Monthly Archives: May 2004

ADT MobileSafety GPS/Cellular/Mapping Hybrid

ADT MobileSafety GPS/Cellular/Mapping Hybrid.

ADT Security Services new MobileSafety combines GPS, cell phone, and mapping service features into a least-common denominator device that strips most of the functionality of its inspiration in a trade-off for ease-of-use. One push of the single button on the device puts the user in touch with ADT's monitoring center via the speakerphone, where emergency services can be routed to your location or directions can be audibly given. You can even add the ADT Trak option to keep real time tabs on the location of the car via ADT's website or by phone. It's not a bad idea, really. Even though there are dozens of more full-featured devices out there that do similar things, ADT already has the call centers set up to support their home and business security systems, and the $129 price point (plus the $20/month monitoring fees) is a pretty low barrier to entry for those that want a little more safety in their cars. (Thanks, Matthew!) Read [ADT] [Gizmodo]

Target: The Price of Oil

3 out of the 4 al Qaeda guerrillas in the Khobar, Saudi Arabia attack escaped. This is either a gross operational failure or an indication of fifth column force within Saudi security ranks.  For more background on understanding attacks on Saudi Arabia, see “Target: The Price of Oil” , “Target: Ghawar“, and “Journal:  Saudi Oil Defenses.”  I also think “Cascading System Failure” should be read given that these attacks are primarily, albeit indirectly, against global oil infrastructure.  I am working on a new post on Infrastructure take-down theory.  It should be up soon.  [John Robb's Weblog]

Vendors Don't Take Simple Security Setup Seriously

Vendors Don't Take Simple Security Setup Seriously. Almost superb AP story on the lack of simple setup in Wi-Fi home gateways: The reporter neatly details the difficulties in all of the current Wi-Fi gateways in turning security on, especially in gateways and adapters designed by different companies. The only point the writer misses is that WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), which is required in all new Wi-Fi equipment, allows the entry of a simple passphrase instead of a long sequence of hexadecimal numbers. But there's so much pre-WPA equipment out there that hexadecimal WEP keys are still the rule of the day–most adapters (but not all wireless gateways) can be patched to handle WPA, but a user who can't figure out hex keys won't be able to figure out where to find obscure firmware upgrades. Windows XP requires patches and a rollup to support WPA, while Apple users must installed Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) for WPA support. As WPA support permeates the home market through updates and upgrades to hardware, and as new equipment fills homes, you might see security improve through less obscurity. [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Exchange Server 2003 Disaster Recovery Operations Guide

Exchange Server 2003 Disaster Recovery Operations Guide

Microsoft has released the Exchange Server 2003 Disaster Recovery Operations Guide.

This guide explains how to back up and restore the critical data in your Exchange organization. It covers how to use the backup utility in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (Backup), how to back up Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, and how to restore Exchange Server 2003. This guide explains how to perform backup and restore procedures so that you can prepare for (back up) and recover from (restore) a failure that causes some or all of your data to become unavailable. This guide is intended for information technology (IT) professionals who perform backup and restore procedures or who write customized backup and restore procedures for their organization.  [MS Exchange Blog]

Potomac Tech Journal

Potomac Tech Journal.  A big problem that is severely impacting the GWOT. It's sounds like the system needs to be revamped given the change in the threat's mode of operation.

The war on terrorism has forced government contractors in the region into a high-stakes competition for a finite supply of specialized information technology workers with security clearances.

“One of my clients tells me he really feels I sent him the perfect person, but he doesn’t have the clearance,” Ebert said. “One applicant was a [former] Navy Seal and one was a Green Beret. If you can’t trust those people, and accelerate the process for them, who would you do it for?”

A DoD spokesman said last week that the total backlog of investigations had been reduced to 262,000.

But one firm’s successes might come at the expense of other contractors in a zero-sum game to recruit a finite pool of candidates with clearances. [John Robb's Weblog]

MySQL Conference Roundup

MySQL Conference Roundup.  This past week was the MySQL conference in case you missed it. Here's some of the stuff I found pretty interesting.

