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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Be A Martian

I earned 60,000 air miles on the NASA OR1ON Delta IV  Spacecraft.
Here is my boarding pass for the next test flight.

If all goes well, I'm going to Mars.
Join me by getting your own boarding pass here:

OK! Only our names etched on the Orion space capsule payload will go, not us. Still, it might be fun to have your name etched on the Martian lander sitting on mars. Or the name of  your dad, mom, son or daughter!
The next flight is December 4th, 5th or 6th, however, the last day to register is OCTOBER 31st.

You only have 10 days left to register.

After each flight the names will be recovered and placed on the next flight. Eventually the final flight will be to mars.

Why isn't Alabama in the top five?

Alabama is in 22nd place, Can you believe that!
We have NASA in Huntville. We built most of the stuff that took us to the moon.Huntsville is in charge of many current NASA programs. I can see Texas and Florida being in the top three, but why isn't Alabama? We are behind Tennessee and Wisconsin for crying out loud!

If every Adult in Tallassee signed up, Alabama would move to 5th place. Sign up your kids and relatives, and we could be in the top three. Tell everybody in Elmore Co. and if only half of them helped us could be in first place.

Why We Should Do This!

If we can move Alabama up to the top 5 in just 10 days, we would turn some heads a NASA. Heck! I bet even the BBC would do a story about Tallassee.
Huntsville built most of that stuff up there in space. We built most of the equipment that took us to the moon. Dozens of our current deep space projects are run out of Alabama, yet, the mainstream media only ever mentions Texas or Florida when they cover NASA. We have many space industries here in Alabama. We should get more NASA contracts.

Lets do this like a flash mob. 

We have ten days!

Go sign up HERE:
Be sure to send out some emails. POST IT ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, G+ or your favorite social site.
Pass the word at school, work or church.
Call your Favorite radio station!
Include your boarding pass link on every Facebook post you do between now and the end of the month.

If all these reason't aren't enough, then think about how important your kids education is. Put their names on the list and follow the space program with them. They may surprise you with what they think about having their name in space.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Facebook is Dying

Several studies indicate that Facebook is declining in popularity among the teens and recent college grads.
Teens especially are switching to other forms of social media.
Twitter broadcasts to anyone willing to listen.
WhatsApp has overtaken Facebook as the number one way to send messages to  acquaintances.
Snapchat is used for close friends to communicate and send images which “self-destruct”          
Facebook is still a way to keep in touch with family and still popular with the older folks.

It seems there is nothing worse for Facebook than having a teen get a "follow me" request from their mom.

 Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors


If not using
three or four
of these
 Google Plus+
You are out of tune!







Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Is the Internet Down?

Right in the middle of our morning broadcast, the internet went down.
Well, not all of it... but it seemed like it here. The video stream from the WTLS studio stopped.  A second later the audio on the tune-in app went silent.
I picked up the phone and called WLTS. A recorded phone company message informed me the number was not in service. I monitor several computers in real time on my second desktop. A glance at the list showed them turning red, one by one. Next I went to the site. The big red hole in Alabama told me it was beyond my control. The yellow areas scattered all over told me something serious was happening. A quick glance at my RSS news feeds told me nothing. To I continued checking various other  web monitoring sites. Traffic seemed unusually high, then I found a site that looks for denial of service attacks. These attacks are form thousands or maybe millions of PC's infected with virusus. There were 11 different attacks in progress. It is rare that I see one or two. Microsoft and Google were up, but a lot of sites were dowm. In an hour, things returned to normal, but that evening when people got off work, the attacks and problems started again as people brought their home devices on line. By then the anti virus stuff had it under control.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tallassee Game tonight. 7:30

If the cell coverage permits, we will broadcast the game tonight. I'm re-posting a Facebook post from Steve Segrest about the game.

This is an update on the 8u World Series as it stands today: we (Alabama/Tallassee) will play North Carolina tonight at 7:30. IF WE WIN we will play the winner of Tennessee/Louisiana on Wednesday at 6:00 for the National Championship. We would have to lose twice to them if this happens. IF WE LOSE then there will be 3 teams with one loss. One of these teams will get a bye to the national championship game. The two who do not get a bye will play and the winner will then play the team with the bye for the national championship. So as long as we win today we are in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

Hope you will join us.
Bob. (Producer,

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Recover Lost Laptops and Smart Phones

What do you do when your phone, tablet or laptop are lost or stolen?

Here is a completely unexpected demo of "Prey", a program you install on you mobile devices before they get lost. There is a short intro as Michael reads some "unfounded" police reports. Then I skip  to the fun part.

It is bad enough when someone gets their hands on all your photos and personal data, but when they have your device, it's even worse. What? you didn't make a backup?

If you do nothing else, at least prepare you device for the worst possible thing that can happen! It ends up in the hands of someone else!

