Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Forbes Top Ten Richest Americans List

Did you know? Tech executives made up half of the Forbes Top Ten Richest Americans List in 2007, but how did they fare in 2008?



  1. Bill Gates - Microsoft
  2. Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Lawrence Ellison - Oracle
  4. Jim Walton - WalMart, Chairman Arvest Bank
  5. S Robson Walton - WalMart
  6. Alice Walton - WalMart
  7. Christy Walton and Family - WalMart
  8. Michael Bloomberg - Mayor of New York City
  9. Charles Koch - Koch Industries
  10. David Koch - Koch Industries
  1. Bill Gates - Microsoft
  2. Warren Buffett - Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Sheldon Adelson - Las Vegas Sands (former Comdex trade shows)
  4. Larry Ellison - Oracle
  5. Sergey Brin - Google
  6. Larry Page - Google
  7. Kirk Kerkorian - Tricinda Corporation
  8. Michael Dell - Dell Computer
  9. Charles Koch - Koch Industries
  10. David Koch - Koch Industries

The Waltons, the original family owners of WalMart, Sam's Club and other business entities seem to have taken over the majority of the Forbes list for 2008. Interesting!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fireproof Sets Box Office -- and Amazon.com -- Ablaze

Article from ChristiansUnite.com
Samuel Goldwyn Films' FIREPROOF, starring Kirk Cameron, far surpassed industry expectations to place #4 at the box office for the weekend. Produced by Sherwood Pictures in Albany GA, FIREPROOF is the company's third film following FACING THE GIANTS - also released by Goldwyn, which went on to gross more than $10 million.

With an 1,200-person volunteer cast and crew, FIREPROOF opened on 839 screens, grossing $6,804,764. It was the highest opening weekend box office* of the year for films released on 1,000 screens or fewer. In the week before its opening, FIREPROOF pre-sold more than $1 million in tickets - far above the predicted blockbusters.

Directed by Sherwood's Alex Kendrick and co-written with his brother, producer Stephen Kendrick, FIREPROOF stars Cameron and newcomer Erin Bethea in a story about a firefighter who must learn how to rescue his own marriage.

Communities across the U.S. are using the film as a tool to support local firefighters, police, and other first responders' groups with divorce rates up to 90 percent. As first responders and their spouses spend a night at the movies, volunteer babysitting brigades on are the job, freeing up couples to go.

Meyer Gottlieb, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said: "Congratulations to Alex and Stephen Kendrick for showing once again that they know how to make a movie both entertaining and substantive. FIREPROOF will make you laugh, cry, and reflect. I'm confident audiences will continue to support it."

"The success of FIREPROOF is an example of the combination of great writing and storytelling, proper setup and marketing execution, all directed at an underserved audience hungry for filmed entertainment that meets their needs in many ways," said Terry A. Hemmings, president & CEO, Provident Music Group.

"Opening weekend turnout is a testament to grassroots marketing," said Provident Executive Vice President Ben Howard. "We spent nine months getting this movie and its message to the right people . . . now it's charging away on its own momentum."

Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and executive producer, said: "We believe good stories can have a good effect. This film was made by a small army of people who poured into something bigger than themselves - into not just a movie, but a movement to restore and uplift marriages across the country."

Bob Rubin, executive vice president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which oversees the Affirm Films label, one of the film's acquisition partners, said: "The faith market is a vast and underserved community with a growing appetite for filmed content that is both inspirational and entertaining. We are delighted to be part of the team that brought FIREPROOF to audiences nationwide."

A book entitled The Love Dare was only a plot device in the film until audiences repeatedly requested copies for themselves. The book also debuted in stores this weekend, having pre-sold 600,000 copies. Written by the Kendrick brothers, The Love Dare finished the weekend at #12 on Amazon.com and currently is in its seventh printing.

In coming weeks, Goldwyn plans to expand film's release to more than 1,000 screens.

This is the third movie by Sherwood Pictures, its second theatrical release. FLYWHEEL, produced in 2004, has sold 200,000 DVDs. FACING THE GIANTS in 2006, earned $10.1 million at the box office and has sold more than 1.6 million DVDs (in 58 countries and 14 languages).

Provident Films is a division of Provident Music Group, designed to produce and distribute faith-based films. Sony BMG Music Entertainment's Provident Music Group is one of the world's leading Christian music companies. Provident Music Group operates under the umbrella for Sony BMG Nashville.

Samuel Goldwyn Films is a major, independently owned and operated motion-picture company that develops produces and distributes innovative feature films and documentaries. The company is dedicated to working with world renowned and emerging writers and filmmakers and, committed to filmed entertainment that offers original voices in uniquely told stories. This steadfastness is best exemplified by the Oscar-nominated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, SUPER SIZE ME, AMAZING GRACE and Julie Delpy's hit comedy 2 DAYS IN PARIS. Goldwyn's 2008 slate also includes PRICELESS, a romantic comedy starring Audrey Tautou, Oscar-winner Claude Lelouch's ROMAN DE GARE, FUGITIVE PIECES based on the international bestseller by Anne Michaels, TRUMBO, the acclaimed documentary about Oscar-winner Dalton Trumbo and the critically hailed ELEGY, starring Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz and Oscar winner Ben Kingsley

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Facebook Email Spoof Contains Trojan Horse

Websense® Security Labs(TM) ThreatSeeker(TM) Network has discovered a new malicious social-engineering spam campaign masquerading as official emails sent by the popular Web 2.0 social-networking site, Facebook. The email is spoofed to appear from the domain facebookmail.com, an official domain used by Facebook for their outbound emails when notifying their users of an event.

