Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

I wanted to take a few minutes to write a quick review for one of my favorite podcast. If you have not heard of This Week in Startups (thisweekinstartups.com) you really should check it out. Not only does it give good insight to the fast paced world of Web 2.0 startups it also gives you a glimpse in to the mind of Mahalo (mahalo.com) founder Jason Calacanis (calacanis.com). Jason is accompanied on the show with is right hand Man Tyler and long time Mahalo employee Lon Harris (@Lons).

This Week in Startups has a basic, but entertaining format. The show is broken down in to 4 parts.

1. Ask Jason: Jason and studio answers questions from callers about common issues that someone trying to break in to business with the next big startup might come across. It is cool to hear ground floor advice from knowledgeable individuals who have already succeed in launching numerous startups.

2. The Shark Tank: While a scary name it is probably the best information you will find on how to pitch your idea’s to potential investors. Jason rates pitches on a 1-10 scale with input on what he thinks will help the prospective entrepreneurs. Sometime praise and sometime a reality check Jason give the callers honest information that could help their venture take off. Also, an added bonus is the useful “insights from Tyer” (you will know when they are coming because Tyer has his own intro music. )

3. Studio Guest: Not only do you get Jason and his staff’s informative opinion, but TWiST’s guest are also well know entrepreneurs, Angel investors, and all around internet superstars. Every episode This Week in Startups has top notch guest that help contribute to the show. Some of the more interesting guests IMO are Gary Vee and poker star Annie Duke.

4. In The News (with Lon Harris): To wrap up the show Jason brings out Lon Harris to read current news happenings. With ever headline read aloud Jason, studio guest, and Twist Crew give their personal commentary. While maybe not as informative in the other three segments, this is usually the funniest part of the podcast. This is normal where Jason’s New York cynicism comes out in full force. All it takes is one “idiot” or “idiotic” story to make national news and the TWiST crew will BBQ them! (Yes, Carol Bartz is asleep at the wheel! ep:33)

All in all this is very amusing and educational podcast that can be seen live through uStream (ustream.tv) or downloaded through iTunes (both video and audio only). To can also send question for the show by using the #TWiST hash tag on twitter.

The show is sponsored by:
Bing.com
DNAmail.com
UStream.tv
Powervps.com
Webspy.com
As of this writing the podcast is on its 33rd episode and getting better with every show

Translator APP

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Internet, Technology
Tags: , , ,

So I have this idea that I will probably never make, but I would like to share it.

With all the new technology that is coming out in portable devices I would like to see a Translator app. My idea is to be able to use the cameras on cell phones and OCR technology to translate on the fly. I am not sure how the tech this would be accomplished. The current thinking is that you would need to an internet connection and up load the image to a server for the translation. This would be a good work around until Cell Phone processing power is increased enough to handle it.

He is what I envision; take a picture of something like a menu in a restaurant. The picture gets uploaded to a server and optical recognition software strips the words out and then overlays them back on the image.

Original Picture:

app1

Picture After OCR:

app2

All recognized words are highlighted yellow and words that were not recognized are highlighted blue. From here you can translate the words to various languages.

Translated words:

app3

The translated words pop up over their highlighted counterpart. In this scenario I translated English to Spanish, but the done in reverse. Imagine being in Mexico and your phone was an on the translator. I know there are plenty of apps that translate typed text to you. There are also apps that use OCR technology to pictures of text into editable text. I have not seen one that combines the two technologies together.

Tell me what you think. Is there app out there that already does this? Do you think this is a good idea?

If you have been anywhere near a TV, Radio, or Internet news site you have probably heard the word ConFlicker. I’m not here to talk about this internet terror itself, but I am here to talk about the actions that people are taking. As the title of this post says, the state is scrambling to fix an issue that cannot be fixed. What I mean bythat statement is that although ConFlicker can be stopped technically, it was built to thrive on societal ineptitude of internet culture by means of social engineering. 

