Technology
MacroDroid: Useful Multi-tasker
MacroDroid is a simple task automation tool which relies heavily on a simple user interface and enhanced usability. Other automation tools like Tasker, which are more advanced, have a steep learning curve and, hence, are more complex.
 
The simple aim of MacroDroid is to create macros (repetitive tasks) which operate automatically. For example, you would like to turn on/off a data/Wi-Fi connection when you reach a particular place or you would like to automatically answer a call when Bluetooth is connected.
 
The app comes with several in-built macro templates for you to use which gets you up and running immediately, instinctively.
 
Creating a custom macro is easy: ‘Add Macro’; Select a trigger from the list (e.g., battery level); configure trigger specific settings (e.g., battery level < 10%); select an action from the list (e.g., configure Wi-Fi); Configure action-specific setting (e.g., disable Wi-Fi) - That’s it. There are further variations (constraints) which you can use, as you get better acquainted with the app.
 
Remember to send an SMS to your wife, when leaving office—if you use MacroDroid, it can be done automatically! Android: https://goo.gl/gdKSV4

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Why Lawyers Charge the Way They Do!
We wrote about judges not necessarily knowing all the laws, and got quite a bit of flak. No matter. At least, we are being read.
 
The third editorial in daily newspapers has, historically, been a tongue-in-cheek offering. While many a truth is hidden in jest, wry humour, every day, is difficult to create. So, when a finance daily takes on the lawyers, the courts and yoga, one needs to reflect on the column.
 
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition about yoga; overburdened, it has to suffer the indignities emanating from frivolous issues. The brethren had to decide whether or not yoga should be mandatory in schools. With such earth-shaking disputes on hand, the bench thought that levity was not in order. The opposing advocates were asked if any of them actually knew anything about yoga.
 
You be the judge. And judge the judges on this: Did the bench have the right to ask such a question?
 
You be the judge on this too: Should the lawyers have known more than they did?
 
Not being Baba Ramdev, someone mumbled something about pranayama, but the odds are that he must have heard it in passing, without actually understanding its true meaning. About whether the advocates failed in their duty, we think they did. If we firmly believe that every judge need not know every law, we equally strongly believe that every lawyer must be superbly versed in the brief that he holds. Otherwise, he is doing his client grave disservice.
 
It is incumbent upon every lawyer, advocate and counsel, to keep himself abreast of the intricacies of the dispute; he needs to grill his client more than questioning the opponent in cross-examination. The client needs to be both truthful and comprehensive in his explanations. He must, first of all, draw up a chronology of events leading to the dispute. He must collect all the documents pertaining to the case. Every scrap of paper is important. As I sit at home and type this, I realise that we have a roof over our heads because of one single envelope; one that I was using as a bookmark. Nothing is unimportant. The lawyer’s duty, next, is to segregate the wheat from the chaff, check the evidentiary documents against the chronology. He needs to punch holes in his own client’s story, fill in the gaps and make a coherent narrative to be presented to the court. He has to put himself in the shoes of the judge.
 
The next stop is the library. The lawyer must check on available material that relates to the case. He may have to go back years, even a hundred years, to dig out previously decided cases that bolster his own. Foundations may have been laid; he now needs to build the house. Nearly 40 years ago, a young advocate had upbraided me with some very wise words. “Never think you know everything. The other advocate will know what you do not.”
 
Overworked counsels sometimes rush through briefs; read only the prayers. The client should not force the pace. He should understand that humans can do only so much and give the advocate time to digest the matter. If not prepared, encourage asking for an adjournment. It will be granted. No litigant can suffer for the fault of his advocate. Courts are understanding and accommodative. There is, of course, a limit.
 
If the lawyer has to know all about the complexities and pitfalls, he needs help from the client. After all, the client has been in the thick of the situation and knows best. This is not a visit to the doctor where one pays the fees and gulps down the medicine. Legal warfare is against astute opponents and their appointees. Unlike germs, these forces fight back. Preparation is the key.
 
With this, we say ‘Good luck’ and hope readers understand why lawyers charge the way they do! 

