Show of 10-16-2010

  •  Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Peggy: Dear Dr. Shurtz. Someone sent me this article about Chrome cookie security. I was a user of IE, but then someone told me to move to FireFox because IE was subjecting me to Internet attacks, so I mostly use FF as my browser. I tried Chrome and liked it.
    • Specifically, I’d like you to address the following issue.
      • It seems that the new Chrome beta (7.0.517.24) has removed the cookie control setting that allows you to be queried for a decision whenever new cookies are being offered, and permits you to determine how cookies from related sites will be handled in the future.
      • It’s no doubt true that many Chrome users have never accessed this feature (Chrome cookie) and choose rather simply to accept all cookies on a willy-nilly basis. But this simply is not an acceptable modus operandi for vast numbers of users and organizations who need convenient site-by-site cookie control.
    • How can I adjust the settings in Chrome to maintain personal privacy? And I thought Google had told us all that they would ‘Do No Evil’ or maybe I’m just not getting this. Thanks, Peggy in Bethesda.
    • Tech Talk Responds: You can control the cookies on Chrome by going to Tools (wrench symbol), Options, Under-the-Hood Tab, Content Settings Button, Choose Cooking Options (default option allows all cookies, second choice asks for each new website). The production version still OK. Hopefully the Beta version will not go to production in its current form…unless marketing guys win like they did at MS.
    • Email from Lauren: Dear Dr. Richard Shurtz. I have been invited in for a job interview that I am quite excited about next week. It is a job where I’ll be doing a lot of marketing & bus dev writing for a general contractor. In their job description it says that they want a person with a comfort level on both Windows and Apple operating systems. My entire career has been on a Windows operating system. Can you direct me to a resource/source for a crash course on the Apple operating systems. Most appreciated, Lauren
    • Tech Talk Responds: They have some very good basic MAC OS tutorials on the apple.com. You will also need to know the interface for MS Office on the Mac (Word, Excel, etc.). My advice is to visit borders and get a good easy chair and scan a couple of Mac books. Find a friend who has a Mac and play around with one evening creating documents.Check out Apple’s Switch 101 Site: http://www.apple.com/support/switch101/
  • Profiles in IT: Louis J. Montulli II
    • Louis J. Montulli II best is a programmer who is well known for his work in producing web browsers.
    • Lou Montulli was born in 1971 in Wichita, Kansas.
    • He graduated from Southeast High School in Wichita in 1989.
    • He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1993.
    • In 1991 and 1992 he co-authored a text web browser called Lynx with Michael Grobe and Charles Rezac while he was at the University of Kansas.
    • While working on Lynx, he was heavily involved with the development of HTTP and HTML, and was responsible for innovations such as web proxying.
    • In 1994 he became a founding engineer of Netscape Communications and programmed the networking code for the first versions of the Netscape web browser.
    • Innovations were proposed and implemented in fast cycles or at Internet Time.
    • Lou who took a Lou and John Giannandrea wrote the original Netscape cookie specification code-named Version 0.9beta.
    • He was responsible for several browser innovations, such as HTTP cookies, the blink tag, server push and client pull, HTTP proxying, and encouraging the implementation of animated GIFs into the browser.
    • While at Netscape, he also was a founding member of the HTML working group at the W3C and was a contributing author of the HTML 3.2 specification.
    • While at Netscape, he was a founding member of the W3C HTML working group and helped shape innovations in HTML, style sheets, and scripting.
    • He was a contributing author of the HTML 3.2 specification.
    • Lou Montulli is credited as the inventor of the blink tag at Netscape, although he claims he only suggested the idea, without writing any actual code.
    • He claims that he was a bar drinking with some buddies. He was bemoining the fact that Lynx could not display many of the HTML extension that they were proposing. He said it could only handle one text feature blinking, which he thought was absurd.
    • He said we had a pretty good laugh at the thought of blinking text, and talked about blinking this and that and how absurd the whole thing would be.
    • Saturday morning rolled around and he headed into the office only to find what else but, blinking text.
    • It turns out that one of the engineers liked his idea so much that he left the bar sometime past midnight, returned to the office and implemented the blink tag overnight.
    • He is one of only six members of the World Wide Web Hall of Fame of 1994.
    • In 1998 he became a founding engineer of Epinions.com (now Shopping.com).
    • In 2002 I was elected to the Technology Review TR100
    • In 2004 he became co-founder and CEO of Memory Matrix, with a mission develop technology to improve the consumer digital photography experience
    • Memory Matrix was acquired by Shutterfly Inc. in May 2005.
