Email and Forum Questions Profiles in IT: Ulf Michael Widenius Virginia Department of Health Professions Hacked Aneesh Chopra named Chief Technology Officer Long Term Trend in Innovation New Search Engine: Wolfram-Alpha Launch New Twitter Application: Fast Food Truck Kogi uses Twitter to alert customers of its location. Facebook Phishing Attack Could Threaten Business Data Food Science: Cooking Vegetables
Email from Christy: I hear you mention that Tech Talk is simulcast on Home and Garden TV, but I haven’t been able to find where to go for the simulcast. Can you point me to the right place? Thanks for the help and the show. Christy
Tech Talk Answers: We are just joking.
Email from John: Dear Tech Talk, I have Vista on my laptop. Hibernate is enabled with option enabled to Hibernate when I close lid. Is there any downside to using this routinely to power down or should I Shut Down or Restart periodically? Thanks, John.
Tech Talk Answers: In theory, you should be able to use hibernate all the time. In fact, I know some people who pretty much do. In practice, however, things aren’t always quite that easy.
Wireless connection may have changed particularly if you are travelling. You’re your computer wakes up it expects the same wireless network condition.
RAM is frequently not released and over time you computer will get sluggish. Hibernate does provide a faster startup but whenever I travel, I always shut down. Also at home, I reboot every few days to clean up the RAM situation.
Profiles in IT: Ulf Michael Widenius
Ulf Michael Widenius (nickname Monty) is the main author of the original version of the open source MySQL database and a co-founder of the MySQL AB Company.
MySQL is a relational database which has more than 6 million installations.
MySQL’s source code is available under terms of the GNU General Public License.
MySQL is popular for web applications and acts as the database component of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) software stack.
Several high-traffic web sites (including Flickr, Facebook, Wikipedia, Google, Nokia and YouTube) use MySQL for its data storage and logging of user data.
Monty Widenius was born March 3, 1962 in Helsinki, Finland.
Widenius studied at the Helsinki University of Technology but failed to graduate.
In 1981, he began working for Tapio Laakso Oy.
In 1985 he co-found (with Allan Larsson) a data warehousing company named TCX DataKonsult AB.
In 1995 he began writing the first version of the MySQL database with David Axmark, released in 1996.
Until MySQL AB’s sale to Sun Microsystems in January 2008, he was the chief technical officer of MySQL AB and still one of the primary forces behind the ongoing development of MySQL.
On the February 5 2009 he announced that he was leaving Sun in order to create his own company, Monty Program AB. (http://askmonty.org/)
On April 20th, 2009 Oracle Corp., which develops and sells the proprietary Oracle database, announced a deal to acquire Sun Microsystems.
According to his Monty’s blog, Monty Program Ab will be a true open source company, with the goal of being a smaller company (10-30 employees) where everyone can be owners of the company, where we strive to have fun together and share the profit we create. (http://monty-says.blogspot.com/)
Its structure is based on the Hacking-Business Model which was designed by Monty and Zak Greant This model is a set of rough principles and rules for running a Free Software/Open Source business. Full details can be found on Zak Greant blog (http://zak.greant.com/hacking-business-models)
Monty is currently working on a branch of the MySQL code base with the Maria storage engine. The product is known affectionately as MariaDB, named after his youngest daughter. MariaDB is a product of Monty Program Ab
On May 13, 2009 Widenius and Peter Zaitsev Launched the Open Database Alliance.
This consortium is designed to be the new hub for MySQL database development and support group focusing on the MySQL branch call MariaDB.
Monty lives in Helsinki with his second wife Anna and two daughters (Maria and My) a son (Max).
He is the co-author of the MySQL Reference Manual, published by O’Reilly in June 2002.
In 2003 he was awarded the Finnish Software Entrepreneur of The Year prize.
Virginia Department of Health Professions Hacked
April 30 was not a good day for the Virginia Department of Health Professions.
The main job of the agency is to license health care providers and enforce the standards of the professions.
A relatively unknown responsibility of the agency is to run the Prescription Monitoring Program, which allows pharmacies and medical providers to track the dispensing of such powerful narcotics and painkillers as Oxycontin and Vicodin with the aim of preventing abuse, theft and illegal sale of the drugs.
On April 30th, one by one, the terminals started displaying a message claiming the prescription database had been hacked overnight.
The situation got even worse for state officials, when a posting appeared on the Web site WikiLeaks.org, an online clearinghouse for leaked documents, claiming 8 million patient records and 35 million prescriptions had been accessed and stolen.
"I have your [expletive] In *my* possession, right now, are 8,257,378 patient records and a total of 35,548,087 prescriptions. Also, I made an encrypted backup and deleted the original. Unfortunately for Virginia, their backups seem to have gone missing, too. Uhoh :(For $10 million, I will gladly send along the password."
Contained in the records are Social Security numbers of patients and health care providers’ Drug Enforcement Administration prescribing numbers.
As of May 7, the affected agency’s computer system was operating on minimal capabilities, though patients in need of filling or refilling affected prescriptions could still do so.
The state also has temporarily discontinued e-mail to and from the department pending the outcome of a security audit
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine sought to assure the public that the government is doing all it can to catch the criminals. He was also adamant no ransom would be paid.
Kaine and Technology Secretary Aneesh Chopra have not revealed how the security breach occurred.
Chopra, whose agency oversees the state’s computer networks, as President Barack Obama choice for the nation’s first chief technology officer.
