Category Archives: rants and views

Value your identity? Stay away from Yahoo!

Three of my friends had their Facebook account hacked in a span of a month.  How?  Their Yahoo! Mail was hacked.  They all associated their Facebook accounts with their yahoo mail.  My girlfriend is one of them.  I’ve told her many times to avoid using yahoo for anything that she values – e.g. social networking, credit transactions, etc.  Now I don’t have to say “told you so…” for her to learn from that mistake.

I’ve known for a long time that Yahoo is easily hackable.  Heck I can’t even believe that it is TOO EASY! If you have a hacked yahoo account and wanted to purge it of anything – you’d be out of luck.  I tried recovering my girlfriend’s yahoo account thru the same process a hacker can get hold of it.  Go to a Yahoo portal, click ‘Forgot Password’ or ‘Can’t access my account’ and you’re good to go.  That’s how easy it is.  You can just change the password with the steps provided in Yahoo!

Obviously it isn’t good enough to just recover the account and change its password.  I tried deleting her account thru Yahoo’s Delete steps shown here.  So I thought she’s in the clear from the hacker recovering access to her Yahoo account.  Guess what?! After you delete your account Yahoo! shows you this page.

Obviously a hacker can still recover your account within 90-days! What an idiot for Yahoo! to allow such FEATURE!

Obviously a hacker can still recover your account within 90-days! What an idiot for Yahoo! to allow such FEATURE!

I tried logging in with my girlfriend’s account with the wrong password.  And guess again! It doesn’t even make sure that I typed in the password it just asks me to verify if I want to re-active it and voila! I can open it again.  I still have 90-days to RE-ACTIVATE it as what Yahoo! says anyway.  A hacker can practically take over as long as he/she wants if needed…but for the real owner, you’d have no choice but to just wish hard the hacker won’t do more damage than what they already know – limited or not!

So for anyone using Yahoo! keep it for fancy un-important stuff.  Make sure you don’t keep confidential information in it.  I have a Yahoo! account but only for messenger – but I barely use it for important stuff anyway.  You’ve been warned!

P.S. Gmail is rock-solid in recovering passwords and even deleting accounts when the user decides to.  I just created a user in gmail to test it out.  The password recovery facility is so tight you can only recover it through a secondary email.  Deleting a google account will delete it instantly.  I can’t recover it in any way.

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Vista = Stress

For over a year and a half that I’ve avoided any tweaking (that includes fixes) to any Windows machine, I regret breaking that ‘habit’.  The last two days was hell for me.  A new roommate moved over to the apartment over the weekend.  Ironically, my two year old Belkin b/g router died yesterday – I’ve used it to extend my wireless network to broadcast 802.11b/g while my Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) exclusively broadcasts 802.11n for my Macbook.

The Vista control panel and network connection settings is way different now compared to XP.  So I looked like a noob when I tried to ask my friend a lot of technical stuff like, “Hey, how can I delete the wireless profile?”

It took me several restarts and reset of my AEBS, and forced my friend to restore to a week old back-up point in Vista’s System rollback feature.  I had two friends who didn’t have difficulty connecting wirelessly with my AEBS with each having a Vista and an XP system.  I just can’t figure out why my friend’s notebook just had to be a pain in the @$# – even a wired ethernet connection didn’t work!

Oh well, I’m just glad I switched over.  My friend had been complaining he can’t concentrate much on his personal stuff because his Firefox stopped connecting to the internet while IE7 still works.  I just looked at him blankly and I thought, “Go figure it out yourself!”

Hottest Summer!! (and crazy weather…)

I’ve felt how cold winter is. I’ve also thought that the Philippines has the worst summer season…but last weekend, Malaysia’s hot summer proved me wrong.

I was sadly confined in Malaysia over the Holy Week and have to force myself to watch the F1 Malaysian GP over at Sepang International Circuit. I spent some 30 minutes under the burning sun to take closer shots of the race…and now I have sunburns! Argh!

Other than it’s prickly heat, Malaysia also has a crazy weather where it would suddenly rain in the afternoon after a hot clear sky. For the last five days it has been like that. Now I’m having a slight headache and fever from all this unpredictable rain.

Ferrari F1 Car in Sepang Practice Day

Finally, I was able to post select photos from my shoot on last weekend’s race. Here are my takes – here, and here. It’s my first try of high speed motorsports and having only a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG lens, I’m quite glad I took some great shots. I particularly learned the skill of panning on that 3-day race weekend.

Taming A New Cat

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I finally decided to take a plunge to upgrade to OS X Leopard.  So last Friday, I went over to Pavillion KL and visit Epi Centre.  I got myself a single license pack of 10.5.1 Leopard, and rushed home.
I have everything prepared so I went on to install Leopard on an external drive and ran Migration Assistant to transfer all my user settings from my old Tiger system.  It went almost flawless. The install took me over 4 hours – it could have been faster had I installed it on my internal drive.  I installed on an external drive as precautionary that if anything goes wrong I can always switch back to my old system.