It is common for Facebook to send an email to notify their users when another Facebook user adds them as a friend on the social network. However, the spammers included a zip attachment that purports to contain a picture in order to entice the recipient to double-click on it. The attached file is actually a Trojan horse.

A login page to Facebook is included in the body of the email. We have previously alerted on our discovery via our HoneyJax system about a viral Facebook phishing campaign, and thus would not be surprised if the login page presented was merely a fake front to a phishing site. However, an examination of the HTML form's source code shows that it was indeed passing the user name/password to Facebook itself. This may be to increase the legitimacy of the email to evade reputation-based spam filters.

To view the details of this alert, click here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Personal Computer: IBM PC

The IBM PC was released 27 years ago today -- on August 12, 1981. Priced at $1,565, the personal computer had a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and a 160-KB floppy disk drive. There was an optional CGA color monitor. IBM's Disk Operating System was the OS for the "PC".

The development team at IBM developed and announced the IBM PC in 12 months, at that time, faster than any other hardware product in IBM's history.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

UFOs and Aliens are REAL, According to Former NASA Astronaut

Aliens are real and have made contact with us several times according to Dr. Edgar Mitchell as discovered by Nick Margerrison and The Night Before Team. Dr. Mitchell said he was aware of many UFO visits to Earth during his career, but each one was covered up by the government involved. He further stated that certain governments, such as Belgium, have recently acknowledged alien life.

Lest you think Mitchell is some crackpot with an ax to grind, consider this. Edgar Mitchell is a respected scientist, an a former NASA astronaut. Mitchell, is also the 6th man to land on the moon.

He came on air with Nick Margerrison of Kerrang Radio UK and told them that UFOs definitely exist, he has been in on it all, and that they are in contact with our government. Dr. Mitchell, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering and a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics claimed Roswell was real and similar alien visits continue to be investigated.

The Daily Mail also featured an article regarding the radio interview.

Officials from NASA, however, were quick to play the comments down. In a statement, a spokesman said: "NASA does not track UFOs. ... NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe. ... Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue.'

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Big Fish Games - Whale or Minnow?

I'm looking for information and reviews of Big Fish Games. Whether it's your favorite games website or a bane to your existence, I want to know. BFG offers entertainment in three categories: Online game, PC game, Mac game.

Send comments via this blog post. I'll accept ALL comments (that don't use vulgar language or ignorant claims one way or the other). If you've never heard of Big Fish Games, check out the following link to their site -- and Game Club:

Get 2 FREE Games

Here are a few of the titles they offer:

I look forward to reading your opinions and comments.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Technology History: Ethernet LAN

The first Ethernet LAN data packet was transmitted at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center on May 23, 1973. Bob Metcalf and David Boggs were the inventors of the networking technology that would eventually be used on the vast majority of local area networks in the world. For three years they worked to refine and improve their invention. By 1976, their experimental network was connecting 100 devices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Six Gas-Saving Myths

Article provided by CNNMoney.com
Sure you want to save gas, but there's a lot of bad advice on how to do it. Some of it makes no difference, and some of it can wind up costing you. With gasoline prices hitting record levels, it seems everyone has a tip on how to save fuel. Much of the advice is well-intentioned, but in the end, much of it won't lower your gas bill. Here's a look at a few misconceptions:

#1. Fill Your Tank in the Morning
You may have heard that it's best to fill your gas tank in the early morning while the fuel is cold. The theory goes that fluids are more dense at lower temperatures, so a gallon of cold gas actually has more gas molecules than a gallon of warmer gas.

But the temperature of the gasoline as it comes out of the nozzle varies little during the course of the day, according to Consumer Reports, so there's little, if any, benefit, to getting up early to pump gas.

#2. Change Your Air Filter
Maintaining your car is important, but a clean air filter isn't going to save you any gas. Modern engines have computer sensors that automatically adjust the fuel-air mixture as an increasingly clogged air filter chokes off the engine's air supply.

While engine power will decrease slightly as the air filter becomes clogged, a lack of performance or an increase in fuel consumption will be negligible, Consumer Reports says.

#3. Use Premium Fuel
With prices already over $4.00 a gallon, premium gasoline is a hard sell these days. But a lot of drivers think because their owners' manual recommends premium, they'll get better fuel economy if they stick with it. Really, they're paying more money for nothing.

Even cars for which premium is recommended won't suffer with regular fuel. Modern engine technology comes to the rescue again. When sensors detect regular instead of premium fuel, the system automatically adjusts spark plug timing. The result is a slight reduction in peak horsepower - really, you'll never notice - but no reduction in fuel economy.

#4. Pump Up Your Tires
Proper tire inflation is important for a number of reasons. Under-inflated tires are bad for handling and can even cause a crash. Improper tire inflation also causes tires to wear out faster and to heat up more, which could trigger a dangerous high-speed blow-out. According to on-the-road driving tests by both Consumer Reports and auto information site Edmunds.com, underinflated tires reduce fuel economy, so proper inflation is key.

