Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tabnabbing Madness

Great, so my favorite thing about next generation browsers, tabs, is now a security risk. Thanks a lot hackers, you guys are great. Basically what's going on is a group of jerks Firefox has figured out a way to make a tab that you have open APPEAR to be the tab you opened, but as though you logged out of whatever site you were looking at. Email, bank sites, ebay, whatever site you can think of. When you log back in, macho problems may occur.

Here's how it goes down:
You go to your Gmail, you login, you check your mail, delete some viagra emails and move over to your Facebook page. You leave gmail alone for a while, make a few comments about how funny your friend was when they fell in the pool yesterday, cruise back over to Gmail to see if you got any new messages from your peeps. What's this? You're signed out of Gmail? eh, that's normal, you sign back in. That's it, it's a done deal, they now have your gmail email address and password. What happened when you weren't looking was a little program was downloaded (likely without your knowledge) through javascript from a shady site, this program went to work either right after you switched tabs or even up to HOURS after you changed tabs. This little buggers codes the page to appear like you've been logged out, so when you go back to the site, "oh I need to put my password back in here...". Gmail opens up like it normally should and everything goes off without a hitch, because... YOU WERE NEVER LOGGED OUT.

The bottom line here is it's up to you to protect yourself. You need to be in charge of how your system runs and what you are viewing/doing online. The key to avoiding this security risk is always always always review what URL you are entering your password data into. That's it. When using computers connected to the Internet the rule of thumb has always been "constant vigilance." This is just one more thing to add into your mental check list you run through anytime something online looks suspicious.

Right now this is just a proof of concept the guys over a FireFox hammered out, we don't know that hackers are actually doing this yet. I get why FireFox is making note of it, they have a sweet add-on that should stop this from happening. It's called "Noscript". This add-on stops javascript from running hog wild, and requires the user to select the sites in advance that they would like to allow javascript to run on. Kind of a pain, but if you are to lazy for "constant vigilance" "Noscript" is a good answer. There will be a little set up using Noscript, you'll have to go through and pick out the sites you visit on a daily basis that you already trust. And you'll have to be aware of what sites you are viewing and who runs them in the future. You'll obviously want to add more sites into your list of acceptable Javascript sites, so there is some vigilance in there, but when using a computer connected to the Internet there's really no way around it.

For me this really isn't an issue, I don't have any money for hackers to steal anyway. *shrug*

Here's where I learned about this. Props to Ian and Alan for letting me know!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's so exclusive they're dying to get in...

Quite a few famous folks have passed this year, this month even! Here's a list of notable famous people meeting their maker:

Dennis Hopper

See this is tough, I tried to think of a funny way to paint this but there really isn't one. Dennis Hopper was an amazing actor that managed to maintain a high level of acting through out his entire career. Every project he was involved with he gave his full attention and did a wonderful job. I guess there definitely will not be a Water World 2. Whew, dodged a bullet on that one.

Gary Coleman

I couldn't decide which picture was worse; the photograph he will be (unfortuantely) eternally remembered as from "Diff'rent Strokes"? Or a current picture of him with a cell phone "hands free" unit in his ear. People...remove these hands free things for pictures, you never who is going to get a hold of it and use it as your wikipedia picture. So here's both! why not, here's a picture of him in a cowboy hat as well

Gary Coleman passed away May 28th of this year, he was certainly one of the most famous television stars of all times and will be missed.

Simon Monjack

This is hardly even notable, Simon Monjack was the husband of Brittany Murphy, and was basically a total loser. After Brittany's tragic death earlier this year he started a charity to raise money for...something, it turned out to be himself, the charity was shut down after only $800 was raised. Some folks would say the world is a better place without Simon Monjack, I plan to meet these folks and join their group...or team, whatever. I'm not sure what day he fact...this guy BARELY counts as celebrity status. It's like saying I'm a celebrity because I've watched TV before, "I've seen all the stars through ma tely-visor. Sometimes they talk straight ta me!" (I literally could not find a picture of him without Brittany in frame, I only tried for 10 minutes, but that seemed like 9 minutes and 45 seconds too long. So here's a picture of Yoda.)

