Tag Archives: e-mail

Can a responsible adult please take over RIM

Company says it is taking a $485 million charge because they are selling the Blackberry Playbook at around $200.  The good news is that they are actually selling.  The bad news is that they are sold about about a $150-$200 loss per unit.

A $485 million writedown for the discounting, along with costs related to a worldwide shutdown of BlackBerry service in October, caused RIM to warn that third-quarter revenue would be “slightly lower” than the $5.3 billion to $5.6 billion it had previously forecast.

In a statement, the company also said that it did not expect to meet its earnings target for the year. RIM will announce official results for the third quarter on Dec. 15.

RIM has repeatedly struggled to meet targets this year as it worked to stem a loss of market share for BlackBerry phones in North America. Friday’s restatement sent RIM’s shares down by $1.81, or 10 percent, to $16.77 a share, on Nasdaq.

Its stock is down 76 percent from the 2011 high of $69.86 posted on Feb. 18.

The base model Playbook, once priced at $500, is now being offered for $200. Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Morgan Keegan in Nashville, estimated that the tablets cost RIM $350 to $400 to manufacture.

I heard on the radio today that the per unit cost is around $265 and this site says that they only cost $205 to manufacture if you marketing and research and development costs are not included.  It was odd to look back and read that RIM was going to ship this and that within 60 days of it’s launch and nothing has shipped yet.  It’s what stopped me from purchasing a Playbook a couple of months ago.  The other thing that has to hurt is when you see the Acer Iconia and the Motorola Xoom running Android which actually include Skype, IM, and email.

RIM has consistently overpromised and under delivered which is one of the reasons I traded in my Blackberry for something else, I lost confidence in the company.

Hacked

A couple of weeks ago I logged into my Gmail and saw a warning that my account had been access by someone in Serbia.  I quickly changed my password and looked at my usage files and saw that yes my account had been access for a while from someone in Serbia.  I didn’t look like they sent any email but I have been finding a lot of email in my spam lately and people have been asking me about email and I hadn’t gotten it.  It was getting frustrating but I use Gmail so I would just blame SaskTel, Shaw or their own business email.

I don’t keep a lot of confidential emails in my account.  Wendy has access to it so and I have a pretty mundane life.  I do keep a tight track of my personal ID numbers and none of that is kept in my account but I never ever thought that could save me.  It looks like it did.

I contacted Google and thought about contacting the RCMP but at that time I wasn’t even sure at that time what had been done.

Google got back to me and outside of my spam folder being wrecked, a lot of emails had been trashed which were recoverable.  It wasn’t that bad.  What was bad was my password.  I was one of the first wave of Gmail users and switched right away.  I entered in a password and never changed it.  Over time what was a strong password had become a weak password and I paid the price.

Since that day my password has become a letter/number combo which is case sensitive.  There is no way to connected it to anything I have written or done.  It’s a strong password.  I have also enacted Google’s double verification for my email which means that when I log in to a strange computer, it sends a code to my cell phone which I have to enter.  Annoying but way more secure.

I am not alone in this, James Fallow’s wife went through a much worse experience than I did.  Here is what Fallows learned and I ignored.

But there is a middle ground, of passwords strong enough to create problems for hackers and still simple enough to be manageable. There are more details on our site, but strategies include:

• Choose a long, familiar-to-you sequence of ordinary words, with spaces between them as in an ordinary sentence, which more and more sites now allow. “Lake Winnebago is deep and chilly,” for instance. Or “my favorite packer is not brett favre.” You could remember a phrase like that, but a hacker’s computer, which couldn’t tell spaces from characters, would see only one forbiddingly long password sequence.
• Choose a shorter sequence of words that are not “real” English words. I once lived in a Ghanaian village called Assin Fosu. I can remember its name easily, but it would be hard to guess. Even harder if I added numbers or characters.
• Choose a truly obscure, gibberish password—“V*!amYEg5M5!3R” is one I generated just now with the LastPass system, and you’re welcome to it—and then find a way to store it. Having it written down in your wallet is one, though the paper it’s on shouldn’t say “Passwords” at the top. The approach I prefer, and use for some passwords, is to entrust them to online managers like LastPass or RoboForm. Even if their corporate sites were hacked, that wouldn’t reveal all your passwords, since the programs work by storing part of the encoding information in the cloud and part on your own machine.

At a minimum, any step up from “password,” “123456,” or your own birthday is worthwhile.

Finally, use different passwords. Not hundreds of different ones, for the hundreds of different places that require logins of some kind. The guide should be: any site that matters needs its own password—one you don’t currently use for any other site, and that you have never used anywhere else.

“Using an important password anywhere else is just like mailing your house key to anyone who might be making a delivery,” Michael Jones of Google said. “If you use your password in two places, it is not a valid password.”

I asked my experts how many passwords they personally used. The highest I heard was “about a dozen.” The lowest was four, and the norm was five or six. They all stressed that they managed their passwords and sites in different categories. In my own case, there are five sites whose security really matters to me: my main e‑mail account, two credit-card sites, a banking account, and an investment firm. Each has its own, good password, never used anywhere else. Next are the sites I’d just as soon not have compromised: airline-mileage accounts, Amazon and Barnes & Noble, various message boards and memberships. I have two or three semi-strong passwords I use among all of them. If you hacked one of them you might hack the others, but I don’t really care. Then there is everything else, the thicket of annoying little logins we all deal with. I have one or two passwords for them too. By making it easy to deal with unimportant accounts, I can concentrate on protecting the ones that matter.

I wish I had taken his advice.  What a mess and I got off lucky.

Google Apps

Google Apps At work we have had a nightmare with our e-mail server because of some corrupted data with the domain name registrar.  We changed some e-mail addresses and decided to use Google Apps for e-mail.  It was pretty painless with Dreamhost setting up everything with one click.

Basically it is free if you are using under 200 users.  It includes 7 megs of space for mail, a calendar, Google Docs, Sites, and Google Talk.  Everything works within your own domain and it was pretty easy to setup.  There was only a couple of default settings we changed for Google Sites.

It’s free and so far the staff love it.  As far as training, I think it will be about 10 hours for 30 users which includes setup.  If you are running IT for a church, a non-profit, or a small business, it seems to me to be a pretty obvious choice for all of your web needs and the price is sure right — free for under 200 users.