But you should never over-inflate your tires. They'll get you slightly better fuel economy because there will be less tread touching the road, reducing friction. But that means less grip for braking and turning. The added risk of a crash isn't worth the extra mile a gallon you might gain.

#5. To A/C or Not A/C
There's no question air-conditioning makes extra work for the engine, increasing fuel use. But car air conditioners are much more efficient today than they used to be. In around-town driving, using the A/C will drop fuel economy by about a mile a gallon. Meanwhile, driving at higher speeds with the windows down greatly increases aerodynamic drag. As speed increases, drag becomes more of an issue, making A/C use the more efficient choice at high speeds.

At most speeds and in most vehicles, A/C use drains slightly more fuel than driving with the windows down, contends David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports. "My final take on is that it's very close," says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "It's hard to measure the difference and every vehicle is different."

#6. Bolt-Ons and Pour-Ins
Before you buy a device that's supposed to make your car more fuel-efficient or pour in an allegedly gas-saving additive, ask yourself this: Don't you think oil and car companies aren't doing everything they can to beat their competitors?

If BP could add something to its gasoline that made cars go farther on a gallon, cars would be lining up at the company's pumps. Sure, people would burn their fuel-saving BP gas more slowly, but then they'd drive right past rivals' gas stations to come back to BP for more. BP stations could even charge more for their gas and still sell tons of the stuff.

So if there really was an additive that made gas burn up more slowly, it wouldn't be sold over the Internet one bottle at a time.

"There are a number of these gas-saving devices that are generally useless," says Champion.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Does the Average Person Pay For Gas?

As a follow-up to yesterday's post about gas prices and the financial strain it is placing on our family, I wanted to offer some stats on avg driving costs.

The average vehicle gets 23 mpg combined fuel economy. 1
The average miles driven per week is 200. 2
The avg. unleaded regular gas price, over the past year, in the US, has been ~$3.60/gallon. 3

Therefore, the average cost of driving a personal vehicle in America is ~$31.30 per week. The average monthly cost is ~$134.00.

If gas prices were "normal" and we were not being gouged by the oil companies, the price would probably be around $2.30/gallon. Without being screwed, we would likely pay, on average, around $20.00 per week for regular unleaded gasoline. The monthly average would be ~$86.00.

That's $48.00 per month difference in what the average person pays to what he would pay if not for oil company greed. Folks, those numbers add up quick. The annual total difference is $576.00 -- and that's just for cars getting 23mpg and people who drive only 200 miles per week.

If you drive a 15mpg pick-up or SUV an avg. of 300 miles per week, your total added costs is $112.00 per month, or ~$1342.00 per year.

So, what is the answer?

  • Higher mpg?
  • Lower gas prices?
  • Drilling in ANWAR?
  • Tax cuts?
  • Penalties for the oil companies?
  • Human beings conserving?
Leave a comment with your thoughts!

1. http://www.southcarolinagasprices.com/Past_polls.aspx?poll_id=306
2. http://www.southcarolinagasprices.com/Past_polls.aspx?poll_id=351
3. http://www.southcarolinagasprices.com/

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gas Prices are Hurting the Economy of My Family

Gas prices are hurting the economy of my family. Plain and simple. The greed of the oil companies is causing a financial burden on our family of five. Over the past several months, we have considered several options, as have many others who are in the same situation.

Just so you know how to compare our circumstances to yours, here is a little reposition about us (using good averages from my record keeping). We have two vehicles: a 2004 Pontiac sedan and a 2005 minivan. The '04 gets 25mpg; the '05 van gets 21mpg. Our daily commute to/from work is 55 miles for one of us and 60 for the other. We have two kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities, so there are always added miles at least three days per week. And we attend church on Sunday -- 45 mile round trip at least once; most Sundays, twice. On average, we fill up both vehicles with fuel every five days. Using today's gas price of $3.65/gal in our area, the avg. fill-up costs $60 for the '04 and $65 for the '05. Our total fuel costs per month avg $750-$800 (inclusive of extra driving, etc).

Here are a few of those considerations, what I've done about them and the results of that action or research:

  1. Drive less
  2. Tune-up vehicles
  3. Buy a motorcycle & park my car
  4. Trade in both vehicles for more fuel efficient models
Drive less:
We started doubling up on trips to the grocery store, Wal-Mart and the like two years ago. We never run to any store for anything that costs less than $10.00. It's not a scientific fact, but the closest area with various stores and services is 20 miles round trip from our home in the country. I figured that needing anything less than twice what it costs to drive to the store is not worth going to get.

2. Tune-up vehicles: Both vehicles have new spark plugs, fresh oil, K&N filters and properly inflated tires. The fuel filters are regularly checked, as are the air filters, etc. We figure we're getting 2-3mpg savings by keeping the vehicles tuned -- and using the K&N filters.

3. Buy a motorcycle & park my car: I thought about it. Have you? Just for kicks, I went over to RoadTripAmerica's Fuel Cost Calculator and figured the difference between driving my car and riding a 50mpg motorcycle.
The results were not as satisfying as I had hoped for. On avg, I would save around $4.00 per day in fuel costs. Since I work 5 days each week, that avg's out to $80.00 per month in savings. Does anyone know where you can buy a reliable motorcycle AND insurance for $80/mth? Nope, me neither. That would be the break even point. To actually save money, the cost per month would have to be even less.