The infections scheme is based on Social Engineering concepts. A time honored tradition of thieves, rouges, and conartists. Social engineering has the power to make people accept totally believable, yet factious, stories which gain information and confidence of victims to further the personal greed of criminals. I would like to say that this rare, but with AIG, Madoff, Enron, and Katrina scandals in the news I believe it is more common place now than ever before. Here in America, our society is built on the fact that you’re innocent until proven guilty. I believe that is the correct way to view the world, but this leads us to trust the good in people and hinders our skepticism. This innate idea to trust sometimes blinds us to the reality that there are harmful people, whose only intentions are to steal our identities and money.
Enter Conflicker, a computer worm that infects your unpatched computer through visiting bogus websites setup by hackers. Most people who visit these malicious websites are steered there through cleverly disguised social engineering techniques such as spam emails, hacked accounts social network accounts, and variety of other unassuming methods. 60 Minutes recently did an episode that showed how a hacked Facebook account was used to direct friends of that account to infect websites. As soon as I saw that computer generated Facebook message from the hacked account it sent warning signals off to me, but probably 90% of people would have clicked the link. This type deception is the true danger of Conflicker and other virus like it. The major way the virus is effective is if your unpatched computer is tricked in to visiting an infected site.  
You might be wondering what all this has to do with government. As much as the government tries to patch all their machines and cut internet usage to their workers this will not be enough. Conflicker, while nasty, is not the issue, it’s the methods that spread Conflicker that need to me addressed. Until we start teaching internet users to be savvier or law enforcement can eliminate the threats at the source, Conflicker is just the means of this attack and not the solution for stopping the problem.

So what are we to do about this threat???  It is a two pronged solution, education and punishment. I will not go into punishment here, but I’ll only say that most of these cyber attacks come from Russia and China which we have few options for recourse even if we know who is the criminal. Education, Conflicker is not a technical issue; it is a computer/internet education issue. Patched computers with updated antivirus software are at little to no risk. The systems that are at risk are the ones that do not patch the OS or the Anti Virus protection is outdated. This is why we need to better instruct people why they need to keep their Antivirus up to date. We need to show computers users how to keep their operating systems patched. We need to educate people on what to be suspicious of when they receive emails, IM’s, text messages, tweets, etc…. The power these hacker are given is because overall society of internet users are oblivious to simple, but crucial steps to deter criminals. This is not saying that by teaching the mass how to be safer on the internet will end all problems. There have been and will always be people that prey on the uneducated, the less fortunate, and trusting. 
For> more information on Conflicker or a means of scanning your computer to see if you are infected 
For more information on Conflicker or a means of scanning your computer to see if you are infected read Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – “The ‘no bull’ guide to Conficker

Just an idea

Would anyone be interested in an every other month get together, for 2ish hours, where you would have 3 or 4 people give a 15 minute speech/lecture on a tech type topic and Q&A afterward? Think TED, but local Tallahasseeians giving mini-lectures on technology topics they find relevant. It could be anything they want it to be as long tech play a role in it.

Ideas:

  • Photography and how you use the web to show your work.
  • Digital creation through Photoshop.
  • How to get more followers on Twitter???
  • How to use Twitter to advertise and market.
  • The benefits of using open source technology.
  • How to Partition a RAID 0 disk array.
  • Using Web 2.0 Technologies and Social Media to be more efficient.
  • How to edit music with Audacity. Using technology to enrich church.
  • How to setup a Media Center PC in your Living room.
  • What makes a good password and how to keep your information safe while on line.
  • Spam and Scam how to protect yourself from phishing.
  • How to start a podcast.
  • Whatever………….

 

With the presenters permission we could film it and create a Channel on Youtube to share these presentations.

If you think this might be something that you are interested in please let me know by commenting below or Twitter me @verticalgambit

There are so many ways for government to waste money, but learning a little from social media websites, like Facebook, governmental offices could learn to solve problems through crowd sourcing existing staff from around the nation. The government has a wide range of technologies that it uses from Mainframes to SQL servers to Helpdesk software. Even though government agencies are very diverse, most have core sections (Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Legal Department, Information Technology, and Specialized Staff found within the different divisions of government) that have similar technology support needs.

Technology Support Needs:

  1. Server Teams:

    1. Email

    2. File Storage

    3. Active Directory

  2. Database Engineers:

    1. SQL

    2. Oracle

    3. DB2

  3. Programmers:

    1. Java

    2. VB

    3. HTML

    4. SQL

  4. Network:

  5. Client Helpdesk Support:

    1. PC support

    2. Phone Helpdesk


With tightening budgets and layoffs, CIO’s are fighting a delicate balance of low staffing and still keeping a high level of customer service to the end users of the technologies they support. One way that could help with this dilemma is to have a social media website for government technology staff to bounce ideas off each other. If you look at websites like Facebook and Twitter, you will see that in today’s world, most questions can be answered by asking your friends online. With government there are issues that arise when looking for answers online. The first is that government has many policies when it comes to privacy. You cannot just ask, “What is the best way to encrypt Health information” to the general public.

