Friday, December 20, 2013

Target Credit Card Breach

Target's national point of sale system was compromised and carders stole magstrip data and PIN numbers for 40,000,000 credit and debit cards.

This isn't some online store hack where all they got was the credit card numbers.  They got complete mag strip data and PIN numbers.  Everything they need to clone the cards and use them.

This means that bad guys can print a duplicate card then use the PIN to take cash from victim accounts at ATM machines.

They can also clone the cards and use them as credit cards to purchase stuff from the Internet and in person.

If you purchased anything at Target between November 28 and December 15, you need to report your card stolen and get a new card.

The data is already hitting carder markets and bad guys are stealing funds.

I had to cancel my USAA card because I bought my daughter's new scooter on Dec 3 at Target.

Please take this seriously.  Don't be a victim of data theft.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finals Week

It is finals week this week.  Here at Wicked Broadband we know that means lots of stress and seemingly endless suck.

We always make a concerted effort to keep our service un-interrupted, but this week we are all going to be putting in extra effort to make sure your studying isn't interrupted by Internet outages or slowdowns.

If you have problems with your Internet, please don't hesitate to call us (785) 371-4214 or send me a note.  I check my email constantly (some might even say obsessively).

Thanks, we have enjoyed serving you this semester and look forward to your return in January.

BTW: We have lots of network upgrades/changes/clean-up planned for winter break, so you'll return to an even faster, more reliable network.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why can't I get ESPN3 on Wicked Broadband's Network?

From time to time I get this question.  Why can't I get ESPN3 or WatchESPN on Wicked Broadband's network?

To get access to selected ESPN websites for our customers Wicked Broadband would have to pay ESPN for every single subscriber on our network whether they use ESPN3 or not.  That means that every single customer's bill would go up to help pay ESPN for a few customers to use the ESPN website.

This type of thing happened in the Cable TV industry in the 1980's and 1990's.  It is how your cable bill got so huge and your cable package got so bloated with channels that you don't watch.  ESPN and other content providers forced cable providers to pay for their content whether the customer wanted to watch it or not.

Imagine what would happen if Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube insisted that your Internet service provider (ISP) pay them directly?  Your Internet bill would get ENORMOUS as every popular website on the Internet demanded a payment from the ISP for every single subscriber whether that subscriber wants to use their website or not.

You, the customer, would be left trying to choose between different ISPs based on which websites the ISP chooses to pay.  So one ISP might allow you to use Google and MySpace.  A competing ISP might only allow you to use Bing and Facebook.  An ISP's success would hinge on what kind of deals they could negotiate with content providers.   This would give huge advantages to large ISPs like WOW!, Time Warner and Comcast at the expense of small ISPs like Wicked Broadband.

In my mind, ESPN's actions should be illegal.  Unfortunately the FCC is being lead by the former top lobbyist for the Cable TV industry.  I'm not holding my breath for intervention by FCC any time soon.

Bottom line, we refuse to contribute to an Internet that "works" like Cable TV.  We don't think that ISPs should be in the business of choosing which websites work and which ones don't.  If ESPN wants your business then they will allow you, the customer, to purchase their content directly.  If they don't want to sell you their content that is their problem.

There are customers who feel that their ISP should be allowed to choose which websites work.  There are customers who will tolerate their ISP monitoring, intercepting and manipulating their web traffic (I'm talking about AT&T).  There are customers who want to do business with companies that are against an open Internet.  Those customers should find another ISP, Wicked Broadband isn't going to engage in these types of business practices.

Customers who want to learn more about why your cable bill is so high, why Internet speeds in the US have lagged behind the rest of the world and why you can't get the TV channels you want a la carte should read this book:  Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wicked Broadband mentioned in Wired Magazine

We got another mention in Wired Magazine today.  Toward the bottom of the article right next to Google Fiber.

It is pretty neat to see our little company mentioned by the technology industry's premier news source.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Locate your loved ones.......

This week a member of the Lawrence community went missing for several days before being found deceased by law enforcement.  One of the symptoms of hypothermia is "mild confusion", so when someone gets very, very cold it is easy for them to become lost, disoriented and fatigued.  In severe cases this can lead to death.

I couldn't help but think what I would do if my wife went missing for some reason on a freezing cold night.

It occurred to me that one easy way to locate someone is to have their mobile phone send back its GPS coordinates, so after reading about this local tragedy Kris and I have decided to install location software on our phones.  This software allows me to locate her phone and vice versa.  After looking at the options, we selected "Where's my Droid" because it is free, easy to use and is well recommended by the Android community.

We changed the default text commands to random stings, locked the front end with a PIN and stored the PIN and strings in our secure password vault.  This allows either Kris or I to locate the other person's phone in an emergency.  

Please note: This technology can be used in a seriously creepy way, so if you decide this might be a good idea, be sure you only give the keys to someone who you trust completely.

Monday, December 2, 2013

New Customers

Last month was very, very busy for us.  We added five new greek houses to our little Wicked Broadband family.  We'd like to welcome the 130 men of Sigma Chi and Delta Tau Delta to our network.  We'd also like to welcome the 310 women of Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Delta Delta and Alpha Gamma Delta.

You might not know it, but we are the preferred ISP of the Greek houses at the University of Kansas.  We provide service to 4 out of 5 houses at KU.