4. Trade in both vehicles for more fuel efficient models: We're both a little "upside-down" in car value vs. loan payback -- so we can't effectively trade and purchase more fuel efficient vehicles. BTW, part of the drop in value is likely due to the mpg of both vehicles. People are buying smaller cars now -- so large sedans and minivans are taking a hit in value. In order to recoup the difference, we would have to extend our loans, pay a large down payment or much higher monthly payments. All of those options would effectively negate any savings at the pump.

So what are we doing to stave off the crunch in finances?
We pay the gas prices and cut out other things. XM radio and my subscription to ConsumerReports.org are now gone. I guess the next thing to go will be DirectTV -- then the kids' cell phones. I don't know what else to do. We have to work and therefore, are forced to buy gas -- no matter what it costs.

What are YOU doing? Are gas prices significantly hurting your finances?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wikipedia Peddles Porn to Kids

Article from ChristiansUnite.com
It would be a tall order, but parents around the world may want to make every effort to keep their kids away from Wikipedia.com, the enormously popular, user-generated online encyclopedia. While doing homework, research for term papers, or for just plain fun, millions of kids visit Wikipedia every day. That's why parents may be alarmed to learn that, as recently exposed by WorldNetDaily.com, Wikipedia features hundreds, if not thousands, of hardcore pornographic images and online sex videos, making them easily accessible to children.

Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women for America (CWA), said, "Perhaps Wikipedia should change its name to Pornopedia. Providing clinical images that may assist people in research is one thing, but many of the images and videos featured by Wikipedia are gratuitous and obscene. They're entirely unnecessary and amount to hardcore pornography, plain and simple. These actions by Wiki founder Jimmy Wales and other executives with Wikipedia are reprehensible. By disseminating this obscene material, their misbehavior is no better than that of the sleazy smut peddler at the XXX bookstore down the street. They should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, the Department of Justice (DOJ) should look into whether Wikipedia may be in violation of federal obscenity laws."

"For this reason, we're calling on Wikipedia to either pull the pornography from its Web page, or, as do many other porn sites, place a prominent warning on the home page indicating that it features pornography, and requiring visitors to affirm that they are at least 18 years of age or older before entering
," said Barber. "People may notice that while searching a term using the Google search engine, a Wikipedia link is often the first to pop up. This makes Wikipedia one of the most visited websites on the Internet. With great power comes great responsibility. To willingly, if not intentionally, make pornography a mouse click away for kids is contemptibly low and represents the height of irresponsibility."

"Unfortunately, the federal government's reticence to prosecute violations of federal obscenity laws has created a climate where disseminating hardcore pornography, even to children, is considered 'no big deal.' Perhaps now, knowing that millions of children are being readily exposed to obscenity on Wikipedia.com, the DOJ will finally step up its efforts," concluded Barber.

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Outsourced Tech Support

These days, when you have a problem with computer hardware or software, you place a call to technical support. Most of the time, your call is outsourced to a call center overseas. Take a look at the pictures below... and then read the "punch line". BTW, this is 100% TRUE!

THIS IS INDIA. This is where your tech support call goes when you need help with electronics, computers or software. Doesn't this make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dr. Alveda King: Defund Planned Parenthood

Article from christiansunite.com
Dr. Alveda King, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., today said that a new study released by Students for Life of America reinforces the call of black leaders to eliminate federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood.

"It's time to let freedom ring for the babies," said Dr. King. "The Students for Life report on Planned Parenthood's targeting of African Americans for abortion spells out why taxpayers should not be forced to contribute to that organization. The government should not be subsidizing racism, but that's exactly what it's doing through Planned Parenthood."
The study examines programs and incidents dating from Planned Parenthood's founding through the most recent scandal of seven Planned Parenthood chapters' willingness to accept donations for the exclusive purpose of aborting black babies. "Defending human life is part of the civil rights struggle and I and my fellow pro-life African American leaders are not going away," added Dr. King. "We are uniting civil rights and moral rights to fulfill the dream of what my uncle called 'the beloved community.' America needs to know that black leaders do support life. We start where life begins, with the babies, and we will march on until abortion, racism, and all society's ills bow to the truth that we are all one race."

Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro- life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia.
For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rapist / Murderer Cesar Laurean Captured in Mexico

A Marine wanted in the brutal slaying of a pregnant colleague who had accused him of rape was arrested Thursday night in Mexico after a three-month international manhunt, authorities said. FBI agents and Mexican authorities arrested Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean around 7 p.m. EDT. He is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, whose burned remains were found in January in the backyard of his home near Camp Lejeune.

"You know my name. You know who I am," Laurean told The Associated Press while being held at the Michoacan state Attorney General's Office in Morelia, the state capital. Asked if he wanted to say anything, Laurean simply said, "Proof," but wouldn't explain. Laurean appeared slightly disoriented. Asked what he would do next, he replied: "Do I have a choice? ... I don't know."

Magdalena Guzman, a spokeswoman for the Michoacan, Mexico, state prosecutors office, said police carrying out an anti-kidnapping operation stopped Laurean as he wandered on a street in the rural township of Tacambaro, Michoacan, because they thought he looked suspicious. When they realized he didn't speak Spanish well, they became even more suspicious. After running his name through a computer, they realized Laurean was wanted in the United States to face charges in Lauterbach's death.

