News Stories

Holey Letters Are Better

Take one more step to becoming a more responsible planetary citizen. Stop using fonts without holes. Solid characters aren’t necessary. We have just accepted them as the thing to do. Ink however, is not good for the environment. So using less of it per document will make you a greener person.

Thinking this is a little strange and your pages won’t be very attractive? It’s the latest thing coming out of the Netherlands. Actually, you can create a rather sharp looking layout with the holey font. What do you think of the new Ecofont?

econofont expanded

This innovation was inspired by the holes in Dutch cheese. The cheese is good full of holes and so are the letters. A round of applause for Spago, the Dutch printing company who developed a way to conserve on printer ink while putting a damper on our dent in the ecosystem. An excellent idea is born that deserves a round of applause and global attention.

Ecofont is going to save more than the environment. Printer ink is not a cheap purchase. In this economy it makes perfect sense to print a font that uses less ink. Increase your green attitude today and jump on the holey letter wagon. Any one can download Ecofont free.

The font is based on Vera Sans, an Open Source letter, and is available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. It works best with OpenOffice, AppleWorks and MS Office 2007 programs. For the best printing results use a laser printer. The smaller the font size you use, the less noticeable the holes. Get Ecofont here.

Source: IT News

Can You Hear Me Now?

What? Sorry, you’re breaking up
and there’s a lot of static …
Let me call you back. I said,

As irritating as cell phone connections and dropped calls can be none of us would know how to function without them. Science has come up with an innovation that may just give us all clearer communications on our mobiles.

Scientists have been working with “meta-material” which is some exotic creation that has properties not found in nature. The intent is to come up with a material that will hide objects from sight by changing the way light hits it. They call it a cloaking device. Sounds pretty futuristic, doesn’t it? It is still in development, but the team whose baby it is says it is possible. Research has been in process since 2006 and there has been a paper published in the Journal of Science about this new man-made material that is in the process of being the perfect way of hiding something in broad daylight.

Duke University’s David Smith is credited with the notion that something that can change the electromagnetic properties of light could also stop communication signals from being blocked and distorted.

This particular cloaking device is made of over 10,000 pieces of fiberglass that is arranged in rows on a circuit board. The university lab team whose project this is aren’t even trying to make things disappear. But because of the way human vision work it is possible to cloak an object using such a method.

Will you be able to put a cloaking board in your mobile and have a clear conversation? Probably not any time in the near future, but now that scientist see the possibility it is only a matter of time until they invent a solution.


Texting Plants Signal S.O.S.

It would be a lot easier to remember to water your plants if they could communicate audibly. Instead, learning to understand plant language requires you to learn an alien sign language. While deaf and mute, your plants aren’t dumb. Today’s plant can be given the gift of speech and tell you how they are feeling in a text message too.

Imagine getting a cell phone call from your Ficus thanking you for remembering to water it. You can also get a text message from your Beef Master tomato reporting it is about to croak if you don’t give it a drink pretty soon. The recordings are pretty comical so they won’t be an irritating interruption. No one has plants in order to torture the mute things to death.

It is remembering when to water and knowing how much water they need that is the number one cause of plant decline for people everywhere. Anyone can easily understand their plant’s need with the innovations from Botanicalls. You simply insert one of their soil probes into the planting pot. The communication is made that has a tiny computer sensor attached that measures proper moisture levels for any given plant.

If the soil is too dry or too moist, the sensor can be set to send you an email or text alert. If the soil moisture is just right due to a recent watering, your plant will send you a nice little thank you letting you know how lovely it feels right now. The technology isn’t just used by homeowners. Recent developments now allow farmers to keep track of their crops in the same way.

Now if they’d only figure out how to make the sensors identify strange little leaf pests and weird looking funguses. What a wonderful thing it would be if those with brown thumbs could instantly have one that was brilliant green.

Source: Science Daily

PC Hacker Attacks Attempted Every 40 Seconds

You need to get more creative with user names and passwords to protect your PC from today’s intruders. With cyber theft totaling over $3 trillion last year, people need to start taking their login information a lot more seriously. With the economic depression we are currently in, you can just about bet money on a serious increase in cyber theft in 2009.

It isn’t just the fact that the hacker could get a hold of your credit card numbers or bank account number. The destruction of your files, operating system and software programs will be expensive to repair. You will loose a lot of important files completely through viruses that hackers can break through a weak defense to plant. Then there is your identity to protect as well. Cyber criminals get huge sums for hot credit card numbers and social security numbers on the black market.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have powerful spyware, malware and virus protection installed on your PC. While most of us tend to pick easy to remember pins, passwords and user names so we can’t forget them, chances are the practice makes you a ripe target for hackers.