    • Montulli served as VP of Client Engineering at Shutterfly until the summer of 2007.
    • In 2008 he became co-founder of Zetta Inc.
    • At Zetta, he is currently working on an Enterprise class cloud storage service.
    • Lou’s official website is http://www.montulli.org/lou/
  • Google Open Sources WepP (a JPEG replacement)
    • Google has open sourced a new "lossy" image format known as WebP — pronounced "weppy" — claiming it can cut the size of current web images by almost 40 per cent.
    • Google has released the file format as a developer preview.
    • WebP is derived from VP8, the video codec Google acquired with its purchase of On2 Technologies earlier this year and promptly open sourced as part of the new WebM format.
    • The faster the web, the more cash Google can make.
    • Some engineers at Google decided to figure out if there was a way to further compress lossy images like JPEG to make them load faster, while still preserving quality and resolution.
    • Like JPEG, WebP uses "lossy" compression, discarding small portions of an image as it works to save space.
    • Mirroring the way VP8 encodes video key frames, WebP using predictive coding, which predicts the values in a block of pixels using the values in neighboring blocks, and then encodes only the difference between the actual value and the prediction.
    • The difference is known as the residual, and the residuals typically contain many zeros, which can be compressed more effectively.
    • Google has tested the format by re-encoding 1,000,000 existing web images, mostly JPEGs, GIFs, and PNGs, and it saw a 39 per cent reduction in average file size.
    • In addition to open sourcing the encoder, Google has released a command-line tool for converting images to the new format, and it says it’s working on a WebKit patch that will provide native WebP support for its Chrome browser.
    • It’s also in discussions with other browser makers over the technology. Mozilla and Opera have already joined Google’s WebM effort.
  • Test Your Virus Scan with the EICAR test file
    • The EICAR test file (official name: EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test File) is a file, developed by the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research, to test the response of computer antivirus (AV) programs.
    • The rationale behind it is to allow people, companies, and AV programmers to test their software without having to use a real computer virus that could cause actual damage should the AV not respond correctly.
    • EICAR likens the use of a live virus to test AV software to setting a fire in a trashcan to test a fire alarm, and promotes the EICAR test file as a safe alternative.
    • AV programmers set the EICAR string as a verified virus like any other signatures. A compliant virus scanner, when detecting the file, will respond in exactly the same manner as if it found genuinely harmful code. I
    • ts use can be more versatile than straightforward detection: a file containing the EICAR test string can be compressed or archived, and then the antivirus software can be run to see whether it can detect the test string in the compressed file.
    • The file is simply a text file of either 68 or 70 bytes that is a legitimate executable file called a COM file that can be run by Microsoft operating systems and some work-alikes (except for 64-bit due to 16-bit limitations), including OS/2.
    • When executed, it will print "EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!" and then stop.
    • The test string was specifically engineered to consist of ASCII human-readable characters, easily created using a standard computer keyboard.
    • It makes use of self-modifying code to work around technical issues that this constraint makes on the execution of the test string.
    • Test string: X5O!P%@AP[4PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*
    • Link:  http://www.eicar.org/anti_virus_test_file.htm
  • Miners’ rescue among top Web events
    • The rescue of Chile’s trapped miners has become one of the most-watched Web events in recent memory, according to an internet monitor.
    • Between 4 and 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, online news traffic grew to more than 4 million page views per minute, making the miners’ rescue the fifth most-read-about online event since Akamai’s Net Usage Index for News debuted in 2005.
    • The now-complete rescue of 33 miners trapped more than 2,000 feet below the ground for 69 days is topped in traffic only by World Cup matches, Wimbledon and Barack Obama’s presidential election as the top online news event.
    • Overall internet traffic on Wednesday was up 15 to 20 percent, according to that company’s Real-time Web Monitor.
    • On Wednesday afternoon, most of that traffic appeared to be coming from the northeast United States and Western Europe, according to a global traffic map published by Akamai.
    • Liz Bradley, a spokeswoman for the company, said Web traffic appeared to peak when the rescues started late Tuesday at the mine site in Chile.
    • This online event was unique in that the rescue was "streamed live on many sites for almost 24 hours and will continue to" be streamed on the internet, on TV and on mobile phones until all the miners were rescued.
    • And at least five of the top 10 "trending topics" on Twitter on Wednesday had something to do with the rescues in Chile.
    • Facebook users in Chile posted 478 news stories per minute about the rescue at its start, and users in the United States posted 1,265 stories per minute.
