Monday, August 31, 2009

Motivational Monday

Thought for the Day

August 31, 2009

FAITH IS A COMBINATION OF THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS.

When you apply your faith in yourself, your faith in your fellow man, and your faith in God, the result is a positive course of action that when persistently followed will almost always lead to success. When you believe in your ideas and in your abilities, and you trust in the Infinite Intelligence of the universe, you know that your thoughts and deeds will ultimately lead to a successful conclusion. You cannot fail.

This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Visit us at http://www.naphill.org. We encourage you to forward this to friends and family. They can sign up for this free service at our web site. If you would like to stop receiving these thoughts, please go to http://www.naphill.org/thought-unsubscribe.asp

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where not to find an IT job

Where not to find an IT job

Research shows some career resources don’t help in the search for employment
By Denise Dubie ,

IT job seekers shouldn’t waste their time with help wanted ads or career fairs, according to recent research that shows those employment resources rank as least effective among human resource executives.

Where the IT jobs are: 10 American cities

20 most useful career sites for IT professionals

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas polled more than 200 HR executives in August to learn what approaches to job-seeking prove most effective. Job fairs and newspaper classified ads ranked as least effective, while networking, social networking sites and Internet job boards were rated as most effective by a majority of respondents.

Nearly half of those polled gave networking the highest effectiveness rating with social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter garnering high marks from 47% of respondents.

Job fairs placed last with classified ads close behind, according to the outplacement firm that explained such resources are more geared toward potential employees new to the workforce.

“Job fairs are particularly ineffective in recessions. They are heavily attended by job seekers and lightly attended by employers,” said John Challenger, CEO of the firm, in a statement. “Many of the employers that do attend are seeking very low-level workers, volunteers or unpaid sales representatives/franchises who have to be prodigious sellers to make a living wage.”

Management recruiting firms and Internet job boards also ranked on the more effective side among those polled. Employer Web sites fell into the mid-range of effective ways to finding work.

“Job seekers must learn how to use all of the tools at their disposal, including networking, the Internet, newspapers, job fairs and even cold-calling employers,” Challenger said.

And unemployed IT professionals may have more positions to choose from in the coming months, some research suggests. According to recent data from Foote Partners, the IT industry added jobs in July, after posting losses for five consecutive months.

As reported in Network World, IT jobs continued to be cut since February, with losses ranging between 3,000 and 11,000 per month. July marked a net gain of 7,400 IT jobs, which “is very encouraging news [and] maybe the turning point we have all been anticipating,” said David Foote, co-founder, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners.

Forrester Research concurs, saying that IT departments had been operating with lean staffs through 2006 and 2007. The research firm assessed the U.S. IT occupation trends in a report earlier this year

“IT occupation employment growth was relatively modest in 2006 and 2007, especially in IT departments, which have been running lean with relatively limited ‘fat’ to cut in terms of staff,” the Forrester report reads. “The 2.8% in IT department staff growth in 2007 (the year before this recession started) contrasts sharply with the 9.2% growth in 2000 (the year before the 2001 to 2002 recession).”

More recently Forrester found that staff cuts and pay decreases were being considered by a majority of IT decision-makers as an effective means of cutting IT operational expenses.

“IT staff salaries and benefits continue to be the largest part of the IT operating budget,” the Forrester report reads. “Hiring freezes and layoffs top the list of actions that firms expect to take this year as a result of current economic conditions.”

High-tech, healthcare best choices for college students

Career advice: High-tech, healthcare best choices for college students

Human resource executives polled said computer science, engineering and healthcare studies could help secure employment during economic recovery.

By Denise Dubie ,

College students considering a field of study should forget about becoming a lawyer and focus on homing their high-tech skills, according to a recent survey of human resources executives who said they believe computer science and engineering careers would be the most fruitful post recession.

Computer science grads are still in demand

Mommas don't let their babies grow up to be engineers

"The trend toward 'green' technologies is creating jobs in engineering and computer science," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement. "The areas recommended by human resource executives, while appearing to be relatively specialized on the surface actually provide future graduates with a great amount of flexibility to pursue careers in a wide range of fields that are emerging now or could emerge over the next two decades."

The survey, conducted in August by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, polled 150 HR executives about which college career paths would most likely land jobs in a few years, when presumably the economy is well on its way to recovery. Given 11 options from which to choose, 16% of HR respondents said college students should pursue a career in IT/computer science and 15.2% suggested engineering studies as a successful career route. About 14% indicated a focus in medicine would guarantee a job, and about 9% suggested studying accounting to ensure work post graduation.

"Certain areas in the healthcare sector are having trouble filling positions due to a lack of skilled candidates," Challenger stated.

