Archive for June, 2011

How To Survive The Internet #3

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you” Kurt Cobain 

The internet is not always friendly. Just as an example: PhishTank reported that in April 2011, over 18000 phishes were reported, of which close to 15000 were verified. A quick peak around Shadowserver Foundation‘s Statistic pages will also give you an idea of just how unfriendly it can be.

With that in mind, part 3 is focused on being a bit more ninja-like on the net.

1) Tor Project

By using the Tor software you connect to it’s open network which helps you defend against any type of network surveillance. However like any technology, there are also the darker elements such as the Silk Road Marketplace and others, which are only accessible while on the onion network (the protocol which Tor uses). This topic would take an entire post on it’s own, so maybe I will one day, but for now go have a look for yourself.

Read more here, and download it here. The simplest is the browser bundle download, but it is easy enough to setup if you download the other bundles.

TIP: Use at your own risk, some ISPs aren’t too fond of Tor.

2) BugMeNot

If you hate spam as much as I do, this will make you very happy. BugMeNot allows you to use or share logins for sites that require you to register, such as NY Times, IMDB and many others, just type in the url of the website and check if there is anything available.

Tip: Don’t fall for the “Click YES to show password”. These are just spam and make it harder to find legit accounts to use.

3) 10 Minute Mail

Sometimes you need a disposable email address to receive a confirmation or to register for some service, but don’t feel like the crap that follows. 10 Minute Mail creates one of the email addresses for you and after 10 minutes, if you don’t click the renew button, it deletes the address. Very simple and useful!

4) namechk

Wondering if your username is available on a specific website or across a whole range? namechk makes this easy. You type in the desired username and it will scan the 159 websites in  it’s database to check if it is available, or taken, and on which sites. This is also useful to check if there is someone with the same username that may be out there.

5) Fake Name Generator

This one is bordering on illegal, but it all depends how it is used. As they say in their FAQs:

We do not condone, support, or encourage illegal activity of any kind. We will cooperate with law enforcement organizations to assist in the prosecution of anyone that misuses the information we provide or that asks us to provide illegal materials, such as forged documents or genuine credit card numbers.

That being said, we really don’t see how it could be. If you make up a random name and address off the top of your head, do you really think its illegal?

Choose the gender, name set and country (there are also advanced options) and soon you’ll be Aaron Hope of Pont Crugnant, a training consultant weighing in at 206.4 pounds.  It’ll even give you an email address and “credit card number” (just don’t try use it).

This can be very useful when registering for certain sites on the web where you’d rather not share your own information on.


Revenge of the Zombie Girlfriend: Purpose

Part 10:

Note: For the previous part of this story, click here, or to start from the beginning, click hereFor the full story, click here, or click here for the next part

Charlie walked out of the bathroom and saw that Alex and Karen were already finished. He did tend to have a bad habit of taking ridiculously long showers. Not that he had been that long, Alex and Karen were just really quick. Pre-Day-Z this hadn’t been a big issue but now, you were lucky if you could find a shower that still worked.

Alex had again withdrawn back into his shell, possibly because of the new surroundings, although he doubted that. Most likely it was meeting strangers. Karen was busy talking to him and he was whispering back, but Charlie couldn’t make out what he was whispering. Reading lips was only something the heroes in the movies could do. Charlie took a step outside and saw there was a commotion at the gate. He noticed that everyone around had stopped what they were doing, even those repairing the wall on the far side. Charlie could only imagine things weren’t quite going according to plan here. He could feel the tension in the air.

He moved towards the gathering and saw they were crowding around someone. As he got closer, he heard the name D-Boy being murmured in the crowd. If he recalled correctly, that was the anme of one of the people that were with Lisa. At the edge of the crowd, he could still not see anything. He squeezed his way through slowly until he was standing next to Bob. He then saw a young man being held closely by a good-looking women, who was rocking him back and forth in her arms. She turned her head scanning the crowd and screamed “Where the fuck is that whore?”

Bob started saying something, but before he could even get through the first word, she said, “And don’t you fucking say that we need to investigate this or confirm that. My fucking brother is lucky to have escaped alive and it’s no thanks to that bitch.”

“We don’t know anything Cindy, all that he said before he passed out was her name. Nothing more!”

“Screw you Bob. Just pray to God that I don’t find that bitch before you do.”

“Fang, come here.” he said to a scary figure standing behind them. The figure moved forward. “Take Cindy to my quarters and make sure she doesn’t get out until I clear it.”

He then turned to Cindy and said, “This is only because I care about you. We can’t have people running around killing each other. Once D-Boy wakes up, we can then talk to him again, but I’m not about to let some petty fucking feud between the two of you get out of hand over a simple mention of her name.”

She got up and was about to rush at him but Fang had managed to grab her and start dragging her away, now screaming like a crazy person.

“Okay that’s it, get the hell outta here,” he said to the crowd, “I’m sure you all have something productive you could be doing. That means you too Jess, I’m really not in the mood for your shit now.

