Monday, February 24, 2014

iOS 7 Security Bug

In case you haven't heard, there is a pretty bad security bug present in iOS 7.  They urge everyone to update as soon as possible, otherwise you are at risk of your data being intercepted on public WiFi networks.  Go into Settings, General, Software Update and install 7.0.6 to get the fix.

The good news is that even if you have a Jailbroken device, you can still update.  evasi0n updated their Jailbreak to support 7.0.6.  Woot woot! All you have to do is backup your phone via iTunes, click Restore within iTunes, then re-jailbreak. 

Certain Macs appear to be vulnerable as well.  See below for full details from TechCrunch

On Friday Apple announced a fix to a security bug in its iOS 7 system. Saturday  Web security experts have parsed the patch to figure out what exactly the problem was… And apparently it’s a doozy.

Wired has all of the gory details:

“[The] terse description in Apple’s announcement yesterday had some of the internet’s top crypto experts wondering aloud about the exact nature of the bug. Then, as they began learning the details privately, they retreated into what might be described as stunned silence. “Ok, I know what the Apple bug is,” tweeted Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins. “And it is bad. Really bad.”

The culprit of what may be one of Apple’s biggest security snafus is an extra “goto” in one part of the authentication code, Wired reported. That spurious line of code bypasses the rest of the authentication protocols.

The bug could could allow hackers to intercept email and other communications that are meant to be encrypted, according to a Reuters report which was issued late on Friday night.

Meanwhile, ZDNet notes that macs may have been left vulnerable.
[Update: Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller sent us this comment about the continuing vulnerability in macs. "We are aware of this issue and already have a software fix that will be released very soon." (i.e. iOS 6 and 7 have been patched, OS X 1.9 is the first version to exhibit the vulnerability and is not currently patched, but will be soon. Until then, don't connect to any public wifi with your OS X 10.9 Macs.)]

As ZDNet’s contributing editor Larry Seltzer wrote:
Make no mistake about it, this is a very serious bug. The bug makes it fairly straightforward to intercept and decrypt SSL/TLS communications, probably the most important security protocol there is today.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day to my wonderful wifey and bestest friend!

From ME and the fuzzy boys!  


Monday, February 10, 2014

My Podcast is Live in iTunes!

I was waiting a few days to post about it here, but I now have a Podcast live on iTunes!

It is for my Niche Site Tools site and the post that contains all the details and show notes is here.

In case you're not familiar with what a Podcast is, it is a series of digital episodes, kinda like a blog, except in audio format.

The cool thing about a Podcast is you just load up your favorite Podcast app on your phone or mobile device and take it with you on the go.  In that way, you can listen to the show while you are commuting to work, when you are taking a walk, doing housework, etc. 

There were a few reasons I decided to branch out into Podcasting. One was that it takes me a very long time to do a detailed blog post.  I figured doing an audio version might cut down on the time it takes to get the content out, allowing me to put more out there. 

Another primary reason is that I find lately, I spend way more time listening to Podcasts than I do reading blog posts from those same folks that I follow.  It is just so much easier to pop in the earbuds or press play in the car and listen while doing something else at the same time.  I hear the same thing from lots of others that travel in the same virtual circles. 

With Podcasting, you can also connect with the show creator on a much more personal level when you hear their voice.  In that way, you can really make a deeper connection and truly feel like you know the person behind the microphone. 

All of which plays into my purpose for that site, which is: To share experiences, tips and tools with other like minded folks to help everyone achieve a greater level of success with their online adventures.

Plus, I just wanted to have some fun with it and branch out into something new!

Even if the content isn't necessarily for you, I'd really appreciate it if you would pull up your Podcasting app, or go to iTunes in the Podcast section and search for "Niche Site Tools".  Then click subscribe, download the first episode and have a listen.  I admit the intro was a bit over the top, but I was having fun with the whole radio announcer voice thing. 

The more subscriptions and listens, the more the show will get noticed.  Before I really spread the word, I want to get a few episodes posted and most importantly I am really looking for some feedback from you guys on how it sounds and possibly some suggestions on ways to improve.

