Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Facebook Being Sued to Remove Data

Two years ago a woman was murdered in Staten Island, NY. The EMT who arrived at the scene took a photo of the murder scene and posted it on his Facebook page. The murderer was caught and convicted and the EMT lost his job and certification. Now the family is suing Facebook regarding turning over the photos in question and identifying the users who saw and downloaded the photos.

I'm not a fan of Facebook as it concerns privacy rights but in this case the family is in the wrong. The only thing that can be done is to remove the offending photo from the EMT's account (and, if it's in the TOS, to close the account). However, now the family is asking the courts to force Facebook to violate others' privacy by finding out who "viewed" and "downloaded" the photos. Assuming the data exists (unlikely) and assuming that the newspaper account of the suit is correct the family is asking something quite unreasonable.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The End of Moore's Law

Michio Kaku believes Moores Law has run its course; that the age of "cheap computing" is over and as a result the economy and life will take a hit as a result.

So the collapse of Moore's law is a matter of international importance, with trillions of dollars at stake. But precisely how it will end, and what will replace it, depends on the laws of physics. The answers to these physics questions will eventually rock the economic structure of capitalism. ...

Around 2020 or soon afterward, Moore's law will gradually cease to hold true and Silicon Valley may slowly turn into a rust belt unless a replacement technology is found.
What happens when computers stop shrinking?

He makes several interesting points - but, as good a physicist as he is, Michio Kaku misses the mark when it comes to business and innovation. For instance, now with computing power growing so fast, efficient use of that computing power is not formost on peoples minds. Look what was able to be done in 1969 with a computer less powerful than in today's phones. Efficient use of the available computing power was paramount then. It will be again. What other ways will we have to increase our processing ability -- assuming we don't find a "replacement technology?" Will we be able to combine existing processors to make something more powerful? Will we be able to develop processes that don't require brute force to solve the problem?

Here's some bits of insight into what's within the realm of possibility:

Fruit Flies Hold the Key To Faster Computing
Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon, may have found the key to faster computing in the form of fruit flies. While computer scientists have long struggled with determining optimal communications paths in digital environments, Bar-Joseph believes the answer can be found by studying the biological make-up of fruit flies: 'Determining how to select a [Maximal Independent Set] is difficult and has been under scrutiny for many years. It turns out that fruit flies solve a similar problem.
Air Force Supercomputer Made From PS3's
The Air Force's Research Lab in Rome, NY. has one of the cheapest supercomputers ever made, and best of all over 3,000 of your friends can play Tekken on it. The computer is made from 1,716 PlayStation 3s linked together, and is used to process images from spy planes.

The Supercomputer is cheaper and uses a "fraction of the energy that comparably sized supercomputers use. Portions of it — say 300 machines — can be turned on while the rest are off, depending on a job’s needs."
PS3 Supercomputer

Maybe Moore's Law is coming to an end by 2020 (and then again maybe not) but I would bet (and am betting) that greater efficiency will bridge us until new technologies will allow us to once again double computing power at a fairly rapid rate.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Say No to Phone Calls

In the last five years, full-fledged adults have seemingly given up the telephone — land line, mobile, voice mail and all. According to Nielsen Media, even on cellphones, voice spending has been trending downward, with text spending expected to surpass it within three years.

If you're a techy and want to read something that is sure to become an instant pulp fiction classic then take a look at the following article in the NYTs:

Cultural Studies
Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You
Published: March 18, 2011

What's particularly interesting is the tone of this article, and especially that some, if not many, would find this to be new or alarming.

As anyone in the tech world knows phones are become less and less important as a means of verbal communication. I don't know about you but I will email the person next to me. "Why?" Ask my parents and other non-techies? Because emails can be addressed at the recipients' leisure. Perhaps, just perhaps, the person right next to me is deep in thought and doesn't want to be disturbed. THAT is the beauty of text and email and one of the reasons that text has swiftly overcome voice as a means of communication.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breaking News and Malware has a great article on how black-hat websters ensnare Google users and redirect them to malware infected sites which prompts people to download fake anti-virus software.

Apparantly in the moments after a major catastrophe these sites take advantage of the situation:

[in]the first few hours after the event almost any site with relevant information have good chances to rank high on Google. This short window when competition is quite light is all cyber-criminal need to have a steady traffic to their breaking new related doorway pages.

Major Disasters in Poisoned Search Results

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Celebrate Pi Day - It's 3.14

Today is a big day, not only is it Pi Day but it's the day to finish your corporate taxes - or at least your extension.
Good Luck to All.

And don't forget to mark your calendar to have a drink at 9:26 on March 14, 2015. (3.1415926)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

EU outlaws cookies?

It looks as if, starting May 25, it will be illegal for websites coming under the jurisdiction of the EU to use cookies without prior explicit consent from the user. This will impact all sites that advertise or monitor their site usage with Google Analytics or any other such provider.

I'm still a little up-in-the-air about what is truly restricted. Some reports say that it only applies to client-side cookies whereas others seem to include server-side cookies as well.