Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Copier Insecurity Sideswipes HIPAA

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

If you haven’t watched this video on hard drives in copiers, take 5 minutes and have a look. It is a quick glimpse into how vulnerable the information that is stored on copiers really is, because they store nearly everything you do on a hard drive.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

After a few months of showing presentations out about the HITECH Act, this adds fuel to the fire of how loose our data control really is.  As hospitals, or in my case non-profit health care providers work to comply with regulations, it shows how mis-applied the regulations are to preventing data loss.

How exactly does this affect HIPAA & HITECH?

This constitutes a breach of confidential information, putting you right in line with the provisions regarding secure data loss and your control of that information.

Anybody who has access to or deals with Personal Health Information, including vendors who support systems that control such information need to sign a business agreement, now holding them liable for the same extortion level fines that the covered entity.  Before you run out and try to find your local HIPAA certified copier technician, I will give you a clue.  The copier resale industry is not anywhere close to recognizing the impact of this.  While I may retire from my job tomorrow to open a copier technician company revolving around securing and encrypting copier drives, the real copier industry just isn’t there yet.

That is not to say the copier companies themselves aren’t aware.  In fact most manufacturers offer encrypted drives and systems that wipe the information from any form of buffer.  The problem is that nobody buys a copier direct from Xerox any more and  you will find that your local copier resale rep knows less about encryption or media sanitization than the Buffalo Police department.

How do we react, while we wait for the industry to mature enough to have this problem taken care of?

  • Contact your copier lease company and inform them that all hard drives will be removed before returning the copier.  Frankly at this point, you should’t care what the lease terms say regarding this.  Run them through a validated media sanitization company, with the rest of your hard drives.  Don’t rely on any claims that the copier company will handle the destruction, until they are a signed Business Associate, placing them in fiscal responsibility.
  • Prepare  you copier reseller for the discussion on a business vendor agreement surrounding the regulations of HIPAA, if they aren’t already.
  • Keep a log of any support calls for the copier and approach each technician who shows up to work on that copier with legal disclaimers, ensuring the same HIPAA partner agreements.
  • Possibly tag or mark the hard drive inside of the machine itself, taking inventory of it’s serial number for tracking reference.
  • Wait for the same episode to come out regarding how insecure faxes and fax machines are, because we choose to ignore that too.
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The Rise of the PS3

December 31st, 2009 No comments

2010 is lining up to be the year of the PS3, at least for me. I bought in to the Playstation 3 when it first came out in 2006, and have been waiting for the egg to hatch. I finally feel the platform has reached the maturity level that it needs to be at in order to increase it’s adoption rate into the homes of America. At least I hope it does, since it makes it much more fun than playing alone.

Source: Seattle PI Blogs

XBox 360 Equation

Let’s get the Xbox 360 discussion over with. I am not comparing it to the PS3 for functionality, as they are both attractive platforms. I would like an Xbox 360 for the handful of propitiatory games, yet I can’t bring my wallet out to make it happen. For one, the subscription based, online playing bothers me. If I am going to pay a monthly fee to play online with your console, then why not subsidize the cost of the console? The other looming problem I have is paying good money for a piece of hardware that is going to break. Take the 54% failure rate of the console and that directly equates to a 10% chance I will use my money to buy one. Give me a 3 year 1 day replacement warranty and subsidize the monthly online gaming cost, and I will buy in.

Observed Adoption Rates

I have to ignore the online adoption statistics and tell you what I see. I see the PS3 making it into the homes of my friends and my family members, even if they don’t have a gamer in the house. This year alone, my PS3 friends list tripled, as neighbors, co-workers and friends found their way to the Playstation platform. That growth rate, while remaining un-published, will be come viral. It was the same generation that pushed the PS2 into the longest life selling console.

The Core of Gamers

I had one main requirement that the PS3 seems to fill. I want to be able to go online, connect with my friends, wherever they may be, and escape together into a game. I want to be able to team up with my friends once a week to and go in to shoot some 8 year old kids who have somehow made it into the M rated first person shooter world. I want to connect with my surrogate nephews across the country and help them make it through the mining level of Little Big Planet, laughing with them along the way. I want to be able to race the the tracks with my team for One Lap 2010, learning the turns of the tracks before I ever step foot on them. Oh, and I don’t want to pay extra to connect.

The Video

We have begun to amass a collection of BlueRay discs over the past couple of years. We are lucky to have a nice television, and the BlueRay format really makes a huge difference on the screen. I am now looking to buy another BlueRay player for the house, and it is really difficult to not buy a second PS3, given all of the additional functions it brings.

Netflix caught up with the PS3 console and delivered a disc that allows any netflix subscriber the ability to play their streaming movies through the console. I will predict that it won’t take long into 2010, before this gets built into the console itself.

PS3 Media Server

If you have a new PS3, you have a contractual obligation after reading this to check out PS3 Media Server. It is an open source project to deliver all of your content on your home computer, through your PS3. The most impressive part about it is, that it just works.

