Entries Tagged as 'Internet'

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.

Wazing My Way Around

If you have a smartphone, I urge you to check out Waze.

The Android client is a bit new and they’re still working on it, but this is one thing that can totally get you to learn the area you live. Or at least drive it. Waze is basically a social geolocation game where you collect points on the streets you drive, and help map the environment by “road munching” new roads. Basically, you think of it as a real-life Pac Man meets Wikipedia mapping. The more users there are, the better it is and what’s interesting is that you can report hazards, speed traps, police, and all sorts of other things.

While based on the economy, I’m not inclined to drive all over jeebus to road munch, but I have to admit that there are a lot of people that are out there that are doing it.

What’s even more interesting is that you can see the business model and where this could really be fruitful. Garmin or Tomtom anyone? This not only makes cartography a lot easier as far as mistakes go, but it also allows you to not have to wait for a company to come out with the next version of whatever software to actually get the right road name (nudge at Garmin for spelling Raleigh – “Raliegh” on the I-40 Eastbound). It’s like Wikipedia but for maps and the more people that use it, the more fun it is.

Not having touched the iPhone app, I’m curious as far as if it’s better and more user friendly than the one for Android. Overall, the map editor on the web, and Android clients are a little clunky, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed easily. It’s the thought process behind this that counts. And if Waze just happens to give out free things for random driving events like their Christmas event? Then you can entirely count on a lot more users playing this game. I mean, everyone loves free stuff.

Oh. And it does integrate with Foursquare, so you can check-in at your local coffee shop easily from the app itself without having to exit. Or Tweet your location, or what not. Facebook anyone? There’s just so much that can be done with this, that I’m excited just thinking about it. Now if only they could make the client a little less laggy…

Tips and Tricks: Testing SPF Record For Your Domain

If you have set up your SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record but you haven’t tested it, then here’s an easy method of checking if it works. Send off an email to:

[email protected]

If you get a response where it says that it has passed, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, you’ll have to do some more testing to see why it’s not working. OpenSPF is a great place to start as far as finding the right tools and how to do setups for SPF records.

Tips and Tricks: Google Apps SPF Record With GoDaddy

Annoyingly, email from Google Apps will fail to some recipients if you do not set up the SPF (Send Policy Framework) record for your domain. And while Google Apps tells you how to do it with a TXT record, the way GoDaddy does it is a little bit different:

  • Go to Total DNS Control Panel.
  • Under the TXT section: click Add SPF Record.
  • Select An ISP or other mail provider: click OK.
  • Select Outsourced tab: put “aspmx.googlemail.com” (no quotes) in the field and click OK.
  • Click OK again when GoDaddy sets up a SPF record.

And then you can wait a little bit for that to propagate to all of the DNS servers. Once that’s done? You’ll have your SPF Record set.

Growing List of Hotmail Accounts Compromised Via Phishing

pirate Over the weekend, it seems that there was a compromise with Hotmail accounts. Five figures worth of accounts apparently. Now, the first thought would be that someone actually took action against Microsoft and busted through. But in this case, it was apparently ill-gotten from phishing scams. The password list was posted on Pastebin which is a place where developers share snippets of code to get more eyes on it. They have taken down the offending accounts and taken the necessary precautions.

Either way, Microsoft has identified this issue and has apparently locked down the compromised accounts. If you were compromised and are locked out, there is an email form that Microsoft Live has set up for you to reclaim your account. I took a look at it, and it asks for some serious private information.

All of this should teach you (the end user) something. Lesson here is that you don’t click on anything ever in emails or otherwise, when you can go directly to the site itself and look for it. One of the reasons I have always hated HTML emails since it stupefies the entire security aspect and makes it a more difficult problem since you go against human nature. Thus? You’ll never see me prefer text over HTML any day of the week. You can dump links there, but I can read them.

Tips and Tricks: TwitBlock

twitblock Ever wonder how to get rid of the spammers on Twitter? TwitBlock is a great way to find the ones that have followed you and whether or not they could be the same spammers.

Using a special algorithm, it calculates out whether or not a person is potentially a spammer and gives them a score. Based on whether or not TwitBlock users have marked the user as a spammer, the effect of the scoring goes up or down. It’s actually a pretty interesting method since most of the ways of detection are common sense things.

I would probably say that most people that have more than a thousand followers probably have quite a few bots and such on there, but at least there’s a way to somewhat detect these now instead of going through your followers one by one.

If you’re curious about it, definitely run this every so often on your account. It uses OAUTH so you actually never give it your password and such which is a great thing from a security standpoint of a third party application. Give it a whirl.

