If Your Password Is 123456, Just Make It HackMe

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Internet, Security, Social Networking, Technology, Web Development
Friday, January 22, 2010
provided by: New York Times

Back at the dawn of the Web, the most popular account password was “12345.”
Despite all the reports of Internet security breaches over the years, including the recent attacks on Google’s e-mail service, many people have reacted to the break-ins with a shrug.
According to a new analysis, one out of five Web users still decides to leave the digital equivalent of a key under the doormat: they choose a simple, easily guessed password like “abc123,” “iloveyou” or even “password” to protect their data.
“I guess it’s just a genetic flaw in humans,” said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, which makes software for blocking hackers. “We’ve been following the same patterns since the 1990s.”
Mr. Shulman and his company examined a list of 32 million passwords that an unknown hacker stole last month from RockYou, a company that makes software for users of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The list was briefly posted on the Web, and hackers and security researchers downloaded it. (RockYou, which had already been widely criticized for lax privacy practices, has advised its customers to change their passwords, as the hacker gained information about their e-mail accounts as well.)
The trove provided an unusually detailed window into computer users’ password habits. Typically, only government agencies like the F.B.I. or the National Security Agency have had access to such a large password list.
“This was the mother lode,” said Matt Weir, a doctoral candidate in the e-crimes and investigation technology lab at Florida State University, where researchers are also examining the data.
Imperva found that nearly 1 percent of the 32 million people it studied had used “123456″ as a password. The second-most-popular password was “12345.” Others in the top 20 included “qwerty,” “abc123″ and “princess.”
More disturbing, said Mr. Shulman, was that about 20 percent of people on the RockYou list picked from the same, relatively small pool of 5,000 passwords.
That suggests that hackers could easily break into many accounts just by trying the most common passwords. Because of the prevalence of fast computers and speedy networks, hackers can fire off thousands of password guesses per minute.
“We tend to think of password guessing as a very time-consuming attack in which I take each account and try a large number of name-and-password combinations,” Mr. Shulman said. “The reality is that you can be very effective by choosing a small number of common passwords.”
Some Web sites try to thwart the attackers by freezing an account for a certain period of time if too many incorrect passwords are typed. But experts say that the hackers simply learn to trick the system, by making guesses at an acceptable rate, for instance.
To improve security, some Web sites are forcing users to mix letters, numbers and even symbols in their passwords. Others, like Twitter, prevent people from picking common passwords.
Still, researchers say, social networking and entertainment Web sites often try to make life simpler for their users and are reluctant to put too many controls in place.
Even commercial sites like eBay must weigh the consequences of freezing accounts, since a hacker could, say, try to win an auction by freezing the accounts of other bidders.
Overusing simple passwords is not a new phenomenon. A similar survey examined computer passwords used in the mid-1990s and found that the most popular ones at that time were “12345,” “abc123″ and “password.”
Why do so many people continue to choose easy-to-guess passwords, despite so many warnings about the risks?
Security experts suggest that we are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of things we have to remember in this digital age.
“Nowadays, we have to keep probably 10 times as many passwords in our head as we did 10 years ago,” said Jeff Moss, who founded a popular hacking conference and is now on the Homeland Security Advisory Council. “Voice mail passwords, A.T.M. PINs and Internet passwords — it’s so hard to keep track of.”
In the idealized world championed by security specialists, people would have different passwords for every Web site they visit and store them in their head or, if absolutely necessary, on a piece of paper.
But bowing to the reality of our overcrowded brains, the experts suggest that everyone choose at least two different passwords — a complex one for Web sites were security is vital, such as banks and e-mail, and a simpler one for places where the stakes are lower, such as social networking and entertainment sites.
Mr. Moss relies on passwords at least 12 characters long, figuring that those make him a more difficult target than the millions of people who choose five- and six-character passwords.
“It’s like the joke where the hikers run into a bear in the forest, and the hiker that survives is the one who outruns his buddy,” Mr. Moss said. “You just want to run that bit faster.”

Colour Converter

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Graphic Design, Web Development

Looking for a quick little converter to Converting RGB <–> CMYK (linear) in Hex, Dec and %, with color picker.

