Email and Forum Profiles in IT: Philip R. Zimmermann Geek or Nerd? Password Management iPhone is More Expensive Than You Think Apple Limits Sales of iPhones Geek is Sheek Webcomic for Geeks Inventor of Cntl-Alt-Del Wal-Mart's $199 Linux Computer ? First Reviews Are In Google's Enters Cell Phone Race
Email from John: Dear Dr. Shurtz. I want to get into IT and don’t know how to begin. What should I learn? How should I get a job? Do I need a degree? John
Tech Talk Answers: Get a good grounding in the basics (programming, infrastructure, protocols, and standards). Work on projects that you enjoy (database project, web page, firewall). You must have a passion for some aspect of technology. Join user groups and participate. Read the industry rags. A degree is essential for employment. Bachelors required, Masters desired. Certifications help, but completion of actual projects at home or at school is more impressive.
Profiles in IT: Philip R. Zimmermann
He is creator of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), the most widely used email encryption software in the world. He is also known for his work in VoIP encryption protocols.
Philip R. "Phil" Zimmermann Jr. was born February 12, 1954
He was born in Camden, New Jersey. His father was a concrete mixer truck driver.
He received a B.S. degree in computer science from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in 1978.
He was one of the first to make asymmetric or public key, encryption software readily available to the general public.
He released the source code to PGP, and shortly thereafter, it became available overseas via the Internet, though Zimmermann has said he had no part in its distribution outside the US.
After a report from RSA Data Security, Inc., who were in a licensing dispute with regard to use of the RSA algorithm in PGP, the Customs Service started a criminal investigation of Zimmermann, for allegedly violating the Arms Export Control Act.
The US Government has long regarded cryptographic software as a munition, and thus subject to arms trafficking export controls.
At that time, the boundary between permitted ("low strength") cryptography and impermissible ("high strength") cryptography placed PGP well on the too-strong-to-export side (this boundary has since been relaxed).
The investigation lasted three years, but was finally dropped without filing charges.
After the government dropped its case without indictment in early 1996, Zimmermann founded PGP Inc. and released an updated version of PGP and some additional related products.
That company was acquired by Network Associates (NAI) in December 1997, and Zimmermann stayed on for three years as a Senior Fellow. NAI decided to drop the product line and in 2002, PGP was acquired from NAI by a new company called PGP Corporation. Zimmermann now serves as a special advisor and consultant to that firm.
Zimmermann is also a fellow at the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. He was a principal designer of the cryptographic key agreement protocol (the "association model") for the Wireless USB standard.
In the very first version of PGP, an encryption algorithm was given the humorous name BassOmatic (after a skit on Saturday Night Live) and Pretty Good Privacy itself is named after a Lake Wobegon fictional grocery store named Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery.
Are you a geek, or are you a nerd? Here’s your chance to find out.
There are many confused lay people out there in today’s modern world who are unhappily unaware of the difference between geeks and nerds.
Even more sadly, there are also many geeks and nerds who do not know of the true nature of their own stereotype.
Geek: A person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media. Comparable with the classic definition of hacker. Formerly referred to a wild circus performer who bit off the heads of live chickens, snakes, or bats.
Nerd: Nerd is a term often bearing a derogatory connotation or stereotype, that refers to a person who passionately pursues intellectual activities or esoteric knowledge rather than engaging in more social activities, such as organized sports.
Geek is a subset of nerd.
All geeks are nerds
All nerds are not geeks
A password manager is software that helps a user organize passwords and PIN codes.
The software typically has a local database or files that holds the encrypted password data.
Many password managers also work as a form filler, thus they fill the user and password data automatically into forms. Some have password generator capabilities.
Disadvantage is that a compromised master password would render all stored passwords unusable.
Advantage is that only one password needs to be remembered.
Password Safe runs on PCs under Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP).
iPhone is More Expensive Than You Think
It’s an open secret that Apple and AT&T struck a revenue-sharing agreement before the launch of the iPhone, with AT&T paying part of its monthly subscription fees to Apple for every iPhone activated through the network.
But no one knows exactly what that number is, although analysts have made guesses all over the map. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said back in July that he believed AT&T was paying $3 per month per iPhone customer to Apple and $11 per month for new customers.
In a new research report issued this week, Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray analyst, said that he now believes AT&T is paying Apple $18 per month per iPhone customer.
