Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

August 30, 2012

“These followers are real followers but are not active.”  So much for instant fame from non-active Twitter followers.  Buying X number of followers for Y dollars apparently makes some people feel better about themselves.

Dave Malby's Commentary

I had someone approach me on Twitter today with a website link.   I do check these sites out but I make sure my virus filter is updated .. hehe.

Today was a great find … a source to purchase followers for Twitter, and purchase likes on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.  Wow this is amazing, for only $180 you can purchase 100,000 Twitter Followers .. instant fame!

There is a catch though ..  These followers are as phony as a 3 Dollar Bill .. They are “In-actives”

Many so called gurus and celebrities are faking their accounts by this extremely cheap method of “Follower Fortification”.

Warning .. you can easily get caught ..

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June 13, 2012

Which of these six social media personae best describes you?

Twitter: How to add more followers… gradually

April 9, 2012

Twitter dropped the hammer on spammers, filing a lawsuit against five accused proliferators of spam on Thursday, April 5, 2012.  I visited Twitter’s Help Center regarding The Twitter Rules and read the section concerning what Twitter considered spam.  I also visited the websites of the defendants named in the lawsuit, some of which were no longer online.  Twitter made it abundantly clear that they were targeting spammers that:

  • Posted duplicate content repeatedly in a short period of time;
  • Followed or unfollowed a large number of users within a short period of time;
  • Used or promoted third-party sites that claimed to get users more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to one’s account).

If you add too many followers in a short period of time, you might get in trouble with Twitter. Here is one way to add more followers on Twitter, gradually.I am in no race to gain as many followers as I can, preferring to take the role of tortoise over hare.  In that regard, I have used the method for adding more followers, which I outline below, for some time.  It requires no third-party tools or sites and is a very gradual method, indeed, but it allows me to engage with my new followers.  After all, the point of social media is to engage, not gain as many followers as you can.  If you take on too many followers at one time, you won’t have time to get to know them and they will be anonymous to you, thereby defeating the purpose of social media.  This is the general outline:

  • Go to the profile of a user whose content is regularly retweeted (RT) by others;
  • Find a tweet from that user with many RTs;
  • Compose a new tweet using RT or “via” (I outlined different ways to retweet in a previous blog), making sure to post the username of the person who originally tweeted the content, followed by two or three usernames who RT’d the tweet.

I will demonstrate with a tweet from @TweetSmarter:

School’s Out: How to Start a Career in Social Media:

A number of users have RT’d the tweet, as expected.  I can construct the retweet as either this:

School’s Out: How to Start a Career in Social Media: RT @TweetSmarter @stephstweets @Jankovitch

or this:

School’s Out: How to Start a Career in Social Media: /via @TweetSmarter @stephstweets @Jankovitch

Why do I go through the trouble of composing retweets?  I do it to RT the content of that person, something I do regularly, anyway, but also to recognize the people who also thought the user’s content was worthy of being shared and duly RT’d.  If I am lucky, those two or three users in the retweet would follow me and, of course, I would follow them back in kind.  Isn’t it a lot easier to get to know two or three new followers at a time this way?

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Francis Unson

Common Password Mistakes and How to Create Stronger Passwords

September 20, 2011

A password is a secret word or string of characters that is used for authentication to prove identity or gain access to resources.  We encounter passwords in our daily lives, at the ATM, when logging onto our home or office computers, or logging into our table TV decoder when purchasing a pay-per-view event.  We use passwords several times per day when we are using our computers, such as retrieving e-mail from servers; accessing programs; databases; social networking websites; or even reading the morning newspaper online.  Computer passwords are our first, last, and best line of defense against damaging intrusions.  Companies rely on passwords to protect sensitive information from hackers.  The use of poorly designed passwords could leave us vulnerable to: identity theft, financial loss, invasion of privacy, exposure of proprietary company data, and sharing sensitive or embarrassing information.  Here are some common password mistakes that users make, including examples of bad passwords.

The password is easy to locate

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Monitors are the last place anyone should find your password.

Whether the password is long or short, complex or simple, a password that is written down on a Post-it note and stuck on your monitor, beneath your keyboard, or in your desk drawer (that has no lock) offers as much protection as a system that has no password in the first place.  Your best bet is to create a password that you can memorize easily or retrieve from your (password protected) mobile phone.

