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Posts Tagged ‘IT’

Schneier: Fix US airport security by making TSA more transparent

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

Bruce Schneier has an extensive, must-read blog post up today about how to fix what’s wrong with air security in America. The shortest version of what he recommends to the Obama administration: “Establish accountability and transparency for airport screening.” And, in a second sentence: “Airports are one of the places where Americans, and visitors to America, are most likely to interact with a law enforcement officer – and yet no one knows what rights travelers have or how to exercise those rights.”

Here’s more from his essay:

Let’s start with the no-fly and watch lists. Right now, everything about them is secret: You can’t find out if you’re on one, or who put you there and why, and you can’t clear your name if you’re innocent. This Kafkaesque scenario is so un-American it’s embarrassing. Obama should make the no-fly list subject to judicial review.

Then, move on to the checkpoints themselves. What are our rights? What powers do the TSA officers have? If we’re asked “friendly” questions by behavioral detection officers, are we allowed not to answer? If we object to the rough handling of ourselves or our belongings, can the TSA official retaliate against us by putting us on a watch list? Obama should make the rules clear and explicit, and allow people to bring legal action against the TSA for violating those rules; otherwise, airport checkpoints will remain a Constitution-free zone in our country.

Next, Obama should refuse to use unfunded mandates to sneak expensive security measures past Congress. The Secure Flight program is the worst offender.

Fixing Airport Security (Schneier on Security)


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Obama’s Consumer Agency: Banks Fight To Protect Fees

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

June 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. banks are fighting the Obama administration plan to create a consumer agency for financial services as they seek to protect fees, such as credit-card penalties that have almost doubled to $19 billion in five years.


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Susan Smalley: Lawns Versus Gardens In Beverly Hills

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

I have something in common with Michelle Obama, a brand new vegetable garden in my back yard. Mine was started by my 21 year old son, home from college where he is majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Horticulture. For his Senior Thesis, he designed a sustainable vegetable garden in our backyard using a ‘no-dig’ method and is beginning to reap the harvest from his first crop. We have arugula, tomatoes, soybeans, kale, squash, sage, basil, rosemary, and others beginning to show the fruits of his labor.

Today we picked arugula and made our first meal from the garden, an arugula salad with mango, tomatoes, and pine nuts in an olive oil and lemon dressing. I have to say it was perhaps the best salad I have ever eaten – in my life. After eating this delicious lunch, that many restaurants in LA would charge $12-20 to serve, we looked up its nutritional content on the internet and discovered that arugula on a 5 point scale (5 being best) is a superfood of sorts, scoring 5 for nutritional value and 4.5 for fullness.

One of the most profound parts of lunch was that I could connect with its origins. We prepared the garden for planting (well ‘we’ isn’t quite accurate; my son did most of it with a little some help from his girlfriend, some buddies, and our gardener), but we (I and he) picked the arugula this morning, washed it, dried it, and created the masterpiece salad. For those of you that garden, I[m sure this is routine but I come from the school of buying my produce at the local grocery store so it really is a novel experience.

I see why growing your own food can greatly impact your relationship to food. When I saw the roots (literally) of what is found on my table, I felt a sense of heightened consciousness – a greater sense of connection between the planet and myself.

I’m just glad my son decided to create a sustainable garden for his college requirement. In the experience I saw him make something beautiful and life-sustaining out of a patch of grass. And now that we are beginning to eat the produce, I’ve discovered a new way to relate to the foods I often take for granted. Perhaps equally valuable, I’ve been able to help him when he wants my help and in that experience have a first-hand touch of the mother-child experiences that shift and change as our adult children build lives of their own.

Gardens are great metaphors for the changes we experience in life; from the growth of our children to the waxing and waning of work, family, and home experiences as we age. Having a garden in the backyard yielding food and changing with the seasons is another reminder of the constancy of change that is life. I love this reminder of our ‘changing nature’ every time I walk in the backyard. And, if I ever forget my role as a parent – to nurture and support but let our children change and grow in their own ways, the garden is a reminder. James Carse used the Garden as a Metaphor for this parent to child relationship:

A garden is a place where growth is found. It has its own sources of change…True parents do not see to it that children grow in a particular way, according to a preferred pattern or scripted stages, but they see to it that they grow with their children. The character of one’s parenting…must be constantly altered from within as the children change from within. –Carse J, Finite and Infinite Games: 1980, page 153.

More on Michelle Obama


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NUMBER OF MILLIONAIRES SHRANK In 2008 – Millions Club Diminishing

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

The ranks of the world’s millionaires shrank at the fastest rate in 2008, with North America suffering the biggest wealth loss worldwide, according to a survey by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch & Co.

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CITIGROUP PLANS TO RAISE EMPLOYEES’ BASE PAY

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

Citigroup Inc. is increasing the base salaries of many employees – reportedly by as much as 50 percent for some workers – as it restructures their compensation amid government restrictions on bonuses.

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More on Citibank


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CITIGROUP PLANS TO RAISE EMPLOYEES’ BASE PAY

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

Citigroup Inc. is increasing the base salaries of many employees – reportedly by as much as 50 percent for some workers – as it restructures their compensation amid government restrictions on bonuses.

