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Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
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Meet Coinye West, the Kanye-inspired Bitcoin alternative for normal folk | NetworkWorld.com

Meet Coinye West, the Kanye-inspired Bitcoin alternative for normal folk | NetworkWorld.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Kanye West [cq] wrote the lyric, "I'm chilling, trying to stack these millions," he probably did not mean digital currency. But a new technology might give him pause, or at least have him scratching his head.


In a sign that the frenzy over Bitcoin may have reached a new level of ridiculousness, there is now another phenomenon inspired by it: Coinye West, named after the American hip hop artist Kanye West.


Bitcoin is a new online technology designed as a currency to enable anonymous transactions over the Internet with little or no fees. Bitcoin mining involves pooling together the resources of computers over a network to solve mathematical problems that, theoretically, generate bitcoins as a reward. The software supporting the system is open source, so it has already spawned a number of alternative forms of the technology, such as Ripple, Litecoin and Colored Coins.


Coinye West, however, might be the first to be modeled after, and take its name from, a celebrity. "We chose Kanye because of his trendsetting abilities and his originality," the developers of the currency said via email. They declined to identify themselves due to the collaborative and "decentralized" nature of the currency.

West himself was not involved in developing the currency, and he was notified of its existence only via Twitter. But who knows how the artist might respond, given his previous claim that "I am Steve Jobs."


The currency will officially launch on Jan. 11, underpinned by a common-sense goal: To make digital currencies more accessible to a less technical audience. The Coinye West system, its developers said, will use a different algorithm from Bitcoin's that will let people use their home computers to acquire Coinye West coins instead of having to go out and buy expensive, specialized hardware.


The name of this mining software will be "Gold Digger," the developers said, presumably after the title of a popular song by West. "We want to bring cryptocurrency to the masses," they said, "so that anybody can get into mining with a couple of clicks."


The currency is also intended to support hip-hop-related e-commerce transactions. Some online merchants have already contacted the currency's founders asking how they can accept it as money, the founders said.


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History of the Internet: Birth of ARPANET 1967-69 | Cybertelecom.org

History of the Internet: Birth of ARPANET 1967-69 | Cybertelecom.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
It is one if the greater ironies of computer history that the vision of the hippies had to be married to the technology funded and fostered by the Pentagon, before the world of integrated information and communication became possible. [Stephen Segaller, NERDS2.0 p 134]

J.C.R. Licklider's vision of man-computer symbiosis drove the work of the Information Processing Techniques Office of ARPA in the early 1960s. In memos addressed to The Members of the Intergalactic Computer Network, Licklider presented a futuristic vision where computers could be tied together in a common network using standard languages, enabling the computer scientists to share and build on each other’s work.  In 1964, Robert Taylor took over for Licklider, and brought on Larry Roberts to build the network.


Unlike Baran, who was attempting to solve the communications problems of the entire Department of Defense, Roberts had a more modest goal: network together a few ARPA funded computer centers. Roberts was not so much building a network, as he was networking computer researchers.  That is an important difference, as the important stuff was the ends of the network, not the network itself.  The job of the network was to provide connectivity (and interconnection), support the work of the research and innovation at the ends, and otherwise get out of the way.  In 1967, Roberts released a blueprint for the ARPANET entitled Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communications. ARPANET would be packet switched using shared telecommunication paths; distributed (resilient to failure); decentralized (no central gatekeeper); able to freely scale (assets could be easily added without permission); and operated with a sub-network of computers whose sole job was to route traffic (not process data).


The ARPANET was launched in 1969, and by 1972 the "experiment" was causing a stir.  Other networks quickly followed. ARPA recognized the need to interconnect incompatible computer networks. Therefore, Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn developed the Internet Protocol, a "simple" protocol that created “a network of networks,” providing interconnection between otherwise incompatible computer resources, and facilitating research at the ends of the network. On January 1, 1983, ARPANET migrated to the Internet Protocol.


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NSA exploits targeting Windows | NetworkWorld.com

You may or may not recall when the Economic Development Administration took a kill it with fire approach to two malware infections. It boiled down to 2 malware infections + destruction of $170,500 in hardware (mice, keyboards, printers, cameras, PCs) = $2.7 million taxpayer dollars. While that seemed beyond extreme at the time, it may no longer seem extreme at all thanks to Jacob Applebaum revealing the NSA's Advanced Network Technology (ANT) division catalog of exploits. In fact, according to documents obtained by Der Spiegel, the NSA developed custom BIOS exploits that hang around even after the operating system has been reinstalled.


