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Life In The Time Of FireSheep

A couple of weeks ago at Toorcon security researcher Eric Butler released a curious new plug-in for the the popular Firefox web browser. Known as FireSheep this plug-in allows even an unskilled person to monitor traffic on an open wifi network. It further allows its users to capture the login data exposed as web browsers of other people on that WLAN perform logins to sites like Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, etc.

I won’t go into how it works since others had done a nice job of that already. Suffice it to say that this is scary stuff given how common it is for people to use open wifi networks at public places, usually without giving it a second thought..

FireSheep was not intended as a tool for criminal or malicious activity. It’s release was intended to expose a security issue in the way web browsers handle cookies arising from login. While the login process itself is secure, the handling of the resulting cookies usually is not.

Whatever the intent, it’s certain that some less scrupulous people will use it or the lessons learned from it for illicit purposes such as identity theft.

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Cage Match: Cloud vs Virtual vs Hosted

To me the term “cloud computing” itself is so vague as be just about meaningless, yet it carries with it all kinds of connotations.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow,
It’s cloud illusions I recall,
I really don’t know clouds, at all.
– Joni Mitchell

I have so many questions.

  • Does “cloud” imply virtualised?
  • What’s the difference between a cloud host and a virtual host?
  • What advantages are offered by cloud hosts vs physical hosts?
  • Or a cloud host vs a VPS?
  • How do cloud architectures differ?
  • How does cloud hosting differ as applications scale up to very large?
  • Or down to very small?
  • Are there applications that should not be run on cloud services? Why?
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Introducing The Freetalk Connect PBX With Skype Integration

Today marks the launch of the Freetalk Connect PBX from In-Store Solutions. Freetalk Connect is a small business PBX appliance that includes close integration with Skype.

Freetalk Connect was initially announced in January at ITEXPO East. Thomas Howe, CTO of In-Store Solutions, made a guest appearance on a VUC call on August 13th to discuss the device. At that time we learned that Freetalk Connect is based upon Asterisk and Skype-For-Asterisk.

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Making Use of Wideband Voice Right Now!: Blink & SIP2SIP.INFO

Not yet making use of wideband voice? That’s outrageous! It’s so easy, and I’ve given you so many ways to give it a try. Here’s yet another way to try wideband voice…and it’s absolutely free.

Blink is a relative newcomer to the realm of soft phones. Offered by AG Projects Blink was initially released in December 2009 for the Mac platform. Since it’s based upon the Qt framework they were eventually able to offer Linux and Windows releases as well.

VUC founder & host Zeeek has on several occasions expounded on how well Blink behaves on his Mac. Further, Blink supports wideband audio via the G.722 and SPEEX codecs.

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Skype & The New Skype 5.0 For Windows

After many months in beta Skype For Windows 5.0 went “Gold” a couple of weeks ago. The release was made available to all for down load. As I was running the beta I dutifully downloaded the final release to my various Windows systems.

While I was running the beta release I can’t say that I was an active participant in the beta program. I wanted to try the multi-way video calling, which was said to be the major new feature in the release. It works about as you’d expect. You can make video calls to up to ten people, but the video will be at best VGA resolution.

I’ve made a few test calls using this new video calling capability, but it has not worked its way into my routine. Interestingly, there seems to be little interest in video calling using soft clients within the ranks of my employer. People have the webcams but can’t be bothered to use them. In fact, we mostly use Skype for IM and ad hoc file exchange. Even escalating from Skype IM to voice chat is pretty rare.

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OnSIP Recommends Polycom

Family is curious thing. The people closest to us we often regard with a complex mixture of both affection and disdain. Such is the human condition. Emotion, passion especially, arises in so many forms, like matter and anti-matter, energetic yet opposite.

Your family might include doctors, lawyers, poets and astro-physicists…even Nobel laureates. But they’re still your family. You know them really well, and for all their legitimately wondrous attributes there are times that they’re still just a pain in the….well, you know.

When you make use of a particular companies products for long enough they become a bit like family. You appreciate their better qualities, but you also get to know their idiosyncrasies. You know what you’d change if you had some influence.

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