The password is too short and simple




These passwords share two other things in common: they contain fewer than eight characters and they use a single character set, where the first password uses all lowercase letters, the second uses all numbers, and the third uses all uppercase letters.  Most password policies require that a password be at least eight characters long, with even more restrictive policies requiring the use of at least two or more character sets.

The password is too common

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

If any of these look familiar to you, change your password RIGHT NOW

Many users create passwords out of common phrases, obvious patterns, or combinations of words.  Part of the repertoire that hackers employ includes English and foreign language dictionary attacks.  Ironically, correctly spelled passwords are the easiest to crack by dictionary attacks.  Simply transposing a letter or number to its visual equivalent (swapping an “O” for “0” (zero) in “passw0rd”) is not enough.

Using the same password for all your accounts

If a hacker succeeds in cracking your password for one account, be it your e-mail account or your Facebook account, chances are, they will attempt to use that same password for every other online account that they determine is yours.  It is in your best interest to create a unique password for each online account that you own.

The password contains personal information

Avoid creating passwords that contain your name, home address, phone number, birthday, driver’s license, Social Security number, passport number, or similar information.

The password is based on your kids’ or pets’ names, nicknames, the names of characters in books or movies, or celebrity names.








If your Facebook profile can be viewed publicly, hackers can derive passwords based on the captions of your family photos or the books and movies that you “like”.

Reversing or capitalizing the last two types of bad passwords

Even though people can create passwords with little security, IT professionals can be equally guilty of failing to enforce the rules. Here are some common password mistakes made by users and network admins alike.

Some words spelled backwards are other valid words. "Stressed" and "desserts" are two of them.

Reversing your home phone number or your granddaughter’s middle name may be more complex for you to remember, but not for hackers to decipher.  After all, hackers can do a reverse dictionary attack (where they look up all the words in the dictionary spelled backwards) in an attempt to steal your password.

Network system administrators are not off the hook when it comes to creating password policies.  Often times, companies try to use password policies to keep those mistakes from hampering security.  However, these policies must be done correctly in order to have an effect.  Here are some common password policy mistakes IT departments make.

Overdoing a good thing

If a network admin requires users to create new and extremely complex passwords every 30 days, the users may start to ignore the rules and keep the hard-to-remember passwords written down.

Applying password policies unevenly

Companies may require strong passwords for users during initial login, but at other levels of security, password policies may be much weaker.  Hackers who toil at cracking the user’s tough login password would be pleased to discover that security throughout the rest of the system is much more lax.

Allowing password policies to become outdated

While making users update their passwords every 30 days may be difficult for some users, not updating password policies at all would allow a system to become just as susceptible to attacks by hackers, who can rely on old information to gain access.

In order for users to protect themselves from identity theft, financial loss, or loss of privacy, users should actively and regularly create strong passwords.  Here are some guidelines to creating a strong password.

Keys to password length: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers (e.g. spanning four character sets: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters).  If possible, use a password that is at least 14 characters or more and spans all areas of your keyboard, using letters and symbols you use less frequently.

Create a strong password you can remember

Microsoft outlines a method to create a long, complex password:

Start with a sentence or two.

  • Complex passwords are safer and easier to remember.

Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence.

  • Complexpasswordsaresaferandeasiertoremember.

Turn words into symbols, numbers, or shorthand.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember.

Add length with numbers.  Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence.

  • ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember2011.

Another site has additional suggestions for how to create a stronger password that is difficult to crack, yet easy to remember:

  • Choose two short, unrelated words (like your favorite exercise, animal, flower, or weather, for example) and join them with an arbitrary number and/or symbol.  Examples: “jump3$lily” or “dog+rain”.
  • Use first letters of a sequence.  For example: your nephews (named Jeremy, Roger, and Allen) and their ages: “8Je9Rog12Alle”.
  • Make a really long password from a sentence.  Examples: “IwentskydivinginApril87” or “0416istheBostonMarathon”.
  • Select a line or title of a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word.  For example: “Who ya gonna call?  Ghost Busters!” would produce “Wygc?GB!” or “You can’t always get what you want” yields “Ycagwyw.”  Even better, throw in a number or punctuation mark in the middle: “Ycag$wyw”.
  • Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters.  This creates nonsense words that are still usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered.  Examples: “routboo,” “quadpop,” and so on.
  • Consider treating your password as multiple parts: a central core and a prefix and/or suffix when needed that is specific to the service the password protects.  For example: your core might be “gPw4” (that is, “generic Password for…”) and then if it’s a password for a newspaper website like the New York Times, you might choose to add “NYt” to the beginning or end of the password (“NYtgPw4”), while your password for eBay auctions might be “gPw4eBa” and your Yahoo! email password could be “gP4Y!e”.
  • Generate your own scheme very methodically.  Start with a word, and then delete a character or two, or perhaps just the vowels.  Throw in some numbers or punctuation.  Continue making the rules for yourself.  Choose something that would seem totally random to someone else but that makes sense to you.  Use your imagination!

