The end of an era

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One of my favorite scenes in a movie is from Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin and John Candy ended up traveling across country. In the scene John Candy tries to take his coat off while driving and Steve Martin is asleep.  He first gets one hand caught on the seat and then trying to extricate himself the other one follows.  He crashes through a variety of obstacles only to slide to safety at the last minute.

Enter the Volkswagen Temporary Autopilot.  With this that scene couldn’t happen.

Volkswagen temporary autopilot brings hands-free driving to the highway

Who is to blame? And who pays the bill?

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In the past if hackers stole your information the bank took over responsibility. But two recent court cases are muddying that water.  The gist of it is that if you did not take enough precautions to keep your information safe you as a business may be on the hook.  What is not clear is what are appropriate precautions?  I have been victim to a virus lately that was a bear to remove and I have a full IT department behind me.  What’s a small business supposed to do?

Who bears online fraud burden?

New Browser

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There’s a new browser in town.  This one purports to let you combine your social media activities with your web browsing more seamlessly.  I’m not sure I buy it but apparently Andreeson-Horowtitz and Accell Partners did to the tune of $30 million.

Social Browser Raises $30 million

Device security

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“The iPad is one of the safest computing devices you can use.” What astonished me is not the quote so much as the source. This quote sounds like something Steve Jobs would say or maybe its from the Apple website or one of the myriad of Mac blogs and magazines. In truth its from an article in PCWorld.  They go on to say the only real risk is physically losing your device.  So they recommend a combination of encryption and remote wiping.  I would agree except i don’t do anything really very secret on my ipad.  Its mostly a book reading, game playing, video viewing device for me.  Along with a great app to keep score at my son’s baseball games.  Not exactly state security stuff. I do encrypt the chapters of my novel but they are also backed up so whats the risk?

If you are interested in learning more…

How to use your ipad securely

Wyoming Styled Technology

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Here’s a story that should be all about Wyoming.  We have wind and we have coal mines. Yet it was Germany that discovered this.  What this system does is have a wind turbine pump water into a reservoir then the water falls through a turbine in the mineshaft to create electricity.  This allows you to get electricity when you need it and use the energy from wind when you need it without the costly and environmentally unfriendly battery systems.

How to store wind power in an abandoned coal mine

Internet Searches, Privacy & Filter Bubbles

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I stumbled across a new search engine today called DuckDuckGo. It was founded in 2008 out of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and is focused solely on providing a better search experience by reducing spam, providing more instant answers, and maintaining true privacy. Most search engines tailor Internet search results to data stored from your online activities. Two people searching the identical same phrase on the same search engine will often get different results. This process produces a “filter bubble”, a term coined by Eli Pariser, who has even written a book on the subject. Although this can be helpful, DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect any personal information or maintain a search history, theoretically bursting your filter bubble and displaying unedited results.

Check out this review from Time’s Techland that compares DuckDuckGo to In-N-Out Burger.

Interactive Panoramic Video for the iPhone

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A company out of NYC called Kogeto, which produces panoramic video cameras primarily used in education, has developed dot, "the world’s smallest panoramic video camera" for the iPhone. The best part – the software will take the raw fisheye footage and de-warp it into fully navigable, 360-degree video in real-time. Imagine this in the next board meeting! Check out this video to hear David Sosnow, the Head of Product Development, introduce dot:

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