User

COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

4 months ago

there r two types of advocates one who can argue and second can make your case settled with out argument the second one r costly because they manege court staff as well stay of important government orders or they even wait till some favorable Judge will come and do settle his matter with pocketful of money so it depends on the kind of case you e fighting.

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

4 months ago

Advocate admits that he didn't file because he got a phone call.
Next advocate was overheard that such cases land up once in a blue moon (meaning he has to harvest when the sun shines)
Next advocate takes my car, knocks down somebody in drunken driving and takes refuge in a judge's house to escape law.

Sometimes money, like beauty is a curse.

REPLY

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

In Reply to Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan 4 months ago

Habeas corpus

Bapoo Malcolm

4 months ago

In every case there is a winner and a loser. One never hears a winner complain about the system. It's natural and logical.

Then again, when losers complain, is it not possible that they had a bad case to begin with? Or that they messed it up by not telling their lawyer the whole truth. Or that they did not do exactly as the lawyer suggested, but did something on the advice of an 'expert' or a 'friend' or 'someone who knew someone'. We have a case like that on our hands right this moment. Then why should the lawyer care what happens? How often does a lawyer have to clean up the mess that clients create? How many clients stick to just one lawyer and his advice? How many clients lay ALL their cards on the table? How many clients try for short cuts and actually prolong the case? How many clients fail to turn up regularly in courts?

There is a saying that it takes two to tango. So, when one hears complains from one side, especially the losing side, I say, let us hear the other side also. Audi alteram partem. It's the basis of law. Maybe the losing side got what it deserved.

MUKUND SHAH

4 months ago

The trial court judges are like a pathological lab owner.. blindly signe on a report tabled by a lab manager.. the trial court judge belive on a report of police constable...(a man to be purchase in Rs.100/-) this also base on distric hospital compounder report (report are made as per requirements of advocate) also give prime facie conclusion on a blind trust on a n advocate.. etiches of a judge and an advocate is on papers the actual facts to run the business of advocates and to increase the pending nos of cases. unsolve for or up to the life of senior citizens

Pradeep Kumar M Sreedharan

4 months ago

As a very well to do, marine engineer, who damaged his psyche, reduced to such penury that I could only afford to eat twice a day and damaged his career irreparably, in a 5 years divorce case, I know for sure why the lawyers charge the way they do. The court case abruptly reached conclusion once they realised, there is no more balance in my savings. Then they tried to aquire my car and washing machine at deep discount. Now I have reconstructed my life and is free of bitterness. This was more than 15 years ago. I find, to my dismay, the lawyers haven't changed and hence simply letting the "fate (law) take it's course without any lawyer representing me. I have no respect for the existing system. I find it hilarious that, in the age of Artificial Intelligence, the judge spends most part of the day calling attendance. Amazing lack of shame.

Bapoo Malcolm

4 months ago

The Amicus Curiae means he or she is a Friend (Amicus) of the court (Curiae). Usually, he is appointed by the court in a complicated matter or something in which the bench wants a dispassionate view. He must be well versed in the matter, and may not be a lawyer. Some call an intervenor an Amicus Curiae, but I think that is incorrect. An intervenor has some interest, personal, in the case, but has been initially excluded. For example, two brothers are fighting over a deceased father's property, keeping the sister out of the court case. The sister can intervene as an intervenor. That is obviously different from being court appointed, which an Amicus Curiae is. Usually, the work done is 'pro bono', free of charge. Hope the explanation is sufficient and useful. Thanks for asking. Shows readers' interest in what we do.

Gurudutt Mundkur

4 months ago

What is the AMICUS CURIE for?

Bapoo Malcolm

4 months ago

No one need be careful of Bapoo. But he likes people who are open up front. I guess I know who the silent simple man is.

Bapoo Malcolm

4 months ago

We do not answer anonymous people. If one is so scared to identify himself or herself, "Get off the mailing lists". Simply put, Simpleton! Name yourself. Show your face. Bare your teeth. Be a MAN.

REPLY

Govinda Warrier

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 4 months ago

Some people may be either shy or afraid. But allow them to express their views. We need not respond to everything. I've a friend who Informed me, he had purchased a laptop and had taken an internet connection. As we were talking over the phone, I asked his email ID. He said: Of course, I've an ID. But I've given it only to my daughters. These days, you know... We have to be careful..."
I think, this Simple Indian is a "careful" human being!

