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Newspaper columns by Dave Moore, weekly columnist for the Norman Transcript since 2005.

Bad guys phishing for cash

I recently received an email from my bank, notifying me that they were upgrading their security systems, and that my account information needed to be updated. The email included a convenient link which took me directly to my bank’s website. No problem, I thought, so I...

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What is a computer “drive,” anyway?

Computer folks often throw around words, terms and acronyms assuming everyone else knows what they mean. I recently learned that’s a bad assumption, though, as a customer discussing backing up files to an external hard drive remarked, “You know, I don’t think I really...

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Scrapping your old computer

I once watched someone walk out of the back of a local downtown business and throw a computer in a dumpster; monitor, keyboard, mouse and all. As highly dignified and refined as I am, I have been known to occasionally insert my entire body into large trash receptacles...

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Test your online safety knowledge

Too many people fail to take the subject of online Internet safety and security seriously in advance of a catastrophe. That’s a shame, because taking basic, simple precautions now can pay big dividends in the future. People who’ve lost everything to a hard drive...

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Roll the dice for secure passwords

If you've followed this column for any length of time, you've read my rants, warnings and exhortations regarding passwords. In a nutshell, computer and Internet account passwords (email, Facebook, Twitter, banking, Amazon, etc.) need to be sufficiently complex to make...

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davenewpic1 I was born an Army brat in 1954, with my family living in Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico before landing in Norman, Oklahoma.  As a kid, I had many interests, including reading, writing, amateur sleuthing, microbiology, archeology, electronics and music.  If I wasn’t looking at pond water through a microscope or developing my musical abilities, I was probably tearing apart an old radio to convert it into a burglar alarm with fifty speakers.

As a lifelong electronics hobbyist, my career with computers began in about 1984, when I borrowed $1,200 to buy a complete Commodore 64 system.  One of my first computer modifications was to disassemble and drill a hole through the case of the C-64, adding an on/off switch for the expansion port.  I then added a homebrew computer clock synchronization port to my Emu Systems Drumulator drum machine (an early digital drum computer) by tapping into the clock circuit, so that I could synchronize the Drumulator, the Commodore 64 and the first Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) keyboard sold in Norman, the mighty (and, extinct) Prophet 600 synthesizer by Sequential Circuits.  These were the early days of popular electronic music.

It’s OK if you don’t know what all of those things mean – the important thing to know is that geeky electronics and computer activities such as these have brought me over the years to my current situation.

One of my more recent geeky accomplishments was inventing and hosting the Defcon WiFi Shootout Contest, which was a contest to see who could achieve the longest WiFi wireless networking connection.  I ran the contest for three years at the annual Defcon computer security conference in Las Vegas (www.defcon.org), and the contest and its World Record holders are listed on page 112 of the 2006 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.  During the second year of the contest, I began writing a computer/Internet-related column for The Norman Transcript, in Norman, Oklahoma.  I also do all sorts of computer service and consulting for a wide variety of clients in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and greatly enjoy my work.  It is satisfying to know that my work and writings have helped countless people to have a safer and more enjoyable computing experience.  Feel free to contact me anytime that you like.