Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

October 30, 2008  6:44 PM

Overheard: Killing zombies in the LAN of the Dead

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
zombieadc2.jpg Before a zombie hunter can kill some zombies he has to find them. In the movies the hero can listen for low sorrowful moans or slow shuffling feet to track them down, or just look for the carnage of half eaten people. On your network you can look for similar signs of the undead so you can blast them to oblivion.

Adrian Duane Crenshaw, LAN of the Dead: Putting computer zombies back in their grave, Ash style

Unlike a lot of bloggers who write about zombie armies, Adrian doesn’t just scare you — he actually tells you how to hunt down zombies on your network and and kill them.  Recommended reading.

Today’s word is zombie army

October 30, 2008  3:37 PM

Overheard: Botnets and online poker

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
poker_cards.jpg There are myriad ways hackers can cash out once they have obtained stolen bank accounts or credit card details…One way is to find a partner and create two accounts on an online poker site, loading up one of the accounts with cash from a stolen card. The pair then enter a heads-up game and the cashed-up player purposely loses, making the other account rich. They then cash out and split the profits.

Asher Moses, Inside the hackers’ den

Hunched over a computer terminal in his pyjamas, “Frank” makes more money than a small-time drug dealer without ever having to worry about being caught or even leaving the house.

October 30, 2008  11:52 AM

Overheard: Kicking the Unified Communication tires

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ellen-daley2.gif The interest in Unified Communication seems to be driven by an enhanced focus on increasing productivity during the current economic downturn.

Ellen Daley as quoted in Unified communications’ business value cloudy, but enterprises want it

“We saw a 20% to 21% jump in enterprise interest in unified communications, but purchases and deployments have not really grown since last year,” Daley said. “There’s a lot more interest in unified communications — kicking of tires — but that hasn’t translated into people buying.”

Only 11% of 184 companies surveyed by Forrester said they had deployed UC, and just 16% said they were rolling it out this year. However, 57% said they are evaluating or piloting it.

Today’s word is communication portal. It’s another fuzzy marketing buzzword.

October 28, 2008  2:15 PM

Overheard: AJAX, ARAX, APAX, APhpAX, etc.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
ben-galbraith-bw.jpg If this [ARAX] is about using Silverlight to host client-side browser scripting in Ruby, it’s definitely an appealing notion, but the problem will always be about Silverlight being a Microsoft technology.

Ben Galbraith, as quoted in  Johnson: Wrapping JavaScript in a loving Ruby embrace, and ARAX

 From InfoWorld:

Today, it is common for developers to use JavaScript in the browser. But with Microsoft’s planned release of Silverlight 2 later this year, developers could begin using Python and Ruby on the client as well. Ruby and Python already are being used for server-side development.

“What we’ve done through Silverlight is to make it possible to use Ruby or Python as an alternative to JavaScript for building the same types of applications,” said Brian Goldfarb, group manager for Microsoft’s developer division.  Developers could write code for Silverlight that is executed in the browser.

“All the browser needs to have is Silverlight installed and then developers can take advantage of these languages,” on the client, he said. Silverlight provides rich experiences with capabilities like video and graphics, Goldfarb said. It is viewed as rival to the Adobe Flash platform.

I can hardly keep these straight, although I’m thankful the names are so logical!

AJAXasynchronous JavaScript and XML

ARAX – asynchronous Ruby and XML

APAX –  asynchronous Python and XML

APhpAX – asynchronous PHP and XML

October 28, 2008  11:15 AM

Overheard: Overlay ads beat out pre-roll ads for viewer’s attention

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
neuro.jpg In a study released Thursday, Google and MediaVest used NeuroFocus findings to show that overlay ads appearing in YouTube videos grab consumers’ attention and boost brand awareness.

Mark Walsh, Google: This Is Your Brain On Advertising

With revenue from YouTube ads falling short of company expectations at an estimated $200 million this year–mostly from display ads–the pressure grows to find new ways to monetize the Web’s largest video site.

I had to look up overlay ad.  They’re semi-transparent overlays that cover the bottom fifth of the screen and then disappear after 10 seconds. If you click the ad, a pop-up with a full commercial plays right in the main player. At the end of the commercial — or when you click the close icon — the original clip resumes playing.  Overlay ads come in two flavors, video and plain text.  If marketers were observing my brain waves, they’d see that my emotional response to such an ad was favorable.  Unlike a pre-roll ad, you don’t have to sit through a commercial to see the content.

Today’s word is neuromarketing.

October 27, 2008  1:34 PM

Overheard: Who will be the first cabinet-level CTO?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
white-house.jpg A month or so ago the question of whether the next president should have a CTO came up in a work conversation among a diverse group of tech policy folks. We all agreed that the title is nice, but you would need to establish and delineate real power for it. Of course, the best way to do this would be to create a cabinet position for technology and innovation. People rolled their eyes at this until it was reminded to them that we do have a Secretary of Agriculture.

