Can you hear me now? Tales from a Cisco voice instructor


August 29, 2012  6:42 PM

Run Android on a PC

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Have you ever used a virtual machine package like VMware or VirtualBox? I am a pretty heavy VM users myself. I honestly don’t know how I would do my job without it. I used to to do everything from running Communications Manager to booting XP on my Mac. If you have never used one of these packages, you should. To help you get started, let me show you how to use VirtualBox to run Android on your PC. It’s a lot simpler than you might think.

There a number of packages that allow you to create and run virtual machines, but for this project I recommend VirtualBox. The first thing you need to do is get your hands on a copy of VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a virtual machine package made by Oracle and can be freely downloaded. Once you have it downloaded, install it on your PC. Typically this is the point where you would start to install an OS on a virtual machine. Fortunately for us, the nice folks over at VMLite.com have created an Android virtual machine that you can download. Once you have it downloaded follow the instructions found on VMlite’s download page. Before you know it you will have Android ICS running on your PC or Mac.

Play around with it and let me know what you think.

 

August 28, 2012  7:37 PM

Seven Days With a Nexus 7

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

I have had the new Nexus 7 a little over a week now and thought I would share with you what I think of this little device. First, a little background. I own an iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Note (phone) and a Kindle Fire. In other words, this isn’t my first tablet or Android device, and my feelings about this device are largely influenced by the other devices I use.

When I read a review, the first thing I want to know is does the author feel this product is a good product at a good price? If that is all you want to know, you can stop reading now and just go buy one. It is certainly worth the money.

The first thing that really stands out about this device is the speed. It has a quad-core processor and it shows. Apps load faster than I have seen on any other device and, once loaded, they run as smooth as you could hope for. The screen is also very sharp and, while it is not as nice as the New iPad, I have no complaints.

A lot of people want to know if a 7 inch screen is big enough to really use. For that I say you have to try it and find out if it works for you. For me, the 7  inch screen is the sweet spot for a tablet. As I mentioned, I have the 5.3 inch Note and the 10 inch iPad. I find the Note is a great size screen for a phone, but still a bit small to use as a tablet. While the iPad offers me more screen real estate, it just doesn’t feel as good in my hands. I find that when using it I prefer to have it on some type of stand. The 7 inch screen is big enough to use for most any task and still small enough to hold in one hand for longer periods of time.

Of course, nothing is perfect and those that wish to find fault with this device will. For example, it does not have an SD slot which means you are stuck with whatever size capacity you purchase (8 or 16 GB). Also, it does not have a rear facing camera –  only a front facing. While both of these issues could cause some to look at other 7 inch tablets that offer these features, they are big enough distractors for me.

While this is not the only 7 inch tablet in the $200 range, I would dare to say it is the fastest. I am sure you heard by now, Speed Wins!

BTW, for those that like tinkering with devices like this, I was able to have this device unlocked and rooted shortly after arriving home with it. I also have to say it was very easy to root.


August 28, 2012  11:15 AM

Emailing Delivery Tracking

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Have you ever received an email that you wish you hadn’t read? Like your boss emailing you on the weekend asking you to finish a report by Monday – if you happen to check your email. So, if you never saw that email you would be spending the weekend at the beach instead of in the office. Normally this is no problem. Just ignore the email and say you didn’t have a chance to check your email over the weekend. Of course, with all of the electronic gadgets we carry with us, that excuse is getting harder to use. But, since your boss can’t prove you are lying, he will just have to take your word for it unless he is using Spypig.com.

No, I didn’t just call your boss a pig. I am talking about a service that notifies the sender when an email has been opened. It works by attaching an image that is stored on Spypig’s server. Once the email is opened, the image is accessed and the server notifies you that the email has been opened. It’s a neat idea, but not without flaws. If you take a closer look at the service, you will see that there is page that lists all the reasons the alert may not occur or be false. Many of these reasons could be caused by basic security settings or even default settings on an email client. For example, by default Outlook does not download images that are embedded in an email. That means unless the recipient actively allowed the image, you would never be notified.

While this service does have its limitations, it might be fun to try it on that friends of yours that is always telling you, “I never got that email.”


August 27, 2012  7:11 PM

Road Warriors Beware

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Next time you check in at you favorite hotel chain you may not be as safe as you think you are. If you are any kind of frequent traveler you already know better than to leave valuables in your hotel room when you are not there. However, you do expect a certain degree of protection. For instance, you assume that it would take more than a little knowledge and a $30 circuit board to unlock your hotel room. Well apparently you shouldn’t assume that.

Recently a software engineer demonstrated how a security flaw in as many as a million hotel key card locks can be exploited. The name of the company that makes the lock is Onity and they are reacting to address this flaw but it seems that there is no way to correct the problem short of replacing the circuit board on the locks. That’s a lot of circuit boards and a lot of locks. Of course the hotels will need to buy the upgraded circuit board and paid to have them installed. Onity is offering a no cost solution as well but it doesn’t really fix the problem, it just makes it a little harder to be hacked. This solution involves capping open ports on the locks and using security screws. In other words the hacker will have to partially disassemble the lock cover.

