Show of 4-16-2011

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from PL: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I turned on my laptop on April 13 and ESET NOD32 anti-virus software said I needed to get Microsoft updates b/c I was not current. I ‘clicked here’ and they began to download/install. It took FOREVER–THERE WERE about 46+ updates for WinXP and Office 2010. Could I have been using my computer to surf the net while this download/install was being performed? I wasn’t sure so I just waited ’til it was completed and then restarted my pc. Thanks. PL in Bethesda
    • Tech Talk Responds: You could have used your computer while the files were downloaded and installed. You would not have been protected with the latest patches, but the risk is not too great. I usually continue to use my computer. If, however, you want to be ultra-cautious, then you could wait until the installation and reboot.
    • Email from Tiffany: Dear Dr. Shurtz, I’ve returned to the same coffee shop where I was a few months ago when I noticed that my email had been hijacked/hacked. This time, I’m using my phone, but the last time when I noticed the hack, I was using my computer and doing email over an open-internet, free WiFi network. Do you think that could be the source of the problem or just a coincidence? Thanks, Tiffany
    • Tech Talk Responds: Your passwords could definitely have been intercepted. You have to be careful when using these free hotspots.
    • Make certain that your firewall is turned on. You don’t need this at home, but you do in the shared public network. This is also true in a hotel network.
    • Configure Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird to use SSL/secure connections and an alternate port.
    • Use https:// for all web-based email service like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or others via your browser.
    • I trust only Gmail to remain in https throughout the entire session. Some services will use https for only your login and will in unsecured for the rest of the session.
    • Facebook has a "require https" option, but apparently can fall out of https, particularly when various Facebook apps are used.
    • If you are a business traveler you might use a paid VPN service to always create an encrypted connection. This service typically involves a recurring fee. This is overkill for the casual user.
    • Finally, keep the passwords of the accounts that you access different from each other and, of course, secure.
    • Email from David: Dear Tech Talk, I am trying to look for a technology job and don’t know were to turn. I have been sending our hundreds of resumes and am getting no response. What do you suggest? Thanks, David
    • Tech Talk Responds: David, you need to get a copy of What Color is Your Parachute by Dick Bolles. I has a very successful job search strategy that we recommend for all of the Stratford students. It involves figuring out who you are and what type of work is best for you. Then is shows you how to survey informally to gather information and ultimately to secure an interview with a decision maker….not with HR.
  • Profiles in IT: Drew Houston
    • Drew Houston is co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, a privately held Internet company which provides cloud storage and synchronization services
    • Houston was born in 1983 in Massachusetts.
    • Houston graduated from Acton- Boxborough Regional High in Action, MA in 2001.
    • He enrolled in the MIT Computer Science program in 2001
    • In April 2004, he started Accolade, an online SAT prep company while a Junior.
    • Company was Ramen profitable, meaning that it generated enough income to pay his living expenses.
    • He took one year leave from school to work on Accolade.
    • He played guitar in the band, AngryFlannel, which played mostly a school events.
    • In 2006, Houston received a BS in Computer Science from MIT in 2006.
    • In January 2006, Drew landed a job with Bit9. He worked on Windows internals to support various applications. He quit in May 2007 to start Dropbox.
    • As an MIT student, Drew Houston was inspired to create Dropbox out of his frustrations with forgetting his USB drive.
    • He worked on multiple desktops and a laptop, and could never remember to keep his USB drive with me. His hard drive failed at home and he had no backup.
    • He found that existing storage services suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made him think too much.
    • He began making something for himself, but then realized that it could benefit lots of people with the same problem.
    • He wrote the first lines of code for Dropbox while at a train station in Boston.
    • Houston co-founded Dropbox, Inc. in 2007 with fellow MIT student Arash Ferdowsi.
    • The Dropbox client enables users to drop any file into a designated folder that is then synced with Dropbox’s Internet service and to any other of the user’s computers and devices with the Dropbox client.