Guzman said Laurean told the arresting officers he had only 10 pesos (about US$1) in his pocket, and that he had been surviving by eating avocados and other fruit he found in the fields of the farming community where he was found. The FBI said Laurean, 21, is awaiting extradition to the U.S., although local prosecutors in North Carolina cautioned the process could take a year or more. "Laurean's swift arrest in Mexico was due to the diligence and dedication of the Mexican government and our law enforcement partners," Nathan Gray, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Charlotte office, said in a statement. "This was truly an international effort, and we will do all we can to ensure Laurean is brought back to Onslow County (N.C.) as quickly as possible to answer the charges against him."

Additional information on ABCNews.com

Friday, April 04, 2008

Technology History; Microsoft WORD

The development of Microsoft Word began in April, 1983. Richard Brodie, Microsoft's 77th employee, developed the program while Microsoft Windows was being developed. WORD was completed in 1985. To market the new word processor, Microsoft distributed 450,000 demo disks in the November, 1985 issue of PC World magazine (which is now a tech collector's item).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Technology History: Apple Computer Company

The Apple Computer Company was "born" on April 1, 1975. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs designed the first Apple computer in Jobs' home. Jobs was able to convince a local electronic retailer to order 25 Apple I computers. In order to raise the money to make these machines, Jobs sold his Volkswagen microbus. Wozniak sold his HP scientific calculator, thus enabling them to raise $1,300.
Apple has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar worldwide technology company -- whose most famous product, the iPod, is the standard for MP3 players today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

FCC Auction for 700Mhz Ends

Excerpt from PhoneScoop.com
The FCC 700 MHz auction came to an end this afternoon, after 38 days, 261 rounds, and $19.6 billion in bids. Of the five large blocks being auctioned off, spectrum licenses in the A, B, C, and E blocks reached their minimum bids. The D block, which was reserved for a nationwide public safety network, failed to reach the minimum bid and is being officially removed from the auction.

The FCC may attempt to sell it off again in a separate auction. The C block, which generated the most interest because it covers large portions of the U.S., reached its minimum bid early in the auction and has remained mostly stagnant since. The FCC will not disclose the names of the winners of the 1,099 licenses that were made available for up to 10 days.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Technology History: The Dot Com Crash

The Dot Com Crash occured from March to October in 2002 -- when the NASDAQ stock market composite index lost 78% of its value. The bubble began in the mid 1990s with widespread, public availability of the World Wide Web.

The new economy of the Internet set the stage for euphoria where speculators were barely able to control their excitement. The crash was set into motion as a series of losses and failures (such as Netscape) were reported in the first quarter of 2000.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yahoo's Yang Tell Rice It's Her Job to Get Dissidents Released

Article from RedmondMag.com, By Peter Varhol
In a response that has irony written all over it, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it was the State Department's job to pursue the release of two journalists being held in a Chinese prison for allegedly leaking state secrets and political writings. The irony is that it was information provided to the Chinese government by Yahoo that led to these arrests and imprisonments.

Yang claims that the information Yahoo provided was released against company values, and the company has settled a lawsuit by the families involved and established a human rights fund after the fact. However, after a Yahoo official was caught in the act of misleading Congress about the affair, California Rep. Tom Lantos responded, "While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies."

It sounds like a cop-out by Yahoo to me. Does no one there recall the courage and conviction of H. Ross Perot as chronicled in "On Wings of Eagles"? Yang wouldn't do that; it's all about dollars and cents to him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nokia Shows Nano Technology in its concept MORPH Mobile Phone

Article from Nokia.com
Featured in The Museum of Modern Art “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition, Nokia's Morph concept device is a bridge between highly advanced technologies and their potential benefits to end-users. This device concept showcases some revolutionary leaps being explored by Nokia Research Center (NRC) in collaboration with the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre (UK) – nanoscale technologies that will potentially create a world of radically different devices that open up an entirely new spectrum of possibilities. Morph concept technologies might create fantastic opportunities for mobile devices:
  • Newly-enabled flexible and transparent materials blend more seamlessly with the way we live
  • Devices become self-cleaning and self-preserving
  • Transparent electronics offering an entirely new aesthetic dimension
  • Built-in solar absorption might charge a device, whilst batteries become smaller, longer lasting and faster to charge
  • Integrated sensors might allow us to learn more about the environment around us, empowering us to make better choices
In addition to the advances above, the integrated electronics shown in the Morph concept could cost less and include more functionality in a much smaller space, even as interfaces are simplified and usability is enhanced. All of these new capabilities will unleash new applications and services that will allow us to communicate and interact in unprecedented ways.

