Showing posts from July, 2008

10 Cool Spy Gadgets

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) celebrated its 100th anniversary this month. Since July 26, 1908 the FBI has been hard at work protecting our nation, often employing advanced technology. For most of us this stuff is off-limits but here is a list of the coolest spy gadgets and gear you can buy.

Videoconferencing Product Review

With fuel prices at record highs, travel has become prohibitively expensive. Videoconferencing technology has improved over the last few years and can offer cost effective, real-time, face-to-face solutions for business. Check out some of the latest products here:,2806,4836,00.asp

Black Hat Security Conference 2008

August 2-7, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, USA

This August, The Black Hat Briefings return to Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino for another installment of the premier North American technical information security conference. Every year the lineup of presentations helps define the security headlines for the following year and 2008 will be no exception.With a brand new lineup of presentations and tracks, this will be the security event of the year.

Visit the Black Hat USA 2008 main page to learn more about our upcoming conference.

Online Registration is now open.

Economy Pushing Users to Open Source

July 28, 2008 (eWeek) Results of a recent poll show that the stagnant economy may be leading more organizations to adopt open-source software to save on licensing fees, according ot the Open Solutions Alliance. Customers also are concerned about interoperability between open-source software and Microsoft Windows.

In the first annual survey of its membership and other open-source software and services companies, the OSA (Open Solutions Alliance) found that the stagnant economy may be helping to push open-source adoption.

In a survey of more than 100 of its member organizations, the OSA found that 83 percent said they expect to see a year-over-year increase in revenue in 2008 from open-source related software and services.

About 78 percent reported that the affordable price of open-source software is motivating their customers. "We see that the market for commercial open-source software and services is growing and growing fast. And I see the economy contributing to that because of the…

Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Windows Vista SP1 includes improvements that address many of the most common reasons for which Windows stops responding. Many of the reliability improvements in SP1 are in response to issues that customers reported by using the Windows Error Reporting tool.

Other reliability improvements in Windows Vista SP1 include improvements in wireless computer-to-computer (ad hoc) connections, better peer-to-peer connections, such as using Windows Meeting Space, and many more.

Windows Vista SP1 includes many changes that can improve your computer's speed and performance. Here are some of the areas that are improved:

Faster copying or extracting files from a compressed mode.

Better use of network bandwidth when browsing file shares over a network.

Improved performance from Windows ReadyBoost in reducing the time it takes for Windows to wake up from Hibernate and Standby power modes.

Better power consumption when your computer screen is idle for a long time.

Improved logon experience when using a cor…

Linux Vs. Windows Vista: The Battle For Your Desktop

This is an excerpt from an InformationWeek article posted over a year ago. You can read the full review here.

By Serdar Yegulalp
In this feature, I'm going to compare the newly-released Ubuntu 7.04 with Microsoft Windows Vista in a number of categories. To keep the playing field as level as possible, I'm looking wherever I can at applications -- not just in the sense of "programs," but in the sense of what the average user is going to do with the OS in a workday. Sometimes the differences between the two OSes are profound, but sometimes the playing field levels itself,, for instance, is installed by default in Ubuntu, but adding it to Vista isn't terribly difficult.
I tried to stick whenever possible with preinstalled software, although this rule sometimes had to be bent a little -- for instance, to see what backup solutions were available for Ubuntu through its own software catalog.
Also, while I was tempted to compare Vista's Aero interface to t…

10 Hottest IT Jobs in Demand

July 25, 2008 (Baseline) Even in tough economic times, employees with the right skills will always be in demand in the IT industry. Baseline analyzed recent employment studies and interviewed several technology recruiters and industry professionals to find the hottest IT positions today. Although there is still consistent demand for the “old-reliable” jobs such as network administration and help desk positions, these picks reflect the current gaps between supply and demand.

1. Senior Level Java/J2EE and .NET Developers

Most headhunters agree that finding lead developers with Java/J2EE or .NET proficiency and management experience can be a tall task in today’s market. “If they're software developers and they have Java/J2EE or any of the .NET skills, they're very hot right now,” says Janet Miller, president of the recruiting firm Computer Management.

2. Application Development Managers

Dan Martineau of Martineau Recruiting Technology says that the need for application development ma…

Cloud Computing 101

April 7, 2008 (InfoWorld) As a metaphor for the Internet, "the cloud" is a familiar cliché, but when combined with "computing," the meaning gets bigger and fuzzier. Some analysts and vendors define cloud computing narrowly as an updated version of utility computing: basically virtual servers available over the Internet. Others go very broad, arguing anything you consume outside the firewall is "in the cloud," including conventional outsourcing.

Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT's existing capabilities.

