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Data Breach at Williamson County Schools

In what will be a costly error, more than five thousand students of Williamson County Schools had their personal information posted online. This included their social security numbers, along with their names:

“…Now the county could lose some federal funding because of the mistake. The school district had to notify the Department of Education because this was a federal violation.

They have, at least, narrowed down the students who are affected, so they can start trying to clean up the mess…”

link: School Director Announces Plan To Clean Up Security Problem

This security breach will cost the school district and the county tax payers thousands of dollars to provide these students with credit monitoring. A student data base like this is ideal for an identity theft. The names on the list are people who have no history of poor debt or criminal activity. The social security number associated with the name is all that is necessary to put these students at risk. It seems ironic that these children have to worry about their financial reputation even before they have left school.

Catherine Forsythe

Chloe Sutton: Going to Beijing

Ten kilometers is six and a quarter miles. It is the distance that Chloe Sutton swims. It is a swimming marathon and Chloe Sutton will have a chance to compete against the best open water swimmers in the world. She is going to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Chloe Sutton is sixteen years old. This is such an accomplishment for this young American swimmer.

This long distance swim will be the first time that the event has been an Olympic competition. The long distance swim is held in a natural venue, such as a lake or ocean. Kudos to Chloe Sutton.

Catherine Forsythe

USB Popcorn Popper

Ok,  So you’re sitting at your desk, playing World of Warcraft and you can’t stop playing because you are part of that huge raid your guild sceduled with you as the healer.  But dog gone it, you crave some popcorn really bad, it’s an overpowering hankerin.  What to do what to do!?  You could holler at the wife to pop you some, but she’s in the bedroom doing God knows what (Why is she moaning in there anyways?).  You could get your 10 year old boy to make you some, but he’s on the Wii playing some kind of stupid racing game and couldn’t hear you if you had a bull horn 2 inches from his ear.

Enter the USB popcorn maker.  Hey, seems like a great idea to me. Made from seemingly common products and works great!  This guy should pantent this and get rich.

USB Popcorn MakerMore amazing video clips are a click away

Faster Internet, Anyone?

This certainly got me excited in hopes that we can catch up with South Korea and various parts of Europe as clealy, broadband in North America (US and Canada) leaves a lot to be desired. Still, at least we have broadband at all I suppose. And with the promise of the new technology described in this article, I for one am hopeful that we will see ISPs not feeling like they need to clamp down so hard on usage.

Who knows, perhaps what was once finite bandwidth in the eyes of the of the ISPs will translate into better service for the end users? Yeah, not too likely. More than likely it will mean higher speeds at a higher cost. But at least we know that we will not be hitting any real bad slow downs if this new photonic integrated circuit technology will hopefully put a stop to those stupid bandwidth caps! One can always hope anyway. Have a great weekend everyone.

The New Apple iPhone: Faster, Less Expensive and a Problem

Steve Jobs can’t be happy with this launch. The new iPhone launched today and there were a multitude of unhappy customers:

“The launch of Apple Inc.’s much-anticipated new iPhone turned into an information-technology meltdown today, as customers were unable to get their phones working.

Angry and frustrated iPhone customers waited for hours at the Apple and AT&T stores at Westfarms Mall this morning, as the latest version of the online phone rolled out.”

link: Frustration Grows In Westfarms Over iPhone

It will be interesting to see how Apple (and Steve Jobs) responds to this problem. Apple has been careful to keeping their customers happy.

There have been speculation as to why Apple had this problem. This launch of the 3G went worldwide. This is in contrast to the original launch of the iPhone. That product launch was controlled, with a country to country roll-out. This launch was huge in comparison to the initial iPhone product introduction.

Perhaps the reason behind these new Apple problems is simply an old corporate issue… greed.

Catherine Forsythe

What A Boring Day – Yawn!

I consider a boring day for myself  is when I struggle to find something to write about. The technology news today revolvers mainly around the release of Apple’s new 3G iphone. I read a few dozen articles which complained about activation problems. There was also many complaints about those not being able to update their firmware on their older iPhones. Apple was blamed for slow servers.

Then there was a story about the iTune servers being down as well. I am sure if this has anything to do with activating a 3G phone.  But it does seem that this was lumped in with other problems Apple and AT&T were having. Which makes me believe they were related. Just a guess.

Other related articles stated that peoples iPhone were now iBricks. One person mentioned their firmware upgrade did not work properly and now they couldn’t use their phone. A large numer,  six million,  was used to describe the iBrick problem. I guess that means that six million people can’t use their iBricks? alias iPhones?

We also have film at 11pm which shows some pretty pissed off customers Talk about insults. One person in the crowd wanted to know if the Apple servers were running Vista?

One story even states that the Apple 3G iPhone is a ‘activation apocalypse’. Strong words there pilgrim.

So overall I guess I am glade to have had such a boring day. Seems that the folks at Apple and AT&T might be jealous of my day. :-)

Source: activation apocalypse

Source: Videos of mad customers.

