November 21, 2006

Cingular Blackjack vs SMT5600 – 1st Look

Cingular BlackjackMy shiny new Cingular Blackjack (Samsung i607) arrived today!!! The Blackjack is Samsung’s latest foray into the Windows Smartphone category, meant to compete head-to-head with the Motorola Q. As a Cingular customer, I’ve had serious phone envy for a long time. When Cingular announced its new G3 phones, I could not wait to order. Cingular started selling them last Wednesday online, so I ordered mine at 1:00AM to make sure I was 1st in line. My conversation with the Cingular activation guy tells me this was a good move, because these phones are seriously constrained. If you want one, get your order in soon, but be prepared to wait.

For those not familiar with Microsoft-based cell phones, there are basically 2 flavors: 1) Pocket PC Phone; 2) Smartphone. The key to choosing between the two is to decide whether you need a PDA or a cell phone. Pocket PC phones are full function PDAs with touch screens and a large range of applications. Smartphones are phones 1st, with a more limited set of PDA applications. Smartphones do not have touch screens, and are optimized for 1-handed operation. (read more…)

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November 18, 2006

WordPress 2.0.4 Vulnerabilities

Time to upgrade!!! A warning about multiple vulnerabilities in WordPress versions prior to 2.0.5 just popped on Full Disclosure.

We upgraded to 2.0.5 and it seems to be stable and working great. For all our friends using WordPress, we recommend you download 2.0.5 and upgrade ASAP. The upgrade instructions at wordpress.org are simple and easy to follow. Just make sure you backup first!

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November 14, 2006

How to buy a 65” Plasma for $.99

Panasonic PlasmaHow secure is your web application? Are you sure? We are constantly amazed at the lack of basic security many companies employ online. For instance, it has been known for years that e-commerce sites utilizing hidden fields are susceptible to manipulation. The problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and is actually being made worse by some service providers. Many smaller hosting companies offer software solutions to help small businesses get online “faster” and “easier.” This almost never translates to more secure.

Which brings me to the title of this article. During my studies for the CEH exam, I was exposed to the seriously flawed CartIt.cgi shopping cart application. CartIt.cgi is a widely used shopping cart that stopped being developed last year. The reason this application is flawed is that it uses hidden fields within the HTML POST to submit the price and quantity when the user clicks on the add-to-cart button. Hidden fields are easy to manipulate. One of the easiest is to use a local proxy, such as Paros, to intercept the POST, effectively launching a man-in-the-middle attack. This allows you to change the price before it is submitted to the server. (read more…)

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November 13, 2006

New Cingular G3 Phones Leapfrog the Competition

Samsung BlackjackWe do a lot of work with Microsoft Windows Smartphones, so we have anxiously been awaiting the next generation of phones. Verizon has been the clear leader in the US, offering the Palm 700W, the Motorola Q, & the HTC XV6700. Those of us with Cingular contracts have suffered from phone envy for a long time.

According to our friends over at MS Mobiles, the situation changes Thursday, the 16th of November. Cingular is set to ship 2 new smartphones:

  • The Samsung Blackjack is a Q killer. It offers G3 HSDPA broadband speeds, which are more than double the speeds of Verizon’s “high-speed” broadband. It is also a quad-band phone, making it well suited for world travelers.
  • The HTC Hermes, aka Cingular 8525 is the latest version of its popular pocket PC phone, which offers full touch screen PDA functionality. It is similar to the Verizon XV6700, but like the Blackjack, the 8525 offers HSDPA broadband. The 8525 also has a 2 megapixel camera and 802.11 support.

Both of these have great multimedia capabilities, such as streaming audio and video, but they really shine as business tools. If you have Microsoft Exchange 2003, these phones are a must-have. In Exchange 2003, Microsoft beefed up its wireless activesync. With a Windows-based phone and an accessible Exchange 2003 web access server, you can synchronize e-mail, contacts and calendars over the cellular network. With Exchange SP2, Exchange can push data to your phone, but this is a huge battery drain. The better option is to set your phone to synchronize every 5-15 minutes. Exchange combines with a Windows Smartphone blows away the capabilities of blackberrys and you don’t need any extra software to roll this out to your entire company.

I’m going to order the Blackjack as soon as it is released on Thursday, and hope to have a real-world review up soon.

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November 1, 2006

10+ Rules of Geek E-Commerce

Whether you know it or not, there is a booming marketplace out there called the Internet and one of the most successful uses for it has been E-Commerce. There are many markets, from grandma who wants pictures of her grandkids delivered to her doorstep to, yes, Geeks. In this article, we’re going to focus on how to provide E-Commerce to Geeks; how to get them, how to keep them, and how to get them back if you lost them. Please try to remember that the scope of selling to Geeks isn’t just restricted to shops like ThinkGeek (which target individuals) but businesses of all shapes and sizes with very diversified markets; geeks have jobs too.

Everyone knows that the best marketing is word of mouth! You do know this, right? Word of mouth can either make you, or it can break you. It all depends on what is being said about your business. The key is to both drive new business and to retain old business (repeat customers rock!). The path to success in each of these areas is your customer service. Customer service is the lifeblood of your organization. Almost anyone can sell something once – it’s selling the second time around that is the difficult part, especially if the customer (henceforth, your Geek) has had a bad experience with your company.

Try to follow these rules (listed below in semi-random order), and you’ll be well on your way to success when selling to Geeks. Many of these rules can apply to more than just Geek E-Commerce. These are basic rules that any organization can and should follow.

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