Show of 5-22-2010

  • Email and Forum Questions
    • Email from James: Dr. Shurtz, why don’t you do a profile about the inventor(s) of WordPress. I’ve only recently begun to use WordPress and am learning what a powerful and widespread tool it is, and would like to hear more about it’s history and developers. My Best, James Messick, almostliveradio.net, Kernersville, NC
    • Thanks, great suggestion. We will do him this week.
    • Email from Arnie: Hi Dr. Shurtz, For a possible web site of the week, you may take a look at Wolframalpha.com. If you haven’t had it as a site previously. And as a physicist, tell us how to use this site for practical information. It’s confusing to me. Arnie McKechnie Davidsonville, MD
    • Tech Talk Answers: Good suggestion. This is a good site for specific information that has been prepared for review. It is particularly effective with scientific information. For instance, if you look up uranium you get a nice listing of facts. If you look up a name, you get an analysis of how many times that name has been used over time.
    • Email from Alicia: Dear Tech Talk, I am having trouble getting a strong enough signal from my wireless access point in the basement. My laptop is in the guest bedroom on the second floor. What are my options? Thanks, Alicia
    • Tech Talk Answers: You need an antenna to boost the signal. You can get a booster antenna for your wireless router. You must make certain that it matches the connector on your hub. Each 3 db doubles the signal-to-noise. A 6db antenna should do the trick. It will increase your SNR by a factor of 4. You may have to direct the side of the antenna toward your guest bedroom to make certain that you have maximum signal. I would download and install NetStumbler so you can measure the SNR directly. This will help with antenna placement. Antenna’s should be about $15.
  • Profiles in IT: Matthew Charles Mullenweg
    • Matthew Charles Mullenweg is the founding developer of WordPress, an open source blogging software program.
    • Matthew Charles Mullenweg was born January 11, 1984 in Houston, Texas.
    • Mullenweg attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he studied jazz saxophone.
    • In June 2002 Mullenweg started using the b2/cafelog blogging software to complement the photos he was taking on a trip to Washington D.C.
    • He contributed code regarding typographic entities and cleaner permalinks.
    • Several months after development of b2 had stopped, in January 2003, he announced on his blog his plan of forking the software to bring it up to date with web standards.
    • He was contacted by Mike Little and they started WordPress from the b2 codebase.
    • They were soon joined by original b2 developer Michel Valdrighi.
    • Mullenweg was only 19 old and a freshman at the University of Houston.
    • In 2003 he co-founded the Global Multimedia Protocols Group with two others.
    • In May 2004, Movable Type, the main WordPress, announced a price hike, which drove thousands to WordPress. This is regarded as the tipping point for WordPress.
    • In 2004, he was recruited by CNET to work on WordPress and help with blogs.
    • He dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco the following month.
    • Mullenweg and the WordPress team released WordPress 1.in February 2005, which had over 900,000 downloads. The release a new front end and back end redesign.
    • In October 2005 he announced he was leaving CNET to focus on WordPress.
    • Several days later, on October 25, Akismet was made public to the world. Akismet is a distributed effort to stop comment and trackback spam by using the collective input.
    • In November 2005, WordPress.com stopped being invite-only and opened to anyone.
    • In December 2005 he announced Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and Akismet. Automattic employed people who had contributed to the WordPress.
    • Mullenweg was motivated by a desire to create a company that could combine open source software development with the economic interests of shareholders.
    • In January 2006 Mullenweg recruited former Oddpost CEO and Yahoo! executive Toni Schneider to join Automattic as CEO, bringing the size of the company to 5.
    • In 2006, Automattic raised approximately 1.1 million dollars in funding. Investors were Polaris Ventures, True Ventures, Radar Partners, and CNET.
    • The first WordCamp conference in July 2006, attracting over 300 people.
    • In October 2007 Mullenweg acquired the Gravatar service and was rumored to have turned down a US$200 million offer to buy his company Automattic.
    • In 2008 Automattic raised an additional US$29.5 million from Polaris Venture Partners, True Ventures, Radar Partners, and the New York Times Company
    • At the time the company had 18 employees.
    • WordPress.com was ranked #3 on Alexa with 90 million monthly page views.
    • September 2008 brought more press coverage with Mullenweg being named to the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 by Inc. Magazine.
    • In January 2009 Mullenweg told USA Today that Automattic was profitable, had 35 employees and had landed CNN as a client for WordPress.com.
