Email and Forum Questions Profiles in IT: William Sterling Boyle and George Elwood Smith MS has Recovered Sidekick Data Google Postini Customers Angry Over Outage BlackBerry's New Storm Reviewed Android May Overtake iPhone by 2012 Website of the Week: Pandora Security and Privacy Risks of Household Robots
Email from Dave: What is your advice when looking a new career or job? From Dave
Tech Talk Answers: 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 nearly 30 years ago.
My class with John Crystal
Identify you natural tendencies (tropisms)
Decide what you want to do.
Survey the industry to gather information.
My IT projects at home are a reflection of this approach.
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
Email from Hac: Dear Tech Talk. I listen every week to the show. I would like to get Internet radio on my stereo system. What are my options. Thanks, Hac from Bowie.
Tech Talk Answers: Fortunately, you have several options to choose from. Digital audio receivers let you enjoy a wide range of digital music from your PC or the Internet over the big speakers of your home stereo. These units connect to the Internet using either Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Most cannot handle DRM and won’t play your iTunes library from your PC.
Here are your options.
Logitech Squeezebox Duet — With its excellent iPod-like remote, the Logitech Squeezebox Duet is an ideal way to stream the full range of digital music–including files on your computer’s hard drive, premium subscription music services, and free Internet radio–to your living room stereo system. Price: $349.55 – $436.16
Sonos Bundle BU250 — An excellent touch-screen remote and equally usable iPhone remote app breathe new life into Sonos’ excellent multiroom digital-audio system. Price: $999.00.
Philips Streamium NP2500 — The Philips NP2500 offers many of the features available on more-expensive digital audio streamers for less money and has an attractive color display, but it’s hard to see from a distance and playback has some occasional hiccups. Price: $185.57 – $199.68.
Email from John: Dear Tech Talk, Can I print from my iPhone or iPod? John from Rockville
Tech Talk Answers: You can print pictures from your iPhone or iPod to any HP printer using the free app called HP iPrint Photo. Print drivers for documents are not free. The one that seems to be the best is Print and Share by EuroSmatz. It is $6.99 and can print
Profiles in IT: William Sterling Boyle and George Elwood Smith
William Sterling Boyle and George Elwood Smith are co-inventors of the charge-coupled device and shared half of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for “the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor.”
William Sterling Boyle was born August 19, 1924 in Amherst, Nova Scotia.
He was home schooled by his mother until age fourteen, when he attended Montreal’s Lower Canada College to complete his secondary education.
He joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1943 during World War II.
He earned his BS in 1947, MS in1948, PhD in 1950 from McGill University.
After receiving his doctorate Boyle spent one year at Canada’s Radiation Lab and two years teaching physics at the Royal Military College of Canada.
In 1953 Boyle joined Bell Labs where he invented the first continuously operating ruby laser with Don Nelson in 1962 and he was named on the first patent for a semiconductor injection laser.
He was made director of Space Science and Exploratory Studies at Bellcomm in 1962 providing support for the Apollo space program.
He returned to Bell Labs in 1964, working on integrated circuits.
Boyle was Executive Director of Research for Bell Labs from 1975 to 1979.
After retirement in 1979, he settled in Wallace, Nova Scotia, and helped launch an art gallery with his wife Betty, a landscape artist.
George Elwood Smith was born May 10, 1930 in White Plains, New York.
Smith served in the US Navy
He earned his BS at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1959 with a dissertation of only three pages, which he later described as "short, but pretty good."
He worked at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ from 1959 to his retirement in 1986, where he led research into novel lasers and semiconductor devices.
During his tenure, Smith was awarded dozens of patents and eventually headed the VLSI device department.
Smith and Boyle sketched out the design for CCD device in an hour, over lunch at Bell Labs in October 1969. They had the device fabricated within two months.
The two were working on semiconductor integrated circuits, and Smith had been involved with trying to create an imaging chip for the Picturephone.
The idea is fairly simple. You start with a layer of silicon with an oxide (insulator) at the surface.
Atop the oxide, add an array of metal electrodes as gates, creating capacitors that can store charge.
When a photon strikes the silicon, it creates an electron-hole pair, and the electron moves toward an electrode into the well.
Electrons accumulate in the interface between the silicon and the oxide.
When you apply a sequence of high and low voltages to adjacent gates, the electrons move from one gate to the next, forming a electron bucket brigade.
At the edge of the chip, the charge can be converted to voltage and digitized.
Both Boyle and Smith were avid sailors who took many trips together. After retirement Smith sailed around the world with his wife, Janet, for five years.
Link to 1978 video: http://www2.alcatel-lucent.com/blog/tag/nobel-prize/
MS has Recovered Sidekick Data
Sidekick customers in the U.S. will have "most, if not all" of their personal data recovered
Owners of the Sidekick cellphone lost their personal data, including contact and calendar information, when the servers storing the data crashed.
"We have determined that the outage was caused by a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the backup," said Roz Ho of Microsoft.
The smartphones, made by Microsoft subsidiary Danger Inc., were sold by T-Mobile in the U.S.
Although it’s not clear how many customers were affected by the server outage, T-Mobile’s financial statements suggest there are about a million Sidekicks in operation.
"We now believe that data loss affected a minority of Sidekick users," said Ho.
The Sidekick, launched in 2002, was an early entry in the smartphone market, featuring a large QWERTY keyboard for text messaging and instant messaging.
