Major SSL bug called ‘Heartbleed’ exposes your data

Get ready for a new interruption in your work day. A newly discovered security bug nicknamed Heartbleed has exposed millions of usernames, passwords and reportedly credit card numbers — a major problem that hackers could have exploited during the more than two years it went undetected.

This one is unlike most of the breaches over the past few years, in which a Web site got hacked or let its guard down. This flaw is in the SSL (HTTPS) code designed to keep servers secure — tens of thousands of servers on which data is stored for thousands of sites. The bug was found in SSL certificates using a common form of OpenSSL, which is used on servers to encrypt sensitive information to protect people’s privacy. At least 500,000 servers were reportedly vulnerable and I bet thats a low number.  It primarily affects NGinx and Apache servers which by some accounts is more than 60% of web servers in use today.

Server admins are checking and testing to see if their SSL certificates are using the vulnerable version of OpenSSL and reissuing the SSL certificates using non-affected versions.  You should change passwords only AFTER the new SSL certs have been issued.

OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols. The core library, written in the C programming language, implements the basic cryptographic functions and provides various utility functions. The beauty of OpenSSL is that it is primarily an open platform.  So that when a vulnerability is discovered it is quickly announced and fixed.  With proprietary systems, a bug could exist and only a handful of people are responsible for policing it.  And if found, they may not tell anyone for fear of repercussions.  Open source is a double edged sword for sure, but it slices both ways and that is a good thing IMHO.

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Blog Entries Missing

Some of you have noticed that a lot of our blog postings had gone missing from recent posts.  We changed servers and lost many posts and images.  We’re working on restoring those from back ups just as soon as we have the time.  Thanks for your understanding.

I want my files back!

I want my files back!

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New Samsung LED LCD commercial displays

At Electronic Art, we really like the Samsung product line for LCD displays in retail and corporate digital signage.  They really have their head in the game and are always improving and innovating the technology.  They’ve just released a new LED LCD product line update and the new PDF catalog is available here.  What I find interesting is the use of the term “LED LCD” which seems a bit confusing.  They seem to be blending the two different terms to create their own terminology.

It makes me wonder how long it will be until there are no more LCD displays and LED is the standard.  It’s probably not far away as the new LED screens are up to 50% more energy efficient which is so important with rising energy costs.  And being so thin and slender certainly makes for a cleaner looking installation because it doesn’t protrude so far from the wall.   And they are mercury free and easier to recycle.  All very important topics when deciding what the total cost of ownership of these screens are over time.

Don’t confuse these with the consumer grade screens you find at Best Buy.  Samsung LED LCD commercial displays are built for heavy-duty commercial use. They feature more advanced cooling technologies than consumer televisions, and are designed for long hours of continuous use.  Consumer grade screens are rated at about 20,000 to 30,000 hours of intermittent use whereas the commercial screens are rated at 60,000 + hours of continuous usage. They come with a three year commercial warranty instead of a consumer warranty.  Hang a consumer screen in a business environment and the consumer warranty is no longer valid.

In past years we have sold a lot of Samsung screens for libraries, trucking companies, ski resorts and general corporate communication.  We’ve even sold Proctor & Gamble a 9 screen video wall last year that was used in their lobby for an Earth Day event.  I think we’ll have a lot of success with the new LED screens as well.

A new change in the LED line-up is a built in simple media player.  It will play basic Jpegs, video and powerpoint (not sure why anyone would use Powerpoint for screen media… but that is another story).  in a simple rotation.  This new USB plugin method is using what they call MagicInfo Lite software which comes free with the screens.  Other commercial screens with a built-in PC have come with MagicInfo Pro as a free product to manage a small number of networked screens. And there is also the MagicInfo-I premium which is a more robust enterprise application available (not free).   So Samsung has brought added value to their commercial LED lineup to enable an easy to use simple media player right out of the box.  Of course you can still add PC player devices and run more processor intensive applications like Flash and use more sophisticated digital signage management software.  But a small office or low budget project can benefit from these new products from Samsung.

If you’re looking to do digital menu boards, corporate communications, retail signage or you just want to be able to welcome your guests in your lobby, call us.  We can recommend the best solution for both your short term and long term needs.  We offer full integration including installation services, software configuration, training, remote system monitoring and content creation.

Related Reading: Also read the white paper on “Why Buy Professional LCD’s” here.

Tim Burke is the president of Electronic Art LLC and also on the advisory board of the Digital Screenmedia Association which is the leading industry association for digital signage, kiosks and mobile interactive.  He also is chairman of their marketing and PR committee.  Electronic Art is a full service integrator and a Samsung partner.

Digital Non-Conference recap

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Unique Pub Locations

The 2010 digital Non-Conference is now behind us.  And everyone I spoke to seemed to really enjoy the conference and the quality speakers at the event.  The “Non-Conference” is so named because of it’s non traditional format tailored after a similar non-conference in Ireland in the early 2000’s where each session was held in various pubs.  The Cincinnati event held it’s main sessions and keynotes at the Millennium hotel and then each topical session was in a nearby bar, art gallery or lounge which kept it fun and interesting. As a sponsor of the event we were very pleased with the overall conference.