This is the second major extortion attack related to the theft of health care data in the past year. In October 2008, Express Scripts, one of the nation’s largest processors of pharmacy prescriptions, disclosed that extortionists were threatening to disclose personal and medical information on millions of Americans if the company failed to meet payment demands.
Aneesh Chopra named Chief Technology Officer
Last month, Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s secretary of technology, was selected as the national chief technology officer.
According to O’bama, ?Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities ? from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure.?
?Aneesh and Jeffrey Zients, the chief innovation officer, will work closely with chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, who is responsible for setting technology policy across the government, and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency, and lower costs.?
Chopra will be an assistant to the President and his formal title will be associate director for technology under the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy office.
He’s led tech efforts for the state of Virginia since 2003 and previously worked as managing director with the Advisory Board Company, a health-care industry advisory and research firm.
The White House said one of Chopra’s priorities will ?include expanded use of technology to boost broadband access.
His selection was April 18th. The health department database was hacked April 30th.
Long Term Trend in Innovation
Technological epicenter is moving out of the US.
Driven by immigration policy (forcing talent to leave)
Taxation policy (punishes businesses that create wealth)
Motivation of youth (US lags in technical degrees)
Mature technologies seek the lowest labor pools.
Innovators continue to create jobs with higher labor rates.
Key areas for innovation
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
Genetics and DNA
We need to maintain our technological lead through innovation.
Wolfram|Alpha is kind of like an enormous calculator. It takes your question and crunches out an entirely new answer, even if the answer isn’t something that’s been posted on the Web before.
Say you’re an investor and you want to see how two companies are faring against each other on the market. You could type in ?IBM versus Apple? and Wolfram|Alpha will generate graphs and tables to compare the stocks over time.
It also give you the Web-based sources used to generate the data, so you know where the numbers are coming from.
The site also solves equations and shows the steps it took to do so, which will be of interest to high school students and math majors.
The site is also interesting for academic queries. Type in ?Internet users in Africa? and you’ll get the total number of Web users there ? 51 million ? as well as lists of the number of users by country plus graphs of this information.
But it’s worth noting that all of the above searches were pulled out as examples in a press video released by the site’s founder, Stephen Wolfram, who also was the creator of Mathematica.
New Twitter Application: Fast Food Truck
Twitter recently became the communiqué of choice for the almost popular Kogi BBQ trucks, a taco vendor in LA.
Kogi uses Twitter to alert customers of its location.
he trend is spreading to other wheel meals as more food are using the social networking site to draw customers.
While it’s not clear which truck Tweeted first, the Kogi folks have shown themselves to be the most effective at turning tweets into effective marketing.
"Kogi special at the trucks and the Alibi! Grilled asparagus with Yellow Nectarines and Sesame Seeds!" read one recent Kogi Tweet.
Since Kogi’s launch in November, hungry herds of have been following the pair of white trucks that rove the city selling tacos, burritos and other gourmet tidbits steeped in traditional Korean flavors.
In short order, the Kogi name has become recognizable to foodies around the country.
No small accomplishment for a pair of taco trucks?.all due to Twitter.
And she thinks the success of food truck Tweets likely will inspire a broader use of Twitter across the food world.
"Chefs will be Tweeting from the farmers market about the mushrooms they just picked up and will be part of their mushroom pasta that evening," she says.
Facebook Phishing Attack Could Threaten Business Data
Another Facebook phishing attack hijacked messages and inserted fake links that allowed the attackers to capture some Facebook usernames and passwords.
Although Facebook responded within a few hours, it hasn’t said how many users were affected. Sophos has identified social-networking sites like Facebook as the new cybercrime frontier.
One version of the e-mail reads: "Susan sent you a message. Subject: Hello. Check 121.im," with "121.im" as a link. Compromised accounts help spread the malicious links rapidly across the network.
Facebook identified and blocked the e-mails with the fake link within a few hours of the attack’s execution, but many members received the bogus message before the popular social-networking site acted.
Facebook changes the passwords on victims’ accounts to foil the phishers, but it hasn’t divulged how many of its 200 million members were affected.
My advice is to be suspicious of unsolicited links you are sent via social-networking sites. Don’t use the link embedded in the email. Go to the website directly and log in to see if the information is correct.
Food Science: Cooking Vegetables
A recent study conducted in the U.K. showed boiling vegetables that are members of the cruciferous family, including cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts, significantly reduces their anticancer properties.
The active anticancer ingredient which is destroyed by the boiling process is called glucosinolate.
Glucosinolate is an important compound that converts inside the body to a cancer fighting chemical called isothiocynate which helps to remove cancer causing components from our system.
When cruciferous vegetables are boiled, most of this important compound is destroyed along with the cancer protective properties.
Do you lose ALL the important vitamins and nutrients from our vegetables when we boil them?
The preponderance of evidence suggests there is some truth to this.
It’s been shown when we boil vegetables, a considerable amount of the vitamins leech out into the cooking water are poured down the drain.
This will vary depending on how much water is used in the cooking process as well as how long the vegetables are exposed to hot water.
It seems disheartening to eat your vegetables as recommended and not get the full anticancer and vitamin protection!
What can you do to retain the healthy vitamins and cancer protecting agents?
Probably the best method for preparing vegetables to preserve their vitamin and anticancer properties is to steam them in a metal or bamboo steamer.
Using one of these devices, your vegetables are elevated above the boiling water which means they never have direct contact with it. If you don’t have access to a steamer, you can try stir frying or microwaving your vegetables since the U.K. study showed these cooking methods had little effect on the vegetables they studied.