Archive for November, 2010

Analysis: In Cyber Warfare, Policy Lags Technology

Hey everybody, hope you all had a great holiday week and were able to enjoy the time off to its fullest before finals!  Getting back into the final swing of the semester, I wanted to discuss a newer and extremely important IT field that is starting to show its importance over many others, that field being cyber warfare.  Power is everything on the world stage.  It assists in allowing countries to be heard more clearly and can either invoke fear or a feeling of security for those involved, but in this case, it’s all about security.

If you maybe someone interested in the IT field, network security would be a smart option to consider.  With the forming of the United States Cyber Command from last year and other countries beginning to do the same, we can only see the full importance of security.  Now think about how much information is stored on the internet and on internal networks of credit card companies, insurance companies, and bank servers for example.  Any company with information stored electronically has the potential risk of getting hacked and losing information on customers that it is responsible for.

And now with advances in computer technology, countries find it more and more of a reason to increase spending on digital defenses and new electronic weapons, but will have a difficult time building the policy framework to go along with it.

Malware or ‘malicious software’ such as the Stuxnet Computer worm are prime examples of potential national threats through cyber space.  The Stuxnet worm is widely believed to be the culprit in an attack on Iran’s nuclear program in which it could hack into the industrial control system, reprogramming it to create damage.  Dangers like this have called for the U.S. and Great Britain to increase focus in this area, along with emerging powers like China and Russia.

“In most areas, the relevant policies, roles and responsibilities have not kept pace with the technology — although this is changing,” said Prescott Winter, former chief information officer and chief technical officer at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and now a senior official at computer security firm Arcsight Inc.  It’s kind of difficult to specify because the field still raises many moral, legal, ethical, and practical questions, most of which have been unaddressed.

Experts say major powers have long been developing systems to attack or hijack the software increasingly used to run essential industrial infrastructure, from traffic and supermarket supply control systems to nuclear power plants and telecommunications hubs.

So it comes down to the questions.  How could a nation retaliate if it isn’t possible to trace the national origin of an attacker who using only a laptop?  Who should pay for protection on critical national systems such as power grids owned by a private sector?  Is it a good idea for countries to acknowledge publically they have an offensive cyber attack capability or keep it in the dark until they unleash it on the target?

The importance of all this is for protection.  Not so much as an offensive attack.

Thanks for reading!  Here’s the link to the original article and don’t forget to take the quiz on blackboard!



November 29, 2010 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Padma Warrior

Recently the BBC interviewed Padma Warrior, the head of Cisco’s technology department. In the interview, Padma shared her own story and the future she sees for jobs in technology. She has described herself as a woman and a business person. After arriving in this country with only a hundred dollars to her name, Padma has rose high in a male dominated field. Originally she worked for Motorola where she rose through the ranks eventually leading a team of 26,000. Under her influence, Motorola won the US National Medal of Technology. After her success at Motorola, Padma took at job with Cisco where she still works.

Padma has been very successful leading Cisco. Focusing on what she calls precursors, Padma studies trends to develop the most useful technology for the future. Examples include systems to monitor a buildings greenhouse gas emissions and a unified communication system. Part of her success is due to her fun and creative work environment. “I push my team and myself very hard and I also have fun on the way. I play practical jokes on my staff and kid around. Ultimately you have got to enjoy life.” Padma stresses the importance of technology. Technology isn’t cold an sterile it’s a dynamic field with a deep connection to popular culture. As Padma puts it herself, “what is interesting is what can you do with that technology and how can you change what we as human beings are interested in.”

For more on Padma Warrior please read the interview at  Then, head over to Blackboard and take your quiz!

November 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm 2 comments

Facebook Mail = Gmail Killer?

There is a lot of buzz floating around about the meeting that Mark Zuckerberg had organized for the morning of Monday, November 15th regarding Facebook email.  A new function in Facebook will now allow its users to send Facebook messages as both a message internally to other Facebook users or as an email to anybody who has an email address.  So far as I can tell I’m not quite sure how to reply back yet but that is still coming.  The big question is if this is going to have any effect on other email services such as Gmail or Yahoo!.

Side note: Here is a funny website I found that was speaking specifically about different email clients and what they say about a person (Click here for site!). I personally found a lot of this to be true from experiences that I’ve had but I do admit that I still have an Aol account that I never got rid of that I pretty much just use for junk mail and on occasion I will get email from a family member (who is over 60) that will have pictures of kittens.

Back to the real topic: Will Facebook email have a huge impact on the competition? With over 500 million Facebook users there is bound to be some sort of change in email usage. From what I’ve seen so far I believe that these other companies will only have to worry about the younger generations for the moment. For anybody out of high school, Facebook begins to seem a little too informal and very unprofessional. With students communicating with their professors on a regular basis and looking for future jobs from employers, a Facebook email would not seem to look very impressive. Not only that but I’ve never really been a fan of regular Facebook messaging to begin with and for me to jump on this bandwagon I think that I would need to be swayed a lot further with a whole new interface on both the message/email itself as well as the inbox. I assume that we will see more to come from Facebook in the near future but as of right now I’m not sure that Mr. Zuckerberg is making the right call.

