Certified Scrum Master

I have successfully completed the Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program from the International SCRUM Institute:

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Download Pro Calculator 1.1

The Download Pro Calculator (DL Pro Calc) is an iPhone application designed for software professionals and download power users looking to estimate the download time and the storage media required for any given download.

Version 1.1 is now available for download on Apple’s iTunes App Store.

With this release, DL Pro Calc is now iOS 4 certified and iAd supported.  The Connection Speed and the Storage Media list can now be customized.  In addition, the Fishkisses iPhone blog is now accessible via the About button on the Preferences screen.

iAd Supported

To help offset development cost, DL Pro Calc is now iAd supported.  When ads are available, the ad banner is displayed at the top of the application.  To view and interact with the ad, tap on the ad banner.  To return to the application, simply tap the “X” in the upper left corner to close the ad.  When no ads are available, the ad banner is hidden.

Customized Connection Speed / Storage Media List

The Connection Speed and the Storage Media list can now be customized.  To delete from the default list, make a selection (e.g. “56.6 Kbps”) and then tap on the “” button on the lower left corner.  Confirm by tapping on the Delete button when prompted.

To add a new entry to the list, tap on the “+” button on the lower left corner.  After the new entry has been customized, tap on the Save button in the upper right corner to save it.  The new entry is added to the top of the list or above the current selection.

Fishkisses News

To get updates on the next DL Pro Calc release and other iPhone related news from Fishkisses Design, checkout the Fishkisses iPhone blog.  It is now accessible via the About button on the Preferences screen.

Apple’s WWDC 2010 Keynote Address

Apple has posted the WWDC 2010 Keynote Address that was presented by Apple CEO, Steve Jobs earlier this week.  If you are an iPhone user, Apple developer or just a fan of mobile technology like me, you will want to tune in to this 2 hour video.  If you have a broadband connection, watch it in HD (high definition) to fully enjoy some of the iPhone 4 demos.  Steve is very proud of the new Retina display.

The keynote covers key stats from recent iPad launch, an update on the iPhone Apps Store, some really cool iPhone apps, and lastly iPhone 4 as well as the re-branded iOS4 (formerly known as iPhone OS).  Below are highlights (my notes) if you don’t have time to watch the video.

iPad Update

  • 2 Million iPads sold in the first 59 days.  1 sold every 3 seconds
  • 8,500 native apps available with 35 Million downloads already
  • 5 Million books downloaded from the iBooks store in the first 65 days.  22% of all eBook sales (market share)
  • PDFs now viewable in iBook

App Store Update

  • Supports 2 platforms:  HTML 5 and App Store
  • Over 225,000 apps available for download and/or purchase
  • 15,000 apps (new & updates) in 30 languages submitted each week
  • 95% of apps approved within 7 days
  • Top 3 reasons for app rejections:  (1) App doesn’t function as advertised  (2) Use of private APIs and (3) App crashes
  • 5 Billion downloads from App Store so far
  • 70% of apps revenue paid to developers;  $1 Billion paid (WOW!)

Cool / Killer Apps

  • eBay app with 10 Million downloads
  • $600 Million in sales volume during 1st year
  • $1.5 to $2 Billion in sales volume projected for the current year
  • NetFlixs app presented by NetFlix CEO, Reed Hastings
  • iPhone/iPad is the fastest growing platform for NetFlix
  • User get full NetFlix experience as TV and laptops; Movie resumeable from TV to iPhone
  • App price:  FREE
  • Farmville app presented by Zynga CEO, Mark Pincus
  • Farmville has 35 Million active users daily and 70 Million users monthly
  • iPhone enables Farmville users to farm any time and anywhere
  • Demo showcased same or enhanced user experience as desktop version
  • Push notification so you can harvest before your crops wither
  • App price:  TBA
  • Guitar Hero presented by Activision Senior VP, Karthik Bala
  • Same Guitar Hero game but redesigned for the iPhone
  • App price:  $2.99

iPhone Update

  • Nielsen Q1 2010 report, ranks iPhone #2 in US market share at 28% (RIM is #1  at 35%)
  • iPhone #1 in mobile browser usage at 58% per Net Applications (Android is # 2 at 22.7%)
  • iPhone launched in 2007, iPhone 3G in 2008, iPhone 3GS in 2009 (2x speed and video recording) and iPhone 4 in 2010

iPhone 4 Launch

iPhone 4 (running iOS4) has been totally redesigned with over 100 new features.  During the keynote address, Steve Jobs covered the top 9 features including the new killer app, FaceTime video calling.  Below are the top 9 features with links to Apple’s website for more information:

  1. New iPhone design – new glass exterior with stainless steel wrap-around, 24% thinner (thinnest smart phone), front & rear facing camera with LED flash, new antenna system and more.
  2. Retina display – 960 x 640 display (78% of iPad pixels) at 326 pixels per inch greatly enhances picture and text quality.  Exceeds the 300 pixels differentiable by human eyes
  3. A4 Chip – a powerful and energy efficient microprocessor designed by Apple specifically for iPhone 4 and iPad
  4. Gyroscope – coupled with the existing accelerometer greatly enhances the gaming experience and applications that requires precise motion sensing (6-axis) with support from the new CoreMotion APIs.
  5. New camera system – a 5 megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and LED flash that takes high quality pictures in low light settings and supports HD video recording (720p at 30fps) with tap to focus in both photos and videos.
  6. iPhone OS 4 (iOS 4) – the latest release of the iPhone OS (rebranded iOS4) offers support for multitasking, folders, unified mailbox, email threads, Bing search, and many more new features.  Upgrade is available on June 21 and FREE for iPhone 3GS, 3G and iPod Touch.
  7. iBooks – same iBooks app and eBooks library on the iPad is now available on the iPhone with support for PDFs.  iBook syncs highlights, bookmarks and notes across all iBook supported devices.
  8. iAds – launching on July 1, iAd provides iOS4 app developers with opportunity to make money (60% sharing) from free or low cost apps.  Ad placement is determined by the developer.  User click to open and interact with the ad.  Closing the ad returns user to the current app.  $60M iAd revenue committed for the rest of 2010.
  9. FaceTime video calling – quite possibly the next killer app, FaceTime allows video calling only between two iPhone 4 users with WIFI connections.  Leveraging both the front and rear facing camera, the app provides for an engaging user experience.  Apple plans to release FaceTime as an open standard.  Note, Steve’s demo required the entire audience to get off WIFI, so it does raise concerns that the video may be choppy unless you have a very fast WIFI connection.  3G support in the future.

Lastly, the iPhone 4 will be available in the US on AT&T only on 6/24 with pre-order starting on 6/15.  The 16G model (with AT&T 2 year contract) will sell for $199 while the 32G model will sell for $299.  The existing iPhone 3GS with 8G of storage running iOS4 will sell for $99.

Originally post on https://chenalfredc.wordpress.com/

Dissecting a Phishing Scheme

Phishing is a scheme used by identity thieves to steal private information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and social security numbers.  They impersonate legitimate websites such as banks and online commerce sites, and they use that facade to trick ordinary people like you and I into divulging the private information.

Phishing EmailJust today I received an email in my Yahoo account claiming to be Customer Service for PayPal, requesting that I update my PayPal account asap for security reasons.  The email seemed legitimate at first.  Check out the screen snapshot of the email (to the right) and be the judge yourself.  Upon further inspection, I noticed some subtle warning signs.  The email came from the acconuts.net domain and the reply-to email is set to pay@yahoo.com; nothing that suggest the email came from PayPal.

Phishing WarningFurthermore, the entire email is actually constructed as an image that’s hyperlinked to the Phishing site.  It’s almost impossible to click on the email body without getting redirected to the Phishing site.  Luckily, most modern Web browsers (I’m running Safari 4.0 and FireFox 3.6 on Mac OS X) have built-in security that detects and warns against visiting a Phishing site.  Notice the Phishing website’s domain name doesn’t match the domain name for PayPal (paypal.com), yet another warning sign.

In the spirit of  investigative journalism, I ignored the browser warnings and proceeded to visit the Phishing site.  The screen  snapshot (to the right) shows a website impersonating PayPal’s home page.  Upon further inspection, the site appears to be constructed using screen snapshots of PayPal’s website.  Very deceptive.  Unfortunately, if you try to login (please do not try it) with your credentials, you have just compromised your PayPal account.

So I logged in with a bogus Username and Password, and the Phishing site happily accepted it.  The site proceeded to request more information from me, claiming it will be used for identity verification purpose only.  The screen snapshot (to the left) shows a web form that attempts to collect the most sensitive and private information for verification purpose:  date of birth, mother’s maiden name, home address, bank name, credit card number,  ATM pin, and Social Security Number.  Are you kidding me?  Of course, I didn’t provide the requested information.  Here ends my investigative work.

Unfortunately, Phishing schemes and scams are becoming too prevalent.  By the time I published this blog (12 hours after receiving the email), I noticed the Phishing site had been removed.  Hopefully, the site was removed by the good guys before too much damage was done.  Regardless, I wrote this blog as a way of educating myself as well as my friends and family members who read my blogs.  Phishing come in various forms, and the identity thieves are constantly reinventing themselves.  To protect yourself, please become educated and be vigilant on the Web.

