Google Just Bought a High-Flying Drone Company Tuesday, Apr 15 2014 

By Abby Ohlheiser, The Wire

Google swept in and agreed to buy Titan Aerospace, a high-altitude drone manufacturer, on Monday, months after Facebook had entered into talks to buy the company. Titan, based in New Mexico, will go to Google for an undisclosed sum.

 

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The Wall Street Journal’s report on the sale notes that the drone maker will help Google with its “Project Loon” initiative, which looks to provide internet access to remote areas using large high-altitude balloons. In a statement, Google said:

“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.” 

The purchase was the subject of rumors last week,  after months of speculation that Facebook would buy the solar-powered drone company for its own, similar internet access initiative. Titan’s solar-powered drones are known for their ability to stay in the air for years without needing to land, making them ideal for the sorts of projects both Facebook and Google have in mind. Techcrunch has a nice summary of the Facebook rumors,here. Both projects, as the Journal notes, are in part aimed at introducing a specific company to new internet users simultaneously with access to a high-speed  connection. Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp was also seen by many as an effort to get in early on a relatively untapped market for the company.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/google-just-bought-the-drone-company-that-facebook-had-82711264509.html

Report: NSA Knew About Heartbleed Vulnerability for Years, Used It to Collect Intelligence Tuesday, Apr 15 2014 

 

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by Technology Editor Yahoo techApr 11, 2014

The National Security Agency had been aware of the recently discovered Heartbleed vulnerability for more than two years and did nothing to inform consumers, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg claimed thatthe NSA exploited Heartbleed — a flaw in common Internet encryption that left passwords and other vital information visible to and obtainable by hackers — to collect intelligence on web surfers.

Bloomberg cited “two people familiar with the matter”; the NSA declined to comment through a spokesperson. Many on Twitterexpressed outrage at the report, arguing that the NSA’s silence left Internet users vulnerable to cyber-attacks, despite the agency’s mandate to keep Americans safe

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/report-nsa-knew-about-heartbleed-vulnerability-for-82407088205.html

Your Heartbleed Bug Questions, Answered Friday, Apr 11 2014 

http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-questions-answered/

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Heartbleed is a serious security threat that has the potential to expose users’ private information, including passwords, financial details and instant messages, among other things.

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To help you understand the bug and what you should be doing to protect your information,Mashable editor-at-large Lance Ulanoff answered user questions on our Facebook page. Here are highlights from the chat:

To help you understand the bug and what you should be doing to protect your information,Mashable editor-at-large Lance Ulanoff answered user questions on our Facebook page. Here are highlights from the chat:

What is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is a bug in the code running on the servers of millions of websites. It leaves open a hole that allows hackers to get in and around the encryption between you and the site. This means that the information stored on the servers, and passed between you, could be stolen.

Is this strictly a threat that is only on the Internet?

Just the Internet: Sites running OpenSSL.

Is Heartbleed a virus?

Not exactly. It is a hole that could leave websites and user information open to attack.

Why wasn’t it discovered until now?

The code error was small. It was not an attack; it was simply some bad code written by the people who built OpenSSL. It sounds like more of an accident.

Has a list of the major sites using OpenSSL been compiled?

There are millions of sites that use OpenSSL, so a full list might not be that easy to peruse. LastPass unveiled a tool to help you search for specific websites to find out if there are issues. [Update: We’ve compiled a list of popular sites and whether they were affected.]

When should we change our passwords?

Changing passwords right now might be a pointless exercise. The sites you visit could still have the vulnerability and your new password could be stolen.

If I’m running my own website, how do I protect it?

If you run OpenSSL, update it as soon as possible.

Has it affected most firewalls?

It’s not really a firewall attack. If the vulnerability exists (on a site or service), the communication between you and it is open to compromise.

How safe is the Internet anymore?

It’s pretty safe.

Do you think the latest bug was somehow related to the NSA?

No.

What really matters in a job interview Monday, Mar 31 2014 

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Bernard Marr

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Consultant in Strategy, Performance Management, Analytics, KPIs and Big Data

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140331030822-64875646-job-interview-why-only-3-questions-really-matter?trk=eml-ced-b-art-Ch-5&midToken=AQF-Fy_0UDdtBQ&ut=00SceFeE_R5Cc1

 

Even for the most fearless amongst us, job interviews can be nerve wracking. In order to give us the best chance of success we tend to prepare for many of the difficult questions we anticipate, questions like:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
  • What are your key strengths and weaknesses?

 

Basically, any interviewer wants to establish 3 key things:

  1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
  2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
  3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?

