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March 18, 2012

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Where to look for a GPS bug on your car

Think you're being tracked?

Remember what Andrew Grove said, admittedly in a different context: "Only the paranoid survive."

Note that the video above, demonstrating an over-the-counter GPS device in action, is five years old.

Five years in terms of this technology is an enormous amount of time and what's available today is far smaller and more powerful, as well as much cheaper and therefore more ubiquitous.

Adam Dachis wrote in an Ides of March Lifehacker post about the most likely places you'll find a GPS tracker that someone's attached to your vehicle; excerpts follow.

Hopefully most of us will go throughout life without being tracked by a GPS bug, but if you're worried that someone may be following your whereabouts with technology, there are common places you can look to find the device. Security and investigations expert Brandon Gregg offers up a few suggestions to help you discover these bugs.

Brandon's answer comes from a question on Quora and provides plenty of detail, but here's the gist:

• You should first look thoroughly at the underside and trunk of your vehicle. Many older tracking devices are large and magnetic, so they're most quickly and easily placed in these areas. (In some cases they'll be taped on or adhered in another manner if they can't be attached magnetically.) GPS signals are also well-received near the road's surface, so placing the devices beneath your car can help to ensure that the signal is received.

• While the device may be very large and obvious, keep an eye out for anything as small as the size of a pager. While this may seem like a difficult search, the devices tend to stick out and you shouldn't have too hard of a time noticing them.

• In the event that your car was impounded, stolen, or there are strict GPS laws for law enforcement where you live you will need to be more thorough. Smaller and more expensive GPS tracking devices can be hard-wired into your car's battery and hidden almost anywhere. To find them, you'll likely need to enlist the aid of a Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM) device (like these). They're very expensive, but will get the job done.

I would add that deep-black level government-grade devices will be unfindable even with the aid of a TSCM device available to you as a civilian.

March 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Thought Cloud Sticky Notes


Three 50-sheet pads: $3.66.

March 18, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"The Internet Tidal Wave" — by Bill Gates (1995)


From Letters of Note:

May 26th, 1995: Bill Gates sends a memo, entitled "The Internet Tidal Wave," to all executive staff within Microsoft. In it, he makes clear his intention to focus the company's efforts online with immediate effect and "assign the Internet the highest level of importance," going on to call it, "the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981."

A few highlights from a long but highly quotable 16-year-old memo include: Gates forewarning, "One scary possibility being discussed by Internet fans is whether they should get together and create something far less expensive than a PC which is powerful enough for Web browsing"; the Microsoft boss later grumbling that after 10 hours of browsing the Internet, he "had not seen a single Word .DOC, AVI file, Windows .EXE (other than content viewers), or other Microsoft file format," then adding, "I did see a great number of Quicktime files"; and his determination to "match or beat" the services offered by Netscape, a "competitor 'born' on the Internet" who then boasted "70% usage share" in the browser market. There are many more choice moments.

Gates even ends the memo with a categorised appendix of external websites, all of which he recommends. Under the heading "Cool, cool, cool," links can be found to Lycos, Yahoo, and RealAudio. It's worth noting that 3 months after the memo was circulated, MSN was launched.

A full transcript follows courtesy of  Donelle Gan. The original memo can be seen in its entirety, in PDF format here.

March 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Medical Cuff Bracelet


Designed by Emily Rothschild.


Don't hide your sensitivity: flaunt it.

Type O

Current words include Bee Sting, Epinephrine, Penicillin, Insulin, Nut Allergy, Type O, and Love Sick.

Apply to: emilyarothschild@gmail.com

March 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Screen Shot 2012-03-15 at 1.12.19 PM

What took so long?

News of this great site just came in courtesy of a member of my Crack Pittsburgh Correspondent Team®™©, among the stronger of my worldwide bureaus.

Fair warning: there goes the day.

March 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Body Con Bag


Is "Con" short for "conscious" or "contour?"


The website purveying it would have you believe the latter


but I prefer the former, a great Japanese construction, short for "body conscious."


Black, White, Blue, Pink, or Green background.


20" x 17" x 4".





March 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

8 German words with no English equivalent

Wrote Ignatius Graham in a January 12, 2012 Socyberty post: "Sometimes there just isn't a word for what you want to say. But sometimes, there is — in German."

"The German language is one that has fully embraced the compound word. I've heard it said, even by German-speakers, that if there's no German word for a concept, the Germans will just make one up. Perhaps English could take a lesson, especially considering these eight words that succinctly describe ideas that English-speakers obviously have but need many more words to express."


1. schadenfreude: Every non-German speaker's favorite German word, schadenfreude literally means "harm-joy," and it's used for the feeling of taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune or unhappiness. Like The Simpsons' Nelson jeering "Ha ha!" or your smile when you find out something unfortunate happened to your ex. There's a whole song about it in the Broadway musical Avenue Q [top].

2. fremdscham: Almost the opposite of schadenfreude, fremdscham is the feeling of being embarrassed for someone else (presumably someone who’s not embarrassed for themselves, but should be).

3. torschlusspanik: Fear of decreasing opportunities as time passes. It's the feeling that you’re running out of time and the pressure's on. It's often used to refer to a woman’s "biological clock" increasing desire to have children, but I wonder if it could also be used for college kids who feel they need to have their fun now before being released into the drudgery of a full-time job, or simply for people growing older and worried about all the things they’ve yet to do.

4. waldeisamkeit: A feeling of solitude in the forest.

5. weltschmerz: Literally, "world-pain." When you watch the news, and it's all about war and murder and global warming and political catfights, and you start to wonder if there's any good left in the world at all, and get completely depressed about the state of thing... that feeling you have is weltschmerz. Getting down about how far off the world is from what would be ideal.

6. fernweh: My personal favorite, fernweh is the opposite of homesickness; it's a longing to venture out into the world. Almost like wanderlust, but sadder and lonelier. Think homesickness — that same sense of not just wanting something, but missing it — in reverse.

7. gemütlichkeit: "the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you are cozy, a little drunk, and surrounded by friends." What a great word. Similar to the Danish word hygge.

8. stammtisch: This strangely specific word means a gathering of friends at a bar, to talk about life. In other words, many of the sitcoms of the last few decades.

March 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Leaf Cable Tie


Designed by Tsunho Wang.


Nylon; 20 x 5.5 x 1.2 cm.

Twelve for $3.99.

[via Fancy]

March 18, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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