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May, 2014

Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

A phishing email popped into my inbox this morning. That’s hardly a rare occurrence, but what was unusual about this one is that I really wasn’t sure, for a moment, if it was malicious or not.

Take a look:

natwest

This caught my eye, as I’ve recently returned from overseas travel, and I did (foolishly) log into my account on hotel Wi-Fi without taking any precautions. What if someone had nabbed my login credentials?

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Tech support: your horror stories, tips and tricks

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

frustrated

Have a bit of tech savvy? Do your friends and family know it? Then you’re likely used to acting as unofficial tech support, taking calls at all hours to fix wobbly internet connections, or offering step-by-step instructions to turning a laptop on and off again.

You’re the one carefully explaining Heartbleed to confused friends who saw conflicting headlines about password resets, and warning parents to change login details on Ebay.

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Posted in: Random

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eBay hack: Are tech giants above the law?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Fine

Earlier today, the information commissioner admitted that doling out a fine to eBay for losing 145 million customer records will make little difference to the company.

While in theory a breach like this means that “your brand is trashed”, many tech companies are too big and too successful for any monetary penalty to make a real dent in them. That’s especially so for a company like eBay that has no real competitor. Any damage to the brand will be minimal and transient.

It doesn’t help that data breaches are hardly exceptional events. As consumers we’re all too accustomed to hearing that one of our tech providers has suffered a data breach. We read the news reports, sigh, change our passwords and move on.

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How to lose a business customer on the web

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

OverworkedPeople talk about Net Neutrality a lot. The fear is that a two-tier (or four-tier or six tier…) internet will develop once the floodgates are open, so that internet businesses can develop cosy preferential relationships with their most profitable partners, relegating all others to less well serviced, lesser performing backwaters that don’t get the offers or find themselves cut out of all sensible forms of communication.

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Posted in: Rant

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Your right to a private life extends to your email

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Man at screen

This may cost me some friends and a place on Germaine Greer’s Christmas Card list, but I have some sympathy for Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive who’s been castigated for sending sexist emails.

A friend of mine is a largish cheese at a well-known broadcasting company. Recently, we were arranging a curry night with some pals over email, exchanging the normal “banter” that passes between a group of friends who’ve known each other for years, when said broadcasting exec suddenly felt the need to inform us that – like Scudamore – his PA had access to his inbox.

There was nothing particularly off-colour in the email exchanges, certainly nothing comparable to the comments that have had Scudamore dusting down his CV this week, but the tone of the conversation changed immediately. Dialogue that would be utterly harmless between friends who’ve known each other since university, who know each other’s sense of humour and when someone is being ironic, was suddenly unacceptable when his PA was potentially reading the exchanges, too.

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Adobe Voice: a simple, free iPad app for making explainer videos

Friday, May 9th, 2014

photo

With no fanfare at all, Adobe has released a curious little iPad app called Voice – a very simple presentational tool for putting together “explainer videos”. You might not be familiar with that term (I wasn’t), but the style is instantly recognisable: we’re talking about those jaunty little shorts in which a disembodied voice, dripping with warmth and earnestness, talks the listener through the basics of a project or proposition, normally over a bed of plinky-plonky ukulele music.

The software itself works similarly to PowerPoint; your video comprises a series of pages, onto each of which you place a graphic, or some text, or a combination of the two. Then, you hold down the record button to lay down a voiceover for each page using the iPad’s built-in microphone – and you’re done. As workflows go, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

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