Meeting Notes - 6 January 2015

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Meeting Notes - 6 January 2015

Post by bdahm on Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:15 am

CM Geeks - Notes

No free lunch - We’ve heard this expression time and again. It’s true. It’s equally true here. We don’t charge anything for our meetings, perhaps on the philosophy that you get what you pay for. Be that as it may, the River Market is providing us with a place to meet every week. They are providing us with parking, a projector and a screen and even a sound system for our videos. All they ask in return and all we ask in return is that you purchase something from the menu, even a cup of coffee or a soft drink. Information wants to be free. Food is something else. For those who may have eaten or are not hungry, a tip for the wait staff would be appreciated.

Milestones
Howard has added more fiber to his diet, internet fiber that is. After lusting at all the fiber connections popping up in housing estates around him, he got a friend to brow-beat Triple BB into running a wire to his moo baan. And he seems to be a happy camper getting speeds of around 20 Mbps to the US. Chris has had fiber longer than any of us and I have been using the Sinet service for a year now. All of us are happy with the results. 

SMS (Small Message Service) turned 22 over the holidays. It is still perhaps the only interoperable messaging service. It’s also made tons of money for the telcos who have charged obscene amounts for this service. Since that heyday, however, other services such as What’s App and Line as well as more limited services like Apple Messages have been routing text messages over the internet at no charge. The problem remains that if you are not using the associated app, you’re out of luck and keeping track of which of your friends are using which app is getting to be a bit of a hassle. We’ll talk about this at our next meeting. 

These were the top three searches, in order, for 2014:
Robin Williams
World Cup
Ebola

A Tale of Woe and Intrigue
We’ve all gotten the message, a friend is down and out in some god-forsaken place, has been robbed and needs $2,500 to get out of there. I got one of those messages over the holidays. It was from my wife and she purportedly was in the Ukraine. That’s funny, last I heard she was in her home town in southern Thailand.

Fortunately I was up early that day and the message was only 30 minutes old when I got it. When she is here she accesses her yahoo email from our desktop machine, I logged in to see if the message had come from her account or if the address was just spoofed. I looked in her send folder and there were two identical messages each going to about 42 addressees (everyone in her contact list). It was obvious that whoever had gotten into her account didn’t want to set off any spam alerts and kept the number of recipients low. Different services have different thresholds for the number of addresses on one message. Typically that’s somewhere between 50 and 100. 

The first thing I did was change her email password. I was wondering why the person who hacked her account did not do that. On the other had it could have been a bot and if might not have been able to handle the procedure for changing the password. By changing the password my wife could have been prevented from getting back into the account and fixing the damage. The one thing that did happen was that her contacts had been deleted. That would have made it impossible for her to contact the people on her contact list and inform them about the hoax. I poked around a little and found that it was possible to recover the contacts and I did so.

The next step was to send out messages to everyone on the contact list and alert them of the hoax. Perhaps another reason that the password had not been changed was so as not to give any indication that anything was wrong and call attention to the hack.

Fortunately I was able to initiate damage control quickly and defuse the whole hoax, although it’s hard to see how her friends would believe she was in the Ukraine. That must have been the origin of the hack, because that is where people would have had to send money.

Under withering cross examination I asked my wife how this had happened. She did say that she had gotten a message from Yahoo saying that she had exceeded her allowed space and needed to sign into her account and delete some messages, which she dutifully did, not realizing that the link provided in the email was to a fake site, which captured her yahoo credentials. I did some further checked and Yahoo provides virtually unlimited space for free.

So that’s the story. Nothing like a little excitement during the holidays.

Questions of the Week
Before the holiday hiatus I had asked people to consider what event, or gadget or piece of hardware or piece of software had most influenced them during  the year?

Roger said it was his SMART TV capability to display a stream of video coming from his laptop. This made it possible for him to download content to his laptop and then play it back to his big-screen TV.

Bill W. said it was the Thai-English-Thai dictionary from Paiboon press. It wasn’t cheap, costly about $25, but it’s authoritative, well done and well worth the money. 

My own experience was somewhat different it that the biggest event for me this year was not something directly related to me. It was my wife entering the realm of the smartphone. Previously she had been using a simple Nokia feature phone, but recently every time I would call her, the phone would not ring. Unless she was actually looking at it, in which case it would light up, she had no idea I was calling. This was hard to diagnose because she was in southern Thailand and I was in Chiang Mai. I thought that perhaps the ring tone had somehow been silenced. I told her to delete me from the contact list and then re-add me. That didn’t fix it.

When she returned home over the holidays we had another chance to try to figure it out. The only thing I could think of was that somehow my number had been blocked. Several people suggested that that block was intentional, but my wife is neither that devious nor that technically savvy. She’s very much an analog person in a digital world. 

A friend was visiting as we were trying to troubleshoot this and her suggestion was that she should graduate to a smartphone. I had thought of giving her my iPhone 4 some time ago, but as she drops her phone almost every day, the glass front and rear wouldn’t last long. Nevertheless, it was worth a try. I put the Mophie Juice Pack (battery in a case) on the iPhone 4 and that would protect the back as well as keep the face from coming into direct contact of a surface if it landed flat. 

A couple of weeks into the transition and iPhone 4 is still in tact and she’s mastered the essentials of its use. Looks like both she and the iPhone 4 are going to make it.

Follow-up
Last week we talked a little about on-line learning. One of the best services featuring on-line video tutorials to help learn software, creative and business skills is Lyndia.com. For $25/month you have access to their entire library of 5,792 video courses. One of the podcasts I listen to is sponsored by Lyndia.com and is offering 10 day free access to the entire catalog. So if there’s something you want to learn, check it out.

http://tinyurl.com/pg6uf46

That’s it for this week; That’s a wrap.

-Bill

bdahm
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