Archive for August, 2008

Gmail Account Hacking Tool

 | August 29, 2008 9:06 PM

Mike Perry is going to release a Gmail Account Hacking Tool which will allow hackers to get into anyone’s Gmail account.

After reading the article and another article I think the threat is overblown.  If you check your email in private on a wired or secure wireless network you are fine.  In public if you use https://gmail.com you will be fine.  Always using SSL for Gmail seems to be overdoing it and could slow the performance of Gmail.

I have one security friend who will probably disagree with me.  And maybe he can convince me because this article about someone who lost his domain because his Gmail account was hacked is quite sobering.

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I like McCain’s choice of Palin much more than Obama’s choice of Biden.  This New York Times article, McCain Chooses Palin as Running Mate, gives a good summary.

While Obama’s choice of Biden felt like he was giving in to people complaining about lack of experience, foreign issues expertise, etc., McCain’s choice of Palin is more risky.  Palin is a woman, she’s considered somewhat of a “maverick” in her party, she’s from Alaska, no one has ever heard of her, she’s young and relatively inexperienced, etc.

In the end I respect McCain for making this choice.  Now I wish more than ever that Obama had chosen Hilary Clinton.  It says something that McCain chose to make the risky choice and Obama chose to make the safe choice.  It may say something about who is really for change.

This move could work out well for McCain because the conservative Christians are very happy about it and maybe some women, who are not pro-choice, will move towards Palin.

“They’re beyond ecstatic,” said Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition. “This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.”

I don’t know much about Biden but my first impression is not favorable.  He seems very liberal, loose with his mouth, an insider who likes to say he is not.  He is handsome though. 🙂

I respect Palin because she doesn’t just say she is pro-life, she didn’t abort her fifth baby when she knew he had Down syndrome.  She also rooted out corruption in her government and attacked many Republicans while doing that.

My summary is that though I think Obama > McCain, I think Palin >> Biden.

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LPGA requires English

 | August 27, 2008 3:44 PM

Beginning next year the LPGA requires all Tour players speak English and if they don’t they’ll be suspended.

I agree with this article’s assessment, LPGA’s English only edict: Dumbest rule ever.

I’m sorry. I’m just not getting why this isn’t the dumbest rule in the history of sports. OK, not just dumb. But certainly jingoistic and, by almost any measure, racist.

Consider this: There are apparently 121 players from 26 nations currently playing on the tour. But, reportedly, the rule was specifically explained to one particular group of players – South Koreans, who represent 45 of the foreign-born players.

And the LPGA didn’t explain it well. Reportedly, the players came away from the meeting thinking they’d lose their tour card, not merely be suspended, for failing to learn Englsh.

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Blue Jays ahead of Yankees?

 | August 18, 2008 9:45 PM

The Blue Jays have been playing surprisingly well lately and they start a three game series with the Yankees where conceivably they could win two out of three.  Their starting pitchers for this series are Burnett, Purcey, Halladay while the Yankees’ are Rasner, Pettitte, Ponson.

The Blue Jays really aren’t good but I can take comfort in the fact they could finish the season ahead of the Yankees just like I took comfort two seasons ago when they finished ahead of the Red Sox.  It was nice to see them just sweep the Red Sox, wish I could have been at the game at Fenway when Beckett was blown away.

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Yesterday we received our Chase Freedom Visa cards which I ordered after reading this column, Chase Freedom Cash Visa: $50 Sign-up Bonus, Up To 3.75% Back On Top Spending Categories.  It basically gives 3% in your top three categories and 1% back on everything else.  If you wait to redeem at the $200 level you get a $50 bonus so it is like you are getting 3.75%/1.25% cash back.

When I went to Chase.com to check on this Visa card I found I had another Visa card.  I was going to close it but the representative told me it was a Chase Cash Plus Rewards Visa card which he said is better than my other card.  It gives 5% cash back for purchases at gas stations, groceries and drugstores and 1% cash back everywhere else.

Finally I have my American Express Blue Cash Card which gives back 1%/5% cash back for purchases at gas stations, groceries and drugstores and 0.5%/1.5% for other purchases.  The higher level of cash back comes after spending $6500 and there is no limit on the amount of rewards you can earn.