Flexible & Changing Design
Nanotechnology enables materials and components that are flexible, stretchable, transparent and remarkably strong. Fibril proteins are woven into a three dimensional mesh that reinforces thin elastic structures. Using the same principle behind spider silk, this elasticity enables the device to literally change shapes and configure itself to adapt to the task at hand. A folded design would fit easily in a pocket and could lend itself ergonomically to being used as a traditional handset. An unfolded larger design could display more detailed information, and incorporate input devices such as keyboards and touch pads. Even integrated electronics, from interconnects to sensors, could share these flexible properties. Further, utilization of biodegradable materials might make production and recycling of devices easier and ecologically friendly.
Read more at Nokia.com

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Technology History: Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Corporation's IPO opened on the stock market on February 14, 1986. The asking price of the IPO was $21.00 per share. At that time, Gates, Ballmer and the gang were making much of the company's revenue on Macintosh software, BASIC language interpreters, and the PC operating system MS-DOS.
After the IPO, Microsoft began a tremendous run -- earning large increases in revenue over the next two decades. By 2003 (a mere 13 yrs later), a $2,100 investment at the 1986 IPO offering price was worth $1.5 million. Sadly, while Microsoft has posted excellent dividends over the last 21 years, their share price has fallen by more than half from it's peak around the time of the dot com bubble.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Technology History: The Apple iPod

Seven years ago... Apple Computer hired Tony Fadell in early 2001 and assigns him a team of designers, programmers and hardware engineers to develop a new music player called the iPod. Fadell's business idea is to take an MP3 player, build a music sale service to complement it, and build a company around it. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was highly involved with the project since its inception and molded the device's shape, feel and design. The rest, as they say... is history.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Excel Flaw Highlights Need for Better App Security

Experts believe the rising number of exploits targeting Excel gives hackers incentive to continually exploit applications -- rather than operating systems -- for flaws.

Article by Jabulani Leffall
Don Leatham of Lumension Security has a first-step remedy to the ongoing security concerns around Microsoft's Excel application. "IT guys should tell end users right off the bat that if they see an unrecognizable Excel document in their inbox, they should treat it like porn -- it's not something you should be opening up at work." Extreme measures aside, because Excel is one of the most commonly used software applications of the planet, it's also increasingly the most common and frequent target for client-side attacks, security experts say.

In the last 18 months alone there were more than 33 documented vulnerabilities that pertained specifically to the popular spreadsheet program, a number Microsoft would neither confirm nor deny. While this seems like a large number -- an average of almost two every month for that duration -- these are just the documented cases. This prompts IT security mavens to assert that securing Excel -- even above Internet Explorer -- should be Job No. 1 where Windows programs are concerned.

"Out of all the applications sitting on networks and desktops around the globe, Excel lends itself to be the most natural attack target because of its ubiquity in the corporate world," said Leatham, director of solutions strategy for Lumension, which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz. "This is definitely the one program IT pros are really pulling their hair out over because more often than not, Excel documents carry sensitive information such as financial data and the like." In mid-January, Microsoft's security group said there were continual attacks exploiting a flaw in most versions of the popular spreadsheet program.


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Article from RedmondMag.com
Additional info from steeleye.com
SteelEye Technology has released its Technology Business Continuity Index. This annual survey conducted by the data replication and protection software developer polls IT professionals and business executives and looks at adoption levels, best practices and attitudes about business continuity. The bottom line of this year's report is that threats to business continuity are increasing, so business leaders are placing increasing priorities on business continuity. Here are some of the most significant findings of the survey:

  • More than 50 percent of the CEOs surveyed regarded outages of services such as financial transaction processing or customer service as being "fatal" to their business.
  • More than 40 percent of all respondents feel the average IT organization is more prepared for business continuity threats than last year.
  • Less than 28 percent of IT managers feel their CEOs haven't prioritized business continuity assurance.
  • 87 percent of C-level executives feel the average IT organization faces the same threats or even more threats to business continuity than last year.
  • 63 percent of C-level executives feel there are now more potential threats to IT systems that are in turn threats to business continuity.
  • 81 percent of IT managers feel their CEOs consider business continuity a top priority.
  • 66 percent of IT managers feel their CEOs understand the steps and precautions required to ensure business continuity.
That last one is good news indeed. You won't be barking up the wrong tree when you go to your CEO asking for funding for data protection or secure offline storage.

Friday, January 18, 2008

CIA Confirms Cyber Attack Caused Multi-City Power Outage

From SANS.org:
On Wednesday, in New Orleans, US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) senior analyst Tom Donohue told a gathering of 300 US, UK, Swedish, and Dutch government officials and engineers and security managers from electric, water, oil & gas and other critical industry asset owners from all across North America, that

"We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands. We suspect, but cannot confirm, that some of these attackers had the benefit of inside knowledge. We have information that cyber attacks have been used to disrupt power equipment in several regions outside the United States. In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."
According to Mr. Donohue, the CIA actively and thoroughly considered the benefits and risks of making this information public, and came down on the side of disclosure.

Westboro Baptist Church to Protest at Camp LeJeune January 26th

The Westboro Baptist Church (which is nothing more than the vile Fred Phelps and his whack relatives) is planning to picket, outside Camp LeJeune, NC, in favor of the murder of Maria Frances Lauterbach and her unborn child. The protest is set to take place just outside the main gate at Camp LeJeune on Saturday, January 26th -- starting around noon.

These "demons" are using the Holy Bible to say that God hates the American military because they have allowed homosexuality into their ranks -- and that deaths of ALL soldiers are God's work.

This could not be further from the truth. While the Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin, God does NOT "hate fags". He hates sin, but loves His creation -- and that includes ALL people. God does not kill American soldiers, such as Maria Lauterbach, as some sort of vendetta against mankind.

Our Advice: Don't go to Jacksonville, NC looking for a fight, BUT be prepared to protect those who are there in protest AGAINST the Topeko, KS group. Military personnel have been given standing orders NOT to go near the demonstration. So, it's time for civilians to stand up and support our military -- and shield the world from the vomited hatred of the WBC.