Its remote storage feature was considered innovative at the time — if the phone were lost, the customer’s data could be downloaded to a new handset. However, the Sidekick didn’t allow users to easily make backups of its data on a computer.
T-Mobile offered customers affected by the server crash a $100 credit for products and services, as well as a $20 refund for one month of data usage.
Some users have filed lawsuits against T-Mobile and Microsoft alleging negligence and false claims regarding the safety of their data.
Google Postini Customers Angry Over Outage
Google’s Postini message security and archiving service experienced significant e-mail delivery problems on Wednesday leading to complaints from business customers using Postini.
The day-long outage prompted pages of complaints on the Postini Help Forum, mainly focused on the lack of communication about the problem.
As a user identified as "Ajax517" put it, "This is shaping up to be a big FAIL on Postini’s customer service side."
A user identified as "jcinfargo" offered a similar assessment: "I talked to one reseller yesterday that also uses Postini and he said he has a law firm client that needed an e-mail for their client’s trial yesterday that they did not get. This is an epic fail on Google/Postini."
The service disruption also turned into an opportunity for competitors, with some users suggesting alternative business e-mail services.
A representative from one of those services even joined in the discussion, to present an engineering viewpoint and not to make a sales pitch, he insisted.
On Tuesday evening, a Google spokesperson said, "We’re aware of an issue that’s causing a delay in mail delivery for some Postini customers, and are working to fix it as quickly as possible. Outbound mail is fully functional, but inbound mail has been flowing at a reduced rate for affected users."
On Wednesday morning, at 1:49 AM Pacific Time, a Google engineer the situation had been resolved and that mail delivery rates had returned to normal. The posting states that while e-mail was delayed, "no messages were bounced or deleted."
As per the pattern in outages of this sort, there was an apology and a promise to post within 48 hours an incident report and a list of corrective actions to prevent a repeat of the problem.
BlackBerry’s New Storm Reviewed
BlackBerry’s first Storm met with mixed reviews.
I offered a screen that was not very responsive and sluggish operating speeds.
BlackBerry seems to have addressed many of these problems with the Storm 2, which goes on sale in the UK on October 26.
The new machine is slimmer and trimmer than the old design.
The touch-screen QWERTY keyboard is much improved, too, allowing for simultaneous double-touching for speed typing.
And it has Wi-Fi, a much needed addition.
Add to this the push e-mail and unrivalled security features that makes BlackBerry the default choice for industry worldwide.
This BlackBerry phone now includes as standard applications (Twitter, Facebook and apps to play video and music content)
The iPhone apart, this week alone, Sony-Ericsson has unveiled the Satio, its all-touch multimedia mobile smartphone, which features a 12.1 megapixel camera and a high-resolution screen, while HTC gave us the super-cute Tattoo, the latest smartphone to use the freely available Android touch-screen interface developed by Google.
The core market for the Storm 2 remains the business user, backed by an IT department running Microsoft Exchange.
Android May Overtake iPhone by 2012
Google’s Android will have more than quadrupled its market share by the end of 2012, according to Gartner has claimed.
Android’s market share stood at 1.6 per cent during Q1 2009, but will grow to 14.5 per cent by Q4 2012 rolls around, Gartner forecast.
This is based on an 522m smartphones shipping worldwide during the period.
Android will move from its current position as the sixth most popular operating system for smartphones to become the second most popular, Gartner said.
The main reason for Android’s market share growth will be because Google licenses their OS to multiple OEMs
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS is currently the second most popular handset OS will slip to fifth place by Q4 2012.
Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you’ll love.
It’s powered by the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken, the Music Genome Project: a project started back in early 2000 to capture the complex musical DNA of songs using a large team of highly-trained musicians.
Just provide one of your favorite songs or artists and Pandora will launch a streaming station to explore that part of the musical universe.
Pandora free provides up to 40 hours of music per month. It is paid through advertising revenue.
Pandora One provides unlimited music each month. It streams at 192 kbps for high quality sound.
Security and Privacy Risks of Household Robots
Researchers from Univ. of Washington reported hacking results for household robots.
Results were reported at the 11th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, September 30th — October 3rd 2009
They studied examples of today’s robots in order to understand challenges for future household robots.
Robots could include webcam, microphones, and wireless Internet access.
They studied RoboSapien V2, the Rovio, and the Spykee.
The robots that we studied were purchased during or before October 2008.
They found several vulnerabilities in the robots that we studied:
Usernames and passwords used to access and control the robots are not encrypted, except in the case of the Spykee, which only encrypts them when sent over the Internet.
A malicious person could potentially intercept these to gain control of and access to the robots.
The audio-visual streams are not encrypted, except in the case of the Spykee, which only encrypts them when sent over the Internet.
When the Spykee uses encryption, it does so in a manner that may allow an attacker to decrypt the information (by performing a man-in-the-middle attack).
The Rovio’s audio-visual stream is never password-protected, even if the robot is configured to require a password.
When the network supports it, the Spykee can be accessed remotely, even if the "remote access" mode is disabled.
The Rovio has no way of disabling remote access.
The Spykee’s connection notification sound can be disabled by an attacker immediately muting the robot upon connecting.
The Spykee remains connected to the Internet whenever it is on its base, even if switched off.
These vulnerabilities mean that someone might be able to drive your robot around your home, look around the house, listen in on conversations.