Cloud computing is at an early stage, with a motley crew of providers large and small delivering a slew of cloud-based services, from full-…

Rarest Corvette?

By Bob Wallace

What's the rarest Corvette to ever roll off the assembly line? Or the baddest of the bad factory-available performers? An L88? Nah, there were 216 documented examples built and sold during 1967-69. A '63 Z06? Nope, not with 199 of them in that one glorious year. How about a big-tank Z06? Sorry, those are still relatively commonplace, with 63 being factory-documented. The factory-built Corvette Challenge race cars for 1988 and 1989 are almost dime-a-dozen, with 116 of them assembled at Bowling Green.
If you want really rare, look back to 1969 for the ultimate in rare and radical, factory-built Corvettes--the incredible ZL1. Two--that's right. Two Corvettes were ordered, built, and sold through Chevrolet dealerships with this ultimate rat motor--an all-aluminum (block and cylinder heads!) version of the already fearsome L88 big-block. There was also a handful (three dozen or so) '69 Camaros ordered and sold with the ZL1, primarily for NHRA drag racing. That …

Review: iPhone 3G

By Keith Shaw

July 21, 2008 (Networkworld) The scoop: iPhone 3G, by Apple (with AT&T service), about $300 (for 16GB model; $200 for 8GB), plus monthly voice and data service (starting at $70 per month).
What it is: For the benefit of Mars-dwellers, the iPhone 3G is Apple’s next-generation smartphone, with improvements and upgrades of features from last year’s original iPhone model. Key features of the 3G version include access to AT&T’s HSUPA network (instead of EDGE), built-in GPS for its Maps application (instead of triangulating from cell towers), and for enterprise users, Exchange support (e-mail, contacts and calendar synchronization) and mobile VPN support. New software, which also works with the original iPhone and the nonphone iPod Touch, allows access to Apple’s new App Store, which includes more than 800 third-party applications for download.
Why it’s cool: Apple fixed a lot of the issues with the original iPhone that concerned many potential users (myself included). Th…

Virtual NASCAR Simulator

Participants are strapped into an official full size retired NASCAR vehicle that has been outfitted with simulation video and motion equipment making it the ultimate NASCAR racing simulator.

Drivers feel the wind in their face as they grip the wheel through banking turns with 600 horsepower at their command! Drivers start in last position and try to move up through a field of today’s premier NASCAR drivers. Typical NASCAR Simulator race time is 3-4 minutes.
Virtual NASCAR Racing Simulator Features:
Outstanding simulation: The drivers actually use the steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator on their race to the finish.
Official race venues: The races take place at official NASCAR tracks such as Daytona & Bristol.
Crowd Excitement: Audience TV monitor shows the driver’s actual position in the race field.
Realistic Motion: NASCAR simulator reacts like real life making for the ultimate ride
Source: TradeShowEntertainmentInc

8 Track Tapes

Stereo 8, commonly known as the 8-track cartridge, 8-track tape, or 8-track, is a magnetic tape sound recording technology, popular from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. Stereo 8 was created in 1964 by a consortium led by Bill Lear of Lear Jet Corporation, along with Ampex, Ford, Motorola and RCA Victor Records. A later quadraphonic version of the format was known as Quad 8 or Q8.

The popularity of 8-track cartridges grew from the booming automobile industry. In September 1965, Ford Motor Company introduced dealer-installed 8-track players as an option on most models and RCA Victor introduced 50 Stereo-8 Cartridges of pre-recorded music from their label of artists. By 1966, all of their vehicles offered this upgrade.

The format gained steady popularity due to its convenience and portability. Home players were introduced in 1966 that allowed consumers to share tapes between their home and portable systems. "Boombox" type players were also popular. With the availability of cart…

Break into IT with Temporary Work

By Allan Hoffman

July 23, 2008 ( The business world may be looking for technology pros, but you're not a pro (yet) if you have a new certification and no experience. How do you gain that experience? One way is to take temporary assignments.

Working as a temp may not be your ultimate goal, but when you're launching a career, you want to get experience any way possible. A temporary job allows you to hone your skills, establish a track record and make contacts in the IT industry. If a permanent position is your goal, a series of temporary assignments can help you get there.

"It should be looked at as a great opportunity, rather than something that's not so secure," says the Web evangelist for one IT talent agency. "That first gig is often the toughest to get."

People who have certifications or nontechnical degrees are turning to temporary work as a way to break into IT or simply explore a career in the field. "You see these people developing m…

Electric Car vs. Porsche and Ferrari

What To Do When Windows Vista Crashes

Since we are upgrading to Vista at Marian this summer, I thought I'd post this highly recommended article from InformationWeek.

