A telecommunications worker has disappeared, and there seems to be evidence that drug cartels are responsible. Missing man Felipe del Jesús Peréz García is one of about 40 IT professionals who have been taken in the region, possibly to maintain communications infrastructure for drug lords.
Redditor CSMastermind composes an epic timeline of the Sony information breach. Well sourced, and in laymans terms. [more inside]
Here I’ll try to highlight how it has affected me, as I grew from a young black lady to a black woman in the predominantly white male tech industry.
The closest a film has ever come to adapting King’s internal-horror aesthetic is a film King himself has publicly lambasted: Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s the most artful, scary, and beautifully directed of the King adaptations, and even excludes some of the novel’s more overt (and potentially silly) visual elements, such as the hedge animals that come to life and stalk the family in the yard. Yet, the film never tackles the serious human horrors that infect Jack Torrance throughout the novel, specifically his alcoholism, along with the themes of cyclical abuse and mounting financial pressure. King’s criticism of the film is that Torrance, as played by Jack Nicholson, is portrayed as unhinged right from the start, whereas the novel slowly unravels the man’s sanity, the haunted house he occupies pushing him deeper into madness and violence. [more inside]
WYNC's Manoush Zomorodi investigates the gender gap in tech and computer science, and finds a number of people working towards bridging that gap, from childhood to university: completely restructuring a required computer science course to make it more welcoming to female university students, celebrating women in computing history (and recognizing that computer science wasn't so male-dominated, and making children's books and toys (even dollhouses!) for kids to explore programming concepts on their own. She also noticed that the majority of female computer science students in the US had grown up overseas - possibly because computer science isn't a common subject in American high schools. This is slated to change: a new AP Computer Science subject is in the works, with efforts to get 10,000 highly-trained computer science teachers in 10,000 high schools across the US. If you want to join Mindy Kaling in supporting young girls entering computer science, tech, and coding, there's a lot [more inside]
Footballing History was made last night when France striker Karim Benzema scored against Honduras. Due to the position of the Honduran Goalkeeper, it was impossible to tell if the ball had crossed the line, and the goal line technology was called into action and controversially gave a goal.
As Michael Jackson couldn’t fluently play any instruments, he would sing and beatbox out how he wanted his songs to sound by himself on tape, layering the vocals, harmonies and rhythm before having instrumentalists come in to complete the songs.
The Verge examine the reasons IT fanboys fight their eternal war. [Plain text version] [more inside]
Undercover of helping immigrant agricultural workers who have long needed a break in America, the American technology sector - lead by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - has seen fit to heavily lobby Congress to increase H1-B and other worker visa permits, vastly increasing H1-B visas at a time when very good research shows that there is no shortage of tech workers in America. Zuckerberg has so far succeeded, in the Senate. What is motivating the claim for more H1-B visas and what's at stake? [more inside]
A Man Has Trouble With His Security Questions - a sketch from The UCB show 'Small Men'
To my daughter's high school programming teacher: "I spent 16 years raising a daughter who had all the tools and encouragement she needed to explore computer programming as a career. In one short semester, you and her classmates undid all of my years of encouragement."
If you find it impossible to make restaurant reservations online it might be because you're competing against bots. A developer explains how it works and just how common it might be in San Francisco. [more inside]
Whether you love him for his role as the Sweet Transvestite in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Lord of Darkness in Ridley Scott's Legend, Pennywise the clown in the TV adaptation of Stephen King's It, Wadsworth the butler in Clue, Long John Silver in Muppet Treasure Island, his voice work for scads of cartoons, his countless theater performances, his many unforgettable, wonderfully strange guest spots on various TV shows, his absolutely amazing voice, or for (quite possibly) all of these things at once, the fact is, you love Tim Curry. Spare a thought tonight for this acclaimed, ubiquitous character actor, singer, dancer, and odd-looking, sexy little man. Tim Curry, 67, has had a major stroke at his home in Los Angeles. Early reports said that he was left unable to speak, but his agent now tells the Daily Mail that he's "doing great (...) He absolutely can speak and is recovering at this time and in great humor."
Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds - Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real world.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver gave an interview this week stating, among other remarks, that "we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do." Although he has since apologized for the remarks, the backlash continued yesterday 49ers' linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, both of whom participated in the team's widely-praised "It Gets Better" video last summer, have denied ever producing the clip. [more inside]
Global Trends 2030 Alternate Worlds is the latest quadrennial report from The US National Intelligence Council (NIC). (Report: PDF / Talking Points: PDF.) Similar to its predecessors, '2030' attempts to predict 'alternate visions of the future.' An official blog discusses their speculations. The Atlantic Council has published a "companion publication": "Envisioning 2030: US Strategy for a Post-Western World." [more inside]
You've heard from quite a few sources as to why and how Romney lost, including Romney himself. But technology played a role in the loss, too. According to Sean Gallagher in Ars Technica, Romney's campaign was badly outgunned when it came to its technology infrastructure, relying heavily on outsourced IT and consultants. The disastrous Project ORCA, an attempted streamlining of the age old "strike list" process for contacting those who haven't voted yet, likely did not help. [more inside]
"If I had felt any unease that I was potentially exploiting a horrible situation for personal gain, it was short-lived. The next four months were the most stressful, difficult, and dangerous of my life until that point, and probably—hopefully—ever. ... On December 31, 2004, I achieved a couple of significant milestones: I made my final student loan payment, and I had a positive net worth for the first time in my adult life. Mortars, rockets, and car bombs aside, that was pretty satisfying."
Timely not real-time. Rhythm not random. Moderation not excess. Knowledge not information. These are a few of the many characteristics of The Slow Web.
For the past 4 days, up to 12 million NatWest / Royal Bank of Scotland customers have been unable to pay bills, move money or get paid due to a technical problem. Customers have been unable to complete on house purchases and some are stuck because they can't pay hotel bills abroad. The new mobile banking service has also been affected. The bank has called in 7,000 staff to open all weekend as problems persist.
Just three months ago, the State-controlled bank outsourced nearly 300 back-office roles to Hyderabad in India.
Just three months ago, the State-controlled bank outsourced nearly 300 back-office roles to Hyderabad in India.
Here's a list of new top-level domains that will soon compete with .com and other TLDs (previously).
Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
* Not including The Dark Tower
SoftPanorama / SoftPanorama Switchboard, created by Nikolai Bezroukov, is one of those vast, practical resources with a fun side too. There is the excellent and very useful Classification of Corporate Psychopaths | Coping with the toxic stress in IT environment | Surviving a Bad Performance Review | Information Overload: How Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime | Science, PseudoScience and Society. But then there is the fun side of the site too: Russian Music Oldies on YouTube | economic crisis humor | Songs from Famous Russian Cartoons on Youtube. [more inside]
Technology/sex columnist Violet Blue (previously) has been reporting from this year's Macworld trade fair for ZDNet; among her reportage was a photograph of a woman sitting in a booth, labelled as "The Saddest Booth Babe In The World". Later it emerged that the woman in question was not, in fact, a booth babe (i.e., a model hired to smile, hand out flyers and appeal to the heterosexual male gaze) but rather an iOS developer presenting her products, hence her less-than-effervescent demeanour. Blue's response was somewhat evasive, suggesting that her (and, in her opinion, the average attendee's) expectation upon seeing a woman at a booth at a technology event would be that she would be there for decorative purposes.
Experiment: To determine the efficacy and adaptability of pop-culture hook-up guides. Can a woman use the rules of "the game" on other women? And how will dudes respond to pick-up techniques that were designed to hustle ladies into bed? Kate Ray investigates what happens when a woman plays "the game" for Nerve, and she does it for Science (All links potentially NSFW, I mean come on its nerve, but most are either OK to OK-ish or obvious from context) [more inside]
Malaysia is proposing a Computing Professionals Bill, based on the Registration of Engineers Act [.PDF] which makes it mandatory for all practicing "computing professionals" to be registered with a government body. Dealing in the IT industry, including sending “proposals, plans, designs, drawings, schemes, reports, studies or others to be determined by the Board to any person or authority in Malaysia” without being registered will incur a fine not exceeding RM20,000 (~US$6380) or 6 months in jail. Malaysian IT professionals and geeks are up in arms, and similarities have been drawn to Nigeria's law on computing professionals.
"There has never, ever been a period in the history of mankind where you have as much conformity as you have now, and yet every person is under the delusion that they are an individual. I'm not. I'm trying to fit in. " So says Michael O'Brien, victorian bookbinder, sage of Oamaru, snappy jacobian dresser and all around good guy. Working in the historic district in the pacific's last remaining Victorian harbour he has inspired a whole traditional craft community around him.
Entrants in the Philips-sponsored constrained cinema competition Tell It Your Way were restricted to three minutes and just six lines of dialogue: “What is that?,” “It’s a unicorn,” “Never seen one up close before,” “Beautiful,” “Get away, get away,” and “I’m sorry.” In spite of these limitations, the winner was surprisingly profound.
Using honeypots and logging tools, some server admins have logged actual server break-in attempts by nincompoop crackers. [more inside]
Armed with a netbook, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life
Over on Slate, Farhad Manjoo writes that corporate IT ought to allow users more freedom in web browser selection and installation rights on their work computers. John C. Welch responds.
