Archive for the ‘News and Events’ Category
You’re never too old, and if you want to,
as my mother said, you can do anything you want to,
but you have to work at it.
Annie J Easley
As part of our celebration of African-American History Month, we at Geek Squad would like to recognize the many accomplishments of noted computer scientist, mathematician and rocket scientist, Annie J. Easley.
After graduating from high school, Ms. Annie J. Easley began her career in 1955 as a “human computer” for NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). At a time when machine calculation was limited to key-punched cards manually fed into enormous machines capable only of multiplication, addition, subtraction, and division, Ms. Easley was part of a team responsible for calculating (by hand, mind you) the complex mathematical functions needed by scientists (like logarithms, exponentials, and square roots).
While still employed by the NACA, Ms. Easley earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Cleveland State University in 1977. She also participated in continuing education and specialization programs specifically sponsored by the National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA).
During her 34 year career with NACA (and later, NASA), Ms. Easley is credited as being one of the first African American women in the field of rocket science, mathematics, and computer sciences. She helped develop the software for the Centaur Rocket – a high-energy rocket that came to be known as ‘America’s Workhorse in Space”. She developed and implemented computer code that analyzed alternative power technologies for electric vehicles. She also studied technologies for wind and solar energies, as well as solving problems of energy monitoring and conservation. Some of Easley’s work helped lead the way to the development of batteries for modern Hybrid cars.
Easley’s work on the Centaur project helped develop the technological foundations for space shuttle launches, as well as launches of communication, military and weather satellites. Her work contributed to the 1997 flight to Saturn of the Cassini probe, which was launched by the Centaur.
Annie’s work helped make modern-day space flight possible — and for this, we salute her.
Update: Since publishing this article last week, Java 7u13 has been released, with important fixes included. We’ll post a follow-up article once the blacklisting has been removed.
For the second time since the beginning of 2013, Apple has blocked the latest release of the Java plug-in, effectively preventing it from being loaded into machines running OS X — as it did once before, in January of this year.
While it’s not immediately clear why Apple blocked this release of the Java 7 web plug-in, it’s likely that they are responding to reports that began over the weekend that this new release had some security issues and was allowing unsigned computer code to run on machine running the new plug-in.
Apple isn’t the only group with concerns about this latest release of Java. In a Vulnerability Note updated January 24, the US Department of Homeland Security recommends “(u)nless it is absolutely necessary to run Java in web browsers, disable it… even after updating to 7u11 (the latest release).”
Since users of OS X were victimized by the Flashback Trojan malware in 2011, Apple has been slowly moving away from integrating Java into its operating systems. Later versions of the software rely less and less on Java, even going so far as to disable the plug-in in the 2012 version of OS X Lion.
If you think you might be a victim of a computer virus or malware, we have Agents standing by 24/7 at 1-800 Geek Squad, or chat with an Agent online here.
Drawing on their ingenuity, love of new technology & desire to learn new things, a small team of Geek Squad Agents took a chapter out of Red Bull’s Stratos “book” and gave stratosphere flight a try. The payload? A Geek Squad Agent’s badge. The capsule, christened Icarus I, also contained two GoPro HD video cameras to capture the flight in all its glory.
The Geek Squad code of conduct calls for Agents carry their badges at all times. On those rare occasions when badges are misplaced, they tend to go on “walkabout” – traveling to undisclosed locations in ways that demonstrate Geek Squad’s tech know-how and culture. Eventually these badges are returned to their owners, who are inducted into “The Geek Squad Brotherhood of the Traveling Badge.”
This latest traveling badge, owned by Agent Shedrick Williams (#13337), flew to a height of 90,000+ feet and covered a distance of more than 165 miles before landing several hours after lift-off.
So why call it out today? Because today (January 31) marks the 55th anniversary of Explorer 1, the first satellite launched atop the Juno booster from LC-26 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Missile Annex. It was a first for NASA and we wanted to honor their accomplishments by announcing our first ever flight on this date.
For more information on “Icarus 1″ (including onboard video footage, schematics, and more details), check out our web page at www.geeksquad.com/icarus.
