Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

July 25, 2008  12:34 PM

What is IT? The birthplace of Silicon Valley

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
hpgarage.jpg Birthplace of Silicon Valley

This garage is the birthplace of the world’s first high-technology region, “Silicon Valley.”  The idea originated with Dr. Frederick Terman, a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to start up their own electronics companies in the area instead of joining established firms in the East. The first two students to follow his advice were William R. Hewlett and David Packard, who in 1938 began developing their first product, an audio oscillator, in this garage.

California registered historical landmark no. 976

July 24, 2008  10:38 PM

Overheard: There’s big bucks in e-paper and e-book technology

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
jennifer-colegrove.jpg Flexible electrophoretic displays used for e-books and e-paper will grow to a US $1.7 billion industry by 2013.

Jennifer Colegrove, as quoted in Esquire to Put Digital Moving Pix on Mag Cover

Esquire magazine is putting a scrolling electronic paper display cover on 200,000 magazines this September. Some have called it a publicity stunt, but I think that’s short-sighted. The real ‘ooo and ahhh’ is the effort that went into bringing the technology to the newstand. It’s a baby step, but we’re moving in the right direction. Remember when National Geographic put a holograph of an eagle on their cover? We didn’t really think that all magazine covers would become holograms, did we? No. We just applauded the technology behind it. And rightly so. Just take a look at your Visa card — and then sit back and wait to see all the ways we figure out how to use electronic paper display technology.

July 24, 2008  6:22 PM

Overheard: Leveraging the role of the CIO

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
farnsworth_alan_2005.jpg In a move apparently designed to reduce poor alignment and create strategic opportunity, Bausch & Lomb, the eye care company, has merged its customer service and information technology functions together under CIO Alan Farnsworth.

Michael Krigsman, Bausch & Lomb reduces IT boundaries
(Alan Farnsworth pictured left)

It’s heeeerrrre.

Is this the first harbinger of what the future holds for CIOs around the world? Was Nicholas Carr right after all? Has IT become so integrated into business that the CIO not only doesn’t have to have a technical background — he also has to have a second job within the company?

July 24, 2008  2:06 PM

Overheard: Fixing DNS

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
dankaminsky.jpg If there’s one thing you do not want to be on fire, it’s your DNS server. Nothing makes a network go wobbly faster.

Dan Kaminsky, Here Comes The Cavalry

Recently, a significant threat to DNS, the system that translates names you can remember (such as www.doxpara.com) to numbers the Internet can route ( was discovered, that would allow malicious people to impersonate almost any website on the Internet. Software companies across the industry have quietly collaborated to simultaneously release fixes for all affected name servers.

Dan has posted a very handy DNS Test Widget on his site that allows you to find out if the DNS server you use is vulnerable. On a totally unrelated note, I wonder what made him pick this photo for his blog?

July 23, 2008  11:13 PM

Overheard: Going shopping? Bring your cell phone

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
gary_kim.jpg A new Harris Interactive study suggests 25 percent of users with mobile Internet access now use their devices to buy goods and services online with a credit card, and nearly one in five saying they would like to someday use cell phones as a “mobile wallet,” where charges would be billed directly to their mobile accounts.

Gary Kim, Growing Interest in Mobile Transactions

Another recent study found that world-wide, Australians were the most suspicious of mobile transactions.  One Australian mobile provider even has five-factor authentication

Besides requiring the right internet log-in password, the user must also have a mobile phone which is registered with Qpay’s system. Next is voice bio-metrics, which only recognizes the authorized user’s voice. Additionally, automated random questions on personal details are posed to the user and would vary each time. Finally, the user must say a random word correctly.

July 23, 2008  7:28 PM

Overheard: Linus Torvalds loves penguins, dislikes monkeys

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
linus-torvalds.jpg Security people are often the black-and-white kind of people that I can’t
stand. I think the OpenBSD crowd is a bunch of masturbating monkeys, in
that they make such a big deal about concentrating on security to the
point where they pretty much admit that nothing else matters to them.

Linus Torvalds, in an email to the Linux kernel developer mailing list

The man has a way with words. Here’s his explanation.

July 23, 2008  4:06 PM

Overheard: Even spammers have to pay taxes

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
soloway.jpg “I built my entire life around a facade. I’m very embarrassed and I’m ashamed.”

Robert Soloway, as quoted in Spammer sentenced to 47 months in prison

The Zombie “Spam King” was sentenced to four years behind bars and has to pay over $700,000 in restitution.  It wasn’t the CAN-SPAM act that got him. Like Al Capone before him, Soloway was busted for failing to pay taxes. Soloway, who already had a $7 million judgement against him from Microsoft and a $10 million judgement against him from an ISP in Oklahoma,  pleaded guilty to mail fraud, fraud in electronic mail and failure to file a tax return.

Ironically, the spam this guy sent out was all about how to send spam. His company’s name? Newport Internet Marketing. For $495, Soloway’s customers could have an ad sent to 20,000,000 e-mail addresses. He also sold $150 software for sending out unsolicited bulk email.

July 23, 2008  2:43 PM

Overheard: Terry Childs finds one man he can trust

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
jail-cell.jpg “The first thing I want you to know, Mr. Mayor, is that when you walk out of this room, you will have the computer codes.”

Terry Childs, as quoted in S.F. mayor gets keys to city’s computer

The city of SanFrancisco had Cisco engineers working round the clock, but they weren’t getting anywhere. Terry Childs really had things locked down. The fall-out from this is going to be interesting.

July 22, 2008  4:22 PM

Overheard: Municipal wireless and privacy

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
wifi_logo.jpg While some cities have seen their dreams of providing wireless Internet access for all fade, others have forged ahead with wireless networks for an altogether different purpose: surveillance.

Joshua Brockman, Cities Gone Wireless: Safety Or Surveillance?

Today, public safety is the “largest and most successful sector” in the municipal wireless market, according to MuniWireless.com, a Web site devoted to tracking wireless broadband projects and technologies.

July 21, 2008  9:23 PM

Overheard: Qik — streaming video from your phone

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
eric_zeman.jpg I shoot video using my cell phone all the time. Transferring it to other sites was a major pain until Qik came around. Using Qik, any video you shoot is streamed live, and also archived at the same time, so you can watch it again later.

Eric Zeman, Qik Offers Its Mobile Video Sharing Service To The Masses

I can see this really taking off — it makes much more sense to me than Twitter does.

I wonder how they’re going to handle the pro-privacy backlash — it’s bound to be an issue.

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