Other university majors such as liberal arts and pharmaceutical drew 8.5% and 8% of HR executives' vote. General business studies were the choice for 6.4% of those polled, while marketing/advertising/public relations garnered about 4% of responses. Government/public service positions also drew about 4% of responses.

"Despite the increasing need for replacement workers, the government is doing little to streamline the hiring process or improve its image when it comes to being a great place to work," Challenger said.

Near the bottom of the list, only 2.2% of the HR executives polled suggested college students should pursue a career in HR, and 1.4% said they believed law would garner a successful career post-graduation.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BDPA Chapter News

My first BDPA experience occurred in the Detroit chapter . I served as a chapter program committee chairperson under the chapter leadership of Diane Davis . Many years later I worked to bring the annual national BDPA technology conference to Detroit MI . - Wayne Hicks

BDPA Detroit chapter president Anquanette Clegg shared her post conference thoughts with her stakeholders in the message below:


At the 31st annual National BDPA Technology Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, Compuware Corporation received an award for "Best Companies for Blacks In Technology".

Compuware also financially supported BDPA Detroit's Student IT Education & Scholarship (SITES) Program. With the funding, Detroit was able to send four (4) students (Matthew Clark, Jourdan West, Daniel Rothchild, and Darryn Brundage-Forrest) to participate in a Web Design competition. This year there were 23 teams, and Detroit's HSCC Team won 2nd Place. The Jesse Bemley Scholarship goes to the top five high school student teams competing in the annual national HSCC championships. The top five teams are those that received the highest team scores in the three phases of the HSCC competition (Oral, Written, and Programming competitions). Each member on the Detroit Team will receive a Bemley Scholarship award of $2,000 for college from the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF).

Thanks to all the members who volunteered your time for the program. Many of you spent countless hours interviewing and training students and helping with the local mock competition. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and they are appreciated! A SPECIAL thanks goes out to Tonji Zimmerman, Detroit's HSCC Coordinator and Trainer. She's given up practically all of her Saturdays for 5 months, to train the students and her hard work truly shined at the Conference.

While the Chapter can't repay anyone for their efforts, I hope you can find comfort in the great achievement of the Detroit Team.

Last but not least thanks to Renee Kent who was the student's chaperone this year!

Congrats to Detroit's Board of Director's and Members! At the Awards Gala the Detroit Chapter was the 2nd runner-up for the Chapter of the Year award! The National BDPA Awards Program provides a means to recognize individual chapters and members for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mission and objectives of the National organization.

Thanks to the chapter Board of Directors for all of your support. A SPECIAL thanks goes to Tamika Smith (Diva Designs) for her work in preparing and submitting the Award Booklet. I, as Chapter President, have never been so proud to represent an organization of leaders who have effortlessley worked on behalf of this great Chapter.

Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
SAVE THE DATES
  • September 10th at 7:00 PM - Board of Director's meeting - If you are interested in attending you must send an email to detroit-secretary@bdpa-detroit.org.
  • September 17th at 6:30 PM at Tech Town - Information Exchange Meeting - Further details will be sent soon.
  • November 12th - Detroit's 1st Technology and Education Banquet - Details will be sent soon!

We are still looking for volunteers to join the 2010 Board of Director's! If you are interested in serving, please contact chapter president-electMarkita Wadley

Monday, August 17, 2009

Security job security Security: Risk and Reward

Security job security

Security: Risk and Reward By Andreas M. Antonopoulos

It's a good time to work in the security field. Nemertes has completed it's research benchmark for the first half of 2009, incorporating interviews with IT and security executives during a recession. The research participants told us that they consider security and compliance spending to be "recession proof", third only to data network and voice/telecom spending. So you keep the data flowing and the phones ringing because you have to. The next area you do not cut, under any circumstances, is security and compliance. While security spending is steady, more and more of it is justified by regulatory compliance. Nevertheless, security paychecks are solid, retention is high and security skill shortages are acute.

In 2009, security paychecks were higher than other categories of IT employees. Our research participants reported the average salary for a senior security professional across the United States as $94,894, while a junior security person will make on average $62,500 per year. Security professionals earn approximately 8% higher salaries than other categories of IT professionals benchmarked in our study. Higher salaries should mean that it is easy to attract top talent, especially in a recession. Yet, surprisingly, more than 20% of companies benchmarked were having difficulty finding and hiring the right security skills. In fact, one fifth of companies have stalled projects because of skill shortages. The hiring difficulties are most acute for companies headquartered outside the United States, where shortages are a universal problem. In the United States, the problem is most acute in the Midwest where 72% of companies are finding it hard to hire the right skills. The West is slightly better with 60% of companies facing some skills shortage. The Eastern U.S. region is the only area where a majority of companies are reporting no skill shortages. Pack your bags, honey, we're heading west!