Agent Ron G. has been battling the forces of unruly technology run amok since 2001, prior to Geek Squad’s acquisition of Best Buy. When not busy creating video & technical training content for Geek Squad Agents in the field, Agent Ron enjoys home brewing, international travel, and learning how to cook new cuisines (besides sending badges to near space).
Have your Facebook friends started posting “privacy disclaimers” in their posts? If you’re seeing these in your Facebook timeline, it’s likely a reaction to recent news items about Facebook and supposed privacy changes. The question is: do these disclaimers actually mean anything?
The legal privacy “disclaimers” many Facebook users are copying to use in their own posts are not new. They are actually duplicates of items sent out years ago in response to similar privacy concerns. Unfortunately (just like the previous round of posts) these new disclaimers won’t provide any “legal protection” beyond those already in the Facebook terms and conditions. (Check out this link for Facebook’s response to this latest round of privacy concerns.)
Some sites have started referring to these added disclaimers as “legal talismans”, added in the belief that the quoted legal code will protect the owner from harm. While the text often sounds official (and generally references legal code), they don’t actually supersede your agreements — and they aren’t very good legal documents anyway. (They often include mistakes, referring to the “Berner Convention” when they likely mean the “Berne Convention” and the like.)
The truth is this: adding disclaimers to your posts does not negate or retroactively change any of the terms and conditions you agreed to when you signed up and began using Facebook. When you sign up for Facebook, you accepted the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Privacy terms.
A good method to check the legitimacy of a claim is to Bing, Google or use some other internet search tool to see what others are saying about it. (Snopes.com is also a great clearinghouse for such things.)
As always, it is a good idea to investigate the terms and conditions of an agreement, especially for an online social network that will have access to your posted information. In the case of Facebook, you can view their complete list of terms and policies here.
Agent Derek has been removing techno-stress from the lives of his Geek Squad clients since 2005. When not providing remote help as an Online Support Agent, he likes to take to the road on a vintage motorcycle for adventures through Ohio country highways.
It’s hard to believe that the light that we see twinkling down to us from our night sky is actually light that is thousands, millions, and billions of years old. When we look at the stars, we are looking at the past.
Using photos taken on October 5 and 29, 2011, a team of astronomers used super cool space technology (including the Hubble Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, composite photography, and a unique bit of gravitational physics called gravitational lensing) to look the farthest back in time that we have ever been able to observe.
On November 15, 2012, NASA announced a candidate for the most distant galaxy seen in the known universe. According to NASA, the tiny, newly-discovered galaxy is named MACS0647. The light from MACS0647 that astronomers observed is believed to have traveled 13.3 billion years to reach Earth.
To find out more about the project, visit the NASA.gov website.
Agent Kate B is a 3 year veteran of Geek Squad, currently on assignment at Geek Squad City. Follow Kate on Twitter @AgentKateB.
This news rocked the halls of Geek Squad corporate (Best Buy) this afternoon. If you know anything about your typical Geek Squad Agent, Star Wars is pretty much embedded in our DNA. (Heck, more than a few Agents list “Jedi” as their religious affiliation on various social media sites.) So news of this sort is bound to cause comments to fly around our ranks.
Fast on this announcement came another one: Disney plans on releasing new Star Wars movies every 2-3 years. While arguments amongst Star Wars fan boys may abound, one thing they are united on is the desire for episodes 7 – 9 to finally be produced. Will we see such a thing out of this? Will they bring back the characters we grew up with (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca)? Will it connect with the Expanded Universe, or start off fresh?
Very little is known, yet one thing is for sure: the Star Wars universe just got a whole lot bigger – and we’ll be standing not-so-patiently by (with money in hand) to see what happens next.Agent Ron has been battling the forces of unruly technology run amok since 2001, prior to Geek Squad’s acquisition of Best Buy. When not busy creating video & technical training content for Geek Squad Agents in the field, Agent Ron enjoys home brewing, international travel, learning how to cook new cuisines, and immersing himself in epic space opera set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
Windows 8 is designed to work effectively on a variety of devices and make it easy for users to share and interact with their friends and family.