Passwords and user names should be a mixture of small case and capital letters mixed with numbers and symbols. These make it impossible for hackers to attack your computer. The easiest way for you to remember a complicated password and pin is to use a phrase or song title and code it yourself.

“Jackson Five Live” could be very strong:  jaXon5l:ve
“Late for the races” could be very strong:  L84thRacZ/
“We ate well today” could be very strong:  WE8wel2day!

Never use runs of numbers as a pin number or password. Identity thieves look for pins that are birth dates, house numbers, social security numbers and phone numbers. If you need to use a number make it one that is special so you can remember it but not easy to be connected to you as a person. Think more like the year you graduated from high school, the day you got engaged, and your best friends cell phone number. Change passwords and user names every few months on a regular basis too.

Don’t be afraid of the Internet. Surf smart and keep one step ahead of these sadly dishonest members of the human race. Protection is easier to deal with than the price of a pound of cure.

Cybercrime Graduates from Vandalism to Criminality

The threat of fraud, phishing, pharming and getting scammed has been of concern for everyone for several years. Internet unlawfulness problems escalated in 2008 to the point that it is now fraught with organized crime on top of the previous hackers and scammers. Internet theft skyrocketed to $1 trillion in the year 2008 alone. That is more than the losses for the previous 5-year period. It wasn’t just the cost that escalated. The number of attacks and the methods used also rose alarmingly.

The solution to taming the Wild Wild Web when the thugs are all operating from a virtual world is not something there will be an easy solution to. Concern for the security of situations as wide scaled as a national economy attack have begun to be feared and discussed by some of the world’s most powerful Internet and computing executives. A panel of PC and Internet pros made a presentation before the World Economic Forum at Davos in January 2009. The panel contains representatives from Microsoft, Mozilla, McAfee, the Kudelski Group, Garlik and an expert on Internet and law from Harvard.

The panel brought warning to the WEF concerning the following cybercrimes that pose the largest threat to individuals, institutions, armed forces and governments globally. The emphatic and united message to the world powers present at Davos was that the Web is no longer host to petty theft, pranksters and vandals. The year 2008 introduced some really hair raising new developments in making the most of the power of the Internet.

Crime is the #1 threat online.

Flaws in the system create the #2 Internet threat.

Cyber warfare is the #3 threat as of 2008.

While the problems are daunting and getting worse, the fix is proposing a dilemma. Complete control would break the very spirit of the Internet and enforce a Tolitarian type of rule. Instead the panel suggests that a group much like Open Source be formed with users policing the Web against criminal entities and attacks. Where the happy medium lies has yet to be found. Yet, somehow we must as a planet come together for the common good of humanity online.

Source: BBC News

Mobile Mexican Crime Crack Down

With over 700 criminal groups operating in Mexico via cell phones, things have gotten a little out of hand. Most cell phones in use in Mexico are of the prepaid variety and until early February 2009 thousands of criminals were basically getting away with murder … and a few other undesirable activities.

Every year hundreds of people are kidnapped in Mexico. Crime victim counts skyrocketed with drug circles seeking new ways of making money in the face of law enforcement impeding their cash flow. There won’t be any more ransom demands coming out of Mexican jails via texting and untraceable mobile calls.

The Mexican government passed a law on February 9, 2009 that all cell phones must be fingerprinted and detailed logs of all incoming and outgoing communications must be kept on record for one year. Mexican citizens are warned to report the loss or loan of their cells to protect themselves from being charged with a crime.

Critics of the new national law say that the regulation stops short of being truly effective. Former Finance Minister Francisco Gil Diaz is of the opinion that all it will do is create more bureaucracy for already burdened operators. Carlos Slim who controls Telephono Movil feels that it would be better to place tracing on every unit sold or in use.

Anyone purchasing a new mobile unit or service contract must be fingerprinted once the law goes into effect in April. While it will definitely stop the occasional crime, it is this reporter’s common sense opinion that locks only keep honest people out. The truly bent on living outside the law will most definitely find a way around the fly in their ointment.

Source: Yahoo News

News Items

  • Holey Letters Are Better
  • Can You Hear Me Now?
  • Texting Plants Signal S.O.S.
  • PC Hacker Attacks Attempted Every 40 Seconds
  • Cybercrime Graduates from Vandalism to Criminality
  • Mobile Mexican Crime Crack Down