Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hiring, Higher Ed and DNA

dna_strand_o.jpgYes DNA! UA hasn't collected any DNA yet, but is reserving the right to do so. Making this a requirement of the hiring process could have a real chilling effect on academia.

Is this an isolated incident or a disturbing trend? Imagine a young educator, just out of grad school, with huge student loans. Given the choice of submitting a DNA sample and getting the job versus maintaining their privacy and remaining out of work - which would they choose?

The Daily Dish

In an unprecedented move, the University of Akron is requiring that new employees should be willing to give their DNA to administrators. One adjunct faculty member has already quit over the issue. Scott Jaschik reports:
Laura Martinez Massie, spokeswoman for Akron, said that the university would not comment on the resignation of [Matt] Williams. She also said that to date, the university has not collected DNA and has no plans to do so, but is 'merely reserving the right to do so.'
Declan McCullagh digs deeper:
It's true that the University of Akron's DNA-testing policy isn't designed to weed out potential employees with, say, a gene linked to breast or prostate cancer that could make them more expensive to insure -- which is what [the 2008 Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act's] drafters were most concerned about. Instead, the school's ultimate purpose is the more conventional one of a criminal background check.

That doesn't matter, says Jeremy Gruber, president of the Council for Responsive Genetics in New York City. 'GINA specifically prohibits employers from requesting or requiring genetic information,' Gruber says. [...] Gruber believes that, in theory, there may be a way for the Akron administration to implement its policy in a way that complies with GINA: 'If the university had sufficient handling safeguards to demonstrate that they were collecting biological samples and sending the entire sample on to the federal government for testing without taking any steps to analyze the sample they might not be in violation of GINA.' But, he adds, if the FBI relies on fingerprints for background checks, why is a DNA sample necessary?

Friday, October 30, 2009

High School Dropouts

Wow, that's an amazing number of dropouts per day.

Flypaper: Education reform ideas that stick, from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute


Number of students, on average, who drop out of high school every day.  1.3 million drop out each year.

The Daily Beast: America’s Dropout Crisis

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Turn a Windows 7 Computer Into a WiFi Router

Looks like a great project for my wireless class.

Turn Your Windows 7 Computer Into a WiFi Router In 5 Minutes, Free & No Hardware is a new service we just found out about. They've sussed out how to make any Windows 7 computer into a WiFi hotspot.

Installation is simple. Go to the website, click the big, shiny button, run the .exe file, follow the prompt. You'll then see a Connectify logo in the notification tray. It's party time! Choose a name, set up a password, and click the big, shiny button. Congratulations. You're now a software-based wireless router. It took about five very obvious clicks and was truly so easy a caveman could do it.

Origami Tea Bags

These aren't in production yet, but these would be so cool for entertaining or for gifts.
origami tea.png
(Pic) Origami Tea Bags Designed To Expand As Tea Steeps - PSFK
Russian designer Natalia Ponomareva has developed an origami bird tea bag concept, designed to expand as the tea steeps. While not yet in production, Ponomareva has expressed interest in making the concept available for commercial use.

H1N1 and the Internet

Many colleges have contingency plans to move classes, students, and faculty online should there be a significant H1N1 outbreak. While most consider issues such as ramping up capacity in online learning systems and training more faculty to teach online, I doubt many consider that this crush in online learning could bring the Internet to its' knees.

Shelly Palmer: Government Agency says H1N1 Epidemic Could Strain Broadband Networks
A report released by the US Accountability Office said that if 40% of employees and students were at home sick, there is a high likely hood they will be on the Internet, hence causing broadband congestion. While 40% of the workforce being affected by H1N1 may seem ludicrous, the government agency suggests precautions, like slowing data transfers in order to fuel financial markets and security networks, may be necessary if such a scenario were to happen.

Happy Birthday Internet

arpanet.gifIt's hard to believe the Internet is already 40 years old. Today, as you check your e-mail, tweet, surf, or shop, think back to what the world was like forty years ago, when the Internet was just an idea. Also consider the commitment this country had (40 years ago) to funding research and development in science, technology, engineering, and math. If the collective we (citizens, President Obama, and Congress) could renew that commitment, imagine what the next forty years could bring!

40 Years Ago: The Message that Conceived the Internet | LiveScience
On Oct. 29, 1969, UCLA student Charles Kline sent the first message over the ARPANET, the computer network that later became known as the Internet. Though only the 'l' and 'o' of his message ('login') were successfully transmitted, the interactive exchange ushered in a technological revolution that has — as anyone alive long enough to witness the shift knows — revolutionized human interaction.

'This ARPANET experiment that we're essentially celebrating right now, while it's not the Internet it is certainly one of the foundations of the Internet,' said Vinton Cerf, vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. Cerf, along with Robert Kahn, Chairman, CEO and President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), are considered the fathers of the Internet as they created the so-called TCP/IP protocol that allowed various independent networks to link up to form a network of networks, or the Internet.

That was 40 years ago Thursday, and since then, the ability to communicate with others, share information and just be connected has drawn more than a billion people online. And so the ARPANET, and later the Internet, was both supported by and fostered innate human nature — the need to be social and share information.

'Don't let anyone tell you that information is power,' Cerf told LiveScience in a telephone interview today. 'It's information-sharing that's power.'

photo Courtesy of The Computer Museum Archives

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chasing the iPhone

John Gruber nails the reason why it's so hard for everyone playing catch-up to the iPhone. Android 2.0, the soon-to-be-released Verizon Droid, and features like turn-by-turn directions in Google Maps should make things interesting. Competition, spawned by the success of the Droid or even the Palm Pre are important for this device category to continue to experience growth and most importantly innovation!

