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The Rise of the Ethical Hacktivist
February 25, 2014
When Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals more than four decades ago, the world was a very different place than it is today. Protests and demonstrations were among the most common tactics for bringing about social change, and they were used on such a broad scale that they helped define the Vietnam War era and counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Linux Distros Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
February 21, 2014
It's long been the case that the world of Linux distributions offers at least one compelling choice for virtually every taste and purpose, but -- much like those dissatisfied with the weather in New England -- users who don't see a distro they like need only wait a few minutes. You win a few, you lose a few -- but the overall pool of choices remains rich and diverse.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.
A Deep Dive Into New Scuba Tech
February 13, 2014
Scuba divers always have relied on gear that lets the essentially fragile, air-dependent human body descend into oceanic depths. While air tanks, regulators, buoyancy control devices and dive computers have been around for years, digital technologies are altering how they function, how they're used, and how well they work. One recent innovation is iGills.
Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?
February 12, 2014
Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement. Microsoft's Azure may be the only real threat to Linux cloud dominance -- all other major cloud software platforms are based on Linux and open source software. Some enterprise Linux distros are showing up as cloud-based offerings.
Internet of Things, Part 1: God's Gift to the NSA
February 12, 2014
The NSA's salivary glands no doubt started working overtime when it became apparent that technological advances were moving the world toward an Internet of Things -- a world where everything would be connected to everything else wirelessly or over the Web. Almost two years ago, David Petraeus, then director of the CIA, enthused that the IoT would transform surveillance techniques.
Team USA in Sochi: High-Tech Gear Spurs High Hopes
February 07, 2014
While it takes years of training, determination and really good genes even to get a chance to compete in the Olympic Games, the difference between making the podium or not can come down to milliseconds in some events. At this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, new advances in fabrics, materials and designs are giving the athletes an edge as they go for the gold.
The Perils of Mobile App Insecurity
February 04, 2014
Smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous -- and so convenient that we often download apps and approve permissions without giving them much thought. Such behavior exposes the data we store on our prized devices to increasing risk. That blind trust is just what app makers count on. Android users, especially, are complacent about synchronizing apps on multiple devices.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
Installing Linux: The Good, Bad and Ugly
January 29, 2014
Good or bad, useful or not, implementation of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and Microsoft's Secure Boot extension might well foul the fuel driving consumer migration to the Linux desktop. It was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down.
Gear and Gadgets for Hitting the Slopes
January 29, 2014
Skiing technologies have undergone a revolution in recent years, with skis, gear and gadgets changing how a new generation experiences the sport. These new technologies are making skiing safer, greener and more connected. Rocker design is one trend that has been finding its way into the skiing world over the last several years -- with lift and curvature on both tips and tails.
Can Android Challenge Embedded Linux?
January 21, 2014
Is the Android OS morphing into a new form of embedded Linux? Android is a Linux OS derivative perched to make inroads beyond its growing user base in smartphones and tablets. Some auto makers are considering the potential for Android-connected communications systems in their vehicles. The Android OS is already available as an all-in-one desktop computer powered by System on a Chip circuitry.
What's Up With Tizen?
January 15, 2014
Consumers might soon have access to cheaper, more talented smartphones that could challenge the market dominance of Android and iOS. At least that is the promise from the Tizen Association. The growing group of phone makers and application developers recently launched a partner program with 36 companies from all segments of the mobile and connected device ecosystems.
Tech and the Art of Text
January 15, 2014
In 1999, Chris Baty was looking for inspiration to write a novel. He got together with some friends in coffee shops and started writing, with rewards of coffee for those who reached their word counts. It was the birth of National Novel Writing Month, which the following year would become NaNoWriMo, a Web-based community of writers who commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
NoSQL, Part 2: Grappling With Big Data
January 14, 2014
Back in 2009, SQL databases began emerging, mainly to handle modern Web-scale databases. They could handle massive amounts of data; tackle the exponential growth of newly created digital content from social media sites and websites; and help build value around data by connecting the dots -- no small task when a plethora of data is continuously being created.
Got Cloud? What Companies Want
January 07, 2014
Cloud service users are becoming more vocal about what they want from cloud providers and how they want to pay for it -- and cloud providers may be listening. They are beginning to offer more flexible options and are gradually shifting to utility-style pricing models. There is no single factor driving these changes, but some of the things potential users want are showing up in their offers.
NoSQL, Part 1: Coming of Age
January 07, 2014
Amadeus, which handles bookings for 95 percent of flights worldwide, uses a variety of NoSQL databases to deal with the massive amounts of data that it handles. Amadeus enables 3.7 million bookings on more than 700 airlines, 110,000 hotel properties, and 30 rental car agencies each day. "NoSQL databases are part of our technology stack to deal with Big Data," said VP Dietmar Fauser.
Twill on Apache: A New Weave
January 07, 2014
Using Hadoop running YARN to manage large clusters for Big Data analysis may soon become easier. The Apache Foundation accepted the open source project Twill, named "Weave" while hosted on Github, after foundation members began voting for its inclusion on Nov. 8. Bringing Twill to Apache will ensure that it is more accessible to application developers.
Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 2: No Clear Answers
January 04, 2014
Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates rejoiced when U.S. Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the NSA's collection of bulk telephony metadata is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, their joy was short-lived. Later in the month, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley ruled that it is legal.
Surveillance Rights and Wrongs, Part 1: Begging the Questions
January 03, 2014
The National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans' emails, Web searches and phone calls has angered the nation, but lawmakers remain divided on the issue. Bipartisan groups have spoken out against the surveillance and a few have introduced legislation to curb it, but some contend it is essential to protect America from its enemies.
Plasma's Fade to Black
December 20, 2013
As the 2013 International CES approached a year ago, it was clear that a showdown between OLED and 4K -- or UltraHD -- was brewing in the TV display market. A year later, that showdown is fully under way, but with a notable twist. Specifically, Panasonic's announcement in late October that it would exit the plasma display panel market in the coming months took many by surprise.
Portrait of the Artist as a Social Media Fan
December 18, 2013
Artists are using social media to market their work, communicate their ideas and even create new forms. Kiran Umapathy's Headphones Project, for example, documents what randomly selected headphone-wearing strangers are listening to with a story, photo and link to the song. This project -- like many other art projects these days -- lends itself well to social media sharing.
Digital Santa, Part 3: Riding High on the Turbo Cyber Sleigh
December 11, 2013
Flashing strobe lights, streaming LEDs, whining jet engines, a Space Shuttle's roar ... this isn't your grandpa's Santa Claus sleigh. Just about everyone has some mental image of Santa's sleigh -- a hyperflux supervehicle drawn by high-flying reindeer genetically modified for delivering gifts and toys to girls and boys around the world, for instance.
Goodbye, Win XP - Hello, Linux?
December 11, 2013
Microsoft will stop security support for Windows XP this coming April, meaning that more than a few remaining users of the long-standing OS need to come up with an alternative plan. Almost a third of desktop computers still run Windows XP, according to Net Applications. More than 15 percent of midsize and large enterprises will still have Windows XP running on at least 10 percent of their PCs after support ends.

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