Monday, August 29, 2005

Summer Travelers Want Broadband

When travelers where asked what hotel product or service they would they would be willing to pay extra for, high-speed Internet access or a computer in the room topped the list.

As Labor Day approaches, a new survey from Harris Interactive finds that two-thirds (66%) of US adults have taken or will take a vacation this summer.

When asked what is the one thing they "absolutely must take with them" when traveling on vacation, Americans were most likely to say personal hygiene items (15%). Computers were far down the list. (click graph to view)

But travelers still want the ability to go online, and fast. When asked what was missing from their hotel stays that they would most be willing to pay extra for, high-speed Internet access or a computer in their room topped the list at 10%. Better entertainment, such as DVD or Tivo, was third. (click graph to view)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Your VoIP Line May Be Terminated Next Week

If you don't acknowledge the 911 service sucks
Written by Karl Bode

If you don't respond to your VoIP provider's emails concerning the limitations of 911 service, you could find your service terminated early next week. It's part of an FCC order many providers claim is unreasonable, and at least one is suing over. Doesn't matter whether you use it on DSL, a T1 or a DS3! Everyone is affected.

Back in May a mother blamed Vonage 911 service for her baby's death, despite the fact Vonage proved to local news outlets that the 911 call in question went through - twice. That didn't seem to matter. This and other similar reports created an uproar, and VoIP 911 became a hot political issue.

In some instances the problem was that customers didn't carefully read this screen, alerting them that they must manually configure 911 service before use. The customer complaints led several states to sue Vonage. Vonage responded by routing everyone to 911 centers, regardless of whether they'd configured the service or not.

Too late.

Despite the fact that on any given day you can find ample examples of traditional 911 failures, VoIP 911 was now an FCC and Congressional target. This prompted the creation of new laws, and an FCC order demanding all VoIP providers offer 911 service by November (some VoIP industry insiders believe this is a trojan horse effort to eliminate bell competition).

VoIP provider Nuvio has decided to sue the FCC over the 120 day window, claiming the request "unreasonable, arbitrary, and because technologically infeasible, capricious."

As part of the order, providers were also told they had to get 100% customer acknowledgement of the limitations of VoIP 911 by August 29.

That request also hasn't sat well with VoIP providers. “You could tell people that their house is burning down and by clicking on this link you can stop it and only 60 percent of them would respond,” recently noted VoicePulse CEO Ravi Sakaria.

As the hour grows late, VoIP providers have grown desperate - flinging the "our 911 service sucks" confirmation emails far and wide. Our office receives at least one a day, and we're not even a current customer.

Time Warner Cable meanwhile claims they've gotten all 600,000 VoIP customers to respond (sure they did, says CNET's Russell Shaw).

Vonage states they've received confirmation from roughly 96% of their subscribers. If the estimated remaining 31,000 subscribers don't respond to Vonage by next week, they will find their services terminated.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bank ATMs Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers

Bank ATMs Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers

A team of organized criminals is installing equipment on legitimate bank ATMs in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.

The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN is cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.

At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.

The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.

scam graphic
Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card slot.

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The equipment as it appears installed over the normal ATM bank slot.

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The PIN reading camera being installed on the ATM is housed in an innocent looking leaflet enclosure.

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The camera shown installed and ready to capture PINs by looking down on the keypad as you enter your PIN.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Official: Computer God

Ok... so I took the geek test and scored a 95. Guess I am a professional geek after all.

My computer geek score is greater than 95% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Your Score Summary

Overall, you scored as follows:

5% scored higher (more computer geeky),
0% scored the same, and
95% scored lower (less geeky).

Compared to those in the same age group as you:

6% scored higher (more computer geeky),
0% scored the same, and
94% scored lower (less geeky).

What does this mean? Your computer geekiness is:

Step aside Bill Gates, Linus Torvalds, and Steve Jobs... You are by far the SUPREME COMPUTER GOD!!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

So... New York? Paris?

She does good work!