Judge Orders Google to Shut Down GMail Account

gmail Sometimes I wonder if judges know exactly what they’re doing when they bring down the heavy hand of the law.

In this case, a bank had “mistakenly” attached a spreadsheet that had a lot of personal data in it. Now, if anything, that bank should be in big trouble. You don’t store personal data in spreadsheets if anyone from security knows anything, and recalling an email? What the heck. When an email goes out, it’s GONE.

So Google refuses to give up the account name due to privacy laws, so the judge orders the account to be deactivated. So my question is…. if I happen to email that judge by mistake, my social security number… does that mean that by precedence, he has to have his email deactivated too?

I mean, that’s the judgment that was passed down, but it doesn’t make any sense from a technological standpoint. There are processes and procedures dealing with IT rulings and when this happens, the corporation that messed up is the one that should be fined, not the person that got sent the information. Amusingly enough it reminds me of a local story about a medical facility that is being investigated for leaving medical records on the side of the road. They claim it was a third party service, but they won’t name the service. And go figure that privacy law is what’s also driving this local story and they’re the ones in trouble.

Oil Change To Go

Using a funnel to refill the motor oil in an a...
Image via Wikipedia

Amusingly, I’ve had this idea for quite a while and often had wondered why no one would do it.

This really came by way of a conversation I had with a buddy of mine on IRC and we were talking about how it was a hassle to get your oil changed. It was then, when he actually said that he would totally pay a premium for people to just come to where he was to do his oil change so he wouldn’t have to waste time going to run the errand. And there was where I thought…. hey, you could totally do that with a portable jack and a van. Think about it. There are plenty of mobile businesses, from locksmiths to lawn care. They all travel to your place of business or residence and they have you pay a premium for doing that.

Not that I wouldn’t. I think it would be splendid if I didn’t have to waste my time driving to some lube place to get the motor oil changed out. Would be even nicer to actually get my tires rotated right there in the parking lot. Either way, I could see it being a pretty profitable business if you were to have a good person doing the scheduling and map out all of your appointments beforehand.

And it could be a lube place’s extra income. I mean, they do have a way to dispose of the oil and such anyways. So it probably wouldn’t be a bad thought.

So the funny story turned up again when I made a passing mention of it on Twitter and “wham bam,” several people piped up that they thought it might be a solid business model. Not something I’d venture into doing either even though with no preliminary research, it seems like it would fly pretty well. And on the off chance that someone does read this and use the idea…. leave me a comment. I’d love to know if someone took it and ran with it. If they did, maybe they’ll remember to throw me a discount.

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Tips and Tricks: How to Enable Mail on Dreamhost PS

If you have never signed up for a Dreamhost hosting account (use promo code: LUX00001), perhaps its time you tried their services out such as their Dreamhost PS. The Private Servers are a cost on top of your current shared hosting bill based on usage of cpu and memory. It’s still not bad when you consider it’s dedicated for your use only.

Here is one part of it that’s bad though. On the Dreamhost PS, if you have any sort of web services that you usually run, the mail doesn’t send. Ever.

Which is surprising when you’re coming off shared hosting that has everything configured for you to just go nuts with. Never fear though. There are several ways to get around it, and this is just one of them.

  1. Create a root user: you need one of these to use sudo to install packages on your PS.
  2. sudo apt-get install postfix postfix-pcre
  3. dpkg-reconfigure postfix

And that’s it. You could have a lot of mail there already and you can flush the queue and send it all by using the command postqueue -f. Otherwise, mail should start working and you’ll breath a sigh of relief knowing that it finally actually works. Again.

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Anonymity in Question?

Recently saw that some fashion student was going to sue Google because she claims it’s Google’s responsibility to protect her anonymity. This was after a court defamation case where a model had outed the previously “anonymous” student and then dropped the case.

I don’t get it. That’s irresponsible to start since you can pretty much find all sorts of identifying factors on the Internet. Especially if you happen to use the same email address, the same handle, and all sorts of other information. In the end, the Internet is what outs you because of what you put on it, not the other way around. So is it Google’s responsibility? Not a chance. A lawsuit against them would just sink your own reputation for not understanding how things work before throwing around opinions.

Opinions are fine as long as you understand that in the end? Unless you blog under total anonymity with no identifying factors, there isn’t a damn thing that Google can do about it. They wouldn’t give up information unless the law asked for it, and if you’re on a search engine, there’s a good likelihood that anyone can dig up your pseudonym and match things up.