Ronnie James Dio

Huge Rockstar and credited with popularizing the famous hand gesture of "Devil Horns", Ronnie James Dio passed away May 16, 2010. Ronnie was a great performing and a wonderful entertainer, he played with dozens of famous musicians. He joined Black Sabbath, one of the most famous dark metal bands in history in 1979. Nobody rocked the skullet like dio...nobody. This is one of my favorite pictures of him. When I see this photo, the visual I get in my mind is of a metal head who was also part Robin Hood's merry men. Take a second and listen to the tenacious D "Dio" song, in Ronnie's memory. "Dio" on Youtube

Corey Haim

Anyone under the age of 25 is saying "Who the hell Corey Haim?" Then a 30+ person with eyes the size dinner plates gives the whiper snaper a glare, whilst screaming "LOST BOYS? LUCAS? DREAM A LITTLE DREAM?! Wait...was he in dream a little dream..." Corey made a lame/boring/futile attempt to get back into Hollywood by producing a show about himself and fellow Corey screw up, Corey...duh...what's that guys last name? Feldman? I think it's Feldman, I'm not going to look it up, so we're going with Feldman. He was Mouth on Goonies, that should frame him well enough. Corey Haim passed away on March 10th of this year.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sex and the City is LOTR for Girls, boring

I was part of a conversation recently where a comparison was made between Sex and the City movies and Lord of the Rings trilogy. Basically the idea was “Sex and the City is like the lord of the rings for girls!” This is insane to me. Here are two lists, the first list shows all the reasons lord of the rings is awesome. The second list shows all the reasons why sex and the city is awful.

Why LOTR is awesome:
1. Lord of the rings is a timeless trilogy of novels penned by an amazing writer.
2. The scene where Gandalf fights the Balrog, put this on in HD with surround sound. It will change your whole life.
3. Hobbits!!!!
4. Mountain Trolls.
5. Blibo’s eleventy-first birthday, yes, eleventy first, complete with a fireworks dragon.
6. Liv Tyler.

Why Sex in the City is terrible:
1. Sex and the City is based on a television show, which was based on a book, which was based on my own personal hell.
2. Sex and the City is not an epic, awesome trilogy.
3. Sex and the City is about a stuck up, annoying old lady who is rich for some reason.
4. Sex and the City features ZERO awesomeness.
5. Kim Cattrall, I’m sure she was awesome when she was alive.
6. Big’s name was John, his name was freaking John the whole time. Why not have Sarah Jessica Parker wake up at the end and realize it was “All a terrible dream!” I wish I could…

The only similarity between the two is that Sarah Jessica Parker looks like Gollum, crossed with a horse wearing a wig. Zing.

Update! An exciting artist rendition has been created!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Producers and Fixers

In this day in age businesses have sprung up to sell you any kind of thing you could ever think of. Need a blanket with sleeves? We got it. Wanna play battleship with someone in China? No problem. How about a robot that vacuums your floor? Check aaaand mate. Basically whatever you can think of, someone is marketing it and selling it. I mean…let’s not get super sci-fi here, we don’t have flying DeLoreans and you’re still(unbelievably)more likely to be struck by lightning then to be attacked by a giant hologram of a great white shark.

One thing I’ve notice when trying to look at the grand scheme of things is there appears to be two main types of business; I think the best way to categorize those is with “Producers” and “Fixers”. Producers obviously create something, they produce a product that’s sweet/awesome and you want to own it. You run to the store the day it comes out and drool through the plate glass window, wishing you were the annoying little kid screaming at his mom to hurry up and pay for his new treasure. Fixers come into the picture long after you’ve ripped open the package and put some mileage on your new product.

Fast Forward 6 months, this kid has somehow lodged his Wii-mote in the ceiling fan. He doesn’t realize how delicate the internal workings of this wonderful product are, so he pulls it out of the ceiling fan and tries to fire up another round of Wii Sports Tennis. Kid isn’t getting any love from his Wii-Mote, it’s smoking a little even, certainly broken. He decides he should get on the horn with an expert and see how badly he’s mucked this one, he calls “Tim’s Nintendo Wii and Ceiling Fan Repair Emporium” for advice. Tim makes it clear that “bro, if your Wii-mote was stuck in the ceiling fan it’s toast and prob time to scoop up new one.” The kid is furious, he’s 12 years old, has no money, and his family has been injured by his over-zealous Zelda slashes enough times to know that replacing the Wii-Mote is not in their best interests.