Have a look at this great little Windows tool RGB2CMYK.

Download here


How to Switch to another country in Apple App Store

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Applications, iPhone, iPod Touch

1) Launch iTunes Store in iTunes application

2) Scroll down till the bottom of the page. You will find your country flag at the right side. Click on it and change the flag to ‘United States’. Now you are in US Store.

3) Click on the ‘Redeem’ link in Quick Links or the bottom of the page.

4) Enter the redemption code and click on redeem.

5) When you are prompted to sign-in, click on create account. Provide necessary credentials and continue till you are asked for credit card details. Select ‘none’

6) Now enter an US address and submit the information.

Do not forget to provide valid zip code. You can search online for zip codes of various states in US.

Disney Announces Name and Launches Web Site for New Family Destination Resort on O‘ahu

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Disney, Disney Resorts, Disney Vacation Club
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i conveys the connection of the new resort to the islands
KO OLINA, Hawai‘i (Jan. 19, 2010) – The highly anticipated Disney destination resort currently under construction on the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu now has an official name and a dynamic new Web site offering an inside look at the project. The resort’s name – Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai‘i – reflects the company’s deep commitment to celebrating the islands’ rich history and traditions. Plans call for the first phase of the resort to open in fall 2011.
“We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. The name ‘Aulani’ expresses a connection to tradition and deep story-telling – and its roots are here in this land,” said Joe Rohde, senior vice president, Creative for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We’re so grateful to the local Hawaiians who led us to the discovery of this name, and our goal is to live up to its meaning.”
Rohde noted that Aulani translated from the Hawaiian language to English means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”
The Resort
Nearby to historical sites on the western side of O‘ahu, Aulani will be located on 21 acres of oceanfront property in the Ko Olina Resort & Marina development. The resort is planned to have 360 hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas.
Design plans call for amenities to engage every member of the family, a hallmark of a Disney vacation. Among the recreational highlights planned for the resort are pools and sunset-facing hot tubs, a snorkeling lagoon, a variety of kids’ club and other play programs for children, and a river, suitable for tube floating, running through a specially created volcanic outcropping.
The resort will also include an 18,000-square-foot spa designed with families in mind. The resort, built adjacent to a crystal-blue lagoon and a white-sand beach, is planned to also have two restaurants, a 14,545-square-foot conference center and 48,685 square feet of outdoor venues. Located nearby are the existing Ko Olina Marina and a Ted Robinson-designed, 18-hole championship golf course.
The Web Site
Disney has launched a new preview Web site, www.DisneyAulani.com, to provide updates and background information on the resort now under construction. The site also details some of the adventures and amenities under development, and includes conceptual art, descriptions of resort highlights, regularly updated resort information and photos of Aulani as it nears completion.
“We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Aulani to share the fun, immersive family vacation experiences Disney is known for combined with the beauty and culture of Hawai‘i,” said Djuan Rivers, vice president, Disney Vacation Club and Resort, Hawai‘i. “We are turning to the Hawaiian culture for inspiration in everything we are doing at Aulani, and we hope our guests will not only enjoy the Disney experience, but will also embrace the unique culture of Hawai‘i and its diverse people.”

