Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
By HELENE COOPER
|Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images|
WASHINGTON — Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team amid an onslaught of global crises.
The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.
The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.
But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list are Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense; Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.
A respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Hagel has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama’s closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel’s defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.
Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama’s close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.
He never really shed that pall after arriving at the Pentagon, and in the past months he has largely ceded the stage to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who officials said initially won the confidence of Mr. Obama with his recommendation of military action against the Islamic State.
In Mr. Hagel’s less than two years on the job, his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the manner of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways was exactly the kind of defense secretary whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.
Mr. Hagel, for his part, spent his time on the job largely carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated wishes on matters like bringing back American troops from Afghanistan and trimming the Pentagon budget, with little pushback. He did manage to inspire loyalty among enlisted soldiers and often seemed at his most confident when talking to troops or sharing wartime experiences as a Vietnam veteran.
But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences. In his side-by-side appearances with both General Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first former enlisted combat soldier to be defense secretary, has often been upstaged.
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Posted by CAMACOL at 6:49 AM
Friday, November 21, 2014
You may want to switch to another cloud storage service — perhaps moving to Microsoft’s OneDrive to get that now-infinite cloud storage. Yes, you could just download and re-upload all your files, but you can also do this a faster way.
Your home Internet connection’s upload speed is usually the bottleneck here. Use a service that will move your files between services for you and you won’t have to worry about your upload speed or even leaving your computer on.
The Obvious, Slow Way
First of all, keep it simply. If you don’t have that many gigabytes of data stored in a cloud storage service, you don’t have to use any of the services below. All you have to do is download your files to your computer — if they’re all synced to your computer, that will work. If not, you’ll need to change your service’s sync settings to sync all files to your computer.
Note that, if you use Google Docs, you’ll need to export those Google Docs file to Office documents or another format before you can move them to another service.
Next, install the desktop client for the service you want to move your files to, and just move or copy the files from your current cloud storage folder to the new one. The new cloud storage service will upload all of them from your computer to its data center.
This is all well and good, but this process involves downloading everything over your home Internet connection and then re-uploading it. Your home Internet connection is probably the slowest part of the process, so this just isn’t efficient if you have a massive amount of data. The solution is a service that grabs the files for you and then pushes them to the new service.
We first became aware of Mover.io when they partnered with Canonical to help get people’s files out of Ubuntu One and onto other services before its shutdown. Mover.io supports more services than that, and it’s actually free for personal use. This means it’s a great way to get files out of any consumer cloud storage service and onto another without the hassle. Mover.io supports Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, Copy, Yandex, and PutIO for its free consumer service.
Add your accounts and mover.io will gain access to them via OAuth. You can then run an immediate transfer of the files from one location to another, or set up a scheduled transfer to have this happen automatically on a schedule. This is faster than doing this yourself, because it uses mover.io’s Internet connection, which will likely have faster download and upload speeds than yours. You also don’t have to leave your computer for the duration of the process, as it all happens on their servers (or “in the cloud,” as we say nowadays).
After performing the file transfer, you can revoke the service’s access to your files if you don’t plan on continuing to use this service on a continual basis. You can and should revoke any service’s access when you’re done using it.
Otixo isn’t designed only for moving files between different services. It’s a cloud storage aggregator that allows you to see all your cloud storage services and their files in a single interface. Otixo also lets you easily transfer files between these services with a quick drag-and-drop.
The nice thing about Otixo is that it supports a wider variety of cloud storage services, including SugarSync, Amazon S3 storage, FTP servers, and WebDAV sites. Otixo does have a limit in that it can only move a single file at a time between services if you have a free account. However, if you need such a service to move large files — for example, ISO files, large videos, or archive files — this may not be that much of a downside.
There are other services like Mover.io, but we can’t resist doing this with IFTTT – short for “IF This, Then That.” We love IFTTT for its ability toput together “recipes” that operate on certain triggers. To do this, IFTTT has functions that can grab files from a cloud storage service and push them to another. Enterprising IFTTT users have already created recipes that use IFTTT to push files from one cloud storage service to another, and they can be found with a quick search on the IFTTT site. Indeed, there are recipes for syncing your Dropbox folder to OneDrive or adding files to Google Drive by moving them to a specific Dropbox folder.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to use OneDrive or Google Drive as a source in IFTTT. It’s not just that no one has created the recipes yet, but that a created recipe can’t start with OneDrive or Google Drive — they can only be a destination. This could be a good way to migrate files from Dropbox, though — especially if you already use and trust IFTTT, as many geeks do.
There are more services beyond these, of course. You can find them with a quick Google search. Be sure to look at the fine print — many services require a payment, even for personal use. You’re also granting such a service service access to both of your cloud storage accounts if you do this, so you should try to find a trustworthy service that won’t abuse that access.
Posted by CAMACOL at 8:40 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2014
14 November 2014
CRIMINALS POST FRAUDULENT ONLINE ADVERTISEMENTS FOR AUTOMOBILES, RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, BOATS, AND OTHER OUTDOOR EQUIPMENT LEADING TO FINANCIAL LOSSES IN EXCESS OF $20 MILLION
From June 2009 to June 2014 the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 6800 complaints regarding criminals targeting online consumers by posting false advertisements for high priced items such as automobiles, boats, heavy equipment, recreational vehicles, lawn mowers, tractors, and other similar items. These complaints total more than $20 million in reported losses.
The scam initiates when the criminals post a false advertisement offering the item for sale. The advertisement usually includes a fraudulent photo to entice the consumer to purchase the item. Within the advertisement, the criminal includes a contact telephone number. The consumer leaves a message and the perpetrator responds via text message. The text message normally requests that the consumer provide an e-mail address. Once the e-mail address is provided the consumer is sent additional details to include multiple images of the item for sale. The perpetrator provides logical reasons for offering the item at such a discounted price such as moving to another location; therefore, the item needs to be sold quickly; the sale was part of a divorce settlement; or overseas deployment.
Consumers normally negotiate a price. Many scammers advise the consumer the transaction will be conducted through Ebay to ensure a safe and easy transaction. In reality the scammer is only pretending to use Ebay. The consumer receives a false e-mail that appears to be legitimate from Ebay. The e-mail provides instructions on how to complete the transaction. The perpetrator provides the consumer with all the information necessary to complete the wire transfer - the bank account name, address, and account number. The scammer provides a fraudulent toll-free Ebay customer service number for the consumer to use when they are ready to wire the money. These numbers were also used by many victims to confirm a successful wire transfer or to check transaction status and shipping information. After the transaction, the consumer is sent a false Ebay confirmation e-mail that includes the fraudulent transaction or confirmation number and the expected delivery date of the item.
Any follow-up calls, text messages or e-mails to the perpetrator(s) are normally ignored and many victims report the toll-free customer service telephone numbers provided are constantly busy. As a result, the consumer never receives the purchased item(s) and suffers a financial loss.
The FBI recommends that consumers ensure they are purchasing the actual merchandise from a reputable source by verifying the legitimacy of the seller. Below are some consumer tips when purchasing items online:
- Use search engines or other websites to research the advertised item or person/company selling the item.
- Search the Internet for any negative feedback or reviews on the seller, their e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or other searchable identifiers.
- Research the company policies before completing a transaction. For example, ensure the seller accepts payments via credit card as Ebay does not conduct wire transfers and only uses PayPal to conduct transactions.
- Be cautious when responding to advertisements and special offers.
- Be cautious when dealing with persons/companies from outside the country.
- Maintain records for all online transactions.
As a consumer, if you suspect you are a victim of an Internet-related crime, you may file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center atwww.IC3.gov .
Posted by CAMACOL at 8:36 AM