I have been using Windows Vista Ultimate since March 2007. According to my own computer's Reliability and Performance Monitor, I have had five "Windows Failures" and 23 "Disruptive Shutdowns" since September 2007!

Windows Home Server

July 22, 2008 (C-Net) With its first update to Windows Home Server, Microsoft has fixed a critical bug that threatened to undermine the product's main utility--securely and reliably backing up computer files. But the software maker still has to find an answer to the bigger problem--many consumers have no idea what a server is and fewer still have any reason to think they would want one in their home.

Microsoft knew it would face this challenge even before Bill Gates announced the product at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show. It even tried to make light of the issue, penning a fake children's book dubbed "Mommy, Why is There a Server in the House?" Unfortunately, the child's question is still a prescient one. For many who need to back up their files, network-attached hard drives offer a less costly and intricate answer to installing even a simplified Windows Server. As a result, the product has proved to be a tough sell.

"This is a very difficult product categ…

End of Human Help in Stores

July 18 (MSNBC - Bob Sullivan) Imagine standing in a retail store desperately looking for help from someone, anyone, and being directed to … a computer screen. This just might be the future of customer service. Two companies, with products named Live Agent and Live Support, hope that consumers who today wander aimlessly through store aisles looking for help would be happy to use videoconference kiosks instead.

Already, shoppers in 34 Canadian Staples Business Depot stores all around the country have the option of getting video help from operators based in Toronto, according to Seattle-based Experticity, which makes the video kiosks for Staples.

Stores that are strapped for cash and have trouble hiring knowledgeable employees can offer better customer service through videoconference kiosks, says Chris Woods, chief technology officer of ClairVista, which makes Live Expert. Companies can also save money by leaning on a centralized staff, he said. “Everybody who goes into a retail store to…

What is an Exabyte?

Was watching the movie Oceans 13 last week and heard the term "Exabyte" used to refer to the capacity of the supercomputer which monitored the casino. Soon this level of storage will be commonplace - so for those of you who were wondering, here are the basic definitions:

Kilobyte ~ 1 thousand bytes
Megabyte ~ 1 million bytes
Gigabyte ~ 1 billion bytes
Terabyte ~ 1 trillion bytes
Petabyte ~ 1 thousand trillion bytes
Exabyte ~ 1 quintillion bytes
Zetabyte ~ 1 thousand exabytes
Yottabyte ~ 1 million exabytes

Source: The Complete A+ Guide to PC Repair

How CAPTCHA got Hacked

July 14, 2008 (Computerworld) CAPTCHA used to be an easy and useful way for Web administrators to authenticate users. Now it's an easy and useful way for malware authors and spammers to do their dirty work.

CAPTCHA — Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart — was a good idea in its day. You presented users with an obfuscated string of characters and then had them decode and type the string in to get an e-mail account, a social networking account or comment access on an online forum. Not much fuss — though users justifiably complained that the difference between '1' (one) and l (the lower-case letter l) can be hard to see in many fonts — and certainly no muss from a Web administrator's point of view.

So it was that CAPTCHA went from relatively obscure security measure perfected in 2000 by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University to deployment by most of the major Web e-mail sites and many other Web sites by 2007. Sites such as Yahoo Mai…

February 17, 2009 - The End of Analog TV

On February 17, 2009 the era of analog broadcast television in the United States will end as the nation's television stations complete their transition to an all-digital system. While this change will mark the end of the traditional analog method of broadcasting over-the-air television, it won’t signal the end of free broadcast television, and your favorite broadcast programs and local television stations will still be available.

If you currently receive analog television over the air or via an antenna, you’ll need to take action to continue watching your favorite stations. TVs accessing "pay" television service such as cable or satellite aren't likely to be affected by the switch.

Most of us won't even notice, but if you still use an antenna or just want to learn more, visit

Dan Kaminsky Breaks DNS - Details at Black Hat Vegas ‘08

Posted by Nathan McFeters on ZDNet yesterday @ 2:59 pm

It would seem there’s a bigger story to that MS08-037 flaw that came out for Patch Tuesday today.

From Dave Lewis over at the Liquid Matrix security blog:

Today Dan Kaminsky released a first, as far as I can recall. A coordinated patch was released today by Dan Kaminsky of IO Active that fixes a vulnerability that apparently exists in all DNS servers.

Unlike other researchers who give up the gory details, Kaminsky took a wiser path by smiling and nodding. He’ll give up the goods at Black Hat in August. That should give folks enough time to patch their systems.