On top of all of this news Aol (formerly AOL; now cleverly lowercased Aol) came out publicly to say that they are starting their ‘Project Phoenix’ which will be their email overhaul of the decade?? Anyway, Aol will have a new layout which will be a combination of their old email and instant messaging system with a bit of Gmail flair to tie it all together. They promise that you do not need to use their domain and that all of their features will be very useful and up to date.

Project Phoenix: Aol's e-mail overhaul

My REAL two cents: What’s the deal with Facebook chat? Hasn’t anybody thought about making that a little more reliable and efficient so that people can actually have a real conversation that doesn’t drop messages or cut off mid-thought when a user switches pages? Facebook could definitely start small and fix some of its glitches before it starts to take on a whole new way of communications.

Please take the quiz on Blackboard! Here is the link to the site that I got my information about Facebook email on (Click here). Sorry this post is a little late this week…


November 16, 2010 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Be In the Kno

Watch the Video!!!!


Be In the Kno

Are college students ready to ditch their textbooks for the 5.5 pound dual-panel touch screen device?  Is $900 too much money to spend or are the benefits of the Kno worth it?  The co-founder and CEO is Osman Rashid co-founder of Chegg rental textbooks.  Did he strike gold again or are his business plans getting too aggressive?

These questions do not have to be answered but more simply, thought about.  The Kno is strictly aimed at college students, making our views important.  Textbooks go directly to the Kno.  They are purchased directly from “” and then you search by category.  Out of curiosity, I looked for my current ITK178 book and found it on the 7th page under the “programming languages” category and it had a brief message next to it “We are working on getting this book. Please check back later.”

The Kno looks awesome.  With incredible graphics on a 14” screen, a pen stylus for a natural writing experience, and all the necessary apps it seems beneficial.  However, many people are skeptical and a main problem seems to be the guarantee of finding the necessary textbooks.  As word spreads about the Kno keep an eye out for more information… and maybe consider…


Take the quiz, cheers!!


November 11, 2010 at 3:00 am 1 comment

Intel Cloud Builders

Being a young adult in this day and age offers with it not only great advances in computer technology, but also a front row seat to consistent releases of new ground breaking communication and electronic technologies.  We saw Apple take an enormous chunk of the wireless market with the release of devices like the iPhone and iPad.  We saw how having a fast and dedicated cable or other high-speed internet connection can offer us unlimited internet access, streaming of HD movies, or the ability to be reached from almost anywhere in the world.  “Whatever could be the next new technological wave in the computer world,” you may ask yourself.

The answer? Cloud computing.  Or rather, that’s one answer, and a good one at that!  Cloud computing comes into focus more and more today when you look at what it comes down to when you set up a new system of computers for a business, or a large number of computers to be set up in a public environment:  a way to store large quantities of data in a secure location.  Include training new personnel on systems and software, and setting up new software solutions to be used.  And connectivity, the most important requirement of cloud computing.

Cloud computing is at an early stage in its life, but a prime new example of what it can offer us is the ability to deploy computer systems at a company that is paid for on a subscription-based pay-per-use service that can deliver high tech IT solutions at a fraction of the price.  A provider can deploy a number of less powerful systems that can run desired applications either from the actual computer itself or on the server end from a remote location allowing all the work to be done over a secured connection in a private network.  Cloud computing does bring forth its own challenges, but has already proven to be one of the next steps on the staircase of technology.

Check out this pretty cool video of some VPs at very well known companies discussing about how they can put their heads together for the better of cloud computing and for the better of customers using it.  Don’t forget to take the quiz on the post and video!

Also, the quiz is on the second page of the list on blackboard, so if it isn’t showing up at first, navigate to the next page!


November 8, 2010 at 6:47 am Leave a comment

Seth Priebatsch: SCVNGR’s Chief Ninja

From the recent movie, The Social Network, and the accompanying blog entry written a few weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg has become a familiar name to all of us.  Let’s recap a bit of what we know about him.  He’s 26.  He founded Facebook in 2004, at age 19, while attending Harvard.  Then, he dropped out.  His net worth is in the billions.  He’s the youngest self-made billionaire ever.  His success was made possible through his incredible drive and genius.

Facebook is not the only company with a young, super intelligent, college dropout for CEO.  In fact, it is becoming an expectation rather than an exception.  Just yesterday, CNN introduced us to another up-and-comer in the technology realm.

Meet Seth Priebatsch.

