Sunday, May 20, 2012

Looks like the friendly state of California is already secretly collecting DNA.
"California lawmakers are weighing a bill aimed at protecting their state's citizens from surreptitious genetic testing but scientists are voicing their growing concerns that, if passed, such a law would have a costly and damaging effect on research. The bill, dubbed the Genetic Information Privacy Act, would require an individual's written consent for the collection, analysis, retention, and sharing of his or her genetic information—including DNA, genetic test results, and even family disease history. The University of California has submitted a formal letter objecting to the bill, estimating that the measure could increase administrative costs by up to $594,000 annually — money which would come out of the cash-strapped state's General Fund. The university has also expressed concern that its researchers would suffer competitive losses in obtaining research grants."

Stalker tech
May 19, 2012
Hearing on the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act
House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security - Hearing on the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act - Statement for the Record of Professor Matt Blaze, May 17, 2012
  • Re - Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act, S. 1212: "GPS is only one technology for cell location, and while it is the most visible to the end user, GPS is neither the most pervasive nor the most generally applicable cellular phone location system, especially in the surveillance context. More ubiquitously available are techniques that (unlike GPS) do not depend on satellites or special hardware in the handset, but rather on radio signal data collected and analyzed at the cellular providers' towers and base stations. These “network-based” location techniques can give the position of virtually every handset active in the network at any time, regardless of whether the mobile devices are equipped with GPS chips and without the explicit knowledge or active cooperation of the phone users."

I have no comment...
Are people more honest when they text?
A study at the University of Michigan suggests not only that we are likely to tell the truth when we let our fingers do the talking, but that we're also more likely to give more detailed and precise answers to questions.

This is fair if Microsoft was paid to add software (e.g. anti-virus) to the install package for a fee. This allowed them to reduce the cost of the package. Dropping the extra software raises the price. But, $99 dollars worth? Perhaps I'll sic my students on an open source equivalent...
walterbyrd writes about a program from Microsoft to clean up bloated base installs, for a price. From the article:
"Microsoft even offers up numbers to show how detrimental this OEM-installed crapware is to your system. Microsoft claims that Signature systems start up 39 percent faster, go into sleep mode 23 percent faster, and resume from sleep a whopping 51 percent faster compared to their crapware-ladened counterparts. (A 'Signature' system is one without crapware). But now, Microsoft will offer customers the opportunity to give their Windows 7 PC the Signature treatment by bringing it to a Microsoft Store and paying $99, according to the Wall Street Journal."

More from the “Goodies for Geeks” front. It's not always about the high end...
Want a cheap computer that runs Android on an ARM processor and isn’t a Raspberry Pi? Now you can have it. I’m talking about a new system, called AllWinner, that is now shipping out of China.
This tiny, inexpensive Android PC has impressive specifications. It uses an ARM A10 dual-core running at 1.5 GHz, a Mali 400 GPU and offers 512MB of RAM. This puts it about on par with last year’s best tablets and today’s best smartphones.

Perhaps I could use this as a source for Quiz questions? (Surprise! It has an “English for Business “ quiz)
If you spend a lot of time on your computer, then you will know quite a lot about how certain programs and web services operate. If you would like to test your knowledge of popular services that you normally use, you could make use of a fun service called Smarterer.
Smarterer is a website where you can go to test your knowledge of Twitter, Facebook, Google, Photoshop, PHP, and a bunch of other computer-related services and tools. You start by signing in with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account. Once you are signed in you can pick a service and answer corresponding questions under a time limit. The more questions you answer correctly, the higher your score, and the higher your position on the leaderboards.

For quoting modern American poetry to my students...
Rap Genius is a database of hip-hop lyrics that sits somewhere between Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary. Rap tunes, from the most complex to the everyday radio hits, are indexed on this website and explained by contributors. Tracks are broken down line by line, and if you think some of these rap songs are a mouthful then you should really look at how analytical and precise some of these explanations are.
Similar tools: TheRapMap, Lyreach, TubeOke, LyricRat, Lyrics, Lyrster, LyricsFly and few others in recently published top 5 sites to find song lyrics online.

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