Another area where security professionals can find jobs is the managed security services and professional services market. Use of managed security services is increasing, with organizations seeking managed security services at a 6% higher rate than in 2007. Despite the recession, or perhaps because of the skills shortage, more companies are looking for outside help. The managed security services companies are therefore even more likely to be hiring competent professionals.

Compliance is driving security spending, the top driver in fact in more than 60% of organizations benchmarked. Compliance (audit results) is also used as the primary metric of success in more than 64% of organizations benchmarked. So if you are a security professional and you want to keep earning those higher salaries, brush up on regulatory compliance. Learn your CFRs and your ISOs and your PCIs and you will be indispensable.

The recession hits all professions and makes it harder for all of use to find employment or stay employed. But security professionals can breathe more easily. Our skills are in high demand, our retention is higher, our salaries are higher and there is growth in some parts of the business, such as professional and managed services

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palm criticised over Pre privacy

Palm criticised over Pre privacy

Palm Pre, Palm
The Pre is widely seen as a rival to other popular smartphones

Palm has responded to claims that its recently-launched Pre smartphone abuses owners' privacy.

The company issued a statement after one owner discovered his phone was sending data every day back to Palm.

The information included the current location of the phone and how long each application was used for.

In its statement, Palm said it took users' privacy "seriously" and said it gave phone owners ways to turn features on and off.

The discovery was made by software developer and Pre owner Joey Hess, who found that his phone was reporting his location over a secure connection back to Palm. It also sent back information about application crashes - even those not seen by a Pre owner.

Also in the daily update sent to Palm was a list of the third party applications installed on the phone.

In its privacy policy, Palm does explain that it will gather geographical data to help with location-based services. However, commentators were puzzled as to why it needed to gather so much data and why owners were not told about what it had gathered.

Mr Hess found a way to disable the reporting by editing the phone's software.

Palm issued a statement about Mr Hess' discovery and said it "offers users ways to turn data collecting services on and off".

It added: "Our privacy policy is like many policies in the industry and includes very detailed language about potential scenarios in which we might use a customer's information, all toward a goal of offering a great user experience."

"We appreciate the trust that users give us with their information, and have no intention to violate that trust," said Palm.

Microsoft Word Banned In U.S. By Texas Court

Microsoft Word Banned In U.S. By Texas Court

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Congrat's to Detroit's HSCC Team on winning 2nd Place!


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CLICK ME TO SEE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CONFERENCE


Highlight's from the 2009 National Conference
Raleigh, North Carolina

Congrat's to Detroit's HSCC Team on
winning 2nd Place!

At BDPA's 32nd National Technology Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, Compuware Corporation received an award for "Best Companies for Blacks In Technology". Compuware also financially supported BDPA-Detroit's High School Computer Camp (HSCC) Program. With the funding, Detroit was able to send 4 students (Matthew Clark, Jourdan West, Daniel Rothchild, and Darryn Brundage-Forrest) to participate in a Web Design competition. This year there were 23 teams, and Detroit's HSCC Team won 2nd Place. The Jesse Bemley Scholarship goes to the top five high school student teams competing in the annual High School Computer Competition (HSCC) at the BDPA National conference. The top five teams are those that received the highest team scores in the three phases of the HSCC competition (Oral, Written, and Programming competitions). Each member on the Detroit Team will receive a scholarship award of $2500 for college from the Bemley Scholarship Fund.

Thanks to all the members who volunteered your time for the program. Many of you spent countless hours interviewing and training students and helping with the local mock competition. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and they are appreciated! A SPECIAL thanks goes out to Tonji Zimmerman, Detroit's HSCC Coordinator and Trainer. She's given up practically all of her Saturdays for 5 months, to train the students and her hard work truly shined at the Conference.
While the Chapter can't repay anyone for their efforts, I hope you can find comfort in the great achievement of the Detroit Team.
Last but not least thanks to Renee Kent who was the student's chaperon this year!
Congrat's to Detroit's Board of Director's
and Members!

The BDPA National Awards Program provides a means to recognize individual chapters and members for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the mission and objectives of the National organization. At the Awards Gala the Detroit Chapter received 3rd place Chapter of the Year!
Thanks to the Board of Director's for all of your support. A SPECIAL thanks goes to Tamika Smith "Diva Designs" for her work in preparing and submitting the Award Booklet. I, as Chapter President, have never been so proud to represent an organization of leaders who have effortlessley worked on behalf of this great Chapter.
Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

SAVE THE DATES
  • September 17th at 6:30 PM at Tech Town - Information Exchange Meeting - Further details will be sent soon.
  • November 12th - Detroit's 1st Technology and Education Banquet. Details will be sent soon!