Even with the second option it is going to cost the hotels to fix this problem even it it’s only 8 hours of the hotel’s maintenance engineer’s time. I’m not sure how many hotels are going to jump on this and get it fixed so you may want to inquire about this with your hotel chain before you book your next visit.


August 26, 2012  6:56 PM

Send an Email to the Future

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

It seems to happen to me every Friday afternoon. Just as I am about to leave the office, I get an email that I decide can wait until Monday morning. The problem is that by the time Monday comes that email is at the bottom of a very long list of emails that came in over the weekend. On top of that, I read it on Friday so it is already marked read. The odds of this email being neglected until later in the day are pretty high.

Thanks to a great service I found, that shouldn’t happen again. The service is called, followupthen.com. It has to be about the simplest web service I have ever used. All you have to do is forward the email to an email address that is made up of when you want the email to be sent to you again. For example, if I want the email to be sent to me again at 9:00 am on August 29, I would forward the email to 9amaug29@followupthen.com. That is it. You don’t even need to sign up for the service. The first time you send an email to the service an account is automatically created for you.

There is a premium service that allows you to register multiple email addresses and set it up to send the reminder to your phone. The cost for the premium service is only 24 bucks, which is cheap if you are in need of those features.

 


August 24, 2012  6:35 PM

Lights Out for Wireless?

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Imagine being able to setup a wireless network by simply screwing in a light bulb. A German physicist by the name of Harald Haas has created a technology that he calls D-Light. It allows a standard LED light to transmit data. It works by slightly changing the amplitude the of the light. This is not detectable by the human eye, but can be detected by the light receiver and converted into data.

The potential of this technology is really quite amazing. Just think, every LED light bulb is a potential  access point. Currently, the technology can transmit up to 10 MBit/s per second, and they hope to increase that to 100 MBit/s per second. One caveat is that the light has to be on in order to transmit data.  However, it can be dimmed to a level so low that it appears to be off.

This is some pretty cool technology, or as some might say, “A pretty bright idea.” Sorry about that, but I just couldn’t pass up that pun.

 


July 31, 2012  9:10 PM

Outlook.com Now Open

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

If you want an Outlook.com email address and you have want to get the one of your choice, you had better hurry. Today Microsoft launched Outlook.com as their new email service of choice. Hotmail has been around for a long time and, with over 300 million users, it has proved to be popular but never really embraced. It has been around much longer than Gmail but yet Gmail has become the king of web based email services. Microsoft hopes to change that by capitalizing on, arguably, the most well known name when it comes to email, Outlook.

So far it seems to be working for them. There are already more than 1 million users signed up. That’s right, in less than one day over 1 million people signed up. So, if you want the Outlook.com address of your choice you better hop over to Outlook.com right now. I already did.


July 31, 2012  2:44 PM

Yahoo Email Down?

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

If you are still using Yahoo email, you may not be able to access it right now. A number of people are claiming they are having trouble logging in today.  It seems that a major update was done to the system in order to bring it up to date. When users login, they see a message that states, “Yahoo email is faster, safer, and easier to use.” Well, it is definitely safer. There is no way to get a virus through your email if you can’t get to it.

It seems that Yahoo is aware of the situation and is working to correct it. This is kind of a rough way for Marissa Mayer to start her new gig there as the CEO.

Update – I just checked and was able to successfully log in so it looks like things are getting back to normal.


July 30, 2012  6:26 PM

Minority Report Interface is Real

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

I remember watching Tom Cruise flip through the computer screen in Minority Report by simply waving his hands around in the air. I remember thinking ,”I want that!” Well, thanks to a company called Leap Motion, that dream may become a reality sooner than I thought.

They have created a device they call Leap and it is described on their Web site as “a small iPod sized USB peripheral that creates a 3D interaction space of eight cubic feet to precisely interact with and control software on your laptop or desktop computer. It’s like being able to reach into the computer and pull out information as easily as reaching into a cookie jar.”

They go on to say that it is “200x more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies. It’s the difference between sensing an arm swiping through the air and being able to create a precise digital signature with a fingertip or pen.”

It really is quite amazing, and you have to see it in action to truly appreciate it. Check out the video here.


July 29, 2012  4:06 PM

Your VPN May No Longer Be Private

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

If you use a VPN, a man named Moxie Marlinspike may have just ruined your day. He has create a piece of software that  allows your VPN traffic to be intercepted and decrypted. He announced his new product, which he calls CloudCracker, at the Def Con Hacking conference in Las Vegas this past Saturday. So now anyone with an extra 200 bucks can have a peek at what is being sent along your VPN.

The software alone doesn’t crack you encryption. Once the data is captured it must be sent to Marlinspike and his system will do the decryption and return it to you within 24 hours. At this point in time, Marlinspike says he will not be screening customers to determine whether their intent is honorable or not. His real purpose is to try to encourage software makers to enhance their security.

But before you unplug your computer from the Internet and wipe your hard drive clean, you should know that Marlinspike’s software only works on VPNs that use a point-to-point tunneling protocol. Many companies provide their employees VPN software made by Cisco which is still safe cannot be compromised by CloudCraker.


Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: