Saturday, June 08, 2013

More on the Kerfuffle-du-jour...
More From the 'Leaked Document' File: Obama's Cyber-Attack Directive
The Guardian has just posted a new revelation about top-secret U.S. government activities, based on a new leaked document: a directive that President Obama, late last year, sent to senior national security and intelligence officials. The directive orders them to, among other things, create a list of potential overseas targets for U.S. cyber-attacks.
The 18-page, classified document, Presidential Policy Directive 20, was issued in October 2012. (It was discussed in a November article in The Washington Post, but not published until now.) The memo was sent to Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and pretty much every other high-ranking member of the Executive branch, and it proposes what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) -- essentially, a plan for strategic cyber-attacks against other countries, carried out abroad and, potentially, within the U.S.

(Related) Reliance on technological information rather than boots on the ground was cited as one of the intelligence failures of 9/11. Looks like they continued in the techie direction.
Imagine an intelligence brief that starts, “Someone at 202-456-1414 called someone at 303-866-2471 and talked for seven minutes. One hour later, someone at 303-866-2471 called someone at 202-456-1414 and they talked for three minutes. Then suspect 303-866-2471 immediately called 303-398-2500 which we know is the number for Extreme Pizza. The 82nd Airborne is being deployed to Denver...”
7 Unanswered Questions About PRISM (Such As, How Could It Only Cost $20 Million?)
… The PowerPoint indicated that "the new tool [was] the most prolific contributor to the President's Daily Brief, which cited PRISM data in 1,477 items last year," making it the "raw material" for "nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports," according to the Post. Yet it supposedly only costs $20 million a year to operate.

(Related) “Don't worry, I know all about it and it's okay. Trust me.”
NSA snooping has foiled multiple terror plots: Feinstein
… Sen. Dianne Feinstein did not specify how many attempted attacks had been prevented, or the nature of the threats, but the California Democrat said there had been more than one.

(Related) If not, why not?
Is This Who Runs Prism?

Government Surveillance: The Essential Reading List
A collection of reports and analyses to get you caught up on this week's scandals

A first shot at a Complete History of CyberWar?
Silent War
On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran. Washington and Tehran are ramping up their cyber-arsenals, built on a black-market digital arms bazaar, enmeshing such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Applying the results of your Big Data analysis... (Well, I find it interesting.) Qantas has something to teach anyone holding your dossier.
When Digital Marketing Gets Too Creepy
The digital marketer who effectively runs Qantas Airlines' highly regarded — and very successful — loyalty program has an unusual iPad problem. Flight attendants on Australia's flagship carrier can now get up-to-the-minute data on the airline's most elite and valued frequent flyers displayed on their onboard tablets. The information is useful, helpful and the app was a digital innovation actually sought by Qantas staff.
The unhappy catch? Too many flight attendants sounded like they were reading from a script when using this information with these valued customers. They couldn't smoothly incorporate the customized data to authentically connect with their frequent flyers. Instead of making their best customers feel special, the data-driven app too often creeped them out.

How does Apple (a company that leaves prototype iPhones in bars) protect itself before applying for a patent? Also, crossindex under Industrial Espionage.
… you will probably want to know an awful or awesome secret, depending on your perspective: the iPhone 5 has a cheap knock-off that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
… The GooPhone became a legal brand when a Chinese firm acquired leaked photos of the iPhone 5 before Apple filed a patent on the design. The GooPhone’s makers then hurriedly manufactured and patented the design before Apple. This revealed deep issues with the US patent system as well as international intellectual property laws.
… Our readers will likely feel a sense of surprise when they hear about the price of a 32GB dual-core Android phone — $150, and that’s at the higher end of the price spectrum. If a buyer purchases in bulk, it’s possible to acquire a similar model for $50 each.
… Are iPhone replicas as good as the real thing? Definitely, not. But should you buy one? That answer depends entirely on your opinion on international intellectual property rights law. Essentially, what GooPhone did was technically legal in Chinese courts, but ethically barren. Even so, the end product is shockingly quite good for the price.

How clever are my students, really?
The web is a great place to find bargains, but these days there just seems to be so many of them. While you’re browsing Amazon for the latest eBooks that have been marked as free, some great music might be available on iTunes to download for a similar price. You might just miss out if you’re not fast.
… Perhaps the best way to stay informed of special offers online is to embrace IFTTT, the popular data combination service that allows you to process data from websites and RSS feeds into something useful for you.
… The process is simple. Using a trigger (If This), you can then specify an action (Then That) which will be saved as a “recipe” and used by you and shared with other IFTTT users.
When it comes to using recipes that are already setup by other users, all you need to do is view the recipe’s description page, check it does what you want it to do, and click Use Recipe – IFTTT will do the rest!
More information about using IFTTT can be found in How To Create Your Own IFTTT Recipes For Automating Your Favorite Sites & Feeds.
Free Books!
If you have a Kindle, Nook or corresponding tablet/smartphone apps, the following recipes might prove extremely valuable to you.
First of all, if you use Kindle and want to bump up your library, this recipe sends an email when a free title is added to the Kindle Top 100 Free eBooks list. Similar recipes can be found for books in particular genres such as sci-fi or romance.
Barnes and Noble releases free eBooks most Fridays, and this recipe sends an email when the Nook blog is updated with a list of free titles. Another great way to increase your library!
If you’re less of a reader and more of a listener, meanwhile, this recipe will alert you to free audiobooks when they are released on iTunes.
… For iPad users looking for a bargain – namely premium apps reduced to free – you could use this very useful recipe that informs you when links to apps that have been discounted to $0.
The AppShopper recipe is no good for finding brand new, free apps however. For this task, you will need to employ a different recipe, one that uses Apple’s RSS feed to report new free apps to you by email.
Similarly, another recipe will send details of the iOS Free App of the Week directly to your email inbox
… Here’s a great selection of IFTTT recipes that alert you when free music is available:
Finally, if you use Dropbox and, this recipe will save free music to Dropbox based on the your recommendations.
… I’ve developed my own eBay-based IFTTT recipe that generates around £30 a month,

I feel a project coming on... Students! Make me a movie!
… A screencast, also known as a video screen capture, is a recording of your computer screen outputted in video format. In other words, a screencast is to a screenshot as a video is to a photo. It can include the audio sounds from your computer, or a voiceover using a microphone, or both.

I've got to get something like this so I don't miss “National Donut Day” (which was yesterday) next year. An early reminder and a visit to, enter my zipcode and I can plot a multi-stop trip to work with a free donut at each stop!
… Holiline Reminder is a freeware desktop application for computers running Windows. The app comes in an archive sized at nearly 7 MB. The app’s function is to let you set up reminders for any upcoming holidays in your taskbar.
Related: BirthdayAlarm.

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