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Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Identity

We are switching gears, tonight.

After selling the domain name, BApps.com, I used the blog's sub domain (business-apps.blogspot.com) for this blog's home web address.  But last week I acquired a new domain name, www.Handheld.Tools, and I feel that this blog will be perfect for it.  

I have already been reviewing and discussing business applications here, so now it is high time to recommend my favorite handheld devices, and apps on a grand scale.  

I plan to review smart phones, tablets, PDAs, their installed and available applications, as well as possibly hit on some of the handheld device programming tools while I venture down that road and learn them myself.

I will readily admit that I am an elder blogger, my father and brother laughed and scoffed at me when I told them that one day we would all own more than one computer (even carry them around).  That was back when computers required a dedicated climate controlled space the size of a large room.  But I knew what was coming.

My advanced age, and the fact that I have been a GUI designer, aficionado and critic of OSes and all UI systems for nearly 20 years now (Amiga, Linux, Macintosh, Unix, Windows), which makes me somewhat of a skeptic over the learned touch user interface, but I have been using it with smart phones, tablets and other devices for over 4 years, now.

My seniority does offer its own unique look through an experienced eye trained to spot the details many others have missed.  My outlook is unique and I am picky.  

I currently have experience with (own or have access to) the following handheld devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Samsung Galaxy S IV (Android Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Samsung TrakFone (TrakFone's proprietary OS)
  • Motorola Droid X (Android)
  • PDA (Dead Palm PDA)
  • iPad (iOS, version 1 tablet)
  • Asus Transformer TF301 (Dead Android tablet)
  • Polaroid T10 (worthless Android 10" tablet)
  • Polaroid T7 (useless Android 7" internet tablet)
  • Chromebook (small Chrome OS laptop unit)

The one device I do not any experience with is the BlueBerry, so I would like to see one of those and get a feel for it.  I do have experience with the old Amiga computer platform OS, so I would love to see its incarnation and implementation with the new mobile device and gaming platforms.  I also have experience on many computer platforms, as well [with the Amiga (versions 1.x/2.x/3.x/4), as mentioned, with the Commodore (64/128), Linux (RedHat), Macintosh System 7/8 and MacOS X, Unix (AIX) and Windows (3.1/95/98/2000/XP/Vista/7)].

If you would dare to allow your handheld device or application reviewed by myself (I will not hold back - I expect a lot - lots more than I have seen to this date with most devices and apps, especially with cameras), you can contact me via Doug-Peters.com/contact or through my Google+ profile and submit it for review.

I will also accept suggestions on reviewing free apps.

Thanks for understanding the branding switch.   It seems that the new domain will be much easier to remember and have great brand staying power.  I hope you find it as easy to remember and visit (time and time again).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Heartbleed Extension OpenSSL Vulnerability: Username and Password Pairs

This post was originally posted on my WordPress blog at:
http://domainating.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/the-heartbleed-password-dilema/

Because this bug is so bad, and the implications of its abuse so broad, so dangerous and so extremely important, I am cross-posting that blog article in many of my blogs.  Please do not hesitate to fix this issue for yourself, your family and loved ones.  Tell your friends about this problem, as well (or point them to this article).

For your convenience, that article is reprinted below:

OK, the fallout from the 'heartbleed' bug is worse than I thought.  The problem is with how we, as humans, don't manage a ton of passwords well.  It isn't so much that we are lazy, but to avoid clutter in our mind, we re-use passwords across the internet to log-in to different websites.

But with the heartbleed vulnerability, the problem becomes worse because of our conservation of brain cells and the repeated username and password combination becomes yet another vulnerability.

You see, most people don't come-up with a unique username and password for each site they have become a member of.  Most people reuse the same username over and over so that they can be identified as themselves by friends and acquaintances across networks.  Now, that would still be OK if the password used was unique for each and every website that user logged into using that username.  But because we are trying to make things simpler we usually only use a small index of passwords from which we draw our passwords, so that we don't have to remember so many, because we know what it feels like to be locked-out.

It all has to do with username and password pairs.

So if a user logs in as "Gibraltor5" with a password of "1Ydd/R247" on a forum website that is compromised, the problem then becomes that the username and password pair are entered into a database and some malicious hacker will eventually try to use that username & password pair at other places, such as Yahoo, Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, Chase, CapitalOne, Amex, etc...