We are still looking for volunteers to join the 2010 Board of Director's! If you are interested in serving, please contact Markita Wadley - President Elect.









Monday, August 10, 2009

Five ways to get affordable certification skills

Five ways to get affordable certification skills

Employed IT professionals dealing with cut budgets and techies looking for work need to keep high-tech skills sharp during the downturn
By Denise Dubie

As the recession takes its toll on tech budgets, IT professionals are realizing their future careers could suffer as training dollars dry up and the resources needed to update their high-tech skills are eliminated. With choices limited for paid training, IT pros need to be creative in their studies.

How to get more from your IT certifications

"Training is almost always the first to go when IT organizations have to cut budgets, but that doesn't always mean employees or even unemployed workers can't update their skills without spending a lot of money," says Beverly Lieberman, a member of the Society for Information Management (SIM) and president of Halbrecht Lieberman Associates, an executive search firm in Westport, Conn.

According to IT professionals in the field, keeping skills fresh will benefit the individual as much as the employer, so it makes sense for techies to take the reins of their professional development. And for those techies looking for work, prospective employers will appreciate the training efforts made during a candidate's downtime. Here we highlight five ways IT pros can get certification-level skills on the cheap.

No. 1: Split the cost with employer

IT professionals working full-time, but faced with no training budget, could argue their case to employers -- and offer to split the cost in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

"Training can be perceived as expensive, but many companies today are still having a hard time filling skills gaps, and it would cost more to bring in a new hire than to train an existing one in the skills that are lacking," Lieberman says. "It is not out of the question for IT pros to negotiate with their employer for training dollars that will ultimately help both parties."

For some, specific certifications are required for certain positions --which would give an employer more reason to help fund the training effort. Colt Mercer, network engineer at Citigroup in Dallas, says Level 1 engineers are expected to have their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) accreditation within three months of being hired. In Mercer's case, he and others are scheduled to get Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert training by 2010, but he wants to see that happen sooner.

"The company has internal goals for the engineers ... but I am trying to do some of the training on my own because I don't want to have to wait until next year," Mercer explains.

Gartner recently put out IT workforce data that showed a majority of CIOs don't plan to hire new staff in the coming months, but the research firm advises employers to invest in existing staff to ensure a more successful recovery when the recession abates.

"Employers need to continue to invest in career development and human capital management planning, even during the recession, because when things start to return it will be extremely costly to try to hire new staff with skills or expertise in enterprise architecture or SAP, for example," says Lily Mok, vice president in Gartner's CIO Research organization, where she serves as primary author of the research firm's annual IT Market Compensation Study. "IT pros may stay with an employer because they need a job now, but they will remember when the recession ends how the employer treated them and could move on because of a lack of training or career development."

No. 2: Techie, train thyself

IT professionals, employed or otherwise, can gain a wealth of knowledge from self-study if they're disciplined enough to devote the time and energy to online course, books, videos and Webinars.

"If you can afford self-based training kits, they are great because they allow you to do it at your own pace and schedule the studying when you have time. You don't need to travel or take time off of work," says Dwayne Whitmore, senior systems engineer in the technology services group for Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, N.C.

Whether techies buy self-study kits on their own or get their employer to foot the bill (or opt for free options), choosing to broaden skills during personal time can provide the flexibility many people need. For instance, reduced or eliminated travel budgets could be seen as a barrier to training, but online or self-study can provide the information IT pros need without requiring them to spend cash on work trips.

Matt Barber, network analyst at Morrisville State College in New York, is working on the Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) certification from CWNP. "My workplace purchased the self-study kit, which includes their official textbook, sample tests and questions, and the cost of the exam all for only a couple hundred dollars," Barber says. "A week-long training seminar or course would have been hard to justify, but the kit was very affordable. It does require that I put in the time and effort in addition to work, but it is a very good way to learn the material."

For Michelle Lange, who works in WebSPOC Project Management at ValCom in Itasca, Ill., buying the books that explain the best practices of ITIL helped her self-train. She bought ITIL Version 3 books off eBay for $30, and she purchased Network+ training books at Barnes & Noble.

"My employer offers limited reimbursement options," she explains. "I'm sure there are others out there who are forced to be thrifty with training options. There are so many other courses I'd like to pursue on [business process management], COBIT and Six Sigma, but it's tough when budgets are cut."

Another resource for IT pros looking to learn is CBT Nuggets, which offers fee-based and free training products online.

