Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looks like Putin was right. Nominal “consequences” for re-claiming their warm water port. What (where) is his next conquest?
West furious as Crimea accepted into Russia
Shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin added his name to the agreements, US President Barack Obama announced that Western leaders would be gathering to decide the next course of action.

Did Target break some specific regulation or is this just “piling on.”
Brendan Sasso reports:
Target could face federal charges for failing to protect its customers’ data from hackers.
The retailer has been in contact with the Federal Trade Commission, Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman, told National Journal.
It’s unclear whether the FTC has issued any subpoenas or other formal demands for information. The FTC declined to comment on whether it has launched a formal investigation.
Read more on National Journal.

That's true, but I bet they have better than average backups.
Paul Ziobro reports:
Not even hackers are immune to hacking.
Websites that were used to sell credit card data stolen in the massive holiday data breach at Target Corp. were themselves shut down by unknown culprits Monday.
“Hi subhumans and miscreants, your fraud site is gone now. Go away,” reads the first line of a message posted on and, two sites are used as clearinghouses for troves of credit card data stolen from retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus and Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. in recent months.
Read more on WSJ.

Them thar Californians really love their cars!
Data privacy for cars target of new state bill
… “Our cars collect data not just used for maintenance and repair but also information systems, guidance systems, phone systems,” said Senator Monning, “were seeking to establish certain consumer rights in California.”
The bill targets so called “connected cars” that collect volumes of data and transmit that data to automobile manufacturers.

Why would the government (us taxpayers) need to pay (politician say, “incentivize”) companies to protect their assets? Perhaps holding the BoD responsible (as in criminally responsible) would produce some action.
The NIST Cybersecurity Framework - Improving Cyber Resilience?
A few weeks ago, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued the final version of a new set of cyber security guidelines designed to help critical infrastructure providers better protect themselves against attacks. The framework was the result of an executive order issued by President Barack Obama last year that in part directed NIST to come up with a set of voluntary cyber security standards for critical infrastructure companies.
Notably, the framework falls short in offering incentives to organizations to apply the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which was the original intention of the President’s Executive Order. Organizations too often lack the necessary resources to apply all of the outlined standards, guidelines, and practices. Without the commitment of management and board of directors to provide adequate resources for risk management, organizations’ security posture won’t significantly improve. [That, I can agree with. Bob]
That’s because applying the NIST Cybersecurity Framework adds to the volume, velocity, and complexity of data feeds that must be analyzed, normalized, and prioritized. Without automation it can take months and even years to perform big data risk analysis and piece together an actionable security assessment picture. [Fortunately, if you need cybersecurity, you have computers. Bob]

This is “Bring Your Own Cloud”
Dropbox will let you switch between work and personal accounts next month
Dropbox will let you manage separate work and personal accounts on all of your devices next month, The Verge has learned. In advance of an April 9th press event, the company has notified users of its Dropbox for Business product that they will soon be able to access personal and work Dropbox files without logging in and out of their accounts.

Perspective. Are people willing to pay more to avoid ads? How elastic is an “I hate it” fee?
Pandora raises price of ad-free service

For my students in the “Future Billionaires (who will cut Bob in for a share)” Club
How To Create A 'Killer App': A Guide For Entrepreneurs
The term “killer app” was redefined recently when Facebook announced its $19 billion purchase of instant-messaging service WhatsApp to great fanfare, and equally great controversy. Mark Zuckerberg countered critics by arguing that WhatsApp was worth even more than Facebook paid, despite not yet having leveraged its enormous reach into a comparable revenue stream. “The reality is that there are very few services that reach a billion people in the world,” Zuckerberg said. “They are all incredibly valuable, much more valuable than [$19 billion].”

Because not everyone has a T-shirt printer...
– is an on-demand online printing site where you can get your custom design printed on a variety of items, including posters, framed prints, mugs, and T-shirts. Just register for an account and upload your design. The goods will then be sent to you.

For my students who claim they have no time to read or write.
Speech recognition software can be very pricey, but adding a speech recognition option to your computer doesn't have to be expensive. Here are two free speech to text tools to try.
Text to speech tools can make the web more accessible to some students. These three free tools can be helpful to students who need a little support when reading articles on the web.

I thought Microsoft Office came with OneNote.
Microsoft Releases OneNote 2013 As Free Download for Mac And Windows
Microsoft’s OneNote is the best note-taking app for Windows 8 and there’s some good news. It’s now completely free and Microsoft has also come out with a version for Mac, which means OneNote is now a cross-platform app available on Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

I'll file this under “Apps I wish I had made”
An Amazing App for Learning Music
All musical notation is a kind of compression, which is to say a compromise between ease of transmission and depth of reception.
The notes on a score tell you a lot about a song, but not everything. The same goes for guitar tabs, which tell you where to put your fingers, not what the notes are.
So, if you want to learn a song, it's best to hear someone playing it decompressed, while using the notation as an aide-mémoire.
This isn't an easy thing to do, especially in the repetitive way that's necessary to learn a song.
Or it wasn't until Adrian Holovaty and PJ Macklin created Soundslice, a beautiful HTML5 app that syncs professional studio recordings with sheet music and guitar tablature. Soundslice debuted in late 2012, but they released a new version of the software for sheet music yesterday, and it's wonderful.

Students: If “like, you know” is the largest phrase, you better rewrite!
Try These Word Cloud Tools to Help Students Analyze Writing
Using word clouds can be a good way to help students analyze documents. By copying the text of a document into a word cloud generator your students can quickly see the words that appear most frequently in that document.

Because if you haven't yet, you better soon...
7 IRS Website Tools That Could Save You Time And Money
According to Ben Franklin, nothing in this world is certain but death and taxes.

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