So eventually, someone will make a program that will actually try to login to all sorts of websites using "Gibraltor5" as the username and "1Ydd/R247" as the password, possibly even on a global scale.  Once more, they may not stop at one attempt.  They might wait a year or so and try again, just to check if the user had protected his accounts, but then gone back to his lazy ways.

So from now on, you have to create a unique password for every single site that you have ever accessed.

Even though Google may say that your Gmail and Google+ accounts are safe, they aren't if you have ever used the same username and password combination ever before or afterwards on any site.  You can't be sure that any certain site was or wasn't compromised.   The username and password pair could have come from a site you don't even remember joining.  So if you have a tendency, like most humans, to use the same password over and over, you have to stop that right now, go back to all the sites that you have ever been a member of, and change your password to something unique.

Now, if you are like me, you have lots of places that you frequent.  That means you will require so many passwords you won't know how to keep them all straight without writing them down.  But if you write them on plain paper, or in a little black book of passwords like I used to do, you open yourself to having them ripped off and hacked that way, by your very own hand.

The best way to do it then, is use a password program that will keep all your passwords safe and handy.  Since I don't always have my PC with me, but I try to always have my phone on me, I have to recommend Kuff's Password Safe for the Android.  It allows you to generate unique jibberish style passwords on the fly, comes with 128 or 256 bit encryption to protect your entire catalog of passwords, categorize them, and more.  The one thing is that you must remember the password you will use to access the application, because there is no back door and without that one password, you will not be able to access the application again.  The good news is that you only have one password to remember, again.

Now, to top that off, you can also get another version for Windows, so that you can update and access your password data across platforms, as well as backup your data to remote servers such as Dropbox, SkyDrive & Google Drive, or to your local Windows machine.


The developer's website for Kuffs Password Safe (Android & Windows):
http://www.kuffs.co.uk/

If you do not have an Android based smartphone and/or tablet, or you do not expect to upgrade to an Android smartphone/tablet, or if you prefer a Macintosh supported version, you will have to shop around.  But this little utility, a password safe, to secure all of your username and password pairs and other private information, encrypt the data to protect it from malicious hacker idiots, is now an important and vital component in the life of anyone who has or had an online lifestyle (meaning anyone who ever has done anything online).   I even keep my server details and all sorts of vital info there, I trust it that much.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Google crushing the competition?

Lately, Google has been penalizing marketing websites by scaring businesses that use them. 

I started my own Directory Portal back in 1998 or so, as a hyperlink resources web directory that promoted not only my clients and customers,  but also the websites and online resources that I believed in.  As it grew quickly I had many requests to list other websites and went ahead and started approving many submissions in my spare time.  I wound up discovering new sites and services in this way, as well.

I really enjoyed this and I felt that I was giving back to the Internet community that I felt indebted to.  After all, I was making a living and was my own boss and was able to be just a tiny little bit creative once in a while.

I reviewed every single website that I listed, bar none.  Eventually, I had to start charging a little in order to overcome the sacrifice, because the time I was spending keeping the service up to date and viable became extreme.

I had started other niche directories that covered my intetests, more for a hobby, but out of my interests in maintaining directories of relevant resources than anything.  Eventually, I added forums and other resources, depending on the niche.

But as a self - employed artist and businessman running a design & marketing studio and domain sales/hosting agency, it became harder to keep up and the cost of the software and a premium decent web hosting platform that would handle heavy traffic and support all the bells and whistles of an advanced web directory. Then, as I was experimenting with different software packages, some of my sites were maliciously hacked. 

It is really upsetting when you are hacked.  My phpBB forum website was hacked and a few different installed link directory packages were also hacked.

It was clear, I had to be very careful about the software I used to run these sites.  So I only used premium Web scripts, and these aren't always free, either.

So as I am saddled with premium fees for software, hosting (although I can discount my hosting, it certainly isn't free), and domains; my time managing these resources (backing up the data at intervals, reviewing submitted listings, updating the software, paying the bills, etc...) has also become a premium commodity.

Obviously I need to offset my investments,  my time, my work.  So I charge a nominal fee to those who are interested in promoting their online resource in a timely fashion in order to offset costs.  But I have never made a profit doing so.  This doesn't mean that I won't or can't, because I enjoy doing this and it would be fun to make a little doing it. 

But now Google is sending webmasters letters telling them that directories are bad and to remove their links.  Talk about trying to monopolize themselves.  Google is trying to take out all their competition by removing any confidence in our services.  Yet, it is not me that is spamming it's customers with advertising,  it is Google.

