Thursday, September 25, 2014

BlackBerry Smartphone - First Look

Turning on a new unlocked BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, the messaging hub is impressive.  The hardware and phone software work together smoothly, and multitasking works allowing apps to continue to run when another app is started.  The built-in security and device encryption is appreciated.  Granular controls of app access to the device (files, contacts, camera, etc.) is a huge improvement over iPhone/Android and was one of the features which attracted me to the BlackBerry.  Speaker sound is surprisingly good.  For a model two years old, the camera is OK.

I'm not missing the junk apps that were installed on other phones.  There is no need for developers to create hundreds of flashlight apps, as a flashlight is built in.  Beyond the BlackBerry World app showcase, Amazon's appstore is available by using the Browser to go to and clicking the prominent download button.  Must-haves such as PasswdSafe, Opera web browser, and Pandora music are there.

The BlackBerry hub, which integrates email, SMS, phone logs, multiple email accounts, and even what is playing on Pandora is simply fantastic.  Contacts can be selected for prioritization in the hub, and it shows actions/contacts by day and time.  On the case there is a red indicator which flashes upon a new contact - much like old-style office phones with a flashing light for voicemail, this flashes (without having to look at the screen display).

Excited to have BlackBerry Blend available on this device soon.  It was recently released for the new BlackBerry Passport, to rave reviews.  Access everything from other devices, without a security-prone hackfest.  Wow!
From the manufacturer website, " you can download for your computer and tablet that seamlessly brings messaging and content that’s on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet."

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Shockwave Vulnerabilities

I read this post on Krebs on Security, about how Adobe is not keeping Shockwave patched to prevent recent exploits.  The post encourages us to ask why Shockwave is needed on MS Windows.

I uninstalled Shockwave a couple weeks ago, and haven't noticed any incompatibilities.  Software minimization is a principle of secure systems, so removing unneeded software is a good move toward more secure systems.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Add-on For Website Risk Rating

Netcraft has a useful web browser add-on, which includes analysis for the Heartbleed SSL exposure.  Download the add-on for Opera or Firefox or Chrome.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mobile Phone Notes: Android, ATT, Verizon

A couple privacy apps to consider are PasswdSafe (password manager) and textSecure (encrypted SMS texting).
textSecure will achieve wider adoption when it has a message indicator flag on the icon, like the standard messaging apps.  textSecure is open source and hosted on github.

When using textSecure on ATT, the MMS settings page should work without further configurations.
When using textSecure on Verizon, the MMS settings page will need the following configuration:
  • MMSC
  • MMS Port 80
  • MCC 310
  • MNC 012

When prioritizing ATT's 3G Microcell network traffic, prioritize the following ports for both inbound and outbound:
  • 123/UDP: NTP timing (NTP traffic)
  • 443/TCP: Https over TLS/SSL for provisioning and management traffic
  • 4500/UDP: IPSec NAT Traversal (for all signaling, data, voice traffic). 
    After NAT detection, 4500/UDP is used
  • 500/UDP: IPSec Phase 1 prior to NAT detection (after NAT detection, 4500/UDP is used)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Set "Date Taken" As Default Sort Order

Running MS Windows 8.1 Pro, I prefer to have folders containing camera pictures to sort by "Date taken".  When I created new folders for my pictures, I had to manually add the column and sort option.  While this was easy, it cried out for automation.

How to set "Date taken" as default sort order for new picture folders in MS Windows 8:
  1. Open File Explorer
  2. On the left side, look for Desktop and Libraries.  Go to the Libraries folder.
  3. Go the the Pictures folder.  File explorer title bar should now show: Libraries\Pictures
  4. Right click and set your column and sorting preferences.

  5. Other folders inside this folder will inherit the same preferences. 

Note: If you change the folder settings, those new settings will dynamically be applied to child folders.