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Digital Tech Gives Wordsmiths a Whole New World
April 30, 2014
Lexicographer Erin McKean gave a TED talk in 2007 called "The Joy of Lexicography," in which she pointed out the limitations of print dictionaries. After that talk, she decided to make her vision of a new kind of dictionary a reality. Thus was born Wordnik. "Our mission with Wordnik is to put all the words in the dictionary, and show as much data as we can for any word someone is interested in."
The Exploitation of OpenSSL
April 26, 2014
The Web has been abuzz with discussion of the HeartBleed flaw. Security vendors and experts have been falling all over themselves to offer advice on detecting or mitigating the flaw, and consultants have been offering businesses advice on how to deal with the problem. The NSA has been accused of having known about -- and exploited -- the vulnerability.
Heartbleed's Never-Ending Drip, Drip, Drip
April 21, 2014
The Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL has sent just about everyone who uses the Web for fun or profit gibbering madly in search of a solution, creating fertile ground for spammers, scammers and marketing types. Canada is in an uproar following a disclosure by the Canada Revenue Agency that a hacker had exploited Heartbleed to steal about 900 social insurance numbers from it over a six-hour span.
Adobe's Open Source Tightrope Walk
April 19, 2014
Open source software continues to gain momentum -- but what is not growing is an open desire among individual software developers to port their commercial Windows wares to Linux. Open source support is not a mere in or out decision. Some software makers shape their business models to take advantage of open source support for some products but not others.
E-Book Self-Publishing: Brave New Words
April 17, 2014
Mark and Lesleyann Coker wrote a novel, Boob Tube, based on her experiences as a soap opera reporter. They found an agent, who shopped it around to traditional publishers to no avail. Rather than give up, however, they decided to start their own e-book publishing company, Smashwords. "That experience really opened my eyes to how publishing works," said Mark Coker.
Mozilla in the Eye of the Storm
April 15, 2014
The uproar that erupted over Mozilla Foundation cofounder Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO of its subsidiary Mozilla Corp. and resulted in his stepping down perhaps was symptomatic of the troubles the foundation is going through, in that opposition to his taking the post had both political and technological dimensions. Politically, the firestorm was over Eich's anti-gay marriage stance.
Desperately Seeking Linux Programmers
April 11, 2014
Help Wanted: computer programmers needed to code and maintain Linux systems. The Linux operating system and Linux servers are so widely used today that not enough Linux-trained coders and system techs exist. Software developers and enterprise IT departments have jobs but no takers. To fill this shortage, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to offer a free online course.
Would You Like Your Open Source All the Way?
April 01, 2014
The enterprise software industry today can be compared to the menus offered at fast-food eateries. Some offer their star item only one way. Others let you have it your way. How much choice you have often determines where you do your eating. The same option -- or lack of it -- is the driving principal behind attracting and keeping enterprise customers paying for open source product support.
Bioprinting, Part 2 - The Ethical Conundrum
March 27, 2014
Nearly 120,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that may save their lives, according to the American Transplant Foundation. "In the short term, we need many more people to register to be a potential organ donor," said Jordan Miller, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University.
Bioprinting, Part 1: The Promise and the Pitfalls
March 26, 2014
It's long been the dream of humans to be able to regenerate body parts. Scientists have been researching this possibility for years, but the subject is complex, and they are just beginning to get to a glimmer of understanding as to what's required. "There are different layers of complexity in developing tissue-engineered products," said Charlie Whelan, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan.
Wiliest Ways to Keep the NSA at Bay
February 28, 2014
The death of online privacy had already been proclaimed long before Edward Snowden landed in the international spotlight, but if it wasn't confirmed back then, Snowden's NSA revelations surely must have extinguished the last vestiges of hope in even the most die-hard optimists. "We're in a predicament," said Phil Zimmermann, Pretty Good Privacy creator and cofounder and president of Silent Circle.
Cool Running: Gear and Gadgets for Runners
February 27, 2014
You don't need much to become a serious runner. There's no big investment in gear or apparel required. "Running is definitely a low-cost sport, which is why it is so attractive," said certified strength and conditioning specialist Scott Greenberg. "I think it can remain that way," he said. "However, some new tools can and will definitely have an impact on those looking to maximize performance."
The Rise of the Ethical Hacktivist
February 25, 2014
When Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals more than four decades ago, the world was a very different place than it is today. Protests and demonstrations were among the most common tactics for bringing about social change, and they were used on such a broad scale that they helped define the Vietnam War era and counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Linux Distros Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
February 21, 2014
It's long been the case that the world of Linux distributions offers at least one compelling choice for virtually every taste and purpose, but -- much like those dissatisfied with the weather in New England -- users who don't see a distro they like need only wait a few minutes. You win a few, you lose a few -- but the overall pool of choices remains rich and diverse.
Internet of Things, Part 2: The Lighter Side
February 20, 2014
So there I was, grinding my coffee beans when the grinder's AMOLED screen lit up with a message. "We're watching you, boy," it read. OK, I must've spilled some grinds, so I cleaned up the machine and brewed me up some coffee. Ten minutes later, cup in hand, I wandered down to the laundry room and began loading up the washing machine. "Peekaboo!" read the message that appeared on its screen.
A Deep Dive Into New Scuba Tech
February 13, 2014
Scuba divers always have relied on gear that lets the essentially fragile, air-dependent human body descend into oceanic depths. While air tanks, regulators, buoyancy control devices and dive computers have been around for years, digital technologies are altering how they function, how they're used, and how well they work. One recent innovation is iGills.
Has Linux Conquered the Cloud?
February 12, 2014
Linux on the desktop may have missed its adoption time line, but Linux in the cloud is a win-win proposition for the post-PC movement. Microsoft's Azure may be the only real threat to Linux cloud dominance -- all other major cloud software platforms are based on Linux and open source software. Some enterprise Linux distros are showing up as cloud-based offerings.
Internet of Things, Part 1: God's Gift to the NSA
February 12, 2014
The NSA's salivary glands no doubt started working overtime when it became apparent that technological advances were moving the world toward an Internet of Things -- a world where everything would be connected to everything else wirelessly or over the Web. Almost two years ago, David Petraeus, then director of the CIA, enthused that the IoT would transform surveillance techniques.
Team USA in Sochi: High-Tech Gear Spurs High Hopes
February 07, 2014
While it takes years of training, determination and really good genes even to get a chance to compete in the Olympic Games, the difference between making the podium or not can come down to milliseconds in some events. At this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, new advances in fabrics, materials and designs are giving the athletes an edge as they go for the gold.
The Perils of Mobile App Insecurity
February 04, 2014
Smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous -- and so convenient that we often download apps and approve permissions without giving them much thought. Such behavior exposes the data we store on our prized devices to increasing risk. That blind trust is just what app makers count on. Android users, especially, are complacent about synchronizing apps on multiple devices.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
Installing Linux: The Good, Bad and Ugly
January 29, 2014
Good or bad, useful or not, implementation of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and Microsoft's Secure Boot extension might well foul the fuel driving consumer migration to the Linux desktop. It was not until I attempted to do a Linux installation on a new Gateway Series DX desktop with Windows 8 installed that I stared that UEFI monster down.

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