First, Jeremy Zawodny's new book High Performance MySQL has been published and is on Safari (if you have a subscription). Right off the bat it's very informative:

Many binary distributors of MySQL mold it to fit “their” layout. For example, the Debian distribution places the config files in /etc/mysql/, some language-specific files in /usr/share/mysql/, the executables directly into /usr/bin/, etc. It's not “the Debian way” to segregate an application's binaries; it incorporates them into the system as a whole. Likewise, in those places it does incorporate them, it does so in what may seem like an odd manner. For instance, you might expect config files to go directly into /etc/, but instead they get put in /etc/mysql/. It can be confusing if you're trying to find everything you need to modify, or if you're trying to later convert from one type of installation to the other.

The tarball binary packages, however, behave more like the source-compilation process. All the files – configuration files, libraries, executables, and the database files themselves – end up in a single directory tree, created specifically for the MySQL install. This is typically /usr/local/mysql, but it can be altered as needed at installation time. Because this behavior is much the same as a source-compiled installation, the available support from the MySQL community is much greater. It also makes things easier if you decide later to instead use a MySQL installation you compile from source.

Very cool – and it just gets better. I stupidly ordered it in hard-copy from O'Reilly thinking that with the 20% Safari discount I was getting a deal – turns out that has it for $5 cheaper with free shipping. Anyways, I should have it in a few days and I'm sure it'll be indispensable. Note to others: If you're the guy who insists, bitches and moans about moving to MySQL from another OSS database, be prepared to know everything about it when your organization actually does what you wanted. “Aren't you the one who wanted MySQL?” Yes, yes… that was me. 😉

I was actually disappointed to hear that 4.1 won't be going beta until next month and won't be in production until Q4!!! I was told it was going to be production *a lot* sooner (as in this week). Urgh. As I'm using the spatial indexing stuff, and it'd be nice if it was more solid. And what about 5.0? I thought 4.1 was going to become 5.0 when launched? I'm confused.

Anyways, here's some great weblog posts from the conference that I thought were interesting.

Thanks to Anthony, Mike, Jeremy and others who took the time to go to the conference and write up such detailed reports!  [Russell Beattie Notebook]

OQO 4 Real

OQO 4 Real. 40 Companies Are Test Driving the OQO

“OQO has selected a lucky group of 40 major potential corporate customers to test drive the OQO Model 01. They are pretty confident — and we can hardly disagree — that 'OQO will sell every unit it can make during the first year or two.'

The Model 01 — which measures 4.9 inches x 3.4 inches x 0.9 inches — will, supposedly, be available in the fall. It will have a 1GHz CPU, 20GB hard drive, 256MB RAM, Windows XP, 800×480 Wide-VGA 5-inch screen, 802.11b wireless, Bluetooth, FireWire (1394), USB 1.1 and a digital pen.” [Engadget]

Wow, it's real after all. I'd love for these to live up to the hype. Imagine the possibilities for mobile labs in libraries. Take your training on the go!  [The Shifted Librarian]

“All Trust the Internet”

“All Trust the Internet”.

On a Mission: The New Internet Mission

“According to Nielsen, there are 31 million moms online. They're 38, tend to be married, are very smart — college educated — and are working moms. Moms forever have been key decision makers. What's interesting is how that translates to the Internet.

You have to be where they are online. In 2004, moms told us that they're spending more time online than watching television…. We did a lot of focus groups with moms. It's one of those time-saving devices. It simplifies their life, and that's what they're looking for when they turn to the Internet….

We arrived at four distinct segments: the Tech Nester, Mrs. Net Skeptic, the Yes Mom, and Passive Under Pressure. We got rid of that last segment because she's passive and a newbie, but we still ended up with 77% of Internet moms….

When we started really digging into the segments, we found that their similarities are more interesting than their differences. They were all after the same basic things. They want to simplify their lives. All trust the Internet. The Internet is where they turn to first. You don't have to have separate strategies to address each segment….

They all want information. They think the Internet is the most useful medium for accessing information. And as a source of entertainment, it came in number two. As it did for spending time with their kids. They've come to rely on the Internet. 84% said they would miss the Internet the most if it went away. It's the same with kids and teens.” [Fast Company Now, via Lost Remote]

Although this article and the study are aimed more at marketers, it's interesting to read the results in the context of libraries. The need to do research, the desire for making life simpler, and the misguided trust of all things internet… how are libraries fitting into these womens' lives? Are they? There are whole trust circles online where libraries are nowhere to be found. How do we get there?  [The Shifted Librarian]