Tuesday, 08 February 2005

Ummm - WOW...

Google does it again, and takes online mapping and driving directions to the next level. You have to try this - if nothing else it just looks cool. On top of that, it works very well. Animated maps and excellent, clean detail are real eye-openers. Google has a tour to get you acquainted here.

"Maps are great for getting around, but online maps could be a lot better. So Google decided to make dynamic, interactive maps that are draggable — no clicking and waiting for graphics to reload each time you want to view the adjacent parts of a map. Want to be able to type in the name of a region or neighborhood and see any part of it as easily as with a regular street map? Now you can with Google Maps."

Enter an address, hit enter, and voila:


Need directions to a location? Click the live links in the map, and enter a starting address:


Driving directions are fast and in my test (home to office), quite accurate:


Click on mapped items to automatically reorient the map image (animated) and zoom in on the mapped item:


The slider for zoom detail is very nice - much better than others out there - and there are no browser refreshes happening here. No time to look into exactly how this works right now, but it definitely does.

Check it out.

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Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 08 February 2005 07:27:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 07 February 2005

TakeQuizDid you know that only 11% of identity theft takes place online? You're much more likely to have your identity stolen or discovered on paper, and chances are the bad guy (or gal) will be someone you know...

"The 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report shows that despite growing fears about identity theft and online fraud, of the victims that know the identity and method used by the criminal, these crimes are more frequently committed offline than online. Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought.

"Further, the study concludes that those who access accounts online can provide earlier detection of crime than those who rely only upon mailed monthly paper statements."

Those of us who work in the field have known this for some time. And those of us who do our banking and other important transactions online also know we'll notice if something gets out of the ordinary, and we won't have to wait for a paper statement or a bounced check to tip us off.

How safe are you? Take the quiz. If there's anything you should be aware of in this day and age, it's how to protect your personal information.

Here's my results:

Your Score is 10
Please note that a perfect score is 0 and the worst possible score is 100; a typical score is 38.

How did you score?

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IT Security | Random Stuff
Monday, 07 February 2005 22:47:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Monday, 07 February 2005 20:42:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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F-Secure has published a RSS feed where you can get listings of all newly-discovered viruses (see HTML list here). People responsible for knowing what's new and changing will likely want to subscribe. This is one great way to get an ongoing education, not to mention a useful reference for daily AV routines:

"We've received some questions on whether it would be possible to receive the list of our new virus descriptions as an RSS feed.

"Well, turns out we've had this available for quite some time already, but I guess we've never really officially announced it.

"So: our new virus descriptions are available as an RSS feed here: "

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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 07 February 2005 19:58:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 06 February 2005

Word is out that Half-Life 2, that cool sequel to the biggest PC game things ever, will be released on a new arcade game platform soon in Japan, to be followed by a release worldwide.

From MegaGames via Tim:

Half-Life 2 is about to make the move to arcades all over Japan by the summer of 2005, with the rest of the world expected to join-in soon after. According to Taito, its Type-X arcade board will be able to support the game while it will also offer a variety of features not seen before in arcade games.

The Type-X board is based on a PC setup, running a version of Windows, so H-L 2 will not have to travel far to get to it, especially since the arcade version will be very similar to the PC version being released in a couple of weeks time. One of the selling points of the arcade Half-Life 2 will be the introduction of the online multiplayer modes.
According to Taito, gamers will be able to connect to and challenge other gamers playing the same game across Japan. Two online modes will be available, the confrontational Battle mode and the co=operative Mission mode. Online play will be made possible due to Taito's Net Entry System (NETSYS)which will also feature in arcade games such as Battle Gear 3 and Zoid Infinity. One of the advantages of NETSYS is its ability to store data at server level, enabling gamers to recall their profile from any connected arcade machine.

Taito has big plans for the arcade version of H-L 2, plans which include online play, a game booth offering 5.1 sound and its introduction to arcades all over the world. Details of the control set-up or of the exact dates the machines will appear in Japan and all over the world, have not yet been released.

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Sunday, 06 February 2005 21:12:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 04 February 2005

A year ago, I posted a blog entry about a family that had just named their child "John Blake Kusak 2.0."

Now, one year later, weird headlines tells the tale of another family and their just-turned-one-year-old son, "Jake Matthew Thompson Two Point Zero." Apparently some companies are having a hard time getting the kid's name right. Go figure.

Argh. Something scary when parents call their kids "upgrades."

Someone check in with these kids when they turn 18, and see how well/badly things turned out.

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Friday, 04 February 2005 10:26:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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