Thanks ahead of time! 

Free Podcaster App for iPhone/iPad  |  Free Podkeeper App for Android

Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Max!

Hard to believe the Buddo is 2 already!  Happy Birthday Max!!

It does seem like quite a while since we first saw him in person,
a lot has changed since then!

 He liked to dance back then....

And is still rockin out!

 This was his smash cake pic from last year...

Can't wait to see pics from the party tomorrow!  
Wish we were there, come on down to the beach and visit soon Buddy!!

Foscam FI8918W and F18910W Review

In the last several weeks, I've had 2 friends inquire about the webcams that we utilize to keep an eye on our pets while we are away.  That got me thinking that I should do a post in case others might be interested in webcams as well.

We got our first webcam over 5 years ago, it was the Panasonic BL-C131A, which is outdated/discountinued. It has served us well and continues to work just fine.  You can control the camera remotely via web interface and it has tilt/pan/zoom.

Foscam FI8918W

However, we recently added 2 new webcams to the mix.  They are both the
Foscam FI8918W, shown here below. 

We went with these for a number of reasons:
  • Offers a much larger range of motion:  Pan/Tilt Angle Horizontal:300°/Vertical: 120°.
  • Provides night vision: Infrared Light 11 IR LEDs,Night visibility up to 8 meters.
  • 2 way audio capability  
  • Inexpensive, currently in the mid $60 range.  Original cam was double that.
  • Excellent reviews on Amazon
The cameras have been great.  We purchased the first Foscam about a year ago and recently added the second one.

The reason for 3 cams is that the cats hang out in 3 main spots, our living room, our master bedroom and the spare bedroom.  So we actually use the Panasonic and 2 Foscams at the same time when we're not here.  That pretty much allows us to see most of our 2 story condo.  

After we got our Foscams, my sister Michelle got 1, a friend of mine at work got 1 and then added a 2nd one and another friend just asked me to forward him the details and he is ordering one as well.

They've been a big hit and work really well!

The only issue we run into occasionally is that the camera that is furthest away from the wireless router occasionally goes inaccessible for short periods of time.  It is only intermittent and due to the weak signal in that room.  By the way, you can also use a wired network connection if available.

In regards to the 2 way audio, the camera has a built in microphone so that you can hear what is going on in proximity to the camera.  If you need two way audio, you would have to hook a speaker up to the camera.

Honestly, we have only listened to the audio 1 time and have never had a need to be able to speak back, but if that is important to you, just wanted to make you aware of how that works.

These cameras are a great way to be able to watch pets while you're away, to use as a baby monitor, or even just to keep an eye on your home.

I'm thinking that my sister Jen needs to get one and set it on the bookshelf so that we can watch our nephew Max play all day.  That would make things so much easier, no need for anyone to carry around an iPhone or iPad for FaceTime video chats!

And oh, by the way, the web interface where you can control the webcam is all accessed by login/password.  You can setup custom accounts that have limited or full access.

There are several different free apps for your mobile device that you can use to control your camera(s).  The one we use for the iPhone is called CamViewer.  Below are actual screen shots from my phone utilizing CamViewer that I just took when I got home.  The two kitties upstairs were looking out the window and the other two came to greet me downstairs. 


The above pictures were taken with my phone in vertical mode.  If you switch to horizontal mode the picture is bigger and the arrows to control the cam go invisible as shown below.  In horizontal mode, you just click on areas of the screen to move the cam.

If you are on a computer, you just point your browser to the appropriate URL and you're good to go.  The browser screen looks like the image below.

The one we all have is the Foscam FI8918W

Foscam F18910W

On the product page, they also mention there is a newer version available which is the Foscam F18910W, which has is supposed to have a slightly better picture for about $10 more.