  • PC BIOS soon to be replaced by UEFI
    • The 25 year old PC BIOS will soon be replaced by UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) that will enable PC’s to boot up in a matter of seconds.
    •  In 2011 we will start seeing UEFI dominate new PC’s, according to BBC News.
    • UEFI is designed to be much more flexible than the old PC BIOS that dates back to some of the first IBM PC’s since 1979.
    • The BIOS has not changed much in the past 25 years and is one of the main reasons why a PC’s boot-up time is over 25 seconds.
    • The original EFI specification was developed by Intel but has now evolved into a standard which is now known as UEFI.
    • The UEFI forum, which is a non-profit corporation, is responsible for the management and promotion of the specification. Their goal is to replace the 25 year old BIOS that’s responsible for slow boot-ups.
    • Some PC manufactures have already started using UEFI and system administrators who oversee thousands of PC and servers have already seen the benefits of swapping old-fashioned Bios for UEFI.
    • UEFI Forum Home Page:http://www.uefi.org/
  • Getting a Job
    • I would recommend that you read What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. It is based on a method developed by John Crystal who mentored Dick Bolles.
    • John Crystal lived in McLean and I attended his workshop many years ago.
    • My class with John Crystal
      • Identify you natural tendencies (tropisms)
      • Decide what you want to do.
      • Survey the industry to gather information.
    • Join user groups
      • Pursue projects at home (no one said that experience had to be paid)
      • Linux for OS experience
      • Apache Web Server, PHP, MySQL for web design
      • Backtrack2 for security
      • Install multiple systems using VMWare
      • Create a small database using Oracle student software
  • Nobel Prize for Physics 2010
    • Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.
    • Graphene is a form of carbon. As a material it is completely new – not only the thinnest ever but also the strongest.
    • As a conductor of electricity it performs as well as copper.
    • As a conductor of heat it outperforms all other known materials.
    • It is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that not even helium, the smallest gas atom, can pass through it.
    • Geim and Novoselov extracted the graphene from a piece of graphite such as is found in ordinary pencils.
    • Using regular adhesive tape they managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom. This at a time when many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable.
    • However, with graphene, physicists can now study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties.
    • Graphene makes experiments possible that give new twists to the phenomena in quantum physics.
    • A variety of practical applications now appear possible including the creation of new materials and the manufacture of innovative electronics.
    • Graphene transistors are predicted to be substantially faster than today’s silicon transistors and result in more efficient computers.
    • Since it is practically transparent and a good conductor, graphene is suitable for producing transparent touch screens, light panels, and maybe even solar cells.
    • When mixed into plastics, graphene can turn them into conductors of electricity while making them more heat resistant and mechanically robust.
    •  This resilience can be utilised in new super strong materials, which are also thin, elastic and lightweight. In the future, satellites, airplanes, and cars could be manufactured out of the new composite materials.
    • Konstantin Novoselov, 36, first worked with Andre Geim, 51, as a PhD-student in the Netherlands. He subsequently followed Geim to the United Kingdom. Both of them originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia. Now they are both professors at the University of Manchester.
  • Goddard View: Remote Sensing Goes Medical
    • October 2010 Issue of the Goddard View
    • Website location: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/goddard-view.html
    • A technology that Goddard computer engineer James Tilton originally conceived for analyzing remote-sensing imagery could one day aid in the interpretation of mammograms, ultrasounds, and other medical imaging.
    • A Connecticut-based company, Bartron Medical Imaging, Inc., adapted Tilton’s advanced computer algorithm—Recursive Hierarchical Segmentation Software (RHSEG)—for use in its MED-SEG™ system.
    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently cleared the system for use by radiologists to process images for reports and communications.
    • Clinical trials are expected to begin shortly.
    • The use of this computer-based technology could minimize human error that occurs when evaluating radiologic films and might allow for earlier detection of abnormalities within the tissues being imaged.
    • Tilton began working on his algorithm more than 25 years ago. His goal was to advance a totally new approach for analyzing very large digital images.
    • Tilton focused on an approach called image segmentation, which organizes and groups an image’s pixels together at different levels of detail.
    • RHSEG allows the user to distinguish important features in the scene accurately and quickly.
    • Bartron learned of the patented software in 2003 licensed it to create a system that would differentiate hard-to-see details in complex medical images.
    • For more information about Goddard’s Innovative Partnerships Program Office, visit: http://ipp.gsfc.nasa.gov/