Posted tagged ‘twitter’

Twitter and Facebook Attacked – Hackers Flood, Cripple Popular Social Networking Services

August 6, 2009

failwhaleAugust 6, 2009 – Popular social-networking sites Twitter AND Facebook were working feverishly this morning to defend their critical servers from Denial-of-service attacks that have nearly crippled the popular social networking sites. For those that don’t know what these DOS Attacks are, they are the same type of cybercrime perpetrated last month against several major government websites of both the US and South Korea. Investigation is on-going to find those responsible for that one as well.

CERT defines a “denial-of-service” attack as “characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service.” Basically, what hackers do is “flood” the network servers for a website to block legitimate traffic from getting trough. There intrusions prevent anyone, and in the case of Twitter this am, everyone, access to the websites.

Popular websites have been affected by these types of attacks in the recent past as well. Torrent & file-sharing site Pirate Bay was downed by a similar attack after the owners sold the site to Global Gaming Factory amidst mounting litigation and legal problems earlier in 2009.

Outside of the attacks on US and South Korea, even those governments virtually shut off from the rest of the world have been affected also. During the 2009 Iranian Election Protests, Iran’s official website was attacked and down as well by a similar intrusion.

In today’s attack, Twitter was affected by about 3 hours of total downtime. Facebook has fared a little better, with users being able to access the service but being hit with a plethora of error messages and a denial of some of the site’s features. Time will tell when everything gets back to normal for both sites.

The net effect of today’s attacks should be telling. For the social-networking giants, this should bring attention to increased security in order to prevent this type of malicious intrusion from affecting their services in the future. For users, this will shed to light the crack-like dependency we have to social networking in this day and age. And somewhere in America, there is a grandma somewhere watching her daytime soaps on television that has no idea anything bad has happened.

Becoming a Dad – Find Out the Sex of Our Baby

July 7, 2009


For those of you wondering – I saved my immediate reactions earlier from while I was in the waiting room and immediately after I found out the sex of our baby while mom-to-be was getting dressed.

July 7 – 10:30am

Megan must be inside getting her ultrasound done. When they called her name earlier, we were walking in together and I was immediately accosted at the doorway by this cold and unfeeling nurse, who said they were “only taking patients. we’ll call family when we’re ready for you.” &$%@… So I’ve been waiting outside imaging for almost two hours now. Thankfully, I’m actually not as nervous as I thought I would be… That probably has something to do with the fact that I barely slept last night, brooding of life’s possibilities and the differences between having a son or a daughter. Well, actually it was alternating between those thoughts to playing video games and back that kept me occupied. I wore myself out. And now, I think I’ll be at peace either way. After all, ultimately I guess no matter what we have, we’re going to have to raise this child the same exact way, the best we can. We’ll see what happens in a few minutes.

July 7 – 11:15am

Oh my God – words can’t express how happy I feel right now! Inevitably, I knew I’d be emotional during this but whatever I thought I was going to feel at this moment pales in comparison to the joy that is running through me. I never cried such tears of happiness in my life. When the nurse came and got me, it felt so suspenseful, the walk back towards the exam room. I felt almost tunnel-visioned, and if I could have quieted down my thoughts to a non-screaming level, I swear I could have felt my heart beat out of my chest. And when I got to Megan and saw the nurse moving the ultrasound stick thing around, I was so mentally prepared to hear that our baby was a girl. Then it happened. The nurse found what she was looking for and told us so matter of factly that our baby was in fact a boy! Oh believe me, it was a big blur from there. All I can recall was clapping my hands loud and sort of leaping up in an immediate and spontaneous reaction. I think my feet actually left the ground for a second before I hugged and kissed Megan. Now mind you, I actually tried to promise to myself that I wouldn’t cry. I actually held together pretty well other than a tear or two, but then the nurse left the room and I completely broke down in tears all over poor Megan. Crying like the little girl that I thought I would have. Happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. And as we were leaving the Doctor’s office, I just wanted to tell everyone I saw as I walked by. Walking out the door, I actually made eye contact at some poor guy that was probably waiting for his own spouse. Fist pump, “It’s a BOY!

