Email and Forum Questions Profiles in IT: Reid G. Hoffman Google Playing Catch Up With Social Networking Will Facebook put Google out of business? Facebook Hired Reporter to Smear Google Skype Protocol Cracked Hacking Activity Increases: Recent Incidents Top Ten Thriving Businesses Top Ten Dying Businesses
Email from John in Bethesda: I am puzzled by "Print to file". I am loathe to experiment with it but nevertheless would like to know what it is, what it does, what its for, if or when I should actually use it . Does it have any practical benefit or? Thank, John
Tech Talk Responds: I used this feature many years ago, but no more. Printing is really a kind of conversion process. For example, when printing a web page, the software involved in the printing operation "translates" the web page that you see from its original HTML into instructions that are specific to the printer that you happen to have. When an application prints, it communicates with the standard Windows printing interface, which communicates with the driver for the selected printer; this then transforms the printing instructions into whatever language it is that your printer understands.
If you select the Print to file option, the data that would normally be sent to the printer is written to a file instead. Typically, the output is saved as a ".prn" file. The idea is that if printing in your application is a time-consuming or inconvenient process, you can click Print once and save the output of that print process. Then, any time that you need an additional printed copy of that document, you simply copy it to the printer.
Copying a ".prn" file to the printer is typically as simple as dragging and dropping the file onto the printer icon in Windows Explorer, or entering a copy command like "COPY FILENAME.PRN PRN" in a Windows Command Prompt.
Email from Alice: I have two computers but only one monitor, keyboard, & mouse. I would like to set up a network (I have a router), but do I need any other software or hardware so that I can see & work on each computer without plugging & unplugging cables into each? Thanks, Alice.
Tech Talk Responds: You have two options that are fairly easy to implement
KVM stands for keyboard, video, and mouse; this is a hardware device where you connect a single keyboard, display, and mouse to one side and two or more computers to the other.
The computer connections are made through the keyboard, mouse, and video connectors (a USB connector is often part of the mix), so you may end up with three cables from each computer to this box.
Aside from the cabling, it’s conceptually very simple. You connect everything up and simply press a button to switch from one computer to another.
The only real expense is the KVM switch itself and any additional cables that might be required.
In this case you need to have all computers networked.
Enable Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on all of the Windows machines.
Using Remote Desktop, you can open a window that "is" the remote computer and drive it pretty much as if I were sitting in front of it.
There’s no limit on the number of computers that you can connect to at once.
After they’ve been set up, the computers that you connect to don’t even need to have a keyboard, mouse, or display connected.
Once networked, running Remote Desktop is as simple as enabling Remote Desktop access.
Email from Eleanor: What is the difference between computer science and information technology? I am trying to figure what to study in school. Thanks, Eleanor
At the most basic level, Computer Science is a "Hard" Science, well grounded in what is now known in the field of Mathematics as Information Theory. Computer Science (as a field) is concerned with developing new ideas around the use and design of computing systems, and with the mathematical concepts of computation and information. Enrollment in Computer Science is down
Information Technology, on the other hand, is a practical Engineering discipline, concerned with implementing solutions to practical problems using current-day technology. Sometimes this is called Computer Information Systems. Within this general discipline is CyberSecurity, which is probably the hottest field at this time. Enrollment in IT disciplines is high in response to the job market.
Profiles in IT: Reid G. Hoffman
Reid G. Hoffman is co-founder of LinkedIn, an original PayPal executive, and an angel investor.
Reid G. Hoffman was born August 5, 1967 in Stanford, California.
He grew up in Berkeley, California and attended high school at The Putney School.
Hoffman graduated from Stanford University in with a BS in Symbolic Systems.
He received an MA in philosophy from Oxford University in 1993.
He planned on becoming a professor. But when he realized academics write books that few read, he decided that business would have more impact.
After working at Apple Computer and Fujitsu in product management, Hoffman co-founded his first company, SocialNet.com, an online dating service.
While at SocialNet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors at the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service, and later joined the firm as a full-time employee.
At the time of PayPal’s acquisition by eBay in 2002, he was Executive Vice President of PayPal.
LinkedIn started in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman in the fall of 2002.
The five original founders were Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Eric Ly, and Konstantin Guericke.
LinkedIn was officially launched May 5, 2003, which is referred to by employees as "Cinco de LinkedIn".
The five founders invited about 350 of their most important contacts to join.
At the end of the first month in operation, LinkedIn had a total of 4,500 members.
