Show of 07-12-2014

Tech Talk

July 12, 2014

Email and Forum Questions
  • Email from June in Burke: Dear Doc and Jim. How safe is it to let my browser save my passwords? I let the browser save my passwords both on my home computer and my work computer. Am I vulnerable? Love the show, June.
  • Tech Talk Responds: Letting your web browser save your passwords for you seems like a helpful convenience, particularly when common advice is to use different passwords everywhere. That convenience does come with some risks.
  • Whenever you visit a website and need to login, you’ll be asked (depending on your browser settings) if you’d like to “save” the username/password information to make future logins easier. If you choose to do so, is this username/password information made visible to anyone who has compromised your computer when you access the website in the future? Since the fields are already filled in for you, you don’t actually need to type in anything.
  • The short answer is yes – if you’re not careful, anyone who walks up to your computer can access those websites as you, or perhaps even walk away with a copy of your user names and passwords. I would be concerned about your work computer because you don’t really have complete control of it. You home computer is another matter
  • You would be safer using a utility like LastPass to save website logins and more. But, like the browser equivalent, if used improperly it can result in security issues that aren’t so obvious.
  • Like the browser, LastPass stores your information in a database on your machine. Unlike your browser, however, a master password is required. With last pass, I disable the “remember password” feature in all my browsers. Experience says that while things are getting better, the track record for the security of browser-stored passwords isn’t the best.
  • Email from Mary Ann in Oakton: Dear Tech Talk. I recently travelled to Connecticut and checked email account at the business office of the hotel. The next day, my email account had been hijacked. They changed the signature block, sent incoming mail to trash, and sent out thousands of spam messages asking for money. What should I do? Thanks, Mary Ann
  • Tech Talk Responds: First of all, change the password on your email account. Remove any inbox rules or forwarding rules they may have added. Change your signature block. You password was compromised in the business office. It could be that the browser was set to remember all user names and passwords. In that case, they would have been remembered without even asking. Secondly, there could have been a keystroke logger installed on the machine. The logger would have sent you user name and password to a remote. This is why I tend not to log onto email account using public computers. If I absolute must log on, I make certain to clear the password data before I log off. In the case of IE, go to Tools/Internet Options/General Tab. Click Deleted to remove browser history, cookies, and passwords. Notify your systems administrator of the problem. They may have to deal with sites that will blacklist your email server for excessive spam.
  • Email from Chou in Indiana: Dear Tech Talk, How do I know whether my email server is on spam blacklists? Where can I check? Love the show. Chou
  • Tech Talk Responds: There are over a hundred SPAM blacklists – private corporate spam firewall and private blacklists, but luckily there are a few tools that can help you check most of them quickly. 
  • Most SPAM blacklists track the reputation of the email servers that are being used to send outgoing email for your domain. If your company uses its own servers to send email campaigns, you’ll need to know the IP address of the email servers sending emails for your company. 
  • Several SPAM blacklists monitor the sending reputation of more than just the email server IP address.  They also track senders reputation by sending domain, and /or by DKIM identity, and virtually all blacklists now share reputation information among themselves in near real-time.   
  • There are three types blacklists
    • Public Blacklists.  These are blacklists that are publicly available and can be directly checked.  Several blacklist checking tools are available to quickly scan the top 100 or so publicly visible blacklists 
    • Enterprise SPAM Firewalls.  These are really a subset of the above – the real-time, network-distributed blacklists that ar maintained by SPAM firewalls used primaily by Corporate IT departments. These include Barracuda, Cisco’s Ironport, McAffee and more.
    • Private / ISP Blacklists. Most major ISPs maintain their own internal blacklists.  In some cases you can query them; in others, you can’t. For example, Gmail Hotmail (now and Yahoo maintain their own internal blacklists within their spam filtering technology.  
  • Checking Public Blacklists
  • There are over 120 notable public blacklists. Here are a couple of sites where you can check the public blacklists if you know your servers IP address. 
Profiles in IT: Robin Li
  • Robin Li co-founded the leading Chinese search engine Baidu.