GET THE LATEST NEWS & TRENDS by following HuffPost at HuffTrends on Twitter

More on Citibank


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Conan Dumps Fonzie’s Body With Help From Tom Cruise (WATCH)

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

First Conan was caught plowing into a bible salesman while drunk driving, then we found him sneaking out of Barbara Walters’s trailer with sexy lingerie , and now he and Tom Cruise are dumping a body to get rid of evidence!

These, of course, are all examples of Conan’s manufactured tabloid moments. The star is hoping his new found celebrity will help him earn some extra cash on the side by allowing him to stage elicit pictures then sell them to the tabloids. Interestingly, this is the least creepy moment Tom Cruise has ever had on a talk show.

WATCH:

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More on The Tonight Show


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Opera: Mobile Search On The Rise, Google Still King Of The Hill

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

Opera, the Norwegian software company behind mobile browser Opera Mini, has released its latest State of the Mobile Web report, providing some interesting data points for a detailed look at the evolution of Web browsing on mobile phones.

Looking at global trends, Opera Mini’s nearly 25.4 million users (as measured in May 2009, up 8.4% from the month before and up 36% compared to May 2008) have viewed over 9.6 billion pages. Since April, page-views have gone up 11.0% and increased an amazing 227% since May 2008. Opera says Mini users generated nearly 160 million MB of data for operators worldwide in May 2009, and claims that that would be 1.5 PB worth of data if the company didn’t compress this data up to 90%.

As for mobile search, a number of interesting trends are notable. Apart from dominance of local players in some parts of the world (e.g. Biadu in China and Yandex in Russia), Google mostly leads the pack in mobile search across the globe. Opera Mini users in India and Nigeria are the biggest users of search portals. In India, 16.3% of page-views are from search portals, and users viewed an average of 63.7 search-portal pages per month. In Nigeria, 26.6% of page-views are from search portals, and users viewed an average of 49.6 search portal pages per month.

Taking a closer look at Southeast Asia, the company mentions the following key trends: the top 9 countries using Opera Mini in the region (Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos) see continued growth. From May 2008 to May 2009, overall page-views in those countries increased 459%, while the number of unique users went up 119% during the same period. In this region, Google is the undisputed number one mobile search engine, followed by Yahoo. Also noteworthy: Facebook is on its way to challenge the leader in mobile social networking in Southeast Asia (that would be Friendster).

Full report and press release can be found here.

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There May Be 50,000 Apps For The iPhone, But Only A Select Few Become Popular

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

AdMob has released its metrics report for May 2009 (PDF download link), and looked closely at the actual distribution of users of the iPhone apps in their network this time. The main take-away? There may be tens of thousands of applications available for the iPhone, but a whole lot of them simply never actually make it onto the device.

Out of 2,309 tracked applications (representing 15.1 million unique iPhone and iPod Touch users), no less than 54% are actively used by south of 1,000 persons. That’s a very long tail there, and not an economically interesting one at that. Only about 20% of the tracked apps have more than 10,000 active users, and only 5% (or 116 apps) boasts more than 100,000 active users. For the record, an active user is considered to be someone who used the app at least once in May.

Two caveats: the AdMob network evidently doesn’t cover all applications available for the platform in its entirety, and the large majority of those it tracks are free of charge. That means two things: there’s no indication that these findings can correctly be extrapolated to the entire iPhone app universe, and it’s likely the curve is less steep with paid applications (usually, you’d be more actively engaged with an app you paid for than a free app you downloaded just for testing).

The report also correctly points out the App Store ranking system feeds the success of top applications, particularly when they are featured on the Apple website in combination with getting rave reviews.

Information provided by CrunchBase

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Movable Type Experts Team Up On Melody, An Open Source Publishing Platform

June 25th, 2009 admin No comments

A group of Movable Type specialists – some of them former Six Apart employees – wanted to speed up the development of the open source version of the popular publishing platform and decided to group together in a quest to build an independent, community-driven CMS for bloggers and other publishers.

The platform is dubbed Melody and will be managed by a non-profit named The Open Melody Software Group, which has Anil Dash (Six Apart’s outspoken VP and Chief Evangelist) on its board.

From what we can gather reading about the project on the website, its founders are passionate about Movable Type but see more value in forking it, community-style, “to see it flourish as a platform”. According to the FAQ section, the team is working together with Six Apart to some degree – which isn’t surprising considering Dash’ presence on the board – and strives for as much compatibility with Movable Type’s core APIs as possible. However, you can also read that the team is inspired by successful open source initiatives such as WordPress (a Six Apart rival), Apache, Linux and Firefox.

“While at its onset Melody will have a great deal in common with Movable Type from a feature perspective, we believe that by listening to and empowering our community we will unlock the true potential of open source and begin to advance the platform at a more rapid pace. To that end we intend on decoupling features that add complexity to the product, yet only a minority of users use, e.g. TrackBack and Postgres support, and increasing the level of investment in those areas that will help people become more efficient and successful in designing and building web sites using Melody, like theme building and distribution.”

As for the product, it’s not ready yet, even for beta testing. The first release (Melody 1.0) is scheduled for ‘Fall 2009′, but if you’re a developer and you can’t hold your horses than you should check out the latest development snapshot from Melody’s source code repository on Github.

Behind Melody: Tim Appnel, Jesse Gardner, Dan Wolfgang, Mark Stosberg, Jay Allen, Su, Arvind Satyanarayn and Byrne Reese.

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