Show of 12-29-2007

  • Email and Forum
    • Email from John: Dear Tech Talk: It is the New Year and I am still in my old job. I want to get into technology, but don’t know where to begin. I need experience to get a job. I can’t get a job without experience. What should I do?
    • Tech Talk Answers: I covered this earlier in the year. Here is a quick summary. Full links can be found here.
    • Act like a profession now. And you will be treated like a professional.
    • Read Industry Rags
      • PC Magazine, Information Security, CIO, eWeek, Network Computing, Information Week, Dr Dobb’s Journal
    • Know Your Standards Organizations
      • Internet Engineering Task Force, World Wide Web Consortium, XML Industry Portal, NIST IT Lab, IEEE 802 Lan/Man Committee, IPv6, Internatioan Telecommunications Union, SANS Institute
    • Join User Groups
      • Virginia Oracle Users Group, Capitol PC User’s Group, Washington Apple Pi, Washington Area Perl Mongers, Washington Area SGML/XML Users Group, Maryland Cold Fusion Users Group, Washington DC Linux Users Group, Northern Virginia Linux Users Group
    • Join Trade and Professional Associations
      • Open Software Foundation, IEEE Computer Society, Association for Computing Machinery, Information Technology Association of America, Free Software Foundation, Association for IT Professionals, DC Chapter of Internet Society, Network and Systems Professionals Association
    • Check the Women in Information Technology Sites
      • Institute for Women and Technology, Women in Technology, Girl Geeks, DC Web Women
    • Understand where the Field is Going
      • Network Infrastructure (including Telecommunications)
      • Security and Security Policy
      • Information Systems (getting the right information to the right people)
      • Distributed and Interactive Databases with Web Interface
      • Rapid Application Development
      • Wide spread use of open source software
    • Select Project To Complete At Home
      • Build a Computer
      • Install Multiple Operating Systems
      • Build an Application or a Website
      • Project1: Use Backtrack2 and Learn Tool Suite (prior show)
      • Project 2: Set up a Linux Cluster (prior show)
      • Project 3: Setup an MySQL Database
  • Profiles in IT: James T. Russell
    • The digital compact disc was invented in the late 1960s by James T. Russell.
    • Russell was born in Bremerton, Washington in 1931.
    • At age six, he invented a remote-control battleship, with a storage chamber for his lunch.
    • Russell went on to earn a BA in Physics from Reed College in Portland in 1953.
    • He went to work as a Physicist in General Electric’s in Richland, Washington.
    • He was among the first to use a color TV screen and keyboard as the sole interface between computer and operator. He designed and built the first electron beam welder.
    • In 1965, he joined Battelle Memorial Institute’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington. He title was Senior Scientist.
    • Russell was an avid music listener. He was continually frustrated by the wear and tear suffered by his vinyl phonograph records.
    • Alone at home one Saturday, Russell began to sketch out a music recording system, which could record and replay without physical contact using only light.
    • He saw that if he could represent the binary 0 and 1 with dark and light, a device could read sounds or indeed any information at all without ever wearing out. Battelle let Russell pursue the project.
    • After years of work, Russell succeeded in inventing the first digital-to-optical recording and playback system (patented in 1970).
    • He had found a way to record onto a photosensitive platter in tiny "bits" of light and dark, each one micron in diameter; a laser read the binary patterns, and a computer converted the data into an electronic signal — which it was then comparatively simple to convert into an audible or visible transmission.
    • This was the first compact disc.
    • Although Russell had once envisioned 3×5-inch stereo records that would fit in a shirt pocket and a video record that would be about the size of a punch card, the final product imitated the phonographic disc which had been its inspiration.
    • Through the 1970s, Russell continued to refine the CD-ROM, adapting it to any form of data.
    • Like many ideas far ahead of their time, the CD-ROM found few interested investors at first; but eventually, Sony and other audio companies realized the implications and purchased licenses.
    • By 1985, Russell had earned 26 patents for CD-ROM technology.
