Choosing a new laptop

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 02:41 pm

My main workhorse is an eMachines eM250 10.1? netbook. All my email, calendar and important software works via the cloud so I can use any machine with a web-browser. I learned that lesson in the Great London Laptop Crash of 2008.

However there are some items I use local storage for:

  • genealogy research
  • music, video, podcasts and other media
  • ebooks, PDF?s, and reference material
  • film and TV project producer files (budgets, head shots, contracts)
  • software development and scripting (especially for iPad apps)
  • GPG signing and encryption keys

Maybe the NBN will give me the speed to store all that stuff on the cloud, but for now it is a lot of data that represents a significant part of my work and home life.

I?ve advocated using cheap, easily?replaceable?devices for most common business and personal needs. Avoiding Windows has reduced at least 80% of my malware risk and 95% of my support requirements.

I abandoned podcasts two-and-a-half years ago after I moved to Ubuntu. Podcast catching and portability is one of the areas where seamless integration across multiple OS?s does not yet exist. I can re-subscribe and re-download (where available) the podcasts I enjoyed. But I never got around to it. Plus I no longer had a daily 90-120 minute round-trip commute to listen to them.

Now my eMachine eM-250 is showing it?s age. It?s been dropped and abused, the left arrow key now longer works, the Alt+Tab combination is not reliable, the battery lasts about 50 minutes and the power cord connector is so loose it only charges about half the time.

I also need to move my iPad app development environment to newer hardware than the 2007 Mac Mini I?m currently using. So I see three choices

  1. replace my netbook with a new $300 netbook and buy a new or refurbed mac mini
  2. buy a refurbished 13? Macbook for about $600-$700
  3. buy a new Macbook Air for $1099

Apple is announcing the iPhone next week, hopefully they?ll refresh the Air range at the same time in which case I may just buy the Air. If they don?t refresh the range, I?m reluctant to start lugging around another 13? laptop so option 2 is not ideal. Let?s see what happens next week.

Enable iCloud for old Unsupported Apple ID

iPhone iCloud error by Paul Zagoridis

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 02:42 pm

iPhone iCloud error by Paul Zagoridis
iPhone iCloud error by Paul Zagoridis

I have had an Apple ID that predated iTunes. It wasn?t in the form of an email address, it was just ?funpaul?.

Now that I have an iPhone 4S and am developing apps for ?iOS I thought I should start using iCloud. But I was getting this error

Unsupported Apple ID:
iCloud requires an Apple ID that is an email address (including @me.com addresses).

Unfortunately the Learn More button is worse than useless

After searching for way too long searching for the solution, I discovered that I had to change my Apple ID into an email address style Apple ID, but I?d been buying stuff from the AppStore and iTunes with just the original ID for years. My kids knew it and have spent hundreds of dollars using it over the years.

How to change the name you use for your Apple ID:

  1. log in to My Apple ID?by selecting Manage your account
  2. Check that your primary email address listed is still current (i.e. it still works)
  3. click the Edit button next to your old-fashioned Apple ID
  4. ?Click the Submit under?Make your Apple ID and primary email address one and the same
  5. Viola you?ve updated your Apple ID.

Warning this is a one way trip, you lose your ability to log in with your old Apple ID on iTunes, App Store and other Apple properties. But that?s the cost of progress, it is unlikely that old non-email format ID?s will remain useful as the Apple ecosystem grows.

Hope it helps, say thanks in the comments below.

StalkTrak the new twitter scam

StalkTrak phishing scam website

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 02:35 am

StalkTrak phishing scam website
Do not trust this app or page

Currently there is a twitter DM (Direct Message) telling you to ?Find out who?s stalking your twitter?. It?s a scam to steal your twitter id and password.

If you?ve authorized StalkTrak to use your twitter account, you?re a victim of a scam. Your twitter password and user name has been stolen. Change your twitter password immediately.

Just like I warned in How to Avoid Twitter Phishing Scams, this scam is designed to fool users on mobile devices like smart phones. The site looks at first glance to be twitter, but it is spelled t-v-v-i-t-i-l-e-r, relying on our brain?s ability to read and ignore misspelled words.

That?s a screenshot on the right.

Note that the domain name, DM phrase and application name will change as this attack matures. I?ll update this entry with new domains, application names and phrases as I see them.

P.S. I know Stalktrak is an old scam, but it has raised it?s ugly head again with new domains and phrases.

Domain name dispute scam

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 03:29 am

I received this email ? up front warning it?s a scam:

(If you are not in charge of this please transfer this email to your President or appropriate person, thanks)
Dear President,
We are the department of Asian Domain registration service in china, have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on?April 18,?2012. One company which self-styled ?Daess Investment, Inc? were applying to register ?zagz? as Network Brand and following domain names:

zagz.asia
zagz.cn
zagz.com.cn
zagz.com.tw
zagz.hk
zagz.in
zagz.net.cn
zagz.org.cn
zagz.tw
After our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company?s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we will finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we will handle this issue better. Out of the time limit we will unconditionally finish the registration for ?Daess Investment, Inc?.

Best Regards,

Sam Yang

Registration Dept.
Tel:?+862885915586??||? Fax:?+862885912116
Address:8/F XiYu building No,52 JinDun Road,QingYang District,Chengdu City,China.

I didn?t think people would fall for this, but then a client sent me a similar email asking that I action it on their behalf.