First Impression

Everything worked well after installing the latest updates.  This new cat seems tamed enough for me that I decided to completely drop my Tiger system in my internal Macbook HDD the next day.  Leopard has a lot of new features that had me adjust a bit but the learning curve is quick.  I like the new interface particularly with the new panes in System Preferences. The subtle eye-candy changes was just a clear reminder that this is an entirely new cat.

There is a lot more under the hood that I have to discover with Leopard’s new features.  Time Machine for one is a welcome addition – the animation just blows me a way.  Navigating thru the timeline is like a scene in the first Matrix movie when Neo ‘zoomed’ into a roomful stack of weapons.  Quick Look is an easy way to preview any documents without opening the application – pressing Spacebar while navigating Finder’s browser pane was just right.

The Upgrade Itch

XCode 3 and the addition of the iPhone SDK is what I anticipated the most.  I’ve heard a lot of improvements and new tools available for developing applications for the Mac.  I’m starting out to explore development in a Mac.  Having been into Java development for quite some time now, I want new skills for a challenge.

I’ve planned the upgrade since Leopard’s public release last October, but I have been hesitant.  I have heard a lot of users having problems: slower than Tiger performance, kernel panics, etc.  What finally pushed me over was my decision to try out XCode.  I’ve seen a lot of articles on the web and I’m so impressed with the feature set of the new development IDE that I can only get to try those if I switch to Leopard.

Living day to day with Leopard

Using Leopard is not much different than Tiger.  You still do the basic stuff the same way with the old cat.  Switchers won’t worry much about getting noob-ed.

I’ve been using Spaces quite a lot.  I created 5 spaces to separate applications for web surfing (browsers and Yahoo Messenger), System Preferences, Photography Workflow (Aperture, iPhoto, ImageBrowser), Media (iTunes), and Development.  Clicking on applications on the Dock shows a slide-in/out animation when crossing difference spaces.

Final thoughts:

I can’t believe how smooth the upgrade was.  This is my first upgrade when I switched to a Mac last year.  It cost me a standard USD 129 for a single-user license, not like the USD 269 to USD 399 for a Vista Ultimate Upgrade or Full Version respectively.  The Migration Assistant really works without the need to reinstall every application and reconfigure Leopard the way I configured my Tiger system.  I’m glad I’m on a Mac.

Moving to Malaysia

Petronas Tower at Night

First Thoughts

It’s been three weeks now since I got here in Malaysia. It is but typical of me to be wary living in a new place. Malaysia shares some of the socio-political problems of the Philippines. Kidnappers, theives, robbers (some on motorbikes), mobs, and a few obnoxious taxi drivers. The stark contrast between the two countries is that Malaysia managed to leave the Philippines in economic and infrastructure growth. I don’t have to start as to how that came to be, as I intend this article to be an account of life moving to Malaysia.

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Photography: It’s the image [and the photographer], not the camera

I’m just pleased to find some enlightening thoughts from Ken Rockwell here for trivial thoughts of photography. I remember the day I wished to get myself a camera to delve into photography. I took a Photography 101 class and I only knew how to use a point-and-shoot camera then. I learned of DSLRs and all the possible manual tricks anybody could do with it.

Shot by the beach in Puerto Galera at dusk

I like myself to take control of how I shoot an image because I want my photos to have the personal touch all the time – not depend on automatic features of common point-and-shoot these days. Ken Rockwell did say that cameras does not matter when taking a photo. I like his thought about it especially when he emphasize that when a photographer knows how to use his camera, he can take a good image just as an expensive camera does. I don’t really ogle on the expensive ones like the D2Xs and the 5Ds (although I did wish I have a 400D because of the electronic shutter cleaner).

After more than a year in photography, I’ve learned a LOT! Half the time it’s about how to take images better with my gear, while the rest half is to understand the reality of the culture of photographers. I’ve learned that photographers are no extraordinary people. They [or we] are just like ordinary people – they have different points of view, beliefs and idolatry – only they [or we] express our ideas in photos. Ken even has his own tongue-and-cheek guide of the levels of photographers here. I believe what he says makes sense. I’ve met a lot of people that fits into each hole in his guide.

I’ve had my share of getting distracted by other photographers for their fixation on gears, and post-processing techniques. Ken’s articles reminds and pulls me back to how I got into photography. I want to take images. Images that satisfy my craving to capture them in ways I’ve imagined. Capture moments that show how diverse and remarkable life is when frozen in time.

It’s not about the camera and gears…it’s about the photographer and the image he captures with it.

Ecto – Blogging remotely

Ecto

I’m testing this new stand-alone blogging tool that I saw in the web. I’ve been looking for a single tool to manage my blogs from one center point.  This will be easier for me as I don’t have to different sites altogether to post my thoughts, articles and reviews.

Ecto is a candidate. It’s a shareware tool for mac that can manage WordPress and Blogger subscriptions (where I have my blogs).  It also has support for other blogs out there – Movable Type, TypePad, etc.  I’m using Ecto to post this new entry. I’ll try this out on my other blogs too and see if it’s an app worth using for managing my blogs.