Friday, November 01, 2013

Enhanced Dictatation in Mavericks

Nice tip from Lex Friedman ...


Dictate without an Internet connection in Mavericks:

Starting with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, your Mac could take dictation. But, just as with the dictation feature on iOS, the OS X incarnation required an Internet connection, couldn't show its progress while you spoke, and could only listen for about 30 seconds at a time.

That all changes with a single checkbox in Mavericks (OS X 10.9). Fire up System Preferences and click on the Dictation & Speech pane. There, you'll find a checkbox for Use Enhanced Dictation. The first time you check it, you'll need to wait out a hefty download (between 700 and 800 megabytes), but once you're done, you can dictate a lot more freely.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Next-Generation Password-Cracking Software


From Mark Frauenfelder ...Password-cracking software runs at 8 million guesses per second:

oclHashcat-plus is a 'password-recovery' tool that chews through 8-million guesses a second. It optimizes its guesses by trying phrases from 'the Bible, common literature, and in online discussions,’ and by formulating characters into websites' required 'password-construction protocols.'"

An example passphrase that was cracked:

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn1,”

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Tough 5 Years for Nokia

Nick Bilton writing for the NY Times – The End of an Era in Mobile:

In the summer of 2007, Nokia was on top of the world. The company had a market valuation of around $120 billion, $10 billion more than Apple. Nokia’s share of the global smartphone market was an astounding 48.7 percent.

But by the third quarter of 2012 — just five years later — Nokia was worth a paltry $8.2 billion, $624 billion less than Apple, and its share of global smartphone sales had slipped to just 3.5 percent.

Take a look at the chart Bilton shares - scary!

Monday, April 15, 2013

10 Tech Skills Heading the Way of the Dinosaur

10 Tech Skills Heading the Way of the Dinosaur - 2013 Edition:


This year's top 10 skills that are going the way of the dinosaur (in no particular order) include the following.

1. Windows XP / 2003 and Earlier 

2. Silverlight 

3. Adobe Flash 

4. COBOL, FORTRAN, and other Mainframe Languages 

5. Lotus Notes Administrator 

6. Novell GroupWise Administrator

7. Traditional Telephony 

8. Those with only Server Administrator Skills 

9. Help Desk Technicians / Level 1 Support

10. PC Repair Technicians


Monday, February 18, 2013

A Quarter of Your Life Watching a Screen?

Seems low - especially for kids growing up with tablets, smartphones, DVRs, etc

From Andrew Laughlin … Average child born today 'to spend quarter of life watching a screen':

The average child born today in the UK will have spent almost a quarter of their life watching non-work-related screen technology by the time they reach 80, a new study has claimed. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Office 2013

Peter Bright asks … Office 2013: Just what on earth has the Office team been doing?:


What I cannot fathom, however, is why Office 2013 exists. Or rather, why it exists in its current form. Just what Microsoft has been doing in that two and a half years, I couldn't tell you, because Office 2013 doesn't feel like it's had two and a half years of work on it.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Misinformed vs. Uninformed - Grammarist

Misinformed vs. uninformed - Grammarist:

Something that is misinformed is based on bad information. Something that is uninformed is based on no information or inadequate information.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An Ubuntu Refugee Who Loves OS X

Mac is Linux done right:

Three months ago I had my first experience with OS X. Looking at it from the Ubuntu refugee point of view all the broken things are fixed, all the working ideas done better. You can think of a Mac as wonderful genius in every sense of the way distribution of Linux.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Clever App to Prototype an iPhone App


From John Pavlus ... Design Your App on Paper, Animate It With Your iPhone Camera:

In the digital age, paper is anything but dead. Designers can use "paper prototypes" to experiment with UI designs fast and even (as in the case of Clear, a gestural iPhone app) reveal innovative user interactions. There’s just one hitch: How do you get your sketches to actually interact with each other like a digital app? An app called POP cleverly solves this problem with the iPhone’s camera--just snap some pics of your sketches, link them together with a few taps, and voila: instant interactive prototype. No coding required.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We're All Slackers

First Grader Becomes Youngest Person to Ever Develop a Mobile Game:

Remember the name Zora Ball. At seven years old, she's the youngest person to ever create a mobile game app, which was unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania's Bootstrap Expo last month.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What Are Android Owners Doing?

From Jay Yarow … KAYAK: iOS Usage Is 3X Android Usage

Here's another small, but interesting data point in the debate around iOS and Android.

Bill O'Donnell, who runs the mobile group at travel booking company Kayak, tells me, "iOS is 3X what Android usage is, in terms of downloads and in terms of daily unique users," though he adds, "Android is picking up lately."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chemistry Experiments That Changed the World

From Richard Byrne … Chemistry Experiments That Changed the World:

One of the videos that grabbed my attention as something that my friend and high school chemistry teacher Walter Perry would like is 3 Chemistry Experiments That Changed the World

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Some Interesting Thoughts on MOOCs

Matt Reed makes an interesting case … Turning In to the Skid:

Apparently, San Jose State University has contracted with Udacity to run credit-bearing basic algebra classes -- both developmental and college-level -- at a cost to students of $150.