Tweets Are Not Just For Birds Anymore – Explaining Mainstream Adoption of Twitter and Facebook in Real-World Terms

July 3, 2009


Omar Atwal “thinks tweets are for birds, not men…”

I recently saw the above comment on the Facebook feed of a good friend of mine. Obviously he does not yet understand Twitter yet or simply has not chosen to use it. And that’s alright. There are many like him. The non-early adopters who don’t yet see the value of a resource until society as a whole deems it okay. Now since I have not written much about Twitter (or Facebook) in-depth since I published my Twitter Guide for Newbies back in February 2009, I thought this would be a good opportunity to update the world on why these networks have gained popularity and will become commonplace in the years to come.

In more recent article, Ashton Kutcher, CNN, Twitter’s Million Followers, and Why it’s all Relevant, I wrote about the @aplusk and @CNNbrk‘s race to be the first Twitter account to 1,000,000 followers. Well that exposure proved to be a landmark event in social media, breaking down a section of the proverbial Berlin Wall so to speak. To date, that race exposed Twitter to the masses on a scale previously unseen. Because of it, even Oprah, arguably the world’s most popular woman, joined Twitter and from there, the world started to take notice. And then it slowly started to happen, mainstream acceptance.


So why have Twitter and Facebook gained so much traction recently? Well it’s easy enough to see. It’s because they provide a way to share and receive real-time information on the go. These networks ARE social media. They’re the new meeting place of the masses. Where AOL Messenger, and even IM, are the equivalent of a rotary phone, these social media networks are the latest in 3G I-phone technology. (and available on that device as well) As proven in the mainstream news with the Iran elections and more recently this past week with the celebrity deaths of Farrah Fawcett, BIlly Mays, and Michael Jackson, Facebook and Twitter allow for the fastest way for breaking news to go viral. Nothing else even comes close.

While traditional media channels like CNN and Reuters have to go through a series of approvals like a traditional corporate hierarchy before they are able to release information, Twitter takes news straight from the source and enables the population at large to inform each other without going through the “chain of command.” That’s why sites like Harvey Levin’s TMZ have largely become popular, because of the fact that their bloggers can report news straightaway. Streamlined. Flat. Immediate. Uncensored. Cutting out the middleman altogether.

The success of sites like TMZ and social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be likened to the same shift that corporate organizations have evangelized post-2000, the dawn of the age of globalization. In The World is Flat by Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, the author travels to Bangalore, India to identify the forces that have leveled the playing field between industrial and emerging market countries. The gist of the whole book is that  in order for corporations to succeed in today’s globalized economy, companies are being forced to flatten their corporate structures and reduce chains of command in order to move quicker, become more streamlined, and respond to their markets in real-time. That’s 21st century management. It’s the implementation of that thought process that is going to enable these companies to survive. We’ve been taught this in our university lectures ever since I was a freshman in college, and I graduated in 2005. Companies who continue to do business “the old way” will inevitably die out, they say. Nonetheless, this flattening of structures is a hard pill to swallow for many traditionalists who don’t seem to grasp concepts as quickly as the techie web 2.0 first-adopter types.

Even now, I almost can’t believe that I referred to CNN and Reuters as “traditional” media channels. Just a few years ago, weren’t we calling these websites “new media” and your local newspapers like The Houston Chronicle traditional media? Well now when you want news, do you go pull out the newspaper or do you go online? Folks, you’ve witnessed a changing of the guard in the past few years, and you barely even noticed it.

