I’ve been hacked. (Updated) (Updated again) (another update)

UPDATE 3: OK I am once again back in my gmail account now for just under 24 hours. I’m still leary of logging in from anywhere BUT my phone (and my parent’s office PC that is brand new and rarely used) and am going to do a clean install of Windows on my computer just to be safe. Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware both came up with bupkis on my home and office PC but our Trend Micro enterprise software did find a startling number of viruses on the two computers at our Reference Desk so right now my main suspicion is there (one of which was one of the last computers I used on Wednesday night since I work the evening shift). I haven’t made an attempt to recover my gmail account for this blog but I have posted a new one for the time being. Of course I’m still locked out of facebook which is both a blessing and a curse, plus I reset my phone to factory defaults so I lost all of my contacts. Right now all that’s left is a vague feeling of violation. Needless my review for Chasing the Dragon is a bit delayed. Barring more crises I hope to have it up by Monday afternoon at the latest.

UPDATE 2: So where I thought the problem is my home PC it is entirely possible that it is my work PC since, after updating my password, IT HAPPENED AGAIN while I was at lunch and even reset the password on the yahoo account I JUST MADE. I don’t really want or need this kind of stress. Right now running a virus scan and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware on my desk PC. This is REALLY REALLY lame.

UPDATE 1:  I’m now back in my WAAAAAAAAAY more important personal email account.  The email I used for contact on this blog has “deactivated due to suspicious activity.”   I’ve since put a different email on the “About” page.  My suspicion now is that whatever did this got access to a very very old yahoo account first since there were password reset emails I don’t remember asking about and somehow got in that way.  That account has since been deleted.  But maybe I’m wrong and it happened some other way.  Regardless, it was a might scare, and this is closest I’ve come to wanted a drink so early in the frickin’ the day.  I still don’t have access to my Facebook account but hopefully I’ll have that back sometime later today or tomorrow (something I won’t cry over).

I am not in Cardiff and I have not been mugged.

However, my Google account has been hacked.

I suspect it was a keylogger from a **cough**bittorrent**cough** site.

For those wondering:  THIS IS FUCKING TERRIFYING.

It’s easy to forget just how much of one’s online existence is tied to a single account.

I’m hoping everything can be resolved.  God help me if it can’t.

A Browser with Bling

I’m a huge Firefox fan.  Ever since adopting several years ago I’ve stood by the faithful fox through thick and then.  Lately though, things have changed.  I still enjoy Firefox, it is a fantastic product that is unbeatable in terms of customability and personalization.  However, I’ve begun to question its memory utilization.  I’m not a huge techie, I know just enough to break things, but I’ve found that my Firefox 3 can eat upwards of 600 mb of system resources.  I should preface this with by saying that this is on my PC at work which isn’t a spring chicken.  It’s a single core Pentium 4 just over 2 ghz, with a little of 1 GB of Ram, running Windows XP Professional which, while certainly not top of the line, is markedly more than enough to adequately run Firefox.  As if the large memory footprint weren’t enough there are occasions were something will slow up the browser’s operation causing delays when I type (anywhere from 2-5 seconds per key press) or when I try to switch tabs.  I have a multitude of extensions installed (Firebug, web developer, css viewer, tab scope, tiny menu, extended statusbar, to name a few) so for all I know it could be one of those causing the problem, but my recent performance woes did prompt me to give another browser a try.

Read on for my impressions of Google’s Chrome browser.

Continue reading “A Browser with Bling”

Warning! Information Science Ahead

I have a terrible habit of ignoring some of my work-related feeds in favor of the non-worked related video game or hardware enthusiast feeds but this morning I decided to actually read the headlines on my ReadWriteWeb feed and managed to fine not one, but two good articles.

The first, and most interesting, by Marshall Kirkpatrick, discusses the Semantic Web.  The article, Will the Semantic Web Have a Gender?, is what I read as one of the first (or maybe I’ve just missed those articles) deconstructionist arguments about the Semantic Web.  The article veers away from it’s titular focus and delves a bit more into the nature and definition of knowledge and looks at the viability of current epistemological leanings as they pertain to the development of the semantic web and makes for really fascinating reading.  The article isn’t particularly in depth but it is certainly thought provoking and well worth a read.

The second article, by Sarah Perez, discusses in brief the development of Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect is Facebook’s attempt to use their social networking service as a sort of hub for all your social networking needs allowing you to pull in and aggregate your various social networking activites.  My recent adoption of the Digsby client has definatley shown me the allure of that prospect and I will certainly be keeping an eye on that project.  Perez, also mentions how Facebook has changed quite a bit over the years from its initial exclusionary practices to a more open network.  Again interesting stuff that if your interesting in the social web either from an academic, profesional or personal perspective might be worth a read.

Anyhoo, I now return you to your regularly scheduled geek programming.

Re: Hive Mind

Librarian Powers Activate!

A higher quality version of the demo is available at the TED conference site here.

More info is also up at the Microsoft Live Labs page for the technology, called Photosynth.  There is a demo there as well but my crappy work computer can’t run it (lack of even a cheap graphics card).  Be warned it requires use of IE 6/7, which already negates its viability assuming they don’t shoot for browser independence for the official release.  It might also be Windows specific, but if a Mac or Linux user (running Wine or some other means of getting IE to work….I guess) knows different let me know.

There is some other cool stuff on there as well including the team blog and links to specialized collections, including a link to a project with the BBC called “Your Britain in Pictures”, that might be worth playing around with.

The wikipedia entry provides a bit of trivia, some similar products, and other interesting tidbits.  In particular the science behind the whole deal: photogrammetry.  The photgrammetry article has a solid list of external links if you’re interested in finding out more.  Is it me or does photogrammetry have a delightfully 19th century science sound to it?

