Thursday, November 18, 2010

Friends” you don't need...

Debt Collectors Using Facebook To Embarrass Those Who Owe

Not even the tranquility of FarmVille can save you from the long arm of debt collectors. Melanie Beacham says that a collector from MarkOne Financial contacted her relatives about her past due car note via Facebook. She is filing suit alleging that the company is harassing her family. Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan says, "Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use."

The push back continues...

DA promises to prosecute overly touchy pat downs

November 17, 2010 by Dissent

Lyanne Melendez reports:

The San Mateo district attorney’s office has a warning for all TSA personnel at SFO — anyone inappropriately touching a passenger during a security pat down will be prosecuted.

Incoming San Mateo DA Steve Wagstaffe says any complaints of inappropriate touching during an airport security pat down will land on his desk.

“The case would be reviewed and if we could prove the elements of it, that it was inappropriately done with a sexual or lewd intent, that person would be prosecuted,” he said.

Sounds like a blustery day in San Mateo. Read more on ABC. Hat-tip, @NationalOptOut

We can, therefore we must!” ...and besides, only the driver uses a cell phone.

Secretary of Transportation LaHood: We’re looking into technology to disable cell phones in vehicles

November 17, 2010 by Dissent

Jeff Winkler reports

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said using a cell phone while driving is so dangerous that devices may soon be installed in cars to forcibly stop drivers — and potentially anyone else in the vehicle — from using them.

“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that,” said LaHood on MSNBC. LaHood said the cellphone scramblers were one way, and also stressed the importance of “personal responsibility.”

Read more on the Daily Caller.

This is truly absurd and dangerous. I cannot begin to count how many times I have used my phone while in my car to report a car accident with injuries on the road ahead of me where 911 needed to dispatch emergency vehicles while I started assisting injured drivers or passengers. In emergencies, such as the driver who was in cardiac arrest, time is of the essence and anything that delays making a 911 call can make the difference between life and death.

A great victory for the ecology? Save a tree, Google it!

Is the Number Up For the Residential Phone Book?

"The first phone directory was issued in 1878, two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and for decades regulators across the US have required phone companies to distribute directories in paper form. But now the Washington Post reports that Verizon, the largest provider of landline phones in the Washington DC region, is asking state regulators for permission to stop delivering the residential white pages in Virginia and Maryland. About a dozen other states are also doing away with printed phone books as surveys show that the number of households relying on residential white pages dropped from 25 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2008. The directories will be available online, printed or on CD-ROM upon request but the inches-thick white pages, a fixture in American households for more than a century, will no longer land on porches with a thud each year. 'I'm kind of amazed they lasted as long as they have,' says Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. 'But there are some people nostalgic about this. Some people like to go to the shelf and look up a number.'"

For my Forensic and Ethical Hacker students

What EXIF Photo Data Is, How To Find It & How To Understand It

The data itself can reveal some pretty interesting stuff about your photos. As well as the exact time and date you pressed the shutter (provided your camera time and date was correct, of course), a lot of technical information regarding the photograph is captured as well.

… Newer mobile phones and cameras with geotagging ability (using GPS to record the exact location of the image) now store this information within a file’s EXIF data. Web services such as Flickr can then create a map of photographs tagged in this manner.

A growing trend in education. Ask questions that can ONLY be answered using computers. Or at least learn what questions to ask and ALLOW the computer to do the drudge work.

November 17, 2010

NYT: Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches

NYT: "Members of a new generation of digitally savvy humanists argue it is time to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical “ism” and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. This latest frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have. These researchers are digitally mapping Civil War battlefields to understand what role topography played in victory, using databases of thousands of jam sessions to track how musical collaborations influenced jazz, searching through large numbers of scientific texts and books to track where concepts first appeared and how they spread, and combining animation, charts and primary documents about Thomas Jefferson’s travels to create new ways to teach history...the National Endowment for the Humanities teamed up with the National Science Foundation and institutions in Canada and Britain last year to create the Digging Into Data Challenge, a grant program designed to push research in new directions."

For my Techie students. (Note: Handing in papers with 'cloudy reasoning' isn't a resume item.)

Want an IT Job? Add 'Cloud' To Your Buzzword List

"There was a predicted uptick in IT hiring for late this year, but it's mid-November and it hasn't happened yet. Kevin Fogarty does see growth in one area, though: cloud and virtualization experts are being fought over, lured away from in-house jobs to cloud consultancies popping up everywhere."

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