  • Artificial Life Created
    • The life form dubbed “synthia” is a simple bacterium that researchers successfully created from scratch using a unique DNA code created in the lab.
    • The science team headed by Dr. Craig Venter hopes that in the near future “bacterial factories” will be built to develop “useful” bacteria that can do anything from absorb greenhouse gases, produce clean bio fuels, or create new cutting edge medicines.
    • "This is the first self-replicating species that we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer," Venter told reporters.
    • His synthetic bacteria cells are the first organisms since life emerged billions of years ago that don’t have a living ancestor.
    • Venter’s microbe is now locked away in a freezer in Maryland.
    • T recipe for its life-giving DNA sequence, and the techniques used to bring it to life, are now part of the growing collection
    • The breakthrough, which took 15 years and $40million dollars to achieve, opens a number ethical questions, including concerns that researchers are playing God, tampering with the very essence of life.
    • There are two debates going on here.
    • Is it ethical to create artificial life in the first place
    • If so, how far science should be allowed to go.
  • Facebook Responds to Critics
    • After a month of bad publicity, Facebook is planning to announce features for simpler privacy choices.
    • Web site, which has been criticized by privacy activists and slammed by some members of Congress.
    • The flap has spawned clever interactive graphics showing how Facebook has gradually exposed more user data, tools to fix your privacy settings.
    • Rreports of internal discord among employees who may fear that the negative attention would jeopardize an IPO,
    • A Facebook spokesman on Friday confirmed that the changes will arrive "shortly," without elaborating.
    • While the recent focus on Facebook started with its announcements in late April at the F8 developers conference, which included deeper connections with partners.
    • No wonder you’re starting to see tips–including a CNET FAQ we published earlier Friday–on how to irrevocably delete your Facebook account
    • The new controls, which could arrive as early as next week, will feature simpler and easier-to-use controls for users who care about them, while continuing to offer granular controls for those who want them as well.
  • Website of the Week: Wolfram|Alpha
    • Web address: http://www.wolframalpha.com/
    • Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone.
    • They seek to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.
    • Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.
    • Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels.
    • As of now, Wolfram|Alpha contains 10+ trillion pieces of data, 50,000+ types of algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for 1000+ domains.
    • Built with Mathematica—which is itself the result of more than 20 years of development at Wolfram Research.
    • Wolfram|Alpha’s core code base now exceeds 5 million lines of symbolic Mathematica code.
  • Google rolls out ‘the future of television’
    • Saying it will "change the future of television.
    • Google rolled out Google TV – the internet giant’s venture into web-TV integration.
    • The application, run by Google’s Android operating system, lets users search for content from their television, DVR and the web.
    • The platform will let users search for content, from the name of a TV show to the name of a network, in much the same way a Google search works. They’ll get results from TV and the web and be able to watch either on their TV screen.
    • According to Google, "Videos should be consumed on the biggest, best, brightest screen in your house…..your TV.
  • Pac Man Celebrates 30th Birthday
    • Google makes a doodle with sound and action
    • Pac Man first released May 22, 1980 in Japan.
    • Google has created an entire 256-level playable version of the game – and they are leaving it up for the entire weekend!
  • Android 2.2 Froyo May Finally Outdo Apple’s iPhone
    • Google’s Froyo, or Android 2.2, offers so much that analysts think it may finally overtake Apple’s iPhone.
    • The seventh update to the Android platform is full of new features and functions and offers new tools to encourage developers to build apps for Android-powered handsets.
    • One of the most notable new features of Android 2.2. is its speed. In benchmark testing, the new technology delivered between a two to five times performance improvement compared to Android 2.1.
    • On the browsing front, Google integrated the V8 JavaScript engine, which offers two to three times the browsing speed of Android 2.1
    • Enterprise users will also find something to cheer about with Android 2.2. Google added Exchange capabilities, including account auto-discovery and calendar sync.
    •  What’s more, device policy-management APIs set the stage for developers to write applications that can control security features of the device such as the remote wipe, minimum password, and lock screen timeout.
    • Google thinks data backup APIs are important so users can restore an application’s last data if they install them on a new device or even reset the device to manufacturer settings.
    • With the backup APIs, apps can tap into Android Cloud to Device Messaging to set up mobile alerts, send to phone and two-way push sync functions, and also decide whether the app should be installed on internal memory or an SD card.