If you find this Blog useful, please forward it to others who may benefit from learning more about one of the most common threats on the Web.  Please feel free to share your experience in the Comments field below.

To learn more about Phishing schemes and ways you can protect yourself, checkout the following resources:

My Corrupt iMovie Project

Last week, I started a new iMovie 09 project to organize and produce a home movie from the videos and the pictures that I took at my Father’s 70th Birthday.  It was the perfect opportunity to get hands-on with iMovie, so I can also evaluate it for my Digital Library Project.  After working on iMovie for about 4 or 5 hours straight, I noticed an odd behavior.  When I played back my nearly complete project, iMovie’s preview screen froze up despite the sound track playing in the background.  The preview screen was working until the last set of edits.  Undoing the edits didn’t work.  I tried rebooting my Mac and restarting iMovie, but the problem persisted.  Upon opening another iMovie project, I realized the problem was affecting all iMovie projects.  At first, I thought I had accidentally toggled on an application level configuration.  After searching to no avail, I decided it was time to call Apple.

Although I’m never thrilled by the need (since something really bad happened) to call Apple’s technical support, I have always found the experience to be pleasant and educational.  After submitting a support request online,  I received a callback and was connected to an Apple Expert (his name was Frank) within minutes.  He walked me through a number of steps to isolate the root cause.  Along the way, we removed a number of files from the “Home/Library/Preferences” and “Home/Library/Caches” directory.  Finally, we determined that my latest iMovie project was corrupt.  Upon removing it from the “Home/Movies/iMovie Projects” folder, iMovie’s preview screen started to work again.  Unfortunately, I lost 5 hours worth of editing.  Frank mentioned that Apple cannot assist in the recovery of a corrupt iMovie project.  They recommend running Time Machine, so it’s possible to retrieve prior edits in case this happens again.

A couple days later, I started a new iMovie project and was successful in producing a home movie of my Father’s 70th Birthday.  Aside from the corrupt project setbacks, I have found iMovie to be a proficient tool for achieving common video editing tasks.  I intend to use iMovie for my future home video productions.  In applying the learning from this incident, I have setup Time Machine to backup my Mac regularly (hourly, daily, etc.).  While working on an iMovie project or anything that’s labor intensive, I now also trigger Time Machine manually whenever I reach a significant milestone so an extra backup is captured.   Finally, this experience has reaffirmed my recognition and intention to setup a comprehensive solution for backing up and archiving my digital library.  Stay tuned for a future blog on that topic.

For those of you, looking for the gory details on the steps that we went through to identify the root cause, here you go.  Although I recommend calling Apple first with your issues, as they definitely know their own products well.

  1. Ran Software Updates from System Preferences to make sure the Mac has the latest software updates and bug fixes.
  2. Removed the following application preferences file from “Home/Library/Preferences” and restarted iMovie.  (that didn’t work for me)
    • com.apple.iMovie.plist
    • com.apple.iMoive8.plist
    • com.apple.Apps.plist
  3. Created a Guest account on the Mac and created a new iMovie project using the new account.  Since the iMovie preview screen worked just fine on another account, we ruled out binary corruption and the need to re-install iMovie.
  4. Returned to my account, removed the “Home/Library/Caches” folder and restarted iMovie.  The iMovie preview screen worked for other projects.  Upon opening my latest project, it froze again.  This suggested that my iMovie project was the culprit.
  5. Removed the corrupt iMovie project file from the “Home/Movies/iMovie Projects” folder and restarted iMovie.  It worked!

I’m sure there’s a bug in iMovie that led to the corruption of my iMovie project.  Until Apple fixes the bug, I at least have a known work-around for recovering from future incidents.  My fingers are crossed that it doesn’t happen again.

CalDAVing my Calendars

With my iPhone, I now have access to view and update my personal calendar whenever I need it.  Previously, I relied on my work calendar to track the personal events that occur during normal business hours, e.g. dentist appointments.  Outside of work, I maintained a separate calendar on my personal laptop for tracking personal activities (outside of business hours) and recurring household events such as wedding anniversary and birthdays. However, unless I’m in front of a computer,  my personal calendar was generally inaccessible to me.  I needed a better solution for managing the various calendars that run my life.  With the help of the Internet, I’m able to setup a system that provides access to my personal calendar whether I’m working, at home, or on the road.