The NSA's internal catalog of exploits also detail persistent backdoors in hardware, firmware and of course software . . . so much for all the Homeland Security warnings about tainted hardware coming from China to spy on us. Der Spiegel reported that the NSA intercepts computer equipment as it is being shipped and plants its spyware. "If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops," where those NSA agents install undetectable malware or compromised hardware. The power-mad snoops at the NSA and Tailored Access Operations (TAO) hacks are spying on everyone and can exploit nearly every major software, hardware and firmware that exists.  


Jacob Applebaum delivered a keynote speech at the 30th Chaos Computer Club conference in Germany. His talk, To Protect and Infect [pdf], explained numerous NSA-ANT-developed spying weapons. Although Microsoft Windows was not alone on the list - it also included Linux, FreeBSD and even Sun Solaris - since this Microsoft Subnet, then we'll look at some of the ways TAO spies can hack us via Windows.


Let's start with how the TAO exploit Windows crash error reports to conduct surveillance. Der Spiegel wrote:


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Wisconsin start-ups attracting investors | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin start-ups attracting investors | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

From an entrepreneurial perspective, it was as if Wisconsin awoke from a long slumber in 2013.


Support for a vibrant start-up community, which many say is needed to boost the state's mediocre business growth trends, finally appears to be gaining steam.


Last year, at least $150 million in venture capital was committed to state-based organizations, including $30 million for a long-delayed state-sponsored program. Several relatively new groups — such as gener8tor, a for-profit group that trains start-ups — took key roles by providing programs and events to support entrepreneurs and accelerate the growth of young companies.


"It's a good directional shift, but nobody should view this as the problem being solved," said John Neis, managing director of Venture Investors, Madison. "It's great movement, but we still have a long ways to go."

Despite having 2% of the nation's population, Wisconsin pulls in less than 1% of all U.S. venture capital investment, which acts as a gauge of high-potential entrepreneurial activity in a market.


But consider what gener8tor produced last year. The accelerator invested about $750,000 in 11 start-ups that went through its programs in Milwaukee and Madison. Those 11 companies created more than 50 full-time jobs in 2013, said Joe Kirgues, a gener8tor co-founder.


Entrepreneur-led groups in the state's two biggest cities continue helping young companies to network and learn from one another.


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NY: $200K for Wyoming Ag Business Center for smart and connected agriculture | The Daily News Online

NY: $200K for Wyoming Ag Business Center for smart and connected agriculture | The Daily News Online | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A $200,000 state funding allocation has been awarded for the Wyoming County Agriculture Business Center of Excellence.


State Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Depew, made the announcement Thursday during his remarks at the county’s annual organizational meeting.


The money is through the State Municipal Facilities Capital Program, he said. It was among several topics he touched upon, as he updated area officials on the past year, along with his upcoming plans.


“Modern agriculture is a high-tech, high-skill practice, no question about it,” he said. “For Wyoming County to continue to hold its position as the leading agriculture production county in the state, I will continue to advocate for smart policy that allows agriculture to grow and evolve here in Western New York.”


This year’s upcoming initiatives will include a push for widespread, rural broadband Internet access. Gallivan said his office has arranged a Jan. 15 meeting between county officials and the state Broadband Program office.


“Agriculture is a 21st century enterprise that needs a 21st century infrastructure to grow and compete,” he said. “For too long, rural communities in New York and across the country have been without this era’s basic infrastructure ...


“Over one million New Yorkers are without reliable broadband access, mostly in rural counties like Wyoming,” he continued. “(It limits) residents’ ability to access online education programs; start or operate a modern business; or use workforce development programs. Rural counties in New York will simply never become part of the digital economy, until broadband Internet is accessible and affordable to every New Yorker.”


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Hey, Where's The Google Glass App For The iPhone? | ReadWrire.com

Hey, Where's The Google Glass App For The iPhone? | ReadWrire.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The biggest hurdle in the way of potential mainstream adoption of Google Glass isn’t that it makes humans look like a crazy future cyborg race. It’s that Glass, try as it might, can’t do squat on an iPhone.


Earlier this year, I made the decision to switch back to the iPhone from Android (for this generation, anyway). And my, how I’d taken my Nexus 4’s natural rapport with Glass for granted. To clarify, Glass must be connected to a smartphone to perform many functions. Glass can get online via Bluetooth tethering to a smartphone's 3G/4G connection. While Glass can also hop on your home Wi-Fi, for regular use it really needs to connect to an iPhone or Android smartphone.