Disney quietly working on $1 billion-plus “next generation” technology project

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Disney, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Parks
JANUARY 17, 2010 AT 6:46 AM via Orlando Sentenial
The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, a wireless treasure hunt rolled out at Epcot last year, could be a precursor to some of the projects Disney is developing through its “next generation experience” project. (Courtesy of Walt Disney World)
The Walt Disney Co.’s theme-park division is quietly working on a major technology initiative that boosters hope could radically transform the theme-park experience.
Details of the project, which has been dubbed within Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as “next generation experience” or “NextGen,” are being closely guarded. But there is widespread speculation among former Disney executives and bloggers who follow the company that at least part of the project involves wireless-communication technology that could be used in concepts ranging from keyless hotel-room doors to rides and shows in which the experience varies based on an individual guest’s preferences.
The budget for the program totals between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, according to former Disney parks executives who spoke only on the condition that they not be identified. The amount is roughly comparable to what Disney is spending to build a pair of 4,000-passenger cruise ships.
Just before Christmas, Disney assigned oversight of the project to Nick Franklin, the head of global business and real-estate development for the company’s theme-park unit. Franklin’s newest title is “executive vice president of next generation experience.” At Walt Disney World, the project is being led by Jim MacPhee, a vice president who once ran the Epcot theme park. MacPhee’s title was changed last month to vice president of park operations and next generation experience.
Disney would not discuss specifics of the project. “Our company has a long history of leveraging technology to enhance the experience of our guests, and we are constantly exploring new opportunities to build on that legacy,” spokeswoman Tasia Filippatos said.
Though Disney typically keeps a tight lid on projects in development, the strict silence surrounding the NextGen initiative has surprised some company veterans. Disney has required employees assigned to the project — “several dozen” people are currently working on it, according to one of the former executives — to sign confidentiality agreements forbidding them from discussing their work, even with colleagues.
One former Disney manager described the climate surrounding the project as “super quiet.” Yet another likened the hush-hush atmosphere to the silence that surrounded the development of Disney’s Magical Express, the airport shuttle-and-luggage service introduced in Orlando in 2005.
“Usually you hear a lot of different things leak out,” added Michael Crawford, publisher of Progress City USA, a Web site devoted to Disney. “This has been really locked up.”
Several other people in and around Disney said they are aware of the NextGen initiative. But all said they were either unfamiliar with details or that they could not discuss them.
The secrecy, of course, hasn’t stopped speculation. Though the “NextGen” work has multiple components, several Disney bloggers, including Crawford, have reported that a key part involves the development of radio-frequency identification microchips that could be implanted into park passes or wrist bands. Guests would supply personal information ahead of their arrival — from their names and credit-card numbers to their favorite Disney characters — that would be downloaded onto the RFID microchips, which would then interact with sensors deployed throughout Disney’s resorts.
Disney has discussed the technology with Precision Dynamics Corp., a San Fernando, Calif.-based company that manufactures RFID wristbands. A representative for the company said he could not elaborate on those talks because Precision Dynamics has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Disney.
RFID technology has “certainly been on Disney’s radar as well as the other major [tourism] players in the Orlando area,” said Tom Foster, sales manager for Precision Dynamics’ RFID solutions group.
Crawford said he has been told that Disney’s work includes what is being called a “personal experience portal,” which he thinks could be the online site that guests would use to provide personal details and preferences. The blogger noted that posts he has written in recent months on Disney’s RFID efforts have attracted unusually heavy Internet traffic from IP addresses associated with Disney offices in Orlando and California.
RFID technology is already used in many areas of everyday life, from the contact-information chips that pet owners have implanted in their dogs and cats to the bracelets that hospitals use to track patients and their treatments. The technology is spreading through the amusement industry, too.
Indoor-waterpark operator Great Wolf Resorts now uses RFID wristbands manufactured by Precision Dynamics at seven of its 12 resorts in the U.S. and Canada. The wristbands function both as hotel-room keys and personal charge cards for guests, allowing them to buy food and souvenirs without carrying a credit card or cash.
“Given this new technology, guests who otherwise may not have wanted to go all the way back to their room for their credit card or cash and be inconvenienced may now be making purchases due to the added convenience of having their wallet on their wrist,” said Rajiv Castellino, chief information officer for Great Wolf Resorts. “The ease of use and convenience have proven to be big hits with guests at our properties.”
Though Disney is also interested in both keyless hotel entry and cashless transactions, its full RFID plans are said to be more ambitious.
Former employees and bloggers say Disney is looking at using RFID sensors in attractions, so that experiences could be tailored based on individual guest preferences. For example, as guests wander around a park or advance through a ride, their favorite animated character might appear and address them by name.
Another goal, according to the former Disney managers, is to greatly reduce or eliminate lengthy wait times at popular attractions — waits that can top three hours on particularly busy days and which a current Disney World executive said are routinely cited as a “key negative” by guests who visit the resort. One possibility is to allow guests to select preferred ride and show times and then use RFID scanners at attraction entrances to verify that they are showing up at the correct time.
RIFD tracking could also give Disney much more detailed data about its guests’ spending habits and movements, which could in turn be a powerful sales tool. Disney might be able to tell, for instance, that a family wandering one of its theme parks in the evening has no dinner reservations, and so could contact the family by cell phone to suggest nearby restaurants with available seats or promotions.
“The back story of this is they’re going to be able to track everything you’re doing,” said Al Lutz, editor of MiceAge.com and someone who also has written about Disney’s RFID development efforts.
The project isn’t without risks. Some former employees have expressed skepticism about whether the technological advances would do enough to boost attendance or guest spending at Disney’s theme parks to justify the $1 billion-plus price tag — or whether such money would be better spent on projects such as new resorts or attractions.
Disney also faces questions about whether guests would want to put so much thought into planning their vacations — and how such advance planning by some guests might affect others who could conceivably miss out on a popular attraction because time slots have been reserved ahead of time by those who planned.
Even eliminating attraction lines could be tricky: A theme park could actually feel more crowded if a certain percentage of people were no longer spending time waiting in ride queues.
Although Disney would not discuss its NextGen concepts, the company has said improvements to its guests’ vacation experience will lead to bottom-line gains, because happier customers are more apt to make return trips. There can be other advantages, as well: After launching its Fast Pass ride-reservation system in 1999, for instance, Disney said guest spending in its parks rose as guests spent less time in queues and more in shops and restaurants.

