tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-44459275329789130512009-12-11T11:05:26.047-08:00CajunTechie's MindstreamRandom thoughts on random topics from a random guy.Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.comBlogger138125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-34607010127480450322009-12-11T10:15:00.000-08:002009-12-11T11:05:26.070-08:00Apple: Crying freedom from behind a locked gateLet's face it: we all love Apple products. Whether we're clinging to our iPods, watching something through our Apple TV's, editing our papers on our Macbook, or connecting with our friends on our iPhone, it's nearly impossible to escape Apple's universal appeal and reach. For years, while in the minority, Apple products have represented style, fashion, and the cutting edge. Why get stuck in the bland world of the PC, stuck in the death grip of Microsoft, when you can truly live life through Apples products.<br /><br />All lies. Every. Single. Word.<br /><br />While promoting a culture of freedom, Apple, led by Steve Jobs, has systematically tightened its control over its users in a fashioned that would make Microsoft look like 60's free-love hippies. Everything Apple does is about deepening their market share and locking their users into the Apple platform. <br /><br />The music you buy from iTunes? Controlled by Apple through DRM.<br /><br />The computer you buy from Apple? Controlled by Apple through proprietary hardware.<br /><br />The iPod you bought from Apple? Controlled by Apple through software.<br /><br />The iPhone you bought from Apple? Controlled by Apple AND AT&T<br /><br />The four technologies I mentioned above are the companies four core products. Every single one of them is locked in an increasingly tight death grip in which Apple can control what you do and when and where you do it.<br /><br />Take for example, the iPhone. Apple has been locked in a struggle with independent developers <span style="font-style:italic;">since the launch of the device</span> over what software will be allowed on it. Most smartphones allow you to develop your own software for them or get software from just about anywhere else and put it on your phone. Not the iPhone! To use software not purchased (or given away) through the App Store, you have to go through a risky process <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jailbreak_%28iPhone_OS%29">called 'Jailbreaking'</a>. This process effectively removes Apple and AT&T's software restrictions from your device allowing you to run software you get from anywhere you choose.<br /><br /><span style="font-style:italic;">Every update</span> that Apple's released for the iPhone has <span style="font-style:italic;">relocked</span> jailbroken devices. Why would they care what software you use or where you get it from, you ask? It must be because Apple cares about the security of your device or the quality of the software you get. Wrong. It's about numbers and App Store sales. <u>Control</u>. By forcing everyone to go through their <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_Store">App Store</a>, Apple can carefully monitor and create metrics around app sales. They know what software is running where, what software is struggling, and can disable software (if they wanted to) with the flip of a switch.<br /><br />More importantly, <u>Apple can control what software goes onto the device.</u> Competition? Apple <span style="font-style:italic;">LOVES</span> competition, except when you're competing with them. Do you think you're ever going to see Opera or Google Chrome or even Internet Explorer on the iPhone? Don't hold your breath. Opera has been in talks with Apple <a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=Opera+on+the+iphone&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a">for over a year</a> to get their excellent browser on the iPhone. But Apple has Safari and they will not allow any browser that competes with Safari on their device. The same story can be told for countless other 'would be competitor' software vendors who fight an ultimately losing battle every day with Apple to have their software included in the App Store.<br /><br />The bottom line is that Apple is a hypocritical duality. The very people at the top of the towers screaming 'be free' are the ones with the keys to the gates of the prison. Yet, it can't be denied that Apple and its products have brought computing a new elegance and a new style. For that, we can be thankful.<br /><br />Lastly, don't think I don't understand market economics. When you're in business, you're in business to make money. You do what you can to raise revenue, increase sales, and make your shareholders happy. You, by necessity, have to be greedy. That greed isn't my problem with Apple. Greed can be a good thing.<br /><br />What <span style="font-style:italic;">is</span> my problem with Apple is their efforts to show the buying public one thing (freedom) while fully practicing another (lockdown). If you're going to hold your users prisoners, tell them you will and explain why. Don't treat them like idiots or sell them snake oil. This is the same problem I have with companies like Google who have the whole 'Don't be Evil' mantra. It's not realistic to what they do. <br /><br />Treat your users well, give them compelling products and a good experience, and they will gladly stay loyal. When you're as good as Apple is at what they do, you don't <span style="font-style:italic;">need</span> to hold your users hostage. We want to be in your prison. We're willing to pay the price for all that sexiness.<br /><br />Just don't lie to us. That is the where we draw the line.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-3460701012748045032?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-5291590120047644932009-12-09T14:52:00.000-08:002009-12-09T14:54:46.823-08:00Phone Sales = Phone Interview Skills<span style="font-style:italic;">REPRINTED FROM A LINKED IN DISUCSSION</span><br /><br />Here’s another great article for you from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter. They’re great sales tips for you to use when contacting customers over the phone, but I want you to also look at these as great tips you can use in phone interviews for medical sales, laboratory sales, pharmaceutical sales, imaging sales, biotech sales, medical device sales, or any health care sales job. Think of your job interview the same as you would a sales call–only here, the product you’re selling is you. You want the customer (the hiring manager) to buy your product (hire you). Keeping this kind of perspective is extremely effective. <br /><br />Phone Sales Tips: <br />Phone Sales Tips When Contacting Customers <br /><br />■ Never ask if it’s a good time to talk. This gives the other person a perfect excuse to end the call. If you are unsure if the person has time to talk, then state up front that the phone call will only take 3 minutes. When you give the person an exact time be sure you time the call. After the allotted time, tell the customer you’re at the end and ask them if they would like to continue or reschedule. Using this practice allows you to demonstrate how much you respect their time. <br /><br />■ Ask questions. People will never hang up on themselves. <br /><br />■ Use the person’s name at least 3 times in every phone call. Who doesn’t like to hear their name said? <br /><br />■ When greeting people on the telephone, avoid using their last name. It makes the call seem too formal. Your objective should be to have a casual conversation, in the same way you would talk to a good friend. <br /><br />■ Use visually descriptive words to help paint a picture of what you’re saying. A phone conversation doesn’t have to be boring and stale. <br /><br />■ When starting a new telephone conversation, always give your first and last name. Never assume the person you’re talking to is going to recognize your voice or think you’re the only one with your first name. <br /><br />■ Watch your facial expressions by placing a mirror in front of you when you talk. It’s amazing how they come through over the phone. <br /><br />■ Add energy to your phone calls by standing up. Nobody likes talking to a “blah” person. People who have good posture tend to come across more enthusiastic than those who don’t. <br /><br />■W hen you end a conversation, always summarize it in the same way you would end a live meeting. By doing so, you can prevent misinterpretation of your discussion. <br /><br />■ Always allow the other person to have the final comment or question. Just because you’ve asked all your questions doesn’t mean the other person has asked all of his. <br /><br />■ Avoid negotiating over the phone, use it as a means to introduce information and to follow up or confirm information. It’s impossible to truly read body language over the phone and thus you lose a major negotiating tool. A phone call however can be an excellent way to introduce a new idea you would like to receive some feedback on. Many times it will allow feedback to be gained in a less threatening manner than if it were to occur in a traditional sales call. <br /><br />■ Never use a speaker phone with a customer even if they say it is fine with them. Speaker phones add to the perception the conversation is not important enough to capture 100% of the person’s attention. (Only exception of course is if there is a group involved.) <br /><br /><br />Written By:<br />Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter”, www.TheSalesHunter.com, © 2007<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-529159012004764493?