I has the penalty for public services

April 22nd, 2014

Oh noes!!1! I got an urgent email today from the Chief of Texas Department of Revenue. It seems I has the penalty for public services, whatever that means. And, differently I’ll obtain court claim. I sure don’t want that happening!

Good morning!
You has the penalty for public services.
Total: $300.70

===Detailed notice is in the attached file===

You gotta check out paper before: August 26th 2014.
Differently you’ll obtain court claim.

Yours truly,
Chief of Texas Department of Revenue.
Jamal Ortiz
+1 (580) 196-17-52

This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.

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Phishers crack me up.

Plane truths

April 18th, 2014
The Manhattan skyline appears in the windshield of a Vamoose bus.

The Manhattan skyline appears in the windshield of a Vamoose bus.

Last week I was booking a flight for my upcoming business trip to California when I discovered to my surprise that Southwest Airlines, long my airline of choice, offered fares twice as expensive as the lowest airfare. My company’s travel booking system actually wouldn’t let me book a Southwest flight because it was too expensive. I never thought I would ever get in trouble with my boss for booking Southwest, but it’s reached that point.

We’re on the road today to New York City by way of bus from DC. The bus is less than a year old, it’s quiet, clean, comfortable, and there are AC power outlets under each seat. Free WiFi, too, and we can make mobile calls anytime we want. I didn’t know what to expect when we began talking about a bus trip but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Putting these two ideas together, I mused to Kelly how perhaps these bus lines owe at least part of their renewed success to Southwest’s decision not to be the “bus of the skies” any more. Or perhaps travelers have simply gotten fed up with the unbelieveable hassle of air travel and have sought out more civilized means of travel.

Yes, I’d never thought I’d say it but traveling by bus may be more prefreable than travel by air. Are the high-flying days of air travel over?

Exhibit B for sloppy N&O editing

April 16th, 2014

Well, that didn’t take long. No sooner did I complain about a glaring error in the Sunday Midtown Raleigh News that I found an big error in today’s print edition. A story about the opening of the newly-renovated Terminal 1 at RDU Airport carried a headline referencing Terminal 2. This wasn’t a long, wonky story but one maybe ten paragraphs long, so there’s no excuse for the editor not being able to quickly scan the story and see which terminal was being discussed.

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Come on, N&O. Get it together!

New York City bound

April 16th, 2014

As I mentioned, the Turners are on the move again. And, as usual, we’re all headed in different directions, at least initially.

Hallie left for school at 4 AM for her bus trip to New York City, where she and her fellow Ligon Middle School orchestra members will play Carnegie Hall Saturday night. An hour later, Kelly took Travis to his Conn Elementary school field trip to Fort Fisher. I’m staying here for work before heading to a fundraiser for Kay Hagan this evening.

Thursday night, Kelly, Travis, and I will travel to Kelly’s parents’ home (leaving the Rottweilers to guard the home while we’re away, of course). Friday morning we’ll head to DC to hop a bus which will take us to New York. We’ll stay long enough to watch Hallie’s performance before taking the bus back home.

Oh, and the following week I travel to Sacramento for work: the first business travel I’ve taken in a while. Should be fun.

Tornado, three years later

April 16th, 2014

Today began for me much the same way it did that Saturday morning exactly three years ago. Then, as now, it was just the dog and me at home while Kelly and the kids were on the road.

Fortunately the similarities end there. This morning’s weather is clear, breezy and very chilly at 34 degrees F with no signs of any tornadoes. In fact, one of the last … er, signs of the tornado in my neighborhood was removed recently. Up until a few weeks ago, a “No Parking” sign stood outside St. Aug’s on a steel post that was twisted almost completely around, a daily reminder of the jaw-dropping power of violent wind.

Sadly, a day before I was to take a picture of it the city replaced the post and sign. Don’t know if I should be sad I missed it or happy the public works department is so on top of things. At any rate, life in East Raleigh is back to normal now.

Loving the new job

April 15th, 2014

Raleigh_Team
Thursday marks my second week at the new job and, boy, what a difference it is from my last job! I actually have fun at work. No one micromanages me, no stupid mind games are being played. People don’t come into work seemingly to delight in making someone else’s day miserable. Night and day.

Two weeks into my job and I’ve already earned the trust of my colleagues. I’ve already jumped in and begun solving problems. I’ve even offered house-hunting advice to those new to Raleigh. It feels awesome to work someplace that appreciates my contributions.

Above is a photo I took of my team last week. Looks like a fun group, doesn’t it?

Your Clever Password Tricks Aren’t Protecting You from Today’s Hackers

April 15th, 2014

Good password-choosing advice from Lifehacker. Bottom line: if you can remember your password it isn’t good enough.

Our passwords are much less secure than they were just a few years ago, thanks to faster hardware and new techniques used by password crackers. Ars Technica explains that inexpensive graphics processors enable password-cracking programs to try billions of password combinations in a second; what would have taken years to crack now may take only months or maybe days.

Making matters much worse is hackers know a lot more about our passwords than they used to. All the recent password leaks have helped hackers identify the patterns we use when creating passwords, so hackers can now use rules and algorithms to crack passwords more quickly than they could through simple common-word attacks.

via Your Clever Password Tricks Aren't Protecting You from Today's Hackers.

N&O runs dedication story a week late

April 15th, 2014

In about ten minutes, a group of people will converge on the entrance to the Walnut Creek Greenway near the Worthdale Community Center. They will wait around in the rain until they become bored for a dedication ceremony that has come and gone, and sloppy editing on the part of the News and Observer is to blame.

Sunday’s Midtown Raleigh News carried a front-page story on the greenway dedication, stating the ceremony would occur Tuesday at 4 PM. The problem is that the ceremony took place last week. The story was correct when it ran a week earlier in the N&O but somehow it landed in Sunday’s Midtown edition without being updated to show the ceremony already took place.

I love the N&O’s spotlight of Raleigh’s parks. I called for more coverage in the past and still think Raleigh citizens value their parks highly enough (and they have invested enough in them ) for parks to merit media coverage. That said, inaccurate coverage might do more harm than no coverage at all.

I wish the N&O would work just a little bit harder on fact-checking its local coverage.

Heartbleed Bug

April 9th, 2014

While many news outlets were blathering on about the end of life for Windows XP, a huge hole in OpenSSL was discovered. OpenSSL secures a huge percentage of the Internet, meaning many of the sites you use have had their security compromised.

These revelations, while painful, are very much necessary to create a more secure Internet.

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging IM and some virtual private networks VPNs.The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

via Heartbleed Bug.

Bonus link: Bruce Schneier on the Heartbleed bug.

Sticky switcheroo: FDA cracks down on honey labeling – Health – Boston.com

April 8th, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on the fake honey claims in some foods. Looks like I got my wish!

Have you been duped by a honey poser?

Companies have been selling sugary, sticky honey blends on grocery store shelves for years, adding syrups or sweeteners not made naturally by bees, but hiding their fraud on the packaging under the label “honey.” This food fraud also applies to foods that list “honey” as an ingredient. You might not be getting the real thing.

The Food and Drug Administration issued new guidelines Tuesday that will require companies to label any honey that is not pure, or even food containing this honey, with “blend of sugar and honey” or “blend of honey and corn syrup,” depending on the ingredients. This policy change is the result of organizations like the American Beekeeping Federation and other honey associations petitioning against the common food industry practice of misrepresenting “pure honey.”

via Sticky switcheroo: FDA cracks down on honey labeling – Health – Boston.com.