Facebook Cyber Begging Scam alert

The other week I saw someone twittering about a friend having their Identity stolen on Facebook.  If you get a chat request from one of your Facebook friends that is requesting money sent to the UK or anywhere else for that matter, contact your friend immediately and have them let  facebook know they have a problem.  The only way I know to contact them is by using the help file which is accessed from the bottom of the screen or by this link: http://www.facebook.com/help.php?ref=pf. The first link at the top of the page directs you to the Security Forum where you can request help.  This can be a problem if the hackers have locked you out of you account, so you may just have to email them.

Here is an example of a typical hackers chat http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=96651525765&ref=mf.

Some other steps to take would be to change the password of the email that was originally linked to facebook.  The hackers may of already changed the email associated with it, but it is  important to do this first, because they most likely have that password.

Check to see if the email you associated with facebook is still the correct one, if it is then change your facebook password to something differant than the email password you changed above.  Another step would be to contact the local police department, they usually have someone trained in dealing with online fraud and may be able to expedite fixing the problem.

Anybody with any additional information please feel free to comment, or if you have had a similar experience please let us know how you resolved it.

I guess I missed Woodstock again…

This is my second post on the exciting weekend I had at Podcamp in Boston #pcb4.  I was lucky enough to be invited to this event by a friend and had a great time.  Since then I have read a few posts that mentioned that the feel from the last few years wasn’t the same.  They said that it was a different crowd and I don’t doubt that, because as the buzz begins to grow around Social Media it starts drawing a more diverse audience.  My friend expressed the same observations to me throughout the (un) conference, that it was more business focused and less about community. 

Having been around the block for awhile I remember the same arguments in the early days of Web 1.0.  Everything should be free, how dare Amazon charge for books, they shouldn’t make a profit etc…  What has been proven is that if you build an economy around an idea it tends to flourish.  I have a lot more free stuff available to me now than in the early days of the web.  I also have a better Internet experience now and it is everywhere and a hell of a lot faster and more rewarding.

I still might even to be able to experience Woodstock, I hear that the New Hampshire Podcamp is free…

What I learned on my summer vacation (#pcb4)

Boston Podcamp #pcb4

Here in the northeast it has seemed like we haven’t had a summer yet so this is probably as close as it gets. Podcamp this year focused on the use of social media and how it was being used. Being focused on the business aspects, I learned a few things that I think will help my clients and customers which are reinforced by my own experiences. The number one lesson is that while companies are recognizing social media as a buzz word they need help utilizing it.  Just twittering the special of the day may work for one business but not another. A game plan for using Social Media has to be developed for companies based on their individual goals and expectations.   The value and pricing of these services by both parties seem to be all over the map. Leveraging your existing relationships and skill sets may help you in setting up a model that works for you.

Social Media currently seems to be a generalized area where specialization hasn’t occurred yet, this became obvious in the discussion on the future of work session. The early adopters are just beginning to get rewarded for their pioneering efforts in educating businesses in the use of a more developed community based online presence.  It is still clear that no experts really exist in this field but a lot of bright people are making different aspects work. Companies are looking for people with Social Media skills but assuming this to be a single person.

Tracking your social engagements still seems to be in its infancy, much like tracking Internet metrics was 10 years ago. The difference is that the industry has grown up and a lot of what we learned in the past should be able to be transitioned.

Video is playing an increasingly important role and should not be ignored;  webinars and short information messages are replacing older voice only podcasting. The Hubspot people did a great presentation on how to produce videos without much editing. Keeping videos short and less than 2 minutes seems to keep people’s interest longer.

On a latter note I will say that Apple IPhones and Macbooks seemed to be required appendages.  While hyper local got redefined for me when somebody tweeted for toilet paper while in the first stall of the ladies room.Â

Most of my insight as advertised did come for the interactions in the hallways and impromptu sessions on the lawn. I’m already missing podcamp and all my new friends.