Simple Indian

4 months ago

While I understand Mr. Bapoo Malcolm's view, I feel one of the root causes of delay in judicial matters in India is indiscriminate adjournments granted by judges to unscrupulous lawyers who charge per appearance/day. Hence, I do not believe that only 'overworked' lawyers seek adjournments to better prepare their briefs & arguments in the "interest of clients". Lawyers too need to do some soul-searching on this, and not justify their greed. Moreover, lawyers, like doctors, scientists, teachers/professors, etc. are knowledge-driven professionals. Hence, they ought to be well-versed in their field of practice to be competent enough to represent clients. Clients don't pay for your degrees, but for your proven competency and track record.

SRINIVAS SHENOY

4 months ago

An interesting and well thought write up justifying exactly, why lawyers charge the way they do.

Vaibhav Dhoka

4 months ago

These days lawyer need not know the law,but his talent lies in managing the JUDGE.We are now era of Management.

ksrao

4 months ago

As the saying goes, a bad lawyer knows how to milk his client. A good lawyer knows the law. A better lawyer knows the judge.

ksrao

4 months ago

As the saying goes, a bad lawyer knows how to milk his client. A good lawyer knows the law. A better lawyer knows the judge.

Govinda Warrier

4 months ago

Interesting thoughts, indeed. I would extend the argument to the "homework" expected of all dependent on "remuneration" for work done. There should be some relationship between work and reward. Not only judges, every vigilant citizen need to worry about so called professionals, who do not do their homework, or do not do justice to the "service" they provide. Here, I include politicians and journalists.

REPLY

ksrao

In Reply to Govinda Warrier 4 months ago

Adjournments help both judges and lawyers. Judges can appear to be looking deep into the cases and taking time to give well-considered judgments. Lawyers give the impression to their clients that they have taken a lot of trouble attending the court on their behalf. Judges can complain of too much work then, and lawyers can demand more and more money from plaintiffs/defendants.

Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago

This story was co-published with Gizmodo.

 

Two weeks ago, on a sparkling spring morning, we went trawling along Florida's coastal waterway. But not for fish.

 

We parked a 17-foot motor boat in a lagoon about 800 feet from the back lawn of The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and pointed a 2-foot wireless antenna that resembled a potato gun toward the club. Within a minute, we spotted three weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. We could have hacked them in less than five minutes, but we refrained.

 

A few days later, we drove through the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the same antenna and aimed it at the clubhouse. We identified two open Wi-Fi networks that anyone could join without a password. We resisted the temptation.

 

We have also visited two of President Donald Trump's other family-run retreats, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a golf club in Sterling, Virginia. Our inspections found weak and open Wi-Fi networks, wireless printers without passwords, servers with outdated and vulnerable software, and unencrypted login pages to back-end databases containing sensitive information.

 

The risks posed by the lax security, experts say, go well beyond simple digital snooping. Sophisticated attackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi networks to take over devices like computers or smart phones and use them to record conversations involving anyone on the premises.

 

"Those networks all have to be crawling with foreign intruders, not just ProPublica," said Dave Aitel, chief executive officer of Immunity, Inc., a digital security company, when we told him what we found.

 

Security lapses are not uncommon in the hospitality industry, which — like most industries and government agencies — is under increasing attack from hackers. But they are more worrisome in places where the president of the United States, heads of state and public officials regularly visit.

 

U.S. leaders can ill afford such vulnerabilities. As both the U.S. and French presidential campaigns showed, hackers increasingly exploit weaknesses in internet security systems in an effort to influence elections and policy. Last week, cyberattacks using software stolen from the National Security Agency paralyzed operations in at least a dozen countries, from Britain's National Health Service to Russia's Interior Ministry.

 

Since the election, Trump has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British politician Nigel Farage at his properties. The cybersecurity issues we discovered could have allowed those diplomatic discussions — and other sensitive conversations at the properties — to be monitored by hackers.