In October 2003, Sequoia invested $4.7M in Series A financing.
By April 2004, LinkedIn had half a million members.
In October 2004, Greylock invested $10M in Series B financing.
LinkedIn ends 2004 with 1.6 million members and 33 employees.
He was LinkedIn’s founding CEO for the first four years before becoming Chairman and President, Products in February 2007.
On its sixth anniversary, May 5, 2009, LinkedIn had 40 million members.
Hoffman is currently Executive Chairman. LinkedIn currently has 100 million members in over 200 countries.
In July 2010, Tiger Global Management bought 1% of the company, valued it at $2B.
With the IPO of LinkedIn on May 19, 2011, Hoffman owns a stake worth an estimated $2.34 billion dollars on that day.
IPO price was $45. Up to $90 by the end of the day. Currently it is $77.
After the PayPal sale to eBay, Hoffman became one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific and successful angel investors.
He made 80 angel investments in technology companies. In 2010 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners and runs their $20 million Discovery Fund.
Hoffman arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, which led to Thiel’s initial $500,000 angel investment in the company. Hoffman invested alongside Thiel in Facebook’s very first financing round.
Hoffman personally invested and joined the board of directors in Zynga’s first round of funding. According to SecondShares.com, Zynga is currently worth $5 billion.
Google Playing Catch Up With Social Networking
If he had another chance, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt would have pressed Google to challenge Facebook sooner.
Schmidt admitted his mistake in an AP interview last week.
Schmidt’s admission comes nearly two months after he ended his decade-long stint as Google’s CEO and became the company’s executive chairman.
He was replaced by Google co-founder Larry Page, who is pushing the company’s employees to develop more ways to connect people with their friends and family like Facebook already does.
That was a priority that Schmidt said he started addressing in internal memos written about four years ago when Facebook had about 20 million active users.
But he acknowledged he and other executives didn’t take Facebook seriously enough.
Now, Facebook has more than 500 million users who share billions of links, posts and photos each month.
Facebook’s growing popularity is becoming a problem for Google.
As Facebook’s audience grows, it is attracting more online advertising and stunting Google’s financial growth.
Perhaps even more troubling to Google, much of the information on Facebook’s website can’t be indexed by Google’s search engine.
Google has tried to negotiate partnerships with Facebook.
Facebook has preferred teaming up with Microsoft Corp., which owns a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook.
Just before Page became CEO, Google introduced its version of Facebook’s "Like" button to enable Web surfers to endorse search results and ads, called “+1.”
Will Facebook put Google out of business?
Google is an expert on cataloging web pages, but has almost no first-hand knowledge of any of the users who created this content—or those who are searching for it.
Facebook has focused on enabling social connections, not on search. And yet, in the process, Facebook has created a platform that knows more than 600 million people, complete with identity, interests, and activities online.
While Google has amassed an incredible database consisting of the linkages between most Web pages on the planet, Facebook possesses an asset that’s far more valuable—the realtime linkages between real people and the Web.
Facebook has stored a massive amount of distinctive data that, if fully utilized, could put Google out of business
Facebook’s data allows it to do more than just guess what its customers might be interested in; the company’s data can help it know with greater certainty what its customers are really interested in. And this key difference could potentially give Facebook a tremendous advantage in search when it eventually decides to move in that direction.
When Google was born, its advantage stemmed from its ability to collect and analyze superior data. While other publishers looked at each page on the Web as a standalone realm, Google found that the link relationships between those pages held more valuable relevance data than the pages themselves.
Now Facebook has the advantage because it knows the social network of the people who use the web.
This can make its search and advertising products superior.
Facebook Hired Reporter to Smear Google
For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley.
Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy.
Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.
The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him.
It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”
Confronted with evidence, a Facebook spokesman last night confirmed that Facebook hired Burson, citing two reasons:
First, because it believes Google is doing some things in social networking that raise privacy concerns; second, and perhaps more important, because Facebook resents Google’s attempts to use Facebook data in its own social-networking service.
What really seems to be angering Facebook is that some of the stuff that pops up under “secondary connections” in Google’s Social Circle is content pulled from Facebook.
The clash between Google and Facebook represents one of the biggest battles of the Internet Age. Basically, the companies are vying to see who will grab the lion’s share of online advertising.
Skype Protocol Cracked
A researcher named Efim Bushmanov claims to have reverse engineered Skype.
According to his blog, his aim is to make Skype open source. He included links to download executable files compatible with Skype versions 1.4, 3.8, and 4.1, plus IDA Pro disassembly database files, and source code.