It can be a pain to play different videos on your computer, needing to download things like CODECs and drivers to make sure that the particular video clip will actually play right. The beautiful part about the PS3 media server is that it will transcode the files for you. Meaning it will take that DIVX media video, chew it up, and spit it back out to your PS3 in a format it will play, all over your network.

Now you have a console that can, play the hard drive of music you have, stream the video clips of the family vacation or create a slideshow of pictures on the screen, without moving a single file.

The Wii Factor

The Wii serves a purpose, which is to allow anybody who is not a gamer, introduce themselves to the world of video games. I have a Wii and bought it on release day. I have not turned it on in over a year. The lack of an immersive online experience combined with the sub-par graphics make the system unattractive to play when given my alternatives. I keep it around for the kids and visiting non-gamers to play.

2010 Predictions

It is that time of year where people put predictions on the table. The Wii will grow in sales, still adopting the non-gamer crowd. The growth rate of the PS3 will be exponential for the first time in 4 years. For Sony it will not surpass the other consoles, but it will stabilize, allowing the platform to reach some more longevity goals. What does Sony need to do to make that happen? Bring back the compatibility to the PS2 games in the PS3 console. All of your PS2 owners with new televisions will be ready to make the move, being able to still play the PS2 games will give them the push they need.

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Where’s the rest of the cameras Apple?

September 11th, 2009 No comments

buystrip_nano20090909This week we were given a complete redesign of the iPod Nano from Apple. The flash memory based device has moved to the foreground as THE solution for the gym bound or running community because of it’s small, lightweight footprint. Along with getting a pedometer and a built in FM tuner, the device is now touting a video camera, allowing it to record short video clips.  While I have been the opposite of the workout demographic for most of my life, I still gave Apple a silent nod of approval for finally bringing a camera to more of the platforms.  I was disappointed to find how much Apple missed the bar on bringing the camera functionality that I enjoy on the iPhone 3GS to the rest of the platforms.  Not only did they miss the bar slightly on the Nano, they didn’t even show up to the event with the iPod Touch.

No Still Images Nano?

The iPod Nano now has a VIDEO camera. That’s right, only a video camera.  While you can take motion video, you still can’t take still images.  This is a huge let down, as I currently take 5-10 images a day as part of my routine on the iPhone 3GS.  While I have tried to enter the video generation, I keep bouncing back to the fact that I am still a fan of photography.  I have made taking pictures part of my daily routine, and having a decent camera is essential.  I struggle to find video moments, until somebody’s kid shows up to remind me why we need more video.

I was listening to CNet’s Buzz Out Loud podcast this week, and they mentioned that Apple stated the lack of still camera functionality was because they needed a deeper chassis in order to fit the lens for a still camera.  If that is the case, we can’t expect to see any still images coming to the Nano for a few years when it is ready to redesign again.

iPod Touch comes with nothing?

iPod Touch BacksidePerhaps the more disappointing “lack of news” is that the latest version of the iPod Touch still doesn’t have a camera…at all.  The iPod Touch has always had a blank piece over the upper rear corner of the device, where on the matching big brother iPhone exists the camera.  That little blank piece does more to build up my expectation than all of the rumors on the planet, but apparently Apple didn’t catch their own tease.

While the iPod Touch had a $30 price cut for the low model, and anticipated storage expansion for the larger models, I think they are missing the large attraction to having the camera.  I admit to people daily that I love having an iPhone, with the phone being the lowest factor in that addiction I have created.

Perhaps the “numbing” of the iPod is Apple’s attempt to put the iPhone on a higher pedestal, but there is a huge opportunity being missed.  It wouldn’t take much to create the addiction level into the youth of today, not able to get phones, or people stuck in a corporate phone contract with another carrier.  Apple needs to stop creating large announcements around price drops, and get back to building announcements of features.

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Google Yanked Public Calendar searching?

August 3rd, 2009 No comments

I just spent 20 minutes trying to find a calendar in Google, thinking somebody was playing some form of “hide the button on Steve” joke.  One of the most powerful features in Google Calendar was the ability to search public calendars.   Well apparently sometime around February of this year, the entire feature was scrubbed, leaving the entire premise of publishing events somewhat useless.

I am grateful I had already added a few key calendars to my google setup already.  For instance 3 event pro skier Jaret Llewellyn entered all of the Pro Water Ski Tournaments into google calendar, which I love to know about. Thank you for doing that Jaret. Hopefully you will keep updating it, regardless.

So I missed that it was gone for almost 6 months, which might be an argument that it is not used a lot.  Well, I used it more when I traveled.  If I know I was going to be in a certain area or region, I could search posted calendars, in that area, for events I was interested in.

I also wanted to use Google calendar to publish public events that might not be covered yet. While I can use this for my personal preferences, knowing nobody will see them without some direct involvement is a discouragement to using them at all.

Without having a link to the ICS file for any calendar, you will be hard pressed to find the calendar you are looking for now.  Hopefully Google is working on something to update this mechanism, but after seeing that it has been dormant for 6 months, I do not have a lot of hope.

