Category: Computers

Being Children pre-internet

I love the mini-video below. It showed the games that I remember playing as a child in the Philippines.

I especially love piko (hopscotch)

In a way I pity children of today.

Being Children pre-internet

The advent of computer and internet brought in untold usefulness to everyone of us but as they said, nothing is ever perfect. Though I can’t live without access to the internet/computer now, it does have negative impacts on some lives. Especially in the west, the computer has somehow put paid to children playing outside. Children nowadays would rather be in their pc or ipad playing games rather than in the garden or at the park playing hide and seek with their friends.

I supposed we have become too security conscious. We want our children under our radar almost 24/7 and the easiest way to ensure this is to allow them access to the computer; sitting in front of it where we know where they are.

Let us think about this, “As a child, would you rather be playing computer games or playing tugs with friends outside in the sunshine?!!!”

by lorosa Traditional Art / Paintings / People©2010-2014 lorosa

by lorosa
Traditional Art / Paintings / People©2010-2014 lorosa

Roaming Charges on Death Throes in Europe?!!!

mobileThis is good news. We are now mobile/cell phones using nations and the end of roaming charges can only be good news to us all. We have heard of much horror stories, which landed so many unsuspecting users with thousands of pounds of hidden and not quite so hidden roaming charges.

The only thing is that, what does it mean the roaming charges are to end by Christmas 2015? Does this mean roaming charges are not quite dead yet?!!!

So we must not celebrate by using our phone’s roaming apps just yet. 😉 Wait a while longer! Easy does it!

……………………………


Brussels, 3 April 2014

European Parliament votes to end roaming charges, expand consumer rights and make it easier to create better telecoms.

Today the European Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015, as part of a wider vote in support to the Commission’s proposed regulation for a “Connected Continent” (telecoms single market)*.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said:

“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive.”

“Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that. It’s win-win.”

“In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result.”

“Beyond the highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications wherever they are”.

EU Member States will now continue to review the regulation and the Commission expects final agreement of the Regulation by end of 2014.

*The “Connected Continent” telecoms Regulation was proposed by the Commission in September 2013. It aims to bring us much closer to a truly single market for telecoms in the EU, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.

Background
Tweets from @NeelieKroesEU today included:

“Today EU Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015 !! #roaming”

“We need a digital Europe – today we are another step closer with EU Parl vote for #ConnectedContinent”

“Find out more about the EU plan that is set to end #roaming + guarantee #NetNeutrality on Connected Continent webiste”

Contacts
Email: comm-kroes@ec.europa.eu Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU

Dog Tags…Human Tags?

Lasmicrochip detectort Friday, we took our lively little terrier dog to the veterinary surgeon (vets). He had his routine vaccination. The vet also checked that his implanted microchip was working  OK.

In the UK by law,  all pet dogs have to have microchips implanted (normally near the neck).  The microchip  is about the size of a grain of rice. It consists of a tiny computer chip housed in a type of glass made to be compatible with living tissue. The microchip is implanted between the dog’s shoulder blades under the skin with a needle and special syringe. The process is similar to getting an injection with little or no to no pain.  Once in place, the microchip can be detected immediately with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip. This device scans the microchip, and then displays a unique alphanumeric code. Once the microchip is placed, the dog must be registered with the microchip company, usually for a one-time fee. Then, the dog can be traced back to the owner if found.

Dog Tags…Human Tags?microchip

 

Microchip and detector

Microchip implant size

Microchip implant size

This made me think to the future and all the surveillance and communication technology we have and use in the 21st Century.

Today, we use an increasing amount  of  Radio-frequency identification (RFID)  wireless  devices to monitor movements/location of people or items. Shops/stores use RFID for stock control  or used to asset tag for inventories.

Indeed many of our smart phones, PC tablets can be tracked through built-in RFID devices.  Cars and vehicles  have RFID.

This technology is invaluable in locating/tracking  lost or stolen pets & valuable items.

Ever increasing sophisticated implanted microchips would also provide a range  medical benefits for monitoring health and even adjusting critical bodily functions to keep us healthy.

I wonder if, or indeed when humans maybe similarly ‘microchipped’ and have RFID implanted to monitor us . We would have a truly ‘Big Brother’  Orwellian 1984 nightmare, where the locations and status of all citizens are known or can be found by the government, regimes etc.

At birth or soon after, would all children have micro-chip implants by law and  registered along side the Birth Certificate process!?

Possibly the microchip(s) would only be activated for specific, appropriate and lawful needs?

humn log

Possibly known criminals,terrorists  etc.,  will be implanted with microchips active for their lifetimes or for a fixed period.  This would make policing immeasurably  more effective but remove fundamental human rights.

