In an effort to deter cell phone theft, U.S. wireless carriers have made a first step towards “a joint ‘blacklist’ database of identifying information about cell phones reported lost or stolen”. Now, cell phone companies check phones against the database before reactivating phones. Before this joint action, carriers would suspend the service on a phone after was reported as lost or stolen; this phone could still be reactivated by a thief on a new account. According to Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs for CTIA, “the point of the blacklist database is to dry up the aftermarket for stolen phones. If you can’t reactivate a stolen phone, it’s just a worthless hunk of plastic and metal.” 
Cell phone theft is common because many users will leave them laying around and not keep a close eye on them. One the device has been stolen, it is difficult to track down and recover. This joint database effort between carriers and retailers will help to cut down on the number of devices that are stolen. However, I believe that Guttman-McCabe’s comment that said stolen phones are only a “worthless hunk of plastic and metal” is not true. The phones can be cannibalized for parts and sold to people that are looking for parts to repair their phone.
In addition to thieves tearing the phones apart for individual parts, loopholes still exists that can still help thieves sell the stolen device. “For example, AT&T and T-Mobile use removable SIM cards to identify handsets, which are easily replaceable.” Additionally, thieves can use computer programs to modify the phone’s unique identification number. Stolen phones are also sold in other countries and activated on carriers in those countries. 
Regardless of the ability to sell stolen phone over seas, reprogram the phones ID, and selling individual components, the shared database will help reduce the number of stolen devices. The Wall Street Journal reported, “phone-related crimes in London have decreased by 25 percent in the last eight years despite a two-fold increase in usage”.
Facebook Gifts make giving last-minute gifts easier than ever. This new feature allows users to pick a gift from a list of approved retailers. Currently, vendors such as “Starbucks, Gund teddy bears, and Magnolia Bakery are among the retailers included at launch”. Now, people are able to celebrate their Facebook friends’ birthdays in a different way other than “saying ‘Happy Birthday,’ ‘Congratulations,’ or simply, ‘I’m thinking of you,’ “. Users are able to select, purchase, and “ship real-world presents” in a small amount of time; they do not even have to leave the Facebook site. 
When sending a gift, the buyer can choose to give the gift publicly (shared with friends on their Timeline) or privately. The recipient immediately receives a notification with a “digital greeting card and preview of the gift”. The recipient replies with the address where the gift should be delivered. The buyer has an option to pay for the item when it is received or when making the purchase. 
In the past, Facebook tried the gifts idea; however, the gifts that were available to be purchased were only worthless virtual gifts. The move towards offering the ability to effortlessly give real-world presents to your Facebook friends and family will transform Facebook. Now, users can “send gifts from birthday reminders or from their friend’s timeline”. 
The new gift-giving feature will come in handy for many Facebook users that forget to pick up a present for a friend or relative’s birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc. . Although, it will probably be cheaper to find a gift on another online site and then just send your Facebook friend a message and tell them happy birthday and that their present is on the way to their house. However, you still have a brand new way to surprise your friends with gifts like “cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, a stuffed animal from Gund, or a digital gift card from Starbucks” .
Jessica Mellow in the iPhone 5 waiting line.
(Credit: Greg Sandoval)
People have already begun to line up outside of the Cube, Apple’s 5th Avenue store. They have been there since Friday afternoon—one week before the release data for the iPhone 5. These people are sitting and sleeping out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Many will come to line up so they can buy an iPhone 5 on the very first day; however, some people do not just line up to buy the latest iPhone. People like Hazem Sayed and Jessica Mellow also camp out in line to promote or market something when interviewers come by. Sayed desires to get publicity for a software application. In addition to waiting in line to get an iPhone, Mellow camped out last October before the release of the iPhone 4s to promote a company. 
When it comes to Apple releasing new products, people can act strangely. Even Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak lines up to wait for a device. While waiting, he chats with Apple fans and signs their iPhones. Wozniak must love the experience because he “could certainly buy the product before it come[s] out”. Some will try to sell their spot in line; however, they have failed. A guy in London got several companies to sponsor his waiting in line; the companies paid for “everything from the food he ate to the gear that protected him from the elements”. 
No matter what product Apple releases, people will line up for it regardless of what the weather is like. They respect the quality of the devices that Apple designs and sells. Apple has a good reputation for designing and developing quality hardware and software. Their hardware and software are created to work in harmony together; the Apple quote “it just works” illustrates this very well. In countless keynote speeches, Apple representatives have repeated this phrase.
AntiSec, short for anti-security, claims they stole 12 million Apple iOS device Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) by breaching FBI security. The group released a million of them on a website. AntiSec alleges they had a computer belonging to a FBI agent to gain access “to a file containing the list of the Apple IDs”. The online posting “did not identify the agent or who the ID numbers belonged to.” 
AntiSec said that they chose to only “release a portion of the Apple IDs list to get people’s attention to its claims that the FBI is gathering people’s Apple device details.” In the note that AntiSec posted online, AntiSec said they have learned that people do not pay attention when one says, “hey, FBI is using your device detail.” The AntiSec group claims that a portion of the devices on the list contains names, telephone numbers, addresses, and ZIP codes, but they chose to only reveal the user IDs, device types, and device names in the portion of the list it released. 
This information could cause lot of problems for Apple devices owners since their personal and contact information is tied to their device’s UDID. A CNET article states that the online posting “says the group posted the data out of suspicion the FBI was using the UDIDs for nefarious purposes, such has people tracking, as well as to protest the use of UDIDs in general” . A lot of the personal data was removed before posting the IDs online, but the hacker group left enough data for “ ‘a significant amount of users’ to search the list for their devices” .
