Thursday, August 31, 2006

Who's looking for who?

Do you ever want to know who's watching you or looking for you? Having "web bots" that review logs around the Internet let's you identify people looking for you, or searching for specific keywords. In some cases, you can even automatically scan the person looking for you and the particular computer they are using, whether they have any vulnerabilities, etc.

Here's an excerpt of who was looking for me:

Company: CallTech Communications, LLC / Teleperformance USA
City & State: Columbus, OH
Date & Time: 28/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Firefox
Comments: Someone from my ol'e stomping ground.

City & State: Palo Alto, CA
Date & Time: 29/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Internet Explorer
Comments: This person(s) looked for quite some time online, multiple searches. I'm a fan of Prosper though, so you can search for me if you want.

Company: N/A
City & State: Herndon, VA
Date & Time: 30/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Internet Explorer
Comments: Knew my name and looked for my freedom article. Glad to be of service.

Company: N/A
City & State: Winter Park, FL
Date & Time: 24/Aug/2006
OS: Apple
Browser: Safari
Comments: Looked for me on search engines. Hello!

Company: N/A
City & State: 1005 Stafford Marketplace, Stafford, VA
Date & Time: 24/Aug/2006
OS: Windows
Browser: Firefox
Comments: Went to a Panera Bread Cafe in Virginia and searched for me on his leisure time. Glad I could entertain.

Company: N/A
City & State: Atlanta, GA
Date & Time: 08/Aug/2006
OS: Apple & Windows
Browser: Safari and Firefox
Comments: I scanned you when you searched for me. You have spyware on your computer, you might want to run Adaware. Your computer says "hack me" outloud.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ghazi Hamad, Hamas official, says stop blaming Israel for homegrown issues!

Wow, I thought I would never see the day. A Hamas official, speaking on his own private column, says that Israel is not the reason for many issues regarding Palestinians. The fact that Palestinian teenagers carry weapons, fight each other, and ignore Palestinian authorities is not related to Israel. It is related to the choices of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.

"The anarchy, chaos, pointless murders, the plundering of lands, family feuds … what do all of these have to do with the occupation?" he asked in the opinion piece published in the Palestinian newspaper, al-Ayyam. "We have always been accustomed to pinning our failures on others, and conspiratorial thinking is still widespread among us."

Hamad was addressing the failure of the Palestinians to make a success of the Gaza Strip, the territory that Israel surrendered a year ago.

"When you walk around in Gaza, you cannot help but avert your eyes from what you see: indescribable anarchy, policemen that nobody cares about, youth proudly carrying weapons. From time to time you hear that so-and-so was murdered in the middle of the night, and the response comes quickly the next morning. Large families carry weapons in tribal wars against other families."


The fact of the matter is, Palestinians and nearly all of the Middle East, blame Israel for their social and economic problems -- yet truly if we all look inside, it all comes down to choices. If you live in a country like Syria and you cannot express your freedom or have good business opportunities like in a capitalistic country, that is your choice. The people of a country is what supports the government -- no matter what type of government, whether it be a dictatorship or a democratic government.

The people control the power and the people have a choice -- whether they continue to live in oppression, whether they continue to fight among themselves, whether they continue to blame Israel, or whether they want to finally end the cycle of violence and start looking at themselves.

Let's take a look at the Soviet Union -- when the people decided to rise up, the communistic country fell to its knees within a blink of an eye. And slowly, people in the Soviet Union started recovering from the ills of a socialistic society.

A message to the Palestinians

Grow up -- stop blaming Israel for everything. Make something out of Gaza, create a haven for tourists and be a model for the Arab world. Prove to the world that you are civilized and not just a bunch of idiots carrying guns. Stop kidnapping reporters and foreigners, get foreign investment started to create jobs! Teach your kids about finance, world economics, health -- not death to Israel and suicide belts.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

BellSouth DSL and Verizon DSL raise prices through trickery

The federal government stopped taxing your DSL lines for the universal fee fund. This is about a cost savings of $2-$3/month off your bill. This happened last week -- but you may notice next month, your fees are still the same! Why is that? Because BellSouth and Verizon have "padded" new fees to replace the universal fee tax.

