Archive for September, 2011

The anti-Android tablet

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

by the BBC

Who’s going to challenge Apple’s dominance of the tablet market? Any number of flavours of Android have failed to make much of a dent, the Blackberry PlayBook has hardly rocked the world, and HP’s Touchpad retired hurt within weeks of its launch. But now a tiny Singapore-based business has big ambitions for a tablet which aims to beat the iPad by looking different and costing less. Fusion Garage’s Grid10 goes on sale in the UK next month, but if they are to succeed where others have failed its creators need to make plenty of noise to persuade consumers that this is not another “me-too” tablet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14912058

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Bad spelling opens up security loophole

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

by the BBC

By creating web domains that contained commonly mistyped names, the investigators received emails that would otherwise not be delivered. A missing dot might mean messages end up in the hands of cyber thieves. Over six months they grabbed 20GB of data made up of 120,000 wrongly sent messages. Some of the intercepted correspondence contained user names, passwords, and details of corporate networks. About 30% of the top 500 companies in the US were vulnerable to this security shortcoming according to researchers Peter Kim and Garret Gee of the Godai Group.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14842691

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Computer game teaches high school education in one year

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

byTroy Pearce, Technology Examiner

Nolan Bushnell, founder of the Atari, believes his cloud computing game known as “Speed to Learn” could teach an entire high school education in just one year. Bushnell has been working on this project for 10 years. He is a strong believer that computers are one of the best ways to teach children. “We’ve been in hundreds of classroom with 40,000 kids. We are currently teaching subjects 10 times faster. We believe that when we roll this up to full curriculum we’ll be able to teach a full career of high school in less than a year. And we think we’ll be able to do that by the end of next year.” Speed to Learn is an incentive based system. Do well, get rewarded. “The whole idea is to give rewards that real kids want to have, and to have school be as chaotic as possible,” said Bushnell.

http://www.examiner.com/technology-in-national/high-school-education-one-year-with-help-of-computer-game

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At TechCrunch Conference, Talk of a Bubble

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

By NICK BILTON, New York Times

Curiously, the answer to the question of whether a new tech bubble existed was not determined by wealth or status, but rather age. People I spoke with who had experienced the first bubble in the late 1990s were convinced that we should be prepared for a large pop of biblical proportion. “It feels like it’s 1999 all over again,” said Stuart MacDonald, chief marketing officer of FreshBooks, an online billing and bookkeeping site for small businesses. “So many of these people who didn’t see it all happen the last time think this is all fresh and new, but it’s really a lot of people saying the same things.” Mr. MacDonald said he was the chief marketing officer for Expedia in the ’90s. “I just hope it ends differently this time,” he said.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/at-techcrunch-conference-gossip-and-talk-of-a-bubble/

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‘Cyber 9/11′: Serious Risk Or Inflated Threat?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

by Gerry Smith, Huffington Post

Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks, many lawmakers and intelligence officials say they fear the next such attack could be triggered with the click of a mouse. They warn of a potential “cyber 9/11″ caused by terrorists hijacking the nation’s critical infrastructure, plunging cities into sustained blackouts, halting trains and planes or wiping out banks’ financial data. “When the terrorists get smarter, they won’t even need to come to our shores to create the kind of havoc and turmoil they did by flying planes into the Twin Towers. They will be able to do it from their laptops from overseas,” Michael McConnell, the former National Security Agency director and current executive at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, said in a 2009 interview.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/cyber-911-risk-or-inflated-threat_n_934272.html

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Cyber terrorist threats loom 10 years after 9/11

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

 

By Sue Marquette Poremba, MS NBC

Should we be concerned about another potential threat — a cyber weapon of mass destruction? Yes, say security experts. The cyber terrorist threat is real, and plots involving such attacks may already be in the works. According to Damon Petraglia, a director with Chartstone, a computer, network and digital forensic resource company based in Connecticut, and a member of the electronic crimes task force for the U.S. Secret Service, cyber terrorist attacks have been taking place for more than a decade. “We have seen pro-Pakistani hackers repeatedly attacking computers in India with increasing frequency in the early 2000s,” Petraglia said. “In 2009, there were attacks against South Korean and United States websites presumed to originate from North Korea. In 2010, we saw the most sophisticated attack to date with Stuxnet in Iran.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44415109

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MSU researchers break ground in fingerprint technology

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

By Stephen Brooks, MSU

People who alter their fingerprints to avoid identification now might be caught red-handed thanks to new technology developed by MSU university distinguished professor of computer science and engineering Anil Jain. Jain began work on technology with the power to detect fingerprints that have undergone physical alteration more than two years ago with the help of Soweon Yoon, a computer science doctoral student, and another colleague who currently works in the biometrics field in China. Morpho, one of the largest fingerprint and identification companies in the world, now has licensed the technology developed by Jain and his team. “Initially, we started with a small amount of funding ­— it was a short-term project to see the feasibility,” Jain said. “Now it is being supported by a much larger grant from the FBI Biometric Center of Excellence.” Jain declined to comment on the specific amount of the grant.