Can't get enough Whose Line is it Anyway? 71 Scenes From a Hat, 16 Party Quirks, 52 Props, 5 Film Dubs, 84 Hoedowns, 37 Sound Effects, 45 Questions Only, 11 Hats/Dating Service Videos, 52 World's Worst, 13 News Flashes, 35 Let's Make a Date, 9 Press Conferences, 60 Superheroes, 6 Foreign Film Dubs, 29 Irish Drinking Songs, 4 Animals, 9 If You Know What I Mean, 2 Backwards Scene, 54 Greatest Hits, 58 Song Styles, 2 All in One Voice, 21 Scenes to Rap, 3 90-Second Alphabets, 11 Questionable Impressions, 4 Two-Line Vocabulary, 3 Number of Words, 17 Weird Newscasters and (probably the most telling of how much they had to hold back due to censorship standards) 6 Blooper Reels. Prefer the UK version? Every episode of Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Hall of Fame member, Phillies broadcaster, and NFL Films announcer Harry Kalas passed away today. At least he got to make his World Series victory call.
Wanted: Go-getter with inquisitive nature and a high tolerance for gore, sleaze, and the baser instincts of humanity.
Last year, Infoworld published their list of the 7 dirtiest jobs in IT. This year, they're back with 7 even dirtier jobs. [more inside]
It's Friday, what better time to relish in the carefree world that was Leave It to Beaver. Even though it was "just" a TV show, how many of us, back in our youth, could relate to anxiety of being given the dreaded note from a teacher? Of course, as with any syndicated sitcom, there are stories behind the various actors. And other stories as well... [more inside]
Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches - "Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross says that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea."
Where Is Bob? We have a manager — Bob. Bob is incompetent, overweight, unattractive, uncouth, socially awkward, and generally, not a very nice person at all. For a while, we were convinced that Bob had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But then, something happened — Bob stopped showing up for work on a regular basis. Sometimes he wouldn’t even bother explaining his absence, acting as if spontaneous five-day weekends were simply the norm. And that is how everyone came to wonder — where is Bob?
Syd Barrett, the iconic, ephemeral, sadly recently-deceased founder and original frontman of Pink Floyd, recorded several singles and an LP (plus at least one song on their second LP) with the band before his genius was amputated by mental illness and they became an arena rock dinosaur. He also recorded two solo albums, the making of which was almost as interesting as the gentle, crystalline, almost fractal-like music contained on them. However, as Barrett aficionados have long known, the solo sessions produced many more recordings than were eventually released. Now, though, all known Barrett material that wasn't commercially released has been assembled in a fan-made collection: Have You Got It Yet?, version 2.0 of which has just been released to the world. More download links inside. [more inside]
Ubuntu has quickly become the number one Linux distro for the desktop. Not only is it free, but it has also made Linux easier to use than ever. Now, Wubi enables Windows users to install Ubuntu just like any other application, so you no longer have to mess around with partitions, burning CDs, etc. [more inside]
Anti-Piracy agents MediaDefender have 700MiB of juicy internal emails leaked on BitTorrent; are in trouble.
25 y.o. whistle-blower. Last Fall, a 24 y.o. by the name of Justen Deal, blew the whistle on what he perceived to be profligate waste by his employers. As an IT guy at Kaiser-Permanente, he'd seen a $442 million database project scrapped by the new CEO and replaced by a sweetheart deal for one of the CEO's former contractors. Internal estimates placed Kaiser's losses on this new contract at $1.2 billion dollars per quarter [more inside]
The IT Crowd is a sitcom produced for Channel 4. Although it follows the traditional laugh-track sitcom format, it manages to have some really funny moments. Season one was only six episodes, but season 2 is due to start this January. Chris Morris is particularly good as the CEO, Denholm. Full episodes can be found on YouTube and Google Video.
India's Outsourcing Problems One of the most controversial aspects of the global economy has been the newfound freedom of companies from physical location and the subsequent spread of outsourcing jobs. No country had embraced tech outsourcing with the passion of India. Of late, problems there are beginning to rise: engineers start a project, get a few months' experience, and then bolt for greener pastures, bringing a level of attrition that replaces entire staffs within the course of a year. Combine that with salaries in Bangalore that are rising at 12% to 14% per year and it is no surprise that companies are leaving India for a slew of emerging hot spots for IT outsourcing such as the old Soviet Bloc, China, and Vietnam. This comes as companies such as Microsoft continue to laud outsourcing and proudly proclaim that it is here to stay, and it looks as if Ho Chi Minh City will be the next Bangalore.
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