Saturday, January 28, 2012

Post weekly (weekly)

  • "The time is finally here for my annual list of favorite sites of the year. This year I decided to up my post to the top 100 instead of 25 because of the number of sites that I reviewed and the popularity of the post. I tried to cover a wide range of sites, from flash-card creators to digital storytelling, and of course social networks, which really stood out in 2011. I hope everybody enjoys the list and has as much fun reading it as I did creating it."

    tags: techlearning

  • A social Learning platform built for education.

    tags: education

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Scam - Part II

It's only been about 24 hours since I heard about this scam, so we're not far into the process. Those scammers downloaded EVERYTHING off his computer. Everything. There good news, if there IS any to be found in this mess, is that he didn't have a quicken or Excel file anywhere that would have contained his important information. But, if they have his password to his email - which is the same password he has for everything - then they have access to WAY too much information.

So, the first thing he did was unplug the computer. (Closing the barn door after the horses have all left.)

Next, he called his Credit Union to report it and to stop his cards. For some reason it sounded to me like they only stopped his check card and not his Visa, so I encouraged him to call them back tomorrow to be sure they canceled both.

Next, he called the FBI to report it. The thinking was that they would then be on the alert for activity on his Social Security number. Wrong. They suggested he visit and file a report. Of course he can't do that on his computer, so he'll have to do it from work .

He will also be paying a company their $10/month fee to watch over and protect his SS#. An identity theft protection company. So, he's now got $120/yr added expense.

And he'll be coming over to my place on Sunday? Why? Well, I, being the closest thing to tech support that he can find, will spend much of Sunday reinstalling Windows XP. We'll format c: and start fresh. Of course, his CD is six years old, so the number of updates will be mind blowing, I'm sure. I'd rather chew razor blades than to sit and fuss with Windows all day, but that's what's going to happen. It's a full day's work. I KNOW why tech folks charge at least $200 to do it. It would be SO much easier if he could somehow spring for a new laptop, but I know that to be out of the question, as well.

Once again, PLEASE send an email to everyone in your address book and warn them against this scam. This isn't over by a long shot. It's going to get more costly as it moves forward. Costly both in terms of money AND time.

The Scam - Part I

My friend is no dummy. It's just that the timing of this scam couldn't have been better - for the scammers, that is. Couldn't have been worse for my friend.

His 6 year old Windows XP machine is probably loaded with spyware. I say that because it takes about 15-20 minutes to boot. Sometimes even longer. There were multiple hangs and freezes, and each one accompanied by the notice that asked if this error should be reported. He always said yes, figuring that it would keep the Microsoft folks employed.

Re-imaging a windows machine is no job for a novice, and paying someone else to do it was out of the question. The computer just wasn't worth the $200 that it would no doubt cost. I showed him how to put it into Hibernate mode instead of shutting it down, and that helped him tolerate this slow machine a while longer. In retrospect, that turned out not to be such a favor.

One evening he received a phone call from a very pleasant sounding woman who identified herself as an employee of Microsoft. She claimed to have been noticing an abnormal number of error messages (I think she called them error codes), and she was offering to fix them. How? Just allow her access to his computer and she'd take care of it.

Now, you and I know better, right? Microsoft doesn't employ people to call the homes of users, even if they DID somehow know your phone number, and volunteer to fix your computer. But, she even gave him a phone number and suggested that they hang up and he could call her back after he confirmed everything.  But, after all, there WERE a lot of error codes coming from his computer. Still... it smelled fishy. But yet, she was SO helpful over the phone. You can almost see the little angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, can't you?

Long story short, he DID allow this woman to have complete control of his machine. She said it would take quite a while, so he left it on and went to bed. Somewhere around 2:30AM he heard it reboot. That sick feeling in his stomach hadn't left. He just wasn't sure about this, but it was too late now. By the time I found out about it the next day it had been over 12 hours since she took control of his machine.

In the interest of reading comfort I'm going to stop this post here. I'll continue with Part II to let you know what he's gone through since then. In the meantime, PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this scam. It's SO easy for it to work, because if you've got a windows computer in the house, chances are it's running poorly and throwing errors. It's the perfect scam.
Creative Commons: Flickr: Ivers

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Post weekly (weekly)

  • A nice list to get new twitter users started.

    tags: twitter hashtags

  • Record from the computer and it will generate a qrcode that will point users to the recorded message.

    tags: QRcode

  • We are proud to announce the Operational release of "Reverb", the next generation metadata and service discovery tool. Reverb has been developed utilizing modern web development technologies and presents you with a fresh new look and interface for discovering Earth Science data. We invite you to give it a try and let us know what you think. Reverb will be continually updated on a monthly basis taking into account your user feedback and other enhancements which are currently planned. Your feedback will be critical in us ensuring that you are able to find and access the data you need in the best way possible.

    tags: earth science nasa

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.