Either webcam is highly recommended and with 4 separate households utilizing them, I can say for sure that if you're looking for a webcam, you can't go wrong with the slightly less expensive Foscam FI8918W or the newer, slightly better quality Foscam F18910W!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Turbo Tax 35% Off Discount

It's tax time again.  I've always used TurboTax.  It is super easy to use and your personal info transfers over from year to year.  Of course, it is always good to be able to save some $ as well, which is why I am providing you with links to the best Turbo Tax discounts that I could find below. 

Unfortunately, Bank of America no longer provides a 35% Turbo Tax discount like they used to, however here are the best Turbo Tax discounts available...

For anyone wanting/needing to utilize the desktop/download version, Amazon offers discounts similar to the ones mentioned below. 

What I found is that this year, they have rolled up several forms and schedules from their lower priced online versions into their higher priced $79+ online Business version.

However, that is not yet the case for their desktop versions, so this year I'm having to utilize the desktop version myself and I did so via this discount link to Amazon:

Scottrade offers members 30% off online or 20% off desktop versions
Vanguard offers members a 25% discount  
Wells Advantage has a $20 discount
Fidelity gives its members a $20 discount
T. Rowe Price gives a discount up to $20 
USAA Turbo Tax Discount has a 25% discount
Progressive Insurance has a 25% discount
AAA Member gives its members a 25% discount

Hope that helps!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

SEOquake Free Plugin

I mentioned in a previous post that I signed up for InfoBarrel, as an attempted source of making $ online down the road.  One unexpected bonus is how great their forums are.  There are a ton of like minded individuals wanting to help others and themselves achieve success online.

They have pay-it-forward posts often where everyone in the post will go out and read/comment on articles of others, provide links back to the articles from other sites online, etc.  I've never seen such a positive and active community like it before.  Check out my prior post for more specifics, definitely worth checking out.

One of the great nuggets of info I found on the forums last night was a free browser plugin called SEOquake.  I just installed it and it is super cool!  It is available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

What it does is provide real time statistics for sites that you go to as far as their Google Page Rank, number of articles from the site that are indexed by Google and Bing, age of the domain name and lots of other site info.  You can also fully customize the data that it shows you.

SEOquake toolbar shown under the website address
In addition, you can see a breakdown of the keyword density of the site or post page you are on, you can see the primary sources of links to the site, number of internal and external links to the site or page and it will even do an analysis of your site and offer suggestions on how to improve SEO type stuff.

If you do not have your own domain name, such as anyone using the default Blogger domain name, certain categories may not be applicable such as domain age, but you will still see some useful data. 

That's what I've found in about 15 minutes of using the plugin.  This is all super cool stuff that I enjoy checking out not only for my site, but sites I go to often and sites that I'm a big fan of.  It looks like that is a great tool to see at a very quick glance, vital stats for a site.  You can click on the individual items and see a more detailed breakdown as well.

With the SEOquake extension enabled in Firefox, for normal websites, the results just show in a small bar right under the location where you would type in a web address.  When searching Google, it provides a small bar right there with the relevant information for each site.  That is great, but it can get a bit cluttered.

My recommendation would be to just disable SEOquake when you don't want to use it.  In Firefox you can just go to Tools, Add-Ons, Extensions and then either Disable or Enable SEOquake as you desire.  It is definitely cool enough that I will be utilizing it a bunch more and will just turn it off when I don't want to use it.

I've only begun to scratch the surface on this, but I thought it was so useful that I wanted to just pass it along as-is so that you can check it out for yourself also if interested.  Let me know what you think and if you have specific questions on what an individual item is, let me know.  I'll be glad to figure it out and report back.

If you are interested in niche tools and posts like this one, head on over to my other site, which is dedicated to helping you achieve a greater level of success with all of your online adventures.  

You can subscribe to that site via email to instantly get my free eGuide "Top 10 Killer Keyword Brainstorming Tips" on how to come up with potential topics for your next niche site project.

Also, be sure to like my Facebook Page, and follow my Twitter Account.  Additionally, I just launched a brand new podcast as well that you can find in iTunes here.  

Thanks and best wishes for success with all of your online adventures!

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