Archive for September, 2007

E-mail Scam using Bank of America

September 16, 2007 2 comments

Bank Of America Security Team
date Sep 16, 2007 9:38 PM
subject *** Bank Of America Important Notice ***

We recently have determined that different computers have logged onto your Online Banking account, and multiple password failures were present before the logons. We now need you to re-confirm your account information to us.

If this is not completed by September 18, 2007, we will be forced to suspend your account indefinitely, as it may have been used for fraudulent purposes.

We thank you for your cooperation in this manner.To confirm your Online Banking records click on the following link:

Thank you for your patience in this matter.Bank of America Customer Service

Please do not reply to this e-mail as this is only a notification. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

Cool! I didn’t even know I have a Bank of America account! Learnt something new today!

“Woohoo, we’re rich!”

This is, of course, a scam trying to get me to enter my (nonexistent) Bank of America account login information.


Plus, even if I did have an account there, I can’t imagine having any money on it at all.

Regardless, there’s absolutely no way this can be real, based on the fact that:

  1. Organizations worth their salt would never tell you to do this, ever.
  2. And even if they did, then certainly not using some crappy IP domained ( website, through a non SSL encrypted (http://) connection.
  3. Nor use a totally inappropriate e-mail address like when you’re the Bank of America.

Here are some rules to live by…
Read more…

Categories: IT Security

Back up your (WordPress) stuff

September 16, 2007 Leave a comment

I’ve talked about backing up stuff before in my blog post Computer Maintenance 101. In light of the recent issues with WP regarding disappearing and/or not working links and/or headers and other stuff, it might be a good idea to put that idea in practice.

“Shamelessly promoting your own articles again, aren’t you? Truly unsightly.”

Hehe, well, it’s all about sharing the wisdom!
Read more…

Categories: IT Security

Fixing Track Duration Length of MP3 – foobar2000

September 15, 2007 8 comments

I’ve been using foobar2000 (foobar2k) as my default music player (mp3’s, FLAC and other type of audio formats that I have). I’m not going to discuss the details of those audio files. If you want more information about them, just Google FLAC vs MP3 or something.

However, I will tell you that foobar2k is a great piece of free software: it can play lots of audio files, it has a high level of modification. For example: you can change the looks and stuff in any way you want. I personally haven’t played around with it yet, but I’ve seen some great custom skins and some nice tutorials on that subject.

Anyway, I had a bunch of mp3’s that didn’t show the correct duration track length, because I was messing around with it (editing and stuff like that). Anyhow, turns out foobar2000 has an option to fix that for you.
Read more…

Categories: Software

Ruby Math Game

September 11, 2007 Leave a comment

Created this Ruby program some time ago while I was trying to learn the language. Always wanted to create one of these math games. The game is, of course, very basic, but I thought I’d share. No harm done, right?

So here it is.

Simple math game to practice addition, subtraction and multiplication.

#Ask how many times it's going to be run
print("Welcome to this basic math program!")
print("\nFirst of all, what type of problems would you like to receive? \n1 = Addition\n2 = Subtraction\n3 = Multiplication\n4 = Random\n")
choice = gets.to_i #gets returns a String. Ruby never autoconverts to Integer, so to_i does that.
firstchoice = choice #necessary to have the random choice carried out properly

print("And how many problems do you wish to receive? ")
rounds = gets.to_i #gets returns a String. Ruby never autoconverts to Integer, so to_i does that.

#Defining the values to be factored into the questions
addminusmax = 50 #The max number of add and minus calcs
factormax = 12 #The max number of factor
try = nil

while rounds > 0
  #Defining and resetting variables
  if firstchoice == 4 #if the choice is 4, from now on, keep looping the random numbers for each round
   choice = 1 + rand(3) #the 1 + thing makes it a random draw from 1 to 3 instead of 0 to 3
  ctries = 0 #default try count
  aaddminus = rand(addminusmax)
  baddminus = rand(addminusmax)
  cfactormax = 1 + rand(factormax)
  dfactormax = 1 + rand(factormax)
  #Asking the questions
  if choice == 1
    result = aaddminus + baddminus
    puts "What is the result of #{aaddminus} + #{baddminus}?"
  elsif choice == 2
    result = aaddminus - baddminus
    puts "What is the result of #{aaddminus} - #{baddminus}?"
  elsif choice == 3
    result = cfactormax * dfactormax
    puts "What is the result of #{cfactormax} * #{dfactormax}?"
  #This section is to check the answers
  while try != result    
    try = gets.to_i  #gets returns a String. Ruby never autoconverts to Integer, so to_i does that.      
    if (try < result)
      puts "Incorrect. Try again! Hint: it's bigger..."  
    elsif (try > result)
      puts "Incorect. Try again! Hint: it's smaller..."
    if try == result #if answer is correct
      if ctries > 1 #formulate the right answer
        print "Answer #{result} is correct! And you did it in #{ctries} tries!\n\n"
      else print "Answer #{result} is correct! And you did it in just #{ctries} try!\n\n"
  rounds -= 1
Categories: Programming

Briefly on Open Access and Commercial Scholarly Publishers

September 9, 2007 Leave a comment

Open Access (OA) is free, immediate, permanent online access to the full text of research articles for anyone, webwide.

