UPDATE: As of the 11/29/2019 Google Fi announcement, this article is pretty much old news but I’m leaving it here for reference.
I’ve seen the “can you use Project Fi with an XYZ model phone” question over and over. Invariably someone (or several someones) will reply “yeah, it works”. And while this answer is kind of / sort of technically correct (with caveats), it’s misleading! When I see this I imagine quotes around the word works… it “works” – unfortunately, a lot of people take it at face value. Continue reading Fi on a non-Google phone is like mowing your lawn with a weed eater….
What does the “KEY” mean?
I’ve seen several new (and some not so new) Project Fi users asking “what’s a key?” So I thought I would take a crack at explaining what it is and why you should care. Continue reading Project Fi – What is a “Key” and why should I care?
I’ve always been intrigued by Amateur Radio. I’m not specifically talking about HAM radio even though that is certainly part of it.
As a boy I traded a telescope for a OLD “world band” radio and spent a lot of time doing stupid stuff like setting the EXACT time on my watch to the WWVB signal. Honestly, there wasn’t really much to listen to in North West Arkansas in the 70’s on a 50’s era radio, but I tried. Keep in mind that we didn’t have the internet, so the only way you could find a station was to slowly tune through the bands listening for something that wasn’t static – which meant you had to tune over the station WHILE it was broadcasting (which can be a bit of a trick when only a few stations broadcast 24×7). Of course you COULD buy a book or subscribe to a magazine that listed some frequencies to try out if you had the money to spend.
Later, I found a copy of an Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) book in a thrift store and spent hundreds of hours looking though it, dreaming about how cool it would be to be able to actually do the stuff they were talking about. Unfortunately, the cost of getting into amateur radio was a deal breaker for me.
In high school I actually went “all in” and bought a CB radio with “significant” antenna and got my CB license (yes, they actually licensed that back in the day). My call sign was KAKJ4409.
Since then I’ve always found an excuse NOT to get too involved in radio (yeah, I’ve bought a low end Radio Shack scanner, the not so occasional FRS and digital $35 world band receiver at Walmart, etc. – but I’ve not gotten “into it”). I’ve considered getting my ham license, but I’ve always found an excuse not to – I didn’t want to learn Morse code, the radios were too expensive, etc.
By this point I bet you are wondering where this is going, well… I’ve recently gone down the Software Defined Radio (SDR) rabbit hole and I want to document my decent. For those of you who don’t know, SDR uses computer software to decode a digital version of the radio spectrum. To do this, you need a device to receive the radio waves and convert them to digital. Until fairly recently this piece of equipment was incredibly expensive and really only available to the military and research folks, but not any more.
Several years ago, several companies started producing hobby SDR cards. Then a security researcher figured out that a USB TV tuner that costs about $15 can function as an SDR radio when paired with the right software. This is the specific rabbit hole I’m headed down.
I’ll post follow up articles as I work my way though the jungle of open source SDR software and I’ll try to leave enough bread crumbs that you can follow my path if you find yourself so inclined.
Google throws nearly a billion Android users under the bus” and “Why Google won’t fix a security bug in almost a billion Android phones” but what I haven’t seen is an article that explains the situation in a way that people who WANT to blame Google seem to be able to understand so I’m going to try to explain this using an automobile analogy.
Imagine that Google makes automobile motors that many auto manufacturers use in the cars they sell. Some manufacturers want higher performance motors, so they replace the standard intake and cam with “improved” versions. Other manufactures want more creature comforts in their cars, so they strap on AC units and other accessories.
Now it turns out that there was a problem with the motors that Google provided to manufacturers 18 months ago. To make things more interesting, the manufacturers didn’t actually have to pay ANYTHING to Google for the motors Google provided. Additionally, Google has offered to replace all of their previous models at no additional charge twice since the faulty motors were shipped.
The manufacturers have chosen to not replace the faulty motors because they thought they were “good enough” and they would have to apply their chosen modifications to the replacement motors before sending them out. Besides, if people really want a new motor, they need to buy a new car. Right?
Keep in mind that this analogy is flawed. For instance it implies that Google is actually providing hardware. They aren’t. A more accurate analogy (but one less likely to be understood) is that Google is providing the software for the car’s computer. All of the mechanical parts (including the electronics for the computer) are produced by the car manufacturer, but there is a bug in the code that Google made available to the manufacturer. Google doesn’t even know what kind of computer the manufacturer has chosen to install in their car.
My question to you is: when you buy a car and it has problems with the motor (or computer), who do you go to for service? I expect the vast majority of people would say the manufacturer (or it’s dealers) but many of these same people seem to want to put 100% (or more) of the blame on Google for the webkit issue. Logic seems to elude some people….
