Wednesday, November 3, 2010 Scam?

Most all of Gmail users received this email:

Google rarely contacts Gmail users via email, but we are making an exception to let you know that we've reached a settlement in a lawsuit regarding Google Buzz (, a service we launched within Gmail in February of this year.

Shortly after its launch, we heard from a number of people who were concerned about privacy. In addition, we were sued by a group of Buzz users and recently reached a settlement in this case.

The settlement acknowledges that we quickly changed the service to address users' concerns. In addition, Google has committed $8.5 million to an independent fund, most of which will support organizations promoting privacy education and policy on the web. We will also do more to educate people about privacy controls specific to Buzz. The more people know about privacy online, the better their online experience will be.

Just to be clear, this is not a settlement in which people who use Gmail can file to receive compensation. Everyone in the U.S. who uses Gmail is included in the settlement, unless you personally decide to opt out before December 6, 2010. The Court will consider final approval of the agreement on January 31, 2011. This email is a summary of the settlement, and more detailed information and instructions approved by the court, including instructions about how to opt out, object, or comment, are available at

Most people took one look at this and figured that this was a scam, fraud, or just spam of some sort. A quick search for " Scam" doesn't return much. Several Google Employees have confirmed the legitimacy of this email though. The website simply informs you of the background of the lawsuit and doesn't ask you for money. Some people are qualified to be part of the class action, but I don't think anyone is going to get money from it because they can't prove damages.


Still not sure if is legit? Don't got to it, you're not missing out on anything.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PHP: hex color to RGB

I wrote this small script to convert a hex color to RGB value.

function hex2rgb($h){
    $h = trim($h,'#');
    if(strlen($h)==3) $h=$h[0].$h[0].$h[1].$h[1].$h[2].$h[2];
    if(strlen($h)!=6) return false;
    $d = hexdec($h);
    return array("R"=>0xFF&($d>>0x10),"G"=>0xFF&($d>>0x8),"B"=>0xFF&$d);

I know this isn't helpful to the majority of my readers, but nonetheless here it is.

I'm trying out
So far has worked but I'm having some problems with blogging.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

For the nerds

AVG 2011 command line perimeters

AVG 2011 Anti-Virus command line scanner
Copyright (c) 1992 - 2010 AVG Technologies
/SCAN           Scan /for example SCAN=path;path/
/COMP           Whole computer scan
/HEUR           Use heuristic analysis
/EXCLUDE        Exclude path or files from scan
/@              Command file /file name/
/EXT            Scan these extensions /for example EXT=EXE,DLL/
/NOEXT          Do not scan these extensions /for example NOEXT=JPG/
/ARC            Scan archives
/CLEAN          Clean automatically
/TRASH          Move infected files to the Virus Vault
/QT             Quick test
/LOG            Generate a scan result file
/MACROW         Report macros
/PWDW           Report password-protected files
/ARCBOMBSW      Report archive bombs (repeatedly compressed archives)
/IGNLOCKED      Ignore locked files
/REPORT         Report to file /file name/
/REPAPPEND      Append to the report file
/REPOK          Report uninfected files as OK
/NOBREAK        Do not allow CTRL-BREAK to abort
/BOOT           Enable MBR/BOOT check
/PROC           Scan active processes
/PUP            Report "Potentially unwanted programs"
/PUPEXT         Report enhanced set of Potentially Unwanted Programs
/REG            Scan registry
/COO            Scan for Tracking Cookies
/?              Display help on this topic
/HELP           Display help on this topic
/PRIORITY       Set scan priority /Low, Middle, High, User Sensitive/
/SHUTDOWN       Shutdown computer upon scan completion
/FORCESHUTDOWN  Force computer shutdown upon scan completion
/ADS            Scan Alternate Data Streams (NTFS only)
/HIDDEN         Report files with hidden extension
/INFECTABLEONLY Scan files with infectable extensions only
/THOROUGHSCAN   Enable thorough scanning

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Satellite TV Arizona Updates

Just finished making some updates to the Directv and Dish Network pages on
The changes feature a very modern approach to presenting extra details when you hover the mouse over the [?].

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Steve Jobs defends iPad vs new Android tablets

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, made some interesting points at this quarter's earnings calls. Apple achieved their first $20 billion quarter and is looking at their competition with scrutinous eyes.

