Monday, March 9, 2015

Net Neutrality is Not a Partisan Issue

Net neutrality is not a partisan issue. Since the Internet was built it’s been based on a few basic principles: like the idea that everyone’s data should move at the same speed, and no government or corporation should interfere or decide what you can see and do online.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Will Drones Revolutionize Agriculture?

Drones are big right now.  We are seeing them everywhere, and even in some places where they shouldn’t be.  However, I think one application is being overlooked for the most part by the tech community – agriculture.

UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Sysytems) have the potential to revolutionize how we look at and maintain crops, facilities, and even applications like herding animals.  Their ability to carry payloads like cameras, utilize GPS data, and their autonomy make them a technology that will have many agricultural applications.  Right now FAA regulations need to catch up, but I look forward to a day when can see the full benefit of this technology.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Unleashing Pandora: Why the Sony Hack is Important

In 2010 we heard about the StuxNet virus and how it was designed to specifically target nuclear facilities in Iran.  The programming was a work of genius both in how the virus functioned, but also how it was spread.  The computers it was meant to target were not connected to the internet.  For security purposes, they were a stand-alone system.  Therefore, the virus was designed to jump the “air gap” via USB flash drives.  The Sony hack was different.  It didn’t use sophisticated, targeted code developed by the NSA.  It mainly relied on simple spear phishing and social engineering.  That’s what makes this attack so scary – it was done with really simple tools, but the results were very destructive.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Pebble Smartwatch

Remember Dick Tracy?  When I was little, the comic strip was still a fixture in the newspaper, and in 1990 Warren Beatty brought the strip to life in a star-studded film with Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Madonna.  Of course, the one thing every kid wanted was Dick Tracy’s watch.  It was so cool!  Last November I got a Pebble smartwatch – the real Dick Tracy watch!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

pfSense Makes Sense

This past summer at Bob’s HQ our existing firewall/gateway router was starting to show its age.  Over the past few years our network has basically doubled in size.  We were using a gateway router designed for home use; it just wasn’t getting the job done.  I needed a solution.

I started looking at “business grade” routers, but they were overpriced and full of bells and whistles we didn’t need (I’m looking at you Cisco).  While trolling /r/networking on Reddit for a solution I came across pfSense.  It is an open source and built on FreeBSD specifically tailored for use as a firewall and router that is entirely managed via web interface. In addition to being a powerful, flexible firewalling and routing platform, it includes a long list of related features and a package system allowing further expandability without adding bloat and potential security vulnerabilities to the base distribution.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Growl Alerts for Windows

Growl alerts are something that I take for granted on a daily basis.  The API itself is something that was originally designed for Mac OS; however, there is a version of Growl made for Windows.  So… what exactly is Growl used for?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Set Up a Help Desk for Your Network

When I started at Bob’s the extent of our help desk ticket system was Post-It notes that would magically appear on my monitor while I was away from my desk.  This system wasn’t the greatest.  I could misplace Post-It notes, not know who they came from, and I also had a hard time keeping track of bigger projects.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Easy and Free Invoicing

I have been searching over the past few months for an invoicing system that is mobile and easy to use.  At Bob’s we use an old Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) installation to issue invoices to walk-in wholesale customers buying finished product and surplus plugs.  This software is designed to be a full POS system so it is kind of like using a sledge hammer to swat a fly.  Also, it is old and clunky.