Show of 4-19-2008

  • Email and Forum
    • Email from Jim: Dear Tech Talk. I’m thinking about getting an air card for my lap top from my wireless provider (AT &T)…do you know much about them? Do you know of a better place/better deal available on such an item? Jim
    • Tech Talk Answers: An Air Card is basically a cell phone that plugs into the PCMIA slot in your computer. You buy some much data transfer with the card rather than buying minutes. A typically plan costs around $60 per month with unlimited (or very high allowed data transfer) and $40 per month for limited data transfers (good for email users).
    • The cell phone companies will subsidize the cost of the card in order to get your account just like they do with cell phones. You can get a USB, PCMIA, or Express Card format. The subsidized prices are about $50 per card. Some USB cards are free with a two year plan.
    • You can also use your cell phone with a data kit. You standard phone service provides a 14.4 kbs. However, you will need a dial-up phone number to gain access to the Internet. The Air Card has a built in dial-up account.
  • Profiles in IT: Mark Andreessen
    • Mar Andreeseen is co-author of Mosiac, the first widely-used browser and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation.
    • Marc was born July 9, 1971 in Cedar Falls, Iowa and raised in New Lisbon, WI.
    • Andreessen received his BS in computer science from the University of Illinois.
    • He worked at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
      • While at NCSA, he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web.
      • Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser.
      • The resulting code was the Mosaic web browser.
    • After graduating 1993, he moved to CA to work at Enterprise Integration Tech.
    • Andreessen met with Jim Clark, founder of Silicon Graphics.
    • Clark believed that the Mosaic browser had great commercial possibilities.
    • Soon Mosaic Communications Corporation was in business in Mountain View, California with Andreessen as co-founder and vice president of technology.
    • The University of Illinois was unhappy with the use of the Mosaic name.
    • Mosaic Communications changed its name to Netscape Communications and its web browser was named Netscape Navigator.
    • Andreessen was featured on the cover of Time in 1995.
    • Netscape’s success attracted the attention of Microsoft.
      • Microsoft licensed the Mosaic source code from Spyglass, Inc., an offshoot of the University of Illinois, and turned it into Internet Explorer.
      • The resulting battle between the two companies became known as the Browser Wars.
    • Netscape was acquired in 1999 for $4.2 billion by AOL, which made Andreessen its Chief Technology Officer.
    • He would soon leave to form Loudcloud, a services-based Web hosting company that underwent an IPO in 2001.
      • Loudcloud sold its hosting business to EDS.
      • It changed its name to Opsware in 2003 with Andreessen as chairman.
      • Opsware was purchased by HP in September 2007 for $1.6 billion.
    • His latest project is Ning, which launched in October 2005. (http://www.ning.com/)
    • Andreessen has a blog: (http://blog.pmarca.com/)
    • Andreessen is married to Laura Arrillaga, who is the chairwoman of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, and the daughter of Silicon Valley real estate billionaire John Arrillaga
  • Video of the Week: First Internet Marketing Conference
  • Back to the Future Email
    • Web address: http://www.timemachiner.com/
    • TimeMachiner is a new mini-app that lets you email people in the future.
    • Use it to remind yourself to do something that you’ll more than likely forget, keep your future self on the straight and narrow, even wish your friends happy birthday.
    • Pick a date, email address, subject line, and message. Then click submit.
  • Website of the Week: Virus Code Database
    • Web Address: http://www.totallygeek.com/vscdb/
    • The Virus Source Code Database (VSCDB) is for information purposes only, for researchers and computer virus or programming enthusiasts.
    • No warranty is given or to be implied for any software listings contained herein.
    • You take full responsibility for any damages caused by compiling, running, sharing.
    • Be aware that running any malicious code on another’s computer or computer network might be a criminal act. Use at your own risk
  • Top Nine Viruses Viewed: bomber.c, vir.c, uk_ambul.asm, worm.c, cvirus.c, ghost.rpt, b-52.asm, leprosy.c, 4096a.asm
  • Ubuntu Hardy Heron (Ubuntu 8.04 beta)
    • Website: http://www.ubuntu.com/
    • You can now download a beta of Ubuntu’s 8.04 release (Hardy Heron).
    • Final release is set for April 24.
    • Hardy is what is known as an LTS (long-term support) release, meaning that patches and paid support will be available for at least three years after the release.
    • What makes Ubuntu such a great distribution.
      • Ubuntu is based on Debian, which enjoys wide developer support.
      • You can boot it off the CD and try it out first before installing it (called a live CD)
      • You can also boot from a USB drive.
      • You can make sure that all your hardware will work correctly and that you’re happy with the look and feel of the OS before committing yourself.
      • You can also carry it around and boot up a friend’s computer under Ubuntu.
    • And when you do install it, you’ll be asked a minimum of questions.
      • The install is even smart enough to help you resize an existing Windows partition (even Vista!) to set up a dual-boot system and set the boot menu to handle it.
      • Ubuntu has also taken a flexible attitude toward proprietary drivers.
      • Some distributions, philosophically opposed to letting companies "poison" the intellectually free Linux landscape, pretend these drivers don’t exist.
      • This can lead to poorly performing hardware or, in some cases, unusable Wi-Fi connections or audio hardware.
