Head-on collision on 128S in Lexington?

How the heck does a head-on collision occur on 128S in Lexington? It’s a multi-lane divided highway for chrissakes. Right at Exit 31b around 10:25 AM there was a minivan facing oncoming traffic in the left lane with a sedan firmly implanted in its grille. I had the Digital Rebel with me, but I was already too late for work to stop and take photos. Amazingly, no one looked hurt and emergency services hadn’t shown up yet, but I’m still absolutely dumbfounded as to how the minivan ended up backwards in the left lane. Guh.

Pepper Pad in the Globe Again

20040206-031-PepperPad_Group-DWC100_02We’re in the news again! As a followup to his previous article, Scott Kirsner featured the Pepper Pad in his @Large column in today’s Boston Globe. The article confirms the availability of the Pepper Pad later this year for between $600 and $700 with a price break once we go into high-volume production.

I can’t possibly express how excited I am to see this device coming to market. Not only do we have an absolutely amazing development and design team backing us, but everyone in the company has been given the opportunity to make suggestions for bells and whistles, and give their input on both the industrial design and the mechanical design.

So the Pepper Pad is being built for everyone from geeks like me to the parents of the founders of the company! Talk about the ultimate utilitarian appliance!

Update (12:55 PM): With today being the start of the DNC, our Boston Globe coverage couldn’t have been better timed! I’m sure hardcopy edition readership will be up today, and our Web server has already reported a noticeable increase in traffic.

We trust you, really! And who were you again?

In theory, the Merchant ID and Terminal ID numbers used to configure a payment processing system and link it to a merchant account are highly sensitive pieces of data that should never be revealed to anyone. With those two numbers, any fraudster could configure their credit card terminal to siphon funds from the account in question by issuing credits to their own credit cards. VeriSign even goes so far as to obfuscate the Merchant ID and Terminal ID numbers in their Transaction Terminal to protect merchants from shoulder surfing customers and co-workers.

A Merchant Account number, much like a checking account number, is generally public knowledge. All checks have a checking account number and routing number printed on them, and most credit card terminals in stores have a decal with the Merchant Account number emblazoned in plain view. Some uneducated clerks and store owners will write their Merchant ID and Terminal ID numbers on the Merchant Account decal out of convenience and, although still a very Bad Thing™, that’s not the subject of my rant.

Oh, no. Instead, I’m going to rant about Paymentech. Make your business run more efficiently, securely and profitably. Since I was setting up a new payment processing system and didn’t have my Merchant ID or Terminal ID numbers handy, I called their customer service line. An incredibly chipper young woman answered and, after asking for my Merchant Account number and what type of software I was configuring, she was more than happy to give me my Merchant ID and Terminal ID numbers! WTF? She didn’t even ask me my name!

So, let’s review. The only piece of identification I supplied was my Merchant Account number, which is easily obtainable by virtually any customer, and in return I was given the two ID numbers a fraudster would need to hijack my account. Awesome! I feel so warm and fuzzy now…

Boston Globe Archives for Free?

I really don’t get it. If a newspaper is going to charge for its archives, you’d think that it wouldn’t make its archives available for free depending on what you clicked on. The Boston Globe does just that.

I did a search to see if Scott Kirsner’s followup article about the Pepper Pad had been published yet, but only the previous article showed up. Just for gits and shiggles I clicked on the article, but was redirected to a subscription signup page.

So, even though the article is publicly available for free and indexed by Google News and a dozen other sites, the Boston Globe still expects you to pay for their search capabilities. Maybe I’m totally missing something here, but I really don’t see the incentive to subscribe. Maybe I’ll change my tune if I ever feel the need to do an advanced search back to 1979.

Migrated to a new wicked fast ADSL line.

SpeakeasyI’ve been a Speakeasy 768/768 SDSL customer for over three years now and, up until recently, I couldn’t have been happier with the service! That is until I found out that Speakeasy had a new 6000/768 ADSL offering in my area. The 768/768 SDSL line was originally chosen because we were locally hosting around a dozen Web sites and needed the corporate class QOS. Now that all of my Web services have been colocated with ValueWeb, I opted to migrate to the much faster consumer class 6000/768 ADSL circuit.
Continue reading Migrated to a new wicked fast ADSL line.

No solicitors!

Kudos to the Forefront sales rep who stopped by the office today. After encountering a locked door and a NO SOLICITING sign above our lobby doorbell, he meticulously balanced a brochure against our door and silently walked away! This is a far cry from most sales monkeys that will ring the bell while looking right at the sign and then try to convince me that their warez are worth wasting my time…

Pepper Keeper rated 5 out of 5!

cnet_rating-5Download.com has given Pepper Keeper Sampler 1.2.2 a 5 out of 5 rating! This is a major milestone for us because it validates that we’re on the right track on the software side, and shows that consumers really do want a simplified computing platform. Although the Pepper Keeper is an amazing piece of software all by itself, I can’t wait for its hardware compantion, the Pepper Pad 2 , to hit store shelves! I’ll finally have an affordable simplified computing device to check e-mail and scan Web forums without having to flip open my Powerbook.

Pepper Pad mentioned in the Boston Globe…

20040514-018-pepperpad2_model-d-05-dwc190Scott Kirsner briefly mentioned the Pepper Pad in a Boston Globe article entitled In tech world, 2004 seems a lot like 1997. Although it was just mentioned in passing, any press is good press.

1997: WebTV introduces WebTV plus, which connects a small, set-top box to a television and phone line, allowing users to surf the Web and send e-mail without dealing with the complexities of a PC.

2004: After a string of failed products for technophobes (remember 3Com’s Audrey, or the I-Opener?), Lexington’s Pepper Computer is trying to launch the Pepper Pad, a lightweight, easy-to-use, WiFi-enabled device that would be distributed (and subsidized) by broadband providers like Comcast or Verizon.

My only beef is that the author makes it sound like Pepper had a string of failed products, which is not the case. Ohwell, maybe next time.