One strategy I could employ is this.

  1. Use Chase Rewards Plus at gas stations, groceries and drugstores so you get 5% back.
  2. Use Chase Freedom Visa at other places so you get 3% back on the top three categories.
  3. Use American Express Blue Cash at Costco or for big purchases since the rewards are not limited.

Or I could just do what’s convenient.  Using the Chase Freedom Visa on my other top three categories will save me about $200 * .02% which equals $4 per month or $50 per year.  Is that worth the hassle of maintaining another card?  Maybe not.

In the end I’d rather use one card.  Maybe the best strategy depends on how much I have spent on American Express.  For the first $6500 on American Express (beginning of May):

  1. Use Chase Rewards Plus at gas stations, groceries and drugstores (5% back) plus wherever else American Express is not accepted.
  2. Use Chase Freedom Visa for automatic payments for utilities, telephone, cable to get 3% back.
  3. Use American Express everywhere else.

After I have spent $6500 on American Express (around November):

  1. Use Chase Freedom Visa where American Express is not accepted to get 3% back on the top three categories.
  2. Use American Express everywhere else.

Fortunately Chase has automatic payment of bills.

Too bad Costco only accepts American Express which started me down this crazy path in the first place.  Crazy Costco!  At least Costco Gas counts as a gas station.  And to top it off it was recommended to me by my mortgage broker to use my old Visa every six months because I have the longest credit history on it.

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My friend essny told me about a fascinating set of photos from North Korea on Flickr taken by a French photographer.  The photos look like the ones I have seen before by others who have gone on the same tour as this photographer did (it seems like there is only one tour).  But these photographs are high quality and have some interesting descriptions and comments.

Here are a few of the photos I liked.

Stopping the Invisible man

Pyongyang beauty

Pyongyang beauty

Do not talk to strangers

Do not talk to strangers

Mansudae Hill, in Pyongyang, where visitors (locals and tourists) are invited to lay flowers and pay respects to the Great Leader Kim Il Sung.

Mansudae Hill, in Pyongyang, where visitors (locals and tourists) are invited to lay flowers and pay respects to the Great Leader Kim Il Sung.

Not an easy task to shoot a smiling soldier!

Not an easy task to shoot a smiling soldier!

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To Do Lists

 | August 17, 2008 6:51 PM

I used to keep my to do’s on my white board but since I no longer have access to it I started looking for an online solution.  I first started with Netvibes To Do window and it seemed to do the job quite well.  One thing that was strange though was that if I had two Netvibes windows open on two different computers, the changes in one session don’t get reflected in the other and if you update the other then the first set of changes could be deleted.  I have yet to find a satisfactory solution to this other than making sure only one window is open.

Today I tried Remember the Milk which seems to be the most highly recommended and works with Jott and Twitter.  But I was quite unimpressed, it wasn’t too intuitive.  Even something as simple as editing took me awhile to figure out.  I then tried Ta-da Lists which is more intuitive but again I find myself going through different screens to do simple things like rearranging.  I even checked out 30 Boxes To Do list which is good but you have to go through the calendar to get to it.

Now I am back to Netvibes.  It’s To Do list is really great, it’s one small window and you can do everything in that window.  It’s about as close as you can get to a desktop application while having the convenience of online accessibility.  Overall I’ve enjoyed using Netvibes to check email on all my accounts, see my Facebook and Twitter information, check weather, RSS feeds, etc.

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The role of the father

 | August 14, 2008 5:15 PM

I have realized the role of the father is to be selfish and the role of the mother is to be selfless.

For example I will be eating dinner happily and then I will say to Ji Seon “Did you eat?”

She will reply “No I was feeding the other kids.”

I will then advise Ji Seon to eat.  My role as the selfish person has helped remind Ji Seon to eat.

Or I will be watching the Olympics while Ji Seon is giving the kids a bath.  Ji Seon will see me watching and that will remind her to watch TV sometimes herself.

Or when the guys call me to play basketball I say sure and run out.  This encourages Ji Seon to take some time off for herself.

My role is crucial.  If I had tried to be selfless like Ji Seon than we would both be weary and spent.  But my selfishness reminds Ji Seon to take care of herself. 😀

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