 

Zune 120GB

downsized_0512091552After ordering the myvu glasses a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to see how they worked with a portable media player.  Since we had an Apple ITouch, I figured I would try out the Microsoft Zune for a change.  Over the last few months I have heard good things about the Zune as an MP3 and Video Player.  I know it lacks the features of the Apple ITouch, but it compares well with the Classic Ipod.  Which means no touch screen and a hard drive not flash memory.

I had mine specially made and engraved from  Zune Originals, based on recommendations from Zune fans.  The picture in this article is the engraving I picked on the back of the Zune.  Pretty neat if you ask me, it was weird seeing the Fedex shipping progress as it shipped directly from China.  I paid the extra shipping charge and it arrived at my door within a week.  When ordere from Zune Originals the package includes the premium earbuds.  While I know I could of ordered a plain version at Amazon or even gone and picked one up at Walmart, I wanted to try something a little differant.

I must say I like the Zune software a lot better than Itunes, and the Zune market place is really easy to figure out and find what you need.  Since my PC is running 64 bit Vista I had to download a differant version, but so far it has performed well.  I highly recommend trying the Zune Pass free trial, this allows you to download any song you want from the marketplace and keep it as long as you continue the subscription.  After that it is $14.99/month but includes 10 free song downloads per month that you get to keep, so if you are going to buy that many in a month it is well worth it.

The Zune 120 contains a 120GB drive so as I mentioned above it is not a flash memory player it has a hard drive.  Occasionally when synching I have heard it but no noise comes through while listening with the earbuds.  The sound quality appears to be slightly better on the Zune than on the ITouch or on my Nano.  One thing I like is that I can easily download my recorded shows from Media Center directly through the Zune software, although it must go through a conversion first.  The Video quality is very good indoors, and while I have tried the myvu glasses once I need to do more testing to let you know what I think.

Synching a device with 120GB can take a long time, but currently I only have about 10GB on it so that goes quickly.  The Zune can also be setup for wireless synchronization to your PC, I don’t think I would want to use that feature if I was loading videos.  One issue that is noted in various blogs is the usual problem Microsoft has with counting, the status on the Zune and PC software can be differant and sometimes seems to stop on the Zune.  This is a known issue, and they suggest that you believe the Zune.  Otherwise synchronization is a breeze.

One of the biggest issues I have had with Apple is playlists I just can’t either seem to come up with good ones or they get messed up.  The Zune marketplace has lists that are updated as well as channels, this makes it easy to get music you like onto the Zune.  Podcasts are done the same way, while Videos you will still have to shell out some cash even if you have a Zune Pass.  The Zune also has a social networking feature, but I think I have to find someone else I know with one to utilize it.  Afew games exist for the Zune and I downloaded them with the latest patch, but so far there is nothing like an app store that I can find on the market place.

One nice touch is that the Zune has a FM Radio built in, with a feature that lets you add a song you hear to your shopping cart.  All in all I am glad I picked one of these up, I hadn’t bought one before because I thought it would be a poor imitation of an Ipod.  I think Microsoft has a great product here one worth considering if you want to get ITunes off your PC like me or just want to try something differant.  I think the Zune Pass is an essential element if you listen to a lot of newer music, but you can always buy music without it.  Anyway I will update this blog with newer information as I play with it some more.

Twitter me this Batman

While I have been playing with Twitter for awhile for broadcasting and following interesting topics, the other day it came in useful for another reason.  One of the few things that is hard to do without nowadays is email, and mine had stopped working.  This has happened in the past and it takes awhile to figure out what is causing it.  Luckily I have email on my phone and can get to it via web-mail.  My email host 1and1.com is usually very reliable and when none of the above was working it was easy to assume that they where having problems.  Unfortunately when I called the phone number it said all the circuits where busy and I couldn’t get through.

This is where twitter comes in, I simply did a search on #1and1 and found plenty of people in my situation. So at this point I knew it was not just an isolated problem.  Now if 1and1 as a company had a twitter account they could of sent out a simple tweet saying that they where having problems and to give status updates.  This is one of the underutilized aspects of twitter and more business should realize that it provides an alternative to email in notifying a large audience.  Email wouldn’t even of worked in this case because it wasn’t functioning.