 

 

Google Doodle: Grace Hopper

Grace the Original Hopper

grace-hoppers-107th-birthday-5447077240766464.3-hp

Today’s Google Doodle is an animation of Grace Hopper sitting on her computer, using COBOL  to print out her age.  Google is celebrating the 107th birthday of Grace Hopper, the “mother” of the COBOL computer language.

220px-Commodore_Grace_M._Hopper,_USN_(covered)

“‘all Navy’, but when you reach inside, you find a ‘Pirate’ dying to be released”
– Jay Eliot

Just toward the end of animation a moth was seen coming out of the computer; that was a reference to Grace popularising the term “debugging”.    Apparently whilst in the Navy and working on a Mark II computer, it was found that a moth was stuck in the relay, which was impending the  system, quick as a flash Grace said they are debugging the system.

The remains of the moth can be seen at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Grace lived a full and hectic life.

At a very young age, she showed a very inquisitive mind.  At the age of seven, she tried to find out how clock works and managed to disassemble seven of them much to her mother’s consternation.  In the end she was only allowed to touch one clock.  LOL

Grace was a Vassar girl but at 16 she was declined entry to the College because she had a low score in Latin.  She got admitted the next year and went on to earn bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics.  She then went to Yale University and became a history maker for becoming  the first woman to graduate with a doctorate in Maths in Yale’s long history.

Grace Brewster Murray, as she was, married Vincent Foster Hopper, a New York professor in 1930.  The marriage ended in divorce in 1945.  Grace never married again thus retaining her ex-husband’s surname.  Grace Hopper has a memorable ring to it.

Grace Hopper, to me, was like a grasshopper.  She leaped from one success to another.  She leaped from one awards to the next.

Even her retirement was one of the  longest hopping in history.  She first retired at 60 but was recalled almost immediately and then retired again and then recalled and then retired and then recalled………

Grace ended up working until her death at 85.

The Amazing Story of British Science

The British have a remarkable talent for keeping calm, even when there is no crisis.

– Franklin F. Jones

 

From the 1700s Britain, this small group of islands was and still is a leader in science and engineering. Surely Sir Isaac Newton must be regarded as the greatest scientist that ever lived. He formulated the laws or motion and gravity, proved that sun light was not pure white but made up of colour and corpuscular(tiny particles of matter)when he produced a spectrum via two prisms and isolated one colour. He invented the reflecting telescope and for mathematics he invented calculus still a valuable mathematic tool today. His discoveries about energy gravity and motion laid the ground for Einstein.

Below is an article about an excellent new BBC TV series charting the successes and discoveries made by British scientists and engineers.

The Amazing Story of British Science

Sir Isaac Newton, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Pictures via Getty

Britons Sir Isaac Newton, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Tim Berners-Lee all changed the world through their discoveries and inventions

Science Britannica 
Professor Brian Cox
Scientist and presenter

The British Isles are home to just one percent of the world’s population and yet our small collection of rocks poking out of the north Atlantic has thrown up world beaters in virtually every field of human endeavour.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in science and engineering. Edward Jenner came up with vaccines, Sir Frank Whittle ushered in the jet age and Sir Tim Berners-Lee laid the foundations of the world wide web for the Internet. Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, George Stephenson, James Watt, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (engineer), Francis Crick ( co discoverer of DNA)… the list is gloriously long.  We can now add Peter Higgs,who proposed the so called ‘God particle’ Higgs Bosun a field that holds particles together, which if if did not exist , sub atomic particles would never had formed into atoms and ultilmately us! The Higgs Bosun has been tentatively discovered by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

What is it about Britain that allowed so many great minds to emerge and flourish?

This is a very important question to ask, because science and engineering are not only part of our past – the future of our economy depends to an ever-increasing extent on our continued excellence in scientific discovery and high-tech manufacturing and engineering.

The roots of our success can be traced back many centuries. Oxford and Cambridge Universities were formed over 800 years ago.

They paved the way for the world’s oldest scientific institution, The Royal Society, formed in 1660 by a group including Sir Christopher Wren, professor of astronomy and architect of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Science Heroes

 Robert Boyle Boyle 1627 – 1691 is one of  founders of modern chemistry and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method which Britain gave to the world.  He is best known for Boyles Law  which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed sytem.

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was a brilliant physicist and mathematician who is considered a founding father of science.

Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) was a naturalist and geologist who came up with the world-changing theory of evolution.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) was an inventor and engineer who designed some of the UK’s most famous tunnels, bridges, railway lines and ships

Sir Frank Whittle (1907 – 1996) was a daredevil test pilot who is credited with inventing the turbo jet engine

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (1955 – ) is the inventor of the world wide web

Scientist Rosalind Franklin’s photograph’s of X Ray diffraction of DNA confirmed it’s double helix structure

Any theory or idea about the world should be tested and if it disagrees with observations, then it is wrong.

Even today, that’s radical, because it means that the opinions of important and powerful people are worthless if they conflict with reality. So central is this idea to science that it is enshrined in The Royal Society’s motto: “Take nobody’s word for it”.

Shortly after The Royal Society was formed, Sir Isaac Newton deployed this approach in his great work The Principia, which contains his law of gravity and the foundations of what we now call classical mechanics – the tools you need to work out the forces on bridges and buildings, calculate paths of artillery shells and the stresses on aircraft wings. This was arguably the first work of modern physics.

This has become known as the scientific method, and its power can be seen in some unexpected places. During the filming of Science Britannica, I met Capt Jerry Roberts who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

Bletchley intercepted enemy messages and the captain and his colleagues were given the job of decoding them. He told me the story of his colleague, Bill Tutte, who worked on the ‘Tunny” code used by the Nazi high command to send orders to generals in the field.

Bill spent most of his time staring into space, but after just a few months, with awesome mathematical acumen he cracked the code.

In an age before computers, he did it using mathematics, logic and pencil and paper, aided by a single mistake by a German telegraph operator who sent a message twice. In the opinion of many, Tutte’s achievement was the greatest single intellectual achievement of the 20th Century, shortening the war by years and saving millions of lives on both sides.

This is what happens when genius is aided by the careful, scientific approach pioneered by Newton and others at The Royal Society. Capt Roberts and his colleagues at Bletchley are, in my view, heroes in every sense of the word.

 Bletchley Park was Britain’s main decryption establishment during World War II.

The Buckinghamshire compound is famous as the place where wartime codebreakers cracked the German Enigma code
Codebreaking machines Colossus and Bombe were the forerunners of modern computers. Mathematician Alan Turing helped create the Bombe
Historians estimate that breakthroughs at Bletchley shortened the war by two years
Bletchley Park’s computing  was so innovative
Alan Turing’s work built the foundations of computer science,programming etc. He is regarded as a true genius and founder of modern computing.

Another such genius was Nobel Prize winning phycisist Paul Dirac He was regarded by his friends and colleagues as unusual in character. Albert Einstein said of him “This balancing on the dizzying path between genius and madness is awful”  Among other discoveries, he formulated the Dirac Equation, which  predicted the existence of antimatter.

Despite its tremendous success, scientists have occasionally had a difficult relationship with the wider public. Frankenstein – the ultimate ‘scientist out of control’, has become a short-hand for things we fear.

A particularly colourful example can be found in the grim tale of George Forster, convicted of the double murder of his wife and daughter in 1803 and duly hanged.

This being the 19th Century, nobody was concerned about the hanging itself but rather illogically, the fate of Forster’s corpse caused a public outcry. It was taken directly to a nearby lecture theatre and used to demonstrate the effect of electricity on the human body.

The corpse twitched and jerked and even ‘opened an eye’ as an electric current was applied. There were reports of fainting and a particularly sensitive audience member died of shock – a wonderfully Georgian thing to do. The scientist – a visiting Italian called Giovanni Aldini – was forced to leave the country, when in fact his motives were absolutely sound. He was trying to resuscitate people using electricity.

Far from being a dangerous lunatic, he was ahead of his time. Nowadays thousands of lives are saved as hearts are regularly re-started using electrical pulses delivered by defibrillators.

Aldini’s controversial experiments were performed for a particular purpose, but not all science is carried out with a goal in mind.

Mary Shelley soon after wrote the classic gothic story Frankenstein, a cautionary tale of science out of control.

In the 19th Century, John Tyndall decided to work out why the vivid red and purple colours appeared when the sun is low, and why, for the rest of the time, the sky is blue.

He concluded that the colours of the sky are produced because light bounces off dust and water particles in the air. Blue light is more likely to bounce around than red, and so it is only when the sun is low and the light travels through more of the dust-filled air that the red light is bounced around to produce a sunset.

Tyndall was half right – we now know that it is mainly the air molecules themselves that scatter the light – but this didn’t really matter. Tyndall’s romantic curiosity led to a far more important discovery.

He decided to produce “pure” air with no particles in it, to see if the colours vanished, and he discovered that samples of meat didn’t rot in it. Here was evidence that infection and decay are caused by germs in the air – which Tyndall had inadvertently removed during his purification process. The discovery ultimately transformed the way that doctors dealt with infection and contamination.