For years, the telco industry have lobbied Congress to remove the tax from DSL lines to provide cheaper Internet. Ok, so the tax is gone, but how come they replaced the tax with more fees? What happened to the savings they promised the consumer?

Nice trick.

Consumers! Please email or write your BellSouth / Verizon consumer relations office and let them know what you think.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Old Sanibel causeway in danger of falling apart

Photograph by Terry Williams

While the new bridge is being constructed, there is significant, growing concern regarding the old Sanibel causeway. Earlier this month, News-Press reported that there are fractures visible under the bridge. The picture above is an example of what they have seen.

Above ground, I took a picture of the work they are trying to do (and still continue to do so right now) to try to stabilize the old causeway. Residents that already experienced this type of issue before (bridge fractures) suggest having your windows down so you can swim out just in case you fall off the bridge. I the only one that thinks this is crazy?

Construction crews on the left try to stabilize the old bridge before it collapses.

Ernesto moves northeast - central/east FL in sight

Looks like we're going to see alligators fly in the next few days. Ernesto changed paths and it seems to be going east/central Florida (though the cone of possibility pretty much covers the entire state).

I'm hoping it hits the Everglades, there would be minimum damage to civilians and infrastructure and there is significant resistance in the area to reduce hurricane winds -- the grass and swampy fields are natural flood barriers and have been known to weaken hurricanes damage significantly.

Due to the fact that the course of this hurricane could change within the last 12 hours of land fall, I still suggest everyone prepare for the worst if you live in the state. Board up, stock up, and pray!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hurricane Ernesto update - to hit Southwest Florida by Wed 2pm

NOAA just updated the hurricane forecast. Hurricane Ernesto has shifted its track dramatically over the past few hours and is more than likely to hit Southwest Florida by 4pm Wednesday. The strength expected is roughly cat 1-2; however, as we've seen in the past, at the very last moments hurricanes tend to gain more ground near cat 3-cat 4.

One of the biggest worries I have is the Sanibel bridge being constructed and the old Sanibel bridge. The U.S. DOT already declared the old Sanibel causeway to be dangerous and the unfinished bridge is not in the best condition to withstand this type of force. Even if the hurricane simply brushes SW Florida, it could be a devastating hit on the bridges.

Gov Bush declares state of emergency
Unlike New Orleans' mayor or the Lousiana governor, Floridia officials know when to declare a state of emergency (ahead of the disaster, not an hour before it). The state of emergency instantly turns on the National Guard, equipment, and emergency operations (currently at level 2).

What You Can Do
- Have a week's worth of food rations.
- Have a hurricane plan: if your house/apt is damaged, where do you go? Make sure all of your friends and family know your "flight plan" -- where you are, what you are going to do if certain situations happen.
- Protect your belongings, especially insurance documents.
- Keep watching the news and make sure you are updated.
- Flashlights and batteries, have these handy.
- Make sure your medicines are set.
- Have a "to go" back pack, a few pair of clothes ready to go if you are not evacuating.
- Pray.

Hurricane Ernesto born, heading towards Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Ernesto was upgraded to hurricane strength earlier today and it is gaining power. It is expected to be a category 2 hurricane as it nears Cuba and could end up possibly hitting category 3 to 4 as it nears the Gulf Coast region.

It is too early to tell which specific state it is going to hit, but for sure it's going to be a combination of these states: Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and/or Mississippi.

Please note to all Southwest Florida readers: the storm is within the 3-day cone of Cape Coral and Fort Myers/Lehigh Acres area. Early preparation is never a bad idea.

Delta flight crashes in Lexington, KY -- 50 feared dead (Comair Flight 5191)

This is what the small passenger jet looked like.

The plane was carrying 47 passengers and three crew members when it crashed shortly after takeoff in Lexington, Kentucky early Sunday morning.

Flight 5191 was leaving the Blue Grass Airport headed for Atlanta when it went down in the woods just over a kilometre from the airport.

CNN is reporting that the plane is a Comair jet, a regional airline operated by Delta Air Lines, and that the aircraft itself is a Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet -- a plane that is manufactured in Canada. These planes have been in service since 1991 and considered relatively new compared to other planes being flown by airliners.

Weather in the area is overcast with light winds, though there were some thunderstorms south of Lexington early Sunday morning. However, there is no word yet if weather conditions played a role in the crash.