The first thing you notice about Windows 8 is the new look. At startup, you are no longer presented with the desktop screen cluttered with icons you keep meaning to clean up. You now get to see the ‘Modern UI’ start screen:
Designed to work well with tablets and smartphones as well as computers, it’s a lot different than the startup menu we are all have become familiar with. The Start screen’s open, task-oriented layout gives you easy access to your favorites websites, pictures, emails and just about anything in your machine. But traditionalists need not worry – once you get past the new Start screen, the old fashioned desktop is still there.
We all hate viruses and malware. As by far the most popular operating system in the world, Windows has always attracted the attention of hackers, spammers and other cyber troublemakers. Luckily, Windows 8 has beefed-up security behind the scenes and a better preferences interface so you keep track of what’s going on with your computer.
Windows 8 comes with Security Essentials, a new antivirus software tool from Microsoft created to make the Windows browsing experience more secure. Over the past few years, ‘rootkits,’ a new type of malware, have found their way onto the information superhighway. Rootkits infect computers at a deep level and in ways a normal antivirus can’t remove. Windows 8 uses a new hardware feature called UEFI that makes it a lot more difficult for rootkits and other kind of malware to get into your system.
An added bonus to Windows 8 is that it is tightly integrated with the Microsoft App Store. Just like the app stores that feed your smartphone, the new Windows system makes it easy to download games and apps straight to your computer. While the Microsoft App Store is still in the process of building its offerings, it can be a great way to get that cool new app everyone has been telling you about. Best of all, you can link it to your Microsoft Live account and put the same app in up to five devices.
As we get closer to the launch of the Windows 8, be sure to check the Intelligence blog for more updates on Windows 8 with tips and tricks on getting the most out of the new operating system. We have also posted information on Windows 8 in the Self Help section of Geeksquad.com.
Double Agent Devin C can be found trekking in his Geekmobile in North Carolina and policing technology on a daily basis. When he is not saving clients from their technology issues, he can often be found glued to his computer chair with the warm glow of the monitor providing all the artificial light he needs to power his robot brain.
This weekend Geek Squad and West Coast Custom fans will celebrate a brand new Geekmobile hitting the track: #99, a Ford Fusion.
The new car will be debuting at the NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 19th, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup races sponsored by Best Buy this season. Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards will be shooting for what could be his third win at this track in the brand new, never-before-seen, Geek Squad Ford Fusion.
Designed by Ryan Friedlinghaus, Founder and CEO of world-famous West Coast Customs, #99 has been kept top secret until this weekend.
As the anticipation for the debut grows, be sure to follow on twitter for all the up-to-date information: #geeksquad99Every day, Covert Remote Support Agent Laura G. is remotely saving the sanity of clients around the United States while thwarting the presence of malware on their computers. When not working on computers remotely you can find Agent Laura in her kitchen in sunny Vero Beach, FL baking creative and innovative cakes.
At forty community-based camps this summer, Geek Squad Agents volunteer to teach youth tech basics in a fun and inspirational way; five camps tailored for military bases as part of national Joining Forces initiative
Today, Geek Squad announced the 6th Annual Geek Squad Summer Academy™ program, an unparalleled community-supported tech immersion experience that provides young people the tech know-how to spark creativity and innovation. Introduced in 2007, this technology boot camp has grown from a one-day, one-city 300-student camp to a nationwide program that will reach nearly 10,000 students in more than 20 states this summer. The Geek Squad Summer Academy program, a contributor to the White House Joining Forces initiative, also will support tech education for military family members by hosting five customized camps on select military bases across the U.S.
“The special expertise of our Geek Squad Agents makes them uniquely qualified to help kids learn and love technology,” said George Sherman, senior vice president of Best Buy Services. “We look forward to another successful year of Geek Squad Summer Academy, and are excited to help foster our Junior Agents’ desire to use technology as a tool to help achieve the dream of becoming whatever you want to be.”
Providing young people access to technology and inspiring their creativity are key priorities for Best Buy, and the Geek Squad Summer Academy program is vital to achieving this goal. Each year, Geek Squad Agents volunteer their time to work alongside young people as they explore the ins and outs of their favorite gadgets. Geek Squad partners with non-profit organizations – such as The Girl Scouts of America and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, among others – to demystify technology for young people and ignite their passion with a curriculum that focuses on fun and inspiration. This year the Geek Squad Summer Academy program will visit more locations than ever before and provide the most comprehensive curriculum to date.
