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What’s With the Lame Super Bowl Halftime Acts

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...
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I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I really enjoyed the Super Bowl half time shows. But as times progressed, it just hasn’t been quite the same. In fact, these days, I don’t even bother watching it and actually go do something else. I’m going to venture the thought that this year will not be any different. I mean, “The Who”? Couldn’t they have got a better act like Daft Punk, or Black Eyed Peas?

If you actually think about it, the last five years have been acts that were in the prime like almost twenty years ago. Maybe more. When was the last time anyone really listened to Prince?

Don’t get me wrong, I like The Who but it’s not what I consider something that grabs the younger crowds. Heck, where are the singers from like the New Year’s Eve bashes? Those are the ones that are recent and the cool acts. It’s also within this decade of music history.

I think whomever schedules this for the NFL really is living in the past. Next thing you know, we’re going to bringing back the Monkees. Nothing wrong with that, but if you ever wonder why your viewership during that time has drastically dropped off? There might be a good reason for it.

Now that I think about it, perhaps the NFL needs to work with Apple’s iTunes marketing team. They find the greatest music that is absolutely catchy and often bands that no one has heard before. And that’s fresh and new, but what do I know. I don’t have billions of dollars hanging in the balance.

Walmart Clown Commercial

Speaking of Walmart, this ad ran during the AFC Championship game by Walmart. And I have to say that from an advertising perspective, this is very humorous and would definitely stick in the minds of folks. Call me twisted, but every time I see this, I just have to chuckle.

WalMart Does Due Diligence With Gift Cards Online

While I know this is a way to protect themselves from fraud, I love it when corporations actually call the billing phone number in the billing information to make sure that a large purchase is indeed made by an individual. Since you never know if you’re going to be taken for a ride by an ID thief.

So I got a call a while back on a gift card I had purchased just to make sure that it was going to the right place and it was a purchase I made. Hey, that’s great! I appreciate that since last thing you want to know is that you’ve been had and the purchase actually went through. I love this about Discover, and I love it about WalMart. Now Bank of America could take a hint here in this department. Last I checked, they locked my credit limit but it’s rather annoying when a bank increases your limit automatically and continue to do it when you tell them to stop. Fortunately, you can put locks in place on those types of things like limits.

Voting with Perverts However…

So I was voting for the 2010 Bloggies since 8Asians has been nominated again this year and this time for Best Group Blog. I was done with my choices that I wanted to vote for and I scrolled to the end and was amused by the random captcha done by ReCaptcha. I mean, what are the chances that they would pick those two words? Sounds like the name of a new blog in fact… hmm… Amusing.

Apple’s iSlate Reveals New Patents That Don’t Make Sense

Apple Tablet Concept
Image by Photo Giddy via Flickr

I agree that Fingerworks has some revolutionary patents and that it could possibly be used for the upcoming iSlate. But truthfully, after reading about how the patent works, I have to say that I don’t see how it’s going to reduce in carpal tunnel or any sort of tension in your hand when you do hand-writing recognition. Don’t get me wrong, the idea is brilliant. But realistic use and ideals are very different.

Here’s where the problem lies. If you read the patent, you basically hold your hand in a form where it rests against the touchscreen like you’re holding a pen. Then you push down like holding a pen with your thumb and index finger which is how the patent image occurs. Just try that on a table. The reason why a pen works, is because of how it rests and you’re not gripping down hard so the force isn’t as much as if you’re not holding anything. Just by doing as such on a table surface, you can feel that there’s more tension in your wrist from the grip.

Now, most people that have written papers at all in their lives with a pen or pencil should understand exactly what I’m talking about since there’s a good reason why they even produce those pens called Rx which are fatter and reduce stress on the hand. This basically goes the other way.

Is this a cool technological advancement? You betcha. But from a health perspective, Apple is looking at creating a whole world of hurt for the iSlate users if it’s implemented as the patent dictates.

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Tips and Tricks: Fixing Your Bank of America SafePass

If you do a lot of online banking and you happen to use Bank of America, you probably have SafePass activated.

Unfortunately for you, there isn’t a very published method on how to fix your SafePass and gain entry back into your online banking if you have recently switched cellular carriers but have kept the same number. If you’ve changed numbers completely, you’ll have to call customer service to deactivate your old number and sign up your new one. But with an existing number that has been ported from another carrier? Seems like you’re up a creek since the SafePass won’t send to the phone.

What you do is, you take the mobile, and text to: 73981. In the body of the text, just text “help” without the quotes and hit send.

Then you wait about 24 hours because their systems don’t update but once a day I suppose. In any case, if you come back and try your SafePass again, it seems to actually work. Now, there apparently has been this issue on and off with iPhones and the like, but with my Droid, that seemed to do the trick in changing out the carriers.

Let Me in Your iPhone

The GSM logo is used to identify compatible ha...
Image via Wikipedia

If you didn’t know already, the encryption for GSM’s antiquated algorithm has been cracked. All 64-bits of it. And guess what…. apparently most carriers haven’t upgraded to the 128-bit algorithm because… well, I’m not exactly sure. I suppose security by obscurity is probably the key reasoning behind this, but A5/1 which has been around since 1988 was replaced by the GSM Association in 2007 with A5/3 but most carriers haven’t bothered to upgrade.

It’s not anything spectacular since the 64bit keys were cracked through brute force, and with the computing power these days along with parallel computing, you can pretty much crack the smaller length algorithms through brute force easily. And this doesn’t allow you to listen in on the calls just yet, it just opens the doors to any of the communication that runs on those bands if the carriers haven’t changed the codes on you not to mention the legality of breaking those codes outside of academic research.

There are a couple ways around this problem. One is to upgrade to a larger key such as 128 bit (which is pretty standard considering many banks run SSL certs on 128 bit encryptions). Not the super-safe, but it does create a lot more combinations to guess through brute force. The other way is through the methodology similar to RADIUS with WPA for Wifi. Wifi keys are easily broken, but if you have a service that continuously rotates those keys and makes it a dynamic password, then any hacker is left with a time limit to break in. From a security standpoint, this becomes a more daunting task.

And as far as iPhones are concerned… oh… if you own one and didn’t know already…(as do most of the world’s mobile devices), they run on GSM carriers. But then again, so will Google’s Nexus One.

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