Show of 11-28-2009

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Leslie: Dear Tech Talk: I have a flash drive which has been working well for quite some time. Just yesterday it refused to work. It was recognized by the computer but when I tried opening it I got the message that the disk needs formatting.
    • I tried using it on another computer but the same message appeared. When I opened the properties of the disk the file system was indicated as RAW. The data in it is very important and I need to recover it. Thanks, Leslie
    • Tech Talk Answers: Unfortunately, you data is probably lost. If the data is truly valuable, you may be able to send it a data recovery service. They are normally quite expensive and read the data bit-by-bit at the hardware level.
      • First, if you use flash drive frequently, you must realize that flash drive wear out. Most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand around 100,000 write-erase-cycles, before the wear begins to deteriorate the integrity of the storage. Micron Technology and Sun Microsystems announced an flash memory chip rated for 1,000,000 write-erase-cycles.
      • Second, you can corrupt your flash drive by removing it before the data data write has been completed. This is a problem if some of the data is cached. That is why you must be make certain that the device can be removed.
    • Most importantly, you must never store valuable data in only one place. Never, ever, keep anything that’s important in only one place; be it a flash drive, a hard drive or a web service. Critical data on a single flash drive? You’re asking for trouble. Back up your data to another storage device.
    • Email from Regina: Dear Dr. Shurtz, my hotmail account was compromised. I have now reset the password. It resetting the password enough or should I do more? Love the show, Regina
    • Tech Talk Answers: You need to do a few more things. Most systems also provide a mechanism whereby you can recover or reset your password should you forget it.
    • They use a variety of means, but they all boil down to the same thing: they use one or more additional pieces of information to validate that you are who you say you are, and then reset or reissue your password. They also have an alternate email address in the case you need to get a new password.
    • You must check to make certain that your alternate email address has not been changed. Secondly, you must change the secret challenge question which is used during a password reset. Also choose that secret question that is really secret. If you given a cell phone number for SMS password notification make certain that it is still your phone number.
  • Profiles in IT: Matthew Szulik
    • Matthew Szulik turned Red Hat Linux from what some called a questionable idea into a billion-dollar business in just ten years. He replaced Red Hat co-founder Bob Young as CEO and President.
    • Matthew Szulik was born November 29, 1956 in New Bedford, MA.
    • As a teenager, he caddied at a local country club and learned enough to receive a golf scholarship to college.
    • He received his BS from St Anselm College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Manchester, New Hampshire.
    • While still in his 20s, Szulik started at Exxon Office Systems, where he rose to become head of worldwide sales.
    • After spending nine years at Interleaf, he then moved through several start-ups, including MapInfo, Sapiens International and Relativity Software.
    • In 1998, he joined Red Hat as president and CEO and was challenged with turning the Linux technology into a profitable business when no one believed a company could make money on free software.
    • Investors were hot for the stock after the IPO, but many cashed out early.
    • When the dot-com boom turned to bust, Red Hat stock price plummeted.
    • Szulik courted Wall Street and successfully pushed through a secondary offering that raised $300 million. He removed any kind of doubt that Red Hat is sustainable.
    • Szulik began talking to customers and formulated a strategy to compete in the enterprise computing market by offering businesses an alternative to other OS.
    • Red Hat’s business customers pay annual subscriptions for support and training. Its open-source model gives them the freedom to design software to meet their needs without locking them into using particular proprietary software for upgrades.
    • Red Hat software is public and makes rapid innovation possible.
    • In just 10 years, Szulik has built Red Hat into the only profitable public open-source software company, revolutionizing the software market.
    • Its unconventional and collaborative business model has made it the leading open-source Linux provider, with more than 80% of the business market.
    • Red Hat has become one of the world’s most recognized technology brands, with 3,000 people in 60 offices worldwide.
    • In 2005, 2006 and 2007, Red Hat was rated No. 1 for product quality, service and value by IT executives surveyed by CIO Insight magazine.
    • Red Hat’s market share has increased, and the company has posted record profits. Its annual sales for 2007 were $523 million.
    • In late 2007, he turned over the reins of Red Hat’s day-to-day operations to Jim Whitehurst in order to spend more time with his family.
    • He remains Chairman of Red Hat and a frequent and active advocate of open-source software before the North Carolina legislature and US Congress.
    • In the quarter ended May 31, 1999, the last before Red Hat’s IPO, the company had revenue of $2.7 million. The revenue for the quarter ending August 31, 2009 was $183 million.
    • In November 2008, he was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year overall national winner.
  • Device of the Week: Barnes & Noble Nook E-Reader
    • Aimed directly at Amazon’s Kindle, this reader has some compelling features.
    • Nook’s most attractive features, including a color TFT screen beneath its main, 6-inch E-Ink screen, support by Android on that color screen for mobile Internet browsing, support for both 3G and Wi-Fi, and a virtual, touch-screen QWERTY keyboard.
    • Amazon and Kindle have long been criticized for the Kindle’s "closed" format.
    • The Nook offers support for EPUB — the open e-book standard — which further exposes Amazon’s limited format range (Kindle, and PDFs for the Kindle DX only).
    • The retail price is $259, the same as Kindle, which has a 65% market share.
