20 Jul 2010 @ 9:38 PM 

Someone in the US Cyber Command HQ at Ft Meade has a slight sense of humour. Check out their logo

US Cyber Command

US Cyber Command

Can you spot the hidden message (hint….you may need to click on the image to enlarge it)?

I will reveal it only because anyone with the ability to Google will no doubt be able to get the answer. Look at the text around the inner circle of the logo. You will see the following numbers and letters:

9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a

What does it all mean? Try running the string through a md5 decoding utility like the one located here and see what you get.

Listen…….can you hear the sound of Dan Brown working on his new novel as we speak?

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 20 Jul 2010 @ 09:38 PM

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 20 Jul 2010 @ 8:25 PM 

It would seem that Apple have now gone into damage control with the Antennagate problem touched upon in the last New Tech Order post. It appears that Apple have announced that they will be providing free bumper cases to disgruntled iPhone 4 owners or providing refunds for those who have already purchased one.

Too little too late? Hard to say at this point, at least it seems that Apple PR are starting along the right track. However, will this be the advantage need for those nipping at Apples heels to take?

And on the topic of Apple troubles, it would seem that my upgrade to iOS 4.0 and the subsequent 4.0.1 seems to have been a lucky one. Widespread reports are filtering through of massive performance issues post upgrades for iPhone 3G and 3GS users! Lucky me…I guess.

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 20 Jul 2010 @ 08:25 PM

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 18 Jul 2010 @ 5:39 PM 
iOS 4.0.1 upgrade screen

iOS 4.0.1 upgrade screen

Apple have made their iOS 4.0.1 software upgrade available today. Unlike other upgrades, you don’t receive a critical security fix that will keep you safer, and you don’t get a new feature that will make your use of the phone even more complete. What you do get is a better way of displaying how well (or how bad) the phone reception is in your area.

This is in response to the recent bad press received by the launch of the new iPhone 4 regarding the loss of signal that can occur when you are holding the phone. Apple admitted that the algorithm to calculate the number of bars shown for a given signal strength was incorrect and this new and complete iOS update will fix that “problem”.

This is truly a great and worthy update to spend time downloading. You will now see just exactly how crap the phone service in your area actually is instead of being lulled into a false sense of security with the full 5 bars at all times until you are out of range.

While I think the iPhone 4 is a nice piece of design work and will no doubt raise the bar yet again amongst handset makers to try and compete, it does highlight one major design flaw that seems evident across a range of technology devices; design over function.

Devices that are designed to send and receive signals require an antenna. Very simple, something that has been known about radio based transmission devices for a large number of years now. Unfortunately the antenna on the common mobile phone seems to have gradually over time vanished. The average consumer possible thought that new technology came about to relieve the need for an antenna, however not really. All phones regardless of model or design have an antenna place somewhere within the device. It may not be obvious however it is there.

In the case of the iPhone 4, it would seem that the need to keep to the design standard of Apple won out over the need to actually produce a product that would viably work in common use scenarios. The antenna on the iPhone 4 is actually wrapped around the outside of the casing in an effort to save space. Holding the phone (as you normally would while making a phone call) attenuates the signal to the point where it may either lose the call or connection you are on or at the very least degrade it.

Now comes the corporate spin part. One possible fix to this problem is to use the Apple produced iPhone 4 bumper case. Hmmm, could it be possible that Apple were prepared for this occurrence?

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 18 Jul 2010 @ 05:39 PM

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Categories: Mobile, Software, Technology

 07 Jul 2010 @ 12:37 AM 

I love reading some of the public service type publications from 1950’s America….they just stand the test of time so well! A good example is the following little gem from archive.org entitled Atomic Bombing. How to protect yourself.

This is a book covering in excruciating and graphic detail (I really can’t think of anything else that you might want to know) what to do in the event of an A-bomb attack. It even comes with lots of illustrations to make it an easy read for the kiddies (I guess? Must have been some really traumatised kids in the 50’s).

It is a fairly large file (about 25 MB PDF) and it isn’t on the greatest of servers, but worth it for historical-humour value alone.

There are many choice amusing segments which I will let you discover on your own, however this is one of my favourites so far. Important information to help make your home safer!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER
There are a number of things you can do to make your own home safer. Few will go to the extreme of building a two-foot-thick, reinforced-concrete wall around the house, although this would provide almost complete protection. But you can remove overhanging cornices, heavy indoor light fixtures which might fall, false ceilings and the like. Light, combustile curtains and draperies are a serious fire hazard at your windows. Such ornamental fabrics should be fireproof — or removed completely.

If you home is within three miles of a possible A-bomb target and you have a picture window in the living room, you ¬†might substitute plastic for plate glass. Wired glass would also make your windows safer…

EDIT: 13/2/2011, It would seem the server this document was hosted on finally gave up the ghost. The link is dead, but the original document can be found here for your reading pleasure.

