Sunday, September 15, 2013

The mobilization of the cyber criminal underground

I'm continuing to be amazed at the varied places I'm finding wifi. I'm at my second car inspection place in my new hometown, and both of them have not only had wifi, but really fast, really open wifi. If you've read this blog at all, you know that mobile computing (without laptops) is a particular interest of mine. I'm using my iPad right now, as are 3-4 others in this place on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The TV in the corner is blaring away, but everyone is busily keeping up their online lives.

This pervasive use of Internet resources is not without danger, however. If you're using your tablet or phone to do everything, you may not stop and think before you log in to your bank, PayPal, or credit card app. That's where the opportunity for online criminals to hijack your identity credentials comes up. (There's no other thing to call them. They are committing crimes, not just hacking or whatever mild epithet you want to attach to their activity.) I found the info in this graphic alarming, but also infuriating. It's a simple thing to be aware of what you're doing and who's around, but even with the best precautions, the remains some danger. That's why the anger. I want to be comfortable in that corner cafe drinking a cappuccino, not watching over my shoulder in case some goon is trying to steal my money or impersonate me at a store and charge things to my account.

The Cybercriminal Underground

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

So, bottom line, be careful out there! It can be a jungle or the Wild West, or whatever metaphor you choose to use, so there's reason for all pioneers to be on their guard.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:N Duke St,Durham,United States

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let's end plug-in issues using computer power

I get so tired of seeing Flash warning error messages when using my Mac. I removed Flash a few years ago and started following the John Gruber rule - if it needs Flash, run it in Chrome. That way, Safari can work without having to keeping that memory hog from eating up resources in the background.

So, to try and spread this mantra around, I have added the note below and send it to the tech support address or form. It's not a demand, or a promise that "I'll never visit your stupid site again!" It's just a suggestion. Anyone who's running a tech support queue can identify with the problem, and the solution is almost trivial - just show the mobile version of the video if the plug-in is out of date. The user will never know! Simple!

Feel free to copy/paste this for your own "End the Flash Update" campaign.

One sees it everywhere on the web: "Please update your Flash player." Why does this ever display, especially on sites like yours that obviously stays up-to-date technically?

I've solved this issue personally (since I swore off Flash a few years ago) by asking my browser to reload the page, but changing the user agent to lie to the server and say I'm on an iPad. Problem solved! The non-flash you hide from desktop users loads and plays just fine.

So, my question: Why confuse those least technical of folks, the ones who will not have updated plug-ins? Think of your mom or your grandmother - do they have any idea how to fix a Flash problem? Of course not! They just let it fester until you're there at Christmas, and you spend all afternoon cleaning up the mess of stuff that slipped through because of old, compromised plugins.

Why not try this: If the user's browser requests a Flash video but their plug-in version is too old, rather than display that message, silently load the non-flash version. This lets them stay on your site, loading page views, rather than going over to Adobe's maze of a site, getting lost, cursing at the computer, decided never to ever use this stupid thing again, I can't believe I ever let that son of mine talk me into this - you get the idea.

It's not like you'd have to convert anything - the mobile-friendly, non-Flash version is sitting there, possibly in the same directory as the Flash version. I bet this would actually lower your tech support queues.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Memory Ln,Durham,United States

from dusty archives - Largo Lodge

[ed. This piece was written some time ago, but I found it recently while moving hard drives on a computer. I thought some folks may find it ...