But as Google Glass has been in the wild—the better part of a year now—it's completely hamstrung if you only own an iPhone. On the Android side, Glass Explorers have access to the slick "MyGlass" app, which allows screencasting from Glass to a smartphone (awesome), offers a mobile interface for toggling Glass apps on and off (necessary) and generally provides some standard settings, since the settings menu on Glass itself is very bare bones.


You can tell where this is leading. To date, there is no iOS Glass app to speak of. Screencasting is a no-go, and if you want to manage apps and other settings, you have to visit the MyGlass portal from a web browser. Awkward.


Beyond these gripes, my two favorite features—literally the two things that make Google Glass worth the social ostracism and sky-high beta price tag— do not exist when Glass is paired with an iPhone. When using Glass paired with an iPhone you a) cannot receive text messages or b) use turn-by-turn directions.


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ND: UAS test site could mean economic boon for region, questions about privacy | Grand Forks Herald

ND: UAS test site could mean economic boon for region, questions about privacy | Grand Forks Herald | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Under a PowerPoint slide reading, “Congratulations, Team North Dakota,” lawmakers, economic development officials and higher education leaders exchanged congratulatory messages Monday.


They gathered after the Federal Aviation Administration named Grand Forks and the state as one of six test sites across the country for integrating unmanned aerial systems, often called drones, into the national airspace alongside manned craft. It was the culmination of years of work that they say will help establish the region as a hub of UAS development.


But they acknowledged there’s plenty of work ahead of them.

The designation could mean an economic boon for the community, as local and outside companies look to test new technologies. And it means research performed here will help guide the future of UAS, an emerging industry that has its roots in the military but is poised to grow into commercial uses like agriculture.


But the test phase, which will last until at least 2017, could also provide time to examine the technology’s societal implications. Federal and state lawmakers, as well as privacy advocates, have raised concerns about how the new technology could affect civil liberties once it makes the transition from the battlefield to the commercial airspace.


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ND: I-94 towns in midst of growth: Economic buzz in eastern part of state not tied to energy | In-Forum

ND: I-94 towns in midst of growth: Economic buzz in eastern part of state not tied to energy | In-Forum | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The oil boom in western North Dakota gets a lot of attention.


But follow Interstate 94 from Valley City to the cities of Mapleton and Casselton, and what you find might surprise you.


“For a community the size of Casselton and Mapleton, you could call it a boom,” said Mark Vaux, executive vice president for business development for the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.


The story is similar in Valley City, said Jennifer Feist, director of the Valley City-Barnes County Development Corp.


Feist and Vaux say the economic buzz in the eastern part of the state isn’t necessarily tied to energy.


“It is value-added agriculture and technology and advanced manufacturing, those kinds of things,” said Feist.


She said some of the things happening in Valley City – population about 6,500 – include:


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Federating Do-It-Yourself ISPs from around the world | Fédération FDN

Federating Do-It-Yourself ISPs from around the world | Fédération FDN | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Last December, the FDN Federation attended the 30th Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg.


It was a very fruitful event, which allowed us to meet many DIY ISP initiatives or community networks from all around the world. We discussed and exchanged about our goals, our difficulties, and possible solutions. It was also an opportunity for every project to present their tools.


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Stop Letting NSA's Defenders Lie; There Have Been Many Significant Abuses | Techdirt.com

Stop Letting NSA's Defenders Lie; There Have Been Many Significant Abuses | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We've been hearing regularly from the NSA's biggest defenders -- including former NSA boss Michael Hayden, current head of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers and President Obama -- that despite all of the revelations about the NSA, there hasn't been any evidence of abuses. We've discussed over and over and over again why that's clearly untrue. Over at the Guardian, Trevor Timm has done an excellent job laying out in detail how President Obama and others are simply lying when they say there's been no evidence of abuses by the NSA. He details example after example of abuses that have come to light. Here's just one which shows not just abuses, but a pattern of regular abuse:


For years, as new data came into the NSA's database containing virtually every phone call record in the United States, analysts would search over 17,000 phone numbers in it every day. It turns out only about 1,800 of those numbers – 11% – met the legal requirement that the NSA have "reasonable articulable suspicion" that the number was involved in terrorism.

What were the other 89% of the numbers being searched for? We're not exactly sure. But we do know that five years after the metadata program was brought under a legal framework, the Fisa court concluded it had been "so frequently and systematically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively".


