5 Things - Week Ending 1/18/13

This is the 35th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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Java is a very tempting target for malware developers, as it is available to all major OSes. This will mean a brisk trade in the cybercrime underground for zero-days for a long time to come. While the recent patch that was quickly released by Oracle puts out the raging zero-day fire, there are plenty more smouldering issues that are ready to erupt in flames at any moment. It is helpful that Oracle has increased Java’s default security level, requiring users to acknowledge and click Java content before it will run, but they allow signed content to run unimpeded. Signing applications has never been a significant hurdle to malware developers. This may delay the next major zero-day problem, but not for long.

I advised people a couple weeks ago to get rid of Java due to various security concerns. Check out my blog post title, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT - JAVA to learn more.


From Click to Delivery: Inside Amazon's Cyber Monday Strategy

Neal Karlinsky and Brandon Baur:

Amazon has 80 giant fulfillment centers strategically sprinkled around the globe that are ready to fulfill every order from click to delivery. The process follows miles of conveyer belts inside a massive 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse that is like the unseen shopping mall that never closes.

If you click on the link above to read this article you will be able to watch a fascinating video about the inner workings of an Amazon warehouse. It is quite amazing!


Bexar set to turn the page on idea of books in libraries

John W. Gonzalez:

Today, after months of planning, Wolff and other county leaders will announce plans to launch the nation’s first bookless public library system, BiblioTech, with a prototype location on the South Side opening in the fall.

For the past couple years I have thought that libraries will have to adapt to the digital revolution that is taking place. In 20 years will libraries still be purchasing physical books? Will counties and cities close library buildings down due to budget cuts? Will they instead just offer digital books online?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but it does appear that a county in Texas is at least exploring the possibility of a library without physical books. I expect other counties to be watching closely.


Woman Drives for 900 Miles Instead of 90 Thanks to GPS Error

Jesus Diaz:

The woman, 67-year-old Sabine Moreau, started her journey in her home town of Hainault Erquelinnes, Belgium. She wanted to pick up a friend at a train station in Brussels, just 93 miles north from her point of origin. But instead, she turned on her GPS, which told her to drive south, taking her turn by turn all the way down to Zagreb, in Croatia. Instead of a couple hours in the car, she spent a couple days to cover the 900 miles that separates both points in Europe.

In Belgium, like America, common sense is not so common! If your GPS tells you to drive somewhere that doesn't seem to make sense you might want to pull over to the side of the road and look at things a bit closer.

I can't believe this woman traveled for 900 miles! That is ridiculous!


T-Mobile’s CEO is doing something crazy: He’s trying to not rip us off

Jeffrey Van Camp:

To do that, T-Mobile is turning its back on a number of the money-grubbing practices that have, sadly, become standard in the wireless industry. They will no longer require two-year contracts, people can bring devices from any carrier, and he’s going to end hidden charges. Instead of secretly building the cost of phones into a two-year contract, T-Mobile will sell phones for their full (expensive) prices. He unveiled a $70-a-month unlimited talk, text, and data plan with no throttling – a price and option we haven’t seen for years – promised the iPhone, and said that this is just the beginning. You know what? I believe him.

The new CEO at T-Mobile seems like he is ready to shake things up. It will interesting to see how consumers respond to these changes. It also sounds like the iPhone will be offered on T-Mobile's network for the first time in 2013.