Source: iPhones turn into iBricks

Source: iTune Servers Go Down

Source:  Apple & Att Activation Problems.

Are You A ‘Whiner’?

By now we have all heard about the remarks made by former Senator Phil Gramm, saying we are a ‘nation of whiners.’ Though he has tried to shift the blame on Congress, it does make one think. Are we ‘whiners’? Sure we are! But there is only one problem. I don’t think we have whined enough. We have been lulled to sleep in our apathy of how our political system works and have not made our politicians take responsibility for their actions.

Several weeks ago I had a conversation with a relative and asked a simple question. For 35 years we sat on our hands doing nothing about oil, knowing it would bite us one day. Why haven’t we done anything?  His take was that he was busy raising a family and couldn’t get involved.  OK. I can relate to his thinking since I haven’t done squat as well. I guess I could of called, wrote, sent a telegram, emailed or whatever my representatives but didn’t. Why? Because I also was way too busy to do so.

Most of us feel that our elected officials were supposed to handle these problems. But we woke up one morning only to find that they were not representing us, but were representing big business via lobbyists. These lobbyists were handing out fists full of cash to these folks who took the big bucks and voted the way the lobbyist wanted. Now let’s look at this honestly. If you were in Congress, and you got a few $100 grand from a lobbyist, who would you listen to?  Do you really think that your tiny voice would be heard in this sea of cash?

If you would, put aside your feelings about the two political candidates. I personally believe that it is irrelevant who gets elected. If Congress continues to not represent us, and continues to represent special interest groups, nothing much is going to change in the next four years. Our political leaders seem lost when it comes to solving issues that are important to the American people.

Questions like, should Medicare pay for Viagra? This is important stuff people. I don’t know about you but I lay awake at night worry about this. :-)

So what do you think? Do we need to whine more or just shut up?

Comments welcome.

3G iPhone launch

Yea I stood in line for a 3G iPhone not for me but for my bro since we wanted to get one for a while now and just waited for the 3G version because its faster and cheaper. I am planning on getting a new iPhone but maybe later ill check out my bro’s to see if there’s really that much difference. Me and my bro took turns staying in line while staying there overnight. Kinda funny because more people came later on at night and then some came as soon as it was 6am. AT&T has a way for them to process the buying faster they first would ask which iPhone did you want, the size and color and they checked to see if you qualified for a iPhone, the first person in line didn’t qualify and went home after staying there overnight, sucks for that guy. Before they let the people in to get the phone the ABC News Station from LA showed up to interview some people and were taking shots of the people in line we might even show up on TV today. They let like 12 people in at one time after they did the qualification thing. When we were let in we went to a station where someone would help us activate service and activate the phone through iTunes it went by fast the only time it kinda took a while was when they guy who helped us out didn’t know what to do and had to ask a manager. I was surprised that almost all the people that went to get a iPhone are new to the iPhone, Learned about this when the Camera-guy for the ABC station asked who is getting the iPhone for the first time, i guess the new features convinced them to get it this time.

Brett Favre: It’s Not Over

What was speculation about Brett Favre’s continuing to play professional football has become a continuing drama. Brett Favre may return to professional football… perhaps not with the Green Bay Packers:

“Retired quarterback Brett Favre wants out of his contract with the Green Bay Packers so he can return to the NFL with another team, ESPN reported on Friday.”

link: Favre asks Packers to release him: report

At thirty eight years old, Brett Favre certainly does not need the financial returns of another year or two of professional football. With the request for a release from the Green Bay Packers, it does not seem that loyalty to his Wisconsin team – or its fans – is a factor either.

It must be so difficult to walk away from the game. These athletes have been feted since they were teenagers, when they showed some athletic promise. The sport defines them and is so much a part of their identity.

Professional sports have programs to introduce their first year players to the hazards of being in the major leagues. It seems that professional sports needs a similar type of program for the athletes during the sunset of their athletic careers. There are few jobs in broadcasting and sports related work. And, even with all the wealth from a professional sports career, it seems that so may athletes struggle with retirement and think that there is more time.

Catherine Forsythe

Major League Baseball Weather Widget – WeatherBug API Entry


PHP has been on fire throughout the WeatherBug API contest it seems. And who can blame the developers, it is rather flexible which in turn provides a world of functionality for everyone involved.

Today’s WeatherBug API entry is going to grab the attention of most of the baseball fans here in the States in a very big way. Major League Baseball actual game time weather data – live updates, as they happen, streamed to your computer screen. Jim England, the developer, has informed us that he has the legalities out of the way with regard to using the MLB logos, so no worries there.

To make this already cool concept relevant to those of you podcasting sports talk radio or blogging about your favorite teams, Jim has also provided real time widgets which are web site friendly. There is also a Widgetbox widget available, for those who might be interested in an alternative widget to use.

For those interested in seeing how it was done, the source code can be reviewed here.