Bob walked away and was hoping that when D-Boy did wake up again, he wouldn’t put this on Lisa. Mistrust would destroy all that he had achieved here. He noticed Charlie following him and asked, “Can I help you Charlie?”

“No, was just wondering what all the fuss was about, although now that you mention it, I wanted to ask what news you may have heard these last few days. We have been out of contact for a while.”

“Just a few ruffled feathers is all. D-Boy is fine, but he is just exhausted from escaping. Luckily he didn’t get bit. Otherwise we would have a whole different problem on our hands.

“As for news, it’s not too good there either, we heard from a passer-by that this supposed zombie army is gettuing closer each day and is also growing at an alarming rate. They’re still days away though, I just hope that they are just rumours.”

“I heard about this army. The last I had heard of them, they were about a week or so behind us at least. We need to do something to stop them. that’s for sure.”

“Charlie I like the way that you think. I can’t talk right now, I need to deal with this crap, but we must speak soon. See you later.”

“No worries, looking forward to it Bob.”


Free Shit!

I’m all for free stuff, even if it takes entering a whole shitload of competitions. If you know where to look, there are a hell of a lot of free online competitions.

Unfortunately, if you’re not from South Africa, some (or most) of these won’t be much use to you.

1) Winstuff.co.za

This website links to all sorts of competitions around the web, again this is mostly for South Africans. Some may require you to send an sms, some require registration of some kind but 90% of them are free to enter.

I have realised that they do miss out on one or two of the competitions on the same websites of other competitions that they do post. So when you are on the website of whatever competition you are entering, have a look around and see if there aren’t any others.

2) JustPlay

For answering a questionnaire from a sponsor, you get given an entry into a choice of various prizes. You get given a limited amount of entries, so choosing which prizes you want can be difficult. You can also earn or buy bonus entries which bypass the questionnaire. Each prize will stay on the site for a certain period (generally more than 200 days) and once that period is over a random name is drawn.

3) A Few Others

The following are very similar to winstuff.co.za and most of their prizes that they link to are exactly the same. There are occasionally one or two others that winstuff.co.za doesn’t list that show up here.

Although that they technically aren’t free or competitions, there are a growing number of group buying schemes that save you not less than 50% on eating out, holidays and whatever is on offer. The most well known of these is most likely Twangoo, who joined forces with international giant Groupon to bring us MyCityDeal

There are plenty others and the amount of sites are growing monthly. This article will give you an idea of the number of sites out there.


How To Survive The Internet #2

I know it’s a bit soon to be posting the next guide, since the first one only came out yesterday, but I thought I had better do this one while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Here are today’s five for you to look at.

1) Popurls

The web on one page.

That’s the only way I can think to describe it. It takes all the current most popular pages from Twitter, Reddit, Digg, Flickr, Youtube, NY Times, Huffington Post, Lifehacker, Google News, Wired, Slashdot, Metafilter and almost every other major website you can think of and allows you to view them – by either clicking the link, or just looking at the hovering preview of the page.

If you want to know what is happening in the world, this is the place you’d look. If it’s not here somewhere, it’s not important…

2) Quixey

Google is good for a lot of things. Finding specific software, however, is not one of it’s strong points.

That is where Quixey comes in, and it does a rather good job of it as well! It allows you to search for software on almost every major platform, and even shows you web-based apps and browser add-ons available. I say almost because I did notice that Linux software is absent from the site, but as it moves out of it’s beta state, I am sure that this will be included.

It allows you to choose filter between paid and free software, and rather convenient are the reviews snippets shown next to each app.

3) The Big Picture

Reading the news is good and all, but we all know the famous quote, “A picture is worth a a thousand words.”

With this website, that couldn’t be truer. Their “news stories in photographs” approach is awesome. Their latest story about the volcano erupting in Chile is breathtaking.

There is not much else that I can say except that you should go see for yourself.

4) Windows Live Skydrive & Badongo

These two are grouped together because they both have their place.

I’ll start with the Windows Live service’s Skydrive. You get given 25GB of storage to use pretty much however you like (but I wouldn’t go uploading dodgy things.) Chances are that you already have a Windows Live account, so you just need to activate this service. After that you will see you have your private and public folders but the one downside is that files are limited to 50MB each. There are other services you can use that are very similar such as DropBox, but I like that you don’t need to download software and also that you can save directly from Office to your Skydrive.

Next up, is a service I only started using quite recently, is Badongo. You have unlimited storage available and the file size limit is 1GB. I’m still getting used to this service, but go check it out and see what you think.

Alternatives to the above are DropBox, FilePigeon & countless others.

5) The CIA World Factbook 

Getting reliable up to date information about a specific country at any given time can be a bit of a mission. And then getting it all in one location is another mission altogether.

This site has any information about a country that you would like to know. For example did you know that South Africa has 147 airports with paved runways? Or that we have over 46 million cellphones and 4.42 million internet connections in the country being used?


Test Your Googling Skills

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Image via Wikipedia

I think that I can easily say that most of the people I know use Google, as do most of the world. How are your googling skills?