http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2011/09/msu_researchers_break_ground_in_fingerprint_technology

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Comcast Offers A Digital Lifeline To The Disconnected

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

by Larry Abramson, NPR

Comcast has started offering Internet access for $9.95 per month for low-income families, in addition to an optional voucher to let families buy a computer for $150.  Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, has launched a new program aimed at reducing the digital divide, or the gap between high- and low-income communities in Internet accessibility and digital literacy. The company says low-income families will now be able to get a fast Internet connection for $9.95 per month; the question now is whether the effort can overcome the many barriers that keep the poor from getting online. Comcast announced the program, called “Internet Essentials,” at a splashy event in the company’s hometown of Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter showed up along with city and state education officials as a sign that this program is aimed at an important problem: improving school performance.

http://www.npr.org/2011/09/12/140336719/comcast-offers-a-digital-lifeline-to-the-disconnected?ps=cprs

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Tablets given away to engineering students

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

By Alexa Rush, the Kansan

Going to class really can pay off, as first-year students in the department of electrical engineering and computer science found out. Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Google Earth and a Kansas electrical engineering alumnus, gave new tablet computers to students in the department on Monday. McClendon encouraged the students to use their tablets for their own exploration outside of the classroom in addition to their school work. McClendon said he was trying to promote creativity and experience with the latest technology. And that’s already happening. Technology is everywhere on campus, from the girl texting non-stop on her way to class to the guy blaring music through his Beats headphones, and it’s rapidly appearing in classrooms. For the past 20 years, students and professors have held mixed opinions when it comes to technology in the classroom.

http://www.kansan.com/news/2011/sep/12/tablets-students/

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Groovy, JavaScript, Ruby Among Fastest Growing Programming Languages

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

By Darryl K. Taftm eWeek

Programmers flock to where the action is and where the jobs are. If an eWEEK survey of a jobs index is any indication, the action—and the jobs—are around Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Java, C#, C, Fortran, Cobol, JavaScript, Groovy and F#. The trend data is derived from millions of jobs indexed by Simply Hired, a job search engine based in Silicon Valley that aims to build the largest online database of jobs on the planet, according to the company. The data shows the percentage of jobs that have increased (or decreased) for various programming languages since November 2009.

JavaScript-Ruby-Among-Fastest-Growing-Programming-Languages-505803/?kc=rss

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Amazon Courting Magazine, Book Publishers for Kindle Tablet

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

By: Clint Boulton, eWeek

Amazon is paving the way for its Kindle Tablet by soliciting newspaper, magazine and book publishers to offer their content via the slate, which aims to challenge Apple’s iPad. Amazon.com is negotiating with magazine and newspaper publishers over subscription- and single-copy periodical pricing, and noodling over a streaming book service with book publishers–all to fortify its content fortress for its forthcoming tablet. The e-commerce giant is expected to launch the Kindle Tablet, a 7-inch, Android-based tablet this November. The slate would cost less than $300, priced to challenge Apple’s popular iPad tablet.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Amazon-Courting-Magazine-Book-Publishers-for-Kindle-Tablet-184081/?kc=rss

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Maximizing Data Center Power Efficiency: 10 Ways to Do It

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

By Chris Preimesberger, eWeek

Quantifying the power efficiencies of a data center may appear to be something pretty esoteric, but rest assured, it is all very scientific. There are two metrics, instituted by the Green Grid industry group, which are now beginning the lengthy process of becoming international industry standards: a) Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE): This is a ratio of total facility power divided by IT equipment power. Ideally it should be less than 2-to-1; the closer to 1-to-1, the better; and b) Data center infrastructure efficiency (DCiE): DCiE is a percentage: IT equipment power x 100, divided by total facility power. The bigger the number the percent, the better. A data center’s DCiE should never be more than 1. To get these numbers in line, there are a number of things that data center managers can do over time. Here is a list of best practices to consider.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Data-Storage/Maximizing-Data-Center-Power-Efficiency-10-Ways-to-Do-It-139559/?kc=rss

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Mobile Internet Usage to Top Wireline Surfing by 2015: IDC Report

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By: Nathan Eddy, eWeek

More U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices by 2015, according to a report from IT analytics firm International Data Corporation. The company’s Worldwide New Media Market Model (NMMM) forecast that as smartphones begin to outsell simpler feature phones, and as media tablet sales explode, the number of mobile Internet users would grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6 percent between 2010 and 2015. The report noted that the impact of smartphone and, especially, media tablet adoption will be so great that the number of users accessing the Internet through PCs will first stagnate and then slowly decline. Western Europe and Japan will not be far behind the United States in following this trend, the report noted.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Mobile-Internet-Usage-to-Top-Wireline-Surfing-by-2015-IDC-Report-617848/?kc=rss

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Android App Piracy Hurting Developers, Consumers: Survey

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By: Fahmida Y. Rashid, eWeek

