Saturday, December 26, 2009

CNN Tech: The Top 10 Technology Fails of 2009

It has been an interesting year for technology failures, and part of the reason (I believe, anyway) is that technology is now considered important enough to get the media coverage to make it news.  Five years ago, it was not something that was noticed, and now it is.

It's always interesting for me to go back and see what sort of things happened this year, and see what sort of stories were big.  For example, you may have heard a lot of hype about a virus called Conficker (around April Fool's Day 2009).  This was supposed to be a big virus, but no major destruction and doom ever materialized.

Also, who can forget the Sidekick crash in October, where many users lost personal data - ALL of it.  Some users were able to recover it, but many were not.  This was one of those things that I don't understand.  This is why backups are so important, and I don't see how companies lose data these days.

Anyway, here's the article from CNN:
Link to Article

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Facebook group hacking

I always love it when the words "hacking" and "protest" show up in the same article.

Recently, people on Facebook were annoyed with a feature of the Facebook "groups".  Basically, this feature said that if someone who had created a group left it, and there was no longer an administrator, ANYONE in the group could take the group over.  You can see why this was put in place - you wouldn't want someone to abandon a group and have it just disappear, after all.  However, you can also see the potential problem.  Anyone can take over a group!

In protest, a group of people "hijacked" administrator privileges in around 300 groups in November, just to show that Facebook has a major issue with security.

Link to article

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Photoshop Trickery

Image editing is not something new.  The Soviet Union did this back in the 1920's and 1930's, famously editing people out of photos who had become enemies of the government.

This has been made a lot easier nowadays with the invention of tools like Photoshop, and has been used in a lot of situations.  For example, Time Magazine darkened a picture of O.J. Simpson in 1994, which Newsweek ran without changes.  Many people felt that Time Magazine's portrayal was in poor taste, if not racist.

In a more amusing twist, the Buffalo Bills recently fired their head coach, Dick Jauron.  They gave out team photos to fans at a recent game, and edited the former coach out, even as they left players there who had been cut from the team.  Viewing the high-resolution version of the picture, you can see a lot of things that aren't quite right, for example, look at the size of #31 Jairus Byrd's right arm.  There is a complete discussion of this on a Bills message board, and this also appeared on ESPN's Web site.

From Trotsy to O.J. to Jauron, image editing has many forms, and you can see why a simple photograph isn't evidence enough nowadays.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Time Saving Google Tips

There are many ways that you can save yourself some time on Google.  I always am amazed at how they update the search engine and add features as time goes on.

Some of the features have also been there for years, and there are a number of them that are documented on the site below.

Link to Site