Friday, November 30, 2012

Common Birthdays Visualized

Great graphic from Dustin … How Frequent is Your Birthday?:

Very nice heat chart. I wonder what would happen if you filtered by geography? An awful lot of people I knew in northern NY were born 9 months after the cold dark winter.

More colorful Tableau version:


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Securing Your Printers?

Yes, even your printer can be exploited!

From Lucian Constantin … Samsung printers contain hardcoded backdoor account, US-CERT warns:

Printers manufactured by Samsung have a backdoor administrator account hard coded in their firmware that could enable attackers to change their configuration, read their network information or stored credentials and access sensitive information passed to them by users.

The hardcoded account does not require authentication and can be accessed over the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) interface of the affected printers, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) said in a security advisory.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Need Job Skills? Community College!

Joanne Jacobs … After university, community college:

Unemployed college graduates are heading to community colleges for associate degrees in nursing, medical technology, information technology and other high-demand fields.

Autodesk FormIt for iPad

Autodesk has been pushing out a bunch of amazingly powerful free iPad apps. Formit (see screenshots below) is just the latest. Imagine an architecture student or architect exploring their creativity anywhere, anytime.

As the saying goes … not your father's CADD!





Autodesk FormIt for iPad on the iTunes App Store:

Autodesk® FormIt mobile app helps you capture building design concepts digitally anytime, anywhere ideas strike. Use real-world site information to help create forms in context and support early design decisions with real building data. Experience a continuous Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow by synchronizing designs in the cloud for further refinement using Autodesk® Revit® software products and other applications.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tablets and HTML5

Nice rundown by Michael Mulany ... Microsoft Surface vs. the iPad gen 4: The HTML5 Scorecard:

This week, we've been putting both the iPad gen 4 and the Microsoft Surface tablet through their paces to see how they stack up as HTML5 platforms. HTML5 is the next generation of web technologies that is increasingly being adopted to develop applications that can be written once and run on multiple operating systems, browsers and devices. Having comprehensive, high performance HTML5 support is now a "must-have" feature for new mobile devices. For end users, both these devices should deliver solid user experiences from well-designed HTML5 apps.

In our testing, we're happy to say that both tablets are solid HTML5 platforms. The Microsoft Surface comes with Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 while the iPad comes with Mobile Safari and iOS 6. Internet Explorer 10 on the Surface has a broad, well implemented HTML5 feature set that mostly meets and occasionally exceeds Mobile Safari's. On the performance front, the iPad 4 leads in JavaScript, interaction and Canvas performance: the Surface has a faster vector graphics (SVG) implementation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

OSX Running on a Macintosh Portable

Patrick Blampied has a Macintosh portable running OSX:

I took plenty of photos along the way which I’m going to turn into a post a week for the next few weeks. I’ll be covering the main hardware, mounting the screen, optical mouse conversion and the remapping/rewiring of the keyboard – which ended up being fairly involved.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mobile Devices Driving E-Commerce

Especially for the holidays!

From Leena Rao … Black Friday Online Sales Surged 21 Percent Thanks To Mobile Shopping, More Retailer Promotions And Personalized Deals:

After a particularly strong Thanksgiving for online sales, shoppers continued to look for e-commerce deals on Black Friday. IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark is reporting the final tally for Black Friday online sales: a surge of 20.7 percent growth in spending from last year. The biggest surge on Friday came from mobile consumers, with sales reaching 16.3 percent, led by the iPad.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Linux, Secure Boot, UEFI and Windows 8 PCs

Seems like Microsoft is doing everything they can to "discourage" users from installing alternative OSs on Windows 8 PCs.

From Jon Fingas … Linux Foundation vet explains setbacks in getting a Secure Boot key for Windows 8 PCs:

Linux fans wondering why they still don't have a friendly UEFI Secure Boot option for Windows 8 PCs won't get a solution in hand this week, but they'll at least get an explanation. The Linux Foundation's primary backer for the alternative OS efforts, Parallels' server CTO James Bottomley, has revealed that Microsoft's requirements for signed, Secure Boot-ready code are tough if developers aren't entirely onboard its train of thought. The Redmond crew demands a paper contract signature (remember those?), agreements on work beyond the relevant software and a packaging process that complicates attempts to use open-source tools. Bottomley has already overcome most of these challenges, although he's still waiting for a Linux Foundation-specific key that should theoretically clear a major hurdle. Whether or not that leads to a remedy in days or weeks is up to Microsoft; in the meantime, we'll take comfort in knowing that a signature is so far a convenience for booting into Linux, rather than a necessity.

