Teaching Trending Tech Topics since 1996!

Chris Pirillo is here to help his Gnomies learn with a daily podcast! To get full access to The LockerGnome Daily Report, you can quickly become one of the Super Gnomies! If you have a question, contact us!

12,000 Laptops Stolen At Airports Each Week

It seems that laptop thefts from the nations airports are skyrocketing, and according to one report, over 647,000 laptops are stolen each year. The estimate is that about 12,000 go missing each week. That seems like an incredible amount of thefts and should warn laptop users of the dangers they may face while traveling. According to this article:

The Ponemon survey was commissioned by Dell, which on Monday announced new security services to commercial customers that include tracking and recovery of lost laptops and prevention of data theft.

Dell’s laptop tracking service uses technology including GPS (Global Positioning System) to locate and recover lost laptops. The data protection services include the ability to remotely delete data on a hard drive and services to recover data from failed hard drives.

The article also states that about 10,000 thefts a week happen at 36 major airports, while another 2,000 laptops are taken per week from mid-size airports. It is unkown which airports have the most thefts, since this information was not included in the article.

Be safe. Keep your laptop close when travelling.

Comments welcome.


Ebola – It might be safe to work with?

Ebola is one of the most dangerous pathogens that we have here on Earth today.  Due to it’s contagious nature it is forced to be worked with in a bio safety level four facility.  Modern science is investigating ways for mankind to work with the pathogen in less secure areas.

Scientists have made the lethal virus Ebola harmless in the lab, potentially aiding research into a vaccine or cure.Taking a single gene from the virus stops it replicating, US scientists wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. (Link)

This is such an amazing advancement in modern science. A great example of what we can do with technology today. Being able to remove a gene from a very deadly virus, so that we can research it (with less risk) just blows my mind away.What is even more important is that this did not destroy the ‘scary’ part of this virus. We can still use the virus to do research, as long as it is used on genetically modified organisms:

It can, however, grow in cells which have themselves been genetically modified to produce the viral protein that would normally be made by VP30. This means that it will be possible to study modified Ebola in these modified cells without any risk that a virulent virus might infect people. (Link)

Even with the new safety of Ebola, I would not go near the virus. The concept is great, but in person it would be a very scary thing to face.  Would you come face to face with the virus and play with it, even if it were deemed safe?


NetNewsWire v3.1.7b2

There should be an image here!This RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader can fetch and display news from thousands of different Web sites and Web logs.

NetNewsWire includes a Weblog editor that allows you to post to blogging sites such as Movable Type, Radio UserLand, and Blogger, and a scrapbook that stores news headlines, URLs, subscriptions, and draft text.

The Find command allows you to search through current news. NetNewsWire is scriptable via AppleScript and other OSA languages and includes a Scripts menu where you can add your own scripts.

[6.35M] [OS X 10.4/10.5] [FREE]

Why You Need To Aviod Internet Explorer – Or Do You?

I always enjoy reading articles in which the writer supports any idea, no matter what that may be, with a host of additional data.  Sometimes this data reflects a exploit that by the time the article is written has already been patched. But in this case it revolves around Internet Explorer. Which makes one wonder. What else is new?

Naturally there is a Mozilla Firefox logo embedded in the article, which I imagine is meant to express that we should all be using the Firefox browser. It is stated below that:

Update. July 6, 2008: Tuesday July 8th is Patch Tuesday and according to Ryan Naradine at ZDNet there will be no fixes to Internet Explorer, which currently suffers from several known bugs. Quoting:

“These include the Safari-to-IE bug reported by Aviv Raff, the cross-domain zero-day affecting IE 6, the cross-site scripting bug reported by Roel Schouwenberg, the print table of links issue, and the serious iFrame hijacking flaw discussed by Sirdarckat. There really is no excuse for the delay in patching the Safari-to-IE code execution flaw. It was reported to Microsoft since 2006!”

So what is your opinion? Is IE so full of holes that no one should use it? Is Firefox the only browser to use because it provides quick updates and fixes?

Comments welcome.