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-57238717792857971322009-12-07T01:08:00.000-08:002009-12-07T01:26:48.487-08:00Not 'flipping out' over Flip Video supportAnyone who knows me knows I love the <a href="http://theflip.com">Flip Video</a>. This inexpensive little video camera allows anyone to shoot quality video with minimal effort and no complicated menus or buttons to navigate. They bring the same point and shoot ease to video that digital cameras brought to still photography over a decade ago.<br /><br />Pure Digital (owned by Cisco) is also a pretty social company that engages with its users at various places and aggressively uses user generated content in everything from their online promotions to their television ads. With their focus on users and 'the experience', I thought I'd have no problem getting help when my own Flip - the Flip Ultra - experienced a problem that, after research, I found to be a pretty common one.<br /><br />I called up support and described my problem. The agent promptly and confidently said 'take your batteries out for 72 hours and it'll fix it'. It didn't. So I called the company back and asked for more help. Within less than a minute I was told there was nothing I could do but send it in to them for repair and that the problem I was experiencing was a common one that they've dealt a lot with in the Flip Ultra.<br /><br />Alas, that is where it all went downhill. Upon looking up my serial number, the agent found out I was out of warranty and then promptly told me there was nothing they would do to help. I was just out of luck and would have to 'just deal with it' until I purchased a new camera. I disconnected from the call very disappointed and somewhat angry.<br /><br />Don't get me wrong: I understand the manufacturers can't offer support forever. But this camera is a little over a year old and is experiencing a problem that is COMMON - which means it's NOT the users doing. It's a manufacturers defect. Warranty shouldn't be a 'get out of jail free' card here. It is THEIR FAULT. They should fix it. The answer SHOULD NOT BE 'just deal with it until you buy a new camera'.<br /><br />Until this incident, I was seriously considering purchasing a number of Flip MinoHD's for family and friends this Christmas. Now, not so much. I'm very worried about handing those I love to a company that will offer little or no support for their own problems. I might give out small video recorders this Christmas, but based on this support experience, they will not be Flip Mino's.<br /><br />Flip could VERY easily and cheaply have solved this situation by simply fixing my camera or replacing it with another. It wouldn't have cost them much and they wouldbe guaranteed another 5 - 10 new camera sales to me in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Goodwill goes a long way and Flip isn't showing any at all. <br /><br />Don't get me wrong, I still love them and may - and I say MAY - buy a product from them in the future. But they are going to have to go a long way to earn my trust back and it's not going to be by telling me to 'just deal with it'.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-5723871779285797132?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-34314648925224415932009-11-21T13:46:00.000-08:002009-11-21T13:49:10.291-08:00How long is a piece of string?<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/80jxKQP2V0Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/80jxKQP2V0Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object><br /><br />You might think that measuring the length of a piece of string is pretty simple. After watching this video, you might just think otherwise. Follow <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Davies">Alan Davies</a> on the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_(BBC_TV_series)">BBC Horizon</a> program as he tries to find the answer - one that might surprise you.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-3431464892522441593?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-15293695853791785332009-11-20T14:10:00.000-08:002009-11-20T14:26:34.580-08:00Online software development for netbooks?Netbooks are a gathering storm. The average PC user doesn't need a fully featured computer with gigabytes of memory and storage space as most people live in either the web browser or whatever email client they use. So it's no surprise that, as more people realize that they don't need full PC's, netbook sales are picking up. But, while there's a lot you can do with a netbook today, there are still some things that just aren't yet possible.<br /><br />Imagine for a moment that you're a software developer. Unless you work in a corporate enviroment, you're probably nearly solely developing web based applications and that kind of development doesn't require 'big iron' at all. A copy of Visual Studio for ASP.NET or Silverlight developers, or maybe Eclipse if you're into PHP is really all you need.<br /><br />Unfortunately, those tools require a PC and, sometimes, require quite a bit of PC muscle to run.<br /><br />Now imagine moving those tools to the cloud? What if Microsoft created a web version of Visual Studio targeted only towards ASP.NET and Silverlight developers? The software lived on the web and, maybe, was hosted in an Windows Azure account. You'd develop, test, and deploy your software all on the web. No need to download anything, no need for big resources.<br /><br />Eclipse and other software tool makers could do the same and, effectively, the only people that couldn't live off of a netbook would be corporate developer and even they could live there most times. It wouldn't matter what your OS was or where you accessed from, everything would be in the cloud.<br /><br />If Google, Microsoft and their ilk are smart, this is going to be part of their online strategy very soon. There's just no need for a 10,000 horsepower PC anymore and, to be honest, it's about time. Most people want simplicity, ease of use, and most of all, good prices. Netbooks deliver on that in spades and the time is right to move them deeper into the masses.<br /><br />What would you need in order to make a netbook your primary (only?) machine? What is your 'must have' application(s) that keeps you bound to big hardware? Can you even conceive of living on a netbook?<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-1529369585379178533?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-13434192773240924572009-10-23T13:55:00.000-07:002009-10-23T13:59:52.907-07:00Creating a simple user interface with MonoDevelop<embed width="400px" height="300px" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer...22767585&hl=en" flashvars=""></embed><br /><br /><a href="http://www.monodevelop.com">MonoDevelop</a> is an free, cross-platform, open source, tool that allows software developers to write .NET code that runs on both Microsoft Windows and Linux.<br /><br />Using MonoDevelop, developers can quickly become productive in an environment that is nearly as good as Microsoft Visual Studio and create software applications with ease. This screencast, from the MonoDevelop team, shows us how to create a simple user interface from within the MonoDevelop enviroment.