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Video Games and Unemployment February 2, 2017

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Temptation_of_ipadA few decades ago, an unemployed person might be stuck on the couch watching TV, isolated and depressed. Today, cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games, in particular, provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.

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Net Neutrality – Be Careful What You Wish For March 2, 2015

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When Google’s Eric Schmidt called White House officials a few weeks ago to oppose President Obama ’s demand that the Internet be regulated as a utility, they told him to buzz off. The chairman of the company that led lobbying for “net neutrality” learned the Obama plan made in its name instead micromanages the Internet.

Mr. Schmidt is not the only liberal mugged by the reality of Obamanet, approved on party lines last week by the Federal Communications Commission. The 300-plus pages of regulations remain secret, but as details leak out, liberals have joined the opposition to ending the Internet as we know it.

The Progressive Policy Institute said: “There is nothing progressive about the FCC backsliding to common carrier rules dating back to the 1930s.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supports applying the 1934 law to the Internet, nonetheless objects to a new regulation giving the FCC open-ended power to regulate the Internet. “A ‘general conduct rule,’ applied on a case-by-case basis,” the EFF wrote, “may lead to years of expensive litigation to determine the meaning of ‘harm’ (for those who can afford to engage in it).”

What if at the beginning of the Web, Washington had opted for Obamanet instead of the open Internet? Yellow Pages publishers could have invoked “harm” and “unjust and unreasonable” competition from online telephone directories. This could have strangled Alta Vista and Excite, the early leaders in search, and relegated Google to a Stanford student project. Newspapers could have lobbied against Craigslist for depriving them of classified advertising. Encyclopedia Britannica could have lobbied against Wikipedia.

Among the first targets of the FCC’s “unjust and unreasonable” test are mobile-phone contracts that offer unlimited video or music. Netflix , the biggest lobbyist for utility regulation, could be regulated for how it uses encryption to deliver its content.

via Gordon Crovitz: Liberals Mugged by Obamanet – WSJ.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense February 20, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, Science & Technology, Technology.
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J0216075The US has made the strategic choice to put its resources into engineering better attack tools and an infrastructure to support them. In a way it’s a smart choice. It’s a truism that the cyber battlefield is asymmetric—a defender has to get it right every time, while an attacker only has to succeed once. If the US spends a billion dollars in cyber defense, it will still be vulnerable. But spend it on cyber attack, and you get the most advanced computer espionage and sabotage tools that history has ever seen.

 The tool hides itself encrypted in the Windows registry, so that anti-virus software can’t find it on the computer’s disk. It carves out its own virtual file system on your machine to store data for exfiltration.  It uses a well-engineered piece of software called a bootkit to control the operating system from the ground up. There are update mechanisms, dozens of plug-ins, a self-destruct function, massive code obfuscation, hundreds of fake websites to serve as command-and-control. One of the NSA’s malware plug-ins can even reprogram your hard drive’s firmware, allowing the implant to survive a complete disk wipe.

via Surprise! America Already Has a Manhattan Project for Developing Cyber Attacks | WIRED.

Help Desk July 14, 2014

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HelpDesk

Why Hockey Is Hot May 30, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, Sports, Technology.
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When NBC agreed to broadcast a few regular season and playoff weekend games and the Stanley cup finals in prime Time, NHL viewership was so weak that the network didn’t even have to pay the usual “rights fees” that sports leagues usually can demand.

nhl-fan-mapSo why is NBC getting record TV ratings for Hockey this year? For years hockey has struggled on television. As a kid after screaming myself hoarse at Ranger games in smokey Madison Square Garden, trying to watch a game on TV was excruciating. As hard as it was to see the puck, sometimes even the camera man would lose the puck.

So what changed? …the size of TV screens. With the spread of large-format, hi-def TVs, you could actually follow the fast-paced action. So a sport, which grew up on frozen ponds in cities like Chicago, now has a rabid fan base in the Sunbelt, with many local junior leagues.

20 Years Later April 18, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Humor, Lifestyle, Music, Photography, Technology, Video.
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20 Years Later

Helicopter Cat April 17, 2013

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The Orvillecopter by Dutch artist Jansen flies in central Amsterdam as part as the KunstRAI art festivalDutch artist Bart Jansen (R) has found an unusual way paying his last respects to his pet cat Orville, who died after being hit by a car — he turned him into a helicopter, or a quadrocopter to be precise, with four rotors, each fitted to one outstretched paw. Jansen got help from a model airplane pilot, Arjen Beltmann (L), to mount the rotor blades in a way that ensures maximum flight stability.

via Photo Gallery of Cat Helicopter Constructed by Artist Bart Jansen – SPIEGEL ONLINE – International.