Another issue is environment. The public sector has a lot more flexibility when it comes to install applications within a production environment. Purchasing requirements is another issue with government. There are times, which even thought the software you have been recommended will do the exact job you need, you cannot purchase it because of money or the company is not on the government approved vendor list.

Even with all the restriction put on the public sector there is still the opportunity to use the functionality of social media sites to enhance technology support within the government. I purpose that the government build a password protected, Facebook like, site where government employees can discuss issues with others government employees. A good example of where this could really work is within the core technology support areas.

A Government Technology site could not only help solve problems with common issues quicker, it could also save tons of money in time and resources. Let take for example email. This is the life blood of most communications within the public sector. By having 60 or 70 dedicated government email specialist from around the nation all in one group you could solve common issues much faster than calling a vendor for support (although I am not saying get rid of the vendor). Not only could you solve issues faster, but you can also help prevent them by discussing best practices with people that understand the constraints of government.

This only one way to integrate Web 2.0 in to government, there are many other applications that can be used to help organize and solve issues.

This blog is in response to a Facebook comment about my Twitter status.

November 5th I made this comment on Twitter, “I am SO HAPPY about the Presidential election. I am sad about amendment 2. It hurts my heart that we can’t accept people for who they are.”

My Twitter account auto changes my Facebook status to match.

Later that morning I received this response within Facebook, “You know JP, it’s not always about accepting people for who they are. It’s also about the ways people would take advantage of it. I think that same sex couples have certain rights, but I don’t necessarily with the marriage.”

Below is my follow up comment and I believe it states my feelings and beliefs on the subject:

Please do not take my statements below the wrong way, because they are not meant to be mean or argumentative. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions, beliefs (religious or moral), feelings, and system of life they choose to live. Also, I know that my opinion is no better or worse than anyone else’s. Here are some of my feelings/thoughts/opinions on this issue.

Maybe I should have said, “I am SO HAPPY about the Presidential election. I am sad about amendment 2. It hurts my heart that we still don’t allow equal right for all humans.” But I feel saying, “that we can’t accept people” is a true statement too.

Acceptance is defined by Webster’s as: “an agreeing either expressly or by conduct to the act or offer of another so that a contract is concluded and the parties become legally bound”

To me the fact that 65% percent of Floridians voted to legally ban marriage between anyone except a man and a woman is not acceptance.

I do want to point out one thing I do not agree with you on. I believe your statement, “It’s also about the ways people would take advantage of it.” is the same type of statement that was said when it was purposed for women to vote, equal pay for equal work, or blacks not to be slaves. Again, I am not accusing you of that, just saying words like those have been heard in the past when something is not socially acceptable, but social norms change.

Throughout time minorities (woman, people of color, types of religion and now sexual preference) have been persecuted for being different. When most people look back on this persecution, they think it is absurd that people could have missed the mark for sooo long. I see amendments like this in the same way. It is not a gay marriage issue; it is a human equality issue. I just think that we should respect all humans and all humans should start out being equal in the eyes of the law. It is not a crime to be gay (anymore) and it should not be against the law for gays to marry. Again this is not me saying that you are wrong or that I am right. It is just how I feel about the situation.

I do respect your opinion and believe that you have as much right to that opinion as I do to mine. Thank you for sharing your view. As seen by the Amendment 2 vote, my opinion on the issue is in stark contrast to the opinion of majority. Also, my thoughts above, I believe, somewhat go with your second comment about, “Most people will win those freedoms they seek.”

I will say that in light of the recent presidential election, America electing its first black President, I am excited to see how far we as a society have come in the last 150 years. I still hope that we as humans can reach true equality amongst our peers before another 150 years passes.

I have not had a chance to update my Blog in a while and wanted to get something up. I was trying to think, “What can I blog about?”

I came up with nothing. Soooooo, I thought I would pose a few questions and see if I can get some ideas about what to write.

What is your favorite online video (YouTube, Hulu, Veoh, etc…) service?

Do you use a similar micro blogging service to Twitter (Laconica, Jaiku, Pounce, etc…)? If so, how do you use it?

Do you use an online storage site for storing things like files or backups? What site?

What is your favorite online image storage website (Flicker, Picasa, Photobucket, Shutterfly, ect…)?

Is there any online technology that you would like to know more about? I love researching tech, so if you have something that you want to know more about or something I can blog about that people might find interesting please let me know.