Bushmanov said he decided to publicize his efforts in the wake of a story published this week in the Wall Street Journal, detailing how Middle Eastern countries’ security agencies possessed tools that enabled them to eavesdrop on Skype communications.
He’s also hoping to recruit more people to help him finish the Skype reverse engineering, which he says isn’t yet complete.
In response, Skype appears to be preparing for a fight.
"We are taking all necessary steps to prevent/defeat nefarious attempts to subvert Skype’s experience. Skype takes its users’ safety and security seriously and we work tirelessly to ensure each individual has the best possible experience."
But is Bushmanov operating in the clear? Typically, copyright law makes an exception for reverse engineering software, provided it’s done correctly.
One of the most famous examples of reverse engineering done right happened in the 1980s, when Phoenix Technologies wanted to build a BIOS that was compatible with IBM’s proprietary BIOS.
To protect itself against accusations that it had copied IBM’s BIOS, Phoenix created a team that used a Chinese wall approach. Namely, the team observed the IBM BIOS, and described everything it did without referencing any code.
Next, a different team of developers with no previous BIOS experience of any kind took the first group’s specifications, then wrote their own BIOS, ultimately enabling companies to begin building IBM-compatible PCs.
Another famous reverse engineering case involved Andrew Tridgell, who studied Microsoft’s Server Message Block (SMB) protocol until he understood it well enough to write Samba. This open source code now enables Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X systems to communicate with Microsoft Windows networks and clients, including Active Directory domains.
Key to Tridgell’s work, however, was that he didn’t decompile any of Microsoft’s code.
Has Bushmanov done his reverse engineering by the book, as Tridgell did with Samba?
If Bushmanov hasn’t taken this ‘clean’ approach–and the presence of IDB files (IDA Pro disassembly databases) amongst his published downloads suggests that he has not–then this could end up in an interesting legal battle.
Skype, of course, was recently acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, which means that the next move in this case is Microsoft’s.
But an open source version of Skype may actually benefit Microsoft.
It might prevent people from building Skype competitors, instead treating Skype as a standard, and creating their own clients.
Hacking Activity Increases: Recent Incidents
Hacking incidents are becoming more frequent.
Pakistan Cyber Army
The Hacker News reported it had received a message from hacking group Pakistan Cyber Army, claiming the PCA had hacked an Acer Europe server and stole sensitive information. The publication posted a screenshot of the data reportedly collected, which included the personal information of 40,000 customers, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and the names of products they had purchased.
Anonymous, which made headlines last year by hacking financial institutions and other sites in defense of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, recently made public more than 10,000 e-mails it stole from Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Anonymous has launched a new operation it’s calling Op NATO.
In a fax, Anonymous says that "It has come to our attention that you have classified Anonymous a ‘potential threat to the security of member states and that you seek retaliation against us. Think carefully before you continue from here. You still have the power to stand up for good. Do NOT come between us and our freedom. You have been warned.”
A hacker known only as "pr0f" posted the e-mails and passwords of more than a hundred United Arab Emirates government employees.
The latest string of hacks started in earnest in April when hackers launched a sophisticated attack against Sony’s PlayStation Network and Qriocity services. The hackers also breached Sony Online Entertainment. The company reported that the personal information of more than 100 million users had been exposed.
Anonymous has said it was not responsible for the Sony hacks. It did acknowledge, however, that some of its members might have acted independently to attack Sony.
Just yesterday, a hacking organization called LulzSec posted links on its Twitter account to data it had stolen from Sony’s internal networks, as well as from the networks of Sony Pictures, Sony Music Belgium, and Sony Music Netherlands. The group claimed the data was not encrypted and had been left for the taking.
The group then hacked a PBS site and put up a fake story that musical artist Tupac was still alive. The hack was a response to an airing of a PBS "Frontline" episode called "WikiSecrets" that presented WikiLeaks in a somewhat unfavorable light.
Google claiming it had "detected and disrupted" a phishing attack that attempted to give the hackers access to hundreds of Gmail accounts belonging to senior U.S. government officials.
Google said it believed the attacks originated from Jinan, China, but stopped short of blaming the Chinese government.
China denied that the country was the source of recent attacks against users of Google Inc.’s email service.
China did confirm the existence of a military unit devoted to cyberspace, called the Blue Army.
Conclusion: Cybersecurity is a good field for future employment. Get either a BS or MS in Cybersecurity.