CBT Nuggets offers the same sort of in-person training you could get with a firm, but it's all done online and it's far cheaper for the company or the individual," says Bryan Sullins, principal tech trainer at New Horizons in Hartford, Conn., and a Microsoft Subnet blogger covering Microsoft certifications and training. "Sometimes buying such training packages in bulk, instead of one class at a time, will be less expensive as well."

Some companies opt to purchase a license with CBT Nuggets, and those with access can watch the available videos at their leisure. "My company purchased that and I can watch as many as I want online," Citigroup's Mercer says.

No. 3: Build your own network using free stuff

In Kevin Costner's case, building a baseball diamond turned his dream into reality in "Field of Dreams." For IT professionals, building a home lab could help progress their careers. And according to techies who have already done it, the process can be inexpensive.

Stacey Hager, a network administrator at a legal firm in Charleston, W.V., says he put together a home network in his garage with used parts and software made freely available from vendors. The availability of a network helped him while he was unemployed last year. Plus, now that he has secured a new tech position, the lab gives him the chance to learn technologies not directly related to his job functions, Hager says.

"EBay is my friend. I buy second-hand equipment, and for a modest amount -- about $400 -- I have scraped together a home lab that is conducive to Microsoft and Cisco self-training," Hager explains. "You can even get a VMware server for free and train yourself on that technology, which all employers are looking for and if you can say you trained yourself while unemployed, they will like it more."

Citigroup's Mercer also recommends IT pros look to Microsoft for free trials of their products online, including their virtualization software. He explains by using Virtual PC, IT pros can download a Virtual Hard Drive file with Windows Server 2008 already installed and apply the knowledge they learned in books to the actual technology. He also suggests using available open source tools to round out a home network.

"There are two open source projects called Dynamips, for simulating Cisco networks, and Olive for simulating Juniper networks," Mercer says. "I am not talking about the software that gives you a command line with limited command support. I am talking hardware emulators: full-blown Cisco and Juniper operating systems supporting all the features a router supports."

Yet Hager warns IT pros must realize what can be brought onto a home network and used for training. Not all technologies are made available for free or a low cost, and the time and money required might outweigh the benefits.

"There are certain things that you simply can't do at home, such as high-end database system training. You have to find a practical way to bring those technologies that are relevant to you into your network and make time to train yourself, but if you are out of work you have to also build in time to look for a job," he explains.

No. 4: Provide tech services for cheap

Another means of homing skills is using them. IT pros, working or not, can offer their tech know-how to friends, family or even via a small side business for low or no-cost to exercise their tech muscles during the downturn.

"High-tech workers can offer their services for free and use that experience on resumes and in interviews to show potential employers that they didn't let their skills get stagnant," SIM's Lieberman says. "Also taking contract work helps IT pros get experience with new technologies without having to pay for training."

For instance, Hager says when he was in between jobs, he took any opportunity he could to do side work. He suggests that IT pros charge for their services, rather than offer them entirely for free.

"I took as much side work as I possibly could and used my personal networks of people to do bigger jobs so I could show future employers I kept active and my skills didn't get old," Hager says. "But I wouldn't offer them for free. You wouldn't want employers thinking the tech services were poor quality or the people you did work for were completely desperate."

Citigroup's Mercer also engages in freelance technical work to keep skills sharp. He says the work not only makes him more appealing to potential employers, but also serves as the beginnings of a potential consultancy business if his employment situation changes due to the economy or other reasons.

"If I ever want to set up a technical consultancy business of my own, this work will go a long way toward making connections," he says.

No. 5: Shop for bargains

IT pros should also remember that the economy is not only hurting their companies' businesses, but also impacting training firms and vendors.

New Horizons' Sullins says firms like his and others are offering "recession" pricing on training packages that won't last when the economy returns.

"I wouldn't discount talking to any training firm right now because the recession promotions and recession-buster sales at these IT training firms mean training is dirt cheap," Sullins says. "As soon as the economy recovers that won't happen again, trust me."

And don't discount vendors as a good source of free training, Mercer says. He has a meeting with Oracle planned that he says will serve as an educational experience for him.

"Oracle is going to do a presentation on Oracle security, and that will be my free training," he explains. "They might be trying to market stuff, but for me it's free training because I can't get that type of information on my own."


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Will AI in killer military robots lead to real Terminators?

Will AI in killer military robots lead to real Terminators?

HarpyWill intelligent [1], unmanned airborne and ground-based robotic vehicles equipped with missiles, bombs [2] and guns pose a real threat to the general population in the future?

There is a rising uneasiness about some of the perhaps unintended consequences [3] high-tech gear being built in the name of military might.