Daring Fireball: Jim Dalrymple on the iPhone Platform
You know who thinks the iPhone 3GS stinks? Steve Jobs. No one is working harder on an ‘iPhone 3GS killer’ than Apple.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Path of a Roomba


This Would Be Perfect for a Roomba Commercial
Well the above, from Signal Theorist, is the Roomba coverage over a half an hour. A camera was setup, the lights were turned off, and the above is a long exposure shot of the Roomba's path. Not bad huh?

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Newspapers

That at least seems to be the general consensus. The Daily Dish
The Boston Globe's circulation is down 18 percent in one year; the San Francisco Chronicle's is down 26 percent. The WSJ is actually stable.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Steve Ballmer on Today Show

Steve Ballmer launches Windows 7 on the Today Show.

IT Trends for the Next 5 Years

Top 10 IT management trends for the next five years
Client virtualization was first on the list. Gartner's other trends are ranked from those that are well under way to the more emerging ones further down. Here are the others:

No. 2: The amount of enterprise data will grow about 650% over the next five years, the vast majority of it unstructured, or not included in any database.


No. 3: Green IT is about efficiency, prompting the business to ask 'how IT runs its shop and what they're spending' on energy.


No. 4: A closely related trend to Green IT is what's called complex resource tracking, which gives you the tools to monitor energy consumption as well as automate energy usage to optimal levels.


No. 5: Companies are beginning to realize that if they don't allow workplace use of Wikis, Twitter, or Facebook, to communicate for business, 'people are going to use it anyways, they'll find a way around it,'


No. 6: Companies are trying to unify as much of their communications as possible, tying in Web communications, social networking and other platforms


No. 7: More and more people are utilizing applications for mobile and wireless applications that are either free or modestly priced.


No. 8: The energy cost of supporting a server will exceed the cost of the server in three years. It is helping to usher a 'build what you need' approach in the data center.


No. 9: Mashups created by users are also something that IT has to manage.


No. 10: Cloud computing, particularly a private cloud, separates users from the technology decision because it turns IT into a set of services.

Friday, October 23, 2009

BGT on the Motorola Droid

Nice preview of the Motorola Droid (on Verizon's network) from the Boy Genius Report.

Motorola Droid Preview

The Motorola CLIQ was a pretty big disappointment for me personally, but oh man does the Droid make up for it. Sure, there’s a little hype sprinkled in because this is the first Android 2.0 device I’ve had the pleasure of using, but once you move past the initial ‘wow’ factor, the Droid really delivers. Whether it’s Verizon’s ad campaign or Motorola’s that pits the Droid against the iPhone it doesn’t matter. The Droid isn’t an iPhone competitor because nothing at this point in time is an iPhone competitor besides the new iPhone. And things don’t have to be right now. Everyone can eat. So will the Motorola Droid be successful? Absolutely, we think. It will eat in to BlackBerry sales, Windows Mobile sales, and positively murder any lingering Palm Pre sales. It’s that good. Did you notice how Verizon still hasn’t announced the BlackBerry Storm2?

We really enjoyed using the Motorola Droid and think you’re going to love it. It’s not as straight forward as an iPhone and  a little more involved than a BlackBerry, but if you’re up for the challenge, so is the Droid.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Charts and Graphs

Personally I love visuals, but here's a great counter-argument against visuals from How I Met Your Mother. An Addiction to Charts and Graphs | FlowingData
Haha, Jason Segel is hilarious. In this episode of How I Met Your Mother Segel's character Marshall has an interesting addiction that I think many FD readers can relate to:

hat-tip to Flowing Data

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The 20 Coolest Jobs in Information Security

The 20 Coolest Jobs in Information Security

  • 01 Information Security Crime Investigator/Forensics Expert
  • 02 System, Network, and/or Web Penetration Tester
  • 03 Forensic Analyst
  • 04 Incident Responder
  • 05 Security Architect
  • 06 Malware Analyst
  • 07 Network Security Engineer
  • 08 Security Analyst
  • 09 Computer Crime Investigator
  • 10 CISO/ISO or Director of Security
  • 11 Application Penetration Tester
  • 12 Security Operations Center Analyst
  • 13 Prosecutor Specializing in Information Security Crime
  • 14 Technical Director and Deputy CISO
  • 15 Intrusion Analyst
  • 16 Vulnerability Researcher/ Exploit Developer
  • 17 Security Auditor
  • 18 Security-savvy Software Developer
  • 19 Security Maven in an Application Developer Organization
  • 20 Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Analyst/Manager

Education as Milk

Interesting quote from Jeb Bush - former Governor of Florida. I think the idea is a bit simplistic and impractical when applied to education - in a class of 30 you can't give everyone their own 'flavor.' In spite of that, I do think it leads to some interesting and maybe provocative thoughts and discussions.

Jeb Bush on education and milk
‘You can get flavored milk — chocolate, strawberry or vanilla — that doesn’t even taste like milk,’ he said. ‘Most of the time, there is a whole other refrigerator case dedicated to milk alternatives — like soy milk, almond milk and rice milk. They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.’

‘Who would have ever thought you could improve upon milk? Yet, freedom, innovation and competition found a way.’

Via Joanne Jacobs

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009


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