  • Li was born on November 17, 1968 in Yang Quan, a small town southwest of Beijing, China, where he spent most of his childhood.  His parents were factory workers. 
  • Li was admitted by Yangquan First High School and enjoyed computer classes and participated in numerous programming competitions city-wide. 
  • In 1987, Li participated in China’s National Higher Education Entrance Examination and achieved the highest score among all examinees in Yang Quan.
  • He enrolled at Peking University and received a BS in Information Management.
  • In the fall of 1991, Li enrolled the computer science PhD program at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He received an MS  degree in 1994 and dropped the PhD program.
  • In 1994, Li joined IDD Information Services, a division of Dow Jones, where he helped develop a software program for the online edition of The Wall Street Journal.
  • In 1996, while at IDD, Li developed the Rankdex site-scoring algorithm for search engine page ranking. He later used this technology for the Baidu search engine.
  • Around that time two Stanford students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin were experimenting with a similar algorithm they called BackRub and, later, Google.
  • In July 1997, Li became a staff engineer for Infoseek, a search engine company. He published widely read papers and developed the picture search used by
  • In 1999, Li was invited by the Chinese government to return to Beijing for the communist regime’s 50th anniversary. 
  • He saw the potential of China and the Internet and decided to start a company.
  • In 2000, Li and a biochemist friend, Eric Xu, launched Baidu–whose name refers to a “search for one’s dream” in a line from a Song Dynasty poem.
  • They were backed with $1.2M from Integrity Partners and Peninsula Capital.
  • Draper Fisher Jurvetson and IDG Technology Ventures invested another $10m.
  • Li and Xu first sold Baidu’s service as a paid application to China’s Web portals. Despite grabbing the country’s biggest customers, the company wasn’t profitable. 
  • In 2001 Li dropped Baidu’s portal clients and rebooted Baidu as an independent site.
  • Later that year he set aside his CEO role temporarily to take control of the site’s search development, a project called Shan Dian, or “thunder and lightning
  • Li doubled their weekly meetings, often sleeping in the office. Within a year, Baidu was the leading search engine in China. 
  • When Baidu went public in 2005 with $13.4 million in annual revenue, it achieved the biggest first-day jump of the decade on NASDAQ (4X its offering price of $27). 
  • Baidu is the largest Chinese search engine, with over 80% market share by search query, and the second largest independent search engine in the world. 
  • At the time of its IPO, about a quarter of Baidu’s traffic came from its MP3 search for pirated music. They have also profited from by placing questionable ads.
Why Drone Enthusiasts Are Getting Arrested
  • Last fall, a Brooklyn man was arrested after his drone struck two Manhattan skyscrapers and crashed 20 feet away from a pedestrian.
  • In April 2014, an Ohio man was arrested while filming the scene of a car crash because his drone blocked a medical helicopter from landing, police say.
  • In July 2014, two men were arrested in New York City on charges of flying a drone too close to a police helicopter.
  • As drones have gone from military weapons to recreational toys, several hobbyists have found themselves in handcuffs, charged with recklessly flying unmanned vehicles near aircraft or crowds of people. 
  • The Federal Aviation Administration estimates about 7,500 drones will be flying across the sky for commercial use by 2018. The agency plans to issue rules by the end of this year governing the flight of drones weighing less than 55 pounds.
  • In the meantime, the FAA says it advises drone hobbyists to follow the same rules as operators of other model aircraft. 
  • That means no flying higher than 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without special permission. 
  • Last month, the FAS restated its guidelines after what it said were “recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.”
  • In March, a judge dismissed an FAA $10,000 fine against a videographer who was accused of recklessly flying a drone with a camera around the University of Virginia campus, ruling the agency did not have authority over civilian drones.
  • The FAA appealed the judge’s ruling to the National Transportation Safety Board. 
  • Over the past two years, pilots have reported 15 close calls with small drones near airports, according to the Washington Post. 
