Meeting Notes - 4 March 2014

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Meeting Notes - 4 March 2014

Post by bdahm on Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:06 pm

The Air Quality Index continues to rise, which seems counter-intuitive, but that’s not the direction one wants to see it go.  Don’t expect much relief until after Songkran. A couple more newbies showed up this week, Guiseppe and Jim.  The bounty we have placed on newbies must be working.

Better Safe Than Sorry
There have been a number of exploits that have been discovered in the wild over the past few weeks and so if you have a vulnerable system, best to make those updates immediately.

The first of these involves Adobe Flash, which has frequently experienced vulnerabilities. So if you are running Adobe Flash on your desktop or laptop, go to the adobe site and install the latest update. From the main page, under Downloads, select Adobe Flash Player and follow the instructions.

Apple has been embarrassed by a relatively simple roukie coding error that essentially circumvented the certificate validation process of its SSL encryption, opening it up to what is known as a man-in-the-middle attack, when using WiFi. This would be particularly dangerous for someone using public WiFi. A culprit on the same network, say in a coffee shop could intercept what would otherwise be secure (HTTPS) connections. This applies to both the mobile system, iOS and Mac OS X, Mavericks and probably Lion and Mountain Lion as well. Patches are available as downloads from the App Store (iOS) and the Mac App Store for Mac OS X. Best to get right on it.

Milestones: World Wide Web Turns 25
The World Wide Web has been around for a good deal of our lives and in some cases longer than our lives. As has been said in a different context, “You’ve come a long way, baby”. Al Gore didn’t invent it, though he was instrumental in its spread and adoption. That honor goes to Sir Tim Berners-Lee. It certainly has changed our lives. I think most people would agree it’s for the better.

We went around the room and virtually everyone agreed. When asked how it effected their lives, members pointed to email, the web browser, Skype, Wikipedia, on-line purchasing and just the ability to access information. There were even two people in the room who, thanks to the internet are able to live in Chiang Mai while working in their native countries. Probably the most interesting observation was one person, who is dyslexic. He is able to have articles and news converted to audio, thus providing content faster and more accurately than if he tried to read it. This has saved him a lot of time.
Someone pointed out that on the negative side is that identity theft has now become very prevalent and face to face communications has suffered. Witness people at a table in a restaurant who aren’t talking to each other, but are having conversations with some external party. 

Pay As You Go
We make on-line purchases rather routinely these days. Cash may still be king, with credit cards  being very popular. The next frontier is your smartphone, which may someday negate you having to bring your wallet along at all. There are several systems vying for this lucrative market. Here are some front runners. 

Speedpass was an early progenitor, something I used in the early 90’s.

Loop is a little cumbersome, but it could gain traction

Apple’s iBeacon could easily evolve from an information system to a payment system, especially on the newest iPhones, which feature finger print authorization. PayPal has also entered the fray. NFC, which has been around for a while, but has so far failed to be widely adopted. Credit card companies as also rushing to come up with an alternative. Check out the videos in the link below.

That just about does it; That’s a wrap. 




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