Show of 5-31-2008

  • Email and Forum Questions
  • Profiles in IT: Jim Knopf and Andrew Fluegelman
    • Developers of the first shareware programs which spawned an entire industry
    • Shareware was born simultaneously in two places
      • In Bellevue, Washington, PC-File, the brain child of Jim Knopf.
      • In Tiburon, California, as PC-Talk, fathered by Andrew Fluegelman.
    • Jim Knopf story
      • Jim Knopf needed a program to print mailing labels for a local church.
      • He had an Apple computer, so he wrote the program in Applesoft BASIC.
      • He wanted more than a label printing program, he wrote a general purpose database program.
      • The first program he converted from Applesoft BASIC to IBM BASIC was his database program. He was working for IBM at the time.
      • He shared his database program with many his fellow IBM’ers .
      • PC-File was born in 1982. It was initially called Easy File.
      • It soon became a hit at the Seattle offices of IBM and throughout the Seattle.
      • Supporting his growing user base was becoming a full-time job.
      • He asked those who received it to voluntarily send a $10 donation.
      • Doug Clapp wrote a good review of PC-File for PC-World magazine.
      • The response was overwhelming. By the summer of 1984 he was making ten times as much as he earned at IBM.
      • He marketed under the name Jim Button and formed a company called Buttonware. Knopf means button in German.
      • At its peak in the late 1980s, Buttonware had 35 employees, a broad lineup of shareware products, and a $4.5 million gross annual income.
      • In 1992, Jim sold the company and retired at age 49 after a heart attack.
    • Andrew Fluegelman story
      • Fluegelman was an attorney and editor of PC World Magazine in 1982.
      • Fluegelman wrote a telecommunications program called PC-Talk.
      • He copyrighted PC-Talk and then released it to the public.
      • Mr. Fluegelman also asked for a donation. He requested $25.
      • Andrew Fluegelman came up with was Freeware, which he trademarked.
      • PC-Talk gained tremendous popularity and for a time it was the communications program to use.
      • His program, PC-Talk continued to prosper and is still in use by some people today. Mr. Fluegelman died in 1987.
    • Birth of shareware
      • Fluegelman and Knopf in the early 80s and liked each others programs.
      • Knopf and Fleugelman decided to jointly reference each other on their distribution disks. They each asked for a $25 donation.
      • Jim Knopf changed the name his program PC-File, to complement the PC-Talk name.
      • This form of software marketing was eventually call shareware, a name that was coined by Bob Wallace, the author of a program called PC-Write. Wallace was the ninth employee of Microsoft, but left in 1983.
    • Shareware was grown into disfavor as substandard or crippled programs have been released as shareware. In some cases, spyware has been included.
  • Asus equips all motherboards with Linux
    • Asus is to fit its entire range of motherboards with the company’s Express Gate version of Splashtop Linux.
    • Splashtop boots from a Flash chip on the motherboard in a matter of seconds and is designed to run a small suite of applications including Firefox, Skype and instant messaging.
    • The Linux-based software will be extended immediately to the new P5Q Deluxe, P5Q-WS, P5Q3 Deluxe and P5Q-E series motherboards, and Asus has pledged to produce a further million Splashtop motherboards per month.
    • Part of Splashtop’s appeal is that it complements rather than replaces Windows, offering users the option to run a choice of operating systems.
    • Its low power consumption and Wi-Fi support also make it an attractive option for notebook manufacturers.
    • Asus, a long-term Linux stalwart, is widely seen as a pioneer of cut-down systems running the open source operating and has enjoyed commercial success with its increasingly popular Eee PC.
  • Free kits for launching phishing attacks
    • PandaLabs has discovered several free phishing kits on the Internet which allow cyber-crooks to send out fraudulent emails.
    • These tools allow cyber-crooks to spoof bank pages and emails, online pay platforms, Gmail and Yahoo!Mail mail accounts, online games (Xbox password theft) and blogs (Fotolog access credentials).
    • Due to the simplicity of the tools, the number of phishing attacks increases, causing companies and consumers large losses.
    • According to a study conducted by Gartner, phishing attacks caused U.S. consumers losses for US$3.2 billion in 2007*
    • These kits operate as follows: upon accessing a URL that contains the kits, users obtain the files to create a fraudulent mail; one file allows them to spoof mails of banks, pay platforms etc., and the other allows them to create a fraudulent page that resembles the original.
    • Additionally, the kit includes a PHP program, which is also free, to send emails from the spoofed page.
    • Cyber-crooks can also choose the way in which to receive the stolen data; TXT files stored on a server, a message in their mailbox, etc.
  • Google Teams with Tsinghua Univ For Cloud Computing
    • Dr. Eric Schmidt, president and CEO of Google came to China in March of this year to announce Google’s cooperation with Tsinghua University on cloud computing.
    • Tsinghua is the first university in mainland China to join Google’s cloud computing related programs and to work with Google on the offering of data processing courses and the research on cloud computing.
    • Schmidt, who was appointed as president and CEO of Google in August 2001, estimates that about 90% of the computing tasks in the future can be done through cloud computing.
  • What is Cloud Computing?