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-1343419277324092457?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-32919756181920583672009-10-14T14:00:00.000-07:002009-10-14T14:01:59.854-07:00This is why parents drink...<span style="font-weight:bold;">I found this on another website and, while I usually don't share humor on this blog, I thought it was too funny not to share. Hope you enjoy and I'm sure many parents out there will totally understand this post.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-style:italic;">A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an Envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad.'<br /><br />With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.<br /><br />Dear Dad:<br /><br />It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you.<br /><br />I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice.<br /><br />But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion...Dad she's pregnant.<br /><br />Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.<br /><br />Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone.<br />We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy.<br /><br />In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.<br /><br />Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can<br />get to know your grandchildren.<br /><br />Love, Your Son John<br />PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house.<br /><br />I Just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a Report card...That's in my center desk drawer.<br /><br />I love you.<br /><br /><br />Call me when it's safe to come home. </span><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-3291975618192058367?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-14669535354289866572009-09-26T14:45:00.000-07:002009-09-26T14:59:26.125-07:00Could a Twitter enabled home work? #twitter #techI've been giving a lot of thought to what I like to call "beyond tweeting" lately. While we all know Twitter is a useful service for keeping up with friends, following the latest trends, and learning breaking news fast, I think the service could be used for something much more mundane, but also, much more useful: controlling a home.<br /><br />So what does a beyond tweeting enabled home look like? Pretty interesting, in my opinion! Imagine you're out at a party and you suddenly remember you've forgotten to arm the alarm system. No problem! Just pull out your mobile phone and tweet @myhome ALARM enable and, just like that, your alarm system, which is connected to your home network in some way, receives the tweet, arms itself, and you can continue to have fun.<br /><br />Or let's say you're going to be later than you expected and you didn't turn the lights on. Again, your mobile to the rescue! Send the @myhome LIGHTS on command and, just like that, your lights are turned on.<br /><br />There's really no limit to the devices or systems that could be connected to the home network and, thereby, Twitter and the software to control it all is fairly trivial to create. Much of it is already out there in fact and just needs to be pieced together. Within a few days to a week at most, you could near totally Twitter enable your home and make communicating with devices much, much easier.<br /><br />The possibilities are pretty endless and is limited only by your imagination and the amount of work you're willing to put into it. And those possibilities don't end with homes either. Robert Scoble, <a href="http://scobleizer.com/2009/09/19/the-post-iphone-world/">discussing a post iPhone world and the real time birth of his child</a>, even speculated that hospital systems could be hooked up and totally controlled by Twitter and text message. Obviously, Twitter has to come a long way before we're there, but the point is that <i>the could</i> eventually be networked in this fashion.<br /><br />I think the time when most people think of Twitter in a "dude, I just had the most awesome PB&J sandwich" way is nearing an end. More and more people are starting to think of creative ways to use Twitter and Twitter is actively supporting those people through an open API that anyone with a little knowledge can access.<br /><br />What can we build?<br />What can we enable?<br /><br />That, my friend, is up to you.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-1466953535428986657?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-72791234812182762572009-09-18T07:18:00.000-07:002009-09-18T07:21:45.720-07:00Goodbye Mary Travers (1936-2009)<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/2gYa5wq_x_o&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2gYa5wq_x_o&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object><br /><br />It is sad that, being born in the mid 1970's, I was not able to experience the power of her words as she lifted them up in protest throughout the 1960's and gently guided a generation seeking truth to find their own brand of it. Her voice was an unwavering, unflinching, yet still gentle one that tackled the issues of our time with beauty and light. I grew up listening to Mary's wonderful voice through my grandmother who was a lifelong Peter, Paul, and Mary fan - something I remain to this day.<br /><br />Now, she is taken from us but for the better: never to experience physical pain or human injustice or cruelty again. In Mary Travers, we have lost beauty, grace, and an important voice for those who often didn't have a voice of their own.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-7279123481218276257?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-88934871462979560122009-09-16T18:13:00.001-07:002009-09-16T18:31:57.519-07:00A response from Sen. Tom Coburn about S.773 (The Cyberecurity Act of 2009) #politicsAs you might remember, <a href="http://bit.ly/363ykk">I wrote this letter to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn</a> a few weeks ago concerning S.773 or the <a href="http://bit.ly/3uLHsM">Cybersecurity Act of 2009</a>. In that letter, I expressed my serious concern that the government was overstepping its bounds by creating such a law and expanding Presidential powers to such a dangerous level, something I believe even more strongly now that I've read the <a href="http://bit.ly/20UYP">accompanying bill S.778.<br /></a><br />Earlier today, I received the letter below from <a href="http://bit.ly/4a1Dlu">Senator Coburn</a> and, I'm glad to see that he has some of the same concerns I do about the legislation and he intends to work in a bipartisan way to help craft a bill that is less intrusive and has less potential for abuse. While the discussions of S.773 and S.778 are far from over and this letter does not fully address my expressed concerns, I'm encouraged to see that some people are keeping a level head in the face of an Executive Branch power grab and look forward to seeing what a bipartisan bill will look like.<br /><br />I still encourage each of you to write your Senators and urge them to reshape both S.773 and S.778 prior to passage to ensure that ordinary Americans liberties are not trampled upon. Safety is important but, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquent said: "Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither".<br /><br />I couldn't have said it better myself. Now, here's the response from Sen. Coburn.