This totals up to $432 per subscriber over a two-year contract.
Now that iPhones are going for a mere $399, that means Apple makes more on its service contract with AT&T than its margins on hardware sales.
Note that Citibank analyst Richard Gardner told Silicon Alley Insider that he estimated the payments were closer to $12 per month per subscriber.
Munster expects Apple to top out at 3.4 million in iPhone sales by the end of 2007 and 12.9 million in 2008.
Apple Limits Sales of iPhones
Effective October 24th, there is a limit of 2 iPhone purchases per person.
No cash, no checks.
Apple is checking transaction histories on individuals, to insure that they are not violating the 2 per customer limits.
Apple’s manufacturing capacity is probably still only about 500,000 iPhones a month and they don’t want to run out of inventory entering the Christmas season.
Apple can’t do that if it runs out of iPhone stock during the holiday season and disappoints those same consumers.
Apple is just trying to make the most sales to real customers and not hackers who will resell unlocked phones.
Real customers who will generate additional carrier revenue payments and might later become repeat customers.
About 15% of iPhones are unlocked through hacking. That amounts to $30 million in lost revenue for prior sales and $35 million in lost revenue for next quarter’s sales.
Xkcd, a webcomic peopled with lovestruck stick figures, revels in the human side of geekdom.
Billed as "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language," it’s a peculiar blend of whimsy, programming language and speculation about relationships.
"Xkcd" isn’t an acronym, but in some ways, the comic is itself a language — a way for people who are unpracticed at talking about their emotions to articulate them.
Creator: Randall Munroe
Munroe is a CNU graduate with a degree in physics. Before starting xkcd, he worked on robots at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. As of June 2007 he lives in Massachusetts.
He was going through old math/sketching graph paper notebooks and didn’t want to lose some of the work in them, so he started scanning pages. He took the funniest ones and put them up on a server he was testing out, and got a bunch of readers when BoingBoing linked to him. He started drawing seriously, gained a lot more readers, started selling t-shirts on the site, and is currently shipping t-shirts and drawing this comic full-time.
Inventor of Cntl-Alt-Del
David J. Bradley (born 1949) was one of the twelve engineers who worked on the original IBM PC, developing the computer’s ROM BIOS code.
He is most famous for inventing the "Control-Alt-Delete" (also known as three-finger salute) key combination that was used to reboot the computer.
Bradley did not intend Control-Alt-Delete to be used by end users ? it was meant to be used by people writing programs or documentation, so that they could reboot their computers without powering them down.
Bradley chose this key combination because it is practically impossible to accidentally press this combination of keys on a standard keyboard.
David Bradely, the inventor of CTRL-ALT-DEL was talking about why he created it during a panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC which included Bill Gates.
Mr. Bradely said, ‘I may have invented CTRL-ALT-DEL, but Bill Gates made it famous,‘ which just about brought the house down.
The funniest part is the expression, or lack thereof, on the face of Bill. He wasn’t too pleased, not even when Bradely said, ‘I was talking about the Windows NT login.’
Wal-Mart’s $199 Linux Computer ? First Reviews Are In
Last week, Wal-Mart began selling a $199 Linux-based PC from a little-known firm called Everex.
The machine is dubbed the gPC TC2502, and it includes a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM, an 80GB hard drive, a customized version of Ubuntu Linux 7.10, and no monitor.
The deal may seem dubious at first glance, but the folks at Wired have actually sat down and reviewed the machine, and they mostly have good things to say.
According to Wired, the gPC TC2502’s dinky hardware is enough to provide a responsive experience in Everex’s Ubuntu-based gOS.
Wired calls the user interface "unexpectedly snappy" and says the system manages to keep up with GIMP, OpenOffice, a media player, and a multi-tab Firefox session running simultaneously.
There’s nothing to report from a stability standpoint, either, and Wired points out that users who purchase the system won’t have to worry about viruses or spyware.
Of course, the machine isn’t perfect: the gPC reportedly doesn’t work with dial-up Internet and its screen fonts "don’t look too great.
" Nonetheless, Wired believes these are "minor annoyances" and that the gPC "looks like a fantastic deal" for users who only use their PC for basic tasks.
Google’s Enters Cell Phone Race
Last week Google announced it Android cell phone platform.