    • He then founded his own consulting firm, where he has continued to create and patent improvements in optical storage systems, along with bar code scanners, liquid crystal shutters, and other industrial optical instruments.
    • His most revolutionary recent invention is a high-speed optical data recorder / player that has no moving parts. Russell earned another 11 patents for this "Optical Random Access Memory" device, which is currently being refined for the market.
  • Websites of the Week: Three Nice Web Apps
    • A continuation of the ?cloud versus desktop? battle
    • Bubble.us
      • Web Address: http://Bubbl.us
      • Flash-based mindmap creator bubbl.us allows you to quickly and easily make effective, attractive mindmaps that can be exported as images or as HTML outlines, or shared with others who can add new items or draw new connections between existing ones.
      • Also good for making org charts
    • Buzzword
      • Web address: http://buzzword.com
      • This online word processor is both well formatted and easy to use. Running in Flash, Buzzword works well and has a fairly full set of features already, and promises off-line functionality and PDF export in the near future.
    • Empressr
      • Web address: http://empressr.com
      • Another Flash-based app, Empressr allows users to create and share slideshows using text, images, videos (including webcam captures created on the fly), and other rich media. Presentations can be shared on the web.
  • IBM Predicts Innovations Which Will Be Seen Within Next Five Years
    • IBM Next Five in Five is a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years.
    • Smart Energy Technology — A range of "smart energy" technologies will make it easier for you to manage your personal "carbon footprint". As data begins to run through our electrical wires, dishwashers, air conditioners, house lights, and more will be connected directly to a "smart" electric grid, making it possible to turn them on and off using your cell phone or any Web browser.
    • Smart Driving Technology — In the next five years, a coming wave of connectivity between cars and the road is going to change the way you drive, help keep you safe, and even keep you out of traffic jams. Technology is poised to keep traffic moving, cut pollution, curb accidents, and make it easier for you to get from point A to B, without the stress.
    • Tracking What You Buy — In the next five years, new technology systems will enable you to know the exact source and make-up of the products you buy and consume. Advancements in computer software and wireless radio sensor technologies will give you access to much more detailed information about the food you are buying and eating.
    • Cell Phone Wallet — In the next five years, your mobile phone will be a trusted guide to shopping, banking, touring a new city, and more. New technology will allow you to snap a picture of someone wearing an outfit you want and will automatically search the web to find the designer and the nearest shops that carry that outfit. Your phone will also guide you through visiting a city and will provide you with local entertainment options and purchases tickets for.
    • Computer Assisted Doctors — In the next five years, your doctor will be able to see, hear and understand your medical records in entirely new ways. Super sensitive hearing to find tiniest audio clue in your heart beat. A 3D representation of your body will allow doctors to visualize your medical records in an entirely new way. They can click on a particular body part to trigger a search of your medical records and retrieve information. The computer will automatically compare those visual and audio clues to other patient records and be able to be much more precise in diagnosis.
  • PC Magazine’s 2008 Predictions
    • Windows XP’s Reprieve — Microsoft will announce an extension until the end of 2008 for Windows XP availability, instead of cutting it off on June 30.
    • Hacking — A major international incident will erupt when Chinese hackers compromise the defense or security system (or both) of another government.
    • Greening of IT — "Green" IT will become a sustainable model in the enterprise. The bottom line will be the primary force in the greening of data centers and offices. The European Union will again be the main governmental force behind pushing green regulations in 2008.
    • Network Evolution — Mobile networks will not only open up to outside handsets, devices and applications, but will increasingly offer Wi-Fi and a plethora of location-based services. Media content, search, social networks, shopping and a variety of services will all be standard parts of the mobile network experience.
    • A Linux Year — Linux will make major inroads into the enterprise, as well as in government IT. At the same time, the leaner OS will become a more attractive option for home users and in consumer electronics.
    • Growing Pains of Social Networking — Social networking will invade corporations by year’s end. Services akin to the Salesforce.com offering that lets salespeople share leads and information will become standard in that market segment. Privacy issues will have to be sorted out.
