Show of 9-17-2011

  • Best of Tech Talk Edition
    • Segments taken from previous shows.
  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from Nikita: Dr. Richard Shurtz, I have a service I want to post an ad about on Craigslist. In the old days, you just posted it. Now, CL requires a phone# authentication. I submitted my phone number. System says that they have to contact me to verify. Then, I am never contacted. Then, I find out that they can’t verify a VoIP phone number. I’ve written to Craig and not gotten a reply. I also called them last week and no one answers their phone…Do you know how I can work with this/resolve this? Thanks, Nikita
    • Tech Talk Answers: You have no choice but use an Authenticated Phone Number for the services section. They will not authenticate a toll-free number or any VoIP phone service without an external phone number. If you have an VoIP system with a regular phone number, there should be no problem. However, they may be slow in authentication because of the load. The blogs have many complaints and there is no one to call directly. Try again and I will look further for assistance.
    • Email from Andrew: Dear Tech Talk. When I delete stuff out of my recycle bin, I can go and find it and do a DOD wipe to remove all evidence of it ever having existed. However, what happens to the stuff I delete from my e-mails, where does this go when it is deleted? If not, how can I delete the stuff then? I have to sometimes download and print bank statements and other documents, this is the premise behind the question. Thanks, Andrew
    • Tech Talk Answers: It depends on your email program, and how you use it.
    • What is secure delete? When you delete a file (by emptying your recycle bin, or using a delete that bypasses the recycle bin), the data is actually left on the hard drive. The area of the hard drive that the data is on is marked as "empty", and will not actually be overwritten until another file is written to the disk that ends up taking that same placement on the hard drive. A secure delete (or a "DOD wipe) erases the data from the disk areas formerly occupied by the file you just deleted. Options typically exist to securely wipe all free space on the drive, ensuring that all deleted files are unrecoverable, and to perform that secure wipe multiple times so that even the most advanced data forensics tools would be unable to recover it. Download Sdelete v1.51 to perform this task (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897443.aspx).
    • There are two approaches to email: web-based and PC-based email.
    • Web-based email: When you delete an email via a web based interface such as Hotmail or Gmail, the deletion is happening on their server. There’s no way to know whether the delete is secure or not. However, because of all of the disk activity, it will probably be overwritten quickly.
    • However, your browser has a cache, and that cache is kept on your hard drive. It’s possible that images of the pages you’ve visited are cached and kept on your hard drive. Clear your browser’s cache
    • PC-Based Email: When it comes to email on your computer it really depends on how your email program stores your email. There are two types of storage. Aggregate Data Stores and Individual Data Stores.
      • Aggregate Data Stores —Stores multiple email messages in a single file. Most email programs, including Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird all fall into this category. When you delete an email these programs simply mark the email as deleted, but otherwise leave it alone. It’s not until they "compact" your email that the message is physically removed. Empty your email program’s recycle bin if it has one, compact your email (you should see these files get smaller when the compaction is done), and then once again: secure delete to wipe your free space.
      • Individual Data Stores — Stores email messages as individual separate files. Windows Live Mail may fall into this category. Delete your mail, empty your recycle bin, and run your secure delete.
  • Profiles in IT: Philip Rosedale
    • Philip Rosedale is best known as the creator of the virtual world Second Life. Within Second Life, his avatar is known as Philip Linden.
    • Philip Rosedale was born September 29, 1968 in San Diego
    • His mom was an English teacher and his dad was a navy carrier pilot.
    • Rosedale was a left-handed, creative kid who wanted to know how things worked.
    • He’d take on electronics projects, like building a music synthesizer.
    • In middle school, his parents bought him an Apple IIe, and he was euphoric.
    • He made trees growing on screen and realized he could could simulate nature.
    • He started his own company selling database systems to small businesses at 17, used the proceeds to fund his college education and ultimately earned a bachelor of science degree in physics from the University of California at San Diego.
    • In 1995 he moved to San Francisco and started an innovative Internet video conferencing product (called "FreeVue"), which was later acquired by RealNetworks.
    • In 1996, he was promoted to VP and Chief Technology Officer for RealNetworks.
    • Around the same time, Neal Stephenson’s science-fiction classic Snow Crash was published. It described two worlds: the real world and a global online Metaverse.
    • Rosedale’s wife bought him the book, and he was inspired.
    • He thought the Metaverse was going to happen but not until technology advanced.
    • In 1999. Nvidia released its GeForce2 card, representing a significant advance.
    • That same year Rosedale attended Burning Man, which he thought was the template for an online world — a place where people could be whatever they wanted to be.
    • In 1999, Rosedale left RealNetworks and with money from selling FreeVue and some from Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus), Rosedale started Linden Lab, named for the street where the company first had its offices in Hayes Valley.
    • In addition to Kapor, the company was ultimately backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar
    • Most see Second Life as an alternate existence, built by its residents that strives to be better than the physical world. It has its own economy with Linden dollars.
    • More importantly Second Life as a better, people-centric way to navigate the Net.
    • Internet users might go to Amazon through Second Life instead of through a browser, walking into the Amazon store and interacting with shoppers and clerks.
    • It might be a leap like when the Mosaic browser first brought graphics to the Internet.
    • Former Virginia governor Mark Warner, when he thought he might be running for president, made Second Life’s first political whistle-stop as an avatar of himself.
