Show of 4-21-2007

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  • My First Gmail Account
    • Only available from Google employees.
    • Found web site for Gmail auction.
    • Offered chocolate covered cicadas to a Gmail account.
  • My Favorite Toy –A Working Stirling Engine
    • The Stirling engine was invented in 1816 by the Rev. Robert Stirling who sought to create a safer alternative to the steam engines of the time, whose boilers often exploded due to the high pressure of the steam and the primitive materials of the time.
    • Stirling engines convert heat (actually, any temperature differential) directly to movement:
    • You can buy assembled engines or kits on the web
    • My engine is Solar-1 from PM Research
    • Websites to purchase engines or kits
  • Blackberry Network Outage
    • BlackBerry -mail service suffered a severe outage from 5:00 PM Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning leaving many “Crackberry’s” without a fix.
    • The company ruled out security and capacity issues.
    • The incident was triggered by the introduction of a new, noncritical system routine that was designed to provide better optimization of the system’s cache"
    • The system routine had not been expected to affect the regular operations of the BlackBerry servers and infrastructure.
    • Despite previous testing, the new system routine produced an unexpected effect that set off a chain reaction, triggering a series of interaction errors between the system’s operational database and the cache.
    • The "failover" process to a backup system failed .
    • This caused further delay in restoring service and processing the resulting message queue,".
    • RIM also said it has already identified several aspects of its testing, monitoring and recovery processes that it plans to improve as a result of the incident.
    • RIM’s service is centralized (and vulnerable to single point failures) and works by routing all BlackBerry e-mails through one of two main network operations centers, which are essentially large data centers.
      • One center is located in Canada and primarily serves the Western Hemisphere as well as parts of Asia. This is where the outage occurred. This hub routes email for 8 million devices.
      • The other data center, located in the U.K., handles e-mail traffic in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
  • State Department Hacked Using Word Attachment
    • State Department employee in Asia opened an e-mail last May that allowed hackers inside the U.S. government’s network
    • Donald R. Reid, the senior security coordinator for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, also confirmed that a limited amount of U.S. government data was stolen.
    • Tripwires severed the State Department’s Internet connections in eastern Asia.
    • Shut-off left U.S. offices without Internet in weeks preceding missile tests by North. Korea.
    • The e-mail appeared to be legitimate and included a Microsoft Word document with material from a congressional speech related to Asian diplomacy.
    • By opening the document, the employee activated hidden software commands establishing a backdoor communications with the hackers.
    • The technique exploited a previously unknown design flaw in Microsoft’s Office software.
    • Microsoft did not offer the patch until Aug. 8 – roughly eight weeks after the break-in.
    • At first, the hackers did not immediately appear to try stealing any U.S. government data.
    • Authorities quietly monitored the hackers’ activity
    • Then tripwires severed Internet connections in the region after a limited amount of data was detected being stolen,
  • Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise (CSX 2007)
    • Email from Captain Tom Logue, USN, Associate Chairman, Computer Science Department, United States Naval Academy
    • The National Security Agency will assist budding military officers at the U.S. military service academies in the art and science of defending against cyber threats during the 7th Annual Cyber Defense Exercise, 16-20 April, 2007 (CSX 2007)
    • This year the theme is "Protecting the Matrix"
    • NSA will test each team’s ability to defend a closed computer network they have designed, built and configured at their respective schools.
    • A separate group of NSA specialists, also based in Maryland, will grade each team’s ability to effectively maintain network services while detecting, responding to, and recovering from network security intrusions or compromises.
    • The following institutions are competing this year
      • United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD)
      • United States Military Academy (West Point, NY)
      • United States Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, CO)
      • United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, NY)
      • United States Coast Guard Academy (New London, CT)
    • Each team was given various commercially-available operating systems, applications and hardware platforms against the backdrop of a simulated military operation that provides an air of added realism.
    • The Naval Academy team won the exercise in 2005
  • Man Lives Underwater for 12 Days In Capsule
    • Australian scientist spent 12 days in an underwater capsule
    • He created his own oxygen with algae watered with urine
    • He generated electricity on an exercise bike.
    • Self-confessed "nutcase" Lloyd Godson lived at the bottom of a flooded quarry in a yellow steel capsule measuring just nine square meters to demonstrate how a closed ecological system can work.
    • The underwater tank used a revolutionary Israeli-developed "Biocoil" system to generate oxygen from algae soaked with the 27-year-old’s urine
    • Godson won funding from Australian Geographic magazine for his project, which was designed to provide data on the practicalities and psychological pressures of living in an alien environment.
  • Dell Offering XP Again
    • Dell has returned to offering the older Windows version as an option on some of its consumer PCs.
    • Like most computer makers, Dell switched nearly entirely to Vista-based systems following Microsoft’s mainstream launch of the operating system in January.
    • Customers have been asking for XP as part of its IdeaStorm project, which asks customers to help the company come up with product ideas.
    • Windows XP systems became scarce, but not impossible to find, after Vista arrived.
    • Starting immediately, Dell said, it is adding XP Home and Professional as options on four Inspiron laptop models and two Dimension desktops.
  • Pet Food Recall
    • Getting updated information from FDA
    • http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html
    • I check it daily since I just purchased new dog food for “George, ” a 12 year old beagle.
    • A recalled items traceable to Wheat Gluten from one Chinese supplier.
    • Wheat gluten is used as a thickening agent in the pet food
  • Successful Military Outplacements
    • Outplacement Strategy
    • Important of Security Clearance
    • Degree Completion
    • Getting the Certifications and the Degree Prior to Separation
  • Getting a Job without Experience – The Chicken and the Egg (Continuing Story)
  • Home Project 3: Set Up a MySQL Database
    • Website: http://www.mysql.com/
    • MySQL has become the world’s most popular open source databas
    • Consistent fast performance
    • High reliability and ease of use.
    • Used in more than 10 million installations
    • Database of choice LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Php)
    • Runs on more than 20 platforms including Linux, Windows, OS/X, HP-UX, AIX, Netware
    • Download MySql Community Server without charge
    • Enterprise version is not free, but still is a bargain.
    • Focus on security, configuration, table generation, etc.