On 7 April this year, Google started a puzzle challenge called “A Google a Day” which will put your googling skills to the test. I’ve been doing a few of them, as I get a chance, and it is very interesting to say the least.

You get given a clue and using that clue you need to find out what the answer is using Google. Once you think you have the answer, you input it and it’ll tell you if it is correct or not. Of course, you can admit defeat and ask for the answer. They will also explain what is possibly the easiest way you could have found the answer, whether you give up or get the answer.

Whether you do it to just put your skills to the test or use it to learn from fresh, you will eventually become a Google Master. You say, “But what’s the point, I can just google the answer. That is where Deja Google comes in. According to the website:

To keep the game interesting for everyone, we created Deja Google – A wormhole inspired time machine that searches the Internet as it existed before the game began. Because nobody wants someone’s recent blog post about finding an answer spoiling their fun.

Go check it out at agoogleaday.com


How To Survive The Internet #1

The internet can be a scary place. Over time you might find certain websites that you cannot live without. Now because I’m just awesome that way, I’ve decided to share some of the better ones out there, so you don’t have to sift through pages of Google results.

Of course if I had to start listing them by the hundreds as I easily could, you would give up before you even reached the halfway mark. So instead, once in a while, I’ll give you five of my favourites that stick out at that moment. Just click on the headings to go to each website. They aren’t in any particular order or in categories, they’re just there, because otherwise my CDO might kick in. *twitch*

1) Zamzar

Of all the websites I have ever come across, this one must be one of the most highly recommended. Have you ever received a file and not been able to open it? You can either mission trying to find the software to open it or try to convert it somehow…

That is why Zamzar is here. It has a pretty comprehensive list of supported file formats. With the free version of their service, you can upload files up to 100MB in size, going up to 1GB for paying customers. As a paying customer you also get online storage for a certain amount of time, can upload larger files, do concurrent conversions and much more

Its a pretty straightforward process as well:

  • Upload file
  • Choose output format
  • Enter email address
  • Go to download link (or storage inbox for paying customers) and download converted file.

I have tested the converter on all sorts of files (pdf to doc, xls to pdf, jpg to bmp, jpg to pdf and many more and have not been able to find a fault in any conversion.

As an extra bonus, the site also allows you to convert videos from most video sites, such as YouTube, into downloadable videos.

This is truly a life saver of a website.

2) Snopes

I don’t like spam, at all. So when people I know forward me e-mails that are clearly spam, I get really angry. I won’t even get onto the Facebook spam that I get on my  Facebook News Feed. If you don’t know what Snopes is, you are probably one of those people that forwards every e-mail that you receive and annoy the hell out of people like me.

Here’s how it works. If you receive a mail that you think may be a scam or spam, type the subject line or part of the message into Snopes’ search box and “voila!”

It’s not just email, it also lists various other types of scams running. Check the Hot 25 list for the most circulated scams at the moment

Hoax Slayer, Truth Or Fiction & Urban Legends are also decent alternatives and can also be used to double check your suspicions

3) Central Ops

This site is for the more advanced user and has some very useful online network tools. Get information on an IP address, get a domain’s information & records or even see what information your browser is displaying about you to the world (or more importantly to spammers or other undesirable people out there.)

To just verify an email address, use verify-email.org. This site is pretty simple. Got an e-mail that has bounced back and want to confirm if the address is valid? Just check it here.

4) Down for everyone or just me?

The idea here is simple. Picture the scene: You go to your favourite website, but it won’t open, so you start swearing (and possibly bashing your keyboard) because your email, and whatever else, is working.

This is where this site comes in… you simply enter the url into the box, click “or just me?” and within seconds you will know whether the entire site is down or if the problem is on your side.

5) How Secure Is My Password?

Want to know how secure your password is? Enter it here to find out how long it would take someone with an average desktop PC to crack your password. Simple

Just as an extra, here is a video I came across today that I thought I’d share…


The World Is F***ed #4: MTV Movie Awards

MTV LogoI used to love MTV, back when Beavis and Butthead, Migraine Boy, Daria, and more recently Celebrity Deathmatch, had me laughing my ass off. Back when there were still nights dedicated to rock music, not just one night or show either. They also didn’t have 12 hours of ads per day…

Okay I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV at all these days, let alone MTV. I watch the movies and series that I like and that’s it. Once in a while at a friends house I might jump across to MTV, but I hardly ever stay there more than 15-20 minutes before I get frustrated.

As if my apathetic view of MTV wasn’t bad enough, at the MTV Movie awards last night (5 June 2011), I was shocked to find that the best movie, according to them, was “Twilight: Eclipse” and along with that they got Best Male and Female Performance (for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). Oh and Best Kiss & Best Fight. WTF? Really… Twilight was their “best” movie? What the hell happened to all the other way better movies, never mind the best performance awards? Sorry MTV, but you now just plain suck…

So I guess this is my goodbye to MTV. As a final remembrance of the MTV I used to love, here’s a video I found of  a whole bunch of Beavis and Butthead.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 203 other followers