    • Comments by: Prof Prem Jadhwani, Stratford University
    • Defining the cloud
      • A cloud is a collection of machines that can serve as a host for a variety of applications, including interactive Web 2.0 applications.
      • Clouds support a broader set of applications than do traditional computing grids, because they allow various kinds of middleware to be hosted on virtual machines distributed across the cloud.
      • In cloud computing applications and files are stored on a large, centralized supercomputer or network. The end user accesses his or her files using computers that less sophisticated, so called thin-clients.
      • The term derives from the common depiction of the Internet or IP availability using an illustration of a cloud.
      • Consumers are not concerned with the underlying technologies view it as simply as a service available on demand.
    • What is Google Cloud?
      • Google Cloud is a network made of hundreds of thousands cheap servers, each not much more powerful than the PCs we have in our homes.
      • When its individual pieces die, usually after about three years, engineers pluck them out and replace them with new, faster boxes.
      • It represents move towards clouds signals a fundamental shift in how we handle information.
      • At the most basic level, it’s the computing equivalent of the evolution in electricity a century ago when farms and businesses shut down their own generators and bought power instead from efficient industrial utilities.
      • Google executives had long envisioned and prepared for this change.
    • Who are the other players in Cloud Computing?
      • Amazon has opened up its own networks of computers to paying customers, initiating new players, large and small, to cloud computing. Some users simply park their massive databases with Amazon.
      • In November, Yahoo opened up a cluster of computers?a small cloud?for researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
      • Cloud computing is used especially in scientific research.
      • Many such startups will emerge in science and medicine, as data-crunching laboratories searching for new materials and drugs set up shop in the clouds.
    • Done right, cloud computing allows one to develop, deploy and run applications that can easily grow capacity (scalability), work fast (performance), and never ? or at least rarely ? fail (reliability), all without any concern as to the nature and location of the underlying infrastructure.
    • Google Inc. and IBM Corp. have teamed up to offer a curriculum and support for software development on large-scale distributed computing systems.
    • The two companies expect to expand the program to other universities in the future.
  • NASA News: Phoenix Mars Lander
    • The first spacecraft designed to taste the water of another planet landed safely on Mars’s northern pole on May 25th, beginning a three-month mission to determine whether the Red Planet ever did, or still might, support rudimentary forms of life.
    • The Phoenix spacecraft parachuted to the planet’s surface at 7:53 p.m. Eastern time, successfully ending a 10-month, 422-million mile journey through space.
    • It is scheduled to deploy its 7.7-foot-long robotic arm, which will be used to dig into the soil. Lying just beneath the Lander is an ice layer that Phoenix will dig into, searching for evidence of organic molecules.
    • The 7-foot-tall, 904-pound Phoenix Lander touched down after a 296-day trip.
    • The name Phoenix, referring to the mythical bird rising from its own ashes, was derived from the 1999 Mars Polar Lander, which was lost as it descended.
    • Phoenix’s science instruments will look for molecules such as carbon and hydrogen.
    • The two Viking spacecraft that landed on Mars in 1976 made the only previous unsuccessful tests for organic chemicals in Martian soil.
    • It will also examine the acidity of the soil at different layers, and will look for sulfates, which could be an energy source for microbes.
    • Besides the robotic arm and mast camera, the lander’s instruments also include a Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, a Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, and a meteorology station that will track weather patterns.
    • Next year, the Mars Science Laboratory, a Lander as large as an automobile and equipped with a ray-gun type laser to zap rocks at a distance of 30 feet, will land.
    • Built by Lockheed Martin Corp., Phoenix is the first mission from NASA’s Scout program, a lower-cost complement to the space agency’s pricier Mars missions.
    • It cost $420 million to develop and launch Phoenix compared with the $820 million originally invested in the twin rovers.
    • Update after landing
      • Phoenix may have found ice on the Red Planet that was exposed when the soil was disturbed by the landing.
      • The possible ice appears in an image the robotic arm camera took underneath the lander, near a footpad.
      • Full confirmation of the possible ice will come when the robotic arm excavates and analyzes layers in the nearby surface.
      • The spacecraft has successfully deployed its robotic arm and tested other instruments including a laser designed to detect dust, clouds, and fog.
      • Scientists said they are dealing with an unexpected short circuit in a device that bakes and sniffs samples from the planet’s surface.
      • The Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer includes a calorimeter that tracks how much heat is needed to melt or vaporize substances in a sample, plus a mass spectrometer to examine vapors driven off by the heat.
  • Internet Censorship to be lifted for Olympic Games
    • It is reported that government bodies in charge of censoring the Internet will unblock access to specific Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in certain Internet cafés, access jacks in hotel rooms and conference centers where foreigners are expected to work or stay during the Olympic Games.
    • As of March 31, 2008, Wikipedia was unblocked in China in preparation for the games.
  • Food Science (Chopsticks and Rice)
    • Chopsticks
      • History of chopsticks
      • Types of chopsticks (crasftmanship, carvings)
      • Confucius and chopsticks (used to promote non-violence)
      • Non-chopstick countries
    • Rice
      • History and usage
      • Types of rice (rough rice, brown rice, white rice, wild rice)
      • Rice wine (sake)