- Blog (12)
Democrats’ Donkey and History of a Political Party
It’s All About the Advertising
Google’s entry into hardware products, with the introduction of Nexus One, is not about selling phones – it’s ultimately about maintaining and increasing advertising revenue as we enter the age of “everything mobile.” More and more people around the world will be using their phones to access the Internet, and Google needs to connect to these people as this connection translates to revenue.
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) 2009 annual report describes the creation of Information Warfare Militia units of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), in which commercial IT professionals and academics are recruited to draw on broader professional skill sets in a region. These groups, in connection with state-approved citizen hacker units, have become adept at precisely targeting and harvesting information from Western computing resources, in both government and private.
Can You Talk Like Our Presidents?
“That depends on what the definition of is, is.” Bill Clinton
“I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” George H. W. Bush
“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.” Ronald Reagan
“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” George W. Bush
“The reform we seek brings greater competition, choice, savings, and inefficiencies to our healthcare system.” Barack Obama
Way to Go Google
Google has had enough of the Chinese government and is ready to leave their $600 million annual revenue behind. Google had previously accepted self censorship in order to stay in China. But, recent attacks on e-mail accounts of human rights activists have made it difficult to continue serving China’s 338 million Internet users. In asign of defiance, Google is showing the images of theTiananmen Square crackdown that previously were censored. This issue became political when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented on actions of the Chinese government.
Tobacco Is Good Again
Tobacco might be looking at a successful second career as a bio fuel source, according to Scientific American.
Rent a Software
Microsoft’s new program allows users to rent Windows and Office. If this is going to be Microsoft’s new business model, will the others follow this model? This rental right is available to those with Microsoft Open licenses, Microsoft Select/Select Plus, and government licenses.
Up in the Air
On January 10, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had to launch a F-15 fighter jet to intercept a Hawaiian commercial airline due to unruly passengers. The following day, NORAD had to launch a F-16 fighter jet in response to a report of an unruly passenger aboard an AirTran flight from Atlanta to San Francisco.
Criminals are using the Internet to toy with police and gain fame. A fugitive, Craig (lazie) Lynch, who escaped from an English prison in September 2009 is becoming a worldwide phenomena. He had 40,000 friends on Facebook (his profile was recently taken down) and was asking his friends to call 999 (the British 911) if they saw him. For similar criminals, fans and friends have created supportive Web sites with some eye-catching names such as “Run-Leo-run” for a guy who stole $10,000,000 and “fly-Colton-fly” for a young guy who graduated from stealing cars to stealing private aircrafts. With the help of the Internet, these people are becoming modern folk heroes. Can you imagine if they had Internet at the time of Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde, or others like them?
Project Blue Book
The United States Air Force retired its records on Project Blue Book to the custody of the National Archives. Project Blue Book relates to the investigations ofUnidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) during the period of 1947 to 1969. By the end of 1969, a total of 12,618 sightings were reported to Project BlueBook – of those 701 remain “unidentified.”
Sport Guys Talking
“Sure, I’m proud to be an American.” Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Steve Foster, in response to Canadian custom agent’s question if he had anything to declare
“I don’t care what the tape says, I didn’t say it.” Football coach, Ray Malavasi
“It’s a partial sellout.” Atlanta Braves broadcaster, Skip Caray, trying not to say there aren’t many people in the stadium
“We are not as good as we think we are. We need to go out and prove that.” Soccer manager, Steve McClaren
“Wow, if only faces could talk.” John Madden, broadcaster and commentator
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Flu season increases focus on personal hygiene. Maryland state health officials will spend $100,000 to secretly monitor, and report on the hand-washing habits of doctors and nurses.
Raisin' the Roof – Slimline Solar
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have sent solar panels to the gym. New lightweight, three-dimensional photovoltaic systems promise to take the weight off the rafters.
Mission Impossible – Cyber Saint?
On December 22, President Obama named Howard Schmidt his cybersecurity coordinator. According to The Washington Post, the seven-month delay in making this appointment came from tension within the White House over how much authority the person should have. Some suggest that the unreasonably high expectations set for the position by experts and some members of the media contributed to the delay. For example, Federal Computer Week listed 10 critical characteristics of a national cyber coordinator. Among the requirements were:
- Leadership skills on loan from Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt
- Problem solving skills on loan from Albert Einstein
- A podium presence on loan from Ronald Reagan
- Diplomat on the outside and pit bull on the inside
- Impeccable integrity and absence of ego and ambition and more
Assuming that Mr. Schmidt’s qualifications meet the experts’ expectations, he still has to work with Congress and different committees. Gregory Garcia, former assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications at DHS, in a press conference, blamed U.S. Congress for its “scattershot” approach to dealing with the issue. Garcia mentioned eight congressional committees that have responsibility for a portion of cybersecurity policy – who in their turf battles introduce multiple legislations without coordination that sometimes conflict with each other.
The Oxford American Dictionary has chosen “unfriend” as its 2009 Word of The Year. It means removing someone from your friend list on a social network.
Mushroom Cyber Cloud
While the G11 frets about nuclear proliferation, GAO recently pointed some significant operational issues closer to home. A new GAO report on Los Alamos National Labs warns that the agency is having difficulty “protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information stored on and transmitted over its classified computer network.”