The Android Market is turning into the “Wild West” of app piracy. Android apps are easy to steal, and this hurts both developers and consumers, a new survey finds. Android developers are encountering problems with software piracy due to the way Google has structured the Android Market, according to a recent report. This is not only hurting developers, but also the consumers who are buying Android-based smartphones and tablets. In a survey of 75 Android developers, 52 percent claimed to have used some form of anti-piracy mechanisms in their applications, a Sept. 7 report from research firm Yankee Group found. In the same report, 62 percent of developers said they lost sales after implementing anti-piracy features, as “customers are not big fans of licensing systems or copy protections.” About 82 percent of developers claimed implementing copy protection resulted in locking out users from applications that were legitimately purchased.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Android-App-Piracy-Hurting-Developers-Consumers-Survey-535495/?kc=rss

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Android, Microsoft Could Spark Smartphone Fragmentation

Monday, September 19th, 2011

By: Nicholas Kolakowski, eWeek

Google Android and Microsoft’s lawsuit efforts could poke manufacturers to embrace mobile operating systems like webOS, fragmenting the industry further. In the course of promoting Windows Phone, Microsoft executives have seized on Android’s supposed fragmentation issues, arguing that Google’s platform is in serious danger of splitting itself across too many versions on too many different devices.

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Android-Microsoft-Could-Spark-Smartphone-Fragmentation-145532/?kc=rss

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Twitter says it has 100 million active users

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

by the BBC

Twitter’s boss believes users will tolerate seeing more adverts on their feeds. The micro-blogging site Twitter has said active users have passed the 100 million mark, but it has no plans to become a public company. The company’s chief executive told a news conference it was preparing to increase its business range by broadening the areas of its service where adverts appear. But Dick Costolo also said he wanted the business to remain independent. He said active users, who log on at least once a month, rose 82% this year. Half of these 100 million log on at least once a day.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14848383

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Mexico ‘Twitter terrorism’ charges cause uproar

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

By Julian Miglierini, BBC News

What began as a few messages on social networks Twitter and Facebook has grown into a heated debate about freedom of speech in Mexico – and could see two Mexicans spending a long stretch behind bars. The two, who live in the eastern state of Veracruz, could face up to 30 years in prison after being accused of terrorism. Their case has provoked an outcry from human rights groups and civil liberties advocates, in the midst of soaring violence blamed on organised crime in some parts of Mexico. It all started on 25 August, when Gilberto Martinez Vera and Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola allegedly posted information saying that shootouts and kidnappings by drug gangs were happening near schools in Veracruz, the state’s biggest city.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-14800200

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Supercomputer predicts revolution

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

by the BBC

Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events, according to US research. A study, based on millions of articles, charted deteriorating national sentiment ahead of the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt. While the analysis was carried out retrospectively, scientists say the same processes could be used to anticipate upcoming conflict. The system also picked up early clues about Osama Bin Laden’s location. Kalev Leetaru, from the University of Illinois’ Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science, presented his findings in the journal First Monday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14841018

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Comcast Internet program to help bridge ‘digital divide’

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

By Emily McFarlan, Beacon News

Tens of thousands of children throughout Aurora and the Fox Valley now can access the Internet for less than $10 a month, thanks to new Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. Internet Essentials aims to “close the digital divide” for low-income families with students in schools in Comcast’s greater Chicago region, the Internet/cable/phone service provider announced earlier this month. That includes all families whose children receive free lunches in the National School Lunch program in Aurora, as well as those in communities in surrounding school districts. In East Aurora alone, more than 68 percent of students can be expected to qualify. “The digital divide is extremely important to close,” said East Aurora School District spokesman Clayton Muhammad. “We are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is for children to have access to technology and the internet.”

http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/7518720-417/comcast-internet-program-to-help-bridge-digital-divide.html

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UNF Student Takes Technology to Dominican Republic

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

by Erin Hawley, First Coast News

A student at the University of North Florida is leading the charge to bring technology to students in struggling countries. After organizing a pencil drive in 2008 to help students in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Juan Carlos Villatoro was shocked to find many of the students had never seen a computer. He came up with the idea to create a classroom with WiFi that is solar powered and self sustained, and the CEL Project was born. The mission – to develop and install shipping containers retrofitted as computer labs to developing countries as a means of sustainable education and economic growth.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/218160/483/UNF-Student-Takes-Techology-to-School-in-Dominican-Republic

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‘Outdated’ power grid vulnerable

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

by the Associated Press

Technicians were still baffled how an unremarkable local event — a utility worker’s removal of a faulty, voltage-regulating capacitor in Yuma, Ariz. — could trigger a cascade of outages from western Arizona, across a swath of Southern California and down into Baja Mexico. “The way the system is designed, that should have had no impact on any customer, in Yuma or anywhere else,” said Damon Gross, a spokesman for Arizona Public Service Co., the utility whose worker set off the blackout. The blackout left more than 4million people without power for up to 12 hours, including about 135,000 customers of the Imperial Irrigation District. In the San Diego area, it caused business losses estimated at more than $100 million.

http://www.mydesert.com/article/20110910/NEWS01/109100323/-Outdated-power-grid-vulnerable?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFrontpage

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