      • Ubuntu does segregate these drivers into a separate "restricted" repository, but it will install them automatically if the operating system detects hardware that could benefit from the driver.
    • The base version of Ubuntu uses a pretty standard installation of the Gnome graphical user interface.
      • Ubuntu has a variety of distributions available, each one tailored to a specific window manager.
      • Kubuntu replaces Gnome with the KDE, while Xubuntu uses the lightweight Xfce window manager, which is perfect for underpowered devices.
    • If you’re running a dual-boot system, you can read and now write to the Windows New Technology File System directly.
    • You can now choose to have your file partitions created with encryption for greater security in case a laptop is stolen.
    • Printers and graphics can now be configured with user-friendly graphical tools, and in many cases, you can just plug and play a new printer.
    • Canonical also provides update support for Ubuntu, so you never need to fear that clicking for updates is going to break your current system.
    • Paid support is available from Canonical, starting at $250 per year for 9-to-5 desktop support.
    • If it has a weakness, it’s as an operating system for servers. Ubuntu has put a lot of effort into the desktop experience and doesn’t ask a lot of questions about security and firewalling.
  • E-mail of the 18th Century (The Optical Telegraph)
    • More than 200 years ago it was already possible to send messages throughout Europe and America at the speed of an airplane ? wireless and without need for electricity.
    • In 1791, the Frenchman Claude Chappe developed the optical telegraph.
    • The optical telegraph network consisted of a chain of towers, each placed 5 to 20 kilometres apart from each other.
    • On each of these towers a wooden semaphore and two telescopes were mounted
    • The semaphore had two signalling arms which could be placed in seven positions.
    • The wooden post itself could also be turned in 4 positions.
    • A total of 196 different positions were possible.
    • Every one of these arrangements corresponded with a code for a letter, a number, a word or (a part of) a sentence.
      • Every tower had a telegrapher, looking through the telescope at the previous tower in the chain.
      • If the semaphore on that tower was put into a certain position, the telegrapher copied that symbol on his own tower.
      • Next he used the telescope to look at the succeeding tower in the chain, to control if the next telegrapher had copied the symbol correctly.
    • A telegrapher could reach a speed of 1 to 3 symbols per minute.
    • In this way, messages were signed through symbol by symbol from tower to tower.
    • The first line was built between Paris and Lille during the French revolution.
    • It was 230 kilometres long and consisted of 15 semaphores.
    • The transmission of 1 symbol from Paris to Lille could happen in ten minutes, which comes down to a speed of 1,380 kilometres an hour.
  • Large Hadron Collider Has Open House
    • Website: http://lhc.web.cern.ch/lhc/
    • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)  is being built in a circular tunnel 27 km in circumference.
    • The tunnel is buried around 50 to 175 m. underground.
    • It straddles the Swiss and French borders on the outskirts of Geneva.
    • It planned to circulate the first beams in May 2008. First collisions at high energy are expected mid-2008 with the first results from the experiments soon after.
    • The LHC is designed to collide two counter rotating beams of protons or heavy ions. Proton-proton collisions are foreseen at an energy of 7 TeV per beam.
    • The beams move around the LHC ring inside a continuous vacuum guided by magnets.
    • The magnets are superconducting and are cooled by a huge cryogenics system. The cables conduct current without resistance in their superconducting state.
    • The beams will be stored at high energy for hours. During this time collisions take place inside the four main LHC experiments.
  • LHC Grid will Carry the Data
    • Website: http://lcg.web.cern.ch/LCG/
    • Data storage and transfer requirements are huge
      • 40 million collisions per second in all four collision chambers
      • Events are store at the rate of 100 to 1000 Mbytes per second.
      • Total storage requirements:15 Petabytes per year
    • LHC requires collaboration (35 countries, 140 computing centers)
    • The Grid will use high speed fiber (10 GB/sec) to link to 11 Teir-1 Centers.
    • Middleware to distribute load (storage, processing power)
      • Demonstrated data distribution from CERN to the Tier-1 centres at 1.3 GByte/sec ? the rate that will be needed in 2008
      • Running ~2 million jobs each month across the grid
    • The distributed grid operation, has responsibility shared across 7 sites in Europe, the US and Asia
    • End-user analysis tools enabling ?real physicists? to profit from this worldwide data-intensive computing environment
  • Wireshark Released
    • Wireshark 1.0 was released last week.
    • Website; http://www.wireshark.org/
    • This project is the continuation of the Ethereal which was began in 1998.
    • The effort is led by Gerald Combs, the original author of Ethereal.
    • Wireshark (Ethereal) is the dominant open source and free network protocol analyzer.
    • Deep inspection of hundreds of protocols, with more being added all the time
    • Supports standard wired and wireless networking technologies, including encryption
    • Runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and many others
    • Real-time data capture for analysis or export.
  • Removing Your Phone Number from Google Search
    • Type you home phone number in the Google search and it will comes up with your name, address, and a link to a map of where your house is.
    • You can remove this data from Google. Here is how.
    • Type in your full phone number in Google search using dashes: 555-123-4567.
    • If your number appears in the mapping database, an icon resembling a telephone will appear to left of the entry on the results page.
    • Click on this icon and it will take you to a page containing a description of the service, and a link to request your number be removed.
    • Click on the removal link and provide you name and number. If you are a business, you will need to validate your identity.
    • Link: http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/pbremoval.html