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07/21/2010

Phishing goes Mobile :(

Ever since email became mainstream crooks and thieves used it to try and phish personal details and passwords off unsuspecting honest people. These fraudulent emails are easy to recognize: they tell you some very exiting story about lottery winnings, or a huge amount of money somewhere, or it looks like a job offer - and then they ask for sensitive information, like your full name, birth date, address, home phone number, account number, SSN, ........ if you actually fall for that, and give up your data, you're toast!

Over the years people got wise, though. I don't think anybody in their right mind replies to scam emails anymore. So the criminals had to come up with different ideas. Lately they've been doing it with mobile phones.  

So, just in case you are young/innocent enough to still believe anything somebody will tell you, beware! Here's what happenend to me twice in the past few days:

You receive a call on your cell phone, the caller id shows just a number (sometimes it doesn't even look like a phone number). When you answer, a female computerized voice comes on saying something like 'Hello, this is ........... (insert the name of your bank here). Your account (or credit card, or debit card) has been temporarily suspended. To reactivate, please press 1 now to be transferred directly to our security department.' 

If you are curious enough to proceed to press 1, you will really be transferred. Just not to any bank's security department! The person will ask for many very personal details, and then abuse that information immediately to drain your bank account, or even overdraw it, if you were naive enough to opt-in for the 'overdraft protection' that your bank has been trying hard to push onto you recently (so they can charge you $25 per incident). 

06/11/2010

Digging Deep

DigDeep.jpgThe oldest building on Indiana Tech's campus got a complete overhaul. It has been gutted out and rebuilt from the inside, reusing the original bricks and wood where possible. I heard rumors that the building used to be an underground railroad station, but nothing could be proven, or disproven, to that matter.

The latest trends in green and ecological technology have been implemented to make this a hallmark of energy efficiency. Now that the building is almost ready for people to move back in, hundreds of deep wells will be drilled into the Cunningham parking lot for the geothermal heating and cooling system.

03/04/2010

no education without transportation

Sometimes the seemingly unrelated little things that I hear about on random occasions provide food for thought and insight into the bigger, maybe even global, picture.

I hadn't even noticed this woman who was spending entire days in one of our study lounges, obviously not studying anything. She was watching movies on her laptop most of the time. Someone else noticed her, though, and was curious enough to ask. The woman's story may be nothing unusual, given the place where she lives - but I find it jaw-dropping, given the place where I used to live.

Her son is a student at Indiana Tech. They live in Ohio, maybe two hours East of Fort Wayne. Recently the student totaled his car. The family can't afford to buy a car, and the woman doesn't want to be stuck without a car at home. She probably also doesn't want to take the risk of her son wrecking another vehicle. A college education is expensive, and very important for the son's future. She doesn't want the boy to miss out on that.

So what does this mother do, given the lack of public transportation and shortage of money? She drives her son to school in the mornings, then spends her days sitting in a study lounge while he is in classes, and then drives home again late at night.

01/07/2010

Serious Talent?

Once a week we have a team meeting at work. Usually it takes about an hour. Everybody briefly reports about what they are currently working on, so that we all know what's going on. This week the meeting took well over 90 minutes, though. I admit I was getting a little bored, because my part was short and done early. So, while I was listening to my colleagues talk, I drew a face on the back of the plate that had been housing our gold fish crackers.

One colleague said my drawing demonstrated *some serious talent*, which is why I signed it and gave it to him to keep.
You never know, maybe this face on a plate will be worth a lot of money when I become famous.

face.jpg

10/20/2009

can you overdo Halloween?

Fall is well under way, Halloween is quickly approaching. Some people like to decorate their houses with traditional arrangements, like straw and real pumpkins, while others turn to contemporary ornaments, like this one on my way to work.

BigHalloween.jpg This small two-story house on North Anthony Boulevard has a twelve feet high blow-up object sitting in the front yard. It is a tasteful (?) work of art, featuring two pumpkins stacked on top of each other, a black cat balancing above, and two friendly ghosts attached sideways.

Going past that always puts a smile on my face. I wonder what kind of people live in the house.