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Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of August 8th, 2008

Posted on August 8, 2008 by Vanessa

The 2008 Summer Olympics started today; opening ceremonies have already taken place in China, but will not be available for viewing on T.V. in America until this evening.  Did you know that the Olympic Rings is the world’s most recognized symbol?



  • For those of you that are as excited about the Olympics as I am you can catch an estimated 2,000 hours of online footage via the NBC Olympics site.  If there is a particular event that you are looking to see that won’t be broadcast domestically, Leo Laporte, the “Tech Guy”,  will be giving out websites that are broadcasting events both legally and illegally on his radio show tomorrow.  To listen on demand visit this link
  • If you have followed our blog or speakers at conferences you have probably heard us talk about hiring “shining stars” or “analytical aces”, these are the top notch employees that help to grow the company and vigorously love their jobs.  We may have an advantage at this since one of our fearless leaders is a professor at a University and is able to give semester long interviews to students without them even knowing it, but what about the rest of eCommerce?  Harry Joiner, specializes in recruiting and filling online marketing executive slots, he says “If the candidate senses online is an afterthought [to the hiring company], then they are not going to work there. It’s essential the company sees ecommerce as a pie-enlarging value proposition, not just a pie-rearranging proposition. Because at the end of the day, “A” players want to go where they are going to matter.”  If you tend to agree with him, then I would suggest reading this interview with Joiner by Alan Rimm-Kaufman. 
  • Dan Kaminsky of IOActive Inc, a security consultant firm based in Seattle, discovered an internet security flaw that has the ability to affect emails.  According to the article when Kaminsky spoke at this week’s Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, the room was packed and had people sitting on the floor to hear what he was going to reveal about the security hole.  Most vendors and many providers have fixed the issue, but some have not, which could leave some at risk.  According to Kaminsky “The industry has rallied like we've never seen the industry rally before”.  For those of you who aren’t so technical (myself included), some of our fellow blogger nerds provided some insight about the security risk:
    From Jordon: “It works kind of like a man in the middle attack, where the attacker can respond to a DNS request before the actual DNS server.  When DNS isn’t using port randomization it’s only responds on port 53 which it makes it easy to intercept the response because you know what port it is on.  If port randomization is enabled then the response can come back on any of over 65 thousand ports making it harder to respond on the correct port. 
    So you would think that the odds are over 1 in 65,000 to make the attack work, except the attacker can respond quicker than the DNS server, say like a hundred times.  So then the odds of getting a correct response becomes 1 in 650, which is much more reasonable.  Port randomization helps but doesn’t completely solve the problem.  So they had to fix some code and other stuff that I don’t completely understand yet.”
    From Zach: “Yea that sounds right, when I was reading about it last week several people said it had to do with some DNS configurations not randomizing correctly. Instead of the ports being random they might be linear or have some kind of predictable pattern so if you can figure that out then you know where to point the attacks.”
  • 38% of female blog writers make their online purchasing decisions based on information they have found in a blog according to a BlogHer/Compass Partners study.  This may be an untapped area for internet retailers as the study also shows that 35% of all women in the US participate in the “blogosphere”. 
  • Avinash Kaushik of Occam’s razor posted on using Google Trends for competitive analysis.  It’s a great post, but be sure you are prepared before you try to take on this task, Avinash explains “Doing competitive intelligence analysis without knowing enough context about your competitive space, your general ecosystem, is like going to play a football game naked. Won’t lead to a great outcome for you (even if you paid a ton of money for your players - tools :)).”  For those of you who feel you are prepared for the task the post is highly informative.
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