Monthly Archive for August, 2011

Untraceable Phone Number

inumbr provides phone number that you can use to forward calls to any other phone in the U.S..  If you are in Canada forward to a MajicJack.com number for a U.S. location. No one will be able to trace you with this number. This company also offers some useful call management features than can help locate callers.

Where has Google Gone?

Google Realtime Search Goes Missing;

The Google Wonder Wheel Is Gone;

Google Squared and News Timeline disappear;

and the removal of the Google News Archive search page are a mystery.


Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Internet News reports Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Coming Into Force, Osler, July 5, 2011

Canadian government has passed legislation to address spam (though it is still awaiting proclamation).

“Known as Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, or CASL1, the new rules go much further than restricting bulk, unsolicited e-mail messages, by creating an express consent regime that applies to almost all e-mails and other electronic messages sent for a commercial purpose. And unlike the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which applies only to e-mail, CASL’s anti-spam provisions also apply to other forms of electronic communication, such as text messages, instant messaging and social media messaging.”

CarFax, CarProof, & AutoCheck

I have written about using CarFax and CarProof before.

CarFax is owned by CarMax, while AutoCheck is owned by the large U.S.credit reporting agency, Experian.  AutoCheck is not to confused with Auto Check™ which is an online database containing information about accident damaged, insurance “total loss” branded and stolen vehicles that was developed in 1995 by the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario, for the exclusive use of its members.

AutoCheck purchases the data from the auto auctions and CarFax does not. As a result of this, CarFax often fails to report previous accidents and things like frame damage.  Autocheck is the de facto standard at the auto auctions.

In Canada Carproof is by far the better system, as they have more access to insurance data, repair shop estimates, lien history, police and ministry of Transportation data, and more.

An Investigator armed with a vehicle’s VIN, and who is willing to pay the fees, just might find out about an undisclosed vehicle accident using one of these services.

Risk Management Techniques

Risk Management Techniques

All risk management techniques fall into one or more of these four major categories:

  • Avoidance (eliminate)
  • Reduction (mitigate)
  • Transfer (outsource or insure)
  • Retention (accept and budget)

Risk Avoidance

Avoidance may seem the answer to all risks, but avoiding risks also means avoiding potential gain.

Risk Reduction

This involves the methods to reduce the severity of the loss or the likelihood of the loss from occurring. For example, sprinklers may reduce losses from a fire. However, sprinklers may cause a greater loss due to water damage. Halon systems may mitigate that risk, but may cost more than the fire and water damage risks warrant.

Risk Transfer

The purchase of insurance is often described as a “transfer of risk.” However, technically speaking, insurance is more accurately described as a post-event compensatory mechanism. The risk still lies with the policy holder while the insurance policy simply provides that if the event occurs, then some compensation may be payable to the insured commensurate to the suffering/damage within the terms of the insurance contract.

Risk Retention

Risk Retention is accepting the loss if it occurs. Self insurance falls in this category. This is a viable for minor risks where the cost of insuring against the risk would be greater than the total losses sustained. All risks that are not avoided or transferred are retained by default. This includes catastrophic events that cannot be insured against, such as war.

BC Environmental Law Violators

Environmental law violators in British Columbia are now in a searchable online database. “The free database includes a wide variety of compliance and enforcement actions taken by ministry staff and enforcement officers. It includes orders, administrative sanctions, tickets and court convictions covering hunting and fishing, open burning, mud bogging, dam safety, and pesticide and pollution violations.”

Business Continuity Begins at Home

Operational Risk and Business Continuity go hand-in-hand. The most common potential failure I have seen regarding an external event is a lack of preparedness by key personnel at the personal level. If a severe natural disaster or riots disrupt a large urban area, most organisations would fail to implement their emergency plan or be able to maintain emergency operations because the key personnel and their families are not prepared for such emergencies.

We have all heard of the proverbial “Three-day  Emergency Kit” promoted by government disaster planning organisations.  Unfortunately this limit is not realistic for most situations. The “72 hours” limit is a military standard based upon the ability of a functioning logistics establishment. Soldiers get re-supplied, but who will  re-supply you after 72 hours?

If the key personnel are not able to keep their families warm, fed, and safe with the supplies on hand, then they will not show-up to keep the company running. Planning for this type of business interruption starts with the people who will keep things running during the emergency, and that includes their families.

Recently, a client got to try-out their well-laid plans. They were very fortunate to have their emergency operations centre only about 60 miles from their normal location. They had the foresight to preposition food, shelter, and equipment. However, the after-action reports revealed some critical failures.

The first was the inadequate physical conditioning of the key personnel. Most had to walk, with their immediate families, for a maximum of 8 miles to get out of the disaster area to where transport was waiting. Communication was adequate as the company radio system remained functional to allow the transport part of the plan to work properly. However, some key personnel could not make the walk due to poor physical conditioning or poor health. The company had not even considered this factor in planning, or when selecting key personnel.

The other critical failure was an utter lack of planning or preparation on the part of the key personnel and the company did not offer any training or guidance on how to hike the distance required. None of the key staff had proper boots or clothing. None had a proper pack, DEET, bug suit, or anything else of practical value. The weather was wet, cold for the season, and the biting insects were out in force. This could have been the second disaster.

This company did many things right. They had a kitchen and 2 weeks of food. They had a former ER nurse on-site. They had emergency housing on-site. They had communications and the equipment needed to keep operating. What they didn’t have was staff. Over one-half of the key staff were unable, or unprepared, to walk to the rally point.

Hide From Social Site Tracking

Buttons like these allow Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and others to track your online browsing activities on every site that includes one of these buttons, even if you never click the buttons and (in some browsers) even if you have third-party cookies disabled?

Google +1 button LinkedIn button Tweet button Facebook Like button

[example images of buttons only -- these buttons are not clickable]

ShareMeNot is a Firefox add-on designed to prevent third-party buttons (such as the Facebook “Like” button or the Twitter “tweet” button) embedded by sites across the Internet from tracking you until you actually click on them. Unlike traditional solutions, ShareMeNot does this without completely removing the buttons from the web experience.

Getting to Know the Neighbourhood — SocialMention

SocialMention allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real time. SocialMention monitors over 100 social media sites. I have written about SocialMention before here, here, and here. It is an old favorite.

We use the search plugin that permits searching SocialMention from within the browser’s search.  Once we have a search statement that provides useful results, we subscribe to the RSS feed for that search to monitor the changes in the results.

ChangeIP Proxy

ChangeIP, states that its Private Proxy is an encrypted change IP proxy that not only changes your IP address, but also encrypts your Internet browsing sessions to keep you safe and protected.

Perhaps this is better than Zerobank, but perhaps not, I have not tried it yet.  It may offer some utility over TOR in that it may allow viewing YouTube and similar video content, but I doubt it will offer the anonymity of TOR.