Oct 14, 2010 - Blue Dog, Computer systems and security    Comments Off

Spammers are back to sending poisoned .ZIP files by email

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“Hiiiiiiiii! This is Ashley . . .we did not see you in our wedding . . . Well, here I’m sending you a few pics taken in our wedding . . . http://www.FAKEURL.com/photos/ashley/wedding.zip

trojan horse

It’s so easy to click the mouse button on an email like this. Who doesn’t know an “Ashley”?

“Was I invited to a wedding? I wonder what her dress looked like?” The rest of the internal dialogue is less benign, “Oops, that was a .ZIP file, wasn’t it? Hey, that was weird. YOW! My computer — Oh sweet mother of GOD!”

Note that the link in this email was to a .ZIP file format. Spammers like .Zip spam because many email spam detectors and anti-virus programs don’t scan compressed files. It’s a popular way (in certain double-plus-not-good crowds) to slip in BotNet software to turn your computer into a zombie remote processor or open a door to your banking passwords. Possibilities are only limited by a Russian teenager’s imagination.

eWeek reports an uptick in the number of infected .ZIP file spam recently:

Anyone who makes the mistake of opening the attachment is greeted with a Trojan.

[The Trojan] downloads further malicious code from the Internet,” explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “Obviously the nature of the code it downloads can be changed at any time, but the usual suspects would be spyware code to steal your log-in details, turn your computer into a bot, etc.”

Microsoft’s “Security Intelligence Report” blog explains more about BotNets and “Drive-by Download” sites” — websites where vulnerable computers can be infected with malware simply by visiting it, even without attempting to download anything.

The moral of today’s Tale of Terro
r is “Don’t doze off at the reins while the horses are moving.”

  • Never EVER click on a link from an email.
  • Always keep your browser, operating system and hardware drivers up to date.
  • Don’t rely on a single anti-virus or anti-malware product. No one product will detect everything.
  • Avoid Windows Internet Explorer if you can.
  • Don’t assume that just because someone has your email address, they are your new best friend.
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Oct 10, 2010 - Getting old and stuff, parents, Wisconsin    Comments Off

JC Penny broke my mom’s heart!

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jcpenny logo

For 35 years my 80 year old Mom has been a devoted shopper at the JC Penny Outlet store on Silver Spring Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

They announced that they are closing soon and are having a “Closing Sale”. My Mom said “It just breaks my heart”–which breaks my heart to hear.

My personal taste is not JC Penny, and the outlet store is a collection of left over crap, factory seconds and polyester knockoffs–but to my Mombo the Outlet Center was a haven of low prices and ultra-returnability she could count on. The company is hurting, apparently. JC Penny closed their catalog distribution center in Milwaukee in 2002, and are planning to close their JCP Logistics branch along with the outlet center December 2010. They tried to get back on the fashion radar by opening a new store in New York City–but what about the midwest heartland that built their business, starting with James Cash Penny in 1902 Missouri?

As my ultra-conservative, Republican-faithful mom said today, “What’s wrong with Milwaukee that all the department stores are leaving?”

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Sep 29, 2010 - arts and crafts, Blue Dog    Comments Off

Should you make your own business cards at home?

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business cards

All the pros say never use hand-made business cards. Mostly that’s true.

It marks you as a professional weakling, not successful enough to have them “printed” printed–and nyah nyah probably not savvy enough to know what CMYK color separation is.

I’m not arguing. Perception is everything in the business world. When I worked at Citibank and Goldman Sachs, the secretary would just order 1000 for me with the company logo. I recently threw out a box of 990 from the last order, which, I’m sure, cost Goldman a bundle, but haven’t been very useful to me since Gorden Gekko last wore suspenders.

Sometimes a homemade business card is good enough, as long as you make it “good enough”. Precise typography, careful spacing and the best paper you can get. The new double-sided coated papers (Avery 8869 for instance) are very nice.

The basic rules of business cards apply:

  • Include your name, title, address, cell or office phone, email and web site.
  • No more than two typefaces, preferably a serif “display” and a clean, readable sans-serif for your info.
  • No more than 12 point type for your title, job or name, which ever is most important. The rest should be 8 to 9-point.
  • Keep your type away from the edge, Line it up to the left or right, but not all over the card.

I played around a bit with these rules on my card:

  • The display text, “Adler” is a serif monotype, and I used 14-point for my name because Adler comes out very small.
  • I used serif “Vidal” instead of a sans-serif for the text because I like it.
  • The back of my card is a photograph of a parasol I took in the 70′s. It’s been manipulated and adjusted with Photoshop. I chose it because I’m talking to people about promotional tasks lately, and I want to show my artistic side.

Since I only made a couple dozen, I can change the design again later if I need to.

business cards

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