Key Scrambler - Addon for Firefox

Last week, I noticed something wrong with my computer. Sometimes when I would hit a certain key, it would repeat itself. For example, if I hit "r" I would get "rr." I have a brand new HP computer with an equally new keyboard. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the keyboard. But, just to be sure, I changed keyboards with the new computer. I got the same results with the different keyboard. Now, I'm thinking I have a virus or trojan for sure. I run Avira as my antivirus program. It has caught everything in the past. In fact, I found it to be much better than AVG. So, I do a complete scan of my computer with Avira. It found nothing. I just had a feeling something wasn't right. So, I went to the Trend Micro Housecall web site. I downloaded it, updated it and lo and behold, my intuition was correct!. Housecall found something called "trojan dev downloader," which is practically the same thing as a keylogger.

Trend Micro Housecall got rid of it for me. At least, after doing another scan it didn't find anything else. Now, I do a lot of online banking, I make lots of purchases on ebay and other places. I used to be worried about that sort of thing. But, I really don't worry about it that much any longer.

The reason I don't worry (well, not completely. But, far less these days) is because of an addon for Firefox (it works on Internet Explorer as well) browser called Keyscrambler Personal Edition.  You can actually see it encrypting your strokes as you type. I installed this Firefox (if you are not using Firefox, why aren't you?) addon about three months ago. Now, I know hackers are getting tougher to stop witih all the new trojans, viruses and keyloggers they develop. But, if you have a program in your browser that is encrypting your every key stroke...well, that really is a protection for you against them! If you do a lot of transactions online (as I do) that require your personal information, I strongly urge you to 1) start using Firefox and 2) install the KeyScrambler Addon to your Firebox browser. It really gives me peace of mind. It probably saved me from identity theft as well.

Note:  This is the new link to download Keyscrambler Personal edition.  It is the one in the middle.  Click HERE

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Young Germans Unaware of Auschwitz

I've heard many times, "What are they teaching kids in school today?" In fact, I've probably said that a few times myself. But, one thing I do remember being taught is about the holocaust of World War II. I remember reading about the concentration camps, the mass murder of millions of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and anyone not of the Aryan race. You would think that schools in Germany, home of the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler and the "Final Solution", would make it a point to teach German children about the holocaust, concentration camps and mass murder during WWII. Having said that, I'm sure this is taught in German schools. But, something is not working. According to a report, one in five young Germans, aged 18-29, had no idea what Auschwitz was during WWII. Ninety percent did know it was a concentration camp. But, a clear 20% did not know Auschwitz was a place of death. One-third did not even know Auschwitz was in Poland, not Germany.

I can't say I find this surprising. It is not just German youth that is ignorant of the past. It is American kids as well. I wager at least 90% in that 18-29 age group know that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. But, how many Americans, in that 18-29 age group, would know what party he belongs to? How many could even name the two major political parties in the USA? According to a report, in August of 2011, American youth 18-23 could recognize a photo of Abraham Lincoln. But, they could not explain why he was such an important president. A report in March of 2011 stated that 29% of Americans (regardless of age) could not name the Vice-President of the USA. Only 37% knew there were nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, what has happened? Is there a malaise about history in schools and the public in general? Or is it just poorly educated people? I suspect it is combination of both. What's that old saying? Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it? I hope for the sake of this entire world, that does not come true.

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Ghost Blamed for Domestic Assault

From the "I Guess I Have Heard It All Now" file. A Fond du Lac, Wisconsin man claimed to police that a "ghost" strangled, committed assault and battery on his wife. No, that is not a misprint. A poltergeist type of ghost apparently also resisted arrest and was charged with disorderly conduct. The ghost in this report appears to be none other than Michael West, the husband of the unfortunate woman in this report. Mr. West stated at first his wife suffered the injuries due to a "series of falls." After police pointed out the marks around his wife's neck, he said a "ghost" did it. The police decided they had heard enough and arrested Michael West for domestic assault.