Is Google responsible for the bug? Sure, it was in their code. Is Google responsible for the bug not being fixed in your phone? Nope! They fixed the bug in later releases and your phone manufacturer choose not to release that fix.
So, you are tired of getting inundated with invites to Facebook games and want people to stop sending them to you… Well, you have two options: post a plea asking people to stop (sorry, it’s not going to work) or you can block the invites.
Unfortunately, Facebook has made it a bit harder than it used to be – but you can still do it. Here’s how:
Step 1: you need to choose the “Lock” icon on the Facebook status bar.
Step 2: select “See More Settings” at the bottom of the “Lock” menu.
Step 4: Block app invites from user
Once you block app invites from someone, you’ll automatically ignore future app requests from that friend. To block invites from a specific friend, click the “Ignore All Invites From This Friend” link under your latest request.
Step 5: Block apps
And that’s it! I hope this helps someone! 🙂
The sum of our experiences make us who we are. Some of us have had (what we feel were) horrible experiences – things either done to us or by us. Others would laugh at our definition of horrible. Continue reading The sum of our experiences….
I’m sure that by now you’ve heard that the sudden spike in Twitter spam “appears to be due to the Gawker compromise”. I’m not so sure. I have a twitter account that has like 9 followers and it ended up with 2 outgoing spam messages on it. However, I don’t have a Gawker account (nor any of the other web sites associated with it). Yeah, I know I might have forgotten that I set one up on one of the many Gawker related sites, but when I enter my e-mail address (OK, addresses) I get a not found on all of them. Add to this Gawkers assurance that the passwords were encrypted and the fact that my Twitter user ID is not the same as any of my other user ids, and I find it VERY suspicious.
So, if it wasn’t the Gawker leak that explains the Twitter storm today, what does? My guess is that someone either hacked Twitters account system (or one of the software programs that posts Twitter messages for you) or there is a new way to send a Tweet that is attributable to someone else. Who knows….
Why is Twitter blaming Gawker? It could be as simple as “because they can”….
Well, it seems we have a new wave of Facebook Trojans loose on the internet. The one that I researched while writing this post, links to a cast.cc web site that is actually a phishing scheme that presents a FAKE Facebook login screen. If you provide your Email and Password, it starts spamming your friends on Facebook with links to it. It appears that it also does the more typical thing and installs a Facebook application for you that will spam your friends with links to it (and sometimes other links).
If you fell for this (or a similar scam), the first thing to do is to change your Facebook password and then go to “Account / Privacy Settings / Applications and Websites / Applications You Use / Edit Settings” and remove everything you don’t recognize (watch the video below for step by step instructions on how to remove unwanted Facebook apps)!
I’ve also seen some posts that suggest that at least some of these links attempt to install the Koobface Virus, however I can’t confirm this. The article I linked to implies that this virus is virulent across Windows, OS X and Linux.
If you are on Windows, it’s highly recommended that you have a good virus checker installed and current. I personally recommend AVG Free, which (as the name implies) is free and quite good.
BTW, if you use Firefox, Chrome and / or Open DNS (Family Shield is free and awesome), you will be presented a warning page for this site that tells you it’s a phishing site BEFORE you get the login page.
Sophos has a good video on how to remove applications (like “Stop Txting Lk Ths”, “NFee”, etc.) that you have already set up (if you aren’t already a fan of Sophos, I would recommend doing it as they tend to notify you of Facebook scams pretty quickly and give good general security advice). Here’s their video:
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Facebook has stated clearly, that Facebook Profile Trackers DO NOT Exist! If you installed one, you need to follow the suggestions in this article to remove the scam application that was installed.
Facebook post: Funniest baby a live you must watch !!! Cry from Laughter after watching this baby. See all the funniest videos on the net in one place!!! My gosh you have to see this baby its the funniest thing every!!! Baby sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper. This American GUY must be Stoned to Death for doing this to a GIRL. 10 things every GIRL wants in a MAN! This Teen Killed Herself After her Dad Posted This On Her Facebook! OMG this father crashed and died after THIS message from is daughter on his blackberry! See Who Is Viewing Your Profile!
For those of you who don’t know who Buzz Cason is, he’s a singer / songwriter that has written songs (like “Everlasting Love”) for a bunch of groups you have probably heard of (The Beatles, U2, Pearl Jam, Mel Tillis, The Oak Ridge Boys, Martina McBride and Dolly Parton, Gloria Estefan and Brenda Lee).
Buzz will be playing Saturday 11/13 at Thirst N’ Howl (14710 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, AR) . This is an “all ages” show with no cover charge. I would get there early and eat dinner if you want a seat, this place is pretty small and tends to fill up early. 🙂