Saturday, April 19, 2014

Does this suggest that Putin has no control, or that he is in control?
Pentagon weighs deploying troops to Poland as militants snub Ukraine pact
The Pentagon is exploring options for deploying U.S. troops to Poland to expand NATO’s presence in Eastern Europe because of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, as pro-Russian militants defiantly refused Friday to leave government buildings in eastern Ukraine despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva.

How Ukraine crisis could pull U.S. to war
Despite the ray of good news in Thursday's Geneva agreement on steps to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, President Obama was right to sound a note of caution, observing that "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point."
The deal, reached by Russia, Ukraine and the West, called for, among other things, disarming illegally armed pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, and the surrender of the government buildings they have seized.
These are good and essential first steps, but unless they can now be implemented as a basis on which the parties can move to further, bolder steps to reverse underlying trends, Ukraine could still slide into civil war. If this happened, how would it affect American national interests? Could Ukraine become a 21st century echo of the Balkans in the 1990s, when the collapse of Yugoslavia saw a decade of war between Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians and Kosovars? (No one should forget that just a century ago Ukraine was sucked into a tragic, bloody civil war shortly after gaining independence in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.)

If users have value to advertisers, creating virtual users has value to crooks.
Fraud Alert: Millions of Video Views Faked in Sophisticated New Bot Scam
A pernicious and sophisticated new form of online click fraud has been uncovered and it’s aimed at digital video advertisers, according to ad software firm TubeMogul. The ad tech agency has published a hitlist here of websites that are contaminated with bot traffic, generating phony views on video ads for major advertisers like Nissan and Samsung.
TubeMogul, which recently filed for its IPO, said that publishing the list of shady websites at the center of the newly uncovered bot schemes is a first for the anti-fraud community.
… “Someone who operates these sites hired botnets to make them look really popular,” said David Burch, TubeMogul’s communications director. “All these sites have botnet traffic associated with them.”
TubeMogul discovered three new botnets—Blog Bot, Annex Bot and 411 Bot—that are alarming in their sophistication, TubeMogul’s chief strategist Jason Lopatecki said.
“There were three major bots identified that haven’t been reported yet,” Lopatecki said. “They’re using a number of technologies that haven’t been seen before. So the complexity is getting bigger with each generation of fraud.”

Anything to get people (and their money) into their stores? Only within the US?
Wal-Mart’s plan to offer money transfer service hits Western Union, MoneyGram shares
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s plan to start a money transfer business sent shares of Western Union Co. and other services lower on the threat of competition from the world’s largest retailer.
Walmart-2-Walmart Money Transfer Service will let customers transfer money to and from more than 4,000 stores in the US, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said on Friday in a statement. The announcement pushed shares of Western Union lower by as much as 9% while MoneyGram International Inc. sank 21%.

Perspective One in every three in the US?
LinkedIn Celebrates Record 300 Million Members
… The popular social network for professionals hit a milestone record, gaining in upwards of 300 million members, the company announced Friday.
The U.S. makes up about 100 million of the crop while the other 200 million hail from the rest of the world.

Could Kim be right?
Kim Dotcom wins back cars and cash seized in Megaupload raid
Kim Dotcom, the multimillionaire founder of closed file-sharing site Megaupload, has won back cars, cash and property seized in a January 2012 raid.
Requests from police to extend the length of time the assets could be held were declined by a court in Auckland, New Zealand, where Mr Dotcom lives.
… Mr Dotcom added: "The NZ asset ruling is HUGE. We've just filed a case in Hong Kong against unlawful seizure of Megaupload. The US case is falling apart!"

For my fellow professors (and my students) NOTE: Don't ask me.
Earn Money Writing: 4 Tips For Pitching A Great Guest Blog Post

Laugh time
… The Florida House of Representatives has passed legislation that would protect student privacy, phasing out the usage of Social Security numbers as student IDs and banning biometric data collection.
… “The Maryland Higher Education Commission is cracking down on institutions that provide distance education to students in the state,” reports Inside Higher Ed.
After explaining how Maryland regulates out-of-state providers, the letter presents them with three options: Confirm that the institution enrolls students in Maryland, then pay an annual registration fee of $1,000 and a bond valued at five times the average cost of tuition; confirm that the institution is interested in enrolling students in Maryland, and pay the same fee; or decline any interest in enrolling students in Maryland, thereby barring those students from enrolling altogether. [What if they (either schools or students) just ignore Maryland? Bob]
… The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that a UVA climate scientist’s emails were protected and exempt from public records requests.
… A Pennsylvania special education student, unable to get help from his school to stop fellow students from bullying him, tape-recorded one of his tormenters. He’s now being charged with felony wiretapping.
... The fifth graders at Zeman Elementary School in Nebraska were sent home a guide on how to handle bullies: Rule #7: Do not tell on them.
… Education Week published several stories this week on ed-tech and privacy, including a review of the privacy policies of Khan Academy, Pearson, and Edmodo. Edmodo responded with a blog post, insisting it cares about privacy, bragging about its implementation of SSL (but failing to mention OpenSSL and the Heartbleed bug).

Leave your computer at home. Bring your phone.
Here's how Android users can control their desktops with their devices
Google this week released a mobile app that makes it easy for Android owners to control their desktops and laptops through their smartphones.
The app is called Chrome Remote Desktop for Android, and it makes it easy for users to gain access to their Windows PC and Apple Macintosh computers, even when they are not near them.
… For the app to work, computers must be turned on and connected to the Internet.
Google said an iPhone version of the app would be available later this year.

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