Working definitions for Gold OA (journal publishing) and Green OA (self archiving)

  1. the “golden road” of OA journal-publishing, where journals provide OA to their articles (either by charging the author-institution for refereeing/publishing outgoing articles instead of charging the user-institution for accessing incoming articles, or by simply making their online edition free for all);
  2. the “green road” of OA self-archiving, where authors provide OA to their own published articles, by making their own eprints free for all.

Source: What is Open Access?

The OA movement, where Stevan Harnad is one of the leading voices, reasons for Open Access as follows:

  1. Authors hand their articles over to journals for free; journals do not pay them, they are funded by government research grants and/or by salaries from their employers (mostly universities).
  2. Journals get peer reviews on those articles for free: The peers’ reviewing work and time are funded by salaries from their employers (mostly universities).
  3. Publisher revenues come mostly from selling subscriptions to these institutions that submit these articles and peer reviews for free in the first place.
  4. If institutional costs are ever canceled, the funding for peer reviews by publishers will be taken over by the institutions themselves. All access and archiving would then be provided by the network of institutional OA repositories instead of the publisher, who would only provide the peer review. This is called “OA publishing” or “Gold OA.”

Source: Open Access Archivangelism by Stevan Harnad

Six things that researchers need to know about open access
SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #94 (in short, go to site for a more elaborate explanation!)

(1) What OA journals exist in your field?
Go to the Directory of open access journals (DOAJ) and browse by discipline.

(2) OA journals are not the whole story of OA. There are also OA archives or repositories.
The best places to look for OA repositories are the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories).

(3) OA archiving only takes a few minutes.

(4) Most non-OA journals allow authors to deposit their postprints in an OA repository.

(5) Journals using the Ingelfinger Rule are a shrinking minority.

Some authors are afraid that depositing a preprint in an OA repository will disqualify it for subsequent publication. It’s true that some journals refuse to publish papers that have previously circulated as preprints or whose results have been publicized. This is called the Ingelfinger Rule, named after a former editor at the New England Journal of Medicine. The rule is rare outside the field of medicine and in decline.

(6) OA enlarges your audience and citation impact.

This is the chief reason for authors to provide OA to their own work. OA increases the audience for a work far beyond the audience of any priced journal, even the most prestigious or popular journal. Studies in many fields show a correlation between OA and citation-count increases from 50% to 250%.

Additional Information
‘Only 5% of journals are gold, but over 90% are already green (i.e., they have given their authors the green light to self-archive); yet only about 10-20% of articles have been self-archived. To reach 100% OA, self-archiving needs to be mandated by researchers’ employers and funders, as the United Kingdom and the United States have recently recommended, and universities need to implement that mandate.’ (Harnad et al. 2004)

Journals, while serving the all important tasks of mediating the peer review process as objectively as possible and thus becoming a credible quality filter and thus a credible quality indicator of scientific literature, are not as efficient (nor really “fair”, depending on how one would look at it, given the “free labor” of authors and peer reviewers perspective) enough in terms of making said scientific literature accessible due to their commercial nature. In response, the OA movement is trying to improve the scientific literature accessibility by pushing mandates that give authors the right to immediately deposit their, for publication accepted, papers in their institutional repositories. Which will then use certain protocols, such as the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting to make them searchable in search engines, and therefore making them widely accessible while efficiently storing them (no dupes etc, simply using standardized protocols to link to their repositories and such).

While a common (mis)perception is that OA will change many of the crucial processes of scientific literature, such as the peer review process, that doesn’t seem to be accurate at all. It does not in fact touch the peer review process at all. OA does not improve, nor worsen the quality of the peer review process, nor the articles undergoing that process. OA repositories/journals are NOT substitutes for peer reviewed articles. Journals can and likely will exist even with 100% OA. Their role could and will still be mediating authors and referees through the peer review process, and being a credible quality indicator for scientific literature.

As I understand it, OA is essentially shifting the funding from publishers (who get their revenue from scientific parties) to authors-institutions (the scientific parties) and opening up access to them. So there IS funding available for Open Access, but it’s simply being used in the not so efficient way in terms of science distribution. Once libraries stop paying for subscriptions, they can pay for funding the journals instead and have them go OA. The effect would be the same, only that more people can access the literature, and publishers will have to find a different source of revenue.

More regarding the OA movement’s progress:

I reckon this should get you started on Open Access. It’s an interesting subject for everybody really, given the importance of scientific knowledge in our current society.

Harnad, S, Brody, T, Vallieres, F, Carr, L, Hitchcock, S, Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C, Stamerjohanns, H, Hilf, E 2004, ‘The Access/Impact Problem and the Green and Gold Roads to Open Access.’ Serials Review vol. 30, no. 4. (Online available here)

An “Oops” of Nuclear Scale!

September 5, 2007 Leave a comment

Was strolling around the news for a bit, when I came across this piece of mind blowing news:

U.S. bomber mistakenly flies with nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. bomber mistakenly flew with nuclear warheads over the United States last week, but the Air Force on Wednesday said the flight was not a threat to public safety.

“Would be a fun time for a WMD joke.”

Still though, how can you mistakenly load and fly around with nuclear weapons? Aren’t there many procedures that prevent this kind of thing from happening? One would think you can’t just load nukes on a war plane by accident, right? I mean, it’s not like they went “Instead of the normal missiles from that rack, I accidentally have gotten them from a different rack. They all look the freaking same to me!”, right?

It boggles the mind!

Categories: In The Media