So what I have learned is that while twitter can be a little noisy, like being in a crowded room, you can always use the search tools to find what you need.  Since these are almost real time conversations you don’t get old and useless information like you would in a standard Search Engine.  Businesses looking at venturing into the world of social networking should definitely consider creating a twitter account and updating their customers with new information, it is a powerful and immediate tool.  By not having this kind of online presence 1and1.com took a public relations hit in the twitterverse.

myvu solo plus

picture-11

I don’t know why I bought these, other than I thought they would be neat to try. I bought them for over 30% off at http://www.woot.com,  which is one of those daily discount sites.  These are the ones that work right out of the box with the Microsoft Zune and the Nokia, they also come with a composite video and audio cable.  Additional cables for the ipod are also available but may not work with newer iPods due to a new licensing requirement by Apple. 

While the resolution seems low at 320×240 this doesn’t look as bad as you would think.  The image ends up being projected somewhere beyond your nose and appears to float in space.  A higher resolution version is available at a considerably higher price, but I foresee using these for filming and maybe watching some TV shows and DVDs on the run, so it shouldn’t matter.  One of the nicer features of these glasses is that you can still see around you, so you are not completely in the dark.  The ear buds are comfortable and the sound is amazing, this is because they are manufactured by Ultimate Ears.  While the description of the MyVu Solo Plus on the woot.com website mentions a volume control I have not located it yet.

There are some Cons that you need to be aware of, the major one is that if you wear glasses and not contact lenses the picture will appear fuzzy.  An attachment to fix this is available for around $100, but I would just rather get some contacts fitted.  The other issue is that at 320×240 you can see between the scan lines, which is why I am sure higher resolution models where introduced.  I am looking forward to getting my Microsoft Zune 120 in order to try these with a portable player.  So far other than having to wear my glasses to see the screen clearly I really like them.

If you think you are going to look cool in these just look at my picture, they are very unstylish, somewhere between looking like a cylon and LaForge from Star Trek 2nd Generation.  The controls are easy to operate, other than that you have to hold the power button on for 5 seconds in order to turn them on.  If the connector is not secured to the pendant they will shut off quickly. Initially I thought there was something wrong, but I wiggled a few wires and all was fine.  Documentation was minimal at best with just a startup sheet; more documentation is available at http://www.myvu.com.  Charging the glasses is done by a standard USB cable and they were ready fairly quickly.  The viewing time is supposed to be around 4 hours, but I have not confirmed this.

I will try and add updates to this blog post as I play with these and let you know the results of my various tests.  This was one of my few impulse buys lately, but I am afraid if I go to the woot.com website more often, I might succumb to more of these purchases.  I posted the woot.com web address for the MyVu Solo Plus glasses below, although you will not be able to purchase them from this site, because the sale is now over.

http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=8052

Beware Conficker Worm set to go off April 1st

burning-computerConficker worm is set to go off tomorrow in one of the largest Internet attacks in awhile. If you can’t get to certain web sites you may be one of the millions infected. This article is one of the more detailed articles on how to remove it from your computer and what to expect April 1st. 

http://windowssecrets.com/comp/090122

I like my Netbook

36248Recently I picked up an older model Acer Aspire One Netbook. While I wouldn’t recommend this as your main laptop computer it is great for taking on the road weighing less than 3lbs.  Since this was a close out model with a slow Solid State Drive and an 8.9″ screen, it  is not the fastest Netbook on the market, but at a $199 it was the cheapest.  This speed issue is mostly due to the slow write speed of the SSD, the rest of the Netbook is up to par with 1GB of RAM and an Intel Atom processor. 

Since this is one of the lowest models of the Aspire with no HDD it came with a striped down version of Linux called Linpus and since I am a Windows Guy I needed to find a way to install XP.  I ended up watching this YouTube Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vt_8p0VllY, this was necessary because the Aspire lacks both a floppy drive and a CD drive.  After a couple trial runs I had eventually installed XP successfully.  Windows XP actually needs some tuning in order to run on this machine.