So what do these facts about globalization and news organizations have to do with Twitter and Facebook? It’s rather simple if you think about it.  If these types of changes are happening in big business and changing the way we receive our news now versus ten years ago, don’t you think the process will filter down to the fundamental basis of how we communicate as a society? Like I said, it can be tough to swallow if you’re used to doing things the old way. As human beings, we are naturally resistant to change. Yet the fact remains evident that this is where society is going on a whole, viral and real-time. Gone are the days where you had to wait for a friend to call a friend who called a friend who told you about something. That’s all happening now. And its all happening instantly on Twitter and Facebook.

An example: Earlier this very morning, I tweeted that I was at Firestone getting some auto maintenance done. No less than two minutes later, @ricardotalavera responds to me that 2 tires of his own vehicle had just blown out, he and his wife were stranded, and needed to find out whether Discount Tire by our gym was open. Within another minute, I responded back with the info on Discount Tire and an offer for picking them up. @xtalx chimed in around the same time offering Ricardo a ride as well. I found out an hour later that they were okay, doing some shopping at Babies-R-Us.

me: Getting car serviced on day off. Why are guys in auto shops always named Jerry??? Yer bringin’ out the southern accent ah never had Jerry!about 3 hours ago from TwitterRide

Ricardo: @mikecalimbas dude try getting both passenger seat tires blow. Front and back at same time. Oh yeah Liz and I are stranded about 3 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to mikecalimbas

me: @ricardotalavera you want me to call around and try to send someone???about 3 hours ago from TwitterRide in reply to ricardotalavera

Tal: @ricardotalavera yeah where yall at?if ur near me I’ll come give you guys a ride.about 3 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to ricardotalavera

Ricardo: @xtalx thanks dude an also @mikecalimbas. Cop came and got us tow truck. Car at discount tire now while @liztalavera and I at Babies R Usabout 2 hours ago from Twitterrific in reply to xtalx

So how would I explain Facebook and Twitter to the Average Joe? I’d tell him these sites are IM and E-Mail on steroids. Not just encompassing a small subsection of his friends, but everyone he could possibly network with and an even larger segment of the population if he wanted that. They allow Joe to communicate with anyone in the world he desired to connect with, should they choose to listen. Twitter is the new Instant Messenger and Facebook is the new Myspace – which was the new usernet message board, which was the new after-school club that met only on Wednesday nights. And the last thing I’d tell Joe? he’d better adopt sooner rather than later because I promise, eventually, he’s going to have to do it anyway.


Follow author @mikecalimbas on Twitter!

BONUS – A funny text message conversation from Ricardo & Darkness on the same subject of Twitter and his car.

July 3rd @ 10:22am

Darkness: You training today?

Me : I was planning to. But I am now at discount tire. Just got 2 blown tires on my Audi.

Darkness: No way really I know the feeling.

Me: But Of course if you were Twitting you already knew that.

Darkness: I told you I will not join that I am going to resist as much as I can.

Me: You so selfish.

Darkness: No I just don’t want to follow I want to be a leader.

Me: Exactly then you step it up and get people to follow YOU.


Ashton Kutcher, CNN, Twitter’s Million Followers, and Why it’s all Relevant

April 17, 2009


It felt more exciting than the last Presidential election last night as I stayed up a little past midnight CST to watch Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) beat CNN (@cnnbrk)  in their Twitter Contest to see which user would reach 1,000,000 followers first.

Both sides were campaigning hard to be the first Twitter user to reach the milestone. CNN put on the full-court press as Larry King, Anderson Cooper, and a host of the network’s other personalities appealed to their audience via their television networks. Meanwhile, Ashton decided to appeal to the Internet by streaming live on It was a close race with Ashton passing CNN around 11pm CST and not looking back. He eventually won a little past midnight last night.

(You can watch a recorded version of Ashton’s win, surrounded by Demi, friends, and Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” here.)

So I’m sure you’re asking yourself… WHY is this relevant? WHY should I care about a silly follower mark on a site I’ve never used before? And for God’s sake, WHY is Twitter the buzz in mainstream media at the moment?