    • IBM is using Second Life as a way to hold meetings — avatars around a conference table with people in different parts of the world. Better than teleconferencing.
    • Philip Rosedale is remaking the Internet according to his vision.
    • On March 14, 2008, Rosedale announced he will be stepping down as the CEO of Linden Lab, and assuming the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors
    •  In October 2009, Rosedale announced his new project, the LoveMachine, Inc.
    • In June 2010, he announced that he is back to the office as CEO of Linden Lab.
    • Rosedale has opened up more of the source code behind Second Life, allowing users to modify and plug other sites and software into the site.
  • The Love Machine
    • Web Address: http://www.lovemachineinc.com/lovemachine.php
    • What is it?
      • Crowd–sourced review and bonus system
      • Eliminate 90% of management time spent on reviewing performance
      • Greatly increase morale
      • Evaluate employees more accurately
      • Know much more about what your company is actually doing
    • How It Works
      • All employees, using email or a webpage, can send short messages recognizing anyone else for any reason
      • Everyone can see the contents of all the messages, as well as various statistical summaries
      • Performance review consists of selecting those messages from others that you feel best represent you
      • Employees are empowered to give away a bonus pool to each other, using an audited but anonymous process
    • Why it works
      • The basic unit of review (‘love’) can be collected in less than 10 seconds and is fun to do
      • The collective opinion of everyone is the highest quality review of a person
      • The absence of positive feedback is a more effective critique of performance than any constructive/negative feedback people will ever be willing to give.
      • Empowering employees to evaluate and bonus each other creates a culture of trust with far greater benefits than risks
    • Interesting employment policy too
      • We are also a different kind of company.
      • Instead of interviewing to work here, you just get to work.
      • If you’d like to join our team, first sign up at the worklist, where you can see and bid on the jobs we need done, then enter our live workroom and talk to other team members!
      • Our first products are also now available for beta users. We’d be happy to come and help you improve your own company’s culture and productivity.
  • String Theory — Breakthrough or Cruel Hoax?
    • String Theory debate Wednesday, March 28, 2007
      • Hosted by Smithsonian Institute and Department of Energy
      • Brian Greene, String Theorist, author The Elegant Universe
      • Lawrence Kraus, Elementary Particle Physicist, author of Hiding in the Mirror : The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions, from Plato to String Theory and Beyond. Also wrote The Physics of Star Trek and Beyond Star Trek
      • The entire Baird Auditorium was sold out
    • String theory is an attempt to unify the two pillars of modern science: Quantum Mechanics (the very small) and General Relativity (the very large).
    • String theory proposes that all elementary particles are are made of tiny, vibrating strings of energy.
    • String theory requires the existence of six (or seven) extra spatial dimensions, "hidden" dimensions curled in tiny geometric shapes at every single point in our universe.
    • Each universe or reality is actually a ten dimensional membrane (or brane) within an eleven dimensional world
    • According to string theory mathematics, the extra dimensions could adopt any of tens of thousands of possible shapes, each shape theoretically corresponding to its own universe with its own set of physical laws.
    • The question remains: how are the extra dimensions folded?
    • Arguments in favor of theory
      • Only theory that currently embraces both Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity
      • Actually predicted gravity
      • Experimental verification possible, but difficult
    • Three possible ways to experimentally verify the theory
      • Distribution of background radiation created by the Big Bang.
        • Planck satellite to be launched by EU should be sensitive enough to measure this.
        • The shapes of extra dimensions can be "seen" by deciphering their influence on cosmic energy released by the violent birth of the universe over13 billion years ago
      • Observation of harmonics when atoms collide in atom smashers.
        • Hopes that the Large Hadron collider at CERN will do it
        • Looking harmonic frequencies of the basic string resonance frequency as indirect proof of strings
      • Energy leakage when atoms collide
        • Energy lost is caused by presence of additional dimensions.
        • Based on the fact that total energy must be conserve
    • Arguments against theory
      • Never experimentally verified
      • No actual quantifiable predictions yet and probably never
      • Extra dimensions are not natural and actually a fudge factor
      • Still not proven after 37 years
    • For those who are interested in String Theory
  • Getting a Job without Experience – The Chicken and the Egg
    • We are going to start a career section that addresses the age old problem: "I can’t get a job without experience and I can’t get experience without a job." So what comes first: The Job or the Experience? This is the classic chicken and egg problem. What comes first: The Chicken or the Egg?
    • First understand where the field is going by reading industry magazines or "rags." Most of these publications are free and give you something interesting to talk about during the interview.
    • Second, get the competencies demanded by the industry, either through self-study or through an educational institution, like Stratford University.
    • Third, learn the standards and procedures that support your industry in order to demonstrate that you will be in a position to make valid technical decisions.
    • Fourth, package yourself with a well written resume that emphasizes where you are going rather than where you have been (particularly if you are making a radical career change).
    • Fifth, network by joining user groups and trade associations (and don’t make the mistake of asking for a job at these meetings!). You will uncover opportunities and make many friends through this process.
    • Finally, survey employers to find out where they are going. Research each firm you visit and send thank you notes after you the complete informational interview. This process normally leads to a "lucky" discovery. Remember, you can’t find a gold coin in the grass unless you are walking around the lawn.
    • And, if you are a woman, don’t forget to tap the Women in IT support groups. They are excellent.