Show of 6-2-2007

  • Email Questions
  • What is your advice when looking a new career or job? From Dave
    • Recommended reading: What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles
    • Based on a method developed by John Crystal who mentored Dick Bolles
    • John lived in McLean and I attended his workshop nearly 30 years ago.
      • My class with John Crystal
      • Identify you natural tendencies (tropisms)
      • Decide what you want to do.
    • Survey the industry to gather information.
    • My IT projects at home are a reflection of this approach.
      • Linux for OS experience
      • Apache Web Server, PHP, MySQL for web design
      • Backtrack2 for security
  • Profiles in IT
    • Rasmus Lerdorf, Creator of PHP
    • PHP – PHP Hypertext Preprocessor
    • Software engineer and Apache Web Server team member
    • First part of PHP was developed for his personal use in 1994
    • He used it for his personal web page and wrote as a CGI application
    • CGI (Common Gateway Interface) was a scripting language for server-side operations using Perl.
    • He released Version 2 which included a Form Interpreter for parsing SQL-queries
    • By 1997 PHP was being used on 50,000 web sites worldwide.
    • He turned it over to a core development team – “a benevolent junta”
    • Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutman, two Israeli programmers, developed PHP3 and PHP4.
    • Growth of PHP Usage
      • By 1998, 100,000 unique domains used PHP
      • By 1999, 1,000,000 unique domains used PHP
      • Today more than 15 million domains use PHP
    • PHP had become another open source success.
      • PHP is easy to learn
      • Allows you to create a database driven web site quickly and easily.
      • PHP5 is the current version, which seeks to incorporated object oriented programming methods.
    • Conclusion: Rasmus Lerdorf was a man with a vision who wanted to share it with the world via open source.
  • NOAA Predicts Above Normal 2007 Atlantic Hurricane Season
    • Experts at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are projecting a 75 percent chance that the Atlantic Hurricane Season will be above normal this year—showing the ongoing active hurricane era remains strong.
    • With the start of the hurricane season upon us, NOAA recommends those in hurricane-prone regions to begin their preparation plans.
    • NOAA scientists predict 13 to 17 named storms, with seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which three to five could become major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.
    • An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes.
    • Predictions based on warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the El Niño/La Niña cycle.
      • La Niña (unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific)
      • El Niño (unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific)
    • Primary research centers involved in prediction
    • NOAA Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/)
    • NOAA National Hurricane Center (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)
  • DNA Test Support Out-of-Africa Migration
    • The genetic survey, produced by a collaborative team led by scholars at Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities, shows that Australia’s aboriginal population sprang from the same tiny group of colonists, along with their New Guinean neighbors.
    • The research confirms the “Out Of Africa” hypothesis that all modern humans stem from a single group of Homo sapiens who emigrated from Africa 2,000 generations ago and spread throughout Eurasia over thousands of years.
    • These settlers replaced other early humans (such as Neanderthals), rather than interbreeding with them.
    • Academics analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA of Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians from New Guinea.
    • This data was compared with the various DNA patterns associated with early humans.
    • The results showed that both the Aborigines and Melanesians share the genetic features that have been linked to the exodus of modern humans from Africa 50,000 years ago.
    • Until now, one of the main reasons for doubting the “Out Of Africa” theory was the existence of inconsistent evidence in Australia.
  • What about American Idol voting? How is it handled?
    • Unlimited voting permitted during a two hour period for each time zone after the show ends.
    • 70,000 millions votes tallied for the finals
    • Toll-free numbers can be called during this window.
      • Pay phones calls not permitted.
      • IP phoning permitted (as long as calling server is in allowed time window)
      • Call volume high right after show. Busy signals a problem.
    • Texting permitted from only Cingular/AT&T Mobile phones.
      • Busy signals not a problem
      • Text messages from other mobile phones ignored.
      • I can resend the text message “Vote” in about 15 seconds on my phone.
      • That means that I could (if I wanted) send 480 votes during the window.
      • Regular texting message rates apply.
    • Programs can repetitively dials using computer modem
      • Web site: www.dialidol.com
      • Detect busy signal and redials.
