Thursday 23 June 2011

New blog name

After much deliberation it was decided to change the title of the blog.
The previous title "The World of an IT geek" or what ever it used to be called, was quite lame.

I put my thinking juices into action and after a long and thoughtful 2 minutes I came up with ...

Geekology - Tada!

How did I come to the word Geekology? Well it's quite simple, I'm a geek and I love technology. It's as simple as that.

I've also like to share some other things I've discovered in the past few days.
1.) Google Maps - now showing the traffic for more minor roads, like the A4074 between Oxford and Reading and even some of the main roads in Oxford itself! This is something I've been saying we need and never thought it would actually happen. Though some seem like a false positive, most likely because of the traffic lights. I'd like to know what they're using to measure the traffic flow

b.) Limp Bizkit's new album, Gold Cobra -very good from what I've heard so far !

III.) Navizon - In less than a week of using it I've racked up over 3000 points! here are my stats so far:

Wifi discovered by you7802340
Cell towers discovered by you460
Wifi already mapped513513
Cell towers already mapped78156

I'm a bit miffed someone has already mapped all those cell towers! That's another 1170 points lost *Insert grumpy face*

If anyone wants to sign up to Navizon use this link:

You will keep all your points you earn AND I'll earn 20% of the points you earn, IE they don't transfer your points to me, we both keep the points! :) After 10,000 points you earn $15. Doesn't sound like much, but for not doing anything other than installing an app on your phone and going about your normal routine it's an extra $15 you never had, and if you get enough people signing up you'll get more monies! So go on, what you waiting for!

δ.) Mac's they frustrate me. Why when dialing a PPTP VPN do they not pass certain characters in the password? a flipping £ sign was not being passed and thus auth failing. The system was running the latest and greatest Snow Leopard and a colleague said he found the same thing with Snow Leopard a few months back! Is this common? Is it an intentional bug? Will it get fixed in Lion? We're supposed to use special characters to make passwords more complex and now someone can't have a secure(er) password because his VPN on his Mac won't work! 

Tuesday 21 June 2011

The insecure digital world

Lulzsec. Now there is a name we've all come to know and partially fear lately.
I'll talk about why we really should fear them and their "Bro's" in the hacking community, and why we shouldn't. We should fear them because they are making a mockery of the IT security infrastructure of many companies that should know better, simple exploits their lulzcannon can infiltrate. If these guys , who by the way do not claim to be uberhackers, can get in imagine where and what the uberhackers have got into. This notion should distil fear into your very soul. or not. I added that bit in about your soul to make it sound more dramatic.

I keep up to date with their latest shenanigans so I can do a quick search to see if my email / name appears anywhere in the lists, fortunately I've not been in any released info yet *phew*

Doing this will allow me to go and change my details if they are listed, hopefully before anyone else can get into the account. We've all heard the bragging lulzsec's peons aka leeches have been doing, for example sending condoms to an old lady, screwing with relationships on Facebook etc This is why we should fear them, because they are reckless in what they release.

Now I come to why we shouldn't fear them. First and foremost, we need to make sure we do as much as possible to secure on-line presence. It's not Twitter or Facebooks fault if we've used an easy to guess password, is it? It's not their fault if we've used the same passwords across multiple sites, is it? Use strong passwords!

Make sure your PC or Mac is fully patched. Use a secure browser, (IE9 and Chrome are the two most secure browsers around right now as of this writing) and disable or remove any add-ons you do not need, these increase the surface area for an attack
Do you really need Java? Probably not! Get rid of it until you find that you do need it, Java has bugs. Lots of bugs. As the adage goes 'Prevention is better than cure'. We need to make sure we're not an easy target for these guys so change your passwords regularly and for the love of your favourite deity do not use the same password on different sites, if one site gets hacked that about as good as them all getting hacked then.

Enable the features some websites give, Facebook recently gave us a feature that asks for the name of the computer you are logging in from and if you want to save it as a known system. I've enabled that and I'm glad I have, as soon as someone logs in from a system that Facebook is not familiar with I'll get an email within seconds notifying me, allowing me to go in and hopefully mitigate the amount of damage caused.

When I first heard about that 19year old lulzsec mastermind super hacker kid getting nabbed last night by the feds, I thought it was too good to be true. But the Twitter account was silent. For quite a while and I was beginning to believe it was true. I thought they had actually got Lulzsec. Then suddenly 'tweet tweet' the account was active again.

Moral of the story is to keep yourself protected, don't rely on anyone or any website's security.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

An Apple a day...

Where to start?

I'm a big lover of BSD and Unix based OS's and have used them for years, I love Windows too, it's great! However the OS X UI has never been my favourite, it's the static bar at the top that changes depending on the App you're using - it's just not right - I've done a lot of thinking about this and it I don't like it, no matter how hard I try (even though I shouldn't have too). Now this is something that's really annoyed me and to be frank put me off OS X. The older theme also put me off, however it's been updated over time and it looking more pleasing, but it's that damn static menu bar that's still putting me off. It's probably wonderful for people who aren't IT literate or new to computers, but for geeks it's not right. End of.

Having to click away in open space on the desktop to get the Finder menu items at the top, is just not right. I usually have loads of windows/apps open at any given time due to the nature of my work and geekism, which means most of the apps would cover any of the open space to access the the desktop in order to access the Finder static menu. I can't be the only one? I know the people I work with don't like OS X or Apple, yet have iPhones and think they're the best phones going.

One last thing, this really grates me is when people say things like:
"OS X just works" or "You wouldn't have these problems with a  Mac".
Unfortunately, I know from my support expeience that this isn't the case and the few Mac's we do have, do run into problems. I'd hazard a guess that there are more OS and Apple software based problems than 3rd party problems on the Mac's we support that "Just work".

Maybe one day I'll get a Mac and stick Windows on it, after all Windows 8 is looking like it is going to be the first major OS to market that's both tablet and desktop/notebook capable, tying things together nicely. It looks really promising, and while Apple (re)(re)(re)invented the cloud and yes they made things a little simpler for iDevice/OS X users - of which I am not one - however Microsoft innovated and has changed the game.

Thanks for reading my rant,
bewildered IT Geek