    • Barnes & Noble’s Nook allows consumers to "loan" books to one another (on other Nooks, iPhones, iPod Touch and a few other mobile devices) for 14 days free.
    • The Nook also offers 500,000 free titles and has deals with media companies to offer newspaper and other periodical subscriptions.
    • Not sure about your e-reader purchase? Test it out the next time you’re in a Barnes & Noble, the company offers.
  • Large Hadron Collider Update
    • On September 10, 2008, over two thousand physicists who collaborated to varying degrees in the completion of the project watched as the first attempt to circulate a beam of protons in the LHC was successfully carried out.
    • Nine days later, however, a glitch in the electrical connection between two of the over 9000 superconducting magnets used to guide the protons on their path resulted in a massive helium leak, causing the apparatus to lose its supercool temperature of -271 degrees Celsius (making it one of the coldest places in the universe), and effectively shutting it down.
    • The LHC was finally back online a week ago operating at a low level to test out all systems.
      • The maximum output of what is currently the largest functioning collider in the world, at the Fermilab near Chicago in the United States, is one teraelectronvolt.
      • CERN its relaunch, the LHC will run at 3.5 teraelectronvolts in order to allow its operators to gain experience of running the machine.
      • The first data should be collected a few weeks after the first particle beam is fired.
      • CERN said the partial power level will be kept until "a significant data sample has been gathered" and ramped up thereafter.
      • Designed to shed light on the origins of the universe, the LHC at CERN took nearly 20 years to complete and cost six billion Swiss francs (3.9 billion euros, 4.9 billion dollars) to build.
    • If all goes according to plan, high energy collisions between subatomic particles will finally be produced in the next few months and years to re-create and study the conditions that existed at the time of the Big Bang and right afterwards.
    • This means venturing into the interface between energy and matter and watching how subatomic particles gained mass as the universe cooled.
    • It means potentially witnessing what led to the creation of time.
    • It means possibly discovering new spatial dimensions that we’ve never seen before.
    • It means actually observing the Higgs boson, the elusive particle that could help us get closer to the Grand Unified Theory — the "theory of everything" — that Albert Einstein died trying to find.
    • And as of Friday, November 20, another group, very cleverly called conCERNed International, has filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, protesting the LHC’s imminent restart.
      • They think that the experiment would lead to the creation of microscopic black holes.
      • These tiny black holes would potentially get caught up in Earth’s gravitational pull, unable to escape it, causing them to coalesce and become a much bigger black hole that swallows up all existing matter — a cosmic killjoy that looks a little like this
  • Website of the Week: www.criticalthinking.org
    • The Center for Critical Thinking and Moral Critique conducts advanced research and disseminates information on critical thinking.
    • Each year it sponsors an annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform.
    • It has worked with the College Board, the National Education Association, the U.S. Department of Education, as well as numerous colleges, universities, and school districts to facilitate the implementation of critical thinking instruction focused on intellectual standards.
    • Dr. Richard Paul, Founder and Director of Research.
    • How to stimulate students to learn using the Logic of Reason and the Logic of the Content to build the Logic of Their Mind.
    • Socratic questioning in the classroom, during close reading, while listening to a lecture.
    • Students must learn to how they think in order to improve their thinking.
    • This approach quantifies what it means to analyze, evaluate, and create (the top three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy).
  • Anatomy of Thinking
    • Eight elements of reason or critical thinking
      • Statement of Purpose
      • Question at hand
      • Information
      • Inference or Conclusions
      • Models or Underlying Theories
      • Assumptions
      • Implications and Consequences
      • Point of View
    • Standards of Thinking
      • Clarity
      • Accuracy
      • Precision
      • Relevance
      • Depth
      • Breadth
      • Logic
    • These are used to formulate questions designed to help the student clarify their thinking (aka The Socratic Method)
    • Teacher as coach helping the team perform though thinking excercises.
  • eBay in Skype deal with founders
    • Recommended by Arnie McKechnie, Davidsonville, MD (BBC News)
    • Online auction site eBay has settled a lawsuit with the founders of Skype, ending uncertainty over the future of the internet phone company.
    • The case was about whether the software of the site was owned by the founders via their firm, Joltid, or by eBay.
    • In a complicated deal, the founders will drop their lawsuit against eBay and take two seats on the board of Skype. Skype will still be sold to a group of investors for about $2bn.
    • Skype’s software lets computer and mobile phone users talk to each other for free and make cut-price calls to mobiles and landlines. The deal, announced by eBay in September, is is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2009.
    • As a result of the agreement, eBay will keep a 30% stake in Skype rather than the 35% it originally announced.
    • Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis will now own a 14% stake in the new Skype. The other new owners are Andreessen Horowitz -run by Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen – as well as private equity firm Silver Lake and the
    • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
    • Mr Zennstrom and Mr Friis had been trying to buy back Skype for the past year, which eBay bought for $2.6bn in 2005.
    • They sued the company in the UK, saying their company Joltid owned the rights to underlying source code that props up the Skype network.
    • Unlike traditional mobile calls, which are transmitted over a cellular network, Skype turns your voice into data and sends it over the internet.
    • Since being acquired, the number of registered Skype users has risen to 405 million from 53 million, though free user-to-user calls still dominate the service.