News that's Easier to Chew
In an effort to make news easier to digest, Google, The Washington Post, and The New York Times are developing the “Living Story Page” – an approach that groups developing stories by topic on a single Web page with the newest developments at the top. Based on Google search trends, Tiger will be pleased that “Living Story” did not come out last year.
Is this Mic On?
“The president is aware of what’s going on. That’s not to say something is going on.” Ron Ziegler, Nixon press secretary
“Capital punishment is our society’s recognition of sanctity of human life.” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
“I have learned from the mistakes I may or may not have made. When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.” President George W. Bush
“The president has kept all the promises he intended to keep.” George Stephanopoulos, Clinton aide
“People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.” Dan Quayle, former vice president
Einstein 3 and Privacy Concerns
Einstein is an intrusion detection system that monitors the network gateways of government departments and agencies for unauthorized traffic. When it was created, Einstein was “an automated process for collecting, correlating, analyzing, and sharing computer security information across the Federal civilian government.” As described in 2004, its purpose is to “facilitate identifying and responding to cyber threats and attacks.” Version 3.0 of Einstein has been discussed to prevent attacks by “shooting down an attack before it hits its target.” The deployment of Einstein 3 has been a cause for concern by many due to uncertainty about whether private data can be shielded from unauthorized scrutiny. Einstein 3 reportedly could operate within the networks of private telecommunications companies – Project Freedom Counsel and Congress question whether the technology could analyze private-to-private communications.
While President Obama is the 44th president, he is actually the 43rd person to be president. Our 22nd and 24th president was the same person. President Grover Cleveland (1885-1889) defeated incumbent Benjamin Harrison in 1892, becoming the first (and to date, the only) president to win non-consecutive terms (1893-1897). And, consider this, 16 of our presidents did not have a vice president for part or all of their term in office. James Madison (1812-1813 and 1814-1817) started the trend – and Watergate gave Gerald Ford (1974) little choice but to follow.
Of the world's 100 largest law firms, 75 are American. Warning, peanuts may contain nuts...
Across the Universe
Analyst firm, IDC, projects that the global digital information volume will reach 988 exabytes by the end of 2010 – in more "terrestrial" terms, that's the equivalent of a stack of books from the sun to Pluto and back. Every day, we generate 15 petabytes of new information, eight times all the data in all the U.S. libraries. Not to be outdone, another analyst, the Radicatti Group, pegs the global e-mail volume at 247 billion per day. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan shrugged.
Let Them Talk
“I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and woman.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
“You guys, line up alphabetically by height.” Florida State football coach
“We don’t necessarily discriminate; we simply exclude certain types of people.” ROTC instructor
“That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I’m the one to do it.” Congressional candidate
“They misunderestimated me.” George W. Bush
“I’m convinced the Beatles are partly responsible for the fall of communism.” Milton Forman, film director
Congress’ Piece of the Pie
Out of the 535 members of Congress, 237 are millionaires. This is 44 percent compared to one percent of all Americans.
Open and Shut Case
Congressional plans to develop the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, a database of contractor’s past performance and alleged misconduct, has contractors twitching. Congress’ notion is that Federal officials should consult the database before awarding a contract – but that the database would only be accessible by certain Federal officials and Congress. The Coalition for Government Procurement is concerned about the security and integrity of data. The watchdog group, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), is calling for public access to the database. Since 1995, the top 100 Federal contractors have paid $26 billion in penalties related to violations.
African Batteries Hit Pay Dirt
Harvard scientists have created a bacteria powered battery that uses bacteria found in African soil. Scientists use bacteria for genetic research, antibiotics, and even biofuels. Recent technology advances have made battery running on bacteria known as Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) possible. At the present time, the amount of energy produced by the bacteria powered battery is enough to run a few LED lights and small electronics. http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/dirt-powered-bacteria-batteries/
The New Speed of Light – 93mph
The “Tokai Challenger” solar car from Japan’s Tokai University won the Golden Green Challenge traveling 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) on October 28. The solar car maintained an average speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62mph). At one point, it reached a speed of 150 kilometers per hour (93mph). The University of Michigan Infinium car which finished third, won the Technical Innovation Award.
Cyber Security Goes Primetime
On Sunday, November 8, the CBS news program “60 Minutes” opened with a cyber security spot. To those involved with IT in government or private, the program was interesting, but not shocking. But for the mainstream audience learning about the gravity and pervasion of cyber crime and espionage, the programming proved both educational and alarming. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/06/60minutes/main5555565.shtml
Penny for Your Thoughts...
Do you have an idea for improving the government’s $528 billion annual acquisition system? GSA joined with two non-profit groups, the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and the National Academy of Public Administration, to launch the Better Buy Project. GSA wants you to share your ideas and plans on BetterBuyProject.com. They might even use some of the suggested plans.
Setting New Presidents
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were the only presidents to sign the Declaration of Independence and they both died on its 50th anniversary – July 4, 1826.
Martin Van Buren (1837-1841) was the eighth president but the first president to be born as a U.S. citizen. All presidents before him were born as British citizens. He was also the first president not of British descent – he had a Dutch ancestry. Van Buren was born in a Kinderhook village, New York. He was also known as “Old Kinderhook” and referred to as “OK” for short. It’s believed that this was the origin of the now commonly used term “OK” or “Okay”.
Are We Speaking the Same Language?