Friday, November 23, 2012

61-Year Old Digital Computer Restored and Rebooted

Amazing! From David Pescovitz … 1951 digital computer restored and rebooted:

Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computation (WITCH), a 61-year-old machine that was rebooted yesterday to become "the world's oldest original working digital computer." Originally operated at the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, it was moved in 1957 to Wolverhampton's Staffordshire Technical College where it was dubbed the WITCH. There it stayed until retirement in 1973 when it became a museum display before dismantling for storage. In 2008, the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park began to restore the valve-laden beast.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving - From a Mathematician

We conclude our Vi Hart Thanksgiving with a turducken binary tree. Amazing stuff! Maybe next year ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

15 Current Technologies A Child Born Today Will Never Use

Good list! I think some of them are already out if not on their way out - can't remember the last time I used a landline phone or a fax machine. 15 Current Technologies A Child Born Today Will Never Use:

1. Wired Home Internet

2. Dedicated Cameras and Camcorders

3. Landline Phones

4. Slow-Booting Computers

5. Windowed Operating Systems

6. Hard Drives

7. Movie Theaters

8. The Mouse

9. 3D Glasses

10. Remote Controls

11. Desktops

12. Phone Numbers

13. Prime-time Television

14. Fax Machines

15. Optical Discs

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apple TV Imminent?

From Jay Yarow … Apple TV Is 'Imminent' Says Jefferies (AAPL):

Apple's entry into the TV market is "imminent," says Jefferies analyst James Kisner.

Kisner talks about Apple TV in a note about Arris, a cable tech company.

"Our discussions with industry contacts suggest that at least one major N. American MSO is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network. We believe this potentially suggests an imminent launch of the Apple TV," says Kisner.

What's interesting about this wording is that it suggests Apple is going to be doing something over broadband, as opposed to normal cable.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mathed Potatoes

A recipe for for an optimal Thanksgiving from Vi Hart ...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

WiFox - A New Protocol to Boost WiFi Performance

By a whopping 700%! From Matt Brian … The end of slow public WiFi? Researchers develop new protocol that boosts WiFi performance by 700%:

Conferences, airports, cafes – they might offer free WiFi to visitors, but they are often sluggish in their operation because everyone else is hogging the connection.

This issue might become a thing of the past, after a team of engineers at NC State University (NCSU) announced the development of WiFox (via ExtremeTech), a new software protocol that could theoretically be added to existing Internet routers and is capable of boosting WiFi performance by 700 percent.

Traditionally, routers offer a single channel of data to users. When the access point receives an increased number of data requests, it becomes harder for it to send back the data it has requested. The access point could be programmed to give all pieces of data a high priority to clear its backlog, but then users have issues submitting new requests.

Data backs up, and the router has issues dishing out the necessary information to users. You may have experienced this when you turn up early to a conference, enjoy the public WiFi connection, and then get kicked off when the venue starts to fill up and you have to share it with everyone else.

NCSU engineers position WiFox as the software equivalent of a traffic policeman, ensuring that the data traffic moves smoothly in both directions. WiFox works by monitoring the traffic on a WiFi channel, intelligently detecting load issues and granting access to priority data when it detects a backlog of information passing backwards and forwards.

The team says that when they tested the software on a router in their labs capable of handling 45 users, it saw improvements of between 400 and 700 percent when it reached the maximum number of users.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Google Fiber in Kansas City

700 up - 600 down … wow! Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, real-world speeds at 700 Mbps:

Mike Demarais posted this to Twitter during the first few minutes that Google Fiber went live in his Kansas City home.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eight Emerging IT Certifications For 2013

From Kerry Doyle … Eight Emerging IT Certifications For 2013:

1. Big Data - (Certified Developer for Apache Hadoop) 

2. Wireless Networking - (Certified Wireless Network Administrator) 

3. Cloud - (VMware VCP-Cloud Certification) 

4. Access Governance - (Novell Identity Manager Administration) 

5. CyberSecurity - (Certified Information Security Manager, CISM) 

6. Mobile App Development - (Secure Mobile Application Developer) 

7. Green IT - (CompTIA Green IT Certification) 

8. Data Analytics - (EMCDSA, EMC Data Science Associate)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Old-school Printing – from a Surface RT

From Ron … Old-school Okidata dot-matrix printer used for printing on Surface RT (video):

Microsoft has touted the Surface RT tablet to be excellent when it comes to USB connectivity and this video proves it. Ever thought you would see an old school Okidata dot-matrix printer (with parallel port connectivity!) again? In this video, we see this ancient printer connected to a Surface RT using a "Belkin USB to Parallel" cable and the printing works great! Check it out.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Deploying a 3D Printer in Battle

Interesting idea – just-in-time-printing … US army builds its own 3D printer:

By putting 3D printers behind the front line it hopes to be able to produce spares more cheaply and quickly than it can get them from manufacturers.

The army embarked on the project to produce its own printer as commercial devices were too expensive.

Early versions of the printer cost $695 (£436) compared to $3,000 (£1,880) for a commercial model.

The 3D printer has been developed by the Future Warfare centre at the US Army's Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) in Alabama.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Training Future Neurosurgeons with an iPad App

From David Needle … NewImage

Free iPad App Helps Train Future Neurosurgeons:

The neurosurgeons of tomorrow can hone some of the necessary skills on the iPad, thanks to a new training app called VCath.