    • Blurred Lines — Distinctions between consumer and corporate IT will continue to blur, and the social-networking phenomenon is but one element of that. iPhone-buying employees will bring that device into the enterprise in ever-growing numbers, forcing IT departments to deal with it. Security and protection from hackers, spam, phishers, and the lot of cyber miscreants will continue to pose a huge headache for network administrators as home IT merges with corporate IT.
    • The Consolidation Drumbeat — Pure-play software vendors will increasingly be a thing of the past as Oracle and other monoliths swoop in on more acquisition targets in the new year.
    • Virtualization Comes to the Desktop — We didn’t want to make a virtualization prediction, but we would be remiss not to. Many prognosticators are gazing into their crystal balls and seeing virtualization on desktops. Desktop virtualization is about intelligently provisioning applications to desktop users," he says.
    • Vote Early and Often — We predict historic levels of turnout at the polls in November, and that will give rise to historic levels of problems with electronic voting. Ohio will be a mess in that regard. Florida won’t be appreciably better. While the outcome of the presidential race won’t be imperiled by e-voting issues, some state and local races will need manual recounts owing to problems with machines.
  • Food Science — Mother Sauces
    • Culinary Moves from Italy to France
      • Culinary tradition moved from Italy to France in the 16th century.
      • Catherine de Medici, niece of the Magnificent, took a multitude of cooks and their helpers to Paris when she married, at age 14, Henry of Orleans, the future Henry II in 1533.
    • The Mother Sauces
      • The five mother sauces as designated by Escoffier were bechamel, veloute, hollandaise, espagnole, and tomato.
      • Béchamel, the classic white sauce, was named after its inventor, Louis XIV’s steward Louis de Béchamel. The king of all sauces, it is often referred to as a cream sauce because of its appearance and is probably used most frequently in all types of dishes. Made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux, the thickness of the sauce depends on the proportion of flour and butter to milk.
      • Velouté is a stock-based white sauce. It can be made from chicken, veal or fish stock. Enrichments such as egg yolks or cream are sometimes also added.
      • Espagnole, or brown sauce, is traditionally made of a rich meat stock, a mirepoix of browned vegetables (most often a mixture of diced onion, carrots and celery), a nicely browned roux, herbs and sometimes tomato paste.
      • Hollandaise is made with an emulsion of egg yolks and fat. Hollandaise is made with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice, usually in a double boiler to prevent overheating, and served warm. It’s also used as the base for such mixtures as Tartar Sauce, Thousand Island Dressing, Aïoli, and Remoulade.
      • Tomato. This is self-explanatory.
    • Some chefs add a sixth sauce to the list.
      • Vinagrette. Sometimes this sixth one is added to the list. Vinagrette is a sauce made of a simple blend of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper (usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar).
  • Asteroid to Strike Mars
    • Astronomers in NASA’s Near Earth Object (NEO) monitoring program are tracking the trajectory of an asteroid estimated to be 50 meter (160 feet) wide that is expected to cross Mars’ orbital path early next year.
    • Observations provided by the astronomers and analyzed by NASA’s NEO Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., indicate the object is likely to pass within 50,000 kilometers (30,000 miles) of Mars at 5:55 a.m. EST (10:55 UT) on Jan. 30, 2008.
    • There is also a 1 in 75 probability that the asteroid will slam into the planet at that time.
    • Designated 2007 WD5, the asteroid was discovered on November 20 by NASA-funded observers searching for possible Earth-impactors.
    • If the asteroid does indeed strike Mars, it will impact somewhere in an 800 kilometer (500 mile) wide band that crosses the Martian equator. The Mars rover is clearly outside the zone of possible impact.
    • If 2007 WD5 were to hit Mars on Jan. 30, we it would hit at about 50,000 kilometers per hour (30,000 miles per hour) and create a crater more than half-a-mile wide. Such a collision could release about three megatons of energy.
    • Scientists believe an event of comparable magnitude occurred here on Earth in 1908 in Tunguska, Siberia.
    • In 1994 comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter. But Jupiter is a gas giant, and the dynamics of impact are very different than they are on a rocky planet such as Mars.