2010 Digital Non-Conference Keynote Panel

Ugly Betty's America Ferrera

The keynote speakers included a panel with Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera who is producing the first bi-lingual telenovela with MTV that will allow viewers to interact with the outcome of the show called “Pedro and Maria. Another compelling keynote was Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora online radio. While building the music website, Westergren said he maxed out three credit cards and accumulated a quarter million dollars in debt in 2003. But by listening to its consumers and being persistent, the company now represents 60 percent of online music, showing that the proper mix of passion, persistence and  technology can make all of the difference in the digital world.

As a presenter I enjoyed talking about digital signage to this audience of mostly ad agency staff, designers, media, bloggers, marketers and brand managers who are likely to know little about digital signage.  I hosted a panel on the topic of “Trends and Insights: Digital Signage Opportunities for Marketers” which tried to convey the benefits to this audience as well as some basics of our industry. On the panel was Christopher Hall of DigitalSignageToday.com, Chuck Gose of The MediaTile Company, Bill Collins of DecisionPoint Media and myself.  We were hosting our discussion in a place called “Passage Lounge” which is an upscale lounge bar with a secret passage to the VIP lounge which provided a relaxed environment.  We kicked off the discussion with some basics on digital signage along with photos to ensure the audience was up to speed on what we were discussing. Then our panel fielded very relevant  questions from the audience on important topics such as:

  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage, when social media and smart mobile phones are so hot?”
  • “Many brands see the value of Digital Signage at retail, but they have been frustrated by the lack of good opportunities that they have to tell their story at retail.   What do you expect the brands to do in order to break through at retail?”
  • “Why should marketers invest in digital signage at all?”

The discussion was lively and the panel did a professional job with no “selling” to the audience. Although I saw several audience members get business cards afterward to be able to continue the discussion. One audience member drove all of the way from Toronto Canada after reading about the conference and our panel online.  He was wanting to start a new digital signage network in Toronto and had many questions for the panelists after our event.

Tim Westergren - Pandora

Tim Westergren - Pandora

It was good to see traditional agencies and marketers taking an interest in digital signage. Several people asked me how they could learn more and I directed them to the digital screenmedia association web site and handed them a brochure.  They expressed interest in using digital out of home media to target their audiences but felt that the biggest problem they have is the lack of network ubiquity (just as Tim Westergren had noted was a key to Pandora’s success). Until there are large ubiquitous networks available for them to spend their ad money, digital signage will not be perceived as a primary vehicle for out of home advertising.   We discussed the integration of social media and used the Foursquare / Local Moda example to show how brands are leveraging social media with digital signage in their bricks and mortar locations, which was of particular interest to many in the audience.  This lead to some interesting tweets from the audience which can be seen here: http://digitalcincinnati.org/2010/top-tweets-from-145pm-breakouts/

So, did they get it?  Yes.  The audience got it and they seemed jazzed about many of the technologies that can help them measure digital signage.  This is something most marketers don’t realize is available to them.  I wouldn’t doubt that our discussion helps to grow the digital signage industry in our region as well as perhaps getting some of the global brand managers to become more open to the use of digital signage spend in the upcoming years.  We have already begun working with a lead that we met at the conference, so our firm is happy with the exposure it has given us.

2010 Digital Non-Conference session

Hands-On Session on Innovation

The digital non-conference was put off by the Cincinnati Ad-Club and the American Marketing Association. This is the third year for the event and has grown quite a bit.  This year there was a real emphasis on growing the reach to other cities in the midwest including Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington and Dayton making this a Midwest digital conference not just a greater Cincinnati event.  Our panel had someone from Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati so it was a diverse group.  I believe that the next couple of years will see dramatic growth of the conference.  And the event is always timed to coincide with the Midpoint Music Festival which adds a bit of cool factor to the experience.

I hope you can plan to attend next year’s event.  If not, consider how you or your company can help to expand the knowledge and education around digital signage in your part of the world.  Get involved, sponsor, speak and provide a consultative approach to helping others realize the potential of digital out of home marketing.  When you give unselfishly, you will always get back more than you anticipated.  It may be as simple as volunteering to staff the DSA booth at an upcoming event or giving a show and tell event for your local chamber of commerce.  Lean on the DSA to provide you with content, networking with other industry professionals and membership materials. Its your association, use it!

CEO Renamed as Chairperson for DSA Committee

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with the Digital Signage Association since it’s inception a few years ago, as well as membership in the SSKA (Self Service & Kiosk Association).  In the past few months both of those organizations combined into one non profit association which makes my life a lot easier.  The new association is the Digital ScreenMedia Association ( notice how the kept the DSA moniker). And with a membership of over 650 end users, deployers, manufacturers and agencies it is a pretty powerful organization.

I’ve been the chairperson for the DSA Marketing & PR committee for about 1.5 years now and with the merger of the two associations and two committees it was a bit up in the air if I would be the new combined committee chairperson or if the esteemed Bill Lynch of the SSKA committee would lead going forwards.   Well it’s official that I am indeed the new chairperson of the combined committee and we had our first conference call a few weeks ago to engage the now larger committee.  It was a great call as we reviewed old news and new items including some very exciting programs we will be recommending to the board.   I can’t speak of them yet but I’m hopeful they will make an impact in the marketing of the DSA, giving us several PR opportunities and help fulfill the mission of the DSA.   More word on this when it’s public knowledge.