Tester password with the password checker

Always run a password checker to evaluate your password’s strength automatically.  Your online accounts, computer files, and personal information are more secure when you use strong passwords to help protect them.

Protect your passwords from prying eyes

If these strong passwords are still too difficult to remember, go ahead and write it down, but keep the written password in a secure location.  Once you’ve created a strong password, continue with the suggestions below to keep it even safer:

  • Never share your password with anyone.  This includes family, friends, significant others, computer support people, and bosses.  If you need someone to read your email, many email programs (for example, Outlook) allow you use a “delegates” feature to enable certain persons do so without using your password.  Check with your email provider.
  • Never say “yes” when your browser asks you if you’d like to save your password.  Although it’s convenient, it’s not a good idea—especially when the computer you are using is shared.  Some computer viruses can even recover your passwords from your Internet browser and then e-mail them to random people or post them publicly on the Internet.  Stop this from happening in the future and to remove passwords that are already stored.
  • If you absolutely must write down a new password the first time or two you use it and until you can remember it easily, be sure you keep it in a very safe, hidden place—not a sticky note stuck to your computer or your desk!  Then, shred it—don’t just toss it in the trash—once you’re done.
  • Never send your password in email, even if the request looks official.  If you receive e-mail from someone claiming to be your systems administrator, requesting your password because they supposedly need access to your files, ignore it.  This is a popular phishing scam.  Remember, your computer support people will never ask you for your password for any reason.  If someone must ask you to change your password so that they can gain entry to your account, they do not have reason to be there!
  • Change your password often.  This is important, particularly for passwords that protect highly sensitive data.  And if you ever suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately!

Google summarizes the above information in the following video:

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Francis Unson

Rural Doctors Needed: The Road to Becoming a Doctor

August 3, 2011

The University of Kansas, in Kansas City, hopes that young doctors will be more willing to practice in small towns if they go to school in a rural area.  Eight students will be taking classes on a satellite campus in Salina, Kansas.  The university decided to take a distance learning approach in response to the shortage of rural doctors in the United States.  The idea is to show these students that life can be good outside of the big city and practice can still be stimulating as well.

The University of Kansas has taken a distance learning approach in response to the shortage of rural doctors in the United States.  What does it take to become a doctor?Becoming a doctor is a long and difficult process, with many years devoted to schooling.  Here is a summary of what it takes to become a doctor:

  1. Volunteer or work in a medical setting.
  2. Excel in high school. (Great grades and show responsibility.)
  3. Commit to your goal.
  4. Graduate from a four-year college or university.
  5. Take the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.
  6. Complete medical school.
  7. Enter your residency training period.  This is typically three years long and begins in July after you graduate from medical school.

I certainly hope I did not scare you away from you or your child’s dream of becoming a doctor.  On the contrary, I hope that knowing the road ahead will motivate you and your child to plan out what needs to be done so that you can create a bright future for you or your child in the field of medicine.

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Taylor P.

Keep Your Guard Up; LulzSec Was Just One Group

June 29, 2011

The hacker group, LulzSec, announced its dissolution on Saturday, June 25, in a Twitter message to 280,000 of its followers.  The publicity-seeking group had successfully hacked the websites of the CIA, the U.S. Senate, Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, Sony, PBS, and other high-profile targets.  Many do not understand why the group decided to break up or if they really did at all.  There are a few theories as to why they did, at least, publicly, anyway: the law was closing in on them (they had been getting many looming threats of arrest); they were just bored; they picked disastrous fights with rival hacker groups; or they had simply run out of ideas.

The disbanding of one hacker group is no time to put your guard down about Internet security.Although, this hacker group is seemingly no longer around, there are many other, more seasoned groups like this one that can be even more harmful.  The trick to reducing the chances of having your email or social networking profile hacked by such groups is to create a strong password.  Mixing letters and numbers is a good start.  Avoid using simple words or birth dates.  You can use your birth date but mix it into a name.  For example, let’s say you have a sister named Jane and her birthday is on March 22.  Create a password like this: j3a2n2e.  That’s the basic concept but as long as you can remember it, your regularly updated strong password will definitely help keep you more secure.