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 15 Feb 2011 @ 07:33 PM

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 03 Jul 2010 @ 1:30 AM 

Ironically the broken link checker plugin caused the site to become a broken link. Something screwy happened with the upgrade to WordPress 3.0! All seems good after a reinstall….. but we shall see!

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 03 Jul 2010 @ 01:30 AM

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 28 May 2010 @ 6:28 PM 

First up let me say; I own an iPhone, I like the iPhone and will probably use one until a smart phone alternative appears that has the application eco-system developed to a level I am comfortable. I generally fall into the category of smart phone users who use their device as a phone and portable ultra-mini computer.

Now that said, I do have concerns about the security of the device and the way it is slowly creeping into the corporate arena. The the following link from www.h-online as an example; Vulnerability in iPhone data encryption.

I will let you read the page for yourself, but in brief bypassing iPhone encryption can be as easy as turning it on! Add this to the amount of personal information that can be stored in 8 GB or more, and I would really recommend changing every password you have if your phone gets stolen, lost or even out of your possession for a matter of minutes.

Coming soon: iPhone in-Security Part #2: adventures with iPhone data theft

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 28 May 2010 @ 06:28 PM

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 21 May 2010 @ 12:25 AM 
Nikon D4x Concept

Nikon D4x Concept

Nikon D4x Concept

Nikon D4x Concept

Hitting the rumour mill today is the possible design for next years Nikon release.

These images are put together by Mark Levinson (an industrial designer not actually affiliated directly with Nikon).

Will this be the shape of Nikon to come? Watch this space.

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 21 May 2010 @ 12:25 AM

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 02 May 2010 @ 10:40 PM 

Reviewing patents is really seeing the ideas before they even become ideas. More of a pre-idea really. A good case in point is the following:

Odd LCD Screen Patent from Nikon

Odd LCD Screen Patent from Nikon

This is the subject of a patent recently filed by Nikon for products yet unknown. The full details are available from the patent itself or at least a shortened version from Nikon Rumours.

Watch this space I guess?

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 02 May 2010 @ 10:40 PM

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 02 May 2010 @ 10:32 PM 

While most web-savy people can name Tim Berners-Lee as the inventor of the World Wide Web, few could possibly identify its co-creator, Robert Cailiau. This interview was picked up off TechCrunch and shows an interesting insight into what we know of the Internet today from one of its pioneers.

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 02 May 2010 @ 10:32 PM

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 02 May 2010 @ 10:00 PM 

First up, credit to the Blogger who first raised this little absurdity, go and check out Tongodeon who originated this story. I cover it here for two reasons:

  1. The thought of the amusing situations that this could bring to the boring task of banking
  2. The fact that a BANK would be so stupid as to implement this in the name of security

This bank has set up a new authentication measure for identifying customers who phone the customer service line. In addition to other identification data they need to provide, they are also required to provide a secret question and answer of their chosing. Basically the operator will ask the question and the customer will provide the pre-determined response. Now this is fairly similar to the common Australian practice of providing a password in addition to personal information to verify your identity; a practice similar in its level of security deficit but not as much fun I guess.

Both of these practice put a lot of trust and faith in the operator you are speaking to. Whoever takes you call will gain all this information and potentially have the ability to use it for nefarious purposes. Combine this with the fact that call centre operators are generally not very well paid or on rather poor work contracts, I think this reveals an accident waiting to happen. Particularly when cheap inexpensive technology such as an RSA key is readily available.

But enough doom and gloom. Let’s look at the fun you could have with such a system.Tongodeon has provide a few choice examples to paint the picture of the type of secret question and answers you could use:

Q: Do you know why I think you’re so sexy?
A: Probably because you’re totally in love with me.

Q: Need any weed? Grass? Kind bud? Shrooms?
A: No thanks hippie, I’d just like to do some banking.

Q: The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men.
A: Go forth, and kill. Zardoz has spoken.

Q: What the hell is your fucking problem, sir?
A: This is completely inappropriate and I’d like to speak to your supervisor.

Q: I’ve been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from my employer, and I don’t care who knows it.
A: It’s a good thing they’re recording this call, because I’m going to have to report you.

Q: Are you really who you say you are?
A: No, I am a Russian identity thief.

Q: For the remainder of this conversation, “How can I help you today?” actually means “Would you like to buy some mescaline?” Do you understand?
A: I understand completely.

To this I can only add:

Q: As I said one morning walking down the street
A: Singing do-wah-didy didy-dum-didy-do

Q: I see dead people
A: Really? You must be nuts

Q: I think I just wet my pants
A: Oh, would you like me to give you a minute?

Q: Don’t bank here, use the [enter name of different bank] they won’t screw you with fees like we do
A: Gee, thanks for the tip

Q: Would you like a copy of some hot [chick/guy – delete as appropriate] we caught on the ATM camera?
A: Sure would, where can I download it?

Q: Everyone in this office is gay?
A: Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Choice is a wonderful thing. I wonder how long it will take the bank to change its policy?

Posted By: Chief Tech
Last Edit: 02 May 2010 @ 10:03 PM

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