Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Very Cool. Ford engineer 3d prints haptic gear shift using open-source electronics

Harnessing the power of Ford's open-source platform OpenXC, 3D printing, Bluetooth and a Xbox 360, one of the Detroit automobile manufacturer's engineers has created a manual shift gear knob that vibrates (haptic feedback) at the perfect time for a gear change. Possibly, nirvana for fans of manual gear shifting and car related video games.

"I wanted to create something that expands the car's capabilities and improves the experience for the driver," says Zach Nelson, rookie Ford Engineer and mastermind of the Haptic Feedback Shift Knob (HSFK). "I decided to use OpenXC to provide a new kind of feedback for the driver through the shift knob which helps drivers keep their eyes on the road instead of on the car's instrument panel."

NIST cybersecurity center moves into high gear

In his February executive order on cybersecurity, President Barack Obama directed NIST to create a framework that would help government and the private sector better protect networks and information. The latest legislation on cybersecurity also focuses on NIST and its role as a leader in securing U.S. assets in cyberspace.

To support a mission that is certain to grow in scope and significance, the agency last year launched its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCOE). Based near NIST's Gaithersburg, Md., headquarters, the center started off as a concept but over the last year has grown into a hive of activity. With the help of the center and its personnel, NIST will release an initial cybersecurity framework in October.

Donna Dodson, division chief of NIST's computer security division and acting executive director of the NCCOE, recently sat down with FCW's Amber Corrin to talk about the center, its work and what she hopes to accomplish.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Space Cowboys. NASA OIG: NASA's Progress in Adopting Cloud-Computing Technologies

I am far from surprised...

NASA Inspector General Paul K. Martin released an audit report today evaluating the Agency's progress in adopting cloud-computing technologies. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) examined whether NASA has implemented an Agency-wide information technology (IT) governance model for cloud computing and also reviewed the Agency's risk management practices for acquiring and securing cloud-computing services.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Nice! Industry agrees to new mobile app guidelines

Industry groups and privacy advocates on Thursday were near agreement on voluntary guidelines for mobile apps that should make it easier for consumers to know what personal information is getting sucked from their smartphone or tablet and passed along to marketers.

The plan will likely provide a brief, easy-to-read snapshot of an app's privacy policies, similar to nutrition labels on food packages. The snapshot would give consumers the bottom line on what information the software collects, such as physical location, surfing habits and personal contacts, and how that data might be used or shared with other companies.

Maybe they should PAY US to use Surface RT Tablets

Surface RT Tablet Price Still Isn't Right: 10 Reasons Why

Microsoft recently made the not-so-surprising move to cut the price on its Surface RT tablet by $150. The device, which now sets customers back $349 to start, doesn't deliver any new functionality or design features, but Microsoft believes it's now hitting a price point at which some folks might decide to bite. Clearly Microsoft is hoping the price cut will convince consumers and enterprise customers that this is the right time to start buying the Surface RT tablet, which it has promoted with a massive and prolonged marketing campaign. Regardless of what Microsoft believes, the reality is the Surface RT is in deep trouble. As a result of poor sales and the price cut, Microsoft disclosed on July 18 in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report that it has taken a $900 million charge to reflect the reduced value of its Surface RT tablet inventory. The tablet might have a nice design and its reduced priced makes it potentially more attractive, but it's missing the key features that would make it a success. Add that to the fact that Microsoft is also pushing a more-powerful alternative in the Surface Pro, and it appears the company is simply trying to eliminate its extra supply before it cancels the tablet altogether. Quite honestly, such a move might not be such a bad idea. In the following slides, we examine exactly what's wrong with the Surface RT and why, despite its major price cut, the tablet is still a loser for the vast majority of customers looking to jump into the tablet fray.



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Monday, July 22, 2013

Nelson Ford Urges Military to Brace for Long-Term Sequestration Impact

Nelson Ford, LMI president and CEO, has called on military officials to prepare for the sequestration's long-term blow to its operations.

Ford recently told civilian staff, contractors and military personnel to sustain a modern infrastructure for the military forces in order to address current and emerging threats, LMI said Thursday.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

16 Best Free Mac Apps

When you hear the word "app," you immediately think of those small programs for your smartphone. However, an app is simply any piece of software that serves some kind of purpose, either online, on your computer or another electronic device.