Please pray for those that are involved in the crash, especially the love ones that have to go through this ordeal.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Malaysian consumer group wants to boycott American goods

The Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia said it will call on Malaysians to stop buying products from American companies like Starbucks, Coca Cola and Colgate-Palmolive. There's only one problem with this boycott. Unlike other countries with smaller global influence, American goods are everywhere and literally are apart of life throughout the world. I'm not talking about just Coca Cola, but things like the nutbolts that secure the engines of your cars to the ingredients and patented formulas in Malaysia's deodorants.

If truly a boycott for American goods could be 100% enforced, it would leave Malaysia to be a very smelly nation, with little or no electronic equipment such as radios and television. And if we take American inventions out of the equation (like lights), they would be a very dark, smelly nation.

French bows down to UN and US pressure, sends more troops to Lebanon

Amidst a growing number of critics across Europe and the United States, French President Jacques René Chirac issued a televised statement issuing a revision of his previous order that 200 peacekeepers were enough to stabilize the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

UN Security Resolution 1701 was co-authored by the French, yet they only wanted to contribute 200 troops out of the 15,000 that was required. Many diplomats, including top UN officials, said they were disappointed. Many assumed the French were "chicken", "cowards", and "hollow".

Thankfully, Chirac saved face and changed his mind. It's a win for Israel and Lebanese citizens, who can finally sleep at night without the annoying whistles of rockets or the sonic shock of F16 bombers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iraq helped out against Iran supplying Hezbollah

Most liberals would probably cringe at hearing this. Iraq actually plays a role in the war against terrorism (or Muslim extremists).

According to USAToday, Iraq stopped Iran from transporting missiles to Hezbollah. Most people probably don't know, but Iraq is right in the middle of Syria and Iran. Here's a quick map:

If Iraq was not a U.S. ally, Iran and even Saddam Hussein would have been willing to supply missiles to Hezbollah just to bomb Israel. Because Iraq is under U.S. influence, Iran cannot easily do this. Iran had to divert their missile cargo plane to Turkey, but Turkey insisted on inspections. Iran turned back.

Thank you Iraq for your help.
Thanks Turkey for your help.

Democrats -- wake up. Make a national security policy involving Iraq, versus negative statements about how Iraqis aren't part of the war on terror.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Site of the Week: Broadband speed test

Here's a site I tried out today:

Comcast, BellSouth/AT&T DSL, Embarq, TimeWarner, and other companies often brag about their broadband speeds in TV commercials. In fact, some will state they can guarantee certain speeds.

If you want to truly know how fast your broadband connection is, access SpeakEasy's Flash-based speed test program:

I had to do this today when I tested my broadband service. What I liked about it the most is that it gives you different geographical regions of the country to test your speed, and the fact that it has no pop up ads.

Geographical tests gives you a better idea of why you seem to have a slower connection when you connect to other web sites and you get fast connections on others.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hackers irritated by Apple Macintosh commercials...hacks Macs remotely in 60 seconds

Over the past few months, Apple has televised several commercials how Macintosh is a much better platform than PC computers. One of the many arguments that Apple fans have is that Macs are unhackable. As we found out at the recent Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas, you can hack a Mac in 60 seconds or less. And the sad part is -- you can do it remotely/wirelessly!

One of the hackers that successfully exploited Macintosh, David Maynor, stated the following on an interview:

"We're not picking specifically on Macs here, but if you watch those 'Get a Mac' commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something," Maynor said.

Straight to the Facts
Let's be truthful folks -- the reason why there's less people trying to hack Macs is because they only compose 3-4% of the total market share. In other words, 96% of the computer world is using PCs; hence, it's logical for the majority of the exploits, viruses, and hacks to be geared towards PCs. If the situation was reversed and Macintosh was the leading operating system, it would have the brunt of the hacker attacks.

The supposed "security" that's provided by using a Mac isn't because of its code. It is "security through obscurity". No operating system is unhackable.

It seems that Apple's continued marketing gimmick that they are invincible is causing a backlash...

Some interesting links:
Washington Post article - hacking a mac in 60 seconds
MacOS LeapA Virus
Video: Mac Parody