Google Glass Will Kill Flirting In Bars Monday, Mar 17 2014 

 

Alex Van Buren, Yahoo Food

Mar 5, 2014

glassGoogle Glass Will Kill Flirting In Bars

Martins’ comment

Maybe not quite killing flirting in bars.  But this is one of the many unintended consequences of new technology.  / comment>

But good grief, we are so never gonna get Google Glass. And if you wear Google Glass into a bar, then record us? We might have to have a conversation about that.

If you’re unfamiliar with Glass, as it’s called for short, it’s a set of glasses—sometimes prescription, sometimes not—that come with a little visible camera affixed. Glass can read your email, take videos, take photos, Google stuff for you, and in the not-too-distant future, instantly recognize faces at bars and tell you whom you’re talking to.

Recently a tech writer named Sarah Slocum wore Glass to a San Francisco bar called Molotov’s and got into a semi-brawl.

Someone threw a towel at her, her Glass was briefly stolen off her face, and people got, well, up in her grill. People at bars don’t like being recorded. Particularly people drinking at a bar called Molotov’s,which one fellow is quoted as calling “not really Google Glass country.”

This is a fine point. Which bars should be Glass country?

Let’s catalog, for a moment, what we do at bars: We drink, obviously. We flirt. We make bad decisions. We stay out too late. Think about which of those items you’d like recorded, for posterity, by a stranger. Slocum called the dustup a “hate crime,” which drew pretty much instant mockery, after which she downgraded it to “technophobia” (which sounds rather like a scary strobe-lit ’90s dance night to us). Most recently she’s asked Google for a “sponsored” trip to SXSWi, so she can “educate” people about Glass.

The throwdown at the bar has been coined a class war, between the wealthy tech-world folks who inhabit the Silicon Valley and those who came before. Things have gotten so bad that Google itself had to draw up some politesse pointers for Glass aficionados: “Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends,” the company wrote. “Ask permission before taking photos or videos of others.”

Well played, Google. Although Google has denied that it wants facial recognition to be a reality, that’s a real possibility and one company has facial recognition tech in beta mode.

But can we be honest? That’s the saddest prospect of all. Because while bars can be places to make deals and break them, make out and break up, one of their primary lures is meeting people, sometimes people in whom one has a romantic interest. And Google Glass marks the end of mystique.

Picture our heroine, in her Tangerine Glass, thinking: “He’s so handsome.”

The gent, in Sky Glass: “She’s hot.”

They get closer. She records their meeting for posterity and learns, via facial recognition, that his name is Montague Revelry Williams. He works in finance. There’s a photo of him with his ex-wife. There’s a photo of him with his dog. He owns a chihuahua? Really? And he’s drinking a vodka tonic?

Who else is at this bar? 

Google Glass. It could kill dating. It could end mystery. Leave us our blurred-after-three-old-fashioneds vision. Please. Let us think that he has especially good hair, or that she has particularly perfect skin. Everyone looks good in this bar. And that’s where magic happens. Let’s keep bars Glass-free… except for the glasses that come withwhiskey in them.

You’re Looking at It Wrong — Why the Web Demands Vertical Screens Monday, Mar 17 2014 

The first person to twist apart an Oreo, or sit backwards in a chair, or pretend a tennis racket was a guitar — visionaries who recognized that everyday objects used by the masses have higher callings.

I’ve joined them by turning my widescreen monitor vertically.

By  Json Abbruzzese

HP_Monitor-1

To be clear, I did not invent this idea. People have been rotating monitors 90 degrees since the widescreen was invented. I have just joined them as an acolyte of the modern Internet.

We’re a left-to-right kind of culture, in general. Cavemen painted left to right and Medieval artists wove tapestries left to right. But at some point, the Internet began to grow vertically — into the feed mentality that dominates almost every website. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, it goes up and down. There’s a reason for that.

It’s only been a couple days, but I’m positive I won’t be going back. My work monitor is an HP LV2311 that measures 13.25 inches by 22 inches. Almost every site looks better; only a handful experience any problems fitting to the width of the screen.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how the New York Times website looks on my monitor in both vertical and horizontal modes.

nyt-wide

NYT VERT.-

Look at that whitespace. Look how much the vertical perspective gives me. It actually looksmore like a newspaper.

But it’s not just surfing the web.

  • Writing: I like to be able to see as much of the page as possible while writing. It lets me look back quickly and see everything I’ve written, leaves space for notes at the bottom and generally gives me a better feel for the piece.
  • Workflow: I find it much easier to check out multiple windows when I can stack them, as opposed to placing them side by side. The narrowness forces me to open fewer tabs, which is a horrible habit that generally destroys my ability to accomplish tasks in a timely manner.
  • Social: I’m a relatively new Mashable hire, but just about the entire office has stopped by my desk to talk about the screen. I’m now “cool vertical screen guy.” Everybody come look at how interesting I am and how brilliantly counterintuitive my ideas are!