Get Started With Photoshop CS4

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Adobe Photoshop, Tutorials, Web Development
I get a lot of people asking me what the best way is to get started with graphic design. I always have some immediate resources that I use and refer them to, and I also have my standbys. Here are some of my favorite recent resource finds and standbys that you can visit for some great inspiration, tools, and techniques to use with Adobe Photoshop CS4.
  1. Adobe Photoshop CS4
    Well, this is the first step. You can download a free evaluation copy to use for 30 days before making your (very worthwhile) purchase!
  2. Qbrushes.com
    Qbrushes is one of my favorite new finds. It is a great resource that is FULL of amazing, detailed, and hi-resolution Photoshop brushes to use in your projects!
  3. Dafont.com
    There are a lot of great font resources out there, and this one almost never fails me. Most are free for personal use, and you can test out your typography with custom text before you download!
  4. Tutorialvault.net
    It can sometimes be a daunting task to find just the right online tutorial for the project you’re looking for. There are some great subscription-based resource libraries (see below), but if you’re looking for some quality, free help, this is the place to go. With over 2500 tutorials on almost anything you could imagine, this site constantly inspires me in my projects.
  5. Lynda.com
    As far as training libraries go, THIS IS THE TICKET. They have an unbelievably extensive database of VIDEO tutorials for all Adobe products (currently to CS4) ftw! They have hours of extremely helpful videos on each Adobe product available for subscribers to watch at any time. You can, however, watch a select number of videos from each product without a subscription (aka: free). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this site to anyone who wants to learn all the nooks and crannies of Adobe CS4 in the most efficient way possible.
Enjoy these resources as you get to know the amazing possibilities held within Adobe Photoshop!

New Dining Room at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Disney, Disney Dining, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resorts

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – True Disney foodies know you haven’t arrived until you’ve dined at the crème de la crème of restaurants – Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. But now the top-rated dining room has a new “must do”: the gorgeous Queen Victoria’s Room.

