If you are interested in Search Engine Optimization and the business of running web sites, the New York Times has published a must-read article, “The Dirty Little Secrets Of Search.” The paper launched an investigation to discover why JC Penney was ranking number one in Google search results for dozens of words or phrases – “dresses,” “bedding,” “area rugs,” and many more. […] continuedRead more
As internal unrest in Egypt worsens, the government has cut off nearly all Internet traffic into and out of the country.
A few days ago the government cut off access to social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter. Today the entire country is offline after the four companies that handle virtually all traffic were ordered to shut down. […] continuedRead more
You’re looking at a graph that will get an inordinate amount of attention in the global technical community and cause tremendous disruption for the next few years. Let me give you a very broad overview of an issue that you hope will be solved long before you ever have to know much about it. […] continuedRead more
Ooh! A milestone! I’m sure you’re as excited as I am! This is article number 2000 in the never-ending series of Bruceb News posts!
I get such joy out of writing these articles for you, using too many words to describe things that normal people find uninteresting. There’s such a reward when I’m in the zone, able to combine being condescending on the one hand and inaccurate on the other, selflessly trying to serve my devoted audience of fifteen readers. […] continuedRead more
In December the Transportation Security Administration released its airport security screening procedure guidelines with redactions that failed to remove the underlying text. (Boing Boing: “Unfortunately, the security geniuses at the DHS don’t know that drawing black blocks over the words you want to eliminate from your PDF doesn’t actually make the words go away, and can be defeated by nefarious al Qaeda operatives through a complex technique known as ctrl-a/ctrl-c/ctrl-v.”) It has happened over and over in lawsuits and releases by high profile government agencies. […] continuedRead more
The Wall Street Journal reports today: “Hackers in Europe and China successfully broke into computers at nearly 2,500 companies and government agencies over the last 18 months in a coordinated global attack that exposed vast amounts of personal and corporate secrets to theft, according to a computer-security company that discovered the breach.”
This is apparently not related to the attacks from China that caused Google to make noises last month about closing its operations in that country. In fact, the New York Times calmly notes that this is a relatively small blip in the world of compromised computers and botnets. […] continuedRead more
Two recent announcements.
The New York Times officially added “Times Skimmer” to its family of web sites, with an attractive interface for browsing through news stories without scrolling. Here’s the announcement, and here’s more information about Times Skimmer. Make sure you’re also familiar with the standalone New York Times Reader, an even better way to read the news on a computer. […] continuedRead more
This has nothing to do with technology – it’s just a fascinating, thought-provoking story.
The Washington Post arranged for violin virtuoso Joshua Bell to play in a DC subway station during the morning rush hour, like any other street musician, and filmed the reaction. Joshua Bell is considered one of the best classical musicians in the world; he played beautiful (and difficult) music that morning on one of the most valuable Stradivarius violins ever made. […] continuedRead more
On March 9 the Justice Department’s inspector general revealed that the FBI has been systematically abusing its expanded power to issue “national security letters” and obtain private information about US citizens and residents from telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit providers, and other businesses.
Between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands, without a showing of probable cause or prior judicial approval, to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S. […] continuedRead more
The Pentagon’s plan to allow betting on terrorist acts through a quasi-stock-market will likely die an early death. Before it’s gone, take a look at the Policy Analysis Market web site set up for the program. Despite your instincts and the appearance of the site, this is not a joke. (According to the New York Times, some specific descriptions of potential betting events – hijackings, assassinations, and the like – were removed from the site yesterday morning.)
Admiral Poindexter, the director of the Terrorism Information Awareness Office and proponent of the Policy Analysis Market, has, umm, interesting ideas. […] continuedRead more
Every day the online magazine Slate presents a wonderful selection of articles on politics, news, and culture. It’s one of my daily stops. One of its best features is Today’s Papers, which analyzes and compares the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. […] continuedRead more
Robert L. Park is a physics professor at the University of Maryland, and the author of Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness To Fraud. He has written a wonderful short article on how to recognize scientific nonsense – an important skill for all of us in these confusing times.
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“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is investing close to a million dollars in an obscure Russian scientist’s antigravity machine, although it has failed every test and would violate the most fundamental laws of nature.
More interesting reading: this Slate article casts a jaundiced eye at the “National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace” pushed out by the Bush administration last month. Part of a broader strategy to fill the airwaves and the public consciousness with FUD – “fear, uncertainty and doubt,” this time by painting a picture of computer-savvy regimes ready to knock out our electricity and phone lines and electric blankets from their remote terminals. […] continuedRead more
CNET Radio (AM 910) has been my constant companion for the last year or more. It’s delivered technology news and talk all day, every day – and now it’s closing up the radio station on January 31. Sad news for anyone who had stumbled on its wonderful programming in the San Francisco area, or nationwide on XM Radio. […] continuedRead more