May 2011

Post image for WARNING: Mac Malware Variant “MAC Defender” Even More Crafty – No Password Install Required

And you thought that Macs and Apple products were immune to virus and malware threats? Think again! At the beginning of May, Intego, a developer for internet security and privacy software for Macs, identified a pretty scary piece of malware, dubbed the “MAC Defender” (also now has names like “MacSecurity” and “MacProtector” and “MacDefender”). What is malware? It’s essentially a malicious piece of software that can do all types of damage to your computer and trick you into doing things you don’t want it to do.

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What really concerns me here is that Macs are prevalent in schools and homes and used by children…and they frequently can get scared, panic and do things that adults hopefully won’t do. The problem is, this malware is crafted in a way to even deceive adults into thinking their Mac is infected. Read on to learn more about this and some steps you can take to prevent from being scammed.

As Intego outlined in a press release on May 3rd, MacDefender preys on people’s lack of knowledge of security on their computer, tricking them into installing a fake Anti-Virus program. The program itself, is malware. Not only does it pretend to find viruses on your Macintosh, it also pops open porn sites when your browser is open to simulate the fact that your computer is “infected.” Only after you “register” and pay for the program do the pop-ups stop and the fake scans stop as well. The end user is left thinking that their computer is now clean and running fine. The problem is, your credit card is now with some 3rd Party site – unsecured and in the hands of someone who is not looking out for your best interest.

How It Works

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Post image for Time For Some Fun – My New Site Celebrating Technology Failure – Tech-Fail.com

Last week I decided that I needed a bit more fun in my life, or if you look at it another way, to add some more workload to my already busy day. Since I cover technology all of the time in the form of reviews, how-to’s, fix-it’s and other musings, often with a family spin, I needed a way to “vent” or at least, have a way to express the other side of technology – the side of failure.

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I wanted to create a site that people would go to for laughs, so that they would know that they are not alone when their gadgets or gizmos or software or hardware decides to go haywire or simply fail. And, it had to be simple for me to update. So, one night last week, I started searching for a domain that would be easy to remember. “TechFail.com” was taken, or at least it is for sale (anyone want to buy it for me?). But I was able to get “tech-fail.com“. Within an hour or so, I owned the domain and was in the process of installing WordPress on it.

For me, blogging software was the easiest way to go when creating a content site. I know how WordPress works, what plugins I like (but I did find some new ones in the process) and found what I hope is a pretty good theme. But this is probably not that interesting for you. So I will skip the details.

What’s important here is that the site is live and it is STARVING for content. I have found some good sources for videos/graphics/stories, but for the most part, I have been the only one scouring the web looking for funny technology failing content. A site needs content in order for it to be alive. The content needs to be relevant and should be engaging to the audience, whether you are writing about the latest kitty litter or the next big advancement in physics. People will come if the content is right. But with old or stale content, you only have search engines to keep you going and with all of the new content created daily, it’s easy to get buried. With fresh content, people come back for more (hopefully).

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Post image for How to Pre-Populate Twitter Status Updates the NEW Way via Links & Web Intents

About a year and a half ago, I posted a “How To” article to teach people on how to tweet out messages from your website via a URL or web link. Unfortunately, that method no longer works as of a few days ago. Twitter has updated the process for doing this. However, I now have the NEW way to do this which seems to be working just fine.

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Twitter recently moved over to its Web Intents platform and what that means is that buttons (yes all of those older “Tweet” buttons are broken) and link that use the old query string that I outlined in my previous how-to article are broken and will not let you tweet out your messages. GASP!

The new Web Intents method is actually an improvement, in my opinion, and allows for more interactivity. If you aren’t logged in, for example, you will be asked to log in.

How To Pre-Populate Twitter Statuses the NEW Way

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Post image for Traditional Fans are NOT Safe, Fans Have Evolved, And Now I’m a Fan of the Dyson “Air Multiplier” Fan

When you think of Dyson, you think of those techie-looking vacuums that don’t have a bag and look like they are an exercise of a engineering design firm coupled with a SciFi set designer. But, did you know that they also made fans? Enter the Dyson Air Multiplier. These aren’t ordinary fans though, and I would expect nothing less from an innovative company such as Dyson.

I mean, if you think about it carefully, it makes a lot of sense. Dyson produces vacuums which suck air from one area, the ground, and then blows it out somewhere else, to the bagless canister. Their fan…sorry…”Air Multiplier” does much the same thing. It sucks the air from one area and blows it out a different one. While this is an obvious extension of the vacuum motor science and technology, it is, in my opinion, a nice applications of one product’s technology to another one in a very different space.

Dyson does something more than just blow air around with their Air Multiplier, it takes the air and it “amplifies” it. So what does that mean exactly? Think of it this way, it’s sort of like a pressure washer. If you attach a nozzle at the end of your garden hose, you do get a stronger stream because the water is sent through a smaller opening under pressure. But when you use a pressure washer, not only is the water going through a small opening, a motor is used to increase the pressure of the water going through it. The Air Multiplier acts in much the same way. While a traditional fan moves and accelerates the air, it does only that. The Air Multiplier takes the air in, accelerates it through a motor and then shoots it out through a smaller opening that is engineered to actually pull even more air in from around it, thus increasing the airflow significantly.

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There are 4 ways that the air multiplication takes place. Via: [click to continue…]

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How to Write & Blog Efficiently with Free Tools like Evernote, DropBox, Picasa & Live Writer

May 13, 2011
Thumbnail image for How to Write & Blog Efficiently with Free Tools like Evernote, DropBox, Picasa & Live Writer

A while ago, I wrote a blog post about how I do blogging. That was over a year ago. Times have changed, tools have evolved and processes have gotten better, at least for me. I still believe that how your blog or write is extremely personal in nature and what may work for me, might […]

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Sony, Ford and NYC Auto Show Videos from the Cast of Dads Roadtrip

May 11, 2011
Thumbnail image for Sony, Ford and NYC Auto Show Videos from the Cast of Dads Roadtrip

A few weeks ago, Ford and Sony invited the Cast of Dads on a really cool experience – a road trip from Boston driving a 2011 Ford Explorer down to New York International Auto Show. Unfortunately both Max and I were not able to attend, but Jeff, CC and Brad produced a ton of content […]

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Ooma VoIP Adds Innovative Feature to Assist in 911 Notifications

May 10, 2011
Thumbnail image for Ooma VoIP Adds Innovative Feature to Assist in 911 Notifications

Today, I learned that Ooma, a VoIP company who I recently reviewed, has added a pretty interesting feature to their telephony service. In the past, there has always been a bit of a question around the reliability of 911 calls using a phone service that uses an Internet connection for it “digital dialtone”. Advances have […]

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LocalMind Makes Social Check-ins Engaging, Interactive and Helpful

May 9, 2011
Thumbnail image for LocalMind Makes Social Check-ins Engaging, Interactive and Helpful

We all know about social check-in services like Gowalla, FourSquare and even FaceBook Places. These services allow you to announce that you are at a particular venue, event, company or location, quickly and easily all via your mobile device. With some, the more places you go, the more credibility and achievements you get (e.g., badges). […]

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