Queen Victoria’s Room is behind closed doors just off the main dining room. With just four tables, restaurant manager Israel Perez promises attention to your every whim. They’ve brought back French gueridon service – a gueridon is a fancy rolling cart that goes from table to table for customized service and “wow” factor – a flourish of Himalayan sea salt atop your filet, a decadent wine sauce or a lavish display of cheese, for instance.
Anyone who’s tasted Chef Scott Hunnel’s exquisite creations knows this is a memorable affair. How often do you savor perfectly seared Kurobuta pork tenderloin and belly, or butter-poached lobster with bisque and lobster roe foam? And vegans and vegetarians are Hunnel’s favorite challenge. The sommelier happily will pair something delicious with each of the 10 courses. Yes, 10 courses, but they’re small. Still, plan on three to four hours of leisurely dining.
It’s worth the price of a baby-sitter – no kids under 10 are allowed in the dining room, so you’re guaranteed an evening of blissful quiet. Be advised, men must wear jackets (tie optional) for this formal affair.
You’ll float out the door with a long-stemmed rose for women and personalized menus for everyone to carry home. Cost for Queen Victoria’s Room is $200 per person, plus $95 for wine pairings. The restaurant has its own reservation line, 407/939-3862. There is just one seating nightly.

Walt Disney World Kennels News

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Disney, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Resorts
Walt Disney World
Jan 15, 2010
Originally announced in November 2007 the new pet resort  ’Best Friends Luxury Pet Resort’ is now under construction.
It’s been long in the planning, but ground has now broken opposite the main entrance to Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
‘Best Friends PetCare Inc’ operate all of Disney’s kennel services at the parks. The new  ’Best Friends Luxury Pet Resort’ will offer services to park and resort guests and will provide a full range of pet hospitality services.

Twitter Background Guidelines

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Social Networking, Twitter, Web Development

Ever wanted to make an interesting Twitter background?
Here’s how to do it.
A note, this layout works best on higher res monitor settings. I imagine that most active Twitter users that are going to be viewing the site as opposed to sms or mobile versions are on high res settings. That said, let’s roll.
Creating your background
File Dimensions: 2048 px by 1707 px (no clue why i used these dimensions but I am sure I knew what I was doing at the time)?Branding Dimensions: 80 px by 587 px?Coordinates: X=20, Y=14?Horizontal position: 20 px from the left (give yourself some padding)?Vertical position: 14 px from the top (will line up your graphic with the top of the twitter logo. our eyes like symmetry) File size and type according to Twitter: “Images must be smaller than 800k. GIF, JPG, PNG.”
Color palette: Pick colors that match that with default Twitter stylesheet colors. If they contrast too much follow the Change Background directions above and change the colors for Text, Name, Link, Sidebar fill and Sidebar border as needed.?Recommendation: Choose colors that work with the default and save yourself the headache of matching the CSS to your image. Follow Twitter’s lead.
Uploading your background
Change Default Background: Login and click ‘Settings’ >> click ‘Design’ >> Select ‘Use my custom style below’ radio button >> Upload your imageIt may take quite a bit of time to get a background image that you are happy with. There maybe a lot of editing and uploading again, and again until you get it right.  So have patience when getting it just right. And remember that you are working within someone else’s website and can’t control all the features.

Going, going, gone into Disney Vault on Jan. 30

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Disney, Disney Movies, Disney Vault
JANUARY 15, 2010 AT 1:47 PM via Orlando Sentinal
Do the words Disney Vault push you into the nearest store to buy the Disney movies that will be locked up for the next decade? (That is, if you didn’t succumb to the marketing and buy the movie when it was first released.)
Animated films are the target of Disney’s vault, and they are on a 10-year rotation, supposedly to keep the movies fresh for new generations. Of course, the system is designed to increase demand for the products.
On Jan. 30, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will place these movies in the Disney Vault:
** Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray
** The Jungle Book
** The Jungle Book 2
** 101 Dalmatians
** 101 Dalmatians II
** 101 Dalmatians (live-action)
** 102 Dalmatians (live action)
I’m curious what the eBay effect has been on the vault system. Has it quelled the panic some fanatics might have over not being able to access a beloved movie?
Anticipation seems to be building online for the DVD re-release of Beauty and the Beast, which has been under lock and key. No date has been announced, but new Diamond and Blu-ray editions are expected in 2010.
We own Beauty and the Beast — and a large collection of Disney movies — on VHS, thanks to a generous friend. But as much as my children love all things Disney, they are not inclined to watch movies in that antiquated format when they have other DVDs to choose from. I’m having trouble letting go of the movies because they are Disney classics, but it seems silly to hang on to them at this point. Anyone else dealing with this issue?
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