<br /><br /><i>"Dear Mr. Papillion, <br /><br /> Thank you for your recent letter regarding cyber security. I appreciate your interest in this issue and welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns. <br /><br />Let me start by saying that I, too, believe that Americans should never be forced to forfeit their Constitutional rights for a promise of security. On the other hand, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I recognize that potential threats could arise that could seriously undermine America's cyber infrastructure and Internet capabilities. <br /><br />I think Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives must put aside their political self-interests and need to come together to develop a sensible approach that protects individual constitutional rights, and allows those charged with defending America's national security to have the ability to thwart serious cyber threats that could cripple America. <br /><br />Like you, I have some real concerns with both S. 773 and S.778 as currently written. Specifically, I believe that S. 778 does not represent the best possible approach to combat potential cyber threats. I look forward to working with members of the Senate to make serious improvements to both S. 773 and S. 778. <br /><br />Let me be clear-if Congress is going to create a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor, and if Congress is going to extend new authorities to the Executive Branch to combat cyber threats-it must be done in a way that respects the Constitution, allows for robust congressional oversight, and is narrowly crafted to address specific threats. Allow me to explain my thinking and principles on these two legislative measures in detail. <br /><br />As you may already know, S. 773, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, and S. 778 would drastically reshape the Executive Office of the President by establishing within it a new Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor. These bills are currently before the Senate Commerce Committee but have yet to receive a committee hearing. <br /><br />First, S. 773 fails to define several key terms. I strongly believe S. 773 could benefit from Senate hearings that would allow for amendments and clarifications pertaining to some of the bill's provisions. For example, the bill would grant the Commerce Secretary significant access to review a private citizen's Internet data as well as give the President the power to shut down Internet traffic in a "national emergency." Of note, the bill does not define what specifically constitutes a "national emergency." <br /><br />Similarly, S. 773 doesn't statutorily define what constitutes "critical infrastructure" when it comes to the dominion over the Internet. In other words, the bill would give a long leash to the President to define such crucial terms as the person deems necessary. <br /><br />Lastly, I believe the costs of these bills, S. 773 in particular, are unacceptable. Although well intended, S. 773 comes at a hefty price to tag to taxpayers. As written, S. 773 would authorize more than $70 million of new spending per fiscal year without corresponding offsets or spending decreases. <br /><br />I believe for Congress to make a truly informed evaluation of S. 773, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) should score the bill and detail its cost. <br /><br />I wholeheartedly oppose the careless and arrogant spirit that advises Congress to spend your hard earned money on things you neither desire nor fall within the scope of the Constitution. Our national debt now stands at over $11 trillion. Our government wastes at least $350 billion every year through fraud and duplication. It is unconscionable for members of Congress to not do the hard work of paying for new programs by spending less elsewhere. I procedurally hold every legislative bill or amendment from passage that proposes new spending and new programs without similar reductions in spending or elimination of existing, lower priority programs. I have worked hard to save the hard working taxpayer millions of dollars in wasteful spending.<br /><br />Again, thank you for your correspondence. As S. 773 and S. 778 move through the legislative process, I will certainly keep your views in mind. If you have any additional concerns, please feel free to write again. </i><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-8893487146297956012?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-57973515597674389872009-09-09T18:49:00.000-07:002009-09-09T18:52:55.002-07:00Gone until October 1, 2009Hello everyone,<br /><br />I'm going to be gone from blogging from today (September 9th, 2009) until October 1 to get some projects done. During that time I will occasionally post interesting things I find to this blog but will not be making any major posts.<br /><br />I do hope everyone has a great time while I'm gone and look forward to hitting blogging full force when I return. In the meantime, <a href="http://twitter.com/cajuntechie">follow me on Twitter</a> for daily updates or <a href="http://12seconds.tv/channel/CajunTechie">follow me on 12 Seconds</a> for some video love.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-5797351559767438987?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-23762349191046899912009-08-28T13:39:00.000-07:002009-08-28T13:47:54.925-07:00New Senate bill would give the President emergency control of the internet. #government<a href="http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s773/show">S.773 or the Cybersecurity Act of 2009</a> is a new bill in the Senate that, if passed, would provide a way for the President to seize control of the Internet in the United States during an 'emergency situation' or cyberattack. This bill is odious for a number of reasons but, in particular, because of its potential privacy and civil liberty implications.<br /><br />Under the bill, the President would have the power to disconnect the entire internet or individual networks within the United States. There is obvious potential for abuse here and I'd like to urge those of you who truly care about your liberty to write to your Senator and urge them to vote no on S.773 and any revisions of the bill.<br /><br />Here's the letter I sent to both of my Senators earlier today:<br /><br /><span style="font-style:italic;">"Senators Inhofe and Coburn,<br /><br />I'm writing with my concerns over S.773, a bill which will give the President emergency powers over the Internet in the United States in the even of a "cybersecurity emergency". I'm writing to urge you to vote NO on this bill as it is an example of intrusive government and an administration overstepping it's powers.<br /><br />The dangers to individual liberty and privacy posed by S.773 are numerous and the bill itself is not needed in light of how fast system administrators are to mitigate cyberattacks without government intervention. Again, I urge you to vote NO on S.773.<br /><br />Thank you for your time and your service to our country.<br /><br />Sincerely,<br />Anthony Papillion"</span><br /><br />I feel this letter is to the point, doesn't waste their time, and adequately says what I need to say. Feel free to use it as a template for your own letters or email to your Senators.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-2376234919104689991?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-64721071548354536712009-08-18T01:08:00.000-07:002009-08-18T01:15:38.311-07:00How would you handle these offers? Could you survive the tank?<object width="440" height="296"><param name="movie" value="http://www.hulu.com/embed/bTDof-Yh6PxJG4XVZOGM4Q"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.hulu.com/embed/bTDof-Yh6PxJG4XVZOGM4Q" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true" width="440" height="296"></embed></object><br /><p><br />ABC's new reality program <a href="http://abc.go.com/primetime/sharktank/index?pn=index">Shark Tank</a> is an American take on the British "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons%27_Den">The Dragons Den</a>" where venture capitalist bring in entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses for a shot at investment. Some of the entrepreneurs are absolutely insane, but some are genuine business geniuses who make both good and bad deals and, some of whom, will definitely live to regret the deals they close with the sharks.<br /><p><br />This episode, which is week two, shows some of the stark reality of negotiating with venture capitalist when your business is on the line. Excellent show and I can't wait to see the next episode.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-6472107154835453671?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-63229592119986477822009-08-02T13:22:00.001-07:002009-08-02T13:36:17.362-07:00Is your information secure? A basic security test for every website you join #security #hackingThere's no doubt about it: our personal information is moving to the cloud. From <a href="http://www.twitter.com">Twitter </a>and <a href="http://www.facebook.com">Facebook </a>to our online banking account, almost everything about us is stored in a database somewhere online. But how secure is your information and how easy would it be for a hacker to get to it under the right circumstances? Here's a basic security test I put every website I join through and it's easy enough where anyone with about 5 minutes can do it as well:<br /><br />After signing up to a new website, log out and go to the "forgot password" link. Almost every website has one and they usually only require you to put in your email address to have a password or password reminder sent to you. Go through the process and request your password. Then, wait to see what you get in your email.