This is a completely unfair business practice designed to cut the little guy off at the knees before it becomes an impact, no matter how small, on Google.

But Google is NOT a search platform,  it is a biased marketing engine that shares all its information with the NSA, and perpetuates spam advertising and email. 
So, be careful with Google.  Google has its own hidden agenda that takes advantage of us all.

I am personally looking for alternatives to all its services... mail, search, ads, monetization, directory services, comparison shopping, smart phones,  tablets, streaming video & audio, socialization,  everything.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yahoo!’s Domainapalooza

Yahoo has decided to release some of its premium domain names to the public through an auction at Sedo…
Yahoo!’s Domainapalooza (updated 11/16/2013)
This premium domain name portfolio auction started today, November 14th, and runs through November 21st, 2013.  It is an impressive collection of some premium domain names, that is for sure.  Although there are quite a few names that I feel are not very good (especially for the reserve price indicated), there are some great domains in the bunch…
  • AV.com
  • WebServer.com
  • Sandwich.com
  • Sled.com
  • VoiceMail.com
  • Crackers.com
  • Freeby.com/.net
  • BlogsPort.com (or brand it as BlogSport.com)
Please note that the above is merely a sampling of some of the best domain names in the Yahoo Domainapalooza premium domain portfolio auction.  But that portfolio is listing over 500 names on its first day, and Yahoo! also indicates that it will also be adding even more domain names throughout the auction.  
This is a big opportunity to get a name that can be built into a dominant brand within its industry, not only for players collecting names, but also for entrepreneurs such as myself that develop the names into brands and fully-functional websites, as well as those looking for a great name with which to launch their company.
It is quite possible that you walk away with a great brandable domain name which you could develop into a profitable website or business?  Very likely, considering the quality of some of these names.  Especially with names that have an excellent second meaning.  
As of this writing, there are 517 domain names available for auction and with Yahoo planning to add even more this may become the most watched premium domain name portfolio auction in history.  As a domainer and developer, my interest is aroused.  As a businessman, it is maxed.  I wish I didn't have so much tied-up in other endeavors at the moment.  But I will definitely study this list thoroughly.
Happy domaining!  I hope there will be many domainers taking advantage of this opportunity to add to their portfolio and domainate the market with such great and industry domainating names.  ;)
Yahoo!’s Domainapalooza (link updated 11/16/2013)
-Doug
…”Domainating
(I’m going back to check out that list!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rotten Android OS Upgrade

Lately I had no choice but to update My Droid X with a Mandatory Android OS upgrade.  I'm not sure whether this is a Google, Motorola or a Verizon required update thing,  but it sucks.

Although The interface looks better at first glance, it completely fails to impress.  I wish I could downgrade and return to the old system, since all the prettying-up now drains the battery much faster, with stupid stuttering animations for effect that slow down the system and black text on white menus.

I am actually ticked off.  I used to be able to send calls directly to Voicemail in the contacts section (harassment calls, telemarketing spammers and scammers, etc, when I am listed on the National Do Not Call List).

Although there are now rudimentary cursor controls, they still suck and I miss having easy-to-use cursor keys.

Needless to say, I am not happy.  The camera no longer works right on either my Droid X, or on My wife's Droid X.  This is an extremely rudimentary function that I expect to work all the time and it never did, but the camera is totally screwed-up now.

I'm planning on going down to Verizon to complain and see if there is anyway to get back to the old version.

I mean, this is crap, neither My wife nor I have a functional camera, and with these big screens these Droid X's already drain the stupid battery way too fast, why speed up the process?  And now I have no way to avoid spam/scam and harassing phone calls?!

Argh!  This OS upgrade SUCKS.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

BApps.com Sold at Auction

The original domain name for this blog, BApps.com, has been sold at Sedo.com auction for a mere $510.00.  I was very surprised to see it go for so little in a booming apps market, especially when the domain was so short, easy to remember, and incredibly easy to brand as a business applications site.

I verified payment of the funds into my account on May 12th, 2011.

As the domain name no longer points to this blog, I am using a blogger address for the domain, which is currently http://business-apps.blogspot.com/.  If I wind-up getting a domain name that is more appropriate for the blog I will use that in the future.  Right now I think this will do fine.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BApps up for Auction

BApps.com is available for sale to the highest bidder at Sedo.

