Monthly Archives: August 2008

LG Chocolate 3 (vx8560) Review

My cell phone contract expired a few weeks ago and I decided to stick with Verizon as my cell phone carrier. I find that in most areas that I’ve been in, the reception is excellent. The two areas where I spend most of my time, D.C. Metro Area and University Park, PA are well covered by Verizon’s network. Upon doing research on their decently large selection of cell phones, I decided on the new LG Chocolate 3. All reviews were positive, and I didn’t mind paying a little extra money for a better cell phone. In the past, I have just gotten the free cell phone they offer with a new, two year contract and it has proven to be more trouble than it is worth.

It turns out that my choice proved to be the correct one, as the Chocolate 3 is one of the best phones I have ever used. Having sold Cingular, T Mobile and AT&T phones at a large consumer electronics store in the past, I have seen a ton of phones. This phone packs in the right features mixed with an attractive body.

Click “more” to read the pros and cons of the device.

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Posted by on August 31, 2008 in Product/Service Review


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Campus Computing- Part 1

Students across the United States are returning to college in the next few weeks. It goes without saying that computers are an integral part of every college student’s life. Facebook, games, music and even research are done on these machines. Many college students have their own computer for the first time, and many do not know that steps need to be taken in order to protect their investment. The Campus Computing series on Digital Frontier focuses on explaining problems people face while using computers in a college setting. Everything from protecting against malware, tips for social network usage, copyright laws, online banking and useful software will be covered in this four part series.


Most people know that with the incredible access to information on the internet, there comes a few pitfalls. Besides the problem of finding information that is actually correct, the most important issue users face is that of malware. Malware is a term that encompasses spyware, adware, viruses, trojan horses, rootkits and other computer attacks. Invariably, computers can become infected by any number of computer attacks while doing things as innocuous as reading email and visiting your favorite webpages.

Click “more” to find more great information to protect yourself while on the computer.

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Posted by on August 24, 2008 in Security


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Daily Links

I know my posts in the last month have been far and few between, so I wanted to give you people something to graze on for a while.  Since I’m back at school and trying out for the Blue Band, I won’t have a whole lot of time in the coming weeks.  I hope to get at least a couple of posts written for posting later in the next couple of days.

  1. Russia’s brief war with the Eastern European country of Georgia was the first war to be prefaced by a series of cyber attacks.  While the attacks may have not originated by Russia, there is something to be said about the degree of attacks.  This article describes Georgia’s inability to defend itself and the shockingly similarities that their cyber infrastructure has to the United States’.  The Department of Homeland Security reports that “the United States has no effective means of unilaterally preventing coordinated attacks from striking US websites.”
  2. AFCYBER, a topic of which I have written about a lot, has been put on hold due to the upper command of the Air Force.  Industry experts say that this move could be the result of the armed services trying to figure out which branch should hold authority when securing cyberspace.  To check out this interesting article, click here.
  3. The specifications for the third version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB 3.0) have been released to companies around the world.  USB 3.0 has many advantages such as backwards compatibility with USB 1.0 and 2.0, ten times the speed of USB 2.0, and technology to be more energy efficient.  This new standard also means you will be able to charge your USB devices much quicker.
  4. Ars Technica reports that RFID based passports are incredibly vulnerable.  They also report that a RFID passport can be faked with $120 in resources.  Countries around the world have been given ways to secure this new technology, but few have taken the initiative to do so.
  5. This CIO Today article describes how companies are using cloud computing in order to streamline their operations.  Cloud computing is taking the world by storm, although the average person may not realize it.  Services like Twitter and Google Apps use cloud computing to host their services.
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Posted by on August 19, 2008 in Daily Links


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CAPTCHA-Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart

If you’ve made it past the title of this post, congratulations. While copying over the title from my source material, I had to check to make sure it was correct a couple of times.

Essentially, a CAPTCHA is a form of authentication that lets computer systems know that a human is at the other end of the connection. You can find an example of a CAPTCHA at the official website. Generally, you will see a CAPTCHA when you sign up for an account with a website. You’ll fill in your information, and then type two distorted words into a box. The point to this whole system is to prevent automated computer programs and bots from filling out these web forms for account on websites. Although my sources report that computer technology is catching up to human visual recognition capability, CAPTCHA is still an incredibly lucid tool.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University realized they could exploit the explosively effective CAPTCHA system in a positive manner. The researchers took words scanned from old printed materials and included them into a new CAPTCHA system called reCAPTCHA. In the process of digitizing old reading materials like newspapers, historical documents and other valuable texts, computer programs cannot scan all words successfully.

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Posted by on August 14, 2008 in Security


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The National Emergency Communications Plan

On July 31, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Emergency Communications Plan. This plan comes out of DHS’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) and gives long and short term recommendations to address the problems with national emergency communication. Title XVII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 requires that such a plan be developed, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks and significant natural disasters.

The press release reports that the ultimate goal of the NECP is to ensure that communications during emergency situations is efficient among all levels of government and private industry. Perhaps the best part of NECP is that it isn’t another “well this a list of the thing we want.” NECP gives a list of goals as well as a strategic look on how to accomplish those goals. To ensure smooth communications during disasters, the NECP gives the following three goals:

Goal 1—By 2010, 90 percent of all high-risk Urban Areas designated within the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications (the capacity of individuals with primary operational leadership responsibility to manage resources and make timely decisions during a multi-agency incident without technical or procedural communications impediments) within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
Goal 2—By 2011, 75 percent of non-UASI jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
Goal 3—By 2013, 75 percent of all jurisdictions are able to demonstrate response-level emergency communications within three hours of a significant event as outlined in national planning scenarios.

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Posted by on August 1, 2008 in Security


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