day, I actually needed to find a solution towards that direction.

More specifically, I have a PDF from school with lengthy code in it and I need to have both server and client codes running. While the intuitive step of having the program files is to copy and paste everything, it turned out that things won’t be easy as that. It turned out that the text turned out garbled when pasted in Notepad++.

As a previous endeavor has shown, my tinkering inclination actually had me try to have the garbage figured out–how values map to the other. After a while I gave up though. I thought I should have ended up typing the 6 page mammoth instead of ending up having to spend an entire day decyphering the thing.

The only thing left for me to try was the OCR solution. Not wanting to have additional software installed though, I spent a few clicks at Google and found a surprising solution. Surprising in the sense that I never thought I’d find something of actual use for MS Office’s OneNote, its Copy Text from Picture functionality was literally a lifesaver here.

OneNote's Copy Text from Image

OneNote's Copy Text from Picture

So after a few clicks on Adobe Reader’s Snapshot tool before getting the text from OneNote, I got what my codes. Well, sort of since there were a few glitches in the translation that I had to correct still.

I’ll happily take that over straining these fingers having to retype everything though.

Oh Brother

I find it funny that, in some ways, life seems to mimic the blogging episode. That is, the absurdities you encounter in either bad apple is enough to get you hammering down on the odd one out. I’m talking about my recent difficulty in getting my printer to work yesterday and it definitely got me writing about what I had to go through then now.

Getting me out of my blogging stupor would not be the rant-worthy incident, (though it really is,) but the sheer fact that I just got the piece of nearly 2 year old junk to churn out readable prints. That despite having to do stuff with the hardware… from cleaning to test prints to re-inserting the cartridges to switching it on and off to resetting the printer then doing a combination of the same routines again. That despite having to put up with the printer when I’m so used to getting hardware technical support guys tinkering with it at work.

And it felt like I hit the jackpot… like I discovered the hidden combination when, after spending around 2 to 3 hours of painstaking to get the printer working, it spat out a recognizeable test print! That despite having done so for what seemed to be like about 30 to 40 test prints of nearly no color at all to that which had no black at all. The latter was the real whammy then because I had to print a scanned PDF file in black ink.

Also I knew I had to sort things out because should the need for something for my daughter at school come up, I could only imagine how much my wife would rare to smash the printer against the wall. My daughter’s assignment this afternoon only proved that it was well worth the trouble as I’m the only guy in this house with the patience to put up with erring hardware.

And it definitely was more on the wise side of things to get this old timer going as it eventually saved me a few thousand bucks with me not having to get a new one. Not to mention the trouble of getting rid of this chunk of hardware.

I’m not pulling my hair because of the DCP-130C for now, thanks to the Internet primarily.* Should it finally choke on me permanently, I can’t really say I’m getting something from the same manufacturer though.

* Thanks to phayber_optik of TipidPC for having the unintuitive printer reset procedures covered.

A Video and Cake Hence

It seems a lot of geeks can’t get enough of the firefox 3 download day gimmick and as a consequence of the social surplus getting more and more out of people’s time these days, a video at YouTube now presents a parody of microsoft’s supposed predicament on the mozilla phenomenon:

Not bad for the first video I get to post here. The cake is shown here and thanks to minor of highfiber for the stuff by the way.

Diminishing the Slice

The Philippines ranks second to the last after Indonesia in terms of the average annual salary of IT professionals. That is if the ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark Survey 2008 is to be believed.

Early this month, ZDNet Asia released an online article summarizing the results of the survey. There the Philippines ranked 6th among 7 countries where it was reported that IT professionals averaged an annual salary of $12,425. Indonesia placed last with its pros getting $7,709 annually.

Get more information from the detailed report here. Registration is required though.

7.5 Going 8.0

I’ve been using AVG Free for computer protection ever since I’ve had my own laptop at home. Back then, my primary consideration was cost. After doing a modest amount of research, I went for it. Right now, I have 2 notebooks here running the software for security and protection.

Since version 7.5 would be supported by updates until the end of this month only, I decided to make the jump on a lazy Saturday afternoon. At least that’s what the AVG advisory which came up after the most recent updates I ran in both notebooks said.

Anyway, after running the 8.0.1 installer, making the initial one-time setup, mandatory restart then finally the security database updates, here’s how it looks like on the task bar:

and the new UI for the software.

AVG Screenshot

A lot different from the previous version. The most immediately visible and definitely useful difference though was when I used a search engine using Firefox. Doing so displayed:

In this case it’s a Google search. The checked green star icons affixed beside each returned result affirms no surprises from the site. I’ve checked a similar result using IE in the same laptop as well and the same go signals appear there. Doing mouse-overs on the markers shows the following remarks from AVG:

Google Search 2

Pretty nifty and absolutely helpful for the not-so-technical experts if you ask me.