    • Dropbox focuses on synchronization and sharing. It supports revision history.
    • Shortly thereafter secured seed funding from Y Combinator. They provide $17K of seed money and help with the start-up process for around 6%
    • Dropbox officially launched at 2008’s TechCrunch50, an annual tech conference.
    • Dropbox raised a $7.25 million Series A round from Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners,
    • Dropbox’s official domain name was actually "getdropbox.com" until October 2009, when they acquired, "dropbox.com", from a domain squatter.
    • In 2009 Dropbox hired Adam Gross, a former Salesforce veteran, as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales.
    • In January 2010 Dropbox had more than 4 million users.
    • Dropbox only uploads the pieces of the file that are changed when syncing.
    • Dropbox uses Amazon’s S3 storage system to store the files.
    • In the little free time he has, Drew can be found jamming on his guitar.
    • Drew is on Twitter @DrewHouston
    • He is on Facebook at facebook.com/houston
    • He is on Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/in/drewhouston
    • Company website: http://www.dropbox.com
  • Level 3 To Acquire Global Crossing For $3 Billion In Stock
    • Level 3 Communications has acquired IP solutions and networking provider Global Crossing.
    • The transaction is valued at approximately $3 billion, including the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of net debt from Global Crossing. The deal was an all-stock transaction.
    • Global Crossing’s networking platform offers businesses VPN, leased lines, audio and video conferencing, long distance telephone, managed services, dialup, colocation and VoIP services.
    • Global Crossing’s network is currently being used by 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, as well as 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs.
    • Global Crossing has had a rocky history. The company’s market cap was once $40 billion, which is well below the $3 billion acquisition price (or $1.9 billion minus debt).
    • In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy. Global Crossing’s founder Gary Winnick was sued for fraud by the company’s shareholders; Winnick and other executives eventually paid $325 million in a settlement.
    • The two companies will create a giant in the networking space. The combined company’s platform will be anchored by fiber optic networks on three continents, and will support clients in 50 countries (including Netflix). The revenue from both companies in 2010 was $6.26 billion
  • Georgian retiree devastated after ‘cutting Internet’
    • A 75-year-old woman arrested for single-handedly cutting off the Internet in Georgia and Armenia.
    • Hayastan Shakarian, 75, is accused of forcing thousands of people in both countries offline for hours after hacking into a fibre-optic cable while digging for scrap metal.
    • But Shakarian said she was just a "poor old woman" who was not capable of committing such a crime.
    • Shakarian, who lives in the poverty-stricken Georgian village of Armazi, around 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the capital Tbilisi, said that she had only been collecting firewood.
    • "I have no idea what the Internet is," she added.
    • The pensioner has been charged with damaging property and could face up to three years in prison if convicted.
    • The Georgian interior ministry said that despite her claims to innocence, Shakarian had already confessed to cutting the fibre-optic cable.
    • But although Georgian Railway Telecom insists that the 600-kilometre (380-mile) cable has "robust protection", this was not the first time that it has been damaged.
    • Many Georgians’ Internet connections were also briefly cut off in 2009 by another scavenger who hacked into the cable while hunting for scrap metal to sell.
  • Microsoft Bing Controls 30% Of Search Market
    • Microsoft has secured 30% of the search market, largely at Google’s expense.
    • The new March numbers claim that Microsoft achieved 30.01% of the U.S. search market share in March — 14.32% from Bing.com and 15.69% from Yahoo Search, which Bing now powers.
    • The growth was pretty evenly distributed as well: Bing.com’s search market share grew by 6% from February while Yahoo search grew by 5%.
    • Google, on the other hand, now controls 64.42% of the U.S. search market compared with its 66.69% share in February.
    • One of the reasons why Yahoo and Bing may be gaining on Google is that users are apparently achieving more success out of Bing-powered search:
    • 81.14% of Yahoo Search users and 80.32% of Bing.com users clicked on a search result and visited a website.