<br /><br />Some websites, if not most, will send you either a password reminder or a link to completely reset your password to something new. But others, and there's a huge number of these like <a href="http://www.plentyoffish.com">PlentyOfFish</a>, <a href="http://mocospace.com">MocoSpace</a>, and others, who will just happily send you your password in your email.<br /><br />That is a website that has just failed a security test.<br /><br />By sending you your password, it shows that it's not stored in an encrypted form in their database. So anyone who breaks into their site has access to, not only everyone's personal information, but also their site password. Since many people use the same password for almost everything, getting one site password could lead to them having access to your email address, other sites you belong to, and even your online banking account. Additionally, they could use new information gained from breaching your other accounts to extend their reach into your life and, eventually, steal your identity.<br /><br />I've closed many of my online accounts after they've failed this test. I usually send the site administrators an email telling them I am closing my account and detailing why. It shows that they aren't concerned about security and they are taking the laziest way of developing their site. If they don't put any thought into the user-facing side of security - the part hackers are going to attack on - how much can they really be putting on the non-user facing side that nobody is supposed to see?<br /><br />It's time sites take our security seriously. Wake up administrators! We're watching you<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-6322959211998647782?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-14008470906699766802009-07-22T10:04:00.001-07:002009-07-22T10:19:54.646-07:00Why universal healthcare is a bad idea #healthcare #healthAs more and more people jump on President Obama's <a href="http://bit.ly/2bg5d">universal health care </a>bandwagon, I'm deeply saddened to think about what the ultimate ramifications of the actual implementation of such a plan could be. While it sounds like a good idea on the surface and is certainly a great 'connect with voters' issue, the truth behind universal health care coverage is something much darker.<br /><br />In both Britain and Canada, two countries who've 'enjoyed' universal health coverage for many years, patients in need of important and sometimes life saving procedures must often wait weeks or even months before seeing a professional. Canada, a country widely accepted as having a 'successful' health care system, often forces doctors to take time off once they've met quotas or their billing reaches a certain level.<br /><br />Of course there's also the issue of money. In an economy that's pretty close to teetering on the verge of major catastrophe, can the United States afford to spend the trillions of dollars it would costs to cover everybody? Even by the Presidents own estimates, it would be a significant financial challenge and many analyst believe implementing such a system could well send our economy into a death spiral.<br /><br />The truth is, universal health coverage sounds like a good idea; it sounds like a humane idea. But in reality, it's one of the worst and most inhumane things we could possibly do to both our economy and people. I agree that the current health care system is flawed, but the answer is not universal health care. The answer is forcing insurance companies to implement saner coverage policies, governing more closely how they apply those policies, and working with doctors to reduce costs and provide better care to their patients.<br /><br />Wake up, President Obama! Preaching coverage for all might help win elections or give you a few percentage points in the polls, but it will cost us all too much in the end.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-1400847090669976680?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-46391717434449142122009-07-20T15:57:00.000-07:002009-07-20T16:07:09.326-07:00First peak of OpenEMR Mobile #openemr #foss #healthcare #emrFor the last few weeks, we've been working on the OpenEMR Mobile Patient Information System (PIS). The PIS is a Windows Mobile and, soon, Blackberry application that will allow doctors who are out in the field to easily and securely look up patient information. This includes information, X-Rays, Labs, and anything else associated with the patient record.<br /><br />The PIS is scheduled to be released in a few days but I thought I'd post a few screenshots of it running in an emulator (I don't have a Windows Mobile device) for you to enjoy. It's simple, intuitive, and, hopefully, going to be well received.<br /><br />The first image is of the applications simple home screen...<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT3mj7GGCI/AAAAAAAAAXA/G9qV75P1Xug/s1600-h/OpenEMR-PIS-HomeScreen.png"><img style="cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 206px; height: 320px;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT3mj7GGCI/AAAAAAAAAXA/G9qV75P1Xug/s320/OpenEMR-PIS-HomeScreen.png" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360681698327926818" /></a><br /><br />Next, we see the menu structure...<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT3_HX6-YI/AAAAAAAAAXI/gbBVDHejXYQ/s1600-h/OpenEMR-PIS-MenuSystem.png"><img style="cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 206px; height: 320px;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT3_HX6-YI/AAAAAAAAAXI/gbBVDHejXYQ/s320/OpenEMR-PIS-MenuSystem.png" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360682120160934274" /></a><br /><br />And, finally, we'll look at the screen that lets users configure the software to access their OpenEMR server...<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT4PstpGbI/AAAAAAAAAXQ/aHN_2KEgfpw/s1600-h/OpenEMR-PIS-ServerConfiguration.png"><img style="cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width: 206px; height: 320px;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ahTDFU2-WWY/SmT4PstpGbI/AAAAAAAAAXQ/aHN_2KEgfpw/s320/OpenEMR-PIS-ServerConfiguration.png" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5360682405062056370" /></a><br /><br />Overall, I'm hoping the software proves to be of value to the large community of OpenEMR users. We're discussing and setting final pricing today and the application should be launched by Thursday night.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-4639171743444914212?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-3017572488623211872009-07-17T08:22:00.000-07:002009-07-17T08:44:53.292-07:00Do we really need a Windows Mobile store? #windowsmobileMicrosoft announced a few weeks ago that it's preparing to launch a supersite of sorts called "<a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2350183,00.asp">The Windows Mobile Marketplace</a>". The site, which will presumably function like <a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-iphone/">Apple's App Store</a>, Research in Motion's <a href="http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/appworld/?">App World</a>, and whatever it is that a few other vendors offer, will offer software for the plethora of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Mobile">Windows Mobile</a> devices on the market.<br /><br />When I first heard the announcement, I was excited. Why shouldn't Microsoft get involved directly in application sales and, maybe, their involvement might mean that the apps included in the marketplace might be a of a little higher quality. Then I remembered the garbage that's in the App Store and completely lost the will to live.<br /><br />While I applaud Microsoft's efforts to "be everything to everyone", I really don't see the need for their own store. From a user perspective, it just means one more place to go hunting for applications and, from a developer perspective, it means yet another thing you have to pay for just to get your software out to users as the marketplace will cost developers $99 a year. Yes, I realize that Apple does this too but, <a href="http://www.handango.com/homepage/Homepage.jsp?storeId=2218">Handango</a> doesn't and that's the primary place to get Windows Mobile software now.