 

The Trump Organization follows "cybersecurity best practices," said spokeswoman Amanda Miller. "Like virtually every other company these days, we are routinely targeted by cyberterrorists whose only focus is to inflict harm on great American businesses. While we will not comment on specific security measures, we are confident in the steps we have taken to protect our business and safeguard our information. Our teams work diligently to deploy best-in-class firewall and anti-vulnerability platforms with constant 24/7 monitoring."

 

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

 

Trump properties have been hacked before. Last year, the Trump hotel chain paid $50,000 to settle charges brought by the New York attorney general that it had not properly disclosed the loss of more than 70,000 credit card numbers and 302 Social Security numbersFEFF. Prosecutors alleged that hotel credit card systems were "the target of a cyber-attack" due to poor security. The company agreed to beef up its security; it's not clear if the vulnerabilities we found violate that agreement. A spokesman for the New York attorney general declined comment.

 

Our experience also indicates that it's easy to gain physical access to Trump properties, at least when the president is not there. As Politico has previously reported, Trump hotels and clubs are poorly guarded. We drove a car past the front of Mar-a-Lago and parked a boat near its lawn. We drove through the grounds of the Bedminster golf course and into the parking lot of the golf course in Sterling, Virginia. No one questioned us.

 

Both President Obama and President Bush often vacationed at the more traditional presidential retreat, the military-run Camp David. The computers and networks there and at the White House are run by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

 

In 2016, the military spent $64 million on maintaining the networks at the White House and Camp David, and more than $2 million on "defense solutions, personnel, techniques, and best practices to defend, detect, and mitigate cyber-based threats" from hacking those networks.

 

Even after spending millions of dollars on security, the White House admitted in 2015 that it was hacked by Russians. After the hack, the White House replaced all its computer systems, according to a person familiar with the matter. All staffers who work at the White House are told that "there are people who are actively watching what you are doing," said Mikey Dickerson, who ran the U.S. Digital Service in the Obama administration.

 

By comparison, Mar-a-Lago budgeted $442,931 for security in 2016 — slightly more than double the $200,000 initiation fee for one new member. The Trump Organization declined to say how much Mar-a-Lago spends specifically on digital security. The club, last reported to have almost 500 members paying annual dues of $14,000 apiece, allotted $1,703,163 for all administration last year, according to documents filed in a lawsuit Trump brought against Palm Beach County in an effort to halt commercial flights from flying over Mar-a-Lago. The lawsuit was dropped, but the FAA now restricts flights over the club when the president is there.

 

It is not clear whether Trump connects to the insecure networks while at his family's properties. When he travels, the president is provided with portable secure communications equipment. Trump tracked the military strike on a Syrian air base last month from a closed-door situation room at Mar-a-Lago with secure video equipment.

 

However, Trump has held sensitive meetings in public spaces at his properties. Most famously, in February, he and the Japanese prime minister discussed a North Korean missile test on the Mar-a-Lago patio. Over the course of that weekend in February, the president's Twitter account posted 21 tweets from an Android phone. An analysis by an Android-focused website showed that Trump had used the same make of phone since 2015. That phone is an older model that isn't approved by the NSA for classified use.

 

Photos of Trump and Abe taken by diners on that occasion prompted four Democratic senators to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether electronic communications were secure at Mar-a-Lago.

In March, the GAO agreed to open an investigation. Chuck Young, a spokesman for the office, said in an interview that the work was in "the early stages," and did not offer an estimate for when the report would be completed.

 

So, we decided to test the cybersecurity of Trump's favorite hangouts ourselves.

 

Our first stop was Mar-a-Lago, a Trump country club in Palm Beach, Florida, where the president has spent most weekends since taking office. Driving past the club, we picked up the signal for a Wi-Fi-enabled combination printer and scanner that has been accessible since at least February 2016, according to a public Wi-Fi database.

 

An open printer may sound innocuous, but it can be used by hackers for everything from capturing all the documents sent to the device to trying to infiltrate the entire network.

 

To prevent such attacks, the Defense Information Systems Agency, which secures the White House and other military networks, forbids installing printers that anyone can connect to from outside networks. It also warns against using printers that do more than printing, such as faxing. "If an attacker gains network access to one of these devices, a wide range of exploits may be possible," the agency warns in its security guide.