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4th of July Parade in Penfield NY

July 4th, 2009 No comments

With a town that has been imprisoned inside for the last week and a half because of the constant barrage of rain, today turned out to be a picture perfect day for a parade in Penfield.  After a morning of work on the yard, I grabbed the camera and took a walk along the parade route, starting from the end near the Penfield community center, down to the 4 corners and back again.

Penfield Parade Details

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ESET Nod32 False Alarm Morning

March 9th, 2009 No comments

The antivirus scanners need to put in an “o sorry, we really didn’t mean that” clause when they find outbreaks of variants that they haven’t quite identified.   The virus scanner rarely trips on the servers, but this morning we had ESET’s NOD32 tripping on a variant of Win32/Kryptik.JX Trojan, that it supposedly found in msdtc.exe.   Luckily for us it was unable to clean the file, as apparently there was a large portion of the world today working to recover all of files it did delete.  The particular file we had mis-categorized was msdtc.exe.

Listening to the tubes, there was more of an official response to the problem from an ESET rep posted here…

Then there was the official response and apparently the entire incident happened within a 10 minute span before they released an update.

Basically make sure you have the advanced heuristics module updated up to 1092 then RESTORE any deleted files from the Quarantine menu.   I figured I would add to the search string by posting something up, as I rarely get to witness the mistakes come in and out of view so early in the morning.  

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Top 10 Useless Facebook Profile Pictures

February 28th, 2009 No comments

I understand that some people don’t like pictures of themselves. I am not particularly fond of my own picture.  That being said, the profile picture on Facebook is designed to have a picture of you and it has a purpose.  

Nothing makes it more difficult to recognize that long lost friend request, than having to recognize somebody you saw 15 years ago by a picture of their cat. Let’s review the top most confusing pictures you can use to make sure I won’t add you as a friend.  Now I grabbed these from random people in the system, only so I wouldn’t poke direct pictures at my own friends.   I have every one of these examples  in my own list of friends.



Number one is the silhouette.   If you haven’t gotten around to putting any photo in the system, then shame on you.  Perhaps you shouldn’t even be on Facebook, because really if we are all sharing more than we normally would, what makes you so special?  If it is your first day and you are technically slow, you have an exception.  Before you start adding friends into your list however, figure this one out.  


The dog ImageNumber two has to be the pet photo.  Becuase I am sure that if I haven’t seen you in 10 years, I will of course know that you have a white dog.  What would make it even better is if you tag the photo with your name in it.  Unless you are living proof that The Shaggy Dog does exist, keep the dog pictures in your photo section. 


The Distance PhotoNumber three is great, because I can clearly see that is you 500 yards off in the distance.  This one applies to those awesome scenic pictures you also took on vacation.  If I can’t recognize you in the picture, and I didn’t know you were on a vacation to the Grand Canyon or wherever, how can I know who you are?



 I am known for my cars.  I appreciate that perhaps more than most people.  I run car club in town, and my avatar is a picture of my car on that site.  On that site it is appropriate to use a car because people remember each other by their car.  Facebook is not the place to have a picture of your car or motorcycle as your Facebook image. What happens to those people in grade school who didn’t even know I had a drivers license? 


babyimageBaby pictures come with a clause.  If you are a new parent you have a month to show off your pride and joy before I call party foul.  After that, you should be able to manage picking up the kid and take a picture of the both of you.  I realize there is a lot of “he has your eyes” that happens with a newborn child.   They all lie when that kid first comes out, and I can’t not recognize you by your baby.


thefingerBeing a proud parent doesn’t go away. You will be tempted to fall into this clause.  I can not blame you, after all most of the kids I know are pretty awesome.  If you post the picture in your PHOTOS section however, we still all see it.  Once you are past that infant clause of one month, I need to see you in the photo as well. 



This one is deceiving, because it is actually a picture of me.  In fairness, there may be a handful of people that do recognize this from my old neighborhood.  However putting a picture of a younger version of yourself is the opposite of cool.  We know you are avoiding the fact that you are old.  We all are old, get over it.   Skip past the picture you liked of yourself in high school too. (unless you are still there)


angelinaUnless you are a celebrity, posting up a picture of one is just lame and somewhat creepy.  Although it may not be as creepy as the octuplet mom Nadya Suleman’s obsession with that Angelina Jolie, it is still lame.  These people are not real. If you haven’t come to terms with the way you look by now, you never will.   


the obligitory imageIf you can’t take a picture of yourself, or something even related to you, why not take a picture of a completely inadament object?  That helps a lot.  I try and take great photos, and perhaps one out of every thousand is actually good.  So when you have that moment of zen when the camera happens to look past your photogenic inadequecies,  put it in your photos, not your profile.

peacesymbolThe ultimate symbol of laziness and avoidance is to choose an actual symbol.  This way you avoid the whole problem of posting a photo up of yourself.  I definitely will recognize you by this one.

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