Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh look, even “Rocket Scientists” can learn!
"After losing another laptop containing personal information, NASA wants to have all of its laptops encrypted within a month's time with an intermediate ban on laptops containing sensitive information leaving its facilities. Between April 2009 and April 2011 it lost or had stolen 48 'mobile computing devices.' I wonder how long it will be before other large organizations start following suit as a sensible precaution?" [Me too Bob]

But surely a computerized fire alarm can give instructions for exiting a crowded theater? “Fire! Run! You're all gonna die!”
"When is software, or content generated by software, 'speech' for First Amendment purposes? That is the question that Andrew Tutt seeks to answer in an article published today in the Stanford Law Review Online. He argues that the two approaches commentators and the Supreme Court have proposed are both incorrect. Software or software-generated content is not always speech simply because it conveys information. Nor is software only speech when it resembles traditional art forms. Instead, the courts should turn to the original purposes of the First Amendment to develop a new approach that answers this question more effectively."

So when TSA said, “We are certain...” what they really meant was, “Someone told us this is so and we trust them so much we don't need to check (not that we have anyone on staff that actually knows anything about this techy-knowlegdey thingie).”
"The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security held a hearing on TSA's recent decision to move X-ray body scanners from major airports to smaller ones, which the subcommittee refers to as a 'Scanner Shuffle.' John Sanders, TSA's assistant administrator for security capabilities, testified that 91 scanners recently removed from major airports were now in storage due to 'privacy concerns.' Although TSA originally planned to relocate the scanners to smaller airports, those plans have been shelved because smaller airports don't have room for them. The subcommitteee is also investigating allegations that the machines' manufacturer, Rapiscan, 'may have falsified tests of software intended to stop the machines from recording graphic images of travelers' (VIDEO). Coincidentally, shares of Rapiscan's parent company, OSI Systems Inc., dropped in value almost 25% today, its biggest intraday decline in about 12 years. If wrongdoing is proven, Rapiscan could face fines, prison terms and a ban on government contracting, according to a former head of federal procurement."

If they succeed, the next step is even smaller Drones to fly through crowds...
"The Robotics Institute at CMU has been developing systems to learn from humans. Using a Machine Learning class of techniques called Imitation Learning our group has developed AI software for a small commercially available off-the-shelf ARdrone to autonomously fly through the dense trees for over 3.4 km in experimental runs. We are also developing methods to do longer range planning with such purely vision-guided UAVs. Such technology has a lot of potential impact for surveillance, search and rescue and allowing UAVs to safely share airspace with manned airspace."

Perhaps a helpful background guide to my “Etiquette of e-Communication”
November 15, 2012
51st issue of The Global Employer - The Social Media Issue
The Global Employer™ - The Social Media Issue, Paul Brown, Carlos A. Felce, Guenther H. Heckelmann, Cynthia L. Jackson. Baker & McKenzie
  • "Social media presents particular implications for managing employment relations within organizations. The use and abuse of social media can touch on all aspects of the employment relationship: from employers digging social media data as a recruitment tool, to the control of employees’ social media use, to monitoring and the private vs. public debate, to questions over the ownership of data, to disciplinary and termination issues and what an employer can lawfully do when it believes an employee has overstepped the social media mark, to post-termination competition issues. These are all issues that we are talking about with our clients on an increasingly frequent basis. So we thought that the time was ripe to address these questions within this publication. We are delighted to present a country by country guide to social media in the workplace with contributions from 17 of our offices across Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. Each office has addressed the same set of questions covering employment issues from recruitment through to termination, through to post-termination competition, through to the use of social media in legal proceedings.

As Congress considers the “If it can happen to Petraeus it can happen to me” bill...
November 15, 2012
Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Charles Doyle - Senior Specialist in American Public Law - October 9, 2012
  • "This report provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It also appends citations to state law in the area and the text of ECPA. It is a federal crime to wiretap or to use a machine to capture the communications of others without court approval, unless one of the parties has given his prior consent. It is likewise a federal crime to use or disclose any information acquired by illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping. Violations can result in imprisonment for not more than five years; fines up to $250,000 (up to $500,000 for organizations); civil liability for damages, attorneys’ fees and possibly punitive damages; disciplinary action against any attorneys involved; and suppression of any derivative evidence. Congress has created separate, but comparable, protective schemes for electronic communications (e.g., email) and against the surreptitious use of telephone call monitoring practices such as pen registers and trap and trace devices. Each of these protective schemes comes with a procedural mechanism to afford limited law enforcement access to private communications and communications records under conditions consistent with the dictates of the Fourth Amendment. The government has been given narrowly confined authority to engage in electronic surveillance, conduct physical searches, and install and use pen registers and trap and trace devices for law enforcement purposes under ECPA and for purposes of foreign intelligence gathering under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."

Perspective Does Apple still make more than half the profits?
"Gartner's released a report on worldwide numbers of 2012 3Q phone sales and the staggering results posted from Android have caused people like IW's Eric Zeman to call for sanity. Keep in mind these are worldwide numbers, which might be less surprising when you realize that the biggest growth market of them all is China, which is more than 90% Android. It's time to face the facts and realize that Android now owns 73% of the worldwide smartphone market. While developers bicker over which platform is best for development and earnings, the people of the world may be making the choice based on just how inexpensive an Android smartphone can be. This same time last year, Gartner reported Android at 52.5% of market share and it now sits at 72.4% market share with over 122 million units sold worldwide."

For my geeks who can't wait...
Microsoft serves up 60-day trial version of Office 2013
People who want to take Office 2013 for a spin can download a 60-day evaluation edition.
The version available is the full Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 suite, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. The software contains all the features in the paid edition, so you won't miss out on anything.

2U One-Ups MOOCs, Coursera, Now Offers Online Undergrad Courses From Top Schools For Credit
Four years after it launching its first graduate program with USC, 2U today has announced its foray into undergraduate education through a new program called Semester Online. The company will be powering a virtual classroom environment and interactive platform for a consortium of 10 top universities, including some it’s already been working with (Duke and UNC) — along with newcomers like Northwestern, Emory and Brandeis — to name a few.
Beginning in the fall of 2013, the program will be open to any student enrolled in an undergraduate program anywhere in the world, with courses set to debut next fall (along with a handful of new institutions). Semester Online’s courses will feature the same faculty and curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
… What’s so cool about 2U’s new platform is that it’s not a MOOC. As Inside Higher Ed’s Steve Kolowich wrote today, 2tor’s program really represents the next phase of this evolution and is the first real example of a collective of top higher ed institutions offering the same courses and teachers that a student would find in the physical classroom, yet in an online-only setting that actually offers credited courses to students who aren’t enrolled at the universities offering them.
That’s not to say there aren’t alternatives. StraighterLine offers a subscription-based (and relatively affordable) service that allows students to take a variety of accredited, general ed courses online, but it focuses on the first two-years of colleges, can’t offer you a diploma and hasn’t yet added course content from the cream of the crop.

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