What Happens in an Internet Minute? March 26, 2013

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Do you know what happens in one minute on the Internet? In just one minute, more than 204 million emails are sent. Amazon rings up about $83,000 in sales. Around 20 million photos are viewed and 3,000 uploaded on Flickr. At least 6 million Facebook pages are viewed around the world. And more than 61,000 hours of music are played on Pandora while more than 1.3 million video clips are watched on YouTube.

internetminuteToday, the number of networked devices equals the world’s population. By 2015, the number of networked devices is expected to be double the world’s population. And by the time we reach 2015, it would take five years to view all the video content crossing IP networks each second. Click Infrograph to expand.

via What Happens in an Internet Minute?.

So Now Its Up To You To Land The 737… March 17, 2013

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The good news is the plane will probably have a sophisticated autopilot that can take care of most of the flying for you.  The bad news is you will still probably have to land it, and every aircraft cockpit is going to be different, so it’s not like you’d know exactly where to look to find the things you need.

737aewc_3So, let’s take an example aircraft — (you guessed it) the 737.  The first thing you’re going to want to do is put on the pilot’s headset, and find the pilot’s audio controls. Click on the link for the step-by-step instructions.

(1) Tim Morgan’s answer to Aviation: What should I do if the pilot passes out and I (with no flight training) have to land the plane? – Quora.

Hackers Are Winning The CyberWar – So Far February 10, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, In The News, Lifestyle, Technology.
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Virus writers are having a field day. A new industry has blossomed called Exploit Kits. Talented programmers sell their exploit kits for $3000 a pop to help their brethren malware writers deliver their payloads more effectively.

Late 2012, the NY Times published a controversial piece questioning the effectiveness of modern antivirus software. The shocking conclusion was that after an exhaustive analysis of over 40 antivirus products, there was only a 5% chance of detecting and defeating a new threat. That is, if a computer had 40+ antivirus products running simultaneously, there is a scant 5% chance that the computer would be safe from new threats.

Computer BugsThe US Department of Homeland Security advised last week that users disable Java. This is unprecedented. The government felt this is a computing problem so severe that it must intervene. Java is a real and present threat to not only our national security but our computers, privacy and wallets. The DHS has no motivation to sow misinformation or fear, and they should be heeded. (more…)

Personal Flying Car February 5, 2013

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PAL VThe PAL-V ONE is a two seat hybrid car and gyroplane: a personal air and land vehicle. What makes the PAL-V ONE attractive is the convenience of fully integrated door-to-door transportation.

On the ground this slim, aerodynamic, 3-wheeled vehicle has the comfort of a car with the agility of a motorcycle thanks to its patented, cutting-edge, ‘tilting’ system. It can be driven to the nearest airfield and take off just like any other airplane. The single rotor and propeller are unfolded to make the PAL-V ONE ready to fly.

When airborne, the PAL-V usually flies below 4,000 feet (1,200 m), the airspace available for uncontrolled Visual Flight Rules (VFR) traffic; so there will be no interference from commercial air traffic. Furthermore, the PAL-V is powered by a very robust, flight certified aircraft engine. It runs on gasoline. It can reach speeds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph) both on land and in the air.

The PAL-V ONE has a very short take off and landing capability, making it possible to land practically anywhere. When not using controlled airspace, you can take off without filing a flight plan. Flying a PAL-V is like a standard gyrocopter. It is quieter than helicopters due to the slower rotation of the main rotor. It takes off and lands with low speed, cannot stall, and is very easy to control. The gyroplane technology means that it can be steered and landed safely even if the engine fails, because the rotor keeps auto rotating. Thanks to Randy Marks

PAL-V | Ultimate Freedom.

The End of Courtship? January 14, 2013

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Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.

PromDatenormanrockwellBlame the much-documented rise of the “hookup culture” among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings. Hookups may be fine for college students, but what about after, when they start to build an adult life? The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. In interviews with students, many graduating seniors did not know the first thing about the basic mechanics of a traditional date.

Online dating services, which have gained mainstream acceptance, reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates. Faced with a never-ending stream of singles to choose from, many feel a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), so they opt for a speed-dating approach — cycle through lots of suitors quickly.

via The End of Courtship? – NYTimes.com.