Dallas police win our “What the F” prize for their actions in defense of our language. For three years, the force has been ticketing motorist for failing to speak English. I’d like to make a citizen’s arrest for intolerance.
Net Neutrality Gets a Web Site -- openinternet.gov
The Federal Communications Commission has launched the Web site, openinternet.gov, to solicit comments and engage the public on the topic of net neutrality.
Senate Bills Compel Uncle Sam to Take Own Privacy Medicine
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two companion bills, Personal Data Privacy and Security Act (S. 1490) and the Data Breach Notification Act (S. 139).
One measure prohibits concealment of security breaches involved in fraud and the other would require Federal agencies and businesses to notify American residents whose personal information is accessed when a security breach occurs.
Land of Rising Sun to Tap Beams in Space
Japan’s space agency is bringing sci-fi down to earth. It plans to collect solar power in space and beam it down to earth using lasers or microwaves. Bring on the electric cars…
Interior IT Security Problems Get Exterior Profile
The Department of Interior just received a caning in its FISMA security vulnerability report. In the 46-page report, the IG blamed a decentralized organization structure, lack of oversight, bureau resistance to departmental guidance, fragmented IT governance processes, as well as the use of substantially under-qualified IT security personnel for the agencies FISMA flop. Handing Interior a crush IT security indictment, the IG report notes, “These serious flaws significantly negate the benefit of the $182 million spent on IT security in FY2009 and the efforts of the 677 employees and contractors fully devoted to information security across the department.”
Internet Prozac Pacifies Natives
A report recently published by Steve O’Keeffe’s alma mater, Lancaster University, U.K., shows that the Internet is a pacifier for big kids. The study shows that 75 percent of “digital natives” – aged 16 to 24 – say that they can’t live without Internet. 45 percent of teens assert that they are happier when online. That grey hair tells me that Steve is not in his old school’s sample demo.
A Nod’s as Good as a Wink
Seems you can listen with your eyes. MIT researchers have analyzed non-verbal signals in human interaction. Seems voyeurs can predict the outcome of an interaction with 80 percent accuracy. Now, can you see with your ears?
Berry Big Change at OPM?
OPM director, John Berry asserts that the Federal “hiring system is broke” – and is calling for sweeping change. He suggests overhauling the 60-something General Schedule Federal pay scale.
“Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money” – Jackie Mason
“What difference does it make how much you have? What you don’t have amounts to much more” – Seneca
“I used to have a drug problem, but now I have enough money” – David Lee Roth
“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don’t need it” – Bob Hope
“If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple car payments” – Earl Wilson
“My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income” – Errol Flynn
Sox Fans in the House?
17 members of the House of Representatives voted against a ceremonial bill to honor the Yankees for their 2009 World Series win. What would Yogi Berra say?
People do the Silliest Things...
Last month, state troopers in New York charged a woman with driving while intoxicated when she showed up drunk to pick up her friend from the drunk tank.
TSA reports that since July, it has apprehended 21 people for bringing grenades to the airport – all claimed that they did not know grenades were prohibited items.
Dust Up In the Clouds
Time to pull up a ringside seat in the clouds. As government and industry bite down hard on the cloud vision, we’re all waiting to see which player emerges as the heavyweight champion. IBM for mainframe, Microsoft for PC, Cisco for Internet, Google for search – like Johnson, Louis, Ali, and Frazier. Everybody is in the innovation training camp. Do the comeback kids have much left in the tank, or will a nimble, new upstart clear the ring? The brawls will be exciting. http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14644393
Red Leap Ahead
The China-made super computer is ranked fourth in the list of the world’s fastest computers. According to China’s State Media, this super computer named Milky-Way can perform more than 1 million billion calculations per second. While the Milky-Way uses over 11,000 Intel and AMD microprocessors, the Chinese plan to substitute in new Chinese CPUs – known as God-Son or Loongson – in their next super computer.
According to USGS Water Use Report, the United States uses less water today than it did 35 years ago, despite a 30 percent population increase.
Twenties for Trikes?
And you think Detroit has been through change so far – http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/autopia/2009/10/aptera_drive.jpg? Proposing its own version of Cash for Clunkers, the Senate recently passed a bill that allows manufacturers to apply for DoE loans to make super-efficient three-wheelers. It is now headed to President Obama, and according to Automotive News, the president will sign it into law. Two members of the House of Representatives, Rep. Brian Bilbray (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), are trying to thumb a ride on the Senate bill – drafting legislation to extend the loan to any “fully enclosed vehicle carrying two adults that gets 75 mpg.” Companies can apply for loans under the $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program.
2014 or 1984?
Media Week, a U.K. publication, recently came out with its five-year prediction on the future of the Internet, gaming, social media, mobile, music, television, cinema, press, and media agencies –
http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/features/929105/2014-media-odyssey/. What’s ahead? Outdoor billboards that recognize your face and serve up ads based on your purchasing preferences. Alarm clocks that wake you based on traffic patterns to ease your commute. Didn’t Orwell already sound this alarm?
CIA on Facebook – Open Source Intelligence
There are now more than 200 non-U.S., non-English, microblogging tweeter-clone sites. The intelligence community wants to cock an ear to the conversation. So, In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is investing in Visible Technology – a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media.
