I’m taking tomorrow off/working from home for my birthday, so you get Friday’s lunchtime news chum stew today. Hopefully, it is just as tasty. This is a collection of news items where I couldn’t quite build up a good-enough linking theme that covered a significant subset for a post…
- Security. A number of security related items. By now, you’ve probably read the article about how the US and Israel supposedly worked together to create Stuxnet. Is it true? I’ll let you decide. I mention it, though, because it is an example of another problem that was highlighted in a separate NY Times article: the struggles to harness the flood of data in the military. With all the different virus reports and log files, how does one separate out the serious from the negligible? It’s a serious question.
In an unrelated security discussion: There’s an interesting report out how auto thieves can easily outsmart the key fobs out there. We all thought things would be better when we went away from these easily copied keys. But going digital is no panacea: digital keys can be duplicated as well, if you have the right mechanisms. Further, when you get the digital keys, you often gain access to much more.
- Technology Changes. Some items related to technology.
It appears that Verizon is silently dropping the “new every two” promotion. This is something we’ve taken advantage of, but in this day of smartphones, probably costs the company a pretty penny. It will be interesting to see what discounts will be provided the next time we’re up for renewal.
For those with iPhones/iPads and time on their hands, it appears that Playboy is coming to the iPad. How are they getting around the pron-restrictions in the Apple store? Simple. They aren’t using an app, but a specially formatted and coded web page. On the other hand, some hotels appear to be planning to drop their pay-per-view mature offerings.
Oh, and speaking of changes. Remember I’ve been writing about my new Toshiba laptop? I found a page with a review of my first Toshiba laptop, a T1600. It was a wonderful machine, with an 80C286 processor, MS-DOS 3.3, a 20MB disk, a 16-greyscale display, and 1MB of RAM. Selling price? $4,999.00. The times, they are a changin’.
- Fast Food Changes. A number of fast food changes to report. El Pollo Loco is dropping steak from their menu. Wendy’s (that little minx) is considering breaking it off with Arbys—you could never trust that woman. Lastly, Yum! brands (parent to KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell) is selling A&W and Long John Silvers.
- Gift Cards. Stores are becoming increasingly dependant on gift cards to shore up profits. However, as that dependence grows, the secondary gift card economy is growing as well (that is, the market where you can exchange gift cards). The LA Times had a nice article on this secondary market, noting which exchanges to trust and which to avoid. Note that you’ll rarely get the face value on an exchanged card. There was also a good article on this subject in the Washington Post. Still, if you’ve got plastic sitting in your drawer doing nothing…
- One Ups. A number of interesting one-ups, where I couldn’t connect multiple things with a theme:
They are expanding Lindbergh Field in San Diego, CA. As I seem to recall, this is one of the most dangerous airports to fly into because of the approach.
There’s a reason we’re losing the fight with bedbugs. They are evolving too fast and becoming pesticide resistant.
Trying to figure out where to keep that toilet tissue (what a euphamism!). Here’s are ten ways to hide it, stylishly.
An interesting article on a new housing problem: Fireplace Guilt. Yup, we no longer love our fireplaces. Not only are they not cool, they aren’t ecological.