Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Scholarship Opportunity: R&D Council of NJ

The deadline for the Research and Development Council of NJ scholarship has been extended until June 9. If they are extending the deadline, it's probably because they are looking for applicants! From the email I received:

This application is for students presently attending a New Jersey community college who have at least one term (12 credits) completed in a technology major and who have at least one full year (24-30 credits) to complete for a degree. A transcript of grades and a letter of reference must accompany this application.

Email me and I can forward the materials I received via email.

Hey, it can't hurt to apply!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Interesting Article: Teens arrested in alleged MySpace extortion scheme

MySpace is an interesting idea. It's a social networking site, but there are some very odd uses people have found for it. I've heard of people issuing threats, getting fired, and other such things, but this article is one I had never heard of. Basically, two teens allegedly tried to extort the site for $150,000.


Two New York teenagers have been arrested and charged with attempting to extort $150,000 from MySpace, the popular community Web site. MySpace discovered the intrusion earlier this year and blocked it. The Los Angeles-based company also reported the incident to authorities. During the course of the investigation, threats were made that unless $150,000 was paid, new exploit code would be released, according to the statement.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Free Stuff: ANOTHER One Year Print Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine

Here's another one year free print subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly. If you keep filling out these forms, the subscription will be extended (i.e. fill out previous offer, then this one, and you now have two years).


X-Men 3 Tonight!

I am looking forward to X-Men 3 tonight. It is interesting how many of these issues in the movie can apply to other groups in our society. This article mentions some of the parallels between the mutant/human battle and some of the "repressed groups" in our society.

If nothing else, the special effects should be very interesting. I have been looking forward to this one for a while.

Trouble surfaces in the form of a pharmaceutical company that claims to have found a "cure" for mutants. One injection and their power -- as well as their sometimes bizarre appearance -- is gone, permanently.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

PCCC Graduation

Today was graduation at PCCC. Congratulations to all graduates! By my count, there were 37 of my former students in the graduating class, including one of the valedictorians. The saludatorian was an Information Technology major that I've seen around as well.

It's truly gratifying to watch former students graduate, and believe it or not, it's what many of the faculty are really here for.

Congratulations, PCCC Class of 2006!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Free Stuff: One Year Print Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine

There are some sites out there that give out free subscriptions to magazines. Here is one I came across. This is a free, one year subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine. I've signed up for this one myself!

UPDATE: 06/01/06 - Deal is now dead :(

Technology: USB flash drive watch

Some companies are starting to take a different approach to USB flash drives. For example, some companies have decided to create a USB drive that doubles as a watch. I know I have had some students lose their USB flash drives. However, if it were attached to your wrist as a watch, would you lose it? (Maybe, and then you would lose your watch too, and I suppose that would be bad.)

It's an interesting idea, at least.


Interesting Link: How strong is your password?

Many people use very simple passwords, such as the name of their children, their middle name, or something else that is very basic. Sadly, these passwords are about as secure as closing a door without locking it. Certain hacking tools or a smart social engineer can guess these passwords very quickly. Microsoft has a free password checker online, which will rate the strength of your password:


Interesting Article: Public Nannycams

One of the trade publications I read is called Network World. They have a columnist named Scott Bradner who writes some really interesting articles. Here is one from late 2005.

Recently, there has been a trend of secretly video taping nannies. To make it even easier to check, many people use the features of their video cameras to put them up on the Web. Since many people have high speed Internet these days, this is not very hard to do. The only problem is that most home users don't deal with security, and leave them open for ANYONE to view.

Because the nannies tended to work in places where the homeowners also frequented, unless the homeowners took care to remember the camera was there, potentially embarrassing images could be on the 'Net for the taking.

Recommended Viewing: Pirates of Silicon Valley

If you ever wondered what happened between Apple and Microsoft - seriously, how could Microsoft be expected to win, when Apple came out with a graphical user interface before Microsoft? - this movie will explain it all. You have Steve Jobs, the leader of Apple, a brilliant visionary...who also happens to trip on LSD and have an illegitimate child that he refuses to support. You have Bill Gates, a college dropout, who takes an idea for an operating system and builds it...except that he didn't build it, he bought it from someone. Gates later creates Windows...except that he didn't come up with that idea, he stole it from Apple (who stole it from Xerox). If nothing else, it's funny to see today's "richest man in the world" in the days when he didn't know how to dress himself.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Recommended Reading: The Art of Deception

Kevin Mitnick is one of the most feared hackers of all times. However, his computer skills were secondary to his social engineering skills. Basically, he could talk people in to giving him information they should not be giving him, AND THEY DIDN'T NOTICE A PROBLEM. This still goes on today.

The ISBN for this book is 0471237124.

Interesting Article: Online Game (Everquest) to Blame for a Suicide

Everquest is an online game in which people create fantasy characters. They use these characters to role play, increase skills, learn magic, and gain levels. In 2002, a 21 year old name Shawn Wooley committed suicide, and his mom feels it had to do with this game. People have taken to calling the game "Evercrack" for it's addictive qualities.

Last Thanksgiving, Shawn, 21, committed suicide. His mother found him at his apartment. He had shot himself at his computer. On the screen was the online computer game, Everquest.

Interesting Article: Personal Data of 26.5M Veterans Stolen

Sometimes, it is not only hackers you have to worry about, it's the people who work for a company. For example, this article, from May 2006, discusses how 26.5 million veterans had their personal information compromised because someone brought home data he was not supposed to.


Personal data, including Social Security numbers of 26.5 million U.S. veterans, was stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee this month after he took the information home without authorization, the department said Monday.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hello World

What was the inspiration for putting this blog together?

On May 19, 2006, I attended a workshop at NJCU at a Title V sponsored workshop entitled New Literacies, Subject to Change.

The presenter, Dr. Christopher Shamburg of NJCU, gave me some interesting ideas that I hope to integrate in to my courses in the future.

This blog is the first step. My intent is to post articles, recommended movies and books, useful utilities, and even free stuff.