They’re Not Famous for Their Brains
“And now the sequence of events in no particular order.” - Dan Rather, TV news anchor
“I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father.” - Greg Norman, golfer
“If we don’t succeed, we run a risk of failure.” - Dan Quayle, former vice president
“So, where is the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?” - Christina Aguilera, singer
“The word ‘genius’ isn’t applicable in football. A genius is a guy like NORMAN Einstein.” - Joe Theismann, QB and sports analyst
“Outside the killing, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.” - Marion Barry, mayor, Washington, D.C.
“Smoking kills, if you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” - Brook Shields, actress, preparing for an anti-smoking campaign
Happy 11th Birthday, Google
September 27, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin with a $100,000 check from Andy Bechtolsheim (co-founder of SUN Microsystems) started Google in Susan Wojcicki’s garage. Susan is Sergey’s sister-in-law and current VP at Google.
Cyber Control: White House or DHS?
There is ongoing and heated debate over who should be in charge of Federal cybersecurity policy, a yet-to-be named CZAR in the White House, a Defense/Intelligence agency, or Department of Homeland Security that now has jurisdiction over many of the important civilian and private sector functions. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is preparing cybersecurity legislation that would give DHS and not the White House primary authority to protect Federal civilian and private computer networks from attacks. http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090925_9014.php?oref=topnews
Ant Tactics as Model for Cybersecurity
Ant use “swarming intelligence” to deter intruders, when one ant detects a threat, he is soon joined by many others to overwhelm their opponent. Now the strategy is being incorporated into security software at Wake Forest University. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6236631/Cyber-security-experts-learn-from-ant-tactics.html
Politically Motivated Hackers
Chinese hacktivists (politically motivated hackers) have launched a targeted malware attack against foreign news correspondents, attempting to trick them into executing a malware-embedded PDF attachment coming from a non-existent editor working for the Straits Times. China is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the PRC.
Cybersecurity Experts Agree to Share Attack Forensics
Cybersecurity experts will soon be able to exchange information on network attack forensics and vulnerabilities using a standard vocabulary and message exchange system. An International Telecommunications Union (ITU) security standard group agreed on a cybersecurity information exchange framework based on standards from government agencies and industry. The ITU and the Forum for Incident Response and Security Team (FIRST) will also start work together to produce the first worldwide web-based directory of cybersecurity organizations and centers.
USA.gov in the Cloud
The transition of the Federal Web portal USA.gov to the cloud, where a vendor maintains the infrastructure and applications, has been successful enough that the General Services Administration is considering the same approach for sites such as Data.gov
ARMY Keeps Soldiers from Using New IT
An article in the National Defense magazine states that the Army is taking a painfully slow approach in letting its soldiers use new networking technology on the battlefield. The Army’s “Land Warrior” Systems connects a small group of soldiers into a command-and-control network and shows the location of each soldier on digital eyepieces that the troops can use without voice communication. As currently designed and regulated, Land Warrior can only be used by soldiers who have a secret clearance. BG. Peter N. Fuller, the Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier, said it is not practical for every soldier and marine to have a security clearance to tap into databases they use in day-to-day operations. He says that the restrictions are “killing us” because they impede Army efforts to deploy wireless systems, and much more.
Senator Seeks Proof of Jobs from H-1B Visa Applicants
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking immigration officials to toughen their demands for evidence from companies hiring visa workers. Senator Grassley writes, “Employers need to be held accountable so that foreign workers are not flooding the market, depressing wages, and taking jobs from qualified Americans.”
MIT Tracks the Path of Garbage
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SENSEable city lab are curious about the pattern and cost of urban waste disposal. They placed tags on 3,000 pieces of trash in New York, Seattle, and London. The preliminary result showed the movement of the tagged trash which was illustrated on visual paths superimposed on satellite images of the cities – they found out that trash travels a lot farther than one might think.
DHS Hires 1,000 Cybersecurity Experts
Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, kicked off National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by announcing that the department has new authority to hire 1,000 cybersecurity professionals over the next three years.
ICANN Declares Independence, Breaks Ties with U.S. Government
The keeper of domain names and IP address has gone global. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the U.S. Department of Commerce said the agency will no longer have ties to the U.S. government and will remain a private not-for-profit organization. It is expected that ICANN will expand beyond “.com, .gov and .org” and big companies will pay large amounts of money for custom domain names. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092600128.html?sub=AR
“Let it Rise”
In an article titled “Let it Rise” about cloud computing in Economist.com, they write,
“In the beginning computers were human then they took the shape of metal boxes, filling rooms before becoming ever smaller and more widespread. Now they are evaporating altogether and becoming accessible from anywhere.”
Cloud Definitions and Cloud Formations
There are many different definitions given for cloud computing. I won’t try to find a new one; instead I’d like to show you some beautiful and rare cloud formations:
Word from the Wise
Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. -- Mark Twain
A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. -- Robert Frost
An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have, the older she gets the more interested he is in her. -- Agatha Christie
DoD Rethinks Buying Versus Building Software
In the past, Federal agencies have embraced the idea of using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software whenever possible. DoD is launching a number of initiatives that might indicate that the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction. As an example, DISA has released, as open source, a suite of applications built in-house, many of which had no commercial equivalents – known as Open Source Corporate Management System (OSCMIS). The agency is releasing these apps in hopes that other agencies will reuse and modify them.
