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Monday, January 28, 2008

Video Professor out now!

Video Professor created a 3-CD tutorial based on my Net Crimes book. View several interviews with me below (click the play button to watch the first one, then go from there)!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

DoD CyberCrime Conference, Groton Book Panel, more

Last week I flew to St. Louis for the 2008 DoD CyberCrime Conference. It was a quickie trip - I flew in Tuesday and both my United flights were one time or early! Since I had carry-on bags only, it was a breeze between flights and the shuttle to the hotel was ready to go within 10 minutes of my arrival at the St. Louis airport.

I got to the hotel and was told that a box was waiting for me. I knew it was going to be the Video Professor tutorial based on my book, the 2nd edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors. I asked them to have someone bring it up to the room.

I went to freshen up and wait for the box, talked to Chris (who I missed like crazy already) and waited some more while I unpacked. I finally got sick of waiting and went down to the conference to register, pick up some shirts I'd pre-ordered (one for Chris, two for me) and headed for the speaker room.

There I met Katie, new with Technology Forums, the folks who book me for the federal/military conferences. Then my buddy, Alex, was there and we hugged and chatted for a bit. After waiting a bit, I called the front desk to see where the box was. They said they'd tried to get into my room, but couldn't, so the box would be at the front desk. Okayyyy.

Katie had to leave the room (Alex had already gone to do some work) and asked if I'd keep an eye on the room for about 15 minutes. Since there were over a dozen laptops and other electronic gear, I knew she didn't want to leave the room open with no one watching. So I surfed the web, talked with some other speakers who floated in and out and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, Jim from Tech Forums came by and I told him no one had come back to relieve me. He got on his walkie talkie and apologized. Since it was after 5 pm (the closing time for the speaker room), we locked up. Sharla, who I've seen at almost every conference they've booked me at, was apologetic when she found me and gave me a $50 gift card for Outback Steakhouse. Yesssssss!

We found Jay, who heads up Tech Forums, and went to get a drink from the bar set up at the conference, then I went to find his wife, Dawn, who I hadn't seen since last year. She was ecstatic to see me, loved my ring, ogled Chris' photo on my phone and we chatted for a bit. Then Jay whisked me to the hotel bar for a quick dinner. I was exhausted and went to the front desk to get my box. The poor guy there couldn't find it. He kept apologizing and said to go up to my room and he'd call with an update.

I did and there were *two* boxes chock full of the CD tutorials. I called the front desk to let the guy know, then hoped I'd give away all or most of the packages the next day. Talked to Chris, then hit the sack.

In the morning, I checked out and had a bellhop help me bring the boxes to the conference. I set up my laptop in the room I'd be speaking in and people began trickling in. I had over 50 show up for my talk. Considering there were over half a dozen other speakers at the same time as me, that was darned good! I got some great questions and comments and everyone loved that they got a free goodie at the end.

We got into some good discussions about why Myspace and other social networking sites weren't requiring validation to prove you are who you are when you sign up, as well as profiling online criminals and other things. It was one of the better trainings I've given. It's alway nice when FBI agents in my audience agree with what I say in my training.

I took the rest of the Video Professors to the speaker room, gave a bunch to Jay to give to his staff and the DoD staff working at the conference, changed into my traveling clothes, then had pizza with everyone in the staff room before heading out to the airport. Alex's mom, Diana, who works for Jay, was so happy I'd found love again and said Chris was "fiiiiine" when she saw his photo. LOL.

Got to the airport early, hoping to get an earlier connecting flight home, but no such luck. I did get an earlier flight to O'Hare, but still had a long layover - almost four hours. I had a nice leisurely dinner, talked with Chris and my mom, people-watched and the flight home I snoozed for a bit.

By the time I got home, it was almost 11 pm. Chris was in the garage waiting for me. It was like we'd been separated for weeks.