Last National Geographic has a video demo of the Stonehenge constructed using Photosynth.


Finally…we’re live!

Our new library website is LIVE!

I’ve been working on this for what amounts to a year or more now.  Long, I know, but I learned as I went. While I knew basic HTML when I started, enough to put together a simple page, I had to learn XHTML, CSS and, eventually PHP.  The site has seen multiple iterations prior to the final design but I’m pleased with how things have finally turned.

The main page uses SimplePie to display a couple of RSS feeds as content generated by the amazingly useful listgarden generator.  The calendar is a bit of damn useful PHP developed by James Cridland.  Some areas are still a work in progress, some are simple movement of old content into a new package, but overall I’m happy with how things turned.

Browser compatability isn’t perfect.  An advanced CSS3 selector used to pick out Children’s events on the calendar only works in Firefox, Opera, and IE7.  However in most instances everything should work in IE6, IE7, Firefox 2 (and FF 3 beta 5), and Opera 9.x.  Give it a whirl and feel free to leave comments/suggestions/thoughts.

One last note, not everthing is standards compliant….yet.  PHP is a pain in the ass to validate for that, at least as far as I can tell, so if anyone has input I’d definatley appreciate any advice in that regard.

This represents my first “real” website design and I’m pretty proud of it so try not to bruise my ego too much.

NJ Says: IP Address = Private

From Ars Technica:

In the decision, the justices discuss the differences between IP addresses and return addresses on envelopes when discussing whether or not Internet subscriber information deserves an expectation of privacy. The justices say that IP addresses are sufficiently anonymous to justify privacy protection because, theoretically, only the Internet service provider can identify who is associated with a specific IP address.  Link.

Interesting stuff that, as Ars points out, is likely to become a more important topic down the road. How many times have you watched a crime procedural where the IP was magically tracked back to a person/address? In all the times I saw that I happen I never once considered that it might even be a violation of a person’s privacy.  But the judges make a good point, and Ars highlights, that:

The State compares IP addresses to the return addresses found on the outside of envelopes, which carry no privacy protection. But there is an important difference: letter writers choose to include their address on an envelope. They may also opt for anonymity and list no return address. Internet users have no such choice because they must have an IP address to access a website. In addition, the string of numbers that comprises an IP address and can be collected by a website is both less revealing and less public than a name or street address posted on an envelope,

As I said, interesting, a certainly food for thought as you do your daily browsing.

Electronic Storytelling

Saws on my BoingBoing feed:

We Tell Stories, is an online site made for Penguin publishing in which 6 authors are telling 6 stories based on classic works through the digital medium of the internet and using non-traditional methods.

How non-traditional?  The first story The 21 Steps uses google maps while Fairy Tale uses a choose-your-own-adventure form model.  While I doubt any of these will taking over the publishing world anytime soon it is certainly an interesting experiment worth a look.

Mmmm…vigilante justice

This story is too ridiculous not to pass along. A guy in Philly gets his TV, Xbox 360 and laptop stolen. He goes to the cops but doesn’t get much help (probably because they are so busy not solving the crapload of murders in the city that they don’t have time to not solve a burglary case). So he puts his story up on Digg.com and, after some ill-advised taunting from one of the burglars over Xbox Live, the gaming community manages to track down the thieves and harass them into returning the stolen goods.

I’m not even sure how to read this. It will definitely be sold in online forums as a tale of the collective might of the gaming community. And certainly if you ever get gamers to stop splitting down platform lines and all move in one direction they can do great things. But the incident is certainly problematic, although not for the online vigilant angle. The methods involved underline the problems of the internet. A group of geeks were able to start with a person’s GamerTag and end up with everything about him: name, address, photos, videos. I’d be way more worried about people using that expertise maliciously than about a group of gamers harassing a petty thief.

Eccentricities of a Platform and Net Neutrality

Once again coming my way via Rock Paper Shotgun is this amusing blog entry from PC Gamer’s Craig Pearson.  Anyone who has played an FPS on a PC knows the phenomenon and most have accepted it at face value.  Not Mr. Pearson though.  So join him as he delves the dark underbelly of online gaming in a quest to understand the hearts and minds of those strange creatures who sit alone on servers across FPSland.

Also, internet users, might take note that a new Net Neutrality Bill has surfaced. The bill seems to be a solid bit of work aimed at actually helping us (the consumers) and looking to providing us (the internet users) a viable avenue of complaint and action.  From the proposal itself:

The importance of the broadband market place to citizens, communities, and commerce warrants a thorough inquiry to obtain input and ideas for a variety of broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all individuals in the United States.

The bill goes on to discuss amendments to the Communications Act of 1934 to protect the posterity and virility of the internet as a free and open forum for the exchange of ideas by “adopting and enforcing baseline protections to guard against unreasonable discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, content by network operators based upon its source, ownership, or destination on the Internet.” The bill doesn’t stop there, it goes on to call for an examination of current and recent practices of broadband providers with regards to anything ranging from spam protection (“unsolicited commercial electronic mail,”), packet handling and traffic handling (“practices by which network providers manage or prioritize network traffic”) to further policies increasing consumer rights within the ‘net (“potential of policies promoting openness in spectrum allocation…through protection from unreasonable interference by network owners of an open marketplace for speech and commerce in content, applications, and services”). The bill manages to go even further, calling for “Broadband Summits” that, to my untrained eyes, amount to a federally backed campaign to promote and examine the use of broadband in a fair and decent manner in a way not only transparent to the public but through which they can participate in further legislation.

The bill, in my opinion, isn’t so much a means to an end as it is an opportunity for further change. Is that change necessarily for the better? I can’t honestly say. But I can say that I think no change at all is worse.