Understanding Phishing Scams…first hand!

In General, Security by Michael Sheehan7 Comments

This is my PSA (Public Service Announcement) for the week and it is about something pretty scary…Phishing Scams. Several years ago, I was a victim of identity theft. It was not a pleasant experience but it left me wiser and more cautious. It was done the old fashioned way of swiping some receipts and looking up some account information (local retailer). Nowadays, identity thieves have become much better in their “art.” I have first hand experience now…but I wasn’t a victim.

So, here is what happened, I received the following email:

Bank of America Phishing email
It looked much more legit than others that I have seen. There were no huge gramatical errors or spelling errors (although the writing was pretty bad). So, I figured that I would check to see if Bank of American had shut down the site yet. To my suprise, they hadn’t! Thus, it became my mission to document this as a warning for others.

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MORE Apple Support madness!!!

In Apple, General, Hardware by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

So…the madness continues. After all of the fun as outlined here and here, and thinking that “all was well” when I received the laptop package yesterday…all hopes were shattered when I started reading the form letter in the repair box!

The words “RETURN: CUSTOMER DECLINED REPAIR” jumped out at me and I wanted to cry. Quickly booting up my “fixed” laptop, I found that it was not fixed, just as the letter said. I had one hour before they closed to call Apple Care to find out what was going on. I called the numbers listed (800-APL-CARE)…tried the path through the phone tree that I did before, but there was no luck getting to talk to a live person. So I tried another route, the tech support option (#1). I finally got ahold of a support person and explained the situation. This guy was nice and got me to the Dispatch queue so that we could resolve it.

After waiting about 15 minutes in a phone queue, I finally got to speak to a dispatch person. He sounded like he was working in a hallway or something. He spent a lot of time reading through all of the notes. (Again, I was polite and relatively calm…which seems to work.) So, i found out why the certain series of Powerbooks had this issue. It had to do with how they were packed and that too much pressure was put on the screen in the packaging. (He also told me that this can happen if a laptop is packed in a backpack with books where there is pressure on the LCD.) I guess that he had some sympathy so he said they would make “an exception” and repair it. He also said that it looked like the laptop was supposed to be fixed but the “fix it” note didn’t make it in time and the laptop was shipped back prior to the repairs.

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Newly added function…”Read the rest this post >>”

In General by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I found that my posts were getting really long (I guess I have a lot to say). So in order to save the lives of a few scrollbars, I added a function that only shows the first paragraph of the article. So, be sure that you look for (and click on) the “Read the rest of this post >>” link under each post. Hope that helps the usability!


Voice call hangups after 4 minutes on Tmobile MDA/HTC Wizard

In Cellular, Gadgets, General, Software by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I figured that I would post this little bit of mobile phone tweaking for any users who may be searching for a solution to the following issue. Ever since I upgraded my Tmobile MDA to the “latest and greatest” rom (v 2.26), I have been plagued with dropping calls after 4 minutes. It was definitely a bug that I had encountered and it was driving me INSANE! Well, digging through HowardForums, XDA-developers and SBSH’s forums, I believe that I found the solution. I thought that I would share both the commentary on the fix as well as the .CAB file as well. Use at your own risk!

Quoted information:

Voice calls hang-up after 4 minutes on the Cingular 8125 or T-Mobile MDA

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Watch out Windows Live…here comes Netvibes!

In General by Michael Sheehan2 Comments

I was browsing my referral stats on Google Analytics and I saw a domain called Netvibes.com show up. Of course, that piqued my interest so I started some research on this. Well, I must say that I was impressed! This is a clear cut example of a Web 2.0 type of site. (What is Web 2.0? Take a look at Wikipedia’s definition.) While Windows Live has a similar type of style (tabs where you can add content, feeds, gadgets, etc), I personally believe that Netvibes did it better. They heavily rely on AJAX to allow you to drag and drop content, so be sure that you use one of their “approved” browsers. The nice thing is, they have many of the hot Web 2.0 sites as ready-made content channels. It’s easy enough to add RSS feeds (with a nice full page reader built in), iCals (import in your Google Calendars), bookmarks (including del.icio.us), Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Pop/IMAP mail and other third party modules. You can drag the panels around on a tab and between tabs.

I did have a little bit of an issue adding some RSS feeds, but I’m going to chalk it up as user IN-experience. I plan on spending some time browsing the “Netvibes ecosystem” which is basically the repository for third party customizations (e.g., RSS feeds, podcasts, iCal events and others).

I definitely recommend checking out this service!

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Evaluating two Open Source Apps: Vanilla Forum & CraftySyntax

In General, Open Source, Software by Michael Sheehan4 Comments

First one that I was looking at was Vanilla forums by Lussumo. What I was looking for was a forum that was different from all of the others out there. A looong time ago, I played with SnitzForums and phpBB. They seem to be ok, full featured, highly configurable…there are many others out there but they all look the same. Then a few months ago, I stumbled across Vanilla. They are currently at a 1.0.1 release. What I really like about it is its simplicity and clean elegance. It is extendable with user-developed add-ons and fully compliant to the major browsers out there. Best, I think, is how clean it looks. There is something to be said in that. You go to a forum to discuss things, not to be bombarded with lots of configurations and such. I’m not downplaying the importance of the other promitent boards out there (I may review some others later). I have it linked to my blog under the Forum link or here. Test it out and let me know what you think!

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Race for the Cure!

In Family, General by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

My wonderful wife did a wonderful thing. About a week ago, she decided that she would do the Race for the Cure (The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation race in San Francisco). She has been working out for a long time but this time decided to do it for the good of others. Driven by various events, including a recent neighbor diagnosis, she decided to ask for sponsorship and did the 16th annual run today! She raised (as of this writing) $1,280.00 in sponsorship (above her $1000 goal)! The race went well (she actually ran in the timed, not walking, portion of the race), so well, in fact, that she thinks that she will do it or something larger in the future! What an inspiration!