• Category Archives Professional
  • Blog Posts of a more professional nature.

  • Delete yourself from the internet by pressing this button

    The internet can be a beautiful and horrible place at the same time, and it isn’t weird to sometimes feel like you want to leave — there’s wasn’t an easy way out, until now.

    Swedish developers Wille Dahlbo and Linus Unnebäck created Deseat.me, which offers a way to wipe your entire existence off the internet in a few clicks.

    When logging into the website with a Google account it scans for apps and services you’ve created an account for, and creates a list of them with easy delete links.

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  • Businesses brace for Trump decision on H-1B visas in wake of Sessions pick

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    President-elect Donald Trump’s policies on illegal immigration, particularly on the border wall and cracking down on sanctuary cities, were at the center of his election campaign. Now, advocates of immigration restriction are hoping for reform to H-1B visas that they say are hurting American workers.

    The H-1B is a temporary, non-immigrant visa, currently capped at 85,000 visas a year, that allows employers to hire skilled, specialty workers on a temporary basis — particularly scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.

    However, critics say that the system is rife with abuse, and is no longer a limited short-term program to help employers with unexpected labor shortages in niche areas, and has instead become a way to push out American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor.

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  • Bitcoin not money, Miami judge rules in dismissing laundering charges

    A Miami-Dade judge ruled Monday that Bitcoin is not actually money, a decision hailed by proponents of the virtual currency that has become popular across the world.

    In a case closely watched in financial and tech circles, the judge threw out the felony charges against website designer Michell Espinoza, who had been charged with illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 worth of Bitcoins. He sold them to undercover detectives who told him they wanted to use the money to buy stolen credit-card numbers.

    But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not backed by any government or bank, and was not “tangible wealth” and “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars.”

    “The court is not an expert in economics; however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the Bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money,” Pooler wrote in an eight-page order.

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  • Employee Extinction? The Rise of Contract, Temp Workers in Business

    Employee Extinction? The Rise of Contract, Temp Workers in Business

    In the future, will employees become extinct? All over the world, from the United States to Japan, businesses of all sizes – corporations and small enterprises – are gradually phasing out the employee.

    Contractual workers are becoming the norm, while firms are taking on freelancers.

    Crowdsourcing the New Reality in Labor Market

    Uber is the latest sensation in the marketplace.

    The ride-sharing app allows consumers to save money on transportation, while the drivers earn a little bit of extra cash.

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  • Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

    In the wake of the FBI’s failed fight against Apple, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced a draft bill that would effectively ban strong crypto.

    The bill would require tech and communications companies to allow law enforcement with a court order to decrypt their customers’ data. Last week a draft copy of the bill, dubbed the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, was leaked, but the new version is even worse than the discussion draft.

    The bill would apply to “device manufacturers, software manufacturers, electronic communication services, remote communication services, providers of wire or electronic communication services, providers of remote communication services, or any person who provides a product or method to facilitate a communication or to process or store data.” That’s a pretty wide net.

    “No entity or individual is above the law,” said Feinstein. “The bill we have drafted would simply provide that, if a court of law issues an order to render technical assistance or provide decrypted data, the company or individual would be required to do so.

    “Today, terrorists and criminals are increasingly using encryption to foil law enforcement efforts, even in the face of a court order. We need strong encryption to protect personal data, but we also need to know when terrorists are plotting to kill Americans.”

    Not that it would stop terrorists – apart from the very, very stupid ones. This law would only apply to US companies or overseas firms with offices here, so anyone else who writes encryption software would still be able to sell their code online to the evil terrorists and their ilk.

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  • Zuckerberg and the Facebook Thought Police

    Billionaire, alleged tax-dodger, CEO and all-round PC dullard Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook is not doing enough to combat hate speech.

    At a recent townhall event in Berlin he pledged to work closer with the German authorities, and even offered to fund a section of the German police, in order to help Facebook expand its view of ‘protected groups’ and restrict ‘hate speech against migrants’.

    Pardon my German, but what utter scheisse.

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  • Apple plays digital privacy hardball with FBI, ‘but not China’

    Apple was hailed as a champion of digital privacy this week after refusing to help the FBI hack into an iPhone belonging to a suspect in the San Bernardino shooting. But the firm hasn’t always been so scrupulous about user data, especially in China.

    The standoff between the FBI and Apple over the investigation into the San Bernardino shooting, which claimed the lives of 14 people in early December, has divided the United States. While some have argued that the company should, in this particular case, help investigators by bypassing the phone’s security system, others have insisted that doing so will set a dangerous precedent.

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  • Is Apple Siri Recording Every Word You Say?

    Image Credit: wccftech.com

     

    Thanks to the iOS 9 upgrade, released Sept. 16, users can now set Siri to activate automatically when they say “Hey, Siri.” The function isn’t enabled automatically; system defaults have it turned off. However, for users who turn it on, it means that Siri will listen to every word spoken in its vicinity.

    That means the world is entering an era where more audio is going to be recorded than at any point in history. Think you have privacy at a friend’s house? That may no longer be the case. If you’re on the sidewalk, in a mall, or even in a public bathroom with other people, Siri is going to be monitoring you.

    Apple’s terms of service also make it clear that the company has a right to know everything about you that Siri knows. “When you use Siri … the things you say and dictate will be recorded and sent to Apple to process your requests. Your device will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., ‘my dad’) of your address book contacts, song names in your collection,” and other information, the terms state.

    That provision of Apple’s terms gained notoriety this year, when a Reddit poster named “FallenMyst” nonchalantly mentioned that they had been working for a company to review conversations that had been harvested by Siri unbeknownst to users. Apple said it was trying to improve Siri’s ability to transcribe speech.

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  • YouTube ‘Dancing Baby’ Copyright Ruling Sets Fair Use Guideline

    In February 2007, Stephanie Lenz, a mother in Gallitzin, Pa., went on YouTube and uploaded a 29-second video of her toddler dancing while Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” played in the background.

    Prince’s publishers objected, Ms. Lenz filed a lawsuit, and for more than eight years the case has been symbolic of the clashes over copyright online.

    On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, cleared the way for the case to go to trial, and set a guideline that may change the way media companies police their holdings online. In its decision, the three-judge panel ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before asking services like YouTube to remove videos that include material they control.

    The suit, known as the “dancing baby” case, has become famous for its focus on the kind of Internet activity that millions of ordinary people engage in, posting candid videos of family and friends that may only incidentally include copyrighted media like songs. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that represented Ms. Lenz in her lawsuit against Universal, called the judges’ decision a victory for Internet users.

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  • As Collapse of IBM Continues, Clueless CEO Crumbles

    As International Business Machines Corp.’s (IBM) financial results continue a remarkable collapse, its CEO, Ginni Rometty, becomes ever more optimistic in her view of the company’s future. Rometty’s public comments are either a sign of self-delusion or a means to keep a job on which her grip weakens by the quarter.

    Consider that IBM posted a 13.5% drop in revenue to $20.8 billion in the second quarter and that net income fell 16.6% to $3.6 billion. Measure that against her reaction:

    Our results for the first half of 2015 demonstrate that we continue to transform our business to higher value and return value to shareholders. We expanded margins, continued to innovate across our portfolio and delivered strong growth in our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics and engagement, which are becoming a significant part of our business.

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