By using Google Calendar as a centralized repository,  I’m able to view and update my personal calendar from my iPhone, the iCal calendar on my laptop as well as the iCal calendar for work.  Both iPhone and Apple’s iCal calendar supports CalDAV, an Internet protocol for accessing and managing remote calendars.  Since Google Calendar also supports CalDAV, I’m able to subscribe to my Google Calendar from my CalDAV enabled clients.  Google provides some very helpful Web pages on connecting to Google Calendar from both iPhone and iCal.  I have also found useful resources in the Blogsphere.  The setup for connecting all 3 CalDAV clients including testing took less than 1/2 days.  Once I migrated my personal calendar onto Google Calendar, it was viewable from my iPhone as well as the iCal calendar on both my personal and work laptop.  Even better, when I add, update or delete an event from my Google Calendar using any of the 3 calendar clients, it automatically propagates to the other 2 calendars.

For really sensitive or personal events, I’m choosing to use a local calendar (doesn’t sync with Google Calendar) on my iPhone or the iCal calendar on my personal laptop.  The iPhone and iCal calendar are synchronized whenever I update my iPhone via iTunes.  Given I largely leverage Google Calendar for my personal calendar needs, this setup has worked very well for me so far.  The only noteworthy gotcha was the duplicate alerts on newly created events.  I soon realized that Google Calendar was assigning a default alert, in addition to the one set by the CalDAV client.  In my case, the remedy was to simply disable the default alert in Google Calendar.  Although I’m very happy with the current setup, I look forward to spending more time learning about CalDAV.  Given its flexibility, I anticipate it will make it possible to  interconnect my calendar with my friends and family members to ease planning of special events.

Kicking Off My Digital Library Project

I thought that technology is suppose to make life easier?  I won’t deny that the iPhone (my latest toy) has provided me with conveniences that a couple years ago would have required that I carry along a mobile phone, digital camera, MP3 player, and laptop computer.  While I love my iPhone, I still use my MacBook Pro, iPod Nano, Canon HD camcorder, and Canon DSLR regularly, depending on the occasion.  With 3 devices that can take pictures and 2 that can capture videos, I’m having a hard time keeping track of everything.  What I really need is a simple and cost effective solution for organizing, editing, sharing, and archiving all my photos and videos.

In this blog, I’m kicking off my efforts (a personal project) to define and implement a single system for managing my digital library, one that I hope will make my life easier.    As with any IT like project, before embarking on the design, it’s important to understand the requirements.  It this case, it’s a matter of articulating my own needs upfront, so I can be sure that I’m successful and happy with the outcome.  I anticipate that each key requirement will require additional analysis (topics for future blogs) before I can fully define and settle on the priorities (must-haves and nice-to-haves) for this system.  For now, I just want to capture the high level requirements.

I need a system that can grow (scalable) with my needs.  Although I don’t foresee buying any new devices in the near-term, it’s important that this system can easily accommodate additional data sources.  For example, if my wife gets an iPhone, I will need a way to easily import and manage all her photos and videos as well.  As technology is constantly evolving, I will need a digital library solution that can withstand the test of time.  I anticipate there will be new medias (e.g. Blue-ray) or social platforms where I would like to publish or store my pictures.  It would be great if the system does not lock me in to a particular social platform or external media type.

I enjoy taking pictures and videos, and I have seen my digital library
grow exponentially in recent years.  However, I prefer not to invest the equivalent increment in time to manage my digital library.  I need a system that will make it easy to organize and edit my photos and videos.  I’m not a professional, so I do not need a fancy editing tool.  Nor do I want to spend a lot of time on editorial tasks.  Generally, I’m quite content with the “I’m Feeling Lucky” touch-ups provided in tools like Picasa.  While I have typically organized my photos and videos by dates or events, I would like to evaluate and assess the benefits of organizing by other means such as geo tags or facial recognition.

One of the great joy of taking pictures and videos is sharing them with my family and friends.  Currently, I share my pictures with my friends through social media Web sites such as FaceBook.  I also keep my photos from the past year online in my Picasa Web album.  While I have uploaded a couple video clips on YouTube,  I have largely deferred the editing  of my HD videos from the past year.  That will change, as I’m motivated by this project.  For my family (who are less technology savvy), I need this system to also facilitate with the creation of slide shows and home movies for re-play on the home theater or distribution via DVDs.   Occasionally, I do printouts as well.

I currently have my pictures and videos scattered across my Mac and PC, with back-ups on an external hard drive, CDs and DVDs.  One of the key driver for doing this project is my constant fear that one day my PC or Mac will crap out, or that my external hard drive will fail, or that the CDs where I back up my picture are no longer readable by new hardware.  What I need is a fault tolerant solution for backing up and preserving my digital library.  Since my PC is dated and I work largely on my Mac now, I would like to build my digital library around the software and services available on the Mac.  This means I will need a way to migrate and import the pictures and videos from my PC.

Well, I think this is a pretty good start on the requirements for building a system for managing my digital library.  I have identified my needs for organizing, editing, sharing, and archiving all my photos and videos.  Now, I just need a solution.  Any suggestions?