“Geek Squad Summer Academy is a truly one-of-a-kind experience for young people,” said Moira Hardek, founder and senior manager of Geek Squad Summer Academy. “Not only do we bring know-how to kids in their own communities, but we try to nurture them to be more creative and inspire them to innovate. Delivering this hands-on experience is what makes the program memorable for the kids, and so very rewarding for those of us with Geek Squad who are fortunate to participate.”
Geek Squad Summer Academy’s 2012 season will kick-off on June 10 in Bladensburg, Md. and subsequently visit 40 cities from coast to coast, ending in late August. The five unique armed forces-focused Geek Squad Summer Academy program sessions will be held on military bases like Fort Meade in Maryland.
For a complete schedule of Geek Squad Summer Academy 2012 dates, locations, enrollment information and more, visit http://geeksquadacademy.com/summeracademy/.
About Geek Squad:
If your deepest desire is make the most of your technology so you can get more from your life, Geek Squad is there for you: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For help with all your technology needs, call 1.800.GEEK SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation. Access Geek Squad Agents remotely or find a location near you at www.geeksquad.com, or visit the Geek Squad Precinct at any Best Buy to speak with an Agent directly.
TRENDNet, maker of several IP Cameras, recently discovered a vulnerability in several of their SecurView cameras that allowed for online access in real-time by hackers. Fortunately the company released a quick firmware update to resolve the issue.
Was that just the sound of your jaw dropping? Yes, even digital cameras aren’t safe online. This should serve as a handy wake-up call that — in our Web-connected world — it’s not just your computer and phone that need security updates!
Almost every device that connects to your network, from your TV and DVD player to your security system, run on basic software called “Firmware”. This software controls all functionality of the device – kind of like an operating system, like Windows or MAC OS. In the case of networked devices, it controls how your devices communicate with the network and can allow you to access the device remotely.
As technology changes, this firmware sometimes needs to be updated. Occasionally a security threat is found that makes your device (and the network it is connected to) vulnerable to a hacker attack or manipulation. Manufacturers usually take care of this problem by releasing a free firmware update for your device, and making it available through their websites. It is important to check for these updates on a regular basis to ensure you always have the latest firmware.
If you own a TRENDNet IP Camera, TRENDnet has released the following information on their website on how to update the camera’s firmware, where to obtain the update, and how to get in touch with them if needed:
TRENDnet’s security team understands that video from some TRENDnet IP SecurView cameras may be accessed online in real time. Upon awareness of the issue, TRENDnet initiated immediate actions to quantify the scope of the issue, initiate corrective actions, and publish updated firmware which resolves the issue.
Only select cameras purchased between April of 2010 and the present may be affected and require a firmware update. Eighteen camera models have been identified. A list of the identified products is available on TRENDnet’s homepage: http://www.trendnet.com
How can Consumers Upload new Firmware?
Updating firmware takes a few minutes. New firmware for all of the listed models is available at the following link:http://www.trendnet.com/downloads
How can Consumers Contact TRENDnet?
TRENDnet has created the following dedicated email for all inquires related to this reported issue. Customers with any questions related to this issue such as how to update your camera’s firmware are invited to contact TRENDnet at the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more than 20 years, TRENDnet has built a reputation for offering trusted, security IP camera solutions to consumers worldwide. We have worked hard to create a brand delivering network solutions that people trust. TRENDnet extends its deepest apologies to consumers which may be impacted by this issue.
To find updated drivers for major brands, check out our driver Do-It-Yourself page. For a quick tutorial on how to update firmware, check out our 2 Minute Miracle at http://gslink.us/KcM0E1. For assistance in updating firmware, or additional questions, chat with an Agent at http://www.geeksquad.com, call 1-800-GEEK-SQUAD, or visit a Geek Squad Precinct at Best Buy store near you for a consultation.
-Agent Patrick B.
Agent Patrick B. has been an Agent with the Geek Squad since 2005. When he isn’t overseeing the Geek Squad Intelligence Blog or the Geek Squad’s Social Media presence, he can be found wandering the streets of Minneapolis for a fresh new source of caffeine to fuel his all night gaming sessions.
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