I’ve already posted a few reasons on why people use the service on my Twitter Guide for Newbies. However this is a very big deal for one major reason. It marks the changing of the guard from the old way of distributing news information to the new way of pushing out these messages.

Don’t you see how the world is changing when one man can reach an audience real-time like only a media conglomerate previously could.

Twitter has given us the ability to get our news first-hand instead of through filters. For example, you want to know how filming is going for Iron Man 2? Do you think you would get a more raw response from E! ….or from Jon Favreau himself? Judge for yourself – @Jon_Favreau posted less than 11 hours ago that Scarlett Johansson’s first day was very exciting. Jon also posted that Robert Downey Jr. was on fire and that weird sleep cycles were starting to wear on him. Get the point? Getting info straight from the source is a powerful thing.

Jon Favreau postings about Iron Man 2  is just one example of the type of raw information you can get from Twitter. You can also follow celebrities like @iamdiddy, @RealHughJackman, @mrskutcher, and a host of other celebrities for news on their careers as well.

And if you think the Hollywood crowd are the only ones using Twitter, think again. The micro-blogging site was critical in the Presidential campaign of @BarackObama. His opponent, @SenJohnMcCain uses the site also. Even humanitarian groups like @officialpeta have adopted the service.

Twitter is reaching critical mass and becoming mainstream. You may have seen it as irrelevant but pretty soon, you won’t be able to ignore it. How do I know? Because at one point in time, the average Joe was shunning e-mail and now he has an e-mail account. This is the same guy who also blasted Myspace, Facebook, and every other emerging technology until they got to the point where Twitter is going now. Pretty soon, that guy will be a user too and go on blasting the next best thing.

My opinion anyway.

So if you thought Twitter was just for geeks, well that day has already past. Now it’s about celebrities and news organizations and a million followers. And today at 4pm, yet another of the world’s icons, @Oprah, is making her first tweet live on her show. The soccer moms will sure follow…

DNC T-Mobile G1 Android Market User Guide

March 24, 2009


Dear G1 Android Phone Users,
I’m a user myself. I bought this phone with the idea that it would be the best phone ever! What I found out was that it doesn’t make itself better on its own. The default applications on the phone were so-so at best.  I understand your frustration so I did some research online.
What I found was two things.
1. The G1 Market offers a wide array of applications available for download to make your phone better.
2. Most of the aforementioned applications are functionally useless and/or poorly designed. And some even want you to charge for them!
With this knowledge in mind and a little effort, I scoured the web for any information that would help me make my beloved phone work the way I originally intended it to. Again, there was a dearth of information. But I persisted to search the market and try out all the promising new applications. And wow, the applications I find by looking daily, sometimes every hour, keep getting better and better!
So I want to share my knowledge with all you users, in the hopes that you can make your phone what you truly wanted as well!


DNC T-Mobile G1 Android Market User Guide


*these reviews are current to date and best of all, the applications mentioned herein are all FREE on the Android Market. Categories in no particular order.

Best Home / Desktop Navigation – replace your home screen

  • aHome Lite – Originally intended as a clone of Apple’s I-Phone interface, this application proves to be the most easy-to-use in navigation and interface. It also has several themes with more coming.Functionally, this desktop client provides a dock bar on the bottom of the screen for your most used programs, which for most are their communication tools. It also scrolls to provide 6 screens, all customizable for widgets and applications. And unlike the generic Home and Open Home applications, you do not need to download additional apps to change icon names. It comes ready-made to do so!

Best Phonebook / Contact Utilities – makes your contacts better

  • StarContact–  The newest phonebook application, this provides everything you’d need to make a phone call. It has a predictive T-9 dialer, a direct link to voicemail and favorites, and also a full call log in addition to a search function.
  • Phonebook –  This is a marked improvement from the generic Contact application. It provides a dialer, favorites, and your contacts complete with their user icon for caller-ID. One of the best uses of this app is under the more tab, where you can see your most and least frequently contacted numbers for easy dialing.
  • Facebook Sync – Automatically imports your contacts’ Facebook photos to use for caller ID and does so effortlessly for you.
  • SMS Backup – One of the most useful apps for the G1! Automatically backs up all SMS messages to a folder in your Gmail account during autosynch. Never lose a text message again!