It’s not all gravy. The top of my screen is a bit too high for my desk, and the bottom quarter of the screen does not seem to get much use. My relatively seamless transition between desk monitor and laptop screen is a little buggy.

And still, there are plenty of actions made for wider screens. Video clearly makes no sense on a vertical monitor, which is why I would never do this at home. (I don’t do any video editing or graphic work, which I can only imagine would be harder on a vertical screen.) It’s not ideal for gaming, unless you’re playing Tetris or Dig Dug. These are aspects that take advantage of width, employ little to no scrolling and have programs designed for widescreen interfaces.

I also have the luxury of a dedicated monitor that runs off my laptop, giving me a (smaller) widescreen when I need it. If I were operating only on the desktop monitor, it would be a tough call. Right now, I’d still lean vertical.

The demands of my job — and I think many others — along with the evolution of the web dictate that more people give this adjustment a shot. Don’t like it? You can always swivel your screen back to the dark ages.

If you’re interested, here are a couple pointers on how to turn vertical.

You need a flat panel screen (sorry CRT devotees) and a stand that will allow you to turn the screen. If you need to buy one (like I did), try the Mount-It! I’m using.

Once you have your monitor oriented, you can switch the image on the screen in the computer’s settings (some people may want to do this step before swiveling). It is usually called “portrait” on PC or “rotation” on Macs.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

The 7 Best Apps for When You’re Sitting on the Toilet Monday, Mar 10 2014 

http://mashable.com/2014/03/08/best-apps-for-toilet/

Sam,%20sq

BY SAM LAIRD2 DAYS AGO
Admit it: You saw the headline and snickered. But this sh*t is real, man.Apps and handling your “business” go together like, well, nobody’s business. For proof, look no further than the study that once found 16% of cellphones have poop on them. And, like all universal human truths, this one’s even been immortalized in a song: Paul the Trombonist‘s catchy — and oh-so-aptly titled — “Playing With Your Phone While Sitting on the Toilet.”

10 Enterprise Networks to Improve Company Communication Monday, Mar 10 2014 

10 Enterprise Networks to Improve Company Communication

Deloitte predicts over 90% of Fortune 500 companies will have partially or fully implemented an enterprise social network by the end of 2013. An ESN is an internal workplace that streamlines communication among co-workers. They give employees a sense of online community and help forge connections between departments, especially within larger corporations.

We’ve highlighted a selection of social networks aimed at businesses. Does your company use an ESN? Does that network make communication more effective? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and your response could be featured in next week’stop comments.

by jessica-fee-headshot-sq

Jess Fee

This Bluetooth Ring Is Like a Magic Wand on Your Finger or One Ring to rule your life Tuesday, Mar 4 2014 

http://mashable.com/2014/03/03/bluetooth-ring/

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We’ve seen interactive rings that receive alerts from your smartphone and even rings that will give you the current time in a unique way, but a new ring leapfrogs the rest by acting as a full-on control mechanism.

On its exterior, Logbar’s Ring device looks like nothing more than a silver ring, but packed inside the device are electronics that allow it to recognize your finger gestures and control any number of devices.

Logbar CEO Takuro Yoshida gave a detailed demonstration of the silver interactive device last year in San Francisco, and now Ring is available for purchase through a Kickstarter campaign.

By recognizing finger gestures, Ring allows the wearer to write text messages by simply drawing in the air. The same dynamic allows the wearer to access apps by drawing designated shapes in the air. For example, drawing a music note could access your music player, while drawing an envelope shape would allow you to access your email.

 

More advanced functions depicted in the company’s Kickstarter video (see above) include using the Bluetooth device for mobile payments via GPS or iBeacon, and as a controller for televisions and lights in smart homes. The company also says that it has tested Ring with devices spanning a wide spectrum of currently available, bleeding-edge hardware, including the Pebble watch, quadcopter drones and even Google Glass.

Ring’s associated app also allows you to program original shape gesture commands. This option could be particularly useful for disabled or visually impaired users with somewhat unconventional finger gesture patterns.

To activate the device, you simply press the side button on the Ring, and to receive alerts you can either receive a vibration or view the discreet little LED pinpoints near the button port. According to the device’s developers, Ring can perform up to 1,000 gestures before its battery needs to be recharged.

The only obvious shortcoming of the device at this point is that fact that it’s not waterproof. That could turn into a problem for those attempting to use Ring in mobile environments during bad weather, or even inside the home, say, if you forget you have Ring on when you go to wash your hands.