Seth is the founder and CEO of SCVNGR.    Have you heard of it?  Chances are you have not.  Not yet.  Here’s the deal according to the SCVNGR website.  “SCVNGR is part awesome location-based mobile game, part really powerful mobile gaming platform.”  What does that mean?  It’s basically a smartphone app that identifies businesses and locations near the user and provides them with challenges to be done at each of those locations.  Completing challenges earns the user points that can be used to redeem free products from participating businesses.

For SCVNGR, Seth is projecting the perfect CEO image.  He’s a young, smart, driven workaholic.  For tech startups, having this type of CEO gives the feel of cutting edge ideas.  How can you not have a new idea when the founder wasn’t even two decades old when the company was started?

Think starting a company at 19 is impressive?  How about at 12?  That’s what Seth did.  His first company, Giftopedia, was an online shopping list for price comparison and such.  Surprisingly, as geniuses go, he didn’t know how to code the tool himself.  Instead, he turned to outsourcing.  He hired people in Russia and India to program the tools, often waking up at 3am to host conference calls with employees oversees.  He created another company in high school and used the profits from that business to create SCVNGR.

So, having dropped out of Princeton at 19 to start SCVNGR, he has been the CEO (or Chief Ninja as his business card reads) of his third company for a little over three years.  He can be found at work seven days a week.  He lives in his office, literally.  He has a sleeping bag under the couch.  On the rare occasion, he might wander a few blocks away to his parents’ house to sleep in a real bed.

Investors are impressed with Seth’s hard work and ideas.  As a result, he has received several venture capital investments totaling over five million dollars.  Four million dollars of it came from Google Ventures, one of the most significant financiers of tech startups in the San Francisco Bay area.

While Mark Zuckerberg’s trademark look is a hoodie and flip flops, you’re likely to see Seth Priebatsch barefoot, sporting some bright orange sunglasses on top of his head.  He uses his youth to his advantage, always trying to throw off visitors and making them wonder how young he actually is.  The best example to convey this is the floor coverings in his office.  Typically, you’d expect to see an area rug, but he has a giant car mat instead.  His shelves are full of model cars.  Does he play with the cars on the floor mat?  No, but he is closer to toddler age than retirement so you never know what to think.  That’s exactly what he is going for.  He’s not trying to hide the fact that he’s young.  Instead, he uses it as a tool to help his business grow and succeed.

A summary of his life story can be found in the article that I read.  It’s quite interesting and shows quite clearly how his parents instilled this somewhat excessive work ethic in him.  Head over to to check it out for yourself.  Keep an eye out for more news on SCVNGR or perhaps even download the app on your smartphone and give it a shot!  You can get more information on it at the company website,
Don’t forget to head over to Blackboard and take the quiz!  Have a great weekend!


November 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Blekko – Can it Compete with Google?

Blekko is a new search engine that launched in beta on Monday, November 1st, 2010.  Since then there has been much discussion about it and many have questioned if it will be able tocompete with other top search engines such as Google.  One of the main new features that Blekko offers that many other search engines do not is the ability to query results based on certain criteria. has the look and feel of Google in a sense that its home page isn’t cluttered with ads or anything other than a search bar, their logo, and some helpful “slashtags” that can be used in your searches.

The new search engine is unique in the fact that these resullts are divided into the parts that you’re looking for using a ‘/’ called slashtags.  This gives the user the ability to narrow down their searches in a more organized and logical manner.  For instance if you want to search for global warming but you want to see only articles that are directed towards conservatives you would type “Global Warming /conservative”.  Another example would be that you want to find out jokes that are cat related, in this case you would type something like “Cats /humor”.  The results that are retrieved ranged from jokes involving cats, to pictures of cats with funny icons and quotes (such as lolcats if any of you are familiar with that), to comical stories dealing with cats.  Although I have always stuck by Google through thick and thin, Blekko seems to be a viable option for more complex searches that are hard to phrase.  Since Google and other search engines will literally search for every word in the phrase rather than a certain action, such as include or exclude something, Blekko could end up being very useful.



Currently Blekko has many slashtags to use such as “/humor”, “/conservative/”, or “/liberal” but their end goal is to have the community that uses the search engine to come up with their own slashtags.  As I began to explore their site I found people creating their own new terms such as “/telecommuting” or “/remote-collaboration”.  I signed up with a new user name and began to look into creating my own slashtags.  The way they are created is by entering keywords to search for and including current websites that fit into this slashtag.  One other aspect of Blekko is how they’ve incorporated other social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and their own Blekko Chatter.  They requested an email and optionally let you sign up with your twitter account as well to tweet slashtags.  In the next few months it will be interesting to see if Blekko catches on and becomes a new trend.  From what I can tell this is something that I feel like a “Tweeter” would like to use right along with their @username and #subject tags.  Go ahead, give it a try! is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Here is the link of where I found the original article that talked about it.  Don’t forget to take the quiz!

November 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm 1 comment

November 2010
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