Some of the best and most versatile apps are available for Mac. We've compiled a list of the best free Mac apps, from well-known ones such as Dropboxand Skitch, to lesser known ones such as Adium and CheatSheet.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Microsoft's $900 million Surface RT write-down: How did this happen?

Microsoft announced a $900 million "inventory adjustment" charge for its Surface RTs, parts and accessories on July 18. That write-down completely overshadowed the performance of the rest of the products and services that contributed to the company's Q4 2013 earnings.


(Among those overshadowed was Office 365 -- the Microsoft subscription service via which it provides Office client and hosted Office server apps. Office 365 is now on a $1.5 billion run rate, up from the $1 billion run rate it hit in Q3 FY2013. Another that got eclipsed: Windows Phone -- plus Android patent licensing --increased $222 million for the quarter.)

The biggest question, to my mind, about today's unexpected Surface RT write-down is how did Microsoft find itself in this predicament in the first place? How did officials seemingly misestimate the number of Surface RTs they should have made and how much they should have charged for them?

Monday, July 15, 2013

OPM hopes cyber-job database will help agencies fill workforce gaps

The Office of Personnel Management wants to create a database of federal cybersecurity positions that it hopes will help agencies identify potential gaps in their high-tech workforces.

new memo from acting OPM Director Elaine Kaplan directs agency managers to collect, review and submit data by the end of fiscal 2014 on their existing positions and future cyber-hiring needs.

"This new databank will enable agencies to identify and address their needs for cybersecurity skill sets to meet their missions," Kaplan wrote in the memo to agency heads.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

UTSA, LMI ink cyber-security, energy research partnership

 LMI staff will conduct research with the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute and the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security. LMI will also provide mentoring and career opportunities for UTSA students. ...


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Holy jeez... Snowden leak: Microsoft added Outlook.com backdoor for Feds

There are red faces in Redmond after Edward Snowden released a new batch of documents from the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) division covering Microsoft's involvement in allowing backdoor access to its software to the NSA and others.

Documents seen by The Guardian detail how the NSA became concerned when Microsoft started testing Outlook.com, and asked for access. In five months Microsoft and the FBI created a workaround that gives the NSA access to encrypted chats on Outlook.com. The system went live in December last year – two months before Outlook.com's commercial launch.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fake - Edward Snowden LinkedIn Profile

Just looking to see of there is a real resume available. I'm pretty certain this is not it...

Edward Snowden
System Administrator

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sweet email reply from Futurama's Bender

Send an email to Bender's email account  <bender@ilovebender.com> and get a lovely reply like this. 

From: bender@ilovebender.com
Date: July 6, 2013, 10:36:57 PM EDT
To: "David K. Shepherd" <dxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com>
Subject: Re:  Hey
Reply-To: bender@ilovebender.com

Dear New Friend,

Thank you for writing to me, Bender.  It really means a lot to me.  Not many humans contact me because I am so rude and impatient.  You're starting to get on my nerves now.  Quit buggin' me, meatbag!

P.S. - Buy my DVD.



Federal mobile apps lack standard security processes

Agencies are creating separate processes and procedures to vet software tools that run on smartphones or tablet computers. But history has shown the lack of a governmentwide process leads to inconsistencies and extra costs.

Robert Palmer, the director of information assurance in the Information System Development Office at the Homeland Security Department, said the technology to test these apps exists, but no common criteria exists.

"What I'd like to see is alignment across the federal government around what are those criteria so we could potentially get to some kind of federal government app store," Palmer said Monday at the AFCEA Washington, D.C., chapter event in Arlington, Va. "The heavy lift is the distribution model. How do we get around the privacy problems? How do we get around the legal and terms of reimbursement and personal use concepts that we haven't gotten folks engaged on. That's really the key."

The obvious choice would be for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create the governmentwide standard for securing mobile apps.

NIST is developing a new document to help agencies test the security of mobile software, but it's not a standard or guidance, said Tom Karygiannis, a computer scientist at the bureau.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

PBGC considers database for unclaimed defined contribution plan assets


The current PBGC database for terminated defined benefit plans, which includes an interactive tool for searching by name or company location, has more than $300 million in unclaimed pensions ranging from 12 cents to nearly $1 million.

Not a good sign at all...

HTC One S no longer receiving updates only 15 months after release