EDITORIAL: I plan to be in Jacksonville -- protesting AGAINST the WBC and it message of hate. There are NO plans for confrontation, but rest assured that I would gladly get arrested for protecting (yes, that means PHYSICAL ACTION) innocent people from the venom Phelps and his ilk spew.

Christina Laurean Knew Maria Lauterbach Was Dead

Excerpts from WRAL.com and FOXNews.com
Christina Smith Laurean, the wife of the suspected killer of a pregnant Marine, knew Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was dead a day before she went to police, according to affidavits obtained by local TV news stations in North Carolina. The court document states that Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean and his wife were driving to meet with an attorney on January 10.

Cesar Laurean had asked Christina "if she was with him on this". She replied, "I do not know. Is there anything you have not told me?" At that time, Cesar Laurean confessed that Lauterbach was dead and he had buried her body in a wooded area adjacent to their home, the affidavits show.

Cesar Laurean told his wife that Lauterbach slit her own throat with a knife during an argument on the evening of December 15. He said Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant, had come to him earlier that day to tell him she was leaving Jacksonville, N.C., and demanded that he give her money. He took her to a bus station and helped her buy a ticket to El Paso, TX., his wife said in the affidavits.
Cesar Laurean's wife of two years told Onslow County sheriff's detective John Dubois that a disoriented and agitated Lauterbach returned to the home later that night and told Laurean that "her plan had failed, that an argument ensued" and that she produced a knife and killed herself by slitting her throat. "He became scared, took her body to a wooded area adjacent to his residence, and buried her. He obtained legal counsel and explained the facts to them. He was told that he was facing the death penalty," Dubois wrote.

Christina Laurean did not go to authorities with that information until January 11, when her husband left home. She has not seen him since (according to statements she has made to investigators). A search warrant has been issued for a cell phone belonging to Cesar Laurean, his wife, his mother and his sister (Blanca Laurean), according to the affidavits.

WRAL-TV obtained copies of the warrant and attached affidavits documenting conversations between 21-year-old Laurean and his wife. Police said they do not believe Lauterbach took her own life. Christina Laurean discovered Lauterbach was pregnant in July, but her husband said he was not the father of the baby, according to court documents. He also told his wife that he had not raped Lauterbach, as she claimed. Christina Laurean has been cooperating in the investigation, police told FOX News.

Onslow County authorities said this morning they do not believe Christina (whose full name is Christina Sue Smith [Laurean])was at her house when the pregnant Marine Lance Corporal was killed. They believe she was at a Christmas party during that time. Sheriff's officials said yesterday that investigators believe Cesar Laurean killed Lauterbach, 20, on December 14. Authorities described Christina Laurean as a cooperating witness and said they have no plans to charge her.

Significant questions that must be answered:
1) Why didn't Christina Laurean contact authorities immediately after finding out her husband disposed of another woman's body -- especially after knowing the situation between the two AND that the dead woman was eight months pregnant?

2) Why does law enforcement insist Maria Lauterbach was killed on December 14 when we also know that someone matching her description purchased a bus ticket on December 15?

2a) What piece of evidence are they holding back, glossing over or refusing to acknowledge? [Something doesn't match up here!]

3) Did Maria Lauterbach have ANY connection with El Paso, TX?

3a) Does Cesar Laurean or Christina Smith Laurean have any connection with El Paso, TX?
[If not, why would Lauterbach purchase a bus ticket to El Paso? After all, Cesar claimed Lauterbach said she "had a plan" to leave the Jacksonville area.]

4) If Maria Lauterbach went back to the Laurean home later the night she was to leave on the bus, how did she get there? Did she drive her Hyundai Sonata? If so, how was her car moved back to the restaurant near the bus station? Did Cesar Laurean take it there? If so, how did he get home? [The person who helped him needs to be questioned thoroughly!]

5) Who was the "white male" who withdrew funds from Maria Lauterbach's bank, using her ATM card, December 24? [The ATM machine used was near the Laurean home.]

6) How could Christina Laurean NOT be involved in the murder and disposal of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child? Lauterbach was killed inside the Laurean home. A large amount of blood evidence was found inside the home. A large scale clean-up job was undertaken. Someone painted over at least one wall where some of the blood spatter was found. The body of a grown woman, eight months pregnant, was moved from inside the home to the adjacent woods and buried. It was later dug up and moved to the Laurean's backyard. A large pit was dug in the backyard. The bodies of Lauterbach and her unborn child were then burned and covered over by someone. [Does anyone believe ONE 5'9", 160 pound guy did ALL this by himself AND/OR without another person living in the same household knowing?!? VERY DOUBTFUL!]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Marine Lauterbach / Laurean Mystery Continues

As the hunt for Cesar Laurean drags on, a few mysteries are being solved in the murder of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child. Police have admitted to obtaining a "piece of evidence" they believe to be the murder weapon in the case. This piece of evidence is thought to be a crowbar handed over, along with the now public note, by Laurean's wife, Christina.

In my opinion, the crowbar is the piece of "tangible evidence" Sheriff Ed Brown spoke over when we first found that Cesar Laurean was the primary suspect late last week. The note is helpful, but not what law enforcement would consider a piece of definitive tangible evidence, from what I know about LE investigations.