I don't recomend stuff unless I actually use it. I've tried other recovery programs, but this one is the best deal.
  • Prey is Free for up to three devices.
  • You don't get charged anything to track you device when it is lost.
  • It does not slow down you PC or tablet. It doesn't even show up, so a thief can't easily remove it.
  • If your device goes missing, just log into the Prey website( and mark the device as missing.

  • Install "Prey" on your smart phone and portable devices.Do it before they go missing. It will not work if you don't install it before it is lost.

    Give yourself some chance of recovering it, but even better, disable it, post a reward message on it's screen, make it emit loud annoying alarm sounds, have it report it's current location, and send you a picture of the person who has it (assuming your device has a camera).
    For a complete guide to recovering your lost device, visit my blog at "Bob's Bytes"

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Thursday, April 10, 2014


    The Heartbleed bug is NOT a virus. 

    It does not infect your PC.

    It does reveal a flaw in the security systems used by secure website servers.

    The problem started two years ago when a update to the secure socket layer contained a flaw (AKA Bug) in the code.
    The flaw was only discovered a few days ago.

    It allows anyone with a simple software tool to grab memory from a secure server and steal a copy of it.
    The stolen information can includes any user logged into the site. Passwords, credit cards etc.
    Notice that it steals stuff from MEMORY, not DISK. Information from users who have not logged in recently can NOT be accessed.

    That's bad, but it gets worse.

    However, even worse, the security keys that allow encrypting the data are in memory and can also be stolen. This means the thief can decode information sent to or from the server, in the past, now or in the future, at least until the web site is issued new secure encryption keys.

    Heartbleed steals copies of  Keys

    (The Bank Analogy)

    Let's put this in simple terms. Stealing the encryption keys is like having someone steal copies of the keys to your bank, including a master key to all the banks safety deposit boxes. It is a tho a thief "borrowed" a ring of keys from the bank, copied them, and returned than before the bank realized they were missing. We don't even know when they were copied. The thief may have copied them two years ago and again the day after the bank changed all the locks.
    This would mean that someone, for the past two years could examine everything you did at the bank, even the stuff in your safety deposit box. They will continue to be able to get into your box until the bank changes all the locks on the doors and the master key to the boxes. Changing the key to your deposit box does no good, because the thief can still enter the bank and unlock the box with the master key.

    Securing the Master Keys

    Fixing the Heartbleed problem by patching the server prevents someone from making copies of the security keys. That is like having the bank president check all the employees and securing every employee key so they can't be copied again. It does nothing about the copies of the keys the thief already has.

    How to Protect Yourself

    Wait a few days before you log into any secure site. That is like waiting for the bank to change all their keys and locks AND SECURING THE KEYS SO THEY CAN'T BE  COPIED AGAIN. On the internet, all secure encryption keys are changed once a year. Some sites like Microsoft and Google change the encryption keys randomly very often, sometimes several times a day. Sites that only change them once a year will need at least a few days to change their keys.

    If you can, hold off a few days before you buy that next book or rent a movie over the web.

    Keep an eye out for unauthorized bank or credit card charges, but play it safe, don't log into your bank's web site or use an ATM unless it is absolutely necessary. For the next few days renew your acquaintance with your friendly bank tellers.

    Don't change your password unless the site has been fixed. That is like putting a new key in your safety deposit box while the thief with a master key is standing there watching you.

    These Sites Are Safe to Use

    This is a very short list of popular sites you are likely to visit.
    There is no complete list yet.
    There are two lists here;
    1   These sites did NOT use the Secure Socket Layer code that Heartbleed exposes. There is no need to change your password or worry about your data.
    Amazon (retail store)
    Capital One
    Hotmail / Outlook
    Spark Networks (JDate, Christian Mingle)
    TD Ameritrade
    TD Bank
    U.S. Bank
    Wells Fargo

    These Sites Were Possibly Vulnerable, but are Now Fixed

    These sites did  use the Secure Socket Layer code that Heartbleed exposes. They have been patched.
    You should change your password as soon as possible on these sites. Data was possibly exposed but there is no evidence of that having happened yet. Changing your password now will prevent future exposure of you account on these sites.

    Intuit (TurboTax)
    Yahoo Mail

    Any Site not listed above is suspect and you should wait or check before using.

    Notes for Tallassee Alabama
     These are special precautions for the next few days. is OK to use, as the Heartbleed is blocked by the ISP
             Go to the bank or use their web site to check your account.
             Do NOT use non bank owned ATM's to withdraw money
              or check your balance. (At least for the next couple days)
              Be aware that SOME ATM's at SOME banks are NOT operated by the bank. Don't use them.

    See Something, Say Something

    If you see unusual transaction, report them immediately.

    Be Careful, Check the Site

    Before using any other site that uses a password, especially if it involves money, SS numbers, or personal information, check it with the following tool:

    Type in a site name like  then hit Go.
    If it is red, do not use it
    If it is green, read the green message, It will tell if the site has been patched or simply had some functions turned off as a way of preventing the Heartbleed.