Professor Noel Sharkey [4], a British scholar of artificial intelligence and robotics who has warned many times of future robot-related problems, told a meeting of scientists in London this week that the technology to create Terminator-like machines already exists and that an international dialogue on such military applications is needed.

Slideshow: 8 real-life robots that could kill us all [5]

"The problem is that this is all based on artificial intelligence, and the military have a strange view of artificial intelligence based on science fiction," Sharkey said. "People talk about programming the 'laws of war' into a computer to give robots a conscience, so that if the target is a civilian you don't shoot. But for a robot to recognize a civilian you need an exact specification, and one of the problems is there's no specific definition of a civilian. Soldiers have to rely on common sense."

Earlier this year, Sharkey said of these advance robots: "Killing has never been so easy."

The US isn't alone in its quest for ever more intelligent robots either. Israel, China and Turkey are also among the leading developers of such AI-based robots. A BBC report [6] noted noting the current deployment of Israel's Harpy [7] - a fully autonomous unmanned aircraft that dive-bombs radar systems with no human intervention.

Sharkey believes that the advantages for government are obvious: lower costs, fewer personnel, fewer soldiers killed in battle. "But we have to be careful and need strict rules," he said. "Otherwise, robots will one day be deciding who should be killed where and when."

And that's exactly how the Air Force describes some future unmanned aircraft [8].

By 2047 the Air Force says unmanned aircraft with blazing artificial intelligence systems could fly over a target and determine whether or not to unleash lethal weapons - without human intervention. Such intelligent unmanned aircraft were described in the Air Force's wide-ranging "Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan 2009-2047" report released in July which outlines the service's future use of drones.

In 2047 technology onboard an unmanned aircraft will be able to observe, evaluate and act on a situation in micro or nanoseconds. According to the Air Force: "Increasingly humans will no longer be "in the loop" but rather "on the loop" - monitoring the execution of certain decisions. Simultaneously, advances in AI will enable systems to make combat decisions and act within legal and policy constraints without necessarily requiring human input."

The Air Force was careful to point out that there would always be stopgap measures and that assuming the decision is reached to allow some degree of aircraft autonomy, commanders must retain the ability to refine the level of autonomy the systems will be granted by mission type, and in some cases by mission phase, just as they set rules of engagement for the personnel under their command today.

Authorizing a machine to make lethal combat decisions is contingent upon political and military leaders resolving legal and ethical questions. These include the appropriateness of machines having this ability, under what circumstances it should be employed, where responsibility for mistakes lies and what limitations should be placed upon the autonomy of such systems, the Air Force stated.

Sharkey, who is known [9] for his expertise in artificial intelligence as well as roles as chief judge on the TV series Robot Wars and as onscreen expert for the BBC´s TechnoGames, said: "The trouble is that we can't really put the genie back in the bottle. Once the new weapons are out there, they will be fairly easy to copy. How long is it going to be before the terrorists get in on the act?"

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Read this before you vote today in Detroit

Before you cast your ballet, read this information on City Council. It becomes obvious that the next Council must perform the duties to the letter and be able to select people to fill the appointed positions and have the work done effectively.

The key to an effective Council is proper ordinance enforcement and following up the appointees job performance. Why did the Auditor General NOT report on the problems in the City or for that matter WHY did none of the appointed positions throw up the warning flag before the City melt down?????


http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/legislative/CityCouncil/

About City Council

The Detroit City Council, one of the country's few full-time City legislative bodies, consists of nine (9) members elected at large for a four-year term. The City Council was first constituted as the legislative body of the City in 1824 (replacing a Board of Trustees) and was called the Common Council until July 1, 1974 - the effective date of Detroit's new City Charter.

If a vacancy occurs on the City Council thirty (30) days or more before the filing deadline for the general election in the City or a special City-wide election, the vacancy shall be filled at that election for the remainder of the unexpired term. If a vacancy occurs on City Council less than thirty (30) days before the filing deadline for a general election in the City, or special City-wide election, the vacancy shall not be filled until the subsequent general election in the City, or until the special City-wide election.

Council Members must be citizens of the United States, a resident of the City and at least 18 years of age at the time of filing. The Elected Officials Compensation Commission sets the Compensation of Council Members.

The Council Member receiving the highest number of votes is President of the Council, and the Council Member receiving the next highest number of votes is President Pro Tempore.

The City Council adopts such rules, as it deems necessary to govern its procedure and order of business. The City Council provides for the keeping of a journal of its proceedings. The journal is a public record. The City Clerk is Clerk of the Council.