What can this kid do? He’s totally boned at this point right? His options are limited to purchase a new device, or quit playing. 100 years ago this situation would not have existed for two reasons: The first is obvious, this technology didn’t exist, sure, whatever, here’s your gold star. The second is my point; this device is so specific and carefully tuned over years of research and development that there isn’t much chance that this kid has the 10 years of practical electrician experience required to work on the Wii-Mote under his belt.

Here we are, full circle, producers and fixers. I feel like this divide is most apparent in two industries, the automotive industry and computer industry. There are no other items in history that have been used on such a huge level as these two, yet has they both have a user base that has little to no idea exactly HOW these machines work. There are always a few things with each that are painfully obvious, tires are filled with air, you can maintain that by refilling or emptying air out of them periodically. Easy. Computers need to be updated with the latest software so they can function and interact with other computers and systems via the internet. In most cases your operating system will take care of that for you, but what about stand alone programs or driver software? Those typically will not update without a little human intervention, even as simple as checking a box that says “update automatically”, you still MUST check that box for it to work. Also easy, no problem right? What about bigger, long term maintenance? Could you flush the transmission fluid and give it a nice rinse cleaning any particles that may have accumulated over the last few years? I seriously doubt it. This isn’t meant to be offensive to anyone, (“hey dummy, you don’t know how ur stuff workz LOLs”) I know I don’t have the tools or know how to flush my transmission fluid.

So that’s what it comes back to, either you don’t have the tools to accomplish such a feat, or you don’t have the training. I feel like business’ more and more often are creating this situation even more heavily as time goes on. Do you have a newish car? Ever looked under the hood? Chances are if it’s newer than 2007 you can’t even SEE the engine. You see a sleek looking plastic plate shaped like the top of an engine with the producer of the cars name etched in fancy chrome lettering. Go run that same test on a car older than 1999, it’s a mess of wires, belts and rubber tubes, the guts of your vehicle. It feels like more and more business’ are discouraging you from being your own Fixer, duh, they want you to use their fixer! Or at least a fixer that has studied their rigorous training course and has passed their expectations. This can be good and bad, you know for a fact that there are experts with excellent knowledge bases, but it’s going to cost you. Expertise does not come cheap my friend. So where do we go from here? Will there be a grass roots movement demanding producers make it easier on the general public to fix and maintain their own devices and machines? Probably not. The best we can do is educate ourselves, the beautiful part is now the producers have taken all of the responsibility of being fixers out of our hands. When something goes wrong, we have every right to call them…screaming.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vérité: 8x The Blog

Hi there and welcome to the Vérité blog. Vérité is a web based ad agency focusing on creative, interactive and technology based media. Our goal is to create exciting experiences that drive customers to our clients while maintaining the Internet’s accepted best practices. We do this by keeping a close eye on how communication and media fluctuate in a quickly changing environment and respond to those changes by updating our policy and informational guide lines as well as make our clients aware of major changes worth noting.

Vérité has been in business for 15 years and we’ve been lucky enough to work with some great people. Vérité has created multimedia projects for Rio Tinto, Novell, Symantec, and Iomega just to name a few. Clients have come to expect a great attitude and strong communication from the Project Management team and clever creative coupled with smart technology from our production group. Long term, our clients enjoy support from our maintenance department as well as Google analytics updates sent monthly. To see a more detailed list of clients we have worked with and projects we have completed please check out our Recent Work, By Client and By Type pages on our site. Recent work shows all of the projects we have completed in the last few months, BY CLIENT shows projects centered around specific clients and our BY TYPE page shows all of the projects we’ve completed for each of our clients based on the type of project. Feel free to poke around our website and let us know what you think on the feedback section.

This blog will be updated daily with useful information about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what we think is cool/sucks. Check back often to get a daily dose of technology, creative and little bit of geeky insight into the Vérité life style.

Daily DJ’ism
At Vérité we have an employee you may have never heard of, we call him “The DJ”. The DJ is a system that randomly selects MP3s to play through speakers set up on our production floor. The DJ will spout Simpsons quotes, Movie quotes, random songs and sometimes will speak out on points he believes are worth noting. Perhaps the DJ isn’t wearing any underwear today, he’ll be sure to let you know.

Here’s today’s daily DJ’ism: “This is the DJ, I haven’t been getting my pay check lately. Am I going to have start ratting people out to the RIAA?”