Best Wallpaper – find just about any background you want

  • Backgrounds – Updated daily, this application is one of my most used applications. Backgrounds provides a plethora of categories for specific searches a well as the ability to mark wallpaper as favorites, for those who change their minds often. I’ve also found that the wallpaper therein is of high quality.

Best Organizational – notes and lists that help you keep track of your life

  • 3banana – Allows the user to take standard text notes and also integrates the G1’s camera feature for picture notes as well.These notes can be commented or shared via Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • OI Shopping List – This is a basic list-making utility with check boxes for completion and list cleanup. It allows for the creation of multiple lists, which are easy to navigate. Users may also be converted into CSV files for exporting.

Best Financial – manage your money and keep track of your accounts

  • dgMoney – What I needed here was a place where I could easily manage and maintain multiple accounts. dgMoney allows me to enter transactions and mark each one as cleared, voided, uncleared, or reconciled. It shows me two balances per account, one for actual and one for what has cleared. dgMoney also allows me to export my transactions to a .csv file if I need to and best of all, it can be password protected so nobody can view my accounts but me. Just what I need in this area!

Best Search – why just search google when you can search everywhere

  • QuickSearch – Gives the user a search tab with an option for voice search as well as a cache of all previous searches. The main difference between this and the standard Google app is that it allows you to search a plethora of different sources like: Yahoo, Ask, Live, Answers, eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia, ESPN, M-W Dictionary, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, Digg, Twitter, plus more in the areas of Media and Shopping. Get the point?
  • SearchMe – A graphical search tool that is awesome for searching screenshots of web pages or looking for images on the go.

Best Music – stream today’s best music and news radio to your phone

  • Streamfurious – Streaming audio site that has a few of my favorites, such as ESPN Radio & Fox News.
  • Imeem Mobile – Streaming audio from imeem. Excellent for Top 100 or whatever category you wish to listen to.

Best Timekeepers – useful alarms and stopwatches

  • Digital Clock – It’s the best alarm clock on the market. Large letters with custom colors designated by te user. And the most annoying alarm beep in the world. Exactly what I need.
  • Ultimate StopWatch – This is the best stopwatch on the market because it looks exactly like a stopwatch and is just as easy to operate. It also allows the user to log lap times as well.

Best RSS Reader – get your feed on the go

  • Greed – RSS Reader for Google Reader. Imports all your feeds for reading on the go. Also has sections for folders, starred items, feeds, and of course, new items.

Best All-in-One Portals – all you need for news, movie times, weather, sports, etc.

  • Handstand – Who needs separate apps for news, weather, movie times, etc? I don’t because I have this application, which is the most comprehensive of all these types of applications. It can even tell you about restaurants around your area, and has much more information than standalone restaurant-finder applications.
  • Where – Where is similar to Handstand except it has slightly different information. I would also say that this application is a little more visually-oriented, whereas Handstand is solely content driven. A neat GPS feature for this app is that it can tell you nearby gas prices and Starbucks locations.

Best System Tools – back-end applications that help

  • MemoryForLemmings – Supposedly clears out unused system memory & java memory. I only write supposedly because there is no way for me to prove that this is actually occurring. But it seems to work, clearing out 88k-94k in memory if I use it once a day.
  • aTrackDog – Scans your application data and lets you know if you have the latest versions of each application. Very useful for proactively updating your phone. Also useful for uninstalling unwanted applications quickly.
  • Ringdroid – Why pay for ringtones? Create your own with this easy-to-use application. It opens up any music file in your library and allows you to splice off any portion you use for a purely custom ring tones.
  • Flashlight – Sets your screen to its brighest for helping you navigate those dark rooms at night.

