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Showing posts from September, 2008

Science Debate 2008

Science Debate 2008 worked with Scientists and Engineers for America, the AAAS, the National Academies, the Council on Competitiveness, and the other organizations listed to craft the top 14 questions the candidates should answer. These questions are broad enough to allow for wide variations in response, but they are specific enough to help guide the discussion toward many of the largest and most important unresolved challenges currently facing the United States.

Sarah Palin's Hacked E-Mail Account: Lessons for Business

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September 20, 2008 (PC World) If you needed any more reminders about why it isn't a good idea to use external mail services to conduct critical business, the recent break-in to US Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's gov.palin@yahoo.com Yahoo inbox should be it. Of note is that following the disclosure of the inboxes the compromised address and another address, gov.sarah@yahoo.com, have been suspended.

US politics has been stung by a range of inappropriate email usage incidents, including the use of non-government email accounts to conduct official business. From the images presented as proof of email compromise, it seems that Sarah Palin was also doing this.

Various Information Security mailing lists have from time to time been filled with claims of inbox compromise, usually for free webmail services and it is always two parts voyeurism, two parts fear that it could be you next whenever someone has had their email exposed so publicly.

Some companies have decided …

How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers

Everyone is trying to figure out what went wrong over the last few days. Many experts have weighed in and offered their opinions. Perhaps the best analysis from the technical side that I've seen comes from the New York Times.

"Dilbert's" Economic Poll on McCain and Obama

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"Dilbert" needs no introduction to anyone who is likely to read this blog. While we aren't fortunate enough to have Dilbert himself running for president, his creator Scott Adams, has hired a polling firm to survey economists on which candidate is best for the economy. You can view the results at CNN.

IT and the Wall Street Meltdown

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By Ed Cone

Wall Street spends heavily on IT, and Wall Street firms have been seen as innovative users of technology, so what does the financial services meltdown say about the efficacy of computer systems in areas like risk management?

Clearly, IT wasn't enough to save these companies from themselves.

And just as clearly, the technology was deployed in an environment where many other factors were in play. Regulatory failure and human nature seem like bigger culprits than faulty software in the current unpleasantness.

The smartest risk-manager I ever interviewed relied on some basic technology, along with news, anecdotes, common sense, and his gut.

But this report from the Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group says financial services technology is not up to speed. The CRMPG is an industry group that includes representatives of the largest banks; the report came out in August, back when that designation still included Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers -- both members of the team.

Two…

RealDVD Review

By Edward C. Baig

San Diego, California (USA Today) You're schlepping the kids on a family trip and will do anything to keep them occupied. For better or worse, many parents stick them in front of a video.

Were it only that easy. The discs the youngsters want to watch are too often lost, scratched or broken; somehow your smallest child hasn't yet distinguished a DVD from a Frisbee. Besides, you are trying to pack light.

This week at the Demo tech conference in San Diego, RealNetworks unveiled a neat solution for just such a family scenario, or for the business traveler who loves movies. It's called RealDVD, and the basic idea is appealing: You can copy, organize and play your DVD movies and TV shows on a laptop while leaving the physical discs at home.

It's similar to when folks first copied music CDs onto their computers.

I've been testing RealDVD for more than a week, and for the most part it measures up to its coming attractions. I did encounter jerky playback issue…

Interview With Kevin Mitnick

Reformed hacker-turned-security-consultant Kevin Mitnick served five years in federal prison for breaking into phone and software company networks. He talks about his past hacking exploits, computer security, and how he turned an illegal hobby into a useful career. In the August 15 issue of CIO magazine, he shares his experiences with Jarina D'Auria:

Hacking wasn't always illegal. I started off in what they call "phone phreaking" in the late 70s. This is the same hobby Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had. At this time, 1978, there were no laws against hacking. The first law that criminalized hacking was passed in 1980 in California. I was doing this before it was illegal. And my interest was entertainment—the pursuit of knowledge, challenge and the trophy of the stolen information. There was no motive for money or malicious intent to use, disclose or destroy the data.

Learn the rules before you play the game. I knew hacking was sneaky when I started, but I …

12 Unnecessary Vista Features

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Is your computer running too slow? Does it take forever to boot? Do you love or hate the Aero interface? Read this Computerworld article to discover what you can do get Vista to run faster.

Designing the Future of Business

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By Marty Neumeier

Imagine a crazy wonderland where most of what you learned in business school is either upside down or backward. A land where customers control the company, jobs are avenues of self-expression, the barriers to competition are out of your control, strangers design your products, fewer features are better, advertising drives customers away, demographics are beside the point, whatever you sell you take back, and best practices are obsolete at birth. Meaning talks, money walks, and stability is fantasy. Talent trumps obedience, imagination beats knowledge, and empathy trounces logic.

If you've been paying close attention, you don't have to imagine this scenario. You see it forming all around you. The only question is whether you can change your business, your brand, and your thinking fast enough to take full advantage of it.

Designing the Way Forward

Until now, companies have used design as a beauty station for identities and communications, or as the last stop in …

Large Hadron Rap

EAST LANSING, Michigan (Associated Press) Who says science doesn't turn people on? Kate McAlpine is a rising star on YouTube for her rap performance about high-energy particle physics.

This magnet at the Large Hadron Collider may help physicists explore new properties of nature. Her performance has drawn a half-million views on YouTube.



The 23-year-old Michigan State University graduate and science writer raps about the Large Hadron Collider, the groundbreaking particle accelerator that has been built in a 17-mile circular tunnel at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

McAlpine raps that when the collider goes into operation September 10, "the things that it discovers will rock you in the head."

The $3.8 billion machine will collide two beams of protons moving at close to the speed of light so scientists can see what particles appear in the resulting debris. Take a closer look at the collider »

"Rap and physics are culturally miles apart," McAlpine, a scie…

Defining Video Game Addiction

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1Up has a feature discussing where the line should be drawn when it comes to game addiction. The author speaks to researcher Neils Clark about some of the common characteristics of addiction, and how the high level of immersion in many modern games contributes to the mind's ability to drown out mundane tasks. We've discussed game addiction many times over the past several years.

"If we're not all dribbling addicts, then why are we playing so much? Clark puts this down to a theory proposed by The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien — primary and secondary worlds. The primary world is our own real life. The secondary is the fictional world: literature, film, videogames, and so on. 'It used to be that the imagery and artistic intent had to be fully available before you could really "find" yourself in a written story,' Clark says. 'Immersion has progressed to the point where entering a world [inside a game] is almost automatic. At the point we…