I'm not trying to make light of domestic abuse. It is no laughing matter. What is funny is that some idiots will do and say anything to try to escape arrest these days. That is especially true in domestic abuse cases. So, will Mr. West get leniency on this domestic abuse charge? I don't think he has a ghost of a chance. Pun intended.

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How to Protect Yourself from Home Invasion

For the past week, I have been recuperating from a bad cold. So, I had a lot of time on my hands. What I did was something I rarely do; read the newspaper. I still subscribe to a daily newspaper. Usually I glance over the headlines and read the sports section completely. But, while sick in bed, I read all the local news. What I read alarmed me. There has been a 150% increase in home invasions, in my area, in 2011 compared to 2010. There have been four fatalities, including one homeowner. I have not really considered much about it until reading that. I decided to do some reading about protecting yourself from home invasions. I discovered the predominate reason for home invasions is money for drugs, particularly methamphetamines or just meth. One hit and you are hooked. You will do anything to get high again off this drug. Now most people, like me, think having gun is enough. Most people think that home invasions occur mostly when people are not home. That no longer is the case. There are other things you can do to protect yourself from a home invasion.

1. Vacation plans. Most people will let neighbors know when they are going on vacation. That is a good idea. Just make sure you completely trust your neighbor before doing so. Make sure your neighbor gets your newspapers or collects your mail. Better yet, go to your local post office and tell them to put a hold on your mail delivery for however long you will be gone. Of course, it is also a good idea not to share your plans on social media like Facebook also. Thank about that.
2. Good lighting and locks. This should go without saying. But, you would be amazed how many people have the most flimsy locks on their doors these days. You need, at a minimum, a deadbolt on each door leading in and out of your home. Lighting is equally important throughout the house. Some people will leave home with lights off, thinking they will save money on the power bill. They may come home and find out they will have an even more expensive bill to pay.
3. DIY security cameras. Yeah, having a couple of dummy security cameras is a deterrence. But, a professional burglar will know the difference right away. A desperate drug addict won't care either way. You can get some cheap motion detection cameras that will make a snapshot of any motion in your house. These cameras will easily fit in the palm of your hand. I have one that is wireless and snaps pictures of any movement in my home. The pictures are transmitted to my home computer (with a mini-dvr in a usb port) where they are saved. This one is an inside camera. You can buy outside wireless security cameras as well.
4. Dogs. This is probably the easiest and most cost effective deterrent around. I have a three-year old beagle that barks if the wind blows too hard outside. His bark puts the fear of God in any would-be burglar or, hopefully, drug addict. If you do have a dog, bring him inside at night if possible, for protection and alarm. He won't do you much good outside if the burglar is armed.
5. Gun(s). I know there is great debate about this around the nation. But, as long as criminals are able to get their hands on lethal weapons, I will always keep one in my home. This is mentioned last because this should always be considered your last step in home defense in case of home invasion while you are home. Your gun should be within easy reach...locked and loaded. Many people keep an empty chamber. That is a decision only each specific individual can make. But, you may not have time to cycle a bullet or shell into the chamber before the door or window caves in. Consider that possibility.

These are just some things to think about in protecting yourself from home invasion. Hopefully, this will never happen to you or me. But, there are 8,000 home invasions in North America every day. One in five homes has an invasion or break-in. Consider these possibilities as well.

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Sick Leave Hiatus

As you may know, this is the cold and flu season. I am a victim of a bad cold right now. I am miserable and although there is much I want to discuss, I just can't think coherently enough to put my thoughts into print right now. If I can't do my best on a post, I would rather not put out anything other than this sick leave hiatus. I'm feeling pretty bad right now. At age 60, I can't get over the common cold as quickly as I once did. So, with that said, I will not be posting until I am completely over this life form that has invaded my body! Hopefully, I will be well enough to be posting sometime next week. Here's hoping I am over this thing this weekend.