    Don't Panic

    Don't rush to the web and start deleting personal information or closing accounts. You will be loading your information into the severs memory and exposing it to Heartbleed if the site is not patched.

    My Take on this Mess

    Remember, the following is purely speculation on my part.

    Nobody has explained why this happened. We know WHAT happened, but not WHY.
    I find the following to be strange:

    1. This bug crept into code that is used by so many different server software providers. 
    2. That it was introduced into the wild by people who's main purpose is security.
    3. That a bug like this didn't just break the code, instead it enabled downloading any 64K block of memory.
    4. If it was an intentional back door the servers memory, then what hacker would wait two years without launching a massive credit card fraud? Once he had access to a few million accounts, why wait any longer for the payoff?

    In the past, there have been bugs like this, ones that lie dormant for years before they do their damage.

    • The bug in the Iraq anti-aircraft defense system that cause the guns to fire randomly into the empty spaces between our bombers.
    • The bug that caused Iran's nuclear centrifuges to self destruct.

    Those bugs, and others, were created by governments.
    Did a government somewhere want to read all the encrypted data on the web? What about Iran? China? Or is there one closer to home?

    I'll leave it to you to speculate.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

    Bob's Bytes Tuesday March 11th 2014

    Buying a new PC?
    Here is a great test you can do at the store on the PC's you might buy.
    First try this on your old PC

    Open the browser, and type (or just click this link)
    Type in Tallassee as the name of your town.
    Notice that your mouse acts as a hawk as the birds fly around on the screen.
    Verify that they scatter when your cursor gets close.
    Watch the video and listen to the audio.
    Do all the windows have video in them? Do scenes from Tallassee get incorporated into the video?
    When asked, draw your name with the mouse, It will look better if you start at the bottom of each stroke when drawing. When you finish drawing, the birds will land in the trees you drew.
    You might want to run it again using your street address instead of just Tallassee.

    Didn't work on your old PC, Try it again using the chrome browser.
    Now that you have seen what it does on your old PC you are ready to do some shopping.
    Be sure to go to a store that has internet access.
    launch the browser. (On Windows 8, use the desktop browser)

    There should be no errors. Everything should be nice and smooth, Audio should not break up.
    It should look much better than on your old PC. The birds should appear to fly from one window to another.

    When comparing two PC's run this page side by side at the same time if possible.

    I chose this page because it uses a lot of processor power. The speed of the internet does not matter, because the video is generated on the local PC. It uses all the latest features of the current generation of video cards. If the computer crashes, fails to display all the windows or seems sluggish, don't buy it. This should run on any NEW PC, even ones costing less than $300.00

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Huntsville Alabama helps discover water in our solar system.

    For the first time water is confirmed on another planet in our solar system. Alabama played an important part in the discovery.
    At NASA, project Dawn confirmed that plumes of water are being ejected from the dwarf planet Ceres. Ceres orbits our sun between mars and Jupiter. It is the closest of the three dwarf planets in our solar system.
    Project Dawn is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

    An artist's conception shows water vapor being released from two spots on Ceres
    Next year, NASA's Dawn spacecraft is due to go into orbit around Ceres.
    The discovery leads to the possibility that microbial live might be found on Ceres, adding it to mars and Europa. as possible locations

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Bob's Trivia Question For Tuesday January 14th 2013

    I created a wallpaper for your desktop that is a great conversation starter. It's called the "Eye of the Earth" (or sometimes the Eye of the Sahara).
    It was discover by the early astronauts during their first orbital flights. They thought it was a meteor crater. Photo's shows it was 30 miles in diameter. Being an unknown crater, geologist soon visited the location and found it wasn't a crater at all. Instead it was a mound with the center of the eye several hundred feet high. Instead of a big hole, it was shaped like a huge eye. Geologist named it the Richat Structure and still debate the exact origin of the Eye of the Earth.

    Click on these small images to see the full size versions. Then right click the full size version to download it or set it as your desktop wallpaper.

    Search Richat Structure on Google or Wikipedia so you can amaze you friends with the surprising history of the earth's eye.
    I created these wallpapers from satellite images in several popular sizes to fit different monitors. I even included a wide version for dual monitor systems.
    Linda Segrest from Community Hospice Care provided a very informative program today on Tallassee TV and WTLS. She filled in for the regular Community Hospital program. Hospice is specialized care available to persons experiencing a life limiting illness who desire to spend their remaining days in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by the people they love. The goal is helping each patient reach an acceptable level of physical, emotional and spiritual comfort while encouraging them to remain alert, active and independent for as long as possible. Linda covered a wide range of services including Pain Management,
    Medications, Family Education and Training, Home Health Aide Care, Homemaker Services, Nutritional Counseling, Nursing Care and Symptom Control. You may contact Community Hospice Care at 334-283-4250.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Cartoon 1

    It seems the FSU website was selling a tee-shirt with a printing error on it. It proclaimed Tigers 34 and Noles 31.
    When the news that it was a print error reached the Techumseh celebration dance, it went over like a wet moccasin.