  • Smaller drones often don’t show up on air traffic controllers’ radar screens or on collision avoidance system installed on planes. 
  • Earlier this year, a drone filming a triathlon in Australia fell from the sky, striking a runner in the head and sending her to the hospital. 
  • Last August, a drone crashed into the stands at Virginia Motorsports Park, causing minor injuries to several spectators.
  • In April, Kele Stanley was flying his drone over a car crash scene in Ohio. Stanley ignored police orders to land his drone to make way for a medical helicopter.
  • He was charged with a felony for obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of misconduct.
Letter to Aereo Customers
  • A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television. 
  • On Wednesday, June 25, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers. 
  • As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email or tweet us @AereoSupport. 
  • The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud. 
  • On behalf of the entire team at Aereo, thank you for the outpouring of support. It has been staggering and we are so grateful for your emails, Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at — our journey is far from done. 
  • Yours truly, Chet Kanojia
Aereo’s New Legal Strategy
  • Aereo lost its case before the U.S. Supreme Court because a majority of the justices said its resemblance to a cable company meant it had violated copyright laws. 
  • Aereo is now arguing that it should be considered a cable company, and granted a license that would allow it to pay licensing fees, and gain access to the broadcast content it had previously been pulling down from the airwaves for free.
  • Aereo’s service allowed users to pay a monthly subscription fee to stream and record local broadcast channels. 
  • The Supreme Court found that Aereo violated copyright law by engaging in a “public performance,” essentially declaring that the company’s operations mirrored those of a cable company. 
  • In a court filing Wednesday, Aereo said it is filing the necessary paperwork to receive its license, to which it is entitled if it is considered a cable company by the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • “If Aereo is a ‘cable system’ as that term is defined in the Copyright Act, it is eligible for a statutory license, and its transmission may not be enjoined (preliminarily or otherwise),” Aereo said in its court filing.
Founder Institute launched in Thailand
  • In November 2013, Silicon Valley based and one of the largest startup accelerators, Founder Institute, has launched its sixth chapter in Bangkok, Thailand
  • The chapter is backed by Effective Measure, an Australian digital media planning solutions and online measurement provider. 
  • Effective Measure will provide free access to Brand and Audience digital measurement and analytics solution to Founder Institute. 
  • The partnership is not limited to Bangkok, but extends to Singapore and Malaysia too in Southeast Asia.
  • The Bangkok chapter is led by three key operators in the Thai startup ecosystem: Krating Poonpol, Benjamin Ranck, and Charle Charoenphan.
  • Krating Poonpol is a former Googler and founder of Disrupt University.
  • Charoenphan, who is the Co-Director of the Founder Institute, Thailand and also the Founder & Managing Director of HUBBA, Thailand’s first co-working community for startups.
  • Benjamin Ranck is CTO and Thailand Country Manager of Jetabroad, a global online travel agency. 
  • The Founder Institute will play a vital role at the earliest stage of company development, in order to prepare founders to build enduring companies, using Silicon Valley best practices.
Website of the Week: Disrupt University
  • Disrupt University is the hub for progressive Thai innovators that will help prepare them to stay ahead of the curve and be a successful part of this revolution. 
  • They equip our students with cutting-edge tactics adapted directly from Silicon Valley — the world’s capital of technology and innovation.
  • This program combines frameworks from top idea accelerators in Silicon Valley, classes taught at Stanford University, and the practical knowledge and tools used by start up communities and tech companies in Silicon Valley. 
  • Classes at Disrupt University will cover a wide range of topics with a focus on the following important areas: Lean Startup, Business Model Innovation, Design  Thinking, Pitch Perfect, Venture Capital Fundraising, Idea Networking.
  • The theme of the instruction: Dream, Design, Disrupt
  • The University offers a five day crash course in entrepreneurship. Classes are held over four successive weekends.
  • Krating Poonpol, Dean, Founder and Instructor. He was was previously Global Lead Marketing Manager of Google Earth/Moon/Mars at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. He left Google, raised 1.1 million USD from angel investors.
  • Website: