Saturday, June 30, 2007

Technology's Usefulness

Sometimes I wonder if technology has reached the limit of its usefulness -- and some other times I plain think we need to get rid of much of it! I blame it all on the FAX machine, its introduction beginning the "instant gratification" or "instant results" mentality that seems to govern our daily life. Now, hackers have managed to invade people's lives through their cell phones. Please visit the News Tribune page explaining the horrors that these people are being subjected to by criminals using technology to harass and threaten innocent citizens. What have we done to ourselves with all this technology? We are not too far from exceeding the limits of reasonable expectations and turn the corner so that technology will become useless thanks to hackers, phishers, and spammers.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Protect Your Data!

It is interesting to listen to PC users, especially inexperienced ones, when they express concern for their computers. In most cases they are completely unaware of the need to do backups. Once they realize that it is inevitable that problems will occur (not if, but when), they often seem more concerned with protecting the software (including the operating system) than the data. This is well reflected in a blog by Steve Riley, a Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Senior Security Strategist. Considering the many economical choices technology offers today, there is no excuse for not having backups of all critical data. Here is my call to action: please spread the word -- data is far more important than programs. One can always re-install all the programs on a computer (it is a good idea to keep a current list of those installed, especially critical applications) -- but one can never replace data files like the photos of one's first born or that critical tax return (with supporting documents) that the IRS may require for an audit.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The AirCar

There are even more good news in the area of automotive designs that use alternative sources of fuel. I recently read about the AirCar. This design of transportation promises to bring sanity to the economics and the environmental impact of personal and family transportation. It is great seeing all these ideas finally becoming a reality.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Microsoft's Deals with Linux Vendors

Whether through fear or great salesmanship, Microsoft has inked two more deals with Linux vendors -- and they are sure to profit from them. Xandros and LG Electronics have signed intellectual property agreements with Microsoft so that they can be protected in case there ever is a lawsuit due to patent infringement claims. To me, this sounds like the old mob strategy of protecting the small merchants so that they will not have "accidents." Microsoft is using fear to make money. Interestingly, they have refused to come through with specific patents that would come into play. Many of us are sick at the prospect of Microsoft making money from the efforts of thousands of volunteers that have made GNU/Linux and Open Source products possible. We have the power to send a message to Microsoft and those that succumb to Microsoft's fear tactics. Will the message be that there are no limits to how much Microsoft can absorb and control? Or will the message be that we have had enough of their FUD and we are done with them and anything to do with them? I choose the latter.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Tesla Motors: Hope for the Future

There is a great buzz around the automotive industry about a relatively new player in the transportation industry. The Tesla Motors products, all electric and high performance, could be the beginning of a revolution in personal vehicles. Many are excited about their first car, a sharp-looking roadster aimed at those with a lot of money. The vehicle I was very attracted to is a nice-looking mini-SUV that could be the solution to many people's problems. First, it is four doors, so it is family-friendly. Second, it has a pick-up style cargo bed that could be useful to most home owners and businesses. Third, it will run for about 300 miles at up to 100 miles per hour with a full load. Finally, the recharge time is set to be in minutes, not hours. There is a pilot group of these vehicles being delivered to one of California's power companies for initial testing. It is great seeing some real progress away from petroleum-based vehicles. This is not to say that electrical vehicles are 100% environment-friendly. After all, we still have to produce electricity, and some methods for electrical generation are just as bad for the environment as gasoline burning vehicles. But I do believe electrical vehicles will be a step in the right direction towards a better management of our planet's resources.