To learn more about the DSA and get involved as a user/integrator/agency of digital signage, mobile or kiosk technologies visit their web site at: http://www.digitalscreenmedia.org/

Kentucky Libraries Get Digital Signage

We recently integrated a digital signage management system for the Kenton County Public Library system in northern Kentucky.  The project included a content management system to allow the library staff to create or upload media and schedule that content for individual screens across all of their branch locations.  The browser based tools allow for setting content via a scheduling tool to push out media to each screen at a chosen time.

The energy efficient commercial grade LCD screens can be set to automatically turn on and off when the library opens and closes and they have smart cooling systems to help preserve their lifespan.  Each screen has a networked player appliance that receives the content from the digital media server and outputs it to the screen as scheduled.

This is another example of how to digitally communicate with a broad audience and cut down on the time to deliver content versus the traditional printed methods.  Digital signage is often used for museums, retail and corporate communications.  Libraries are an excellent place to communicate to the local community and keep them informed of local and regional events as well as news, weather and library related topics such as the NY Times Best sellers list.

Photos from this installation:

William Durr Branch Interior Signage William Durr Branch Interior Signage 2

Erlanger Branch Interior Erlanger Branch Interior 3William Durr Branch exterior Covington Branche Interior

For more information about how your organization can utilize digital signage to communicate to your audience, contact us via our web site.  If you are interested in some of the hardware available you can visit our new hardware catalog at www.TouchScreenHardware.com

Do you have a comment?  We’d love to hear from you by commenting in the blog below.

New Kiosk Hardware Catalog Coming Soon

For years we have offered hundreds of hardware options to our clients but have found it difficult to show everything we offer on our site. So we’ve been working in the background to build an online catalog that will enable us to fully showcase the different kiosk hardware and digital signage hardware components in our line card.
This includes everything from full kiosk enclosures, panel pc’s, LCD panels, mounts, stands and more. Everything from IBM & Samsung to Ergotron and Premier mounts.
So keep an eye out for our updates coming in the next few weeks. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask… we probably sell it.

KioskCom & the Digital Signage Show

Well, its that time again when we pack up touch screen kiosks and LCD screens and rush to get our software apps ready to display at the upcoming www.KioskCom.com trade show in Las Vegas on April 14 & 15th 2010 at the Mandalay Bay resort and casino.  We’ve exhibited at this show for many years and  are happy to be a part of it all again.  This time we have a larger 10 x 20 booth and have one of our many hardware partners who have offered to share the booth with us.  The good folks at www.Zivelo.com are providing their kiosk hardware for the booth including the C10, C2, C6 and the NEW C5 model being built just for the show!  We resell all of their models and are always impressed with the quality of the craftsmanship.  We often partner with Zivelo and provide the software applications for many of their clients.  Come meet Ziver and Ross from Zivelo at our booth.

Also, you’ll see our www.Lobstr.net product that has been rebuilt with new CSS3 based programming and a new pricing model for local operation (no subscriptions!).  And a new kiosk application that offers SMS coupon and lead generation services to drive traffic to your store, along with many of our past projects for various fortune 1000 clients.

Some news, next year the show will have a new name and location.  Goodbye Las Vegas, hello San Francisco! And the new name focuses more on the customer and less on us vendors:  Customer Engagement Technology World which will be at www.CETWorld.com . I like the new direction and the guys at JD Events who put on the show are some really nice folks that do a great job!  We are looking forward to the new format next year. See the press release here.

Are you planning to come to the show or perhaps still on the fence?  Well, let me offer you a free pass into the Expo show floor so you can come visit us  and our peers in the industry.  We will be in booth #205 right across from our business partners at Samsung.  Use the discount code at checkout of:   2LV49F and you’ll get the $50 expo fee on us.   Stop by and see us!  Register at http://www.kioskcom.com/register.asp

I hope to have some good photos and interesting products to discuss after the show, and you can follow my tweets on Twitter during the show at:  http://www.twitter.com/KioskGuy

Do you have a comment?  Add your comment below and I’ll give you a special shout out at the show!

New Client: 100 Black Men of Greater Cincinnati

We have signed a new client: 100 Black Men of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. which is the premier volunteer youth service organization, mentoring African-American male throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.  Our team will be building a new web presence for them and providing marketing tools and services.  Watch for their new web site coming soon.

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Electronic Art Gives Perfect North Slopes a Better Way to Communicate using Digital Signage

PNS1-2-2010 001With the winter Olympics currently underway and recent record amounts of snowfall, you might find yourself inspired to take to the slopes this year. Thanks to a local company, your experience at Cincinnati’s closest ski resort is now more informative and accessible for ski experts and novices alike.

Electronic Art, an interactive agency specializing in touch screen kiosks, digital signage and integrated websites, recently integrated digital signage hardware and screen management software at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

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