“The Architecture of the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure, Based Largely on Internet is Neither Secure nor Resilient”
The Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, unveiled overarching strategy for the Nation’s intelligence agencies – which for the first time, lists cybersecurity and counterintelligence as top mission priorities. The mission objective for cybersecurity is to “understand, detect, and counter adversary cyber threats to enhance protection of the Nation’s information infrastructure.”
Congress Considers Building a Bailout Database
Congress is considering a bill that would build a massive database to track bailout funds. The database will collect information from all Federal agencies that administer various aspects of the $700 billion in the Federal Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) who introduced the legislation (H.R.1242) said the TARP data isn’t useable, “You have to go to 25 different agencies to put it together.” The TARP legislation previously drew interest from the IT industry because of an amendment that set restrictions on H-1B visa use by banks receiving bailout money.
Trade Groups Outline Cybersecurity Bill Concerns
The Business Software Alliance and Tech America, representing more than 1,000 firms, joined the Center for Democracy and Technology in urging Senator Rockefeller’s staff to alter language that would give the National Institute of Standards and Technology a major role in how IT systems are designed.
Technology Issues On Back Burner
With a huge fight over health-care reform unresolved, many observers of technology-related legislation before the U.S. Congress have low expectations that major bills like net neutrality, cybersecurity mandate, and patent litigation reform will be passed in the remainder of 2009.
FREE, Federal Government’s Gift to Teachers
Thirty Federal agencies got together and created a Web site called Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, or FREE. FREE is an effort to give teachers in America a place to go to find resources that previously were not accessible. Teachers can search this site in number of different ways such as grade level and subject matter.
Pay Online or Pay for Being Billed
T-Mobile started by offering to plant a tree for every customer who signed up for paperless billing. When the one green appeal failed, they tried a more direct green approach. T-Mobile is now charging a $1.50 monthly fee for all accounts that continue to receive a paper bill.
Technology Helps OPM to Reduce Processing Time on Security Clearance Cases
OPM Director, John Berry, indicated before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee that OPM got the help it needed from a more centralized computer database of cases and methods of automatically deciding cases without red flags. Berry vowed that OPM would continue to work on the clearance issue until it was removed from GAO’s high risk list of IT problems. In 2007, initial investigation took an average of 115 days in 90% of the cases; by the end of second quarter of 2009 the average time was 42 days.
NBA Player Pays $111,000 for a Stolen Domain Name
A New Jersey hacker has been arrested after he broke into a site owner’s account, transferred the domain name ownership to himself, and then sold it on eBay to an NBA player. The domain name P2P.com was sold in 2006 for $111,000 to a Los Angeles Clippers player.
Worst Threats Come From Within
An analyst at a Defense Department spy satellite agency is facing Federal hacking charges for allegedly surfing through a top-secret system used in a classified terrorism investigation involving the FBI and U.S. Army.
Electronic Databases: What’s New with Privacy Concerns
A University of Colorado professor suggests the privacy laws governing electronic databases are insufficient, creating conditions where sensitive information is discoverable. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=2350&tag=nl.e036
Thomas Edison was a judge at the first “Miss America” beauty contest in 1880.
We use “sincere” to mean without deception. The origin of this word comes from ancient Rome. Quarryman in ancient Rome sometimes rubbed wax on their marble blacks to conceal cracks and flaws. The Roman Senate passed a law that all marble purchased by the government must be “since cera” or without wax. From this root comes “sincere.”
“I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
The first novel to be written on a typewriter was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.
The term “whole nine yards” comes from WWII fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet. Before being loaded into fuselage, if the pilot fired all their ammo at the target, it got “the whole nine yards.”
The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
It rains more in Rome than it does in London.
Happy 50th Birthday COBOL
September 18 was Common Business Oriented Language’s (COBAL) 50th birthday. COBAL was designed by RDML Grace Hopper who served in the U.S. Navy and rose to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). She wrote the first compiler, the “A Compiler.” COBAL is still being used. There is U.S. Navy destroyer named after her.
Trade Group Concerned About In-Sourcing Mandate
The Professional Services Council is concerned that the Defense Department is haphazardly shifting work from contractors to Federal officials without careful analysis on who can provide the best value for taxpayers.
U.S. Lawmakers Question ICANN gTLD Plan
Several U.S. Lawmakers urged the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to back off on a plan to offer an unlimited number of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) until concern about trademark protections and other issues can be addressed. http://idgconnect.com/index.cfm?event=showarticle&cid=116&pk=11440
House Panel Approves Cybersecurity R&D Bill
A U.S. House Subcommittee on September 23 approved legislation requiring Federal agencies to develop, update, and implement strategic plans for cybersecurity R&D. The Cybersecurity R&D Amendment Act of 2009 calls for agency’s cybersecurity role and the level of funding required to fulfill the research objectives. NSF will be required to support research on the social and behavioral aspects of cybersecurity.
IG Blasts Management of Energy’s Classified Information Network
The National Nuclear Security Administration took nine years and spent $150 million to develop a project to improve cybersecurity. On September 21, the Energy Department Inspector General said it failed.
IRS Kills “My IRS Account” Project
The Internal Revenue Service had a good idea for a project called “MY IRS Account” to provide online access to tax records and to help taxpayers with tax preparation. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that the IRS spent $10 million to develop the project – only to kill it near the completion date because it was never properly planned.
