Browse Month: September 2010

Juggling The Hardware

Juggling Gadgets - Small Business Blog It’s no secret that I am somewhat a gadget junkie. If I was working for some of the blogs that review gadgets constantly, I would probably forget the paycheck now and then. However, I don’t work for any such place, therefore experience a gadget hunger once in a while.

However, as I go along with many of them, I tend to realize that half of the gadgets are useless in 99% of cases. Depending on the work flow, a different set of gadgets is needed, so here’s mine:

  • Lenovo W701 laptop – my main power horse. Despite being exactly what I wanted I regret the purchase from time to time, thinking I should have opted for a smaller machine that would not take up a whole table at Starbucks.
  • Lenovo X61s laptop – the opposite extremity. While I wanted the lightest laptop possible, I didn’t quite realized, until later of course, that 12 inch screen with 1024×768 resolution is a little too small, especially for meetings with clients.
  • Droid/iPhone – or any smart phone for that matter. Surprisingly, I find myself more and more demanding only one thing from my phone – that is making/receiving calls. E-mails, notes, web, news, books and everything else from “on the go” menu has gone to iPad that is just as easy to flip out but has a lot more screen real estate.
  • Four 1TB USB-connected hard drives – too many connections, too slow a speed. I might only need one out of those four (or is it five?) drives, yet they are constantly connected for that “just in case” moment.
  • IBM T42p Windows XP based file server – this would have been a disgrace all by itself, especially given how many Linux servers we are running at Zealus, if not for this: despite all the rumors of Windows being a buggy unstable system and all, it’s been running without reinstall for OVER 2 YEARS straight! OF course, I don’t install a lot of software on it, and, of course, I keep up with patches. And the hardware is amazing too.
  • Gateway FHD 24 inch monitor – it’s like every acid junkie’s wet dream, the colors are so over saturated that my color calibrator gave up. Seriously.

So what am I replacing this zoo with in the course of a next year or so?

  • Lenovo W701 laptop – not going anywhere. It’s a solid performer and I doubt I will be replacing it any time soon. Given its 17 inch screen and 8 GB RAM – it hasn’t exhausted all its capabilities yet
  • Lenovo X61s laptop – I was thinking about Macbook Air, given how slim it is, but by the time Apple will have decided to update the hardware it will again be obsolete, so I wouldn’t even bother. Currently looking at ASUS UL80-J series, the one with 14 inch screen and Core i3 CPU. Alternatively, I just might go for Lenovo’s T410 series.
  • Droid/iPhone – I am keeping my iPhone 3GS at least until the end of the contract anyway, since that’s in February I guess I will be able to see all the offers of this year. But my primary urge is for Motorola Razor, so if you have one laying around – send it my way.
  • Four 1TB USB-connected hard drives + IBM T42p Windows XP based file server – will have to be combined into consumer NAS. There is no other way around this, unless I opt out for entry level server box.
  • Gateway FHD 24 inch monitor – being replaced with new IPS-based Apple Cinema display. Given how hard I am hitting photography now there is little, if any, alternatives left.

Have your own idea? Send it to me before Christmas shopping hits my wallet!

Little Common Sense Problem

Wi-Fi Security Threat You May Not Realize Is Hunting You There’s an old trick out there to catch all the new dogs that come into town. The screenshot is taken in the middle of the busy Brooklyn neighborhood, in the middle of the day. Do you see the danger already?

If not – here’s a little hint: there are Time Warner Wi-Fi hot spots in New York, but they are in Manhattan and Queens, not Brooklyn. Something else – the location of the spot where I got this reading is exactly out of reach the only 3 available Optimum Wi-Fi hot spots on their map, so I definitely did not expect to see 69% of signal power – more like 10 – 20%. So what the heck is going on with all three networks, including XFinity Wi-Fi, having the same signal strength? Someone had set up a rogue router that poses as XFinity WiFi, Optimum WiFi and Time Warner WiFi at the same time to capture your data. Those network SSIDs you’re seeing – all fake.

If you bought any recent laptop, chances are you have your firewall set up and enabled and it will take some time and dedication to break into your laptop. Not to say it’s impossible – it’s just requires time and effort and knowing you’re actually there. With fake Wi-Fi hot spots, you can set up a script that will capture anything you send over rogue Wi-Fi network automatically, so anyone connected through is just voluntarily giving up their data to someone who’s willing to listen. Since your device will most likely connect to a known Wi-Fi automatically – it will hook you up with fake one just as easy, without you even realizing it. No time, no effort – everything just happens automatically as long as the rogue SSIDs match those of real SSIDs of public networks. It’s like you’re shouting all your secrets and passwords in the middle of the street: if anyone listens close enough – you’re going to have a problem.

How to prevent this? Make sure your device – be it laptop, iPhone or iPad – asks for your explicit permission to connect to Wi-Fi that’s not your at your home or at work. Before you go someplace – check what Wi-Fi options are available and don’t use those that seem to good to be true. Apply some common sense to the situation and don’t fall into the trap of fake Wi-Fi hot spot, or it may prove to be too hot.

Fall-Back

After taking a rather long vacation from this blog I am back. This fall is promising to be rather interesting as during summer I have picked up a few new business engagements. All in due time, of course, but this is a brief update of all things.

Informal Project Management is always around us – interesting thing, I thought about it exactly 3 years ago, in September 2007. This time, however, it wasn’t a home project, it was a photo shoot, and it had more to do with actually organizing things rather than building (although going from mock-up to beta to release is there undeniably). What has caught my attention this time was how administrative flow of things tend to greatly influence the outcome of the process. You have to gather resources, make sure they present on time and at the place to complete the project, then you get your project going and at the end you have your lessons learned thing, if you are lucky.

Small Business owners still need to be educated – you thought they would know by now everything about Facebook, Twitter and search engine optimization? Wrong! Your average small business owner is having a hard time getting the idea of how these things work. Latest quote: “But I have these 5 domain names, if I point them all to my web site I should be on top of Google, no?”. Yeah, how, exactly?

It’s Upgrade Time – PHP4 is almost dead of old age. How do you make your clients switch on the basis that the technology you have used to build their web sites 3 – 4 years ago is already obsolete and they need to upgrade. Not all of them lease cars, so idea of “new every two” (or three or four) isn’t entirely their motto. And they don’t buy into all this technology talk either. However, what they do buy into are security concerns. Old technology equals less secure environment.

Stop That Gadget Rainfall – personally I am hair away from being fed up with all the new gadgets that revolve around same decade old concept of a shiny thing that you poke with your fingers to watch a tiny little screen show you something. Whether you take iPhone 4, HTC Evo or whatever else will be running Windows Mobile 7 – it’s same old thing nonetheless, limited by “revolutionary” 3G technology. Reminds me of an old game of Civilization I used to spend hours playing. The funniest scenario was when you thought you’re on top of the chain, you have just invented Gunpowder and two turns later you get a visit from some other nation with battleships, carriers and tanks. Same seems to be the case with our wireless technology in US.