The first thing I did was disable the Windows Paging file, then install Google Chrome as the default browser.  Chrome is based on Apple’s Safari browser and is faster than both Microsoft IE and the aging Firefox browser.  I also installed Avast for anti-virus and Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. I didn’t do a trimmed down install of XP because I didn’t feel it necesary with the extra 16GB SD card I installed.

Since I use this Netbook for remote connection and diagnostic purposes I want to keep it free of the desktop software, and so far this has worked for me.  Newer versions of the Aspire have adequate hard disk drives and a larger screen that resolve most of the problems.  I would suggest anyone who has larger fingers to purchase a Dell or HP Netbook which have a larger keyboard and come with XP Home.  All of these machines provide 2.5-3.0 hours battery life with standard 3 cell batteries and up to 10 hours with a 9 cell.

While Apple has been resisting releasing a Netbook for the low end laptop market, word is that one will be out this summer.  Currently Apple’s Air Book isn’t really considered a Netbook due to its pricing.  You should be able to find a good Netbook deal online, as of this writing for $199-$349.  Since a lowend laptop can be bought for just shy of $500 I would recommend seeing if you can live with some of the short comings of a Netbook before purchasing one.

Virus war is escalating

science_of_warLately it seems that the virus and malware war is escalating, but before I go any further I would like to recommend a product from http://www.malwarebytes.org/ just called Anti-Malware.  The free version’s only limit is that it doesn’t run in the background you have to run it manually.  This is a great utility to have installed on any of your computers even if you just suspect something is amiss.

I have been getting a lot of calls about a fake Antivirus program being installed on people’s computers call AntiVirus 2009, this just suddenly appears on your desktop.  From what I can tell this gets invited in by what’s know as a rootkit trojan. To get a little technical a root kit can get full access to your computer and is almost impossiable to remove.  A few years ago Sony got in trouble for installing one when you used one of its CD’s, one of Sony’s many mistakes as of late.  The program mentioned above at least for now seems to be able to painlessly remove these types of malware, that have many tendrils into your computer.  The worst is if you have this fake anti-virus installed it is usually accompanied by a few other nasties, and it can spread to any other computer in your home and business easily.

The problem lately has been that the major players seem to be missing a lot of these viruses, trojans and malware. The increasing use of social networking sites and the Internet in general has created a zombie army of computers to mount attacks on websites, companies or just spread themselves.  This was brought to my attention more recently when this blog got inundated with comment spam, this is coming from thousands of computers located around the world.  Luckily WordPress which is what I use for this blog blocks 99.9% and the remainder goes into moderation so it never appears.

The reason I am bringing this to your attention is just to let you know that in order to protect yourself from this you need to have at least an up to date anti-virus subscription and your Windows Firewall turned on, along with an Anti-malware product or two.  If you even suspect something is wrong don’t let it fester, because if you know when it happened you can easily use the builtin System Restore in XP and Vista to at least try and get back to normal.  Also be more vigilent on what you click on and what websites you visit, the people who do this are getting a lot more sophisticated.  Make sure that you have Automatic updates enabled in some manner, Microsoft usually releases security patches on Wednesday so if you see that little shield in the corner asking you to install updates I would highly recommend it.  If you feel that you still have a problem call your computer professional ASAP, because the longer you wait the harder it is for us to clear it out.

Twitter

twitterSince I started blogging again and joined facebook I figured I would try Twitter.  Well normally it should be a breeze to setup, but of course the day I signed up the site was having issues.  First small annoyance is that I couldn’t upload an image, but the bigger issue is I couldn’t register my phone.  I’ve updated my blog to support Twitter and my Tweets show up on the right sidebar. The follow me link doesn’t do anything for some reason, but if you still want to see how unexciting my life is, my Twitter web address is http://twitter.com/2ndot.  Anyway if you twitter just leave me a comment with your address and let me see how this thing works.