Making Money the TOYOTA Way
The automaker is asking the state of California for $2 million in taxpayer reimbursement for recent training of TOYOTA autoworkers in their plant that is planned to close in 2010. “We made them more skilled workers,” TOYOTA says. “There is not another automaker in California equipped to use those skills when the plant closes.”
PC Industry on Brink of Recovery
“The PC industry is set to come out of the most damaging recession in decades. Chip shipments are stabilizing as PC shipments start to rise. The recovery has already started and the best is yet to come,” said Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO. “The PC industry has been more resilient than expected, and the trend should continue going ahead.”
Some Amazing Pictures from NASA
Here on earth:
And up there:
How would you like to have a street address like this:
This Ain’t It Road – Alexander City, Alabama
Where O Where Drive – Nantucket, Massachusetts
Skunks Misery Road – Oyster Bay, New York
Oh My God Road – Central City, Colorado
Psycho Path Road – Traverse City, Michigan
Bimbo Drive – Fayetteville, North Carolina
Man on a Horse
If a statue in a park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
39th and 40th States
No one knows which state was the 39th to be admitted into the Union. North and South Dakota were admitted the same day. President Harrison never revealed which of the two proclamations he signed first.
Comprehensive Cybersecurity Legislation Expected Before Year End
The key Senate committee is consolidating cybersecurity legislation and working with the other committees of jurisdiction. Secret Service testifies that no new laws are needed…
Federal CIO on Federal CIOs
Vivek Kundra, “For too long, Federal CIOs have been focused on network and architecture almost as technology for technology sake, and not for the sake of real outcomes.”
DHS to Review Report On Vulnerability In West Coast Power Grid
A report by research scientists in China shows how a well-placed attack against a small power subnetwork could trigger a cascading failure of the entire West Coast power grid.
Jian-Wei Wang, a network analyst at China’s Dalian University of Technology, used publicly available information to model how the U.S. West Coast power grid and its component sub networks are connected. Wang’s report, which was completed last November and has been available online since March, has been largely overlooked until it was published in the New-Scientist in the last two weeks.
A new security paradigm is needed to protect critical U.S. energy infrastructure from Cyber Warfare in absence of improvements – the threat of a devastating attack looms. It might be useful to look back at other grim prophecies that, had they been heeded, could have prevented catastrophes.
The Award That Puts the Winner on Wall of Shame
Albert Einstein once defined “insanity” as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The Cyber Secure Institute is launching the institute’s Albert Einstein Award. The award will be given to the company or entity that best personifies Einstein’s definition in its approach to cybersecurity.
Hathaway: Fed Starting to Get Cybersecurity
“The threat is outpacing our defenses. It is growing at the volume and velocity never imagined before.”
Something About U.S. Presidents
Abraham Lincoln was the only President ever granted a patent. He invented a hydraulic device for lifting ships over shoals.
Gerald Ford was the only President not to have been elected to either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency.
James Buchanan was the only President never to be married.
Grover Cleveland was the only President to win non-consecutive terms to the White House.
Thomas Jefferson was the first losing candidate in a U.S. presidential election. He lost to John Adams.
Bill Clinton will be the last President to receive lifelong protection from Secret Service.
New York Times Was Tricked Into Serving Scareware Ad.
Scammers tricked The New York Time’s Digital Advertising Department into placing a malicious ad for fake antivirus software on the NYTimes.com Web site over the weekend. The point of the scam was to sell worried computer users a product called “Personal Anti Virus,” a fake “scareware” product that bombards victims with pop ups.
The Name You Can’t Pronounce
If you live in Webster, Massachusetts, you will be living close to this lake:
Don’t try to pronounce it, just call it Webster Lake.
Yahoo CEO, “Do You Think I’m Stupid?”
Yahoo CEO, Carol Bartz, was asked on CNBC whether she would have accepted Microsoft’s more than $40 billion offer to buy Yahoo last year. She replied, “Sure, do you think I’m stupid?” Former Yahoo CEO, Jerry Yang, who rejected the offer, is still a Yahoo board member. The next board meeting should be an interesting one.
Some Kind of Record
A single UPS delivery truck driver is a champion of Denver parking violations, racking up 196 tickets worth $5,700 last year. A UPS spokesperson says it is a cost of doing business in some cities.
Federal agencies on September 8 began requiring contractors to use an electronic system to verify whether their employees are eligible to work in the U.S. About 169,000 Federal contractors and subcontractors, who employ 3.8 million workers, have 30 days to enroll in the E-Verify system.
Trade Secret Theft
DuPont is working on a thin-computer display technology called “Organic Light Emitting Diode” (OLED). A senior research scientist at the company is accused of stealing data to share with his alma mater, Peking University, in Beijing. DuPont has filed a lawsuit in Delaware.
DISA to Rely On Existing Contracts
The agency procurement team is building a strategy based on avoiding creation of new awards.
Using Cyber Citizens to Hunt Down Hackers
Symantec will ask customers to opt into a program that will collect data about attempted computer intrusions and then forward the information to authorities. Symantec will also begin posting the FBI’s top 10 hackers and their schemes on its Web site.
Tracking the Performance of Federal Contractors
The government is developing a comprehensive database that will track the performance of Federal contractors. The Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information Systems, will be maintained by GSA and it will integrate a number of existing databases with new information provided by contracting officers and other officials.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (September 17)
This is to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787.