If the best instruction that a college can offer is a sage on a stage lecturing to 300 freshmen, whom that sage will then duck afterwards to get back to writing, then it’s hard to argue that a video presentation would be markedly worse. If anything, it may be better; at least with a video, you can play back parts you missed the first time. And the cost advantage is not to be ignored, particularly when tuition and student loan burdens are the highest they have ever been, even after inflation.

The limits of the traditional approach are particularly clear when we look at student pass rates in developmental and lower-level classes. Nationally, there’s nothing unusual about a 50 percent fail rate for a developmental math class. Early MOOCs have had even worse attrition rates, but that’s hardly an apples-to-apples comparison; most enrollees in the first wave of MOOCs had nothing at stake. Motivation matters. San Jose already ran its “circuits and electronics” course as a blended MOOC, and found that pass rates were actually higher than in the traditional class. Whether the same will be true on the “lower” end of the curriculum isn’t obvious, but it isn’t preposterous, either. And if it turns out to be higher, I’d like to hear the argument against it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Former Windows Phone Boss on the MacBook Air

From Megan Rose Dickey … Ex-Microsoft Execs Explain Why They're Using iPhones Now (AAPL, MSFT):

[Former Windows Phone boss Charlie] Kindel says the best thing about MacOS is the track pad and its ability to switch between apps using gestures. He also appreciates the battery life on MacOS.

"I've tried almost all Windows based Ultrabooks out there and the MBA's hardware simply blows them away ... still,"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

10 Signs You've Been Working In Information Security Too Long

Great stuff from Ken Westin … 10 Signs You've Been Working In Information Security Too Long:

  1. When your mom calls you ask her three security questions to verify her identity
  2. Your pet’s name consists of at least 20 characters and contains a mix of numbers, uppercase letters, and at least one special character
  3. Your wallet  is wrapped in an aluminized mylar faraday cage
  4. You run background checks and request employment verification before every date
  5. To open the door to your house requires two keys, a combination as well as a fingerprint and retinal scan
  6. You use so many acronyms in your everyday speech that people ask if you speak English
  7. J00 k4n R34d thi2 4nd 4CTU4LlY UND3R5T4nD WH@ It 54y2
  8. You have more security clearances and certifications than the President of the United States
  9. Sometimes you can’t understand your own thoughts because they are encrypted
  10. You have more security conference badges than Mr. T has gold chains

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

McGraw-Hill's SmartBooks

Lily Newman … McGraw-Hill's SmartBooks: Digital Textbooks With Built-In Drill Sergeants. Interesting idea to add an adaptive learning component to e-books. Shifts it from a strictly interactive e-book to an interactive e-book that adapts to the learner.

Textbook publishing behemoth McGraw-Hill is producing a series of adaptive e-textbooks in 90 subject areas. Targeted at college-level classes, the SmartBooks quiz students as they read to establish learning style and retention and then present the material differently based on how the student is doing.

Starting at $20, the SmartBooks will be available this spring as part of a McGraw-Hill suite of adaptive and interactive learning tools called LearnSmart Advantage.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Private Cloud for Your iOS Device

From Daniel Cooper ... Kanex launches $99 meDrive, a private cloud for your iOS device

Kanex might be typecast as a mere maker of display cables, but that doesn't mean it's not capable of belting out the odd line of Shakespeare. Its latest "challenging" role is the meDrive, a device that creates a private cloud to bounce files between your iOS and desktop devices. With its WebDAV support, it'll let you bounce iWork documents on your private network, and, if you open up port 80, will also let you access it on the go. Simply plug the box into your router, and Bonjour's auto-discovery support will handle the rest from the free app. You can also hot-swap USB storage of any size into the dedicated port, or even add in a hub for even more space. Put money in thy purse tonight, as it'll cost you $99 when it goes on sale right... now.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Last Years Best Certifications

Erik Eckel on The 10 best IT certifications: 2012

1: MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008 (Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

2: MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist)

3: VCP (VMware Certified Professional)

4: CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)

5: CSSA (Certified SonicWALL Security Administrator)

6: PMP (Project Management Professional)

7: CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

8: ACSP (Apple Certified Support Professional)

9: Network+ / A+

10: CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician

Working Hard

Comic Strip for January 3, 2013

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Everybody Abandoning Landlines


… even the elderly. From Rob Beschizza ...The long slow death of the landline:

The CDC reports that more than one third of American homes are now landline-free, with six in ten adults aged under 30 living in households with only wireless phones.

In a study carried out as part of the National Health Interview Survey, 35.8 percent of all respondents reported having only cellular telephones. A further 15.9 percent reported that while they had landlines, they received all or almost all their calls on their mobiles.

While 34 percent of all adults now live in households with only cellular phones, the number jumps to 40.6 percent when limited to households with children. Fifty-eight percent of renters and 76 percent of adults living with roommates reported having only cellphones. The growth is slowing, though, with the 1.8 percent six-month increase in landline-less homes being the lowest jump since 2008.

Even the elderly are abandoning their landlines, albeit slowly: for the first time, more than 1 in 10 of those aged 65 or more reported living mobile-only.


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