Showing posts from May, 2010

Social Networking Sites Facebook and Twitter

Just a few years ago none of us would have imagined that we all would become Internet Celebrities! Almost all of us have used e-mail for years and there were many of us who maintained a personal or professional web page or even kept a “blog.” Most of these technologies were “one dimensional” in that they offered only one way communication--the sender sent, the receiver received. Then came “MySpace” which began the “social networking” trend. I was one of the early users of MySpace but since many of my colleagues and friends at the time did not use it, I was left with “Tom” as my only “virtual” friend.

There is no doubt that these sites are popular and growing in use (click on the chart above). In general however, I find that my students use social networking sites much more than I do. They have well developed networks of typically hundreds or thousands of “friends.” I set up my Facebook page primarily as a means to communicate with my students. Although I often publish things su…

Human Computer Virus?

University of Reading researcher Mark Gasson has become the "first human known to be infected by a computer virus" (but it's not quite like what it sounds).

The virus, infecting a chip implanted in Gasson's hand, passed into a laboratory computer. From there, the infection could have spread into other computer chips found in building access cards.

All this was an intentional experiment to see how radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips like those used for tracking packages or those implanted in animals can become infected.

Happy 30th Pac-Man!

I’m sure by now everyone knows that today is the 30th Anniversary of “Pac-Man.” Here's a link to the Official Namco Site.

How many of you remember playing it for the first time? To my students: What do you think about a thirty-year old videogame? Ever played it--in any form?

The picture on the right is actually a Bally “Pac-Man Plus” which was the first upgrade issued in 1982. By the way, I thought Google’s Pac-Man tribute was great!

I did some research on what else happened in 1980 and found:

January 6 – Global Positioning System time began at 00:00 UTC.
February 22 – The United States Olympic Hockey Team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals of the Winter Olympics, in the "Miracle on Ice."
March 8 – The first rock music festival kicks off in the Soviet Union.
May 18 – Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, killing 57 and causing US$3 billion in damage.
May 21 – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is released.
July 25 – The album Back in Black is rel…

Wall Street's 1000 Point Drop

If you would like to better understand the role technology plays in market trading, read this excellent piece from the New York Times.

1.2 Zettabytes!

World total digital output is expected to pass 1.2 zettabytes this year. Almost two years ago, I published a short article called What is an Exabyte? The rapid growth in stored content has been caused by the explosion of social networking, online video, digital photography, and mobile phones. Approximately 70 per cent of the world’s digital content is generated by individuals and is stored on websites such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube.


Facebook Cautions

Everyone, especially my students, should read this article:

One year ago, Cambridge University researchers found that major social networking sites including Facebook, don’t erase server-side copies of your uploaded data when you delete them. Since then, Facebook has nearly doubled in size. It now has over 400 Million users, with tens of thousands of servers holding your data, which as soon as it is uploaded, belongs to them to do whatever they wish with it.

Be careful what you upload!