Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

February 29, 2008  1:56 PM

Overheard: If it isn’t documented, it wasn’t done

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mikie_mcginnes_sm.jpg The validation consultant’s role could be to develop requirements documents and a compliance validation plan for the client. We’d also arrange for user training, coordinate the installation and testing of the system, and write a validation summary report when the testing is complete. It’s an extremely formalized process for “kicking the tires.”

Mikie McGinnes, QA Edge Inc.

I had an interesting email exchange with Mikie McGinnes this week (pictured with her dog Chloe). She has an IT-related job I didn’t even know existed. Mikie is a validation consultant. And she loves her job!

Sometimes when you work in IT, it’s tough to explain to outsiders what exactly it is that you do for a living. Well, Mikie’s the one you call when your company needs to figure out how to prove it’s being compliant.

We need to add a definition for compliance validation to WhatIs.com. Mikie said:

When regulated industries install or change any equipment that impacts the identity, strength, or quality of their products, their regulatory agency requires that the company collect documented evidence to show that the equipment or process is operating as intended, that it produces the expected results (or product), and that the equipment or process will continue to operate as intended in the future. This “collection of documented evidence” is the validation.

February 28, 2008  3:10 AM

Overheard: Wikileaks and the Streisand effect

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mike-masnick.jpg It’s a perfect example of the Streisand effect. This was a really small thing that no one heard about and now it’s everywhere and everyone’s talking about it.

Mike Masnick as quoted in Wikileaks Case Due Back in Court

Techdirt’s Mike Masnick invented the term “Streisand effect” after actress Barbra Streisand went to court to try and have satellite photos of her Malibu house taken down from an Internet website. The press surrounding her lawsuit actually helped spread the photos faster.

If you belong to Facebook, we have a group there called I want to invent a new tech word. Join us!

February 28, 2008  2:30 AM

Overheard: Using caller ID spoofing to listen to someone else’s voicemail

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
rick_fiore.gif Another problem that has arisen with Caller ID Spoofing is when a voicemail service uses only CID to authenticate a mailbox holder and does not ask for the pin. You can actually get in and listen to messages on someone else’s account. I have seen it done with a mobile phone’s voicemail account on a prepaid phone from Cingular (now AT&T).

Rick Fiore, IT manager

February 27, 2008  9:23 PM

Overheard: Presidential Directive 54

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
andrewgreenberg.jpg After Pentagon officials revealed that cyber-spies had penetrated government servers in June 2007 and stolen untold amounts of sensitive data, government security agencies have tightened security of sensitive federal data.

Andy Greenberg, Bush’s Double-Edged Cyber-Security Plan

In March, the House Committee on Homeland Security plans to hold public hearings on Presidential Directive 54, a project that will expand cyber-monitoring of all federal agencies’ networks. That’s right. We’re already up to PD 54.
According to Mr. Greenbert’s article (above) Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Laura Keehner says the $30 billion monitoring program will be concentrated on the federal networks, although it “will work with the private sector to harden their security.”

When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein describing how the NSA had him installing a dumb splitter to capture communications. So the spokespeople are saying “we’re only monitoring this part” but the technicians installing the monitoring equipment are saying “the stuff we’re using isn’t sophisticated enough to monitor specific communications — we gotta grab it all.”

There’s some kind of irony here. We end up with Big Brother watching and listening to everything we do because our technology isn’t smart enough to be Little Brother.

February 27, 2008  8:38 PM

Overheard: Terrorists and criminals in Second Life?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
secondlife_sm.gif US intelligence officials are growing increasingly wary of Second Life and other virtual worlds, which they say could soon become havens for terrorists, money-launderers and criminals engaged in corporate espionage.

Dan Goodin, US spooks see Sadville as potential terrorist paradise

Ok, I can understand how SL might be used by criminals. Money laundering makes sense to me. But corporate espionage? How would that work?

February 27, 2008  1:42 AM

Video: Vint Cerf talks about Net neutrality

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/-QMEf3FfuoI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Net neutrality is the principle that data packets on the Internet should be moved impartially, without regard to content, destination or source.

February 27, 2008  1:19 AM

Video: TCP/IP

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

 [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/RbY8Hb6abbg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

An animated explanation about how data is moved around on the Internet.

February 26, 2008  1:07 PM

Video: Using your PC as a phone

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/CJo0RVdNIMU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

February 25, 2008  6:47 PM

Overheard: ISPs are not the Internet police

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
richard_wray.jpg The industry’s trade body, the ISPA, has spent months in discussions with music and movie companies about ways of preventing illegal filesharing, but buoyed by recent success in France, the major record labels and Hollywood studios have lobbied the government hard for faster action.

Richard Wray, Filesharing law ‘unworkable’

If you asked yourself “What recent success in France?” like I did, here you go.  Short version? There are less than a dozen ISPs in France. All the stakeholders got together and agreed that service providers in France will issue warning messages to customers who are downloading files illegally — and if the customer ignores the message, he loses Internet access.  An independent authority, supervised by a judge, will be in charge.  

February 25, 2008  6:00 PM

Overheard: Flow control

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
larry_roberts.jpg The price of memory has decreased to the point where it is now possible to maintain flow state at the input port rather than trying to control flows at the output queue.

Larry Roberts as quoted in Jim Duffy’s article ‘Net pioneer Roberts touts ‘Fast Flow Routing’

 Larry Roberts is one of the designers and developers of the ARPANET. He also founded Anagran, a company that sells the Anagran FR-1000 Flow Router.  The list price for the FR-1000 is $70,000.

According to the Anagran website:

Conventional wisdom for the past 40 years had concluded that while potentially enormously powerful, flow technology was too expensive to implement in a commercial product due to the amount of memory required to maintain state information on every flow. However, the steep and rapid decline in memory cost over the past decade has actually made keeping flow state virtually insignificant from a cost standpoint. In fact, flow technology is not just feasible, but is now an extremely cost-effective and efficient way to optimize flows.

Had to look it up: A flow is a single meaningful end-to-end activity over the network.

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