Category Archives: Blotter

Mitigating the impact of email harvesting

Mitigating the impact of email harvesting

Email harvesting is the process of obtaining lists of email addresses using various methods for use in bulk email or other purposes. If you’ve gotten spam, it’s likely you’ve been a victim of this practice. It’s safe to say we’ve all suffered its wrath. There’s even a website devoted to shaming the scammers by scamming them back: http://www.419eater.com/html/hall_of_shame.htm

Paranoia plays a necessary role in how we approach technology, whether  supplying information to websites or guarding our customers’ information on the websites we build. For personal fortification, many of my friends are using two email addresses for everyday use. The first, for friends, family and “reputable” websites, and the second for any registrations they feel could compromise the privacy of usernames, email addresses and passwords. Who hasn’t created a pen name and fake address for the purpose of blasting through a registration form to get a download link?

Because we love supporting whimsical if not useful website technology and applications, we also know that there’s a good chance our information may be used in a way we’d never agree to. If you’re not about to stop registering for services on new websites, and that’s what makes the Internet so darn fun, then here’s a few tricks of the trade to protect privacy and to avoid excessive SPAM:

  • Gmail Spam Filters – No doubt they are the best in the business. Yahoo is  catching up, but if you’re not using one or the other, then you can bet that your system administrator is paying for SPAM filters and spending the time to do it. Email without SPAM guard software is just not an option anymore, regardless of how obscure your email address seems.
  • Interchangeable “gmail.com” and “googlemail.com”: That’s correct, you can provide youraddress@gmail.com or youraddress@googlemail.com and they both go to the same place. Give the @googlemail.com address to your close contacts while keeping the @gmail.com address for registering on websites. Then set  Gmail filters accordingly. http://www.labnol.org/internet/email/gmail-email-alias-two-separate-gmail-address/2388
  • Plus-addressing: Gmail has an interesting feature where you can add a plus sign (+) after your Gmail address, and it’ll still get to your inbox. It essentially gives you an unlimited number of e-mail addresses to play with. So,  when you register at www.meetup.com using your email address, enter youraddress+meetup@gmail.com and you’ll be able to track future incoming email, and you’ll know if meetup.com sold you out http://www.digitalalchemy.tv/2006/09/use-gmail-generate-unlimited-e-mail.html

When going out to the www, or what might also be called the wild wild web, we must keep our defenses but also not shy away from pioneering through the great technology gap that makes it so much fun to be plugged into the Internet.

Apple bugging out legacy phones

The desperation can be seen through moderated postings on Apple's website, posted in their own Apple Support Community. Here, gdgmacguy had some choice words for someone who suggested that Apple is ignoring the issue:
Apple does NOT support downgrading the iOS.  Why?  who knows,  But they don't.  Nothing you can do. If you want to jailbreak your phone and downgrade, then fine.  But look at all the postings here by people who have attempted to do so and permanently disabled their phones.  Jailbreaking voids your warranty with Apple and eliminates your right to any further assistance. Your choice.  No one forced you to upgrade in the first place. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4387499?start=0&tstart=0
But other newsgroups, not moderated by Apple, are giving legacy hardware (i.e., iPhone 4) owners ways to avoid upgrading to new hardware (i.e., iPhone 5) by sharing techniques...

Reinventing the Wheel

In the 1978 ‘Rescue from Gilligan’s Island’, actor Russell Johnson shows the Professor in a reinvention predicament. After returning to work at a university, he discovers all his inventions made (while stranded on the island) had been invented already, among them the Frisbee and skateboard. His frustration makes him want to give up the world he's come back to. Reinventing the wheel has become a modern epidemic plaguing Internet technologists, and some are even giving up on innovation and settling into parlaying the same flawed technology because of a fear of trademark infringement or, more frightening still, because they think it just can’t be done any better. Blogger Tim Kastelle has written much about what he calls the Innovation Problem (IP), which advocates that we approach innovation through idea management, an effective counter to the...