Best Browser – like going from Netscape to Firefox

  • Steel – Quite a bit more user friendly that the default G1 browser, Steel also comes equipped with a soft keyboard and the ability to save pictures & media by long-press.

Best Use of GPS

  • Google Maps – Well…. duh. Google Maps is the KING of directions, especially when you can choose ‘my current location’ as a starting point and something like ‘Chili’s Bar & Grill” as the destination and it will map you to the closest one.
  • Wikitude AR Travel Guide – This is one of the earliest applications for the G1 but it makes for excellent use as a travel companion. What it does is utilize the GPS function of Android to direct the user to local landmarks, It has several views as well – map, camera, and text. In camera view, you can be standing in front of the George Washington Memorial in Washington DC and point its direction. Your phone will then show you information on the landmark in wikipedia-type style. Very useful when on vacation!
  • PingLocation – This allows you to update your contacts on where you are, should you not be by your phone. How does this make sense? Well, if you get 2 missed calls in a row, this program will automatically send an SMSmessage back to the caller with your location. This is customizable by street, radius, etc. A similar program,Pintail, allows anyone to text your phone for a location request. Yet another showcase of the G1’s GPS abilities.

Slickest Applications – these applications are meant to trick

  • Screen Crack – Makes your phone look broken. No seriously, it looks like the phone screen is broken when you start this application. I’ve actually had people feel sorry for me over it.
  • Fake-A-Call Free – Need out of an awkward situation? This application makes it look like somebody is calling you. The ring, any name and number you choose… all of it looks highly authentic. Useful on blind dates, getting out of parties, and avoiding sniveling friends.
  • Metal Detector – Okay, I don’t know if this is actually a trick or not. This new application just came out and it works as a metal detector! That’s crazy!

Best Security – protect your important information

  • Autolock – You know the dotted key guard pattern feature for your G1? Autolock allows your handset to auto-activate this feature after any number of minutes that you choose, making it less annoying for actual use. The keyguard on the generic G1 locks the phone with every press of the end button. With this, your phone won’t require a pass code unless I walk away for more than 15 minutes, which is exactly what I need.
  • Lock 2.0 – Free – A slide unlocking application that mirrors that of the iPhone. You can change the background as well.

Best Shopping – waste money like me and just as easy

  • ShopSaavy – This is the original bar code scanner program that everyone raved about. And it still works great. I just don’t use it that much. Nonetheless, ShopSaavy is very useful for comparison shopping, especially for items like books and software.
  • Craigsphone –  A Craigslist client for the G1 smartphone. Easy-to-use and very straightforward. You can browse Craigslist easily with this tool when need be.
  • Pkt Auctions eBay – Works just like eBay. The interface is really quite nice and the navigation quite easy. I’ve bought $100’s worth of useless crap on my G1 already, proving that this application works as intended.
  • CraigsAlert-free – Now THIS is awesome for Craigslist users. It allows you to enter a search like say, “queen beds in Houston”, and what it does is ping Craigslist every 6 hours for items that much your search. Now you can keep an eye out for those great deals without actually having to look every time!

My Most Used Personally – applications I use most on a daily basis

  • textonphone – What this allows you to do is read books o your phone. So not only do you save yourself the trouble of carrying books around, but you can read anywhere. It does have a limited selection but there are dozens of books worth reading. So far, I’ve finished Foutainhead, Freakonomics, Art of Seduction, and may others. Without a doubt, my most used application.
  • DailyHoroscope – Much more than a daily horoscope, this application shows you characteristics, other character traits, and compatibility of your astrological sign as well!
  • Twitterride & twit2go– I use Twitter a ton. The microblogging site gets a lot of play for me. This applications keeps me connected to the twitterverse on the go. Above and beyond that, it’s a smaller file and less cumbersome than Twitroid and is much easier to use on a whole!

That’s it guys. Hope you found this useful. Subscribe or check back to the site regularly for more on technology and everything else in life. Thanks!