Government is Hiring
The new report by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization, estimates that the Federal government will hire 11,549 information technology workers over the next three years for positions that agencies have labeled as mission critical. Hiring starts on October 1, 2009 and will continue through September 30, 2012.
Department of Defense (excluding the individual services): 1,408 new hires, Army: 1,874, Navy: 1,820, DHS: 1,025, Treasury: 987, Air Force: 716 , HHS: 680, DOT: 611 and DOJ: 428. These numbers do not include data from intelligence agencies.
FCC’s Social Networking
Federal Communication Commission announced that it is creating its social networking site. The site is to be called “reboot.fcc.gov.”
DoD Launches Weekly New Podcast
Department of Defense officials have launched “AFPS News,” a weekly audio podcast of stories from American Forces Press Service.
Neurosystems for National Security is a new research and development program at the Mind Research Network (MRN). The goal of this program is to combine neuroscience and systems engineering (Neurosystems Engineering) to provide people-dependent solutions for critical national security problems.
Twin NASA Commanders
Mark and Scott Kelly are twins. Mark is the commander of Space Shuttle mission STS-134, set to launch in late 2010. Scott is the commander of Station Expedition 26, also set to fly in late 2010. If schedule holds, the two may meet in space during their respective commands. The brothers are native of West Orange, N.J. and both are Navy Captains.
To follow Kelly twins, visit their Twitter accounts. For Mark – Twitter.com/shuttlecdrkelly, and for Scott – Twitter.com/stationcdrkelly.
VISA Credit Card for $2
In the black market of the cyber-world, credit cards are cheap. The highest prices belonged to German credit cards at $6 a piece and U.S. VISA at just $2.
Pfizer to Pay $2.3 Billion for Fraudulent Marketing
American pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Inc., and its subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc., have agreed to pay $2.3 billion – the highest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the Justice Department to resolve criminal and civil liabilities arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products (off-label drug marketing).
The suit springs from a series of whistleblower suits filed under The False Claim Act. The six whistleblowers will receive payments totaling $201 million from the Federal share of the civil recovery.
Don’t Worry Be Happy, No Don’t Be Too Happy (Someone Is Going To Drug You)
If you are too happy all the time and you don’t like it, the FDA has just approved a new drug called “Despondex,” which is expected to take care of annoying happiness.
Debate Time is Fun Time in Connecticut House of Representatives
AP-photographer caught two members of the Connecticut House of Representatives playing Solitaire side by side on their computers while another member was delivering a speech on the House floor.
Mobile Cloud to Mushroom
According to researchers in the UK, the number of mobile cloud computing subscribers worldwide will grow rapidly over the next five years, from 42.8 million subscribers in 2008 (1.1% of all mobile subscribers) to over 998 million in 2014 (19%).
Mobile cloud applications move the computing power and data storage away from mobile phone and mobile computing to not just Smartphone users but a much broader range of mobile subscribers.
Are You Old Enough To Remember These Malwares?
Friday13 (Jerusalem) 1988, Barrotes 1993, Cascade (falling letters) 1997, CIH (Chernobyl) 1998, Melissa 1999, I Love You (love letters) 2000, KLEZ 2001, Nimda 2001, SQL Slammer 2003, Blaster 2003, Sobig 2003, Bagle 2004, and this one you know – Conficker 2008.
Cyber Crime is Easy Compared to Physical Crime
For years, Mexican criminals have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars in gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Mexican National Oil Company, Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). The thieves steal fuel from tanker trucks, underground tanks, and even by stealing trucks themselves.
A recent investigation has revealed that several people and companies in the U.S. are linked to the smuggling of these products into the U.S. The U.S. government has started cracking down on refineries, and the people involved, that knowingly purchase stolen petroleum products.
Oranges and Apples Are Getting Tattoos
Those small and sometimes inconvenient sticky labels on produce may eventually be replaced by laser “tattoos.” Technology is now being tested by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of Florida scientists. The technology is called “laser etching.”
Tags: Data Center Management, Desktops, Laptops, Printers, Enterprise Applications, Green IT, Networking, Security, Web 2.0
A Logic Named Joe – The Internet at 63
However, some 23 years earlier, in March of 1946, a writer by the name of Murray Leinster (the pseudo name of Will F. Jenkins) published a science fiction short story, “A Logic Named Joe.” In this story, a “Logic” repairman foreshadows the idea of a personal computer, the internet, and information sharing. Take the exact same story and change the words “Logic” to computer, “Central Tank” to Google and “Vision Screen” to monitor, and it stops being fiction. Happy 63rd.
Here is the Central Tank link.
From NIST August 2009 Report “Effectively and Securely Using the Cloud Computing Paradigm”
- There are 11.8 million servers in data centers
- Yearly, $800 billion is spent on purchasing and maintaining enterprise software
- Eighty percent of enterprise software expenditure is on installation and maintenance of software
- Data Centers typically consume up to 100 times more energy per square foot than a typical office building
- Data Centers consume 1.5 percent of our nation’s electricity
- IT produces 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions
- Green technologies can reduce energy cost by 50 percent
The Marine Corps banned accessing social networks from its network. Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, goes on to tweet:
“Obviously we need to find the right balance between security and transparency.