Also, Ring’s rechargeable battery is not replaceable. Once it stops charging, the fun is over, and you’ll have to pony up for a brand new Ring. That might not be as bad as it sounds. The cheapest early bird version of the device sold for $145, and during Yoshida’s presentation last year he mentioned hopes of getting the device down to the $100 range.

At launch, the Ring app will only be available for iOS and Android devices, but the company has plans to release a Windows Phone version.

The device blew past its original Kickstarter goal of $250,000 in just its first five days of availability and, as of this writing, Ring had reached about $400,000 in funding, with nearly a full month left for new signups.

Everything old is new again (SaaS) Thursday, Feb 27 2014 

In the early 1970s’ when I was in college, computers were huge and incredibly expensive so that only governments and the largest corporations could afford them.   So computer time was very valuable and was sold (or rented) on a minute by minute basis.  For our computer classes or any computer use, we had to write our programs then go to a room with specialized machines and type our program onto computer cards.  Then we gathered up the cards, waited in line for a “computer technician” to feed them into the computer.  After a length off time, minute to hours, when the computer got to our low priority work it would print out the results.  Typos or out of order cards meant back to where the mistake was and recreate the program.  Incredibly time consuming.  PCs were such a blessing, but cost in the range of $3,000 each.

Trivial fact: A  computer manufactory named Commodore said they would reduce the price of their computers when they paid their factory off.  Somewhere in the mid to late eighties they paid it off and lowered the price of an IBM PC from the $3,000 range to $1500 or less than a thousand dollars depending on the computer.  Now almost everybody could afford one and time sharing on computers became a thing of the past.

Until SaaS. As I said “Everything old is new again.”

The following is from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_as_a_service

Software as a service (SaaS; pronounced /sæs/ or /sɑːs/[1]), sometimes referred to as “on-demand software” supplied by ISVs or “Application-Service-Providers” (ASPs),[2] is a software delivery model[3] in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud. SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser. SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, including Office & Messaging software, DBMS software, Management software, CAD software, Development software, GamificationVirtualization,[2] accountingcollaborationcustomer relationship management (CRM), management information systems (MIS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), invoicing, human resource management (HRM), content management (CM) and service desk management.[4] SaaS has been incorporated into the strategy of all leading enterprise software companies.[5] One of the biggest selling points for these companies is the potential to reduce IT support costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider.[6]

According to a Gartner Group estimate,[7] SaaS sales in 2010 reached $10 billion, and were projected to increase to $12.1bn in 2011, up 20.7% from 2010. Gartner Group estimates that SaaS revenue will be more than double its 2010 numbers by 2015 and reach a projected $21.3bn. Customer relationship management (CRM) continues to be the largest market for SaaS. SaaS revenue within the CRM market was forecast to reach $3.8bn in 2011, up from $3.2bn in 2010.[8]

The term “software as a service” (SaaS) is considered to be part of the nomenclature of cloud computing, along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS), backend as a service (BaaS), and information technology management as a service (ITMaaS).[9]

History[edit]

Centralized hosting of business applications dates back to the 1960s. Starting in that decade, IBM and other mainframe providers conducted a service bureau business, often referred to as time-sharing or utility computing. Such services included offering computingpower and database storage to banks and other large organizations from their worldwide data centers.

The expansion of the Internet during the 1990s brought about a new class of centralized computing, called Application Service Providers (ASP). ASPs provided businesses with the service of hosting and managing specialized business applications, with the goal of reducing costs through central administration and through the solution provider’s specialization in a particular business application. Two of the world’s pioneers and largest ASPs were USI, which was headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, and Futurelink Corporation, headquartered in Orange County California.

Software as a service essentially extends the idea of the ASP model. The term Software as a Service (SaaS), however, is commonly used in more specific settings:

  • Whereas most initial ASPs focused on managing and hosting third-party independent software vendors‘ software, as of 2012 SaaS vendors typically develop and manage their own software.
  • Whereas many initial ASPs offered more traditional client-server applications, which require installation of software on users’ personal computers, SaaS solutions of today rely predominantly on the Web and only require an internet browser to use.
  • Whereas the software architecture used by most initial ASPs mandated maintaining a separate instance of the application for each business, as of 2012 SaaS solutions normally utilize a multi-tenant architecture, in which the application serves multiple businesses and users, and partitions its data accordingly.

The SAAS acronym allegedly first appeared in an article called “Strategic Backgrounder: Software As A Service”, internally published in February 2001 by the Software & Information Industry Association’s (SIIA) eBusiness Division.[10]

DbaaS (Database as a Service) has emerged as a sub-variety of SaaS.[11]

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