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Whooping Cranes and Plane Grounded by FAA

Ten young whooping cranes and their "mother" are grounded in Franklin County, Alabama due to what the FAA states may be a violation of the pilot not having a valid commercial pilot's license. Apparently the cranes were about halfway to their Florida destination for their winter home. The small aircraft that resembles the wings of a crane, was leading the young whooping cranes to their winter home. The FAA rule is primarily intended to prevent pilots from taking passengers on risky aircraft as this light aircraft definitely would qualify. It consists of a single large wing, small engine and fan blades. I'm having difficulty understanding how this would violate FAA rules since it involves Whooping Cranes rather than human passengers. In fact, if you take the ruling literally, there is no violation since there are no humans (other than the pilot) and the whooping cranes have their own mode of transportation since they can fly on their own.

As you may recall, Whopping Cranes nearly became extinct at the outset of World War II. Since that time, they have made a steady comeback. This reintroduction for the young whooping cranes was to establish an eastern fly path to Florida. The reintroduction is part of a plan between the governments of Canada and the U.S. to help migrating cranes find their way to migration habitats in Florida. A humorous aspect of this entire trip is that the pilot is dressed up in a baggy bird suit to simulate the mother of these cranes. The plan seemed to be working until the FAA stepped in to stop this harmless attempt to help this endangered species. The FAA is expected to grant a waiver so the young cranes and "mother ship" can continue onward to Florida. Hopefully, the remainder of the migration will be unimpeded due to weather, mother ship problems or government agencies.

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Terrorists At Your Local Social Security Office

The Department of Homeland Security might just be a little off base in their latest attacks on American citizens. TSA is another part of DHS that makes people want to cringe each time they go to the local airport. But, this time, DHS sent in sniper teams with semi-automatic rifles, bomb sniffing dogs to the Social Security office in Leesburg, Florida for a "random check of identification of local citizens." Normally, the average citizen going into a local Social Security office is in his or her sixties. First, how much of a threat can someone that age be? Realizing this was a random check, isn't it possible they could have at least picked a target a bit more foreboding? What if one of those Federal Protective Service (FPS) officers had a weapon discharge during this ID check at the noted hiding place of al qaeda terrorists? I simply don't see the logic behind this alleged "random drill." There is too damn much that could go wrong.

If DHS meant to intimidate the local citizens of Leesburg, mission accomplished. The SSA office was not informed of this alleged drill by the FPS agents of DHS. I'm assuming they thought they were under attack. I'm not a black helicopters type of guy. But, something doesn't make sense about a random check of people at a Social Security office. There are too many things that could go wrong. Thankfully, nothing did go wrong...this time. It seems that our tax dollars could be better served if DHS did these practice drills like at the southern border of our country. You know, like "checking the ID of the millions of illegals" streaming into our country in the dead of night. I daresay they might have a better chance of catching a terrorist there than at the Social Security Office in Leesburg, FL.

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Camera Falls at Insight Bowl

I'm sure you've all seen the "skycam" at football games that brings the audience right into the huddle at times. I've often wondered about those things. What would happen if one of them fell from the thin wire that holds them in place over the football field? I got my answer last Friday night at the Insight Bowl played in Tempe, Arizona.

The sky camera came crashing down to the field in the Insight Bowl, a game played between Iowa and Oklahoma. It nearly hit Iowa receiver Martin McNutt Jr. McNutt got tangled up in the guide wire that also came crashing down with the "flying camera" Friday night. Luckily, no one was injured. There have been few incidents involving the skycams over the years. They do seem to have a good track record. But, it would really only take one bad accident to call in question the use of such cameras over a football field. They weigh about 25 pounds. I don't know how high they are. But, let's say twenty feet (I'm sure it's more than that). 25 pounds from just 20 feet is going to seriously hurt someone. They did have to take a skycam down from a 2007 New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks game. But, according to the report, it was human error. It could have been a serious injury for someone Friday night at the Insight Bowl, even though those players wear helmets. The officials wear nothing but a baseball cap. Of course, some fans might think a skycam falling on an official might improve their calls during the game. Seriously, I am thinkful no one was hurt at the Insight Bowl.

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