      • Continues dialing throughout the permitted window.
      • Can also be used for dancing with the stars
      • Idolizer II is for VoIP connections on a Linux box
    • ZavaResearch has accurately the voting outcome.
      • Last six shows for both 2006 and 2007 predicted accurately.
      • Used Internet search statistics during the prior to airing the final show.
      • During the 2006 American Idol season, ZabaSearch founder, Nick Matzorkis, began to track how frequent each of the contestants’ names were searched in various locations on the web and gathered additional data reflecting phone voting trends.
      • He found that applying a formula he devised to those numbers before and after the performance night broadcast, would accurately predict the voting outcome the following night.
    • Some people misdialed and were told to call a 900 number to vote. That 900 number was not associated with American Idol.
  • Apple Dumping Digital Rights Management
    • Launching initially with songs from music company EMI Group PLC, iTunes Plus features tracks that are free of digital rights management, or DRM, technology – copy-protection software that limits where songs or movies can be played and distributed.
    • The unrestricted content means some songs purchased from iTunes will work for the first time directly on portable players other than Apple’s iPod, including Microsoft Corp.’s Zune.
    • The inaugural batch of iTunes Plus songs includes music from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney’s classic albums.
    • The DRM-free tracks feature a higher sound quality and cost $1.29 apiece – 30 cents more than the usual 99-cent price of other, copy-protected songs at the market-leading online music store.
      • Encoded at 256 kbps (instead of 128 kbps) to give near CD quality.
      • Includes buyers name and email address embedded in song.
      • Apple failed to inform customers about this last fact.
    • Other smaller online music vendors, such as eMusic.com, already offer songs without DRM, but the selections have been limited to mostly content from independent labels.
    • Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the world’s four major record companies to start selling songs online without copy-protection software.
    • In a statement Wednesday, Jobs reiterated Apple expects that more than half of the 5 million songs on iTunes will feature a DRM-free version by the end of the year.
    • Amazon.com, by comparison, said it plans to sell songs online later this year in the DRM-free MP3 format – the popular unrestricted audio standard that is supported by virtually any device, including Apple’s best-selling iPod.
  • DVD Code Cracking A Continuing Problem
    • The group behind the HD-DVD format’s digital rights management technology have been sending around “cease and desist” letters from its lawyers, saying that making the code public violates its rights under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
    • The hex code was first discovered by Arnezami, a hacker posting at the doom9 forums, fast becoming the front line in the war on DRM.
    • The hex code in question is the so-called “Processing Key” that unlocks the heart of every HD-DVD disk to date.
    • AACS (Advanced Access Content System), a DRM scheme used to encrypt data on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks, would appear to be cracked wide open with this string used in conjunction with the volume ID.
    • This was changed after a 90 day delay because of the pipeline of players. New players will use a different key. Old players will still accept the old key.
    • Last week another one was released. Apparently they have cracked one of the players which contain many such keys.
    • Releasing one every 90 days will make this encryption method useless.
  • Cyberwarfare at Heart of China’s Military Strategy
    • The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has set up "information warfare" units to create viruses for use in attacking enemy computer systems and networks, according to a Department of Defense report released Friday.
    • "The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is pursuing comprehensive transformation from a mass army designed for protracted wars of attrition on its territory to one capable of fighting and winning short-duration, high-intensity conflicts against high-tech adversaries — which China refers to as ‘local wars under conditions of informatization,’" the report says.
    • Viewed by the PLA as critical to achieving "electromagnetic dominance" early in a conflict, such computer-based weapons also include defensive measures to protect the country’s own network systems, according to the report.
    • The PLA began incorporating such technologies into its military exercises in 2005.
    • China became the world’s fourth-largest economy in 2006.
    • Ultimately, China "has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages.
    • Such technologies are already being used on an ongoing basis for information-gathering and standard espionage.
    • The Chinese have proven their ability in the past to get into U.S. military networks.
    • Security technologies put in place both before and since Sept. 11, along with increased fortifications in financial networks today, have a net effect of helping to protect the country.