The Council adopts the City's annual budget thereby establishing City government service programs and objectives for the year. Following the submittal of the Mayor's proposed budget to City Council, Council evaluates departmental objectives and performance to determine spending and program priorities for the delivery of city services.

Based on monitoring and investigation of the day-to-day operation of City government, the Council makes and amends the laws (Ordinances) to govern the operation of the City.

Some of the day-to-day Council activities are:

1. Approval of contracts involving City business.
2. Approval of changes in the City's budget.
3. Approval of the sale or disposition of City property.
4. Approval of the settlement of civil litigations involving the City.
5. Receiving complaints, petitions and reports affecting the operation of the City or the well being of its citizens.
6. Advocating for the City's and Detroiter's at other levels of government via resolutions, testimony and statements for the record.

The City Council monitors the administration of City government and City Departments to see that laws and programs are operating effectively and in the best interest of citizens. Assisting in this task is an Auditor General appointed by City Council to a ten-year non-renewable term; to make periodic audits of all city agencies; an Ombudsman appointed by City Council for a ten-year non-renewable term to investigate complaints against City departments, make recommendations and work with city departments to find solutions; a City Planning Commission appointed by City Council to advise on the social, physical and economic aspects of planning and development matters; a Historic Designation Advisory Board appointed by the City Council to advise on designation of historic sites and districts; a Research and Analysis Division to provide research and advise on matters requiring legislative action; and a Fiscal Analysis Division to research the fiscal implications of pending actions and advise on matters impacting the City budget. The Directors of all divisions are appointed by City Council. The Council also appoints the Director of the Board of Zoning Appeals as well as the seven members of the BZA. The council also appoints the nine-member Property Assessment Board of Review that hears appeals of assessments of property taxes and appeals for hardship exemptions.

City Council must approve the Mayor's appointees to the Board of Police Commissioners, the Human Rights Department and the Director of the Law Department. The Council nominates five members for the Cable Commission and the Mayor selects four.

The City Council President serves on the Board of the Detroit Transit Corporation and is an ex-Officio on the Employee Benefits board, and the Executive Committee of the Southeast Michigan Council on Governments. The City Council President also chairs all formal sessions, evening community meetings and executive sessions of the Council.

City Council has one representative each on the General Retirement Pension Board and the Police and Firefighters Pension Board.

As mandated by the City Charter, City Council holds eight community meetings in the evening in various geographic areas of the City. The City Planning Commission arranges these meetings for Council.

Detroit City Council
The Legislative Branch
Chapter 1. City Council
Charter Mandated Powers and Duties

Sec. 4-101. City Council.
The City council is the City's legislative body. It has the powers and duties provided by law or this Charter.

Sec. 4-102. Meetings.
The City council shall hold its first (1st) meeting in the first (1st) week of January after the regular City general election and, during ten (10) months of the year, shall meet every business day unless otherwise provided by resolution at such times and places as it may provide.

On at least eight (8) occasions during each calendar year, the City council shall hold meetings in the areas of the City, to be determined by the City council. Those meetings shall begin between the hours of seven (7) o' clock PM and eight (8) o' clock PM.

Special meetings may be held at the call of the mayor or four (4) or more City council members and, whenever practicable, upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours notice to each member and to the public.

All business, which the City council may perform, shall be conducted at a public meeting held in compliance with the opening meetings act, 1976 P.A.267, MCL. 15.26 1 et. seq; MSA 4. 1800 et. seq.

Sec. 4-103. Selection of Council President.
The member of the City council receiving the highest number of votes at the regular City general election shall be president of the City council for the ensuing four (4) year term, and the member of the City council receiving the next highest number of votes at such election shall be president pro tempore of the City council; and in the absence for any reason of the president and president pro tempore of the City council, or in case either of such officers shall become vacant for any reason, the member of the City council who received the next highest number of votes at such election to such absentee or to the person who held such vacated office, shall be the president or president pro tempore of the City council, as the circumstances of the case may require.

Sec. 4-104. Duties of the Council President.
The president of the City council shall preside at all regular session meetings of the City council. The president shall have administrative responsibility on behalf of the City council.

The City council shall provide in its rules for the duties and responsibilities of the council president.

Sec. 4-105. Rules and Journal.
The City council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping a journal of its proceedings in the English language. The journal shall be a public record.

Sec. 4-106. Standing Committee Structure.
The City council shall provide for a standing committee structure by its rules, which committees may include, but not be limited to the following areas:

  1. Budget and Finance;
  2. Neighborhood and Community Services;
  3. Human Resources;
  4. Law and Public Safety;
  5. Planning and Economic Development; and
  6. Such committees as it deems necessary.

