Mac Hack Attack

imdb.com
imdb.com

Over the past few days, I have not been able to properly see the imdb.com web site. It comes out garbled. I tried it on my Macintosh using three different browsers. I started to worry that I might have been hit by some sort of cross-site scripting attack. I even looked up the DNS entry and went directly to the IP address¬†http://72.21.211.32/. That didn’t work either.

I also had a problems with a few other pages. The Boeing NLA page on the Wikipedia seemed to have a similar problem that lasted 2 days. The B+H Photo web page had the same problem yesterday, but it is fine today.

I tried the same sites on my PC, and got the same results (again, using two browsers).

I tried on my iPhone while on 3G, but it went to the mobile web page and it was fine.

Since it was impacting multiple computers at home, I then worried that there was something going on with an IP-redirect. Once, just for a fraction of a second, I thought I saw something that looked like “parkeddomain.com” on the address line before it changed to imdb.com. That had me very freaked out.

Finally, after much googling, I found that the root cause was not a hack attack against my Mac. The Rogers DNS was borked.

I switched to Google DNS, and everything is working fine again.

Webcam with the Inlaws

A friend of Rosa’s parents (my in-laws, Lemin and Jinduo) gave them a Logitech webcam. I set the webcam up a week ago, but their friends were not using the Logitech software, so we could not contact them.

Papa, Rosa and Mama
Papa, Rosa and Mama

This evening, we installed Windows Live Messenger, and with a little bit of configuration and negotiation (in two languages), we got it working.

Lemin called her sister in Beijing. It was the first time I have seen any of my extended Chinese family. There is a family resemblance between Lemin and her sister.

We agreed that in the 2011 Spring Festival, we will use the webcam so that I can meet more of the family in Beijing. I’m really looking forward to it!

Craigslist

Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens
Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens

I’m in the process of selling some camera equipment, and thought I would use Craigslist as one of the resources. I am also trying the local camera club and Ebay.

But I’m not sure I understand what value Craigslist is providing. It seems more like a list of thieves, scammers and the like.

The first person contacted me by email a few hours after the posting went up. I said I wanted to meet in person. He replied that he was out of the country and would be able to send me a cheque for more than the amount I was asking. Yup, a scam. I deleted all the emails and stopped responding.

The second person seemed like a real person. He was negotiating a lower price and wanted to meet to test the lens. Great I thought. I suggested we meet in a Starbucks or something like that. He replied a few hours later that some financial issue came up and would have to back away from the deal.

This concerned me a little. One issue is that I was using my personal email to reply, and I realized that it also had my phone number at the bottom in my signature. I grew concerned that perhaps the reason for contacting me would be to gather personal data. I never gave out where I lived or worked, but the phone number can be used for a reverse address look-up. I also realized that my address is also on the domain ownership for my personal email address.

So I created a new gmail account that has no connection to me, which I will use in the future. It does not have my full name or my phone numbers in the signature either.

I was contacted by another person after that and had the same issue happen – contacted me and then almost immediately bailed on the deal. But this time I was using the new gmail account.

Because of my concerns, I also opened an account at Equifax to allow me to check on my credit information and credit card applications. Rosa and I have discussed this many times in the past. We travel frequently, and both of us have had problems with unauthorized withdrawls on our personal bank accounts and credit cards. After returning from Russia, where my camera was stolen, I also lost $1500 from ATM withdrawls, starting 2 weeks after I returned home. The bank was able to restore my losses.

Which brings me back to Craigslist. If these were the problems I’m facing when using Craigslist, this must also be impacting all the other users. Why would anyone consider Craigslist helpful? I know that I won’t be using it anymore, if the only people who contact me are scammers.

Web master

I’ve been working over the past few weeks to complete re-vamp the web site for Les Petits Ballets, one of Rosa’s ballet schools. I was totally unhappy with the first redesign from 2007, but never had enough time to spend to bring it to the level I wanted.

But this year, I’ve had more time. I’ve already completed my personal site (this site). And as I am not the chief organizer of the MCO Race School or Secretary of the Meet for the 2009 Ted Powell Memorial Race weekend, I am having time to branch out to work on other items on my to-do list.

I am proud of the look and feel of the new Les Petits Ballets website, and all of the additions that were made, including adding Les Petits Ballets as a Facebook group.

One item that was especially fun was that I had to create a new web gallery theme in Apple’s Aperture software to fit with the new web site. That took a lot of hacking, as there is no public interface for doing it.

I will work with the Director of Dance to put more picture in the Gallery (which is where I used the new Aperture theme, based on the existing “Picture” theme). So far, the web site does not use any of the photos I took. I’ve taken over 700 photos for the school; most of them are not very good (out of focus, wrong framing, bad background, someone has their eyes closed). Getting feedback on what makes a good ballet photo is critical for my development.