    • Google, on the other hand, only achieves a 65.91% success rate.
    • We may have some competition on the search market! It looks like the Yahoo! Microsoft agreement is paying off.
  • IE9 Looks Like Chrome
    • Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 9 this week.
    • Microsoft has copied the best features of Chrome: its flexibility and speed.
    • IE9 is a copy of Google’s Chrome browser, right down to its searchable address bar.
    • It is also fast and conformed to Web standards like Chrome.
    • For Internet Explorer users, IE9 is a big win. Finally MS is responding to pressure from the competition.
    • The browser emphasizes speed maximum browsing space above all else.
    • The first things you’ll notice when opening the revamped browser is how clean it looks. IE9 gives more screen space to the Web than its predecessor, due to its redesigned navigation, address, and tabs.
    • The entire navigation and tab system is in a single row of buttons. Gone are the days where navigation, address, tabs, and loading get their own rows.
    • All settings in IE9 are now located inside a single drop-down button. Want to print, zoom, access downloads or options? It’s all inside the settings drop-down. Bookmarking and favorites is all contained within a small star icon.
    • The loading bar at the bottom of IE is now gone as is the Search bar.
    • Tabs are also a lot smaller but they can’t be grouped like in Opera.
    • New features
    • Pinning tabs: For those who visit Gmail, Facebook, or another site every day, this feature will be quite useful.
    • Mousing over windows in the taskbar: When you mouse over the IE9 icon on your taskbar, IE9 will let you instantly view a preview of every open tab.
    • In addition to new tabbing features, IE9 also has a revamped downloads section and an extension manager that tells you exactly how much speed you are giving up by installing that extra toolbar.
    • Notifications: IE9 puts notifications pop up on the bottom, not in a pop-up.
    • In speed tests, Chrome was still fastest with IE9 coming in a close second. Followed by Foxfire and Opera.
  • Google Chooses Kansas City for New Gigabit Fiber Network
    • Google has chosen Kansas City, Kansas for its new fiber optics project which will provide the city with gigabit connections speeds at retail prices.
    • Google wants to see what a network with 100 times our current levels of speed will create, and they’re using Kansas City, Kansas as their testing grounds.
    • The search engine giant recently announced that they had chosen the city as the host for its Google Fiber project, which will bring gigabit connections speeds to members of the city’s community at prices comparable to traditional highspeed internet.
    • Kansas City was only one of the over 1100 towns that applied for the Google Fiber program.
    • Not only will residents experience connections speeds that are hard to find outside of academia, they will be testing next generation of high speed internet applications.
    • Google Fiber isn’t a new technology, it’s a new level of access.
    • Instead of having a gigabit backbone with megabit nerve endings, your standard retail services in your home and office will have the full gigabit connection speeds.
    • With gigabits you could use HD Skype that will make objects in other rooms appear with crystal clarity. In other words, next generation telepresence.
    • Considering that the Kansas University Medical Center is one of the groups in Kansas City coordinating with Google, we can expect telemedicine to be one of the first applications.
    • With this level of gigabit access you could set up cameras at every intersection and let people see high definition footage of wherever they wanted to go.
    • The city’s Board of Commissioners still has to approve the project, though that’s probably just going to be a formality at this point.
    • Google is hoping to start preparing the fiber optic network this year, with Q1 2012 serving as the launch for its service.
    • Google chose Kansas City in large part because the city was willing to make an organized effort to attract and enable the fiber project.
  • Verizon’s First 4G Phone Released
    • HTC Thunderbolt was released last week.
    • Beautiful display with many useful applications and bloatware preinstalled.
    • Uses the Android 2.2 OS.
    • Great reviews except for one fatal flaw — battery life.
    • When the the LTE mode (4G), battery life is only 1.5 to 2 hours.
    • You can’t get out of this mode unless you download a special that only permits 3G operation. If you use this app you can get 3.5 to 4 hours life.
    • But then if its not 4G why get it. Back to the drawing boards.