<br /><br />What does Microsoft offer developers or users that's compelling enough to displace sites like Handango? In the marketing, they say 'expose your software to millions of potential customers' but I already do that at Handango. Maybe the fact that software has to conform to standards in order to be included in the marketplace will mean better software, but how does that fit in with the crap in the Apple App Store?<br /><br />Really, just about the only "benefit" I can name of being part of the marketplace is its association with Microsoft. It's a lot like being part of the Apple App Store except, with Apple, you can't get your software anywhere else. And, if the Microsoft association is the only benefit, is it a real benefit at all? The Apple App Store is popular because it's the exclusive place to get iPhone and iPod Touch software, does the launch of the Windows Mobile Marketplace signal that Microsoft might be headed that way, forcing hardware partners to lock their devices down to only the authorized source.<br /><br />As it stands, I'm probably not going to waste my time and money signing up as a developer for the marketplace. I'll keep publishing my software on Handango but watch what Microsoft does very closely. I'm sure the marketplace could be a very useful tool if the company had more control over hardware but, as it stands, it's just another "also ran".<br /><br />Are you a Windows Mobile developer? If so, what do you think of the soon to be launched marketplace? Will you sign up? Am I dismissing it unfairly?<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-301757248862321187?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-57836794065467100232009-07-14T13:45:00.000-07:002009-07-14T13:49:47.200-07:00This is the email I just sent to @ev and @biz regarding @twitter 's support problemsI've been a member of Twitter almost two years now and I, like the rest of the membership, have not had an easy time. We've put up with lost tweets, database issues, lost followers, and several server outages. But, during that time, Twitter has always been <em>somewhat</em> responsive to our needs.<br /><br />That's changed.<br /><br />Now, getting support from Twitter on issues - even issues that are several months old, has become near impossible. Emails go unanswered, @ messages are ignored, and all avenues for support seem to have been ignored.<br /><br />I just sent the email below to both Ev and Biz at Twitter. While I doubt it's going to make any impact at all, I think it expresses the feelings of many Twitter users.<br /><br /><em>"Gentleman,<br /> <br />Over the course of the last few years, Twitter has had its share of problems. Loyal users have stuck with the service, not because we didn't think there were any alternatives, but because we really felt connected to Twitter and felt like Twitter cared about its customers. Lately, the plummeting quality of customer service is making quite a few loyal users, myself included, rethink our devotion to Twitter.<br /> <br />Support emails go unanswered.<br />Get Satisfaction posts are ignored.<br />Issues go unresolved for months.<br /> <br />This is not quality customer support guys. I know that the Twitter team is focused on building a revenue modal but, understand that, users are going to be the key to that revenue modal and, if you alienate them now, they won't be loyal when it comes to ponying up cash - even if it's to advertisers. I know I wouldn't be.<br /> <br />Get a customer service program in place. It's not difficult. A few dedicated support personell under a good customer service manager is all you need. Engage the community again because, it's slowly slipping away.<br /> <br />Sincerely,<br />Anthony Papillion (@cajuntechie)"</em><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-5783679406546710023?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-33831921613070918012009-07-09T10:34:00.000-07:002009-07-09T10:37:05.001-07:00Guidelines for protesters of the #iranelection دستورالعمل ها را برای اعتراض به انتخابات ایراناگر شما نشان دادن در خیابان های تهران امروز ، می دانید اولین بار دست به خشونت دولت قادر است که بر علیه شما خواهد شد. در این پست کوتاه شما را به چند نکته است که حفظ خواهد شد شما را به عنوان اعتراض خود را امن تر خواهد داد. <br /><br />1. است که قدرت را در تعداد آرا وجود دارد. وقتی که اعتراض ، اقامت با گروه از دوستان. اسلحه قفل که توسط پلیس مواجه و کار به شما اجازه نمی دهد که پا را خاموش کنید و یا به دور از گروه. انجام این کار به طور بالقوه می تواند زندگی را تهدید. <br /><br />2. از محیط خود ، آگاه باشید در تمام زمانها. آیا از محل سرگردان بودن نیست که شما را به عنوان محل اعتراض. انتخاب یک نقطه و اقامت در آن را ، مگر مجبور به توسط پلیس حرکت کند. اگر شما مجبور به حرکت ، تکان نخورید به مساحت جدا. <br /><br />3. اگر گاز اشک آور است پراکنده ، پوشش بینی و دهان خود را با یک پارچه مرطوب و نفس را از طریق آن. در حالی که هنوز هم این تجربه را بسیار ناراحت می شود ، آن را موجب خواهد شد در تنفس بسیار آسانتر می کند. <br /><br />4. سعی کنید که از تلفن همراه شما نیست استفاده کنید. آنها قادر به زنجیردار می شود. اگر شما باید به همراه خود ، استفاده تماس فقط کوتاه و برداشتن باتری هنگامی که شما انجام می شود. مطمئن شوید که باتری شما را حذف کنید. از بین بردن سیم کارت است که به اندازه کافی نیست. شما هنوز می توانید زنجیردار شود. <br /><br />5. آیا با پلیس مقابله با خشونت است. آنها را می دهد این دلیل به شما حمله کرد. فقط به خشونت های خودتان را در شرایط زندگی و یا مرگ دفاع استفاده کنید. <br /><br />حتی اگر شما دنبال این دستورالعمل ، این است که هنوز رفتن به یک زمان برای شما بسیار دشوار شما را به عنوان اعتراض. ولی خدا است که در سمت شما و شما را در مبارزه برای کشور شما. در جهان است که با شما و از طریق تعهد خود را ، ایران را یک محل بهتر است. <br /><br />متشکرم برای همه شما انجام. اقامت قوی.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-3383192161307091801?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-48218067778240002872009-07-06T05:20:00.000-07:002009-07-06T05:44:35.903-07:00The TweetFree Relay Network is LIVE! #iranelection #gr88After nearly three weeks of hard work, I'm happy to announce that we launched the TweetFree Relay Network this morning! <br /><br />After the Presidential elections in Iran last month, it became very obvious how important tools like Twitter, Facebook, and email are to citizens taking a stand against unfair government rule. It also became obvious the lengths such governments will go to in order to silence their critics and control the flow of information into and out of a country in the midsts of political crisis. When the Iranian government started blocking Twitter, many of us immediately understood how powerful a tool the service really was and we began actively looking for ways to make sure the protesters were able to stay in communication with the service and, thereby, the rest of the world.<br /><br />That's when the concept of TweetFree was born. The idea was to create a simple program that ran on mobile phones and would provide anonymous access to Twitter in a way that the government couldn't block. Using a decentralized network of TweetFree Relay nodes all connecting to a central point to post messages to Twitter, it's now virtually impossible for any government to block access to Twitter without totally shutting down mobile data services in the country.<br /><br />Now comes the hard part. In order to make the TweetFree network as robust as possible, we need TweetFree Relay Servers. Setting up a relay server is simple and can be done in under 5 minutes. All you have to do is fill out a form, fill in a few entries in a file, and your server is live.<br /><br />I'd like to encourage anyone who's interested to sign up to become a relay node on the network. It's free and it's a direct and real way you can help, not only the people of Iran, but oppressed people in all parts of the world.<br /><br />To find out more, or to sign up, visit: <a href="http://bit.ly/k8I3J">http://bit.ly/k8I3J</a> now.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-4821806777824000287?