In comparison, Apple activates an average of 275,000 devices per day while Android lags behind still with an average of 200,000 per day. Apple boasts a app store container 300,000+ apps, over three times that of which Android has in it's app marketplace. Jobs also explained how the company feels about the differences Android and Apple have in approach to their mobile devices saying "[w]e think Android is very, very fragmented, and becoming more fragmented by the day". The fragmenting that Jobs is referring to is the fact that Android's open approach has created over 100 variations of the Operating System making app development more difficult and prone to incompatibility issues and lack of support on the lesser used Android models. Being a Droid user myself, I've felt the burn of being on what seems like an already outdated HTC Eris platform, but this feeling for the most part comes from HTC's reluctance took make updates for their first Android child while they focus on the Droid Incredible.

This year's innovative release of the iPad attracted over 3million consumers in less than 3 months looking to own one for business, art, or even just for gaming. Mobile device manufactures frantically struggle to release competing tablet devices but, according to Steve Jobs, will fail. "[A]lmost all of them use 7-inch screens, as compared to iPad's near 10-inch screens.", Jobs claims, "The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a 7-inch screen is only 45 percent as large as iPad's 10-inch screen". On top of this, Android urges manufactures to hold off from jumping in on the market until next year's release of a Android platform designed specifically for tablet devices.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

AVG 2011 rolling out

The latest version of the greatest free Anti-Virus software has begun rolling out to the millions of AVG users. 2011 as with all previous versions has a free and a paid option. For the most part, the differences between this year's paid version and free version will not attract users to pay the $50 for a year... can't blame them.
Upgrade your 2010 version asap (  and if you aren't already using the top rated Free anti-malware software, here is where you can get it:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Well, ok, there is no official month for this deems by the powers be, but one or two geek groups are observing this year's 7th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Some tips from me to you:
  1. Be sure you have anti-virus software on your computer.
  2. Be sure that your anti-virus software is actually activated, working, and up-to-date.
  3. Links on Facebook are not always actually posted by friends. Be very cautious any time you follow someone's link.
  4. YouTube and Facebook is not likely to ask you to update, download, or enable anything if its already been working for you.
  5. If something seems suspicious, its probably for a good reason. Check the URL to be sure you're really where you think you are.
  6. Anytime you are prompted for a password, look at the URL to be sure you're not being Phished.
  7. If a anti-virus software comes up that you don't recognize, its likely malware and your Anti-Virus has failed. Shut down your computer and call your Geek.
  8. Websites offering free scans of your computer are 99% of the time a BAD idea.
  9. If your email or Facebook gets " "hacked" " (more likely Phished), change your password and check your account settings for traces the intruder left.
  10. Passwords should be 8 characters or longer, have more than just letters. More importantly to your security is to be sure you follow #6. Phishing is getting too common.
If you don't know who your Geek is, its that computer person in your family, friends, or church you trust. If you've got no Geek in mind, call me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Facebook Feature

Facebook will soon be allowing users to text into the normal text number (32665) the letters "opt" and receive a one time use password to log in with. This is great for using at public locations where you should not trust the network. Facebook hopes to have the feature available in the next few weeks to everyone. Note: you will need to have your cell phone associated with Facebook, of course you can make that phone number not visible to the public in your security settings.


Avast (Anti Virus) released this short list of dangerous gaming websites.

If you use any of those, you should probably stop as well as make sure you run some good, up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware on your computer to be sure you didn't pick anything up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Facebook "Places" for iPhone could risk users

A new feature for the iPhone allows users to easily "check-in" their location through Facebook Places. Using the GPS on the mobile device, Facebook logs where you are when you check-in and even allows you to tag friends that are with you. As Facebook learns more locations, checking in while at friend's houses will intelligently connect your location to that friend. Currently only the iPhone will have this feature, but soon enough other smart phones with the Facebook app will catch up.

Seemingly, the decision to share your location is up to you, but considering Facebook's history I'm not sure I should trust that.. than again maybe they've learned. Of course, again in Facebook history the privacy of it's users is being brought into public scrutiny even though other websites such as Twitter already offer location features like this as received much less flak.