Developed by Bangor University in the U.K, the free iPad app helps neurosurgeons-in-training master an appreciation of the ventricular system in the brain.

The VCath app is designed to take a neurosurgical trainee through the steps of positioning and inserting a catheter into the brain of a virtual 3D patient. These steps are part of a procedure called “Ventricular Catheterisation,” which is used to drain fluid that has become obstructed within the ventricles of the brain.

Inserting a catheter at the correct orientation and depth so that it punctures the ventricles is critical to a successful outcome for the patient, notes VCath’s developer. It requires the neurosurgeon to have an excellent 3D awareness as the anatomy involved is not visible during the procedure.

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Hand Turbine Generator for Your Phones

I think this will be a popular holiday gift!

Eton Boost Turbine

Keep your electronics going through the next power outage with the Eton Boost Turbine ($60). This portable power pack features a 2000 mAH lithium-ion battery pack, a durable aluminum body, an LED charge indicator, a Micro-USB DC input for use with standard phone chargers, and your choice of one of four exterior colors. The big deal, however, is the built-in hand turbine power generator, which lets you juice up the battery, no electricity required.

Via daringfireball

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 08, 2012

At Home for Another Snowstorm

Tough to get motivated after so many days off.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

On the iPad Mini

Rocky Agrawal on Why I’m returning my iPad mini – surprise ending below

After less than a week, I’m ready to return my iPad mini.

I already have five tablets in my single-person household, including all three previous generations of iPads and a Google Nexus 7. I thought the mini would fill a small niche in my tablet needs, such as controlling my TiVo or Sonos system. So I bought the low-end 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini. I was wrong.

I like it so much that I’m going to return it and get a 32GB 4G iPad mini. I expect it will become my primary tablet. I’ve had various tablets since the Newton MessagePad 110. I’ve spent a lot of time with iPads, the Nexus 7, and Kindle Fire. iPad mini is easily the best tablet ever.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Punctuation Mark Decoder

11/07/12 PHD comic: 'Punctuation mark decoder':

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Punctuation mark decoder" - originally published 11/7/2012

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

(Via PHD Comics)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Using Social Media to Grow Your Brand

Interesting social media experiment shared by Steven Sande … Readdle to give away Printer Pro for iPhone ... if you like them on Facebook:

Our friends at Readdle, the development house that makes such great apps as PDF Expert, Scanner Pro, and Remarks, have an interesting proposition for iPhone users who have a Facebook account. In order to increase the number of people following Readdle on Facebook, it's willing to give away its Printer Pro for iPhone app -- usually US$4.99 -- via a Readdle Social Challenge.

Here's the challenge -- you need to help Readdle get to 10,000 "Likes" on Facebook within 7 days, and then they'll give away Printer Pro for iPhone for a 24 hour period. The Social Challenge is already underway, and there's a countdown clock spinning away the days, hours, and minutes until it's all over.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

My Wife Asked How to ...

Some interesting tidbits ...Wiring a Generator to Your House

We're going on day 5 without utility power at my house in Pennington, New Jersey. Thanks to Wattvision, we know our home's exact load profile, so we were able to match our generator to our needs, saving tens-of-thousands of dollars in the process. I'd like to share how we did it, so you can do it, too.


When powered by the utility, we use about 15 kWh / day at the current rate. At 17 cents per kWh, we have some of the most expensive electricity in America, but it's still only about $3/day at the moment


The generator uses about 8 gallons of fuel if we were to run it constantly for 24 hours. Assuming you can get a gallon of gas for about $3.50, that's about $28/day.


The energy required to run our home for a typical day last week was about 15 kilowatt-hours. So how many AA batteries is that?

A single high-end rechargable AA battery is rated at 1.2v at 2 Ah. So that's 2.4 Wh. So to run my house for a day, we'll require at least 6,250 AA batteries. Putting aside the cost of the management electronics and all the wiring and little boxes we'll need to buy for these batteries, that will cost > $15,000. Ouch. (You can buy a pack of 8 batteries for about $20 on Amazon).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 02, 2012

Dropping Athletics in Favor of Campus-Wide Wellness

Gutsy move!

Allie Grasgreen … Spelman eliminates athletics in favor of campus-wide wellness initiative:

Many colleges will do just about anything to get a bigger share of the ever-increasing revenue and recognition brought from participation in intercollegiate athletics. This past year alone, universities rushed to join conferences that made little sense geographically or competitively, and college presidents dropped their initial resistance to a football playoff system.

Spelman College is doing the exact opposite. The historically black liberal arts women’s college in Atlanta will announce today that it is completely eliminating intercollegiate athletics at the end of this academic year.


So rather than dedicate its resources to programs from which only 4 percent of Spelman’s 2,000 students benefit, President Beverly Daniel Tatum decided to direct that money -- nearly $1 million -- and energy toward a campuswide fitness and wellness initiative that she sees as crucial to her students’ health and overall well-being.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Post Sandy in NJ

We fared much better than most in the state, but you forget just how much we rely on technology and electricity.

Via M. G. Siegler

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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