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-69342730766276698262009-07-04T09:40:00.001-07:002009-07-04T09:52:39.027-07:00America, take a moment to reflect this July 4th #iranelection #gr88 #freedomIt's Independence Day here in the United States. It's a day where we take pause and celebrate the freedoms that our countrymen have fought, bled, and died for, and, all too often, freedoms we have come to take for granted. When you grow up free and never know oppression, it's easy to just expect things to be a certain way because, well, that's just the way our lives are.<br /><br />But there are many people who don't share this freedom. Right now, in countries around the world, brave men and women are fighting and dying for a small sliver of the freedom we enjoy. Many of these freedom fighters aren't 'military' people either, they're just people who've had enough of oppression and want their children to grow up in a better place, a free place, a place where their voices won't be silenced.<br /><br />A lot of attention has gone to the ongoing election protests in Iran. Thousands of young, dedicated, Iranians are standing up and demanding that they be heard, demanding that their vote be counted as more than just a mark on a ballot that's tossed away when officials declare the results of an already fixed election. But, sadly, Iran isn't the only place where voices are being silenced, dissidents are being executed, and atrocities are being committed all for the sake of an out of control government maintaining power.<br /><br />So as you celebrate your freedom today, America, take a moment to cherish it, to truly understand what it means to be a people who don't have to worry about our voice not being heard or secret police showing up at our doors in the middle of the night to arrest us because we sent an email. People in places like North Korea, China, Cuba, and Iran don't have that luxury. <br /><br />But, still, they speak up;<br />still, they protest;<br />still, they raise their fists.<br /><br />May these brave people from around the world one day enjoy the same freedoms we've come to take for granted.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-6934273076627669826?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-72994084262182844792009-07-03T10:18:00.000-07:002009-07-03T14:23:30.209-07:00Help promote Iranian freedom on American Independence Day! #iranelection #iran #gr88Contrary to what you might believe from watching mainstream media, the protest in Iran surrounding the elections of a few weeks ago are still going on, as is a brutal crackdown by the Iranian government on protesters and their families. As the United States prepares to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow, I can't help but feel sad that our brothers and sister in Iran continue their brave fight for the things we take for granted: freedom of speech, free and proper elections, and freedom from oppression.<br /><br />It's an appreciation for those very things that drove one UK Twitter user, <a href="http://twitter.com/unscannable">@unscannable</a>, to stand up and do something dramatic on a worldwide scale. While Unscannable has been involved in the protests from a technical side, he decided to get involved on the visual protest side only a few days ago when he and his girlfriend developed a green balloon campaign.<br /><br />Unscannable was gracious enough to tell us a bit more about the campaign through an email interview conducted earlier today:<br /><br /><strong>1. When did the idea of the green balloon campaign come to you?</strong><br /><br />On Wednesday night around midnight. I wish I'd have thought of it earlier, I might have had a chance to get some sleep over the past few days! Athena and I had been watching CNN since we were first made aware of the situation in Iran, genuinely impressed with the coverage. <br /><br />Correlating what we saw on TV with what we were witnessing on Twitter we were satisfied that the general public were being kept well informed and given a chance to care, to react, to learn about the Iranian people and to consider the positive implications new knowledge would have on our traditionally uneasy relationship with the middle east.. <br /><br />Until the day it was announced that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had both passed away whereupon coverage of Iran literally stopped in its tracks despite a plethora of tragic events that have occurred since. I can't begin to tell you how angry and utterly disappointed we feel, both for the brave and daring souls on the inside who are putting themselves at risk to get the real news in and out of Iran, and for all the relentlessly dedicated people on the outside working so hard to propagate it, and it really feels like the carpet has been pulled out from under all of our feet. <br /><br />We had already been discussing ways to make ourselves more useful, and after one too many news broadcasts consisting of nothing but postmortem celebrity gossip we just snapped.<br /><br /><strong>2. Why did you decide to do the green balloon campaign?</strong><br /><br />As you know, the primary goal of the campaign is to try to focus media attention back to the Iranian people, which I felt would be most effective if launched at a time when the mainstream media is already changing subject matter, and the American day of Independence is an obvious and logical time to do it. <br /><br />The secondary goal is to try to spread awareness with or without the support of the news networks, and I felt the most appropriate way to achieve this was to enhance the vehicle already set in motion by the protesters, rather than dilute the message by completely reinventing it. <br /><br />The rest just kind of fell into place. I really admire the Iranian people for their relentless peace, strength and dignity, which they have symbolized so beautifully through the simple green balloon, which has ultimately become more of a weapon than any number of guns and thugs could ever amount to.<br /><br /><strong>3. How did you coordinate volunteer efforts for the campaign?</strong><br /><br />To put it simply, I haven't. If I've learned anything from this experience it's that if you do the right thing then people will bend over backwards to do the right thing with you. Doing the right thing seems to take its own logical path that everyone implicitly understands. <br /><br />I simply put forward my ideas and spread them among the people I've met through Twitter. There's been some controversy, but we've adapted and everyone seems to know what they need to do.<br /><br /><strong>4. How many people are going to participate?</strong><br /><br />I couldn't say at this point. I know there are at least eight or nine groups of people who have directly pledged their support in both Europe and America, including my sister in London. <br /><br />I just received a message from NiteOwl too, offering to mention the campaign in the Green Brief which should boost support considerably. The article I wrote to articulate my ideas for the campaign has already had nearly 1500 page views in two days, the vast majority of which has come directly from Twitter. Your guess is as good as mine really, but I'm hoping for the best!<br /><br />Thank you unscannable for the great job you're doing! I'd like to encourage everyone to get involved in this campaign and show you support for the Iranian people as they continue their struggle for freedom.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-7299408426218284479?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-74101842688354584062009-06-30T20:08:00.000-07:002009-06-30T20:09:45.979-07:00"I hate Microsoft" is the new tech bandwagonIt always baffles me how supposedly good tech people can jump on whatever bandwagon happens to be popular at the time. Take, for example, the 'Let's Hate Microsoft' one that currently seems to be all the rage.<br /><br />I've been involved with computers since I was 9 years old (I'm 34 now) and I've used Windows since its very earliest version. When I was a noob, I got viruses and was hit by just about every worm that went around. Then, I took the time to learn about good computing habits, proper security, and sensible practices.<br /><br />On my Windows XP systems I don't run an AV at all, I run Internet Explorer 8, I use Outlook, and all the other supposedly 'deadly' things that make Windows so insecure and dangerous. I occasionally will download an AV and anti-malware programs 'just to be sure' always expecting to find stuff. You know what? I never do!