The fake registration warning it trying to scare you into paying inflated registration fees to register your brand domain in a bunch of foreign top level domains. Now if you have the budget, reach and vision for that kind of world domination, by all means register them all ? just don?t do it with this spamming scammer.

Professional Twitter Tools get TweetAdder

tweetadder 3.0

Last updated on August 21st, 2015 at 02:03 pm

TweetAdder Services are no longer available. ?Twitter has permanently banned their?API without explanation nor response.

I once used a series of scripts?to manage various twitter accounts and campaigns on behalf of clients.

I now use?TweetAdder?exclusively (affiliate link).

This is professional software that costs money (currently starts at $55) ?but you can try the demo first. If runs on your local machine (Mac, PC or Linux).

Why would I pay for professional twitter automation software like TweetAdder, especially if I had tools that did it for free? Because it saves me time and money. The?TweetAdder developers maintain it whenever Twitter makes a change. That means my down time is the shortest possible. One of my key old scripts stopped working for 4 weeks until I had a chance to debug it. That doesn?t happen with professional software.

Many of the features of TweetAdder don?t get used. I didn?t use some of the advanced search functionality. But when I had a brainwave to target Romanian speakers, for example, then I can quickly put a campaign together. In the past I?d need to customize an existing script.

Anyone who has a professional or serious need for twitter can justify TweetAdder at about $1 a week over 12 months.

My main twitter account @PaulZag has around 4000 followers. I hit the APIlimits regularly on that account. I?ve managed accounts with 20,000 followers and the API limits become a major pain in trying to scale a campaign. Tweet Adder avoids all that drama.

It?s feature-packed:

  • Automated Follows
  • Automated unfollow (with a whitelist to protect your must follow friends)
  • History of follows and unfollows
  • Automated tweets (as well as RSS and @reply feeds)
  • Twitter list integration
  • Find people to follow
  • Follow a users followers
  • Random time delay for all actions
  • Many, many, many more features.

How to Avoid Twitter phishing scams

Last updated on July 6th, 2015 at 02:36 am

If you receive a DM on twitter ?This made me laugh so hard when i saw this about you lol? it?s a phishing scam to get your twitter login details. Your account will then send that or similar DM?s on to your friends. Don?t fall for this email hoax and login to twitter via the link, it?s a fake site.

Why are so many of my twitter friends caught out by this scam? The scam is most effective against users on mobile devices like smart-phones. It?s hard to read the misspelled URL that looks like twitter?s.

As this attack matures, the exact phrase used will change. The way to be safe on a mobile device is

  1. use the twitter client for your device or a well known 3rd party client (like TweetDeck).
  2. login on that client only not the device?s browser.
  3. don?t trust a DM from a contact that does not have context (see below)
  4. if you click on a shorted URL link that takes you to something that looks like twitter do not login ? use your dedicated client program instead.

What is context? If you ask a friend to send you a picture and they reply with a URL, that is expected behaviour. If you didn?t ask for it and didn?t party at the Playboy Mansion with them last night, they don?t have a LOL photo of you. Assume they?ve been compromised and move on.

?Compromised? is very cloak and dagger but it?s also smart. At a time when the bad guys are selling compromised accounts and PC?s by the thousands, your login credentials are a commodity worth a fraction of a cent (e.g. 40EUR per 100,000 email addresses last night). So act like a secret agent and assume the worst, you?ll live longer.

The clever social engineering trick that?s hard to resist, what if something bad is?really?being said about us?

Other phrases I?ve seen so far (I updated this list 6 January 2013):

  • Did you see this pic of you? lol
  • Early TWITTER INVESTORS got FILTHY RICH! How YOU CAN GET RICH with the NEXT TWITTER Growth Story Now
  • FYI this profile on twitter (URL) is spreading nasty blogs around about you
  • damn this person is making updates with retarded things that involve you
  • HAHA omg you have to see this?IM dying from laughing so hard?
  • lol wat r you doing n this video
  • u didn?t see them tapping u
  • hey this user is making up cruel things that are about you
  • hey this person is making up cruel things that are about you
  • hey someone is writing shocking posts that are about you
  • Hi this user is posting really bad things about you
  • See who is Stalking your Twitter!?(this is the?StalkTrak scam)
  • Find out who?s stalking your twitter
  • Hello some person is posting very bad rumors about you?
  • LOL?i am laughing so hard at this pic of me my friend found
  • Hello this user is making nasty things about you?
  • did you see this crazy tweet about you?
  • Hey some person is making terrible things about you?
  • Hello somebody is making nasty things about you?
  • Hi someone is posting very bad rumors about you?
  • Someone is saying some real horrible things about you, seen this?
  • Seen this really?nasty?rumor/blog about you?
  • There is a rumor/blog going around about you might want to read it
  • Rumor has it there is some bad things about you
  • I saw a real bad blog about you, you seen this?
  • Found a funny picture of you!
  • I cannot believe what this person is saying about you! it?s pretty nasty stuff
  • You seen what this person is saying about you? terrible things..
  • Hey?you seen this yet? some horrible rumors about you going around online?
  • i cant believe this but there are some real nasty things being said about you here
  • Hey, so some real?nasty?things are being said about you here i cant believe what was said..

If you want more information on keeping safe online, I also recommend this great ebook Cyber Scams ? a visual guide to 25 of the biggest Internet scams.

If you?ve already been scammed do the following

  1. Change your password at?https://twitter.com/settings/password
  2. Revoke permission from any unknown applications at?https://twitter.com/settings/applications