Ouracing Enemy Missles in the World’s Fastest Plane October 12, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Geopolitics, Technology.
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Excerpts from Sled Driver, the amazing book by one of the SR-71 pilots, Major Brian Shul:

Plane Porn – Click to Enlarge

In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi’s terrorist camps in Libya. My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111’s had inflicted. Qaddafi had established a ‘line of death,’ a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra , swearing to shoot down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph.

I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world’s fastest jet, accompanied by Maj Walter Watson, the aircraft’s reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). We had crossed into Libya and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape when Walter informed me that he was receiving missile launch signals. I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons-most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles capable of Mach 5 – to reach our altitude. I estimated that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane’s performance

via Holy Crap—Look at All These SR-71 Blackbirds Together!.

Motorcycle Powered By Poop August 26, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Lifestyle, Technology.
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Imagine speeding on a bike in the middle of nowhere, when the urge hits and you just have to go! Well, there’s a solution for that!

Japanese toilet maker TOTO rolled out a “Toilet Bike Neo” to raise awareness about bathroom emissions and water savings. The eco-friendly three-wheel 250cc motorcycle with a specially customized toilet-shaped seat runs on bio-fuel from the discharge of livestock or waste water.

TOTO has taken the bike on the road in Japan to promote its message. But wait, there’s more to it than meets the eye — this toilet on wheels talks to the rider, keeping him up to date on the latest stock prices or weather reports

via ‘Toilet Bike Neo’ goes where no john has gone before | Photos | National Post.

XP Hasn’t Aged Well August 8, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Humor, Technology.
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Instantly recognizable to most as the default wallpaper in Windows XP. May be the most viewed photograph in history.

Shot by Charles O’Rear on a medium format camera in 1996 and not digitally enhanced or manipulated in any way. The approximate location is 3101 Fremont Dr. in Sonoma, coordinates 38.250124,-122.410817.

In November 2006, Goldin+Senneby took the same picture, titling the piece After Microsoft:

via Photographs: What are the most viewed photos of all time? – Quora.

Car Converted into Motorcycle in Desert Survival July 7, 2012

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A Frenchman named Emile who reportedly found himself stranded in the deserts of Northwest Africa after breaking a frame rail and a suspension swingarm underneath his Citroën 2CV.
What to do? Why, disassemble the broken hulk and build yourself a motorcycle from its pile of parts, of course!

The link Google Translate  will take you to a translation from the French article. Click on the arrows at the bottom of the page  to advance.

California Doesn’t Learn From China’s Train Wreck July 7, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, News and politics, Technology.
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In California’s Legislature just authorized to spend, with Federal assistance, an under-estimated $100 billion to build a route between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will consist of a government monopoly riding on tracks near one of the largest earthquake faults in the world for most of its length, all to deliver passengers slower and at greater overall cost between two fixed points.  Airlines give consumers a choice of carriers and airports on either end of that route, will deliver passengers more quickly, and probably with a much wider choice of departure and arrival times.

In China the problem — beyond the idea of spending untold billions on the antiquated technology of static choo-choo trains — is that the three people making all these wonderful decisions  now have a high-speed rail system plagued by failurecorruption, out-of-control costs and legitimate safety concerns

The fact is that China’s train wreck was eminently foreseeable. High-speed rail is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires huge borrowing upfront to finance tracks, locomotives and cars, followed by years in which ticket revenue covers debt service — if all goes well. “Any . . . shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial stress,” warns a 2010 World Bank staff report.

Such “shortfalls” are all too common. Japan’s bullet trains needed a bailout in 1987. Taiwan’s line opened in 2007 and needed a government rescue in 2009. In France, only the Paris-Lyon high-speed line is in the black.

via China’s train wreck – The Washington Post.

Facebook Attacks 2011 January 12, 2012

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Video -The 28-cylinder radial engine of a Korean War era Corsair August 23, 2011

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20 first start on Vimeo, posted with vodpod thanks to motor-head  Carlton Palmer, who included these comments:

            Hydrocarbon combustion at it’s finest. Perhaps the pinnacle of gasoline fueled piston aircraft engine technology. 28 pistons going up and down with 7 magneto’s and 56 spark plugs. Notice how the smoke begins to drop off as the piston rings bed in (Wear) with the resulting improved oil control, less smoke . Appears to have been be a very good initial test run.