<br /><br />In the last five to eight years, I have *never* had a virus or worm hit my computer. I don't get spyware, I don't have popups all over the place, and I don't have those ungodly messes of toolbars that you see many Windows users having on IE. Why? Because I took the time to learn proper security, best practices, and don't do stupid stuff. I also keep my system patched.<br /><br />The fact is that a properly patched, secured, and managed Windows system is just as secure and stable as Linux. So then, why does it seem so many Windows systems seem to fall under the crush of malware?<br /><br />Users.<br /><br />Look at the statistics. For most of the major viruses and worms that have been out in the last few years, Microsoft has often had a patch available for the vulnerability they exploited before the software was in the wild. Sometimes, they've had patches available for months or even years. Yet users who listen to the anti-Microsoft drivel of 'they're trying to sneak stuff on your computer' become so paranoid that they choose to either turn off auto-update or they 'selectively' choose 'safe' updates without a good understanding of what the others do. The upshot is that they, through their actions, leave their systems vulnerable.<br /><br />Now, to be totally fair, I'm also a Linux user (desktop and server Ubuntu and a few Fedora systems) and they are pretty rock solid. But it's easy to say how secure you are when you're in the minority and nobody cares enough to really attack you by writing malware for your platform. Linux also tends to attract a more sophisticated and technically savvy user base than Windows so it's a bit dishonest to compare the two. If all Windows users suddenly migrated to Linux and brought their computing practices along with them, guess what? We'd see a LOT of problems with Linux systems too. So, no, comparing isn't totally honest. But, if we are, we can *easily* find examples of vulnerabilities that were exploited in *nix software and used to own systems.<br /><br />The simple fact is that *no* operating system, Windows or otherwise, is secure until you choose to make it secure. It doesn't magically happen. USERS have to take the initiative to be proactive about their systems.<br /><br />It's very popular to jump on the "Let's hate on Microsoft" bandwagon. Everyone seems to be doing it. I've run into a lot of people who told me "Oh I wouldn't use Windows if you paid me. It's crap" yet when I asked them what exactly their complaint was they would mumble something about 'security' but couldn't go into any details. Why do you think that is? It's because they didn't *know* any details! They just heard the rhetoric and thought spewing it forward made them seem knowledgeable and cool.<br /><br />It doesn't. It makes them sound stupid and uninformed.<br /><br />So consider this: next time you want to talk about how much you hate Windows, ask yourself this: why do *you* personally hate it? Have *you* had bad experiences with it or have you just read all the hype and made your decision based on that? Have you educated yourself about proper system care and management?<br /><br />If not, look into it. I think you'll find Microsoft is doing a pretty bang up job with security these days. The chants of 'Linux is going to OWN Windows' are fading away.<br /><br />I love Linux but I can't say I hate to see the zealots go.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-7410184268835458406?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-77316335486703895662009-06-29T18:42:00.000-07:002009-06-29T18:49:44.932-07:00Alright, so here is my contribution to the "Im a VB" campaignI've always been a fan of Visual Basic. Since its earliest days, VB has been a trusted way to quickly and easily get things done if you're developing for the Windows (and now even Linux) platforms. To be sure, VB has gone through some major changes, but Microsoft has always kept to their word and kept the language easy to wrap your head around. <br /><br />You can imagine my excitement when I saw on the Visual Basic Team Blog a new marketing and promotion effort by Microsoft called "I'm a VB". I'm a VB features interviews - both text and video - with ordinary developers who use VB in their daily work. As you might imagine, I was more than happy to contribute my story.<br /><br /><a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/vbteam/pages/i-m-a-vb-anthony-papillion.aspx">Here is my story</a>, I'd love to encourage any VB developers out there to <a href="http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=dRItygroketO20qGr5fcPA_3d_3d">contribute your own story</a> and let the world know that VB can do some heavy lifting. It's not just for toy applications anymore! You can also read <a href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbasic/dd776132.aspx">other interviews here.</a><div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-7731633548670389566?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4445927532978913051.post-59901785659129531952009-06-26T14:10:00.000-07:002009-06-26T14:29:55.245-07:00Details on the anonymous Twitter, Email and SMS client for mobiles #iranelection #gr88As the battle over the Iranian election continues, activists outside of Iran are waging a battle of their own to make sure the flow of information to and from the country is not cut off. In what's become a cyber chess match, volunteers from around the world are going head to head with the Iranian government by deploying proxy servers and other technology to assist the protesters in staying connected to an unfiltered internet. So far, we've managed to stay one step ahead of the government and, while connection speeds have been severely throttled in Iran, the Internet is still, largely, available to anyone willing to install a bit of software.<br /><br />But I believe this is just a band aide. There are many options available to the Iranian government which, for obvious reasons, we won't discuss here, that could stop the tech activist movement in its tracks and pull Iran into a virtual black hole.<br /><br />So I've decided to take things a step further and move the fight from the PC onto the mobile phone. For the last few days, I've been working on a software program called TweetFree that will allow anonymous, secure, and nearly unblockable access to Twitter, anonymous email, and anonymous and secure SMS.<br /><br />The software, currently being developed for Windows Mobile but eventually available to any J2ME device, will use a distributed system similar to the current PC proxy scenerio, to allow users to quickly and securely stay in communication with the outside world. I will be done with it tonight, send it out to several testers in the United States, and begin deploying it in Iran by Saturday morning.<br /><br />But I hope this software goes well beyond the borders of Iran. Countries like North Korea and China all are well known censors of information and my goal is to help these users reach out to the world as well. Of particular interest to me is China which, as of 1, July, 2009, will require censoring and monitoring software to be installed on every single electronic device manufactured or used in China. Obviously, this will present a particular challenge to TweetFree as we're going to have to find a way to circumvent the monitoring tools installed on the phone but I'm confident that it can be done and I hope to have something ready by August.<br /><br />I'd like to encourage all software engineers to get involved in developing projects like this. Our profession provides us with a unique set of skills that make us a real asset to people who need empowerment and a real threat to the government who supress them. It's time we put a little skin in the game and help our fellow man. Iran is showing it can be done. People tired of being oppressed combined with technology support can be a powerful thing. <br /><br />Let Iran be a lesson to all of us; let us all realize that we <br /><em>are</em> our brothers keeper. We can support and encourage freedom. Right from the PC sitting on our desk.<div class="blogger-post-footer"><img width='1' height='1' src='https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/4445927532978913051-5990178565912953195?l=cajuntechie.com' alt='' /></div>Anthony Papillionhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17683970576539696947papillion@gmail.com0