Countless millions of lives were saved, because one curious scientist wanted to find out why the sky is blue. Today, the curiosity driven exploration of nature is still known as “blue skies research”.

Science has truly revolutionised our world. It is the basis of our economy and the foundation of our future. We must value our great heritage and continue to invest in education and science to ensure that we never lose our position as the best place in the world to do science.

‘When The Saints Go Marching In’

This is a really clever rendition of When The Saints Go Marching In. It was performed by a one man band, literally. Good job!

Connor Going wanted to form a quartet but couldn’t find the necessary talent in Glasgow. So he turned to the only singer he knew: himself. Using a combination of technology and great timing, Going simultaneously performs all four roles of a quartet, Tenor I, Tenor II, Baritone and Bass. The result is a quartet made up of just one person singing the classic ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’. Credit: Connor Going.

yahoo.com

How to easily install iOS 7 beta without an Apple Developer Account (and for free!)

Cannot wait for iOS 7 to drop later in the year? Don’t want to pay $99 for an Apple Developer Account just to try out the beta? These were the questions floating in my head when I heard about the beta previews of iOS 7 being released.

I’ve been using iOS7 beta for a few months now, and wow, it is a huge improvement on iOS 6. The UI, the transitions, the dynamic wallpapers and the slide up Control Center (and a whole lot of other tweaks/additions) are to me, a justification to update to the beta.

Now as it is a beta, there will be bugs, both in apps and with the generally user interface – although the majority have been resolved as of iOS7 beta 3 (and hopefully beta 4 irons out the rest.. maybe?)

With that said, most apps (43 / 50 I have installed) work nicely without any problems, however some either have graphical bugs (such as missing button text labels on Tapatalk), or just crash instantly when opening (such as all PopCap games – bejeweled, Plants Vs Zombies, Peggle etc).

There are also the issues of reported battery drain (my iPhone 5 does seem to eat battery juice ever so slightly more than on iOS6), the phone does randomly reboot – I have experienced this many times, the wallpaper does disappear and replace with a plain black background, and most annoyingly, sometimes when you make a call, you do not hear the other person. That could be a totally different issue as my partners iPhone 4s is pretty much crap (its a refurb from apple) with signal loss etc.

Despite these problems, I still find that this is a must upgrade in my opinion, however if you want an issue free experience, please do wait for the official release.

Anyway, warnings aside, lets get to it.

Pre-requisites 

iOS 7 beta 1 .ipsw file for your chosen device. Needs to be beta 1, not 2 or 3. You can update later to the latest as explained below. I won’t provide links for these, however a quick google search or checking your favourite torrent trackers will bring up links.

Latest version of iTunes  – Download from http://www.apple.com/itunes/

Do a full backup of your phone – to iCloud or to your machine via iTunes. Don’t skip this, DO IT!

Your full attention. Yes, you need to read the steps carefully and follow exactly as written or it wont work.

Step 1

Connect your iPhone to your machine. Duh.

Step 2

Open iTunes (if it hasn’t already opened up automatically)

Step 3

Navigate to your phone in iTunes

1

Step 4

Now on your keyboard, hold Shift (windows users) or Option (osx users) and while still holding the button, click on “Check for Update”. A box will now appear prompting you to search for the update file.

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Step 5

Select your update file, open and let the update process commence.

Step 6

Once updated, you will be brought to the iOS 7 welcome screen. Connect to Wifi. Restore iCloud backup. Done.

Happy days – though if you’re not happy, then you can downgrade back to iOS 6 – but you will need to put your device into DFU mode and click restore in iTunes.

 

How to have unlimited concurrent RDP (Remote Desktop) sessions on Windows XP / Vista / 7 and Server 2003 & 2008 without being logged off

At work, we have XP all-in-one machines that use RDP to connect to a server (running either XP, 7, Server 2003 or Server 2008 to run our bespoke applications. and one of the problems when attempting remote support is that we always ended up logging the XP all-in-one machines out of the remote desktop session. Very frustrating for users who are either new and don’t know the login credentials or are not computer literate.

An article popped up on one of my usual tech sites with a new application, developed by the guys at deepxw.blogspot.com, that can supposedly bypass this by removing the limit on concurrent connected users on Remote Desktop.

Enough of the introduction, lets get straight to the point.

Direct Download link: Click Here

Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP SP2/SP3, Vista SP1/SP2, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 32bit (x86) & 64bit

UniversalTermsrvPatch_v1.0_en

Usage

  1. Download and extract the contents of the zip file to your hard drive.
  2. Run either the x86 or x64 version of the application – it all depends if you are running on Windows 32bit (x86) or Windows 64bit (x64).
  3. Click the Patch button, and wait until it notifies you that it is done.
  4. Close the application and reboot the machine.
  5. Test the patch! Try logging in to your machine via RDP from multiple machines at the same time.