PS I have been using Firefox for 4 years in case anyone cares. :-)

The ISP Conundrum

Ars Technica today has an opinion piece about the cell carriers and ISPs of this nation. It asks if the public ever gets a feeling that these entities don’t really like us. The answer most assuredly is yes, but for different reasons.

While it would be simple to hack away at the cell carriers over many policies, I think it is easy enough to see that they have little concern for their customers, above that which would involve a mass exodus.

The ISP matter is different – as I see it. Both cable companies and telcos acquired the ISP moniker late into the game, because in the early days when everyone had dial-up, your ISP was a face you could deal with on a personal level. While it may be pointed out that AOL was huge at the start, it can also be said that there were people on staff there to put a face to company, and to address problems in a friendly, personal manner.

Now that the mom & pop ISPs have been forced out by DSL and cable, the companies are in a sort of ‘mutual detente with disorganized collusion’ mode of operation. That is, they are openly hostile to each other, but at some level they agree to keep rates close to equal, and cooperate on certain aspects of service. For example, when the cable companies started deciding that providing newsgroups was not necessary, many DSL providers decided that it was okay to do the same. Result, newsgroups are no longer offered by the ISPs (Verizon’s offering of the Big Waste Big 8, is an affront to any sane person’s sensibilities, and is merely a stepping stone to complete removal, with the attending excuse that no one used them. Duh! With 95% of Usenet unavailable, I wonder why.) Sure this was a service, and it cost the companies something, but the immediate need was cost reduction, and so no concern to the retention of the customer was given. After all, in some back room somewhere, under a dim light, the cable companies and telcos were again hammering out the rules of their rigged game, and having a Tony Soprano-style laugh about the fact that we, the public, were such suckers.

Now the companies, cable and telco, are complaining about the fact that when we all signed up to unlimited accounts, we actually thought they meant what they said. Amazing concept, that – taking something at face value. Now they want to place caps on us because we have had the temerity to actually use what we have been paying for.  I believe the right way to handle this is the way that some mothers used to tell their children about bad decisions – ‘You’ve made your bed, now lie in it’.

People can argue about the needs of business to make money, and to that I say that there is a higher need for integrity – delivering what you have promised. There is damn little of that today – and many of this country’s problems can be distilled to that one thing. There is a lack of personal integrity. It moves from one person to the corporate structure, then to government, and then there it is, everywhere you don’t want it to be, and nothing you can do about it.

This is especially true in our government, where we have an entity to protect the public from the unscrupulous notions of the industries involved in communication. It is known as the FCC, and as many know, this entity hasn’t been on the right side (meaning the greatest good of the majority of the citizenry) of an issue in years.

So there it is. We have something we want, internet access without problems. They say we have it, bend and take. And we must choose if we want to suffer through the ignominy and have a connection, or proudly say ‘No we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore’. Unfortunately, most of us have gotten to the point of needing a connection, not merely wanting one, and the watchdog, appointed for our best interests, is asleep, blind, or has been given a large, meaty bone by the bad guys as a distraction.

Ars Technica article – for their thoughts on the matter

Technorati Tags:

75% Off Mac Life Cover Price

There should be an image here!Mac Life is the ultimate hands-on guide to everything Macintosh. Its mission is to provide the reader with the most comprehensive range of information possible, from upgrading to troubleshooting to customizing a Macintosh desktop. No CD-ROM included.

Save 75% off the regular cover price for a grand total of $14.95 for 12 issues.

Pioneer And Their 16 Layer Optical Disk

With a per layer capacity of 25 gigabytes, Pioneer has developed an optical drive that has a total capacity of 400 gigabytes. This means that some time in the near future we are going to be able to burn 400 gigabytes of data to a single disk.

As for the read-out system, Pioneer achieved stability in the playback of recorded signals by employing a wide-range spherical aberration compensator and light-receiving element that can read out weak signals at a high signal-to-noise ratio in the optical pick-up mechanism. Since the optical specifications of the objective lens, such as NA (Numerical Aperture)*2, are the same as those for the existing BD discs, it is possible to maintain compatibility between the new 16-layer optical disc and the BD discs.