Sean Garrett, The Case for a National CTO

It’s about time the White House acknowledged that we’ve moved from the agrarian age to the information age.  Having a national CTO is a great idea — I bet that we could learn a lot about pitfalls from going back and learning how the position of Secretary of Agriculture came about. First, we’ll need to define what a CTO’s responsibilities are. (At some companies right now, the CTO reports to the CIO — at others, the CIO reports to the CTO.) Then we’ll need to decide whether the CTO should actually have experience in technology or whether he/she should come from business.

From Wikipedia:

On May 15, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a Commissioner without cabinet status.  Lincoln called it the “people’s department”. In the 1880s, varied special interest groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry. Farmers tried to raise the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House and Senate passed bills giving cabinet status to the Department of Agriculture and Labor, but farm interests objected to the addition of labor, and the bill was killed in conference. Finally, on February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law elevating the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level.

October 23, 2008  2:43 PM

Overheard: Is putting your anti-virus app in the cloud really a good idea?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
nathan_mcfeters.jpg Here’s the thing with cloud computing — it has awesome potential for good, but it’s really going to complicate some of our current thoughts on security as your company’s data gets thrown into a giant data gumbo with everyone else’s data.  I feel pretty confident that we’ll see a good amount of enterprising hackers enjoying that gumbo.

Nathan McFeters, AV in the cloud… wait, what?

October 22, 2008  7:06 PM

Overheard: Using disposable email accounts to see who’s selling your name

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
sharon-hurley-hall.jpg One good reason to use disposable email addresses is that it makes it easy to identify who has sold your details to spammers. If you use a unique address for each site you sign up with, then you will know instantly who to point the finger at. You will soon find out who can be trusted with your data – and who can’t.

Sharon Hurley Hall, Disposable Email Addresses

October 22, 2008  3:34 PM

Overheard: Where do you keep your honeypot?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
john_markoff.jpg The door to the room simply reads “the lab.” Inside are racks of hundreds of processors and terabytes of disk drives needed to capture the digital evidence that must be logged as carefully as evidence is maintained by crime scene investigators.

John Markoff, A Robot Network Seeks to Enlist Your Computer

John Markoff gives a nice overview of what Microsoft is doing to help fight cybercrime — and why:

Just as gangs will often force a recruit to commit a crime as a test of loyalty, in cyberspace, bot-herders will test recruits in an effort to weed out spies. Microsoft investigators would not discuss their solution to this problem, but said they avoided doing anything illegal with their software.

One possible approach would be to create sensors that would fool the bot-herders by appearing to do malicious things, but in fact not perform the actions.

In 2003 and 2004 Microsoft was deeply shaken by a succession of malicious software worm programs with names like “Blaster” and “Sasser,” that raced through the Internet, sowing chaos within corporations and among home computer users. Blaster was a personal affront to the software firm that has long prided itself on its technology prowess. The program contained a hidden message mocking Microsoft’s co-founder: “billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!!”

October 22, 2008  2:57 PM

Overheard: Stealth layoffs at Yahoo

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
pink_slip.jpg By disguising layoffs as negative reviews, Yahoo management may push employees to leave, sans severance.
Yahoo’s stealth layoffs

The Company’s goal is to reduce its current annualized cost run rate of approximately $3.9 billion by more than $400 million before the end of 2008. The Company anticipates that both headcount and non-headcount-related costs will be reduced by these actions. Because the majority of expenses are headcount-related, Yahoo! expects to reduce its global workforce by at least 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Whenever I read about reducing head counts and see the photo above, a little tune runs through my head.
“It’s the most – wonderful – time – of – the – year!”

I’m glad I’m not working at Yahoo. If their press release says they’re letting 1500 employees go, you can bet it’ll be closer to twice that number by the time the Christmas carnage is over.

And with all the “crisis of confidence” sound bytes in the media, I’m also going to bet that the commenter over at Valleywag hit the nail on the head.  This year, as never before, there will be some creative aspects to the traditional laying off of employees before the holidays.

Of course we all know the words to the song as we gather round the water cooler around the beginning of December .  You can expect the traditional “downsizing” and “reorganizing” verses that we’ve come to associate with garland and mistletoe. But this year don’t be surprised if employers introduce some new lyrics to the song and we find ourselves singing about “stealth layoffs.”

Stealth layoffs sounds much more hi-tech than “pushing an employee out so we don’t have to pay him benefits, severance or unemployment insurance.”  For the latest numbers in layoffs, be sure to check out Rafe Needleman’s Tech Layoff Scorecard.

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