Please Note: Do not run this application if other users are currently logged in, or trying to log in as this will temporarily break remote desktop functionality. You will need to reboot the machine after following the above steps for this to work correctly.  I did this myself by accident, but a reboot did indeed solve this.

 

How to use SQLMap on Windows for finding SQL Injection flaws on your website

As a (sort-of-mediocre) web developer, I find security of the site as #1 priority. However with limited knowledge on the subject, it was near-impossible to look for any sort of  security flaw without scrolling through forums for days.

After hours of googling, I discovered an excellent tool to automatically uncover SQL injection exploits in my website without the requirement of intricate SQL knowledge.

sqlmap is an open source penetration testing tool that automates the process of detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws and taking over of database servers. It comes with a powerful detection engine, many niche features for the ultimate penetration tester and a broad range of switches lasting from database fingerprinting, over data fetching from the database, to accessing the underlying file system and executing commands on the operating system via out-of-band connections

SQLMap is coded in Python programming language and runs natively in Linux operating system, however it should run as nice on Windows machines , however we first need to download and install the Python libraries to the machine for it to run.

Anyway, back to your site, one thing you will need to find are URL’s like this http://yoursite.com/users/user.php?id=3 or http://yoursite.com/gallery/albums.php?aid=532

These parameters (in red) query the database, and if not coded/sanitized correctly, can be vulnerable to sql injection. Users can basically access your database and do things such as access passwords, emails, names etc.

So you’ve found your URL on your site as shown above? Lets see if it is vulnerable to sql injections…..

Step 1 – Download & Install Python 2.7.5

Python 2.7 installed on your Windows machine.

Ensure that version 2.7.5 is installed which can be downloaded from here – http://www.python.org/download/

Choose either the normal Windows installer, or the Windows x86-64 installer.

Run through the install accepting the defaults. If all went well, then all of the Python files should be installed to C:\Python27\

Step 2 – Download SQLMap

SQLMap downloaded on your Windows machine

The latest and greatest version is available on the SQLMap home page – click here – https://github.com/sqlmapproject/sqlmap/zipball/master or here http://sqlmap.org/ (and click download .zip on the left!)

Unzip the .zip and put the folder into the C:\ drive (just for ease of access). The folder may be named something like “sqlmapproject-sqlmap-dbb0d7f” so rename this to something like “sqlmap“. For the purpose of this guide, I will be renaming this folder to “sqlmap“.

Step 3 – Run Command Prompt as Administrator

You can do this multiple ways, but just to explain in a way that everyone can easily do, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories and you will see the Command Prompt icon. BUT WAIT! Don’t just click it!

Ensure that you right-click on the Command Prompt icon and Run As Administrator. Normally, command prompt is set with restrictions meaning certain system tools will not run, so running as administrator enables command prompt to have full access to the system.

Step 4 – Run SQLMap

With the above prerequisites completed, we can now start.

– In the command prompt window, CD into the directory where SQLMap is contained

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– Type in the following: python sqlmap.py -u “http://yoursite.com/users/users.php?id=3 (replace the red with what you have!)

2

– Hit enter and it will start scanning. If you find that you encounter something like this (in grey) then your site IS vulnerable to SQL injections. Uh-oh!

4

– Let SQLMap run through and at the end it will dump all the necessary information into a files (readable in notepad) in the directory where it resides (for example C:\sqlmap\output\yoursite\).

Below are what I got from the above test:

sqlmap identified the following injection points with a total of 63 HTTP(s) requests:

Place: GET
Parameter: id
Type: boolean-based blind
Title: AND boolean-based blind – WHERE or HAVING clause
Payload: id=8 AND 6220=6220

Type: UNION query
Title: MySQL UNION query (NULL) – 17 columns
Payload: id=-6714 UNION ALL SELECT NULL,NULL,CONCAT(0x7178667171,0x73486f79746764616f74,0x717a666671),NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL,NULL#

web application technology: PHP 5.3.19, Apache 2.2.23
back-end DBMS: MySQL >= 5.0.0

Now, if you’re using a wordpress plugin, disable it and remove it immediately as your site can be easily found using google dorks. Notify the author / developer asap!.

If like me you use WordPress, then it’s best to search your plugins in exploit-db.com to see if there are already exposed vulnerabilites!

 

**Note that this is a basic guide. If you’re looking for advanced usage, then I suggest starting at SQLMap.org