The 16-layer optical disc technology, capable of storing much more data than the conventional discs on one disc, will greatly reduce the number of discs to be used and therefore contribute to the conservation of resources.

If you are wondering how much these new players are going to cost, I was thinking the same thing. As always the first new products are traditionally high until the masses start to buy them. I still remember buying my first CD recorder and paying $400 for it. Technology always amazes me when something new and improved is introduced.

Comments welcome.

Pioneer press release.

AVG Fixes LinkScanner Problem

It is rare to see one software product that has caused such a stir. It is usually Norton or McAfee who receives the ‘bad mouthing’, but this time it is AVG with their LinkScanner technology. All over the Internet people and web site owners have been screaming about how AVG’s LinkScanner has created false traffic and has become a royal pain. But AVG took notice and has fixed the problem, I hope. I found this on a forum from an AVG vendor who stated:

Peter Cameron, Managing Director of AVG Australia / New Zealand here again.

As promised, I am letting you know that the latest update for AVG Free edition has addressed and rectified the issue that Simon and other members of Whirlpool (and others) have brought to our attention. This update has now been released to users and has also been built into the latest installation package for AVG Free.

It typically takes several days for all free users to get updated so results of this change should be seen by early next week. A similar update for AVG’s commercial users will be released on Tuesday as previously notified.

We thank you for your feedback. You can see that we do listen to you and take appropriate action as required. We are totally committed to providing maximum protection for our users and for the Internet eco-system as a whole without causing unnecessary disruption.

Peter Cameron
Managing Director
AVG Australia / New Zealand

Hopefully this will put an end to the controversy once and for all.

Comments welcome.


California Bill Getting No Support From The Right

Right now in the halls of the state legislature, there is a bill that would allow 17 year old people to register to vote in the general election, provided they were 18 by the day of that election.

I happen to think this is a great idea – it will give people who are charged up by their senior civics classes to exercise their rights, and get them in the habit of voting. What could be better?

Well, lots of things if you ask the Republicans in the government. They seem to be worried that by and large the fresh new faces to the voting booth will be voting Democrat.

from the San Francisco Chronicle

A pair of Assembly bills designed to bring more young people into the voting booths are being fought by Republicans who worry that too many of those new voters will be liberal Democrats.

Well, if the Republicans had not set such a bad example for the past 14 or so years, they would not have to be so worried.  I remember the first time I voted, all I wanted was a change from the bozo in office – it just so happened he was a Republican.

One of the measures would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to “preregister” to vote, while the other would allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election if they will be 18 by the date of the next general election. Both bills have prompted straight party-line votes, with no hint of GOP support.

Apparently none of these people have faith in their own party values, and obviously don’t remember the show ‘Family Ties’ – there must be a few Alex P. Keatons out there today. I’m sure there are in Orange Countythey indoctrinate them early on out there.

While Democrats sponsoring the bills say they are merely good-government measures, studies show that their party would get a major election-day boost if more young voters cast ballots.

Of course they would, but has anyone wondered why? I know I am not really happy with the Republicans that have represented me. Beyond that, they have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger get elected, in a special election, which cost millions, only to have the same problems as his predecessor, Gray Davis. Arnold hasn’t ‘terminated’ any of the problems we face these days.

Exit polls done during this year’s presidential primary season showed that the number of voters younger than 30 has more than doubled since the 2004 and 2000 elections, with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, drawing an enthusiastic and growing response from those young voters.

It’s only natural that young voters would be more inclined to be liberal and to register Democratic, said Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia (San Bernardino County), vice chair of the Assembly’s Election and Redistricting Committee.

Again, I disagree, it is because change is wanted, not simply a move to a Democratic candidate. If Mr Obama was running on the Green Party ticket, I’m betting that the votes cast in that column would be historically high. It’s the person, not the party, and it’s the principles they stand for.  That is why I never voted for George Bush, whether or not he’s a great guy to have a beer with. I don’t need a buddy. I need a leader. The Republicans haven’t shown that for a while. I don’t like what Newt Gingrich stands for, but I respect him, and I think I know what it is he stands for, so that if he was to be elected, I would not be surprised by anything he did.