The next night, Chris went with me to Groton Public Library in Massachusetts for my book panel with Kate Flora and Margaret Press. Chris is a big fan of Kate's and really enjoyed meeting her. And she embarassed him - she said she could now see why I was so happy. She followed me to the staff room where the bathroom was and told me his eyes were amazing and she could imagine the women he'd slayed with those eyes. Tee hee.

Chris sat in the back while Kate, Margaret and I did our thing. We make a pretty good team every time we do one of these panels and had a blast. I sold only two books, but hey, it was fun and Chris finally got a chance to see part of what I do.

Got home, wound down, then both of us crashed.

I'll write soon about a friend who has turned us on to storage bay-diving, more work on the Jeep and other odds and ends.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

What is wrong with people?

Does NO ONE think when they come up with product or company names that they KNOW will be sold to the English-speaking public?

First, I saw a coupon for this in the Sunday paper supplement section:

I am no pothead, but marijuana was the first thing that came to mind. Instead of smoking it, I can drink it - yeehaw!!! For those interested in this, just go to the Joint Juice web site. And no, it's not pot.

Then I found this today:

Yes, you read right - TATA. It's a new, inexpensive car from India car company TATA Motors.

I guess they're abreast of the competition.

Or they could go tits up.

Now add your own:

Monday, January 07, 2008

As if air travel isn't bad enough. . .

Spare Battery Tips

New rules for bringing spare batteries on planes with you:

Pack spare batteries in carry-on baggage. In the passenger compartment, flight crews can better monitor safety conditions to prevent an incident, and can access fire extinguishers, if an incident does happen.

Keep spare batteries in the original retail packaging, to prevent unintentional activation or short-circuiting.

For loose batteries, place tape across the battery's contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents short-circuiting.

If original packaging is not available, effectively insulate battery terminals by isolating spare batteries from contact with other batteries and metal. Place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package. Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry.

Only charge batteries which you are sure are rechargeable! Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for re-charging, and become hazards if they are placed in a battery charger. NEVER attempt to recharge a battery unless you know it is rechargeable.

If you have already charged a non-rechargeable battery, do NOT bring such a battery on board an aircraft.

Use only chargers designed for your type of batteries. If unsure about compatibility, contact the product manufacturer.

Take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.

And see Airlines Impose New Restrictions on Batteries

The new rules are confusing and extensive (and are being reported incorrectly in numerous mainstream publications), so I'll try to boil it down for you here, accurately. Hit the link at the end of the story for the entire text of the new rules straight from the horse's mouth. The rules took effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

* Installed batteries (already in your phone, laptop, camera, etc.) and spare batteries (carried loose) are treated differently. Only lithium-based batteries are concerned here, not nickel-based rechargeables or alkaline batteries.
* You can't pack spare batteries in checked baggage...but you may check equipment with batteries installed.
* In your carry-on baggage, you can take as many batteries along as you want (installed or spare), as long as they contain less than 8 grams of lithium content each. How do you know how much lithium is in a battery? An 8-gram battery equals about 100 watt-hours of power. Now, your battery won't say how many watt-hours it provides, but it's easy to do the math. Look on the bottom and you'll find a voltage rating and a mAh (milliamp-hours) rating. Multiply these two together and divide by 1,000. That's your watt-hours. In the (big) battery I'm looking at as an example, it offers 11.1 volts and 7,800 mAh. Multiply and divide by 1,000 and you get 86.58 watt-hours, acceptable under the new rules.
* Now, you can also bring two spare batteries that break the above rule. These two batteries can have a total lithium content of 25 grams, or about 300 watt-hours. Where might you find such a giant battery? Namely in those third-party laptop battery slabs designed to give you a full day of computing. A product like this Electrovaya PowerPad 300 would just barely make it... but would probably earn you a delay at security.
* These rules mainly concern lithium-ion batteries. Lithium metal batteries (which are comparably rare) have more stringent rules. Check the link for full details if you use lithium metal batteries, but since lithium metal batteries are usually quite small, there's not that much cause for concern.