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Current Topic: Technology

Meet the inventor of 'CtrlAltDelete'
Topic: Technology 4:32 pm EST, Jan 29, 2004

] David Bradley spent five minutes writing the computer code that
] has bailed out the world's PC users for decades. The result was
] one of the most well-known key combinations around:
] CtrlAltDelete. It forces obstinate computers to restart when they
] will no longer follow other commands.

Meet the inventor of 'CtrlAltDelete'

MessageLabs: 'Mydoom' worm originated from Russia
Topic: Technology 10:15 pm EST, Jan 28, 2004

] The worm was first intercepted by MessageLabs on the 26th
] January, 2004 at 8:03 a.m. ET and as of 7:00 p.m. ET,
] MessageLabs has stopped over 170,000 copies of the virus,
] while providing complete protection for MessageLabs'
] 8,000 business customers worldwide. The email containing
] the first copy was sent from Russia.

More bad stuff coming out of Eastern Europe / Russia, where laws are lax about stuff like this, and credit card fraud is ubiquitous and blatant. Can anything be done about the blackhats in that area of the world?

MessageLabs: 'Mydoom' worm originated from Russia

'Dance, Will Robinson!'
Topic: Technology 7:01 pm EST, Jan 28, 2004

Four robots performing a quasi-traditional Japanese fan dance and something of an N'Synch routine. These aren't the robots of the 60's.

Well, I'm not trading in my Roomba for them, but this is still pretty cool. It's both in degrees of motion, and the way they can shift weight (or appear to shift weight) from one leg to the other that really gives them an interesting look.

How much, and can I buy them for Xmas presents yet?

'Dance, Will Robinson!'

Japanese Space Probe on its way to collect asteroid sample and return to Earth
Topic: Technology 4:37 pm EST, Jan  8, 2004

] Japan launched its MUSES-C interplanetary probe on May 8,
] 2003, to fly 186 million miles across the Solar System to
] asteroid 1998-SF36, and return to Earth with a sample of
] the soil found there.

Japanese Space Probe on its way to collect asteroid sample and return to Earth

Live stream from NASA TV
Topic: Technology 1:12 pm EST, Jan  7, 2004

This is fun to watch, and doesn't take up *too* much bandwidth. It also lets you watch the NASA side of the broadcast as they're answering questions from foreign interviewers. Like I watched one segment, where I didn't get to hear the questions that were being asked, but did watch the NASA scientist reply to their questions in Spanish!

Today they're talking about how they're going to name the Mars Rover's landing site after the astronauts who died in the shuttle disaster: "Columbia Memorial Station".

Live stream from NASA TV

Mars rover has antenna glitch
Topic: Technology 10:02 pm EST, Jan  6, 2004

] In a mission that has been remarkably problem free, one
] glitch has been difficulty in pointing the craft's main
] antenna at Earth to establish a direct, higher-speed
] communications link. So far, pictures and other data have
] been beamed at intervals by a smaller antenna to one of
] two Mars orbiters as they pass overhead.

Um, next time should we include a Pringles can? :)

Mars rover has antenna glitch

BBC News: Romania tackles rise in cyber-crime
Topic: Technology 9:47 am EST, Dec 27, 2003

] Internet crime could cost more than $200bn, say some
] experts. Most of it originates in the US but other like
] nations such as Romania are becoming hotbeds for online
] scamming

More news about the problems originating from Eastern Europe.

BBC News: Romania tackles rise in cyber-crime

Computer Viruses and Organized Crime
Topic: Technology 6:17 pm EDT, Sep 30, 2003

] Internet security experts are divided on the source and
] purpose of computer viruses and worms like Blaster and
] SoBig. But some government agencies are investigating a
] possible connection between the increasing spread of
] infected computers and organized crime.

Speculation that the Sobig worm wasn't created by a kiddie or someone trying to make a point about security or even by a group of spammers, but by a much darker shade of black hat . . .

Computer Viruses and Organized Crime

Aircraft and 'Portable Electronic Devices'
Topic: Technology 8:46 am EDT, Sep 15, 2003

] On another occasion in 1996, a Boeing 767 pitched and
] dropped 120 metres before pilots recovered control. A
] passenger using an electronic dictionary was asked to
] turn it off, and the plane's systems returned to normal.
 . . .
] Pilots routinely ask for portable devices to be switched off
] during take-off and landing. because they are too busy to deal
] with problems with interference. But, once in the air, when
] passengers are allowed to switch devices on, pilots have had
] to contend with a range of bewildering malfunctions.

This is a subject I've often been curious about, since I routinely use my Palm Pilot on aircraft. Does this mean that each time that I'm in seat 27C and I flip open my Palm IIIc, that the aircraft's autopilot goes "hmm"? I'd always thought that the signal from anything so small would be inconsequential, or no worse than my seat-mate's digital calculator sports watch (which can't be turned off), and that the main danger was from things such as cellphones or larger devices such as laptop computers.

Now I'm not so sure . . .

Aircraft and 'Portable Electronic Devices'

First computer bug?
Topic: Technology 12:01 pm EDT, Sep  9, 2003

] Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F,
] of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being
] tested at Harvard University, 9 September 1945. The
] operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the
] entry: "First actual case of bug being found". They put
] out the word that they had "debugged" the machine, thus
] introducing the term "debugging a computer program".

There's a pic on this page with the actual moth taped into the journal. Though I'm not convinced that this is where the term bug or debugging came from. It sounds like the term was already in use, and then when they found this moth, they taped it in as a joke since they'd actually "found" a bug. Still, it's a great story. :)

First computer bug?

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