BApps.com Listing @ Sedo

This domain WILL BE SOLD at auction as the reserve price has been met. 

The auction for BApps.com will conclude on May/05/11 @ 05:51 AM Eastern Standard Time.

When the nameservers are reset by the new owner (or the transfer authority @ Sedo), this blog will expire. 

I have moved a couple posts to blog.widgetdroid.com and most of the rest I will move to domainating.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Google Voice Takes Over

The other day my friend showed me how he had setup Google Voice on his Droid Incredible.  He even had a widget that displayed what was transcribed after voice recognition tried to interpret his voice mail messages.

Eventually, I thought that it was a good idea and I thought I'd give it a try, thinking that I could always revert to my Verizon Voicemail if Google Voice didn't work out for me. 

To my surprise, I was getting a great deal more hang-ups and fewer voice mail messages with Voice than when using Verizon's voicemail.  On top of this, it appears that Google's voice recognition technology, which works well on my DroidX for short sentences, is often fooled or stumped when interpreting any other message left me, probably due to its longer length.

That said, the voice recognition for Voice is at least attempting to do something when it comes to those longer messages which would stump the android 2 device, but it does seem that the longer the message left, the more silly that the Google Voice transcript became.

However, because of all of these extra hang-ups, I decided to to revert back to the Verizon default voice mail system.  Unfortunately, Google Voice seems to have hijacked the answering system.  Although I have used the Settings menu to set my Call Settings  for Voicemail Service to "My carrier" and I am using the *86 number which is the default for Verizon's Voicemail Settings.  And Google Voice is still answering every single call that I miss.

I can't find any other Voicemail settings in my DroidX.  I even went down to my local Verizon store where I bought the phone and they can't tell me what's wrong.  So now I have to call Verizon's support line (which is what they were going to do at the Verizon store, but I didn't have enough time to hang around at the time). 

Verizon Support:  Uninstall Google Voice.
I uninstalled Voice.
Verizon Support: It still goes straight to Google Voice. 
Me: "I didn't know it was going straight to voice."
Transfered to a new Verizon tech support guy who took off call forwarding. 
Me: "I had call forwarding?"

OK, now my voicemail is working again.  If you are a business, you might want to stay away from Google Voice, but if you don't like it, stop the call forwarding.  That might require a call to a tech.  I was told that I can always put call forwarding back on if I want it. 

I'm glad this Verizon tech knew what was going on.  Glad its over with, as well.  ;)  I'm not so sure that Google Voice is a good idea for business after all this.  At least you know what to do after reading this should you not like it.  But taking some calls straight to voicemail without ringing?  That indicates a problem in the business world.  Not so sure I would like it doing anything like that for a personal phone, either.

Always something.  I'm glad this little dilemma is over.  ;)

You know, I thought this was over for a moment, but it never was.  Google Voice has NEVER given up the ghost and is still taking over my voice mail settings despite the fact that they all point to my default carrier, despite the fact that Google's crappy Voice program has been uninstalled on this device.

I am begining to realize that nothing beats an iPhone.  The crappy spam you have to deal with on an Amdroid based system is enough of a reason to switch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Busines Card Reader

If you have ever wanted a Business Card Reader (BCR), I just bet that it would have to be something handy.  This is one of those cases where, if you were offered a program that you would install on your computer that would scan in business cards, you probably wouldn't even bother with it unless it was free, am I right?

Well, the reason is simple, it just isn't convenient.  Having to take a business card home and scan it in just to have it available with all its contact information is actually more like a huge chore.  But now-a-days we are all walking around with smartphones and finally, the convenience we require is available as a little app for our Android or iPhone!

Check out my article which covers the Android based version of the CamCard - BCR (western) which I absolutely love on My DroidX.  But note that there is also a version for the asian market (Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters), another version for business, and that there are also alternate versions of each for the iPhone market as well.

With the convenience of hand held devices, the Business Card Reader has finally become a reliable and useful reality.

Business Apps: Password Safe

Although I have already reviewed Kuff's Password safe on my android apps & widgets blog called Widget Droid, most readers here probably don't realize that Kuff's Password Safe is also the very best Password Safe/Vault application on Windows machines, as well.

So here is a link to my article on the very best Password organizer and encrypted safety app on the market...

What's the Very Best Password Safe?

Just remember the master password that gets you into the program.  ;)