Share-worthy News

The jury is still out on the validity of this story but it’s worth sharing even if just for a laugh. An nondescript company executive’s computer was recently  attacked by malware after charging his e-cigarette using the USB connector, as shared on Yahoo today. IT personnel deduced that when the executive connected the charger to his computer, the  e-cig had access to the server and immediately infected the system, despite anti-virus and other security software. We recently posted about USB drives being used for malicious behavior so we feel the latest e-cig story can in fact be true. Regardless if it is or not, we encourage computer users to be careful about what they connect electronically or everything could easily go up in smoke.

While it is not yet time to get in line for a terahertz chip powered computer, it is time to recognize that the possibility isn’t as far off as may have been previously assumed. Why? DARPA and Northrop Grumman Corporation have developed the first terahertz amplifier, the Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC). To put this feat into perspective, the difference between what was the norm and the TMIC can be compared to a bottle rocket and a space shuttle. Surely this can’t be true … and yet it is. The former record of 850 gigahertz was shattered with the TMIC’s one trillion cycles per second. The faster turnover should be able to astronomically improve technologies such as security imaging systems, radar, and communications. DARPA’s program manager Dev Palmer describer “terahertz circuits promise to open up new areas of research and unforeseen applications in the sub-millimeter-wave spectrum, in addition to bringing unprecedented performance to circuits operating at more conventional frequencies.” The development team still has more work to do before this new cycle-turnover rate becomes commonplace but we’re confident that we aren’t the only techies eagerly awaiting to see what changes this will ultimately bring to the world.

Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC)

You search for a website on your phone and assume that your internet provider is the only one who knows where you visit. Turns out if you have Verizon, you were wrong. Recently it has been discovered that for at least the past two years the communications provider has been selling the data it collects from its mobile internet users and sells the information to marketing companies. Verizon refers to the process as a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) which inserts unique numbers and letters into users’ web requests. Paying advertisers can then use these distinctive web addresses to identify which you tend to visit and can closely tailor their ads to your searches. The UIDH system alters the addresses through Verizon’s network so deleting saved cookies will have no effect on the advertisers’ ability to view your tendencies and history. Even more troubling to many people hearing about the tactics is that the company’s opt-out function does not stop the process. Verizon and its advertising clients won’t use your searches for personalized ads; however, it will continue to collect all of the information that it did before you opted-out. Bit of a head scratcher, yes? Providers including AT&T and Sprint are now also being questioned if they employ tactics similar to Verizon. Be careful for what websites you visit on your phone; Big Brother is not only watching but keeping track of where you go…

UPDATE: AT&T confirms to use of similar program: http://wp.me/p2NUsr-5X

Verizon UIDH

You snap a pic, send it to a specific user, and assume that it will be automatically deleted once it is viewed on the user’s Snapchat account. PLOT TWIST. Turns out that it isn’t this simple and unfortunately for some, thousands of these photos have been released on the internet. The Snapchat application itself was not hacked but third-party applications that store saved shots. Applications and websites like SnapSaved.com allow users to save otherwise “expired” photos so that users can return to them for viewing in the future. Though the images were taken using the application, Snapchat is admitting no fault because “Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security.” Regardless of how the images were accessed or how they were initially shared, this event is yet another obvious reminder that what happens in technology does not stay hidden no matter what is promised.

Several of the applications being accused of hosting the leaked images claim that they do not store usernames and passwords, yet usernames are indeed attached to the approximately 90,000 images. Worst yet, many viewers of the released images have reported they contain child pornography. Many sites are now claiming that the Snappening is a hoax because the releaser cannot create a searchable database but the evidence stands: images were released without the users’ permission. As with all similar photo releases, we advise all readers refrain from searching for these images and to be more cognizant of what you share on the internet. It’s not as safe a place as you may have been led to believe.

Snapchat Snappening SnapSaved.com

Today if you walk into a computer programming or computer science class on nearly any college campus, the room will be filled with primarily young adult males. Does this shock you? It shouldn’t. Yet this hasn’t always been the case. Does this shock you? How about the fact that women were some of the frontrunners in computer programming? It should based on how history has been told.

Science and mathematics have long been regarded as masculine studies because that’s what the media consistently reports. If women were involved it was reported that they simply assisted, even when their work shows they were co-contributors with their male colleagues. Considered the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace was tutored almost exclusively in mathematics and worked on Charles’ Babbage’s analytical engine. Despite reports of Babbage himself saying that Lovelace understood the computations and calculations of the machine better than he did, Babbage is credited as the sole inventor of the machine. When computers really took off in the 1940s, leaders such as Gertrude Blanch, Adele Goldstine, and Grace Hopper made monumental contributions to the industry, yet aren’t recognized today by most programmers or programming students. While female programmers were the minority for most of the 20th century, it was a mere 60-40 split with their male counterparts. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are modern-day examples of programming geniuses but women had been dominating the role long before Apple or Microsoft ever existed.

Many believe that women are underrepresented in technology because there aren’t ample, prevalent role models for them to look up to which since the 1980s has sadly been true. When Steve Jobs and Bill Gates broke into fame, they were the image of the classic computer programmer. Women in the industry shifted from 40% at the time to now closer to 17% according to various studies. This 17% have recently been pushing young girls to remember that they do have role models to look to and they shouldn’t be afraid to become programmers.

 

Grace Hopper, electronic computer automatic programmer

Grace Hopper, electronic computer automatic programmer

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