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.

Mapping Development

world_map_01I remember when Internet great Google went on to release Google Maps a few years ago. The service made the once geographic modelling tool stuck in the pages of the Atlas a regular internet fodder. Since then, there have been a lot of innovations contributing to the technology and now, UN’s Millenium Development Goals are already in the map. Thanks to the possible related posts facility of for the find btw.

I remember writing about the UN’s Millenium Development Goals here. It’s pretty interesting to encounter them in a new and different light though. Cheers to Technology.

Some Creative Commons Pitfalls

CC Logo Indicating Some Restrictions

CC Logo Indicating Some Restrictions

ZDNet Asia featured an article discussing 3 common myths associated with the Creative Commons license which I thought worthwhile here. While it is patterned after FOSS licensing, it is nevertheless important to point out common misinterpretations of CC licenses in the interest of promoting respect for creative works. The article provides legal perspectives on these myths.

The first deals with the jurisdiction of the license. While it is thought of that CC licenses apply in the U.S. alone, there are countries which have ported the license to different copyright legislations. To my fellow Filipinos still in the country too, the Philippines is among those which have “completed ‘ports’ of the license.”

The second deals with the legality of the license. It is based on a legal framework which means that inappropriate usage of a given material is still illegal. Unlike the copyright however, the work is shared and can be used under certain conditions specified by the author. Like the copyright, the work’s author retains the rights “regardless of whether Creative Commons is applied.”

The last myth deals with the common misconception that a work can be used as long as it’s not for profit. While I’m tempted to render this common sense fodder, I simply can’t. At least not until I get to understand how this fits in the bill of fair use. Add the fact that there might be implications on what can be considered as fair use when jurisdiction is applied and I have to say that I absolutely have no idea there.

So one is better off reading what the license has to say of what usage it deems proper just as I have done in a paper I submitted in the past semester. Not only does that accord respect where it is due, it has a lot to say something about the intentions of someone intending to make use of something under the CC umbrella.

When still not sure, better get the author’s explicit permission as they would rather take the time to answer such requests than deal with infringing persons, inadvertent or not.

On Pauses and Breaks

A month ago, all I looked up to was the end of the semester. I thought much of the stress would come to a halt. I thought a lot of the pressures would ebb with school at a standstill.

I never couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’ve never seen problems at work pile up this much in the last couple of years. I’ve almost forgotten how the end of the day felt this much of a relief. Watching television doesn’t help either as there’s nothing much there except the pardons for those once controvertial persons convicted with life imprisonment, the worldwide ripples of the Wall Street problem and more social, political and economic problems everywhere.

So to try lighten up the mood, here are some things to contend with the seriousness of the times though.

  • 150 Best Online Flash Games – Just dumped it here for easier access come the time when I can bum more and worry less. I wish that time comes soon enough though as I can’t even remember when was the last time I’m driven nuts at work.
  • Earth from Above – I might not be even a step on the way towards good photography but I do appreciate good snapshots when I encounter them. I have to admit too that it was pretty relieving to see the planet in different and awesome angles.

Alternative to an Alternative

I switched to Firefox way back mainly because of a lot of reasons adding up to my over-all discontent on Internet Explorer. I was glad I made the switch then. Enhanced usability, less pop-ups and faster loading of pages was all too good reasons to have me consider another browser for my needs.

Add the fact that I get plugins to serve my purposes had me contented for long. Throw in Firebug for tinkerking HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, CSS and real time DOM values in browsing sessions, and Fireshot for handy page or window screencaptures and Firefox has a happy customer in me. The fact that there are more plugin goodies for firefox out there all the more emphasizes how much IE pales in comparison with Mozilla Foundation’s baby.

With persistent and erratic crashes of my browsing sessions with Firefox 3 these days however, I decided to look elsewhere. At least for now.

Larry was right in pointing out those crashes. Firefox 3 does prove to be more of an annoyance than a step forward in terms of internet experience. The next logical stop for me then would be Opera.