Even though you can use a tool like they one developed by the TNW tech team , there is little to nothing a device owner can do to protect their information or have their device information removed from the list. Users cannot change their UDID “the way you can change a password” .
In our society today, protection of private information is crucial. However, security protocols have to be continuously updated. Data leaks like this can scare individuals because they do not know what the outcome of the data leak will be. With incidents such as LinkedIn passwords being compromised ; 350,000 UNC Charlotte students’ social security numbers exposed in a data breach ; Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL passwords being leaked ; and countless other information exposures, more users are aware that their information is not as safe as what many people believe. As stated above, data breaches and information leaks can and have happened to other companies, not just Apple.
Mashable’s article titled “38% of us Would Rather Clean a Toilet Than Think of New Password” reports that login credentials and site authentications are a hassle for many people. In a recent Harris Interactive poll, “some 38% of us think attempting to solve world peace would be a more manageable task than trying to deal with yet another set of login credentials.” All of this hassle makes it easier for hackers to gain access to our online accounts because we tend to either use to same passwords for multiple accounts or we forget our passwords. 
I find it difficult to create and remember every password for every online account that I have. For each site that I visit, there are different sets of password rules. The rules dictate how many characters I can use; if the characters are upper case, lower case, or a mixture of both; whether or not numbers are allowed; what symbols are allowed; if a password history restriction exists; etc.
After getting all of the password rules and restrictions straight in my head, I have to come up with the most secure password that I can think of and remember. I try not to use all dictionary words. Words found in a dictionary do not make a strong password . Many times, people try to substitute numbers in for letters; Lifehacker points out that password hackers are able to isolate patterns and get around our “clever password trick” .
In addition to developing a secure password, Google suggests that in order to keep your passwords secure that you never write them down, do not tell anyone your password, and change it often . A service called LastPass allows you to create one strong password for your LastPass account. LastPass claims that your LastPass account password is “the last password that you’ll have to remember” . When you need a new password for an online account, LastPass generates a random password for you and stores it in your account. This service is great until a hacker cracks the password to your LastPass account.
Keeping accounts secure is essential in the age we live in. Individuals and corporations have sensitive information that lives online. It is imperative that this information stays out of the hands identity thieves, hackers, criminals, etc.
How secure are your passwords?
Nine years ago today, I asked the best and most beautiful girl to be my girlfriend–she said yes. Ever since I met her, she has been a major blessing. I love to be around her. She is so uplifting, and she encourages me to be a better person and grow closer to the Lord.
Over these past 9 years, we have gone through so much together. I have enjoyed dating her from day one. She makes me smile, and she make me laugh.
We got got engaged on December 21, 2007. And on November 27, 2010, I married that girl.
Lauren Paige Smith, I love! You mean the world to me. I am so glad that the Lord blessed me with you. I love you babe.
I really appreciate those that have been there for both Paige and I over the past 5-6 months. We have been through a lot. Paige shared a summary of what has taken place up to in her blog post.
Thank you to those that have taken Paige to various appointments when I was in class, working, doing homework, working on projects for school, etc. It means a lot that you would take time to help me out.
I pray that God will truly bless each of you that have volunteered, been praying for us, and sent cards. You all have been a big blessing to us! Please continue that God will provide for us and that He will heal Paige from head to toe.
Thanks again and God Bless!
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
(Matthew 25:40 ESV)
As I sit here at youth prayer night, I am amazed at what God has done in out youth group. It is not the same group that I was a part of when Paige and I started helping Tessa and Wilson about a year ago. God has done so much! Each of the youth has been impacted by God in an indescribable way. He has transformed them. They are on a great journey towards something bigger and better. He has put a spirit of worship and praise in their hearts. He is teaching them how to pray and communicate with Him. Awesome!
Thank you O Lord for the work You have begun. I ask that you continue to work in them and through them. God give them wisdom and power to do great works in Your Name. Let them impact those around them at school, in their family, their friends, and even us a their youth leaders. O God do a work! Yes Lord move like a mighty wind. Transform us into the creation that you want us to be, the way You designed us to be.
God, You made us in Your image; You gave us the ability to love; and You gave us the freedom of choice. Help us to choose to serve You. Help us to love you and to love others-even our enemies. Help us to love like You love and forgive like You forgive. Lord, let us bless others. You have surly blessed us; now let us bless others!
Do a great work in us Lord.
In Your name, AMEN!
I am thankful for the position God has place me in at Harvest Church. He has place me and my wife in a place where we can impact the lives of teenagers.
Over the past few years, God has taught me many things. He has often used certain people to teach me different lessons that he wants me to learn. I am thankful for those people. Just to list a few (in no particular order): Bill Baldwin, Harry Jones, Dwight Mabry, John Huneycutt, Jesse Herring, Daniel and Helen Seagraves, Ruby Benge, Karen Marthers, Robert and Wendy Britt, and Lonnie Bateman. These individuals have taught me what it means to be a youth leader.
Now, I get an opportunity to serve with my wife alongside Wilson and Tessa Moore and Jimmy and Laura Anderson. We have an awesome youth group that is growing in the Lord. Over the past year, these teens have come a long way. They learned so much about the Bible, loving and caring for others, worshipping the God of creation, and so much more!
It means so much to me to see these guys growing in faith. God is truly raising them up to be worshippers, disciples, and servants. God is adding more and more youth to our group every month! It is so great to see visitors come into our weekly youth meeting.
God loves young people so much and He can really use them for the building of His kingdom. And it is an honor to be used by God to train these teens up in the love and power of Jesus’ name.
I love and care for each of the youth that I get to serve with!