February 18, 2010

Geo-Localized Tweets Apt for Criminals

Image from Pleaserobme.com
Please-Rob-MeThere are lots of geo-location based services out there now, like Foursquare and Buzz.
These allow you to tell the world where you are currently in addition to other info like what you are upto.

It is definitely fun and sometimes comes in handy for people who travel.

But if you are prone to put sensitive information on your whereabouts on the internet, do think twice. Because sites like Please Rob Me have come up, that allow a person's public tweet/buzz/location updates to be filtered and indexed. It will tell a potential criminal whether you would be available at your home for the weekend or not, making the information gathering an easier task for him/her. The site is actually meant to show the users how much vulnerable they are.

Its not very common in India for a criminal to be considered tech-savvy, so Indians might find it a trivial matter. But irrespective of location,criminals( successful and ambitious ones ) have been found to be one or two steps ahead of the society's expectations off them. So, next time when you post something, just give a thought whether it will put you or someone close to you in danger in real life. Its better to be safe than sorry.

In a related story,a person hacked through the authentication system of Foursquare, the popular geo-location service,and exploited all its benefits. Read his confessions here

February 16, 2010

Flat Curves

There was a beautiful talk by Stefan Sagmeister on TED, on three phases of your career- Learning phase,Working Phase and then Retirement.
He mentioned that the learning phase occurs till around 25 years of age,but as it is, I am already working and nowhere near 25. So, am I in learning or working phase??

I would say partially in-partially out, of both the phases. I ain't learning much to talk about,but learning enough to explore day-to-day work. And I ain't working much to create stuff that would blow away minds,but working enough to get more stuff to learn ,while earning of course.

With respect to my learning curve, it is a 'relatively' flat phase. I meant that w.r.t technical stuff only,otherwise it is one-helluva learning experience going on.

Technically, now I am more into managing large pieces of code, doing proper impact analysis on bug fixes and new features and, of course implementing them.
The technologies I am involved with are the bit outdated, Microsoft ones, like IIS 7.0, .NET 2.0 framework with VB.net and ASP.net. I have been doing some nifty new features with Office automation and Visual Source Safe libraries.

The main involvement is with SQL Server 2005, with its Reporting,Analysis and Integration Services plus linked servers,scheduled jobs etc etc. It is a thoroughly enjoyable job to work with complicated SPs,functions and services.

On the sidelines, I manage to put some effort into COM based communications, tcp/ip related issues, kernel concepts and of course, my favourite, network hacking! The methods for these vary from simple casual talk to brainstorming sessions with colleagues who might be like-minded or have issues in these fields.

Will put up something on these topics in coming days.. in the meantime, I am open for discussion
Follow me on Twitter,or put comments in this blog.

February 06, 2010

Testing Email Posting

This is my test for email posting. If this comes fine, I will be able to update my blogs from office as well.

Microsoft Beta

Oh well, I thought I would just write about some of the new Microsoft products I have been trying.

From my old setup of Windows XP age, I have now moved to Windows 7, thanks to my new laptop. So, along with the new OS, I had to shift my preferences of a few other software as well. Though I haven't ventured out much to acquire the 'best' tools out there, I do have made changes where I required it. I don't fancy downloading and testing all the software out there.

So, this time I decided to get myself the new Office 2010 Beta version. I thought it would be cool to try. I got this idea while attending a training session on .NET 4.0 at office. When you need something and its freely available out there, why hesitate?

Over the past 3 days, I finally finished downloading the following:
1) Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
2) MS SQL Server and Studio Enterprise Edition
3) MS Office 2010 Beta
4) Visual Studio 2010 Toolkits(Azure and Silverlight)

I installed the first 3 and I would like to consider only Office here.

I had not read any reviews/previews before installing,so I had expected more eye-catching stuff. I must admit that I was disappointed to see the new layout. I loved that circular button. Not many interesting changes were registered at first sight.

I had to run Excel 2-3 times to observe some of the new cool features in it. It definitely boosts ease of use. I liked the additions in Powerpoint also. Word looks very much the same though. And this time, I even tried out something I have never used before--Outlook. And that turned to be a waste of my time. I couldn't get to like it,when compared to Gmail interface. But, on any given day, I would prefer Outlook to Lotus Notes used at Office.
The beta testing is still in progress, so I might write another post if I find really good stuff.

Now I am more interested in looking for Windows 7 tweaks and combining my Linux and Windows development environments.