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Joie Montoya

ICANN’s Big Change

June 22, 2011

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved a change in their rules for domains.  They are allowing new domain names to be launched next year.  The changes will allow up to 1,000 new web domains.  The application fee alone is $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000.  With these new domains, the existing regime with be greatly expanded in creativity but, with the high costs, gradually.

With ICANN easing rules on domain names, the sky's the limit--as long as you can afford it.The changes will be limited to websites with these domains: .com, .net, and .org.  However, they are expected to let companies register unique website names or better protect their existing brands.  Nonprofit groups could reserve the .school domain and hand out addresses to every elementary school.  Cities could consolidate their websites to .nyc or .losangeles.  And interest groups could stake out their own corner of the Web: .car for auto enthusiasts, .law for attorneys, and .food for restaurants.  This is a big, albeit expensive, change for the Internet, but it looks as if things will go smoothly.  Companies can now have fun, creative web domains!

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Taylor P.

Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook (via News)

June 16, 2011

WordPress has made it much easier to post comments from the comfort of Facebook and Twitter.

Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook Starting today, visitors to your blog can use their Facebook or Twitter account to leave comments. This saves everyone a few steps and gives visitors control over which identity they use.  It’s a win for everyone. As an important touch, we let you stay logged in to multiple services. This means you can stay logged in to Facebook for convenience, but still leave a comment through Twitter or your account. Just click whichever identity … Read More

via News

The 405 Freeway Closure: Alternate Routes You Can Take

June 8, 2011

Interstate 405, or I-405, will be closed July 16-17, 2011 for 53 hours, affecting ten miles of the 405 Freeway in the Westside of Los Angeles.  This freeway is heavily traveled and is bound to disrupt people’s travels, especially mid-summer.  The Metro is offering free subway rides during the 405 closure to help people get around the anticipated traffic build-up.

On July 16-17, 2011, a 10-mile section of the 405 freeway, which is one of the most congested highways in the U.S., will be closed for 53 hours. Here are some alternate routes you can take.The construction for the freeway widening and the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge (map | street view) over the freeway will cost $1.3 billion.  A northbound carpool lane will be added to the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 freeways, while the bridge will be widened and more resistant to seismic activity.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority says 500,000 vehicles travel the 405 on a typical mid-July weekend.  Officials are advising people to use the Metro Rail service to bypass the massive traffic pile up that is expected during the construction.  There will be alternate route solutions posted on the project’s website as well as a few suggestions below.

Google Maps: Section of 405 Freeway closure

Maps of alternate routes from San Fernando to the South Bay

Map of routes to the Westside

If you are flying into LAX on July 16 or 17 and headed to all points north or west, take the following route through Downtown Los Angeles.

  • Route (From the airport): South Sepulveda Blvd., I-105 E, I-110 N, I-5 N

From I-5 N:

If you are from Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo and you are headed to LAX, take Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Oxnard and head east.

Before you head out in or around the Los Angeles area, go to the following website and watch traffic maps of the LA area in real time:

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Taylor P.

Hackers’ Next Victim: Nintendo

June 8, 2011

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, it was reported that Nintendo Co. had been hacked.  The security breach on their network was not as severe as the one on Sony’s PlayStation Network.  Hackers were not able to obtain any sensitive information, nor have the attacks caused any damage to internal systems that would inconvenience their customers in any way.  The latest attack has raised questions over who exactly is responsible for hacking these online servers.

Nintendo is the latest victim in a string of high-profile attacks on its servers and network, which should serve as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.Unlike many security breaches which are done anonymously at the hands of obscure hackers, the group who took public responsibility for hacking Nintendo is called LulzSec.  LulzSec has claimed responsibility for hacking other websites, as well, including some of the Sony websites.  LulzSec stated on Twitter: “We’re not targeting Nintendo…we sincerely hope Nintendo plugs the gap.”  The group also confirmed Nintendo’s claims that no important customer data was lost in the breach, stating, “we [sic] just got a config file and made it clear that we didn’t mean any harm.  Nintendo had [sic] already fixed it anyway.”  The recent string of security system breaches serves as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.

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Joie Montoya