“I’m a pretty conservative guy now, but when I was 17 I was a raging liberal,” Adams said. “You start to see problems as you get older. As you get older, you get wiser.”

or more selfish and cynical – yes that’s what I’m betting on.

He also argued that it would be wrong to set up a situation where political parties could send organizers into California high schools and attempt to recruit impressionable students.

“Our concern is that we want an informed and worldly electorate, and here we have these kids in high school and they’re trying to get a grasp of the world,” Adams said. “The assumption is that they’re not able to make informed decisions, so we have to have a legitimate cutoff” date.

that’s just stinkin’ thinkin’. There is no magic at 18. In fact psychological studies show that maturity of the brain occurs at around 15.

17-year-old voters

But to Democratic Assemblyman Gene Mullin, D-South San Francisco, many of the students he taught in 32 years of high school government classes were better informed than their elders.

“These young people are in school and hearing discussions of issues in their classes,” he said. “Republicans are afraid we’re going to register a lot of Democrats, but most teenagers tend to register in the party of their parents.”

Mullin introduced the constitutional amendment giving 17-year-olds the right to vote in primary elections because it “would allow these individuals to support their chosen candidate through all stages of the campaign.”

Virginia, Maine, Indiana and North Carolina are among the states that already have similar laws.

Because the amendment, ACA15, needs a two-thirds vote to get out of the Assembly, Mullin admitted that he needs some help from Republicans that he isn’t likely to get.

The Democratic bills would not give a boost to Republicans, Democrats or any other group, said Assemblyman Curren Price Jr., D-Inglewood (Los Angeles County), who is carrying the preregistration measure, AB1819, which has the backing of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.

“This is a step we can take to encourage voting involvement at an early age,” he said. “People who get involved at a young age are more likely to become regular voters.”

Exactly. The kids of today see how bad things are, and they know it is time to step up, and get things going in a direction that they read about in those early American History classes.

The measure would allow teenagers to fill out a registration form so that they would automatically be registered the day they turn 18.

Florida and Hawaii already have similar laws on the books, and a handful of other states, including Texas, Iowa and Missouri, allow 17-year-olds to preregister.

Price described his bill as “a way of tapping into the interest young people have expressed this year,” while not mentioning that much of that excitement was bolstering Democratic campaign efforts.

I know I’m for it. Anything that will get voter turnout above the pathetic levels that I’ve seen during my voting life. You would think people were going to get a beating if they vote! (those days are over).

Technorati Tags:


Adobe Reader 9 (and the rest)

It is amazing what is included these days with some software packages. A simple download of Adobe Reader (Reader!) has become a major commitment, at over 33 MB.

Not only does one get the Reader, included is the AIR platform, so that any embedded content will be playable. The question is, ‘Why is this necessary?’ AIR is fine, but it is not the standard that PDF is. Also, the people who are the target of the PDF format are supposed to be business types – hardly needing much multimedia content – and if they do, won’t they be relying on the heavy hitters, rather than going with a new kid on the block?

Also included (thoughtfully?) is a shortcut to Acrobat.com, just so you don’t lose your way, and accidentally go to that place offered  by Brand M, or worse, Brand G.

I must admit, I really like the PDF format, but I don’t think all this added fluff is necessary, and many plainly don’t want it – there are lots of people complaining already.

One more thing – the PDF just became an ISO standard, so the theory goes that anyone should be able to step up and make an identically functioning product – which has not happened thus far. Foxit , Sumatra, and any others that escape me right now do not offer the exact same possibilities, and are not 100% compliant.

Have you downloaded Reader 9 yet? What do you think of the 200+ megabytes it takes up on your drive (I know drive space is cheap, but if everyone takes advantage of that fact, we will all need new drives again, and suddenly 1 TB won’t seem big enough) I haven’t noticed any significant slowing when it comes up, but then it hasn’t been speedy on anything for a while now, so small differences are just that.

Technorati Tags: