“Makers” documentary preview – The Mouse Trap

By Brian Boyko
[GAS] Contributor

I’ve got a second quick clip from “Makers” my documentary about do-it-yourselfers at the Austin Maker Faire.

This five minute movie deals with a live-sized Mouse Trap. As in the game, Milton Bradley’s Mouse Trap.

While you can find the standard definition of the video embedded below, if you’ve got the hardware and bandwidth for it, you can head to the Vimeo Web site to view this movie in 720p High Definition, and download a copy for you to keep, share, or send out on P2P networks. Because while you can’t sell it for money, you’re free to copy the movie and share it.

I’m still working on the rough cut – and even this little clip will probably be a little changed from the version you see here in the final movie. But if you happen to have a distribution network for the final product – I’m looking for one and feel free to contact me at the e-mail address at the end of the film.

Feel free to make suggestions or ask questions in the Comments section. More previews to come.

– Brian.

[GAS] “How to” Contest – And the winners are…

As promised last week, My friend Teresa drew the names of the 6 big winners for our “How to” contest last night. Here they are (Note to those of you who read us via RSS: A video is attached to this post):

1st place prize winner: Adam A. Hirsch with How To Be a Geek and Get Your Sexual Groove On.

2nd place: Yahu Berlinger with How to Find a Blogging Job.

  • $150 Amazon.com gift certificate from [GAS] Technology News
  • A six-month sponsorship of a BlogCatalog category ($60-$90 value) from BlogCatalog
  • One 1GB Mimobot USB key of your choice from Mimoco ($59.95 value)
  • One-year subscription to the PMetrics stats engine from Performancing.com ($49.99 value)

3rd place: Brett evans with How to Structure the Perfect Blog Post

4th place: Ingo Flink with How to keep you data save with Truecrypt

5th place: Douglas Karr with How To: Build An Image Map with CSS

$50 blogger prize: Laura Williams

I think everyone who participated in this contest got something out of the experience, but more importantly, I think that readers of [GAS] and the participant’s blogs got the most – as they learned to do something they may not have known they could do before.

I’d like to thank our sponsors, Chitika, GFI Software, Performancing.com, Mimoco and BlogCatalog for the fantastic prizes they offered. Without them, this contest would probably have not seen the light of the day.

Congratulations to everyone and thanks for participating!


Technology in the middle of the world


By Marco Jardim
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

As my first article here in GAS, I thought would be a good idea to pinpoint the differences between blogging in “technologically-updated” places of the world and one that is several months behind all others. If there are any Australians reading this article, they will probably relate to parts of this article.

When it comes to how updated a country is, in terms of technology, one may consider that the world has 3 poles: the United States, Europe and Asiatic countries. Although I happen to be fortunate enough to live in one of those poles, Europe, we are usually the last of the 3 to see the release of some of the newest products, with the exception being cellphones. But since I live on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, I’m not physically “attached” to Europe, and the delays are further increased. Continue reading

MB&F Amazing Steampunk Watch: Great for your wrist. Hard on your wallet.

There’s something about Steampunk-customized gadgets that really grabs a geek’s attention. Not only are these devices aesthetically pleasing, but they can send a modest man into bankruptcy.

With that said, check out my latest discovery: The Horological Machine No. 2. If you are interested in acquiring MB&F‘s newest Steampunk-like creation, you’ll have to shell out a cool $59,000.

This timepiece offers the following features: instantaneous jump hour, concentric retrograde minutes, retrograde date and bi-hemisphere moon phase. Here are a few pictures of the masterpiece for you to admire.

Horological Machine No. 2

                

Pretty isn’t it? Considering that I just finished reading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, this watch really makes me think of some of the devices that are used throughout the books. If you are a fan of fantasy stories and haven’t read the series yet, I highly recommend that you do so. Also, New Line Cinema will soon release The Golden Compass, the movie that retells the first part of the story.

Content Filters Should Be Used for Security

By PatB
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Most workplaces use a proxy server or a content filter between the end user and the Internet. Such filters usually enforce a company’s web surfing policies by blocking access to pornography, social networking sites, daytrading sites, online dating, etc. As a grown adult, I don’t much care for web filtering products that block content based on objectionable material. I don’t need a net nanny.

Not that I want to surf porn or anything, but as a security analyst such filters sometimes make my job difficult when handling an incident or investigating a policy violation. For instance, how do I know something objectionable was downloaded if I can’t tell myself? Or how do I know malware was blocked if I can’t see the attack work in a lab environment?

But there are definite advantages to blocking content, especially if you know which URLs are malicious. SANS reports today about a massive web defacement that exploited weaknesses in SQL to inject malicious java script on over 40,000 websites across dozens of domains. The java script silently downloads password stealers and other trojans. This particular mass-defacement is targeting gamers and their passwords to their online accounts. The next such defacement will likely install botnet software. But if you know the malicious strings in the content, you can employ a content filter to block those pages.

According to SANS, the mass defacement injects a string that calls to the following URL- yl18.net/0.js . If you have a content filter, it would be prudent to block that string, and in fact, it wouldn’t hurt to block all calls to “0.js”. Experience has proven that malware hosted at a single site has a very short shelf life. The exploits will likely cease to work within 24 hours. But the script kiddies will strike again and use a different server somewhere else, and will likely recycle the same scripts, changing only the domain name. Blocking calls to this script could stop some exploits.

And if you can’t block malicious content? Well, patch everything, cross your fingers, and surf carefully.

Introducing PatB: Hello its me!

Greetings to everyone at Geeks Are Sexy!  The excellent Kiltak has extended an invitation to me to guest blog security issues on this site and I was more than happy to oblige.  This is my first stint at guest blogging for anyone, but I have been blogging about security issues for two years now at BelchSpeak, and I look forward to reaching new readers through [GAS].

As background, I was in a Security Operations Center for a cyber-security company on 9-11.  As the towers fell, portions of our customers’ networks blinked out as major hubs at ground zero went dark.  The remainder of that horrible day was spent speaking to customers, which were major banks, insurance, and trading companies, trying to allay their fears of cyber terrorist attacks that might piggyback on the attacks using planes as missiles.

Since then I have worked with the Federal government in several capacities to help secure the national infrastructure during this time of war.  As a result, I have been given a unique perspective into how government works and their efforts to secure the internet.

Thanks again to Kiltak for the opportunity, and I hope the readers here enjoy my contributions.

Mandriva Linux Pwned by Microsoft

Mandriva LinuxFrancois Bancilhon, French editor of Mandriva Linux, recently published an open letter to Steve Ballmer on Mandriva’s corporate blog.

In his letter, he relates that a few months ago, his corporation won a deal where 17000 PCs destined to Nigerian Schools would be equiped with his Linux distribution.

We recently closed a deal with the Nigerian Government. Maybe you heard about it, Steve. They were looking for an affordable hardware+software solution for their schools. The initial batch was 17,000 machines. We had a good deal to respond to their need: the Classmate PC from Intel, with a customized Mandriva Linux solution. We presented the solution to the local government, they liked the machine, they liked our system, they liked what we offered them, especially the fact that it was open, and that we could customize it for their country and so on.

Strangely, the Nigerian government recently changed its mind and even if they’re still buying Mandriva’s solution, they’ll be replacing the OS on each system with Windows right after receiving them.

We actually closed the deal, we took the order, we qualified the software, we got the machine shipped. To conclude, we did our job. And, the machine are being delivered right now.

Now, we hear a different story from the customer : “we shall pay for the Mandriva Software as agreed, but we shall replace it by Windows afterward.”

Wow! I’m impressed, Steve! What have you done to these guys to make them change their mind like this? It’s quite clear to me, and it will be to everyone. How do you call what you just did Steve? There is various names for it, I’m sure you know them.

Anyone feel like expressing their thoughts on this?

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Introducing the gPhone (Video)

We’ve all heard about the gPhone in the past few months, and up to now, most people were thinking that this Google powered phone was only a myth. Well lo and behold, it’s not!

Yes, the gPhone isn’t really a phone, it’s a software platform for mobiles, which could revolutionize the way people use their cell phone forever.

Interested in learning more? The Open Handset Alliance Website has more details on the subject.