Part of the issue, of course, is that the NSA's defenders, including the President, seem to be trying to redefine the word "abuse" just as they've tried to redefine lots of other common English words concerning their surveillance efforts.


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FISA Court Rubberstamps Yet Another Renewal Of NSA's Collecting All Your Phone Data | Techdirt.com

FISA Court Rubberstamps Yet Another Renewal Of NSA's Collecting All Your Phone Data | Techdirt.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a move that will shock no one, the FISA Court has, once again, reapproved the NSA's request to collect metadata on pretty much every phone call. The Director of National Intelligence put out a statement once again trying to defend this, and noting that it's appealing the one court ruling against the program (which is true, they filed an appeal this morning).


It is the administration's view, consistent with the recent holdings of the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and Southern District of California, as well as the findings of 15 judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 36 separate occasions over the past seven years, that the telephony metadata collection program is lawful. The Department of Justice has filed an appeal of the lone contrary decision issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


The announcement also pays lip service to the White House's task force's findings that the program required significant changes claiming that the intelligence community is "open to modifications to this program." Yeah, right. We'll see just how open they are when the changes are actually proposed.


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Can the U.S. Stop China’s Korean Broadband Deal? | The Daily Beast

Can the U.S. Stop China’s Korean Broadband Deal? | The Daily Beast | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Fears within the Obama administration and Congress are mounting about Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s plan to build a wireless network in South Korea.


The Obama administration and Congress are turning up the pressure on South Korea to turn back from a pending deal with Huawei Technologies, a Chinese firm that the U.S. intelligence community believes is linked to the Chinese military


Top administration officials have begun quietly talking to Seoul about U.S. national-security concerns over the pending deal, which would see Huawei help build South Korea’s new broadband network. A growing list of influential lawmakers are also raising red flags about a deal that would make some 28,500 U.S. military forces in South Korea dependent on a communications network that might leave them vulnerable to Chinese eavesdropping. 


Vice President Joe Biden raised the issue with Prime Minister Jung Hong-won during his trip to South Korea in early December, according to two sources briefed on the meeting. Also, the White House’s National Security staff has tasked the U.S. intelligence community to study the effects of the Huawei-South Korea deal on American security interests.


On Thursday in a statement to The Daily Beast, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined the growing bipartisan chorus opposing the deal and pledged that Congress would act if South Korea went through with the arrangement.


“The Republic of Korea is not just a close U.S. ally; it is a country in which 28,500 Americans in uniform are serving on the front lines and ready to fight in Korea’s defense. The national-security interests of the United States are thus directly affected by the integrity of Korea’s information networks,” McCain said. “Given the serious concerns that our government has with Huawei and its alleged ties to the Chinese government, a Korean decision to give Huawei a major stake in building out the country’s telecommunications infrastructure would go over very badly in the United States and the Congress.”


McCain’s concerns echoed those of two top Democrats, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who asked senior Obama administration officials to review the deal in a letter reported by The Daily Beast last month.


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5 Security Monitoring Initiatives For 2014 | DarkReading.com

5 Security Monitoring Initiatives For 2014 | DarkReading.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Security information and event management systems (SIEMs) became much more common in 2013, while more companies talked about using massive data sets to fuel better visibility into the potential threats inside their networks.


Yet effective security monitoring has a long way to go. To better secure their networks and improve visibility into the threats on their systems in 2014, companies first need good communication between business executives and information-security managers. While 90 percent of managers surveyed by network security and management firm SolarWinds thought security was under control, only 30 percent of the actual IT practitioners believe that security is well-established, according to the firm.


A good place to start is for information-technology leaders to ask themselves and their business counterparts what more they want to know about their networks, systems, and employees. Without the right questions, monitoring for threats will be hard, says Dave Bianco, Hunt Team manager for incident-response firm Mandiant, which was acquired by FireEye this week.


"It pays for companies to take a step back and look at what they are doing," Bianco says. "I can look at things that I'm really worried about because of my business, or things that might be interesting to those who are attacking me -- not only figure out what you might be able to detect, but figure out what you have to detect them with."


To start the conversation, here are five initiatives that security-monitoring experts say should be undertaken this year.


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Predictions for Unified Communications in 2014, Part One | NetworkWorld.com

Today, we’ll follow our annual tradition and make some predictions for what will happen in 2014, starting with “old business” to suggest what 2013 trends will continue into the new year, then moving on to a couple of items that could start afresh. 


