PC Gamers: Quake Live Beta is on…

id Software’s long running project, QuakeLive (once, Quake Zero) has officially entered beta stage. There have already been tournaments held using the software and they believe it has already passed the first few tests. But now it’s officially time to enter beta stage, and you can still try to enter by visiting the official website. Those selected to participate will receive a link and a key to play the game.

Quake Live was originally billed as a browser based “Quake III” style game. I have been invited to the beta but haven’t checked it out yet. I will try to post some kind of follow up later this week.

Apple Recall

It’s in every other blog in the country, why not mine?

With the Dell Recall (issued nearly half a year ago) making headlines the past few weeks, and today’s “2nd largest electronics recall in American History” issued by Apple, people are wondering what the problem is.

Exploding batteries, however, are not new. Back in 2004, you my recall (no pun intended) the Kyocera recall, after SE-44 and 47 Slider phones would explode in people’s pants! In fact, yours truly discarded his slider after a room mate noticed that, while charging, the phone sounded like “rice krispies.”

But if you’re interested in following all of the news related to the Apple Recall, read up.

Peace on ya,
-G

MySpace is Under Attack!

My space is constantly under attack. I mean, if I were a malicious spy-ware developer who was out to infect the maximum number of click-happy eager young fools, there’s only one place for me! Now that I’ve picked my mark, MySpace, how do I go about infecting all of them?

MSNBC is carrying a pretty good article that tells you what’s going on, and just why you and all of your friends complain about their computers being “slower than they were when they bought it.” Banner ads that you don’t even have to click on before they infect you with something else.

The games you play, videos you watch, songs you hear, and funny little ‘refrigerator magnet’ message boards you interact with are all potential threats to your safety and your sanity. If they’re not using the backdoors they install on your computer to spy on you, they’re giving you all of the popups you can stand (and more that you can’t). And if there’s something on your computer that can do that, someone else can take advantage of that ‘backdoor’ and use it to their own end. You are not safe, and that’s all there is to it.

But hey, as long as you can check out that blonde chick’s rack, I’m sure you’re happy.

Peace on ya,
-G

Phishing Goes White Collar

I was reading up on some posts from over at the ISC and I came upon an interesting read. A visitor to their site wrote in and had a pretty surprising phishing scam to tell about. Now, I don’t know that this will impact many of my readers (we’re all poor, here, right?) – but if you’ve ever rented a home to stay at for a summer vacation or similar trip, this may deserve your attention. I’ve also got a story, beneath that, of my recent personal experience dealing with a defenseless family.

The reader wrote in that they were an employee of one such rental firm, that rented out nearly 600 properties – what he experienced, was a client of his writing in and bringing something to his attention. The problem appeared to be a normal renting site, which had a Photo Shopped ‘dream vacation home’ for rent. The contact information was scarce, just a single Yahoo! Mail address. Doesn’t seem very trustworthy to me.

Upon contacting this Yahoo! address, the experienced renter received a reply which told him that the property was in demand, and urged him to quickly send some form of payment, and then his keys would be mailed out. That was it. Cut and dry. “Send me money, and I’ll send you keys.” If you really think this is how business works, you’d best be checking your credit reports right now. Even eBay has at least a few checks and balances in place to try to avoid you getting ripped off.

Last week, at work, I came across a family of distraught computer users. Odd, I thought, I’m always cheery when I’m around a computer (sure). They were using public access computers because they were away from home, on vacation – being as such, they were confused about the state of things with regards to their eBay account. They relieved an email “from eBay” saying their account as in danger… at least, that’s what they thought. Trouble was, the email was in Spanish. But it provided them a link and a log in! So they figured that if they just logged in to their eBay account, they could read the message on the site. But after the log in, they just kept getting error messages saying it couldn’t process their login.

My jaw about hit the floor. This phishing stuff really does work, doesn’t it? IE7, and similar browsers, are going to change the world – with their automatic phishing detection schemes. It’ll be a good thing, too. People are going to need it.

Needless to say, I immediately tried to help the family log in to their eBay account – but their password had been changed. I didn’t ask if they had a PayPal account, and I pray that if they did, their passwords weren’t the same, but I worried it might be. The biggest fright of all was that this family was SELLING THEIR HOUSE on eBay at the time they got locked out. The phisher could just finish the transaction, bank the money, and vanish.

The devastating size of this matter shook me to my most human core. All this was going on to this poor vacationing family in my town with a population under 15,000. I told them to call their bank immediately and talk to the fraud department.

If you get an email, even if you think it’s 100% legitimate, that contains a link to the site they want you to log in at, I encourage you to open a separate web browser and type the address yourself, and log in from that site’s homepage. Always know what site you’re at – and for heaven’s sake, if it’s in a language you don’t know – don’t give it your password! For all you know it could flat out say “I’m going to take this and you will have your first identity theft experience later this month” – and you would be none the wiser. Always know what you’re signing in to, just as you should always read contracts you sign. And never, ever just ‘send money’ without something else in place – use an escrow if you have to.

Peace on ya,
-G