 

We also were able to detect a misconfigured and unencrypted router, which could potentially provide a gateway for hackers.

 

To get a better line of sight, we rented a boat and piloted it to within sight of the club. There, we picked up signals from the club's wireless networks, three of which were protected with a weak and outmoded form of encryption known as WEP. In 2005, an FBI agent publicly broke this type of encryption in minutes.

 

By comparison, the military limits the signal strength of networks at places such as Camp David and the White House so that they are not reachable from a car driving by. It also requires wireless networks to use the strongest available form of encryption.

 

From our desks in New York, we were also able to determine that the club's website hosts a database with an insecure login page that is not protected by standard internet encryption. Login forms like this are considered a severe security risk, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency.

 

Without encryption, spies could eavesdrop on the network until a club employee logs in, and then steal his or her username and password. They then could download a database that appears to include sensitive information on the club's members and their families, according to videos posted by the club's software provider.

 

This is "bad, very bad," said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of Security Strategy for cybersecurity firm SentinelOne, when we described Mar-a-Lago's systems. "I'd assume the data is already stolen and systems compromised."

 

A few days later, we took our equipment to another Trump club in Bedminster, New Jersey. During the transition, Trump had interviewed candidates for top administration positions there, including James Mattis, now secretary of defense.

 

We drove on a dirt access road through the middle of the golf course and spotted two open Wi-Fi networks, TrumpMembers and WelcomeToTrumpNationalGolfClub, that did not require a password to join.

 

Such open networks allow anyone within range to scoop up all unencrypted internet activity taking place there, which could, on insecure sites, include usernames, passwords and emails.

 

Robert Graham, an Atlanta, Georgia, cybersecurity expert, said that hackers could use the open Wi-Fi to remotely turn on the microphones and cameras of devices connected to the network. "What you're describing is typical hotel security," he said, but "it's pretty concerning" that an attacker could listen to sensitive national security conversations.

 

Two days after we visited the Bedminster club, Trump arrived for a weekend stay.

 

Then we visited the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., where Trump often dines with his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, whose responsibilities range from Middle East diplomacy to revamping the federal bureaucracy. We surveyed the networks from a Starbucks in the hotel basement.

 

From there, we could tell there were two Wi-Fi networks at the hotel protected with what's known as a captive portal. These login screens are often used at airports and hotels to ensure that only paying customers can access the network.

 

However, we gained access to both networks just by typing "457" into the room number field. Because we provided a room number, the system assumed we were guests. We looked up the hotel's public IP address before logging off.

 

From our desks in New York, we could also tell that the hotel is using a server that is accessible from the public internet. This server is running software that was released almost 13 years ago.

 

Finally, we visited the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, where the president sometimes plays golf. From the parking lot, we recognized three encrypted wireless networks, an encrypted wireless phone and two printers with open Wi-Fi access.

 

The Trump club websites are hosted by an Ohio-based company called Clubessential. It offers everything from back-office management and member communications to tee time and room reservations.

 

In a 2014 presentation, a company sales director warned that the club industry as a whole is "too lax" in managing and protecting passwords. There has been a "rising number of attacks on club websites over the last two years," according to the presentation. Clubessential "performed [an] audit of security in the club industry" and "found thousands of sensitive documents from clubs exposed on [the] Internet," such as "lists of members and staff, and their contact info; board minutes, financial statements, etc."

 

Still, the club software company has set up a backend server accessible on the internet, and configured its encryption incorrectly. Anyone who reaches the login page is greeted with a warning that the encryption is broken. In its documentation, the company advises club administrators to ignore these warnings and log in regardless. That means that anybody snooping on the unprotected connection could intercept the administrators' passwords and gain access to the entire system.

 

The company also publishes online, without a password, many of the default settings and usernames for its software — essentially providing a roadmap for intruders.

 

Clubessential declined comment.

 

Aitel, the CEO of Immunity, said the problems at Trump properties would be difficult to fix: "Once you are at a low level of security it is hard to develop a secure network system. You basically have to start over."

 

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

 

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