Thursday, July 5, 2012


Here are some brief notes about various happenings in the technological world we live in:

Blu-ray discs have been around for about six years now, DVDs remain a pretty big presence in the entertainment and storage markets. But that may be changing: Microsoft recently announced that its newest operating system, Windows 8, will drop default DVD playback support. Users who want DVD support must pay for Windows Media Center, find an alternative player, or hope that manufacturers bundle DVD software with computers.

Best Buy
Are brick-and-mortar retailers finally being beaten down by online merchants? It looks that way. In March, big-box retailer Best Buy announced that it will close 50 of its retail stores in an attempt to "think small." Best Buy plans to open 100 smaller mobile stores that will focus on phones, tablets, and e-readers--further proof that the world is becoming increasingly mobile (and that brick-and-mortar stores' days may face additional hard times ahead).

Employers Request Facebook Logins
If you've been in the job market in the past few years, you probably know that many employers check up on the social networking profiles of both potential hires and current employees. But in March we learned that some employers weren't just looking at employees' public profiles--they were actually asking for log-in information, including passwords, so they could snoop even deeper. This controversial policy piqued the interest of lawmakers, and several states have since passed legislation forbidding employers to make such requests.

The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have allowed courts to order ISPs to block access to entire Internet domains accused of infringing on copyrighted content, was all the rage in January 2012. The bill rankled the tech community, in particular, and even prompted such websites as Wikipedia and Reddit to black out their services for a day in protest. On January 20, the House Judiciary Committee postponed consideration of the bill--in effect, tabling it Indefinitely.

MAC Flashback
Mac users have finally been knocked off their malware-free pedestal, thanks to Flashback, a Trojan horse that has infected more than 600,000 Apple
computers. The malware exploits a Java vulnerability; and though Apple responded with Java updates and removal tools, the virus still plagues more than 140,000 Macs.

Google Privacy Policy Update
Privacy is always a flop when the tech industry is involved. After all, we can't have an open, sharey Internet without, well, we give up our privacy. The most notable privacy flop so far has been Google's restructuring of its privacy guidelines so that it could unify its users' data across all Google-related services. The company claimed that it was just making things simpler, but the revamp was actually a way for Google to prepare the world for its cloud-based service, Google Drive.

Facebook IPO
Facebook went public on May 18, 2012, with the price of a share initially set at $38. The company was valued at $104 billion--quite a bit for a company whose 2011 revenue just topped $3.7 billion--so it might not be surprising that the Facebook IPO sort of...flopped. At this writing, a little more than two weeks later, Facebook shares were trading at $26.90, down $11.10 from the opening price.

Based on info from Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PC World, June 05, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


227 years ago...on July 4th, 1776
This great nation, the United States of America,
In a struggle for what was right and free,
Was proudly born...
May we celebrate that precious freedom
For which our forbears fought so bravely...
The freedom that is inherent
In the Stars and Stripes, our revered flag...
Celebrate Freedom
This Fourth of July!