Big Rare Earth Discovery in Nebraska August 5, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Enviroment, Geopolitics, Technology.
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China has emerged as the world’s predominant supplier, controlling 97 percent of the global market for rare earths. In recent years, lawmakers have expressed concerns about China’s “rare earth” dominance, and these concerns were heightened when Beijing temporarily halted exports to Japan last year during a territorial dispute. Despite having such obscure names as praseodymium, promethium and samarium – no copper or zinc here – they are necessary for such routine contemporary technologies as magnets, laser pointers and miniature electronics, such as iPods.

Quantum acquired a circular piece of land – a bit more than 4 miles in diameter – near Elk Creek late last year. The land, which the U.S. Geological Survey projects may have one of the world’s largest deposits of niobium and rare earths, has since been poked, prodded and drilled to determine whether it held any niobium, which has never been mined in the U.S., or rare earths, which the U.S. has not mined in almost 10 years

via Neb. mine find to challenge China’s dominance of vital rare minerals – Washington Times.

The Invention of Ctrl+Alt+Delete June 20, 2011

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At this rate, even with 12 of the country’s best engineers working round-the-clock, IBM was never going to deliver its first computer prototype to Microsoft in a matter of four months. The parts were all new. The software. The hardware. Even the names “software” and “hardware.” They were treading new ground. There had never been a “PC,” a personal computer, until this group of programmers built the first one in that lab.

So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of frustrating rebooting going on as Dave Bradley tried to get the CPU – the central processing unit, which they named – to talk to a printer or a monitor for the first time, code he had spent months writing.

He needed a quicker way to restart, to refresh, to escape from a computer quagmire than just switching the computer off and waiting for it to reboot. So he wrote nine lines of code, a “10-minute job,” Bradley remembers. He wanted to make sure it wasn’t something you could just press by accident and wipe out your work. He wrote it so that with his left hand, he held down the keys Ctrl+Alt. With his right hand, he pressed Del.

The screen went black, came back to life and voilà: A cultural icon was created and some great one-liners from the creator, such as “I got to meet Bill Gates when he was only worth millions” .

Actually, about that meeting – At a panel discussion with Gates for the 20-year anniversary of the PC, Bradley was asked about how he created the keystroke. Google Dave Bradley and Bill Gates to see video of Bradley quipping, “I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous.” The crowd rolls with laughter. Bill Gates, frozen in a smile-shaped grimace, is not amused.

Read more at  Palm Beach Post : In flash of keystrokes, Dave Bradley changed computer history..

Click more to see the video (more…)

Boy regrets selling his kidney to buy iPad June 3, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Lifestyle, Technology.
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17-year-old student in Anhui Province sold one of his kidneys for 20,000 yuan only to buy an iPad 2. Now, with his health getting worse, the boy is feeling regret but it is too late, the Global Times reported today.

“I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it,” said the boy surnamed Zheng in Huaishan City. “A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.” (more…)

The US$465,000 Lexus LFA Nurburgring – the most expensive Japanese car ever May 27, 2011

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The decade long development campaign could not possibly be amortized effectively across just 500 cars – the LFA Nurburgring is a bargain, even at this price.  To which my wife, who loves a bargain, reminded me that her Birthday was coming up soon… 

via The US$465,000 Lexus LFA Nurburgring – the most expensive Japanese car ever.

The Auto Plant of the Future that Ford Built in Brazil January 30, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Technology, Video.
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Unless the Unions in the “Rust Belt” will allow efficient factories, like this one, be built, they will never be able to globally  compete.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Auto Plant of the Future that Ford Built in…, posted with vodpod

Happy Birthday Windows 1.0 November 16, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Technology, Video.
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Windows version 1.0, which did not set the world on fire, is now 25 years old this month, and I’d like to share a few remembrances of the OS.First of all, it was useless. Like, seriously useless. But it was strangely interesting at the same time. You had to have a special graphics card to run the thing, and when compared to DOS, it did look better although it was not as attractive as the Mac OS or anything done today including Linux GUI’s. I wonder if there is a machine in existence that still runs it.Steve Ballmer made a hilarious video promoting Windows 1.0 like a used car salesman.

At first, Microsoft called it “Interface Manager.” Later, a marketing guy in the company came up with the name “Windows.” The thing wasn’t originally designed as an OS but as a shell program with a zippy GUI that could manage all of the device drivers through a common API. People forget that by the mid 1980’s device drivers for peripherals were a nightmare. Interface Manager, now Windows, would take care of this problem.

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