A Geeky Christmas List

First, let me say, I know Christmas is not supposed to be the time of year for 'wants' - but some of this stuff is so darn cool, I just had to email Santa.

Asus RT-N56U Router

This stylish router gives great all round performance with USB ports for easy access network storage.

Approx Price $99

Read More: gdgt.com

Fork-Chops

Never go hungry again! I sometimes have bad-days with chop sticks. But with these 3-in-1 utensils, I am set for the night!

Approx Price $4.99

Read More: thinkgeek.com

Who looks at a tooth-brush and thinks "It could be a little more sonic" ?

For Dr Who fans everywhere, this Sonic Toothbrush should keep your knashers clean and white.

Approx Price $14.99

Read More: thinkgeek.com

The MakerBot 3D Printer

How cool would it be, to be able to PRINT 3D objects? See something you like online? Just click PRINT and out it comes!

Approx Starting Price $1,999

Read More: makerbot.com

Ultra Geeky

It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games.

Approx Price $35

Read More: raspberrypi.org

PowerTrekk Power Cell

This funky gadget charges your mobile devices from WATER! Seriously, Just add water and watch your phone charge.

Approx Price $250

Read More: powertrekk.com

A MINI De-Stressing Evening

Last night I had the great opportunity to head to an exclusive event at MINI Richmond for their Gallery evening.

Showcasing work of local photographer Phung Noi Fong alongside some of the coolest MINI's and Mini's this side of the Atlantic.

From the original classic Austin Cooper to the latest four wheel drive MINI Countryman, not to mention the custom MINIs that Richmond take pleasure in releasing to the unsuspecting public, including the MINI Cooper JCW with classic Batman inspired theme. Fantastic.

Thanks to Chris Gillet and the team at MINI Richmond for hosting the event - a great way to meet other MINI owners and potential miniacs.

More photos on MINI Richmonds Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/MINIRichmond

No Pics! Dang it!

I just realized that after importing the blog from Posterous, that not all of the photos transfered over. Hence there are a few articles explaining something with the help of a photo... but no photo. I may get time to go back through them... but not today.

New Website is Online

Today, after some final tweaking and jiggery-pokery, I turned on my new website. Ive been trying to transfer content to the new system but it is taking time. Plus, Ive not found a way to 'back-date' the publishing date. So, I might just post them as new articles. 

This new website has a much more simplified administration and navigation. Hopefully it will make me more inclined to update it regularly. Time will tell.

Another Number? Seriously?

Its not often that I rant. But sometimes there are some things that are just so... frustratingly ludicrous, that I have to do SOMETHING!

With today's technology in voice control being so superior to yesterdays antiquated PBX hardware there should be no reason, for one of your company's voice prompts to say 'If you need technical support, hang up, and call 1-877-blaa blaa blaa."

This is something extra for an already troubled consumer to have to do.Why make the customer listen to the message three times to get the number written down properly, then hangup and dial it?

If your current phone system cannot handle a call redirect, then you need to look at upgrading your infrastructure.

 

Stay Safe Online - Number #1 Tip

I have spoken to many friends, colleagues and family members about staying safe online. I had even tried to write a simple 'How Do I' type article but I could never quite get it worded correctly to address the masses.

Recently, (earlier today actually) I came across a great article on krebsonsecurity.com that lists the Three Rules to Staying Safe online. They were a great read and not technical - a fatastic point for some of my less technically-able buddies.

For me, the first rule, is the most important rule of all.

Extract from krebsonsecurity.com

Krebs’s Number One Rule for Staying Safe Online: “If you didn’t go looking for it, don’t install it!”

A great many online threats rely on tricking the user into taking some action — whether it be clicking an email link or attachment, or installing a custom browser plugin or application.

Typically, these attacks take the form of scareware pop-ups that try to frighten people into installing a security scanner; other popular scams direct you to a video but then complain that you need to install a special “codec,” video player or app to view the content.

Only install software or browser add-ons if you went looking for them in the first place. And before you install anything, it’s a good idea to grab the software directly from the source.

Sites like Majorgeeks.com and Download.com claim to screen programs that they offer for download, but just as you wouldn’t buy a product online without doing some basic research about its quality and performance, take a few minutes to search for and read comments and reviews left by other users of that software to make sure you’re not signing up for more than you bargained.

Also, avoid directly responding to email alerts that (appear to) come from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your bank or some other site that holds your personal information. Instead, visit these sites using a Web browser bookmark.

You can read the full article here.

 

Feeling Sick? No Horror Movies For You!

Recent clinical research conducted by myself, using me as the only test subject, in one experiment, has proved that watching a horror movie during the initial stages of a flu, can lead to some seriously trippy dreams.

Im not sure if it is the combination of medication, the fever of 103F, the lack of sleep or indeed all of the above, but at the height of my hallucinations i was being chased by a madman trying to decapitate me with a slice of three day old pizza. All for leaving creases in the bedsheets and drinking his water.

So, if you are feeling a little rough, when all around you are dropping like flys, we (at the Matt Sleep Research facility*) recommend watching something more sedate and less impressionable. I would also recommend that, as boring as it is, you avoid the shopping channels. These have not been researched and you may find out that during your floating session with 'Lucy', you have purchased three toaster ovens, a new Bose sound system and a weird gadget for opening tight jam-jars. And a slap-chop. They are cool.

Vishing is the new Phishing

With a change of a letter, we have a new word to describe 'Extrapolation of Ones Personal Details to be Used For Fraud'. The concept isn't new and I believe the phrase 'Vishing' has been around for a while, however it is starting to gain more notice.

Phishing is the concept, whereby a person attempts to gain valuable personal information for use in identity theft or fraud. Like fishing where you would dangle a line into a river and see what 'bites', phishing targets people by use of email (predominantly) and other communication methods. These are the emails like 'Win a Cruise, just send us your name and bank account number'. 

I think people are getting smarter in recognizing these scams, although there are still millions of people falling for them. Recently there has been a rise, of what is termed 'Vishing' attacks. Like Fishing and Phishing, Vishing (Voice-Phishing) attacks are by individuals that are being so bold as to call you and try to get the information out of you. 

Any information that they can use, is useful. Be it references, other numbers, names of people you know and the like. Because, the more data they have on you, the more credible they will appear next time they call and relay that information back to you.

A much more detailed account of what Vishing is and how it works can be found on CNET, here and on Wikipedia Here.

Why do I bring this topic up? 

Well, over the past few years, we have had many callers to the house, both in person and on the phone. In practically all cases, if you are as paranoid as I am, they could be seen as vishing. So ask yourself, the next time you call a client or a prospective customer, does your opening pitch or script sound like it could be interpreted as a vishing call? 

Making The Move

For a while now, I have used my Windows based PC at work and my iPad at home. At home, all I really needed was to be able to access my email and the occasional website, so the iPad made sense. After a while, I started to get more and more used to the Apple concepts and started looking at the Apple computers available. 

Making the move to a Mac, from a Windows computer, while could be seen as Treason by some 'softies' on the net, made sense to me. I have long been a big believer that the hardware and software you use are really irrelevant, if, it does what you need it to do. 

Long, long ago, I am ashamed to admit, I looked with distain upon those using a Mac. Over time I have read many comments in forums, from both sides of the camp and it struck me that those with comments like 'dont want a virus - then use a Mac' and 'Mac users are Apple Fanboys and waste their money on pretty hardware', really dont know what they are talking about. 

What I mean, is that if you are going to post a negative or derogatory comment about something, at least back it up with recent data that proves your point. Saying that you wouldn't recommend a product because twelve years ago you had a bad experience just makes you look petty and bitter.

Back to my recent purchase.

I had been looking for something that I can use for editing video, along with a few other tasks at home. Sure, there are Windows based PCs on sale for under $600 but by the time you spec it to be capable of running a decent video editing package, it soon rockets to over $1000. Which, by chance is the entry point for the Macs.

I also wanted something that I can just boot-up and use. Not, boot up, wait for it to load all of the bits it needs and then be somewhat ready for me. I have to say that so far I am impressed with the performance of the machine. The longest wait I have had was the service-pack download for the OS when I first turned it on.

The keyboard will take some getting used to, with the Command, Control and Option buttons that allow keyboard shortcuts to other commands... but it will no doubt be interesting.

 

Yeah! My first CRM score in a month!

OK, so some of you who know my secret identity, may be aware that I have been waging war against the monster known as MS CRM.

Today, there was a little ray of hope in the vast dismal cavern of my war-room.

I successfully managed to get my Outlook connector, to connect to CRM remotely. Thats a big thing, especially with the sales meeting tomorrow where CRM will be manditory and they all live in MS CRM.

Now they can access their CRM from their Outlook environment and sync all of their tasks and appointments.

Now... how to get them to actually use it...

Wow... what a break

After over a month of no posting and blogging, I am feeling a little refreshed and ready to go. Its not that I didnt have ideas to write about, I had lots. "Must blog about this", "Must blog about that"... unfortunatley, there wasn't enough time at the right time, to do so. Anyway, here is my re-surgence of blog posts. Starting Right here... Right Now....

New Posts > Coming Soon!

Google Mail Conversion Complete

After a few weeks of blog-free work, I thought it was high time to get back on it. Not that I've had nothing to blog about, just been really busy - I will try and update shortly.

One of my pet projects was to finish the transfer of my personal email accounts to Google mail, from the hosting providors email system. My main reasoning behind this, was to create a seperate system from my work setup. Outlook PST files and the like, are eating my disk space and Google will let me store it at their place for free. Plus, it makes it slightly easier to hook into my iPad and my all new, shiney iPhone! (more on that little baby later.)

After setting up the free Google apps account, it was just a case of configuring my settings, changing my MX records to point to the Google servers and setup my iDevice. Easy. Im already seeing a huge reduction in spam, and for ease of use I have them setup as imap connections. There is nothing worse than having to delete the same email on three devices.

Anyway, until I get my home exchange server setup, Google will be more than adequate for my needs. And actually, thinking about it, it is way less maintenance and management too.