From CNET:

Toward addressing the flaw, Kaminsky said the researchers decided to conduct a synchronized, multivendor release and as part of that, Microsoft in its July Patch Tuesday released MS08-037. Cisco, Sun, and Bind are also expected to roll out patches later on Tuesday.

As part of the coordinated release, Art Manion of CERT said vendors with DNS servers have been contacted, a…

Project Management Institute 2008 Global Congress

Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado USA
18–21 October 2008

Former U.S. Secretary of
State and World Leader
General Colin L. Powell,
USA (Ret.) to deliver
keynote address.

Visit to register

Google Backs High Speed Link Between US and Japan

Japan (IDG News Service) NEC Corp. and Tyco International Ltd. began joint planning work Tuesday for the Unity undersea cable, a high-speed fiber-optic link between the U.S. and Japan that's backed by Internet search firm Google Inc. and five telecom operators.

The $300 million cable will initially contain five fiber pairs -- dual optical fiber cables, one of which is used for service and the other for backup -- but will be expandable to eight pairs. Each pair is capable of carrying 960Gbit/sec. of data giving the system a capacity of between 4.8Tbit/sec. and 7.68Tbit/sec.

To put the Unity cable's capacity and growth in the transpacific cable market in perspective, TeleGeography said late last year that capacity in-use on transpacific cables stood at 3.3Tbit/sec. in total. Several cables are being upgraded to cope with increased demand and two new cables, Trans-Pacific Express and Asia America Gateway, should be online this year so total capacity is expected to be 7.2Tbit/sec.…

Donkey 1981

Donkey, often known by its file name DONKEY.BAS, was a computer game written in 1981 and included with early versions of the PC-DOS operating system distributed with the original IBM PC. It is a driving game in which the player must avoid hitting donkeys. While extremely simple compared to later PC games, and to games available for other systems at the time of its release, DONKEY.BAS is arguably a predecessor of all IBM PC games. The game is also notable because it was co-written by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

When IBM was developing the PC in the late 1970s and early 1980s it contracted Microsoft to develop an operating system and a version of the BASIC programming language to release with the new computer. The operating system was released as PC-DOS when included with IBM PCs and MS-DOS when sold separately by Microsoft. Both included versions of Microsoft BASIC.

DONKEY.BAS was written by Bill Gates and Neil Konzen to demonstrate the IBM PC and the BASIC programming language…

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Information Technology in the 21st Century

By Andrew Smith

As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the IT industry appears to be fully mature. Perhaps in acknowledgement of just how far we have come, the icon of the computer revolution, Bill Gates, retired this year. Technology has become completely integrated into traditional jobs such as sales, operations, engineering, and accounting. In many respects, IT has become a commodity. That does not mean IT is less relevant. Two current developing trends merit consideration: Service Oriented Architecture and Open Source Software. They prove that IT really does still matter.

SOA: A New Information Technology Paradigm

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is characterized by collaboration among partners to improve efficiency and quality of service. Companies need to be extremely sensitive to nuances in customer demand and be able to adapt business processes rapidly through aggressive investment in IT. The confluence of three technologies: virtualization, service or…

World's Fastest Computer

WASHINGTON (AP) Scientists unveiled the world's fastest supercomputer on Monday, a $100 million machine that for the first time has performed 1,000 trillion calculations per second in a sustained exercise.

The technology breakthrough was accomplished by engineers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the IBM Corp. on a computer to be used primarily on nuclear weapons work, including simulating nuclear explosions.

The computer, named Roadrunner, is twice as fast as IBM's Blue Gene system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which itself is three times faster than any of the world's other supercomputers, according to IBM.

"The computer is a speed demon. It will allow us to solve tremendous problems," said Thomas D'Agostino, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons research and maintains the warhead stockpile.

But officials said the computer also could have a wide range of other applications in civilian enginee…

New Dodge Challenger

On December 3, 2007, Chrysler started taking deposits for the third-generation Dodge Challenger, which debuted on February 6, 2008 simultaneously at the Chicago Auto Show and Philadelphia International Auto Show. Listing at US$40,095, the new version is a 2-door coupe which shares common design elements with the first generation Challenger, despite being significantly longer and taller. The chassis is a modified version of the LX platform that underpins the 2006-Current Dodge Charger, 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum, and the 2005-Current Chrysler 300. It is equipped with the SRT-8 6.1L Hemi and a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission, and outperforms the legendary 1970 Hemi Challenger. The entire 2008 run of 6,400 cars were pre-sold, and production commenced on May 8, 2008.

Chrysler debuted the 2009 line at the 2008 New York Auto Show, and 2009 brings a full lineup of cars to choose from, including:

The '09 SRT-8 is virtually identical to its '08 counterpart, with the main diff…