Z Trek: The Alan Zeichick Weblog

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When meeting to exchange goods bought online, be safe and careful

Nothing is scarier than getting together with a buyer (or a seller) to exchange dollars for a product advertised on Craig’s List, eBay or another online service… and then be mugged or robbed. There are certainly plenty of news stories on…
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Securely disposing of computers with spinning or solid state drives

Can someone steal the data off your old computer? The short answer is yes. A determined criminal can grab the bits, including documents, images, spreadsheets, and even passwords. If you donate, sell or recycle a computer, whoever gets hold…

Beetle Bars and Cricket Cookies: The Global Market for Edible Insects

As a technology analyst, I read a lot of market reports. Most are not as crunchy (and unpalatable) as  the Global Market Study on Edible Insects, by Persistence Market Research. Some takeaways from the report’s summary: In terms of value,…
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People or programs: What's the best for your synagogue?

This essay was originally published on the Reform Judaism blog on July 27, 2016. What is the most important part of your house of worship? Is it the spiritual well-being of the community or good attendance at adult classes and innovative…

IOC Approves Amateur Radio for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

CQ CQ CQ de IOC: The Organising Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Games have approved new competitions to celebrate Amateur Radio. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of Amateur Radio will afford athletes the chance of a lifetime…
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Oracle’s reputation as community steward of Java EE is mixed

What’s it going to mean for Java? When Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems that was one of the biggest questions on the minds of many software developers, and indeed, the entire industry. In an April 2009 blog post, “Oracle, Sun, Winners,…
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Pick up… or click on… the latest issue of Java Magazine

The newest issue of the second-best software development publication is out – and it’s a doozy. You’ll definitely want to read the July/August 2016 issue of Java Magazine. (The #1 publication in this space is my own Software Development…
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5 things you should know about email unsubscribe links

Here's a popular article that I wrote on email security for Sophos' "Naked Security" blog. "5 things you should know about email unsubscribe links before you click" starts with: We all get emails we don’t want, and cleaning them up…
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Driving risks out of embedded automotive software

When it comes to cars, safety means more than strong brakes, good tires, a safety cage, and lots of airbags. It also means software that won't betray you; software that doesn't pose a risk to life and property; software that's working for you,…
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Popular news websites can be malware delivery systems

News websites are an irresistible target for hackers because they are so popular. Why? because they are trusted brands, and because — by their very nature — they contain many external links and use lots of outside content providers and analytics/tracking…
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A free BMW 7-Series car - and a check for $1.5 million!

Look what I fished out of my spam folder this morning. This is a variation on the usual lottery scam, and more enjoyable than most. But really, a BMW 760Li? While the 6.6-litre twin-turbo Rolls Royce engine would be zippy on Phoenix-area highways,…
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Quick-draw: Six-shooter or smartphone?

  The modern gunslinger carries an iPhone on his belt, across from the six-shooter. If the phone rings, hope he doesn’t grab the wrong device. Prescott, Arizona, July 24, 2016.
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NetGear blinked – will continue VueZone video cloud service

Thank you, NetGear, for taking care of your valued customers. On July 1, the company announced that it would be shutting down the proprietary back-end cloud services required for its VueZone cameras to work – turning them into expensive camera-shaped…
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Ramsey Canyon and Fort Huachuca – A bird photographer’s paradise

We spent a long weekend in southern Arizona viewing wildlife, with time spent at birders’ paradises in Ramsey Canyon, as well as two canyons in Fort Huachuca: Huachuca Canyon and Garden Canyon. Wow. We saw and photographed so many incredible…
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The Birth of the Internet Plaque at Stanford University

In the “you learn something every day” department: Discovered today that there’s a plaque at Stanford honoring the birth of the Internet. The plaque was dedicated on July 28, 2005, and is in the Gates Computer Science Building. You…
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Internet over Carrier Pigeon? There's a standard for that

There are standards for everything, it seems. And those of us who work on Internet things are often amused (or bemused) by what comes out of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). An oldie but a goodie is a document from 1999, RFC-2549,…
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A response from NetGear regarding the VueZone IoT trashcan story

Thank you, NetGear, for the response to my July 11 opinion essay for NetworkWorld, “Throwing our IoT investment in the trash thanks to NetGear.” In that story, I used the example of our soon-to-be-obsolete VueZone home video monitoring system:…
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It’s a fake award for SD Times - thank you, scammers!

Scammers give local businesses a faux award and then try to make money by selling certificates, trophies, and so-on. Going through my spam filter today, I received FIVE of this exact same message praising SD Times for winning the “2016…
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Coding in the Fast Lane: The Multi-Threaded Multi-Core World of AMD64

I wrote five contributions for an ebook from AMD Developer Central — and forgot entirely about it! The book, called “Surviving and Thriving in a Multi-Core World: Taking Advantage of Threads and Cores on AMD64,” popped up in this morning’s…
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Ten-and-a-half years of my Steelcase Think office chair and I still love it

After more than a decade of near daily use, I still love my Steelcase Think chair. Today is cleaning day at CAHQ (Camden Associates Headquarters). That means dusting/cleaning the furniture, as well as moving piles of papers from one part…

Real food vs yucky food – don’t eat what you don’t understand

Eat real food. Avoid food laden with additives, or which are overly processed. My family has a few rules which we follow pretty closely when shopping: Always look at the ingredients. The fewer ingredients, the better. (Food expert Michael…
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SharePoint 2016 On-Premises – Better than ever with a bright future

Excellent story about SharePoint in ComputerWorld this week. It gives encouragement to those who prefer to run SharePoint in their own data centers (on-premises), rather than in the cloud. In “The Future of SharePoint,” Brian Alderman writes, In…

A scammer owned by the “Christian Church”? I don’t think so.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that this scammer’s loan agency is “owned by the Christian Church”? Yeah, right. Don’t be fooled by these sorts of emails. The scammer’s next step would be to request sensitive personal information (like…
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Photo and artwork guidelines for people, products, logos and screen shots

If you are asked to submit a photograph, screen shot or a logo to a publication or website, there's the right way and the less-right way. Here are some suggestions that I wrote several years ago for BZ Media for use in lots of situations —…
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Beyond the fatal Tesla crash: Security and connected autonomous cars

Was it a software failure? The recent fatal crash of a Tesla in Autopilot mode is worrisome, but it’s too soon to blame Tesla’s software. According to Tesla on June 30, here's what happened: What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided…
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Crash! Down goes Google Calendar — cloud services are not perfect

Cloud services crash. Of course, non-cloud-services crash too — a server in your data center can go down, too. At least there you can do something, or if it’s a critical system you can plan with redundancies and failover. Not so much…
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Need propane? Refill your five-gallon tank, don’t do the exchange thing

What do you do when your 20-pound (5 gallon) propane tank is empty? If you are Alan, you go to a near-by filling station and refill the bottle. In our case, there’s a Shell station close by, and that’s where we go. The cost is minimal,…
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MEF LSO Hackathon at Euro16 brings together open source, open standards

The MEF recently conducted its second LSO Hackathon at a Rome event called Euro16. You can read my story about it here in DiarioTi: LSO Hackathons Bring Together Open Standards, Open Source. Alas, my coding skills are too rusty for a Hackathon,…
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When do we want automated emails? Now!

I can hear the protesters. “What do we want? Faster automated emails! When do we want them? In under 20 nanoseconds!” Some things have to be snappy. A Web page must load fast, or your customers will click away. Moving the mouse has…
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Celebrating Ada Lovelace and doubling the talent pool

Despite some recent progress, women are still woefully underrepresented in technical fields such as software development. There are many academic programs to bring girls into STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at various stages…