Last year, we saw dozens of announcements on cloud-based video, and we think that while the video conferencing and collaboration market will continue to grow in 2014, so it is probably time for some consolidation here.  In the meantime, we think that cloud-based video conferencing services will fight hard to differentiate themselves, and we expect to see notable marketing activity around cloud-based video services.  Demand for mobile video communications will continue to grow; we still hold to our position that within the next 4-5 years we will see more “video minutes” between mobile devices than “voice minutes.” 


The consumerization of IT, most visible in the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, will also continue this year.  However, we think that the easy ability to personalize consumer devices (especially via apps) will start to have an effect on how business applications for these devices are developed and positioned.  Since many business apps for mobile devices must be integrated with a cloud or premise based enterprise infrastructure, we see increased participation from these infrastructure suppliers in “personalization for business.”  Look for OTT players like Vonage or Skype to play a key role here as they seek to differentiate their business UC portfolio, followed by premise based solution providers, with traditional network service providers lagging.   Lync will also play a key role in personalization. 


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Internet Censors Came For TorrentFreak & Now I’m Really Mad | TorrentFreak

Internet Censors Came For TorrentFreak & Now I’m Really Mad | TorrentFreak | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

ISPs exist to provide us with unfettered access to the Internet, not the version they or their technology partners feels is appropriate for us. Their ‘parental controls’ do not achieve their stated aim of “protecting children” and are already causing collateral damage by blocking totally innocent sites such as the one you are reading now. It’s hard not to get angry when you realize your website’s accessibility is becoming disabled by default.


Someone once told me never to go food shopping when hungry, never to argue when drunk, and more recently never to write when angry. Take a deep breath, go for a run, get the aggression out anyway you can first, I was advised.


I’ve done all of that this morning and none of it has worked. In fact, I might be even more fired up than before. This website blocking nonsense that is beginning to pollute the Internet has gone way too far and is becoming my sworn enemy.


Here at TF we’ve long been opponents of website blocking. It’s a blunt instrument that is prone to causing collateral damage and known for failing to achieve its stated aims. We recently discovered that thanks to Sky’s Broadband Shield filtering system, TorrentFreak is now blocked on one of the UK’s largest ISPs by users who think they are protecting their kids.


Our crimes are the topics we cover. As readers know we write about file-sharing, copyright and closely linked issues including privacy and web censorship. We write about the positives and the negatives of those topics and we solicit comments from not only the swarthiest of pirates, but also the most hated anti-piracy people on the planet.


If the MPAA, RIAA, FACT, BPI, RightsAlliance, BREIN and every DMCA takedown company on earth want to have their say they can do that, alongside the folks at The Pirate Bay. We won’t deny anyone their voice, whether it’s someone being raided by the police or the people who instigated the raid. Getting the news out is paramount.


We are not scared to let anyone have their say and we embrace free speech. But apparently the people at Sky and their technology masters at Symantec believe that we should be denied our right to communicate on the basis that we REPORT NEWS about file-sharing issues.


That’s just utter nonsense.


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Central Missouri Coop To Offer Gigabit, Upgrades Speeds With No Price Increase | community broadband networks

Central Missouri Coop To Offer Gigabit, Upgrades Speeds With No Price Increase | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Residential customers of Co-Mo Connect in Missouri will see a free upgrade this spring. In a December announcement, the cooperative stated it will also begin offering gigabit Internet service for $99.95 per month.


“There are no strings attached,” said Randy Klindt, Co-Mo Comm's general manager. “We’re doing this because we can, because the network has the capacity and we received a good deal on bandwidth. We’re passing those speeds and savings onto our subscribers.”


New residential service options:


  • 5 megabits per second for $39.95 a month; 
  • 35 mbps (currently 20 mbps) for $49.95 a month; 
  • 100 mbps (currently 50 mbps) for $59.95 a month;
  • 1 gbps (currently 100mbps) for $99.95 a month.


According to the announcement, small businesses will also receive speed increases with no increase in price. Klindt notes that Co-Mo prides itself on gimmick-free pricing:


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NC: From trucking to IT: Hot Charlotte jobs for 2014 | Charlotte Observer

NC: From trucking to IT: Hot Charlotte jobs for 2014 | Charlotte Observer | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Information technology, nursing, trucking and retail sales are among the hottest local job sectors as Charlotte enters 2014, according to N.C. Department of Commerce data.


With unemployment rates declining, the economic uncertainty that hovered over the job scene in recent years is giving way to increasingly optimistic talk of more companies putting out help-wanted postings.


“Everybody’s got real high expectations for 2014,” said Michael Fletcher, a director with the Charlotte finance and accounting division of Robert Half, an international staffing and placement firm. “Each year over the past few years it’s gotten progressively better, and everybody’s feeling like 2014 might be the year when we finally get out of this thing and companies start hiring again.”


Digital technology companies have joined some of the region’s big traditional employers – Carolinas Healthcare System, Wells Fargo and Bank of America – among the firms doing the heaviest hiring during the three-month period ending Dec. 3, the most recent data available.


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... Trucking and retail sales are among the hottest local job sectors as Charlotte enters 2014, according to N.C. Department of Commerce data ...

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VA: Tech For Troops helps vets with IT tools to build a better life | Richmond Times Dispatch

VA: Tech For Troops helps vets with IT tools to build a better life | Richmond Times Dispatch | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Twenty-one-year-old Chris Phillips wanted to give something back to members of the U.S. military for their service to the country.


“Seeing so many vets, including friends, come back from Afghanistan and Iraq and having such a hard time finding jobs was a pretty big deal for me,” said the Virginia Commonwealth University business student.


Working with his mother, Laurie Phillips, he created a nonprofit organization to collect and refurbish computers, and then donate them to veterans centers with the aim of helping out-of-work and homeless vets find jobs and tap other resources.


“I wanted some way to help them out,” said Chris Phillips, who lives in Richmond. “I just wanted a way to give back, a way to support them.”


For vets who are unemployed, “it’s hard to come by computers — they’re expensive,” he said. But “we knew there was a way to refurbish older computers instead of just throwing them away.”


The Tech For Troops Project has already provided about 30 computers to the DLW Veterans Outreach and Training Center and the River City Comprehensive Counseling Services’ Veterans Employment Program in Richmond, as well as the Freedom Support Center in Petersburg.


“We have them all hooked up and ready,” said Petersburg City Councilman W. Howard Myers, who led the effort to establish the Freedom Support Center, “and the vets are enjoying resourcing information with respect to benefits and jobs.


“A lot of them have mental health issues, PTSD (and) some of them were homeless,” Myers said, but the Tech For Troops Project “helps them get a better quality of life. It gives them a tool to reach out with.”


River City Comprehensive Counseling on Richmond’s South Side has a resource center where vets can use computers, but the space is limited.


“We only have about five desktops,” said Melissa Canaday, the Veterans Employment Program’s lead case manager, “and we service over 100 vets.”


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Google Glass 2.0 Is Coming—Here's What Would Make It Incredibly Cool | ReadWrite.com

Google Glass 2.0 Is Coming—Here's What Would Make It Incredibly Cool | ReadWrite.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Glass is about to evolve. Six months after the first units became available to eager developers (and us lowly, weirdo journalists), Google is readying the next version of Google Glass for a launch next month—and thank goodness for that.


While the device's full feature set remains under wraps, we know a little bit about the new device and about the next generation of glassholes—namely, that existing Glass Explorers like myself now wield three invites into the kingdom of Glassholedom apiece.


Haters gonna hate, but I'm still a fan of Silicon Valley's strongest fashion statement. Still, Glass isn't anywhere near perfect—especially not for the $1500 us crazy people paid for the Explorer Edition.


Thankfully, the retail version of Glass will cost considerably less.) 


Google will be offering a one-time swap opportunity for existing Glass owners who are interested in upgrading to a (hopefully) more refined Glass experience or swapping colors. Me? I'm happy with "cotton," thank you very much.


From the project's Google+ post:


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Community Centers of Innovation: Webinar on Jan 9th | Blandin on Broadband

You are invited to the Blandin Foundation Broadband Initiative Free January Webinar on January 9 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm (Register here.)


Creating Community Centers of Innovation


Creating an environment in which new companies can form and flourish should be a goal of every community.  Key components of a nurturing system for innovation and entrepreneurship are business coaching, business networks, risk capital, building space, talent and broadband.  One interesting approach to creating this environment is described in the book “How to Design your Own Silicon Valley” by Victor W. Hwang.


Learn how three Minnesota communities are creating a positive environment for long-term economic development based on entrepreneurship and innovation.  Each community is using a physical asset – available building space – as a platform on which to build an entrepreneurial system that includes some or all of these other support strategies.