We are working on that. But am I still going to tweet? You bet.”
Why Campaign When You Can Just Hack an Election?
University researchers recently bought a Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machine from a government auction site and then used a new hacking technique called “Return-Oriented Programming Attack” to circumvent its security.
Do As We Say
The Energy Department, telling us how to save energy, failed its own energy audit earlier this year.
River On Fire
One of the more visibly memorable events of the early environmental movement was the 13th and final CUYAHOGA river fire in 1969. Some cite the fire as the event that prompted President Nixon to sign the Clean Water Act into law and create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Freemium (Free To Premium)
Most, if not all, print publications are looking at platforms that charge readers for the content. There are different models considered and some already in place.
Charging readers on an article-by-article, subscription, and “frequency model” was introduced by the Financial Times of London, in which they give access to a limited number of articles on the Web before asking users to pay a premium.
Put this on your calendar: Before the end of 2010, every major newspaper will be charging readers on the Web.
Yard Sale – Police Are Buying
A burglar in Florida, who made off with a man’s valuables, returned to the home later and snatched a 100-pound plasma screen television.
Police had left the TV in the backyard so they could dust for fingerprints.
Police paid the man for his TV.
Biological Cells as Cloud Computing Networks
Researchers identify parallels between biological cells and computer networks. Gene regulatory networks in cell nuclei are similar to Cloud Computing networks, such as Google and Yahoo.
Conversation You Don’t Want To Be A Part Of…
How would you like to be in a party and someone starts using these words, zenzizenzizenzic, eccedentesiast, or gambrionous?
These words, in order listed, mean a number to the 8th power, one who fakes a smile -- as on television, and being full of beer. Warning: If you use these at a cocktail party be sure to spit them out before the second drink.
Cyber Security Oversight
The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has approved a bill that would require the president to notify Congress about existing and new Cyber Security programs that involve Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
No more P2P for Government and Government Contractors, House Chairman Says
Details of presidential motorcade routes and the safe house for the first family, along with sensitive
but unclassified documents listing details on every nuclear facility in the country were leaked via a LimeWire file-sharing network recently.
As a result, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for a ban on the use of Peer-To-Peer (P2P) software on all government and contractor computers as well as networks.
E-Gov Back on the Agenda?
The House and Senate Appropriation Committee allocated more funding for the e-government
fund in fiscal 2010 ($33 million and $35 million) than in the previous seven years.
Cost of Airport Makeover, $100,000 Per Resident
Quzinkie, Alaska, a village of 150 people, has no traffic lights, stores, or gas stations, but received $15 million in Federal stimulus funds for an airport makeover.
Go Ahead and Google “Massive Loss”
If you have lost money on your investment, then you are in good company. On July 27, Time Warner announced it bought back Google’s 5 percent stake in AOL for $283 million. In 2005, Google paid $1 billion for that 5 percent stake in AOL. Looks like no G.I Joe with the Kung Fu grip this Christmas.
GSA to Manage $5 Billion in Satellite Services
GSA will manage the purchase of $5 billion worth of commercial satellite services during the next 10 years for all Federal agencies, including Department of Defense.
Heath, Ohio – population 8,527 – has issued 10,000 traffic tickets in a four-week period. This makes Heath the most expensive place in America for drivers.
Virus called CLAMPI
The virus called “CLAMPI” infected 500,000 computers since March 2009 and it’s spreading fast. CLAMPI is a Trojan horse that connects to a remote computer and downloads other malware.
DHS is Cutting Coupons
The Department of Homeland Security says it will save $89 million in software licensing fees by renegotiating contracts with Microsoft and Oracle. Other government agencies will most likely follow its lead.
The Village Full of Twins
Kodinji village in India is home to 230 sets of twins, and currently, five women are pregnant with twins. The local doctor suspects it might be due to the water.
NASA an IT Service Provider
NASA and the Obama administration’s top technology officer are considering a NASA Cloud Computing prototype to test the president’s plan for agencies to outsource information technology services and shared platform. Officials from NASA and the OMB have “broached the idea of NASA becoming an IT service provider,” said Mike Hecker, NASA’s associate chief information officer for architecture and infrastructure. But, “NASA as an IT service provider takes into a new realm. We’re still debating if that’s a good idea or not.”
NASA is developing a cloud computing model, called NEBULA, to support some of its projects.
Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, is examining many alternatives for innovation in the cloud – including using NEBULA as a centralized platform to service multiple agencies.
The government of Nepal has come up with a great solution to stop airport officials from lining their pockets with bribes – remove them. Not the guys taking bribe, their pants pockets. The Nepalese high officials will issue pocketless pants to personnel working at the Kathmandu airport.
GSA’s RFQ for Cloud Computing
GSA’s RFQ for cloud storage, Web hosting, and virtual machine services is a step toward an online “storefront” to be used by Federal agencies. The RFQ sets rules for being a cloud service provider to the U.S. government, among them the ownership of data and applications hosted online.
Cyber Crime More Lucrative Than Drugs
“Last year the FBI announced that revenues from cyber crime, for the first time ever, exceeded drug trafficking as the most lucrative illegal business, estimated at reaping more than $1 trillion annually in illicit profits.”
She Wants Her Money Back
A New York City woman filed a lawsuit against the college from which she graduated. The reason? She can’t find a job. She wants her $70,000 tuition back.