Christina Laurean is apparently cooperating with police, but they are still very vague as to her status (witness or co-suspect) and location (when questioned, they always say they don't know exactly where she is at the moment). One more thing we know is that Christina Smith Laurean has told authorities she believes her husband is either in or headed to Mexico. She handed over two letters she received from Cesar Armando Laurean (Ramirez) -- one of which had a Houston, TX. postmark.

Friends and fellow Marines have also said Laurean made statements leading them to believe he would flee to Mexico "if it appeared he would be found guilty of rape" -- a two-count charge Lauterbach made against him in 2007. An Article 32 hearing was scheduled just days after Lance Cpl. Lauterbach disappeared on December 14, 2007.

Police believe she was killed around December 15th. We believe her body was stored somewhere (possibly in the Laurean home) from the time of her death until December 24, when Cesar Laurean lit a large fire in a pit in his backyard. There is also reason to speculate that the body was dismembered before being burned in the pit. OTOH, the baby's body was not disposed of separately, which would make sense in this type of case.

Even though Lauterbach accused Laurean of two counts of rape (one incident in March and one in April), medical examiners say the time of conception was around May 14th. According to military records, the first positive pregnancy test was in June, 2007. Two mysteries surrounding the child are still unsolved questions of whether Laurean is the father AND whether or not the baby was born prior to Maria Lauterbach's death.

Photo from FOXNews.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Doug Barney of RemondMag.com wrote in the latest issue:

"Talk about a dubious distinction. Microsoft last year gained top honors as the most-hacked instant messaging client of 2007. According to some quick and dirty Internet research (read: this information could be wildly inaccurate!), AOL has by far the most IM market share, with Microsoft coming in second with roughly half the number of users.

If MSN is the most hacked, there are only two reasonable theories. First, it's easier to hack MSN than other clients, or second, it's just more fun to hack a Microsoft product. I'd go with the latter!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Laurean's Truck Found Outside Raleigh

BREAKING NEWS: 3:10pm ET -- Police found Cesar Laurean's truck outside a Morrisville hotel on Airport Blvd. late Tuesday afternoon. Laurean remains missing.

WTVD-11 is providing live video of Cesar Laurean's black Dodge pickup truck. It is sitting behind the Microtel Inn off Airport Blvd. in Morrisville, NC (which is very near the Raleigh/Durham airport).

Police, SBI and FBI are definitely closing in on Laurean. We predict he will be found soon.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown says he believes that friends of Laurean are assisting him in hiding and providing resources for his use. These folks should reconsider their actions as they can and will likely be charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive -- both from federal and military prosecution.

Slain Marine Corporal Maria Lauterbach's military ID card was found at a bus station in Durham, about 150 miles northwest of Jacksonville. Witnesses reported seeing his black four-door pickup truck in the Raleigh and Durham area, Brown said.

More updates to follow...

Murdered Marine: You call this an investigation?

Randi Kaye of Anderson Cooper 360 makes some EXCELLENT points in her blog post from earlier this morning...
Today, Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown announced he won't be talking to the media anymore, until Corporal Cesar Laurean is caught. Laurean is the U.S. Marine charged in the brutal murder of fellow Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child. He's been on the run since last Friday. Police believe they recovered Lauterbach's charred remains in a fire pit behind Laurean's home over the weekend along with those of her baby.

Sheriff Brown has been holding press conferences daily and doing one-on-one interviews with local and national media. Now he says it's time to get back to work and we shouldn't expect a word from him until Laurean is behind bars. I've never heard of holding a press conference to announce you're NOT going to hold press conferences anymore. But nothing in this case has been business as usual.

The Marines knew Maria Lauterbach had accused Cesar Laurean of rape and didn't give the Sheriff his name until January 7th, TWENTY days after she disappeared.

The Marines knew Laurean was forbidden to go near Lauterbach. A military protective order was issued in June 2007. It had expired in September 2007, but the Marines never even told Sheriff Brown about it. He told me he wasn't aware of it until last weekend when his deputies found the paperwork in Lauterbach's car.

Can you imagine?

Turns out there is no protocol in place for the Marines when it comes to sharing information with civil law enforcement. Read on...

EDITORIAL: It seems to me that the Lauterbach family has grounds for a precedent-setting lawsuit against the Marine Corps. There is ZERO EXCUSE for the military police not sharing information with the sheriff's department once Maria Lauterbach went missing. It is INTOLERABLE that they did NOTHING to assist -- and even thwarted law enforcement efforts -- in the missing persons case.

As for the civilian authorities, Sheriff Brown and his deputies need to charge Christina Laurean as an accessory to murder (minimally) or a co-conspirator (more likely) in the deaths of Lauterbach and her unborn child. I can't fathom how Cesar Laurean's wife could not have known a violent murder took place in their home. Come on! He washed and painted the walls without any previous decision on both their parts. What husband does that?!? [Some records indicate Christina Laurean said she assisted Cesar with painting the walls.]

Also, why would Christina S. Laurean not question a fire pit freshly dug in the backyard; a large fire burned Christmas Eve (odd time for a fire) -- and then another fire (neighbors says Christina called it a "bonfire with friends") Christmas night?!? I may be wrongly accusing her of being involved, but I just don't see how the facts could prove otherwise.