There has always been privacy concerns with the internet all the way back to simple bulletin board websites then chat rooms. The simple solution is to limit the information you put online and assume anything you do is available to more people than just who you gave it to. Although internet security has gotten better, more people are flaunting their personal information around the web then ever before giving scammers and identity thiefs a lot of incentive and material to work with.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Facebook has your information, and who else?

A few weeks ago, Facebook added an option to disallow websites from getting your private data. Although the option empowered the users, it stirred some controversy over your private information's security. Apparently people like publishing their information online and not having it public at the same time (Cake anyone?).

If you are one of those people worried about their privacy, here's a dosage of reality. Facebook application developers have ample information about you, the only thing they need is for you to add the app. According to the Facebook Application Programming Interface (API) documentation (, the following possibly sensitive information is shared: first name, last name, gender, email (though not direct), "about" blurb, birthday, work history, education, hometown, location, significant other, political & religious views, your profile picture, and who's on your friends list.
Even if you don't add every app that comes your way, your friends might. Via a friends profile, they can find out your name and possibly more.

    The photo albums this user has created. Requires the user_photos or friend_photos permission

This means that unless your friends block photo permissions to apps, it is still available to people out there.

Even more information (even the subject lines of your inbox) is available to the applications if your setting allow for it, but the good part is that you get to modify your privacy settings to keep some of your information private. Some people may be comfortable with sharing their information, but others may want to highly consider changing their privacy settings.!/settings/?tab=privacy

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

iPhone Browsing Security

iPhone jailbreak website,, uses a hole in the security to modify the iPhone firmware so that you can install themes and apps that Apple has not approved. Although most consider this security exploit handy for the jailbreak system, the implication is that other clever developers will be able to exploit the iPhone vulnerability to install spyware or other malicious firmware modifications. states on their website that they cannot jailbreak iPhones with firmware versions 4.0.2 and greater. As an iPhone owner, you must choose to update your phone past 4.0.1 and have the security benefits, or leave your phone vulnerable but take advantage of the jailbreak benefits.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Get Onto Social Networking

Almost every person in America has access to the internet, most of them use it regularly. The most visited websites are search engines and social networking sites. Internet users are sharing information and media around the world, sharing with their friends and distant acquaintances what they like and don't like. Your best strategy to get your website out there on the web and seen is to promote to thousands and even millions!

Facebook & Twitter
Make a Facebook and Twitter profile for your business, organization, or individual self. Start by adding your friends and asking them to suggest you to their friends for Facebook. This will get hopefully a basis of at least 50 people on your friends list. By posting helpful information about your market or interests on Facebook and Twitter, users will "share" and retweet your information. Always remember to plug your website wherever possible so that they know where the information is coming from. Back your information as articles or blog posts on your website so that the reader can get more information on the topic meanwhile discovering your website.

The New Style of Viruses

This is a quick lesson in some of the new threats going around.
I use the word "virus" loosely, much of it is actually general "malware" which includes spyware. Most of the new threats going around present themselves as being a anti-spyware program that has found some absurd amount of threats on your computer and they want you to purchase there software's full version in order to remove the threats. These programs are also called "Blackmail-Ware".
Here is a guide to what you should do if you get one:

  1. Identify that you have one of these new viruses. If anything but your installed anti-virus software pops up saying you have viruses. This includes "Windows Security Alert" telling you that you have infections.

  2. Unplug internet activity from your computer. This will prevent the virus from talking to it's buddies or pulling up porn sites.

  3. Turn off your computer. This will prevent the virus from spreading... they commonly do get worse as they sit around.

  4. Contact your nerd. You all have one, if not, than you don't realize who's not you are reading now!

  5. If you are your nerd, here's some tips

    • These new malware programs are good at keeping you from running programs to kill them, you'll need to run rKill (find through google) but only in early stages of the infection and it needs to be ran as soon as windows will let you run it (while startup programs are still initializing).

    • MalwareBytes is the toughest anti-walware you have in your free arsenal. The new viruses and spyware will try stopping you from running it though, that's where rKill comes in.

    • SuperAntiSpyware is also handy for some versions out there.

    • Tip: you won't be able to download these from the infected computer, so get them onto a flash drive.