The Opera Browser

The Opera Browser

The said browser had its roots early on during the early days of the IE-Netscape browser wars and is still on its feet after so many years. These days it has the lead in mobile browser usage. While I’ve used the browser sparingly then mainly to come up with screenshots for my web programming class, it’s only now that I appreciate what it lays on the table. I’m pretty much obliged to say that I’m still learning the ropes hereas there seems to be indeed a lot of cards from this direction.

Like Firefox, it takes pride in fast loading of web pages as much as in its adherence to web standards. Unlike Firefox though, its latest release was more than a step forward in the browser race. Throw in Dragonfly for us Web Developers and Opera has just shifted its contention among big names in desktop browsers up a notch.

Just a Readability Check

No this is not about a programming language criterion.

I found the Blog Readability Test over leelock‘s blog worthwhile. Guess I really need the reprieve from the Sisyphean routine I’ve subjected myself to. After all I found it curious as to how I changed over the years in terms of writing. So I went there and took a quick peek.

Here’s what the test has to say about the stuff I managed to pile up here so far:

blog readability test

And since I’ve got a little less than 5 minutes left to spare, I tried two other samples. Since it’s pretty convenient for me to get the blog links from the last two comments here.

So as far as Larry‘s blog goes:

blog readability test

And finally that of Chelsea‘s:

blog readability test

How’d that happen, I don’t know. I’m confused too… :))

Back with a Vengeance!

Or so I hope…

So on a stormy day which never had the place where I am see the sun, it was such a welcome to have one of the good things back. To think I was earnestly waiting for a regular doze of rain to freshen the ambience in our humble abode.

Just earlier this day, I found the link to highfiber conspicuously in Luis’s YM status message.

While I didn’t find the “announcement” interesting per se, it struck me that it might have been that the day a number of former members of the site were anticipating would’ve been now. So curiosity had me going to the site and staring at the new site again for quite a while. I never had it low on being busy but for something that used to be a part of my usual routine, I just had to make time to look around.

So after registration, I was off to a few comments. It was like the first few days I spent on that site, I was getting a feel on whether I still belong to the community. It never fails to be an wise policy in an anything-goes site really.

I just love the registration notification email:


Welcome to Highfiber! We have returned. You are fortunate.

Your login: XXXXXXXX
Your password: XXXXXXXX


Hahahahahaha… And so the asylum’s back indeed!

Download Day 2008

Download Day 2008

Leave it up to Mozilla to come up with the creativity for almost anything. This time, it has to be the record books–the Guiness Book of World Records to be exact. They intend to come up with a world record for “the most software downloads in 24 hours” on Firefox 3‘s launch date. Not bad for software promotion not to mention making a statement in browser usage.

Just click on the banner to find out more about the attempt. Right now they’re still gathering strength from all around the world and synchronizing the countdown before giving the go signal. To those interested, you can get involved in spreading the word.

Thanks to emans for the info btw, (courtesy of an Eskwela update that is.)

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.

Talk About Perspectives

For the 4000th click just registered by this blog, here’s a lengthy list of puns on the half full or half empty perspectives of different people from this humor page:

A well-known proverb states: an optimistic would say a glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty. What would people of different professions and walks of life say?

The government would say that the glass is fuller than if the opposition party were in power.

The opposition would say that it is irrelevant because the present administration has changed the way such volume statistics are collected.

The philosopher would say that, if the glass was in the forest and no one was there to see it, would it be half anything?

The economist would say that, in real terms, the glass is 25% fuller than at the same time last year.

The banker would say that the glass has just under 50% of its net worth in liquid assets.

The psychiatrist would ask, “What did your mother say about the glass?”

The physicist would say that the volume of this cylinder is divided into two equal parts; one a colorless, odorless liquid, the other a colorless, odorless gas. Thus the cylinder is neither full nor empty. Rather, each half of the cylinder is full, one with a gas, one with a liquid.

The seasoned drinker would say that the glass doesn’t have enough ice in it.

I can’t resist but add the following to the list:

  • The programmer will need to look at the server logs, audit trails and system design before saying something conclusive. This in turn will lead to changes on the glass object or the fill method again.
  • A student would prefer to know which his/her professor is leaning on before saying it’s half full or half empty after all. Furnishing the details of the proof would be the easier part.

Hehehehe… Feel free to add your own takes.

The image was taken from wikimedia commons btw.