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How the United States is reinventing itself yet again | Washington Post Blog

How the United States is reinventing itself yet again | Washington Post Blog | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

We have moved from the Great Recession to the Great Malaise. Despite massive government stimulus, the world’s largest and most advanced economy continues to limp sideways. Unemployment remains stubbornly high. Growth remains slow and prospects for employment growth remain bleak. Wages continue to stagnate. Recent college graduates and young professionals may well be the first generation to live a life inferior to those of their parents, conventional wisdom holds. The United States has entered a period of slow decline, much like the sun finally setting on the British Empire in the 20th century.


And that’s not all the pessimists say. They also argue that while the United States continues to dominate in the emergence of new technology powerhouses, the biggest IPO of the decade belongs to Facebook, a social network that is more media company than technology innovator. Stifling red tape and regulations has driven costs of testing new medicines and medical devices so high that many drug companies have shifted testing regimes and market focus to Europe and Asia.


Despite mounting evidence that skilled immigrant entrepreneurs have delivered a wildly disproportionate share of the country’s technology innovation and technology job growth, the powers that be in Washington, D.C. have, even with broad bipartisan support, not mustered up the votes to reform the country’s regressive and punitive immigration policies. Add to all of this an aging populace requiring more and more support from younger workers, ballooning health costs and a tax structure that beggars the young to underwrite benefits for the aged, and the United States looks more and more like a historical footnote than a superpower.


Peel back the layers of the onion, and the reality appears quite different. In fact, the United States stands on the cusp of a dramatic revival and rejuvenation, propelled by an amazing wave of technological innovation. A slew of breakthroughs will deliver the enormous productivity gains and the societal dramatic cost savings needed to sustain economic growth and prosperity. These breakthroughs, mostly digital in nature, will complete the shift begun by the Internet away to a new era where the precepts of Moore’s Law can be applied to virtually any field.


Computer-assisted design and fabrication will reshape manufacturing forever. These technologies will slash waste and replace nearly all conventional manufacturing with more environmentally friendly and cost-effective additive manufacturing run with robots and computer programs. Complex systems resistant to modeling will succumb to advances in big data that allow mankind to finally make sense and improve upon the most intricate multi-faceted interactions. Where big data fails, ubiquitous crowd sourcing will harness untapped brain cycles to train systems and solve problems, one small activity at a time — on a global scale.


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Why Secret Law Is Un-American | The Atlantic

Why Secret Law Is Un-American | The Atlantic | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In recent years, the National Security Agency has relied on secret interpretations of the law to justify its actions, as noted in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and a letter that 26 U.S. senators wrote complaining that "the 'business records' provision of the Patriot Act has been secretly reinterpreted." NSA defenders are fond of saying that its activities are legitimized and overseen by all three branches of government. This elides the distinction between Congress as a body and small subcommittees with access to classified information: A subcommittee can be quietly co-opted in a way that Congress cannot.


The notion of a secret body of law is incompatible with the American system of government. Understanding why is as easy as consulting the Federalist Papers, the most thorough explanation the Framers gave us of their republican design and its logic. 


The House of Representatives is meant to be responsive to ever-changing popular opinion in the country's many congressional districts. "As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people," James Madison wrote in Federalist 52. "Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured."


What good are frequent elections if the people are ignorant as to the actual policies their representatives have put into place? National-security state apologists would prefer a system whereby the people elect representatives and trust them to act judiciously in secret. The design of the House presupposes constant reevaluation of a legislator's actions. Americans watching the debate over reauthorizing the Patriot Act couldn't meaningfully lobby or evaluate the performance of their representative. They didn't know the law had been secretly interpreted to allow mass surveillance. The secret interpretation subverted the ability of the people to evaluate their representatives.


The secrecy surrounding surveillance law also meant that many House members themselves were ignorant of what they were voting upon, sometimes because they failed to take advantage of secret briefings, other times because they were incapable of understanding the content of those briefings without outside help, and still other times because the national-security state deliberately withheld information.


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Tech Time Warp of the Week: The World's First Hard Drive, 1956 | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

Tech Time Warp of the Week: The World's First Hard Drive, 1956 | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

IBM unleashed the world’s first computer hard disk drive in 1956. It was bigger than a refrigerator. It weighed more than a ton. And it looked kinda like one of those massive cylindrical air conditioning units that used to sit outside your grade school cafeteria.


This seminal hard drive was part of a larger machine known as the IBM 305 RAMAC, short for “Random Access Method of Accounting and Control,” and in the classic promotional video below, you can see the thing in action during its glory days. Better yet, if you ever happen to be in Mountain View, California, you can see one in the flesh. In 2002, two engineers named Dave Bennet and Joe Feng helped restore an old RAMAC at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, where it’s now on display. And yes, the thing still works.


As we’re told in IBM’s 1956 film — which chronicles the five years of research and development that culminated in the RAMAC — Big Blue built the system “to keep business accounts up to date and make them available, not monthly or even daily, but immediately.” It was meant to rescue companies from a veritable blizzard of paper records, so adorably demonstrated in the film by a toy penguin trapped in a faux snow storm.


Before RAMAC, as the film explains, most businesses kept track of inventory, payroll, budgets, and other bits of business info on good old fashioned paper stuffed into filing cabinets. Or if they were lucky, they had a massive computer that could store data on spools of magnetic tape. But tape wasn’t the easiest to deal with. You couldn’t get to one piece of data on a tape without spooling past all the data that came before it.


Then RAMAC gave the world what’s called magnetic disk storage, which let you retrieve any piece of data without delay. The system’s hard drive included 50 vertically stacked disks covered in magnetic paint, and as they spun around — at speeds of 1,200 rpm — a mechanical arm could store and retrieve data from the disks. The device stored data by changing the magnetic orientation of a particular spot on a disk, and then retrieve it at any time by reading the orientation.


“That was the giant, conceptual leap behind this,” Dag Spicer, the curator of the Computer History Museum, tells WIRED. “[RAMAC] knows where the information is and it just goes and grabs it immediately.” The arm could fetch information at a 100,000 bits per second clip.


This is the same basic technology that now juggles data on everything from your laptop to a vast majority of the computer servers that underpin the massive web services run by the likes of Google, Amazon, and Apple — though this tech is slowing giving way to faster “flash memory” devices.


The RAMAC hard drive could hold roughly 5 MB of data, the equivalent of an MP3 music file. That may seem puny, but in the 50s, it was enormous.


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Border officials can still search and seize your laptop | The Daily Dot

Border officials can still search and seize your laptop | The Daily Dot | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA surveillance helped pulled back the curtain on all the ways the government can collect our digital information. But even without installing digital backdoors or paying tech companies for metadata, government officials have a very simple way of finding out what's on your laptop. 


They can just take it.


On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed a 2010 case challenging the U.S. government's broad authority to search and seize electronic devices at international borders without a warrant. It's a decision that has stymied the cause of the American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates who have resisted the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights at airports and border crossings. 


The case was brought by Pascal Abidor, a dual U.S.-French citizen who was detained in May 2010 while returning aboard an Amtrak train to the United States from school in Canada. 


Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers searched Abidor's laptop computer after discovering that he was an Islamic Studies student who had recently lived in Jordan and traveled to Lebanon. Upon discovering images of Hamas and Hezbollah on Abidor's laptop (part of a research project), CBP officers further searched his computer, cellphone, and person. They ultimately wound up putting Abdor in a holding cell for three hours. 


Abidor was joined by the ACLU, along with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Press Photographers Association who filed as co-plaintiffs, challenging the extraordinary search authority granted to CBP officials. 


In throwing out the case, Judge Edward R. Korman argued that CBP officers have a lower threshold to meet when examining and confiscating electronic devices at border zones because of a long-standing exception to certain Fourth Amendment protections for persons entering the United States. In his ruling, Korman cited the "border search doctrine" (also known as the border search exception), which relaxes the definition of "unreasonable" when it comes to unwarranted searches and seizures.


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Everyone Needs a Cyber Security Textbook | Nextgov.com

Everyone Needs a Cyber Security Textbook | Nextgov.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Goverrnment officials are subject to a near daily barrage of information regarding cyberattacks and the specter of cyberwar. Depending on the source, that can mean anything from an employee downloading work files from home to an intruder tampering with the systems that control city water supplies. Not understanding the nuances associated with those vulnerabilities can lead to off base policy decisions. 


To get Luddite four-star generals, online shoppers and systems developers all on the same page, Brookings Institution researchers Peter W. Singer and Allan Friedman just released a new primer on the topic: "Cybersecurity and CyberWar: What Everyone Needs to Know," (Oxford University Press, 2014). 


Nextgov recently sat down with Singer, a next-gen warfare aficionado, for some plain talk about killer robots and other cyberweapons. What follows is an edited version of that conversation:


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