The president of the council shall appoint the chairpersons of such standing committees, with the approval of a majority of the City council. However, the number of committees and the number of members per committee may be set by the City council. Only members of committees may vote on matters before the committee. The president shall be an ex-officio member of all committees, but shall be a voting member only as provided for any other council person.

Sec. 4-107. Quorum.
A majority of City council members serving constitutes a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties provided by rule of the City council.

Sec. 4-108. Voting.
Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, no action of the City council shall be effective unless adopted by at least a majority of City council members present.

Every City council member present shall vote on all questions, except as provided by state law, a City council member must promptly disclose any pecuniary interest in a contract which the City council has the power to approve, and no City council member may vote upon any matter related to the approval of the contract in which the City council member has a pecuniary interest.

On all ordinances, and in all other matters on the demand of one (1) or more members of the City council, the yeas and nays shall be taken and entered in its journal.

Sec. 4-109. Investigation.
The City council may make any investigations into the affairs of the City and the conduct of any City agency.

Sec. 4-110. Investigative Powers.
The City council may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence in any matter pending before it of any of its committees. To enforce a subpoena or order, the City council shall apply to the appropriate court.

Sec. 4-111. Council Clerk.
The City clerk shall serve as the City council's clerk and shall keep a record of all its ordinances, resolutions, and other proceedings and perform such other duties as it may provide.

Sec. 4-112. Control of Property.
Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, the City may not sell or in any way dispose of any property without approval by resolution of the City council.

The City council shall adopt an ordinance within one-hundred and eighty (180) days after the effective date of this Charter to provide for the acceptance of gifts or real and personal property and services to the City of Detroit.

Sec. 4-113. Prohibition on Interference in Administration.
Except for purposes of inquiries and investigations, the City council or its members shall deal with City officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the mayor solely through the mayor, and neither the City council nor its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.

Sec. 4-114. City Action Requiring an Ordinance.
In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provision of this Charter to be done by ordinance, those acts of the City shall be by ordinance which:

  1. Provide a penalty or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a penalty is imposed;
  2. Provide for the laying and collecting of rents, tolls, excises and taxes, except as otherwise provided in section 8-209 of this Charter concerning property taxes levied by the budget; or
  3. Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted.

Other acts may be done either by ordinance or resolution.

Sec. 4-115. Ordinance Procedure.
1. Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing. No ordinance may contain more than one (1) subject, and the ordinances title must clearly express this subject. The enacting clause shall be "It is hereby ordained by the people of the City of Detroit..."

Any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the City Code shall set out in full the ordinance, sections, or subsections to be repealed or amended, and shall clearly indicate matter to be omitted and new matter to be added.

2. Upon the introduction of any ordinance, the City clerk shall distribute a copy to each City council member and to the mayor, shall file a reasonable number of copies in the office of the City clerk and such other public places as the City council may designate, and shall publish a summary of the proposed ordinance in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the City together with a notice setting out the time and place for a public hearing thereon and for its consideration by the City council.

The public hearing may not be held sooner than five (5) days after the publication. The public hearing may be held separately or with a regular or special City council meeting and may be adjourned from time to time. All interested persons shall have an opportunity to be heard.

As soon as practicable after enactment of any ordinance, the City clerk shall have it published in a daily newspaper of general circulation in the City together with a notice of its adoption.

3. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter, every ordinance shall become effective on the thirtieth (30th) day after enactment or at any later date specified therein.

Sec. 4-116. Immediate Effect.
A two-thirds (2/3) majority of City council members serving may give immediate effect to any ordinance.

An ordinance given immediate effect shall become effective upon publication or at any later date specified therein.

Sec. 4-117. Emergency Ordinance.
To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, one (1) or more emergency ordinances may be enacted. However, an emergency ordinance may not levy taxes; grant, renew or extend a franchise; or regulate the rate charged by any public utility for its service.

An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner required for ordinances generally, except that it shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms.

An emergency ordinance may be adopted and given immediate effect at the meeting at which it is introduced by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of City council members present.

An emergency ordinance shall become effective upon publication or at any later date specified therein.

Every emergency ordinance is automatically repealed on the sixty-first (61st) day after its enactment, unless re-enacted as an emergency ordinance.

Sec. 4-118. Ordinances and Resolutions After Adoption.
1. The City clerk shall authenticate by signature and record all ordinances and resolutions in a properly indexed book kept for the purpose.

2. Within three (3) years after the effective date of this Charter and at least every ten (10) years thereafter, the City council shall provide for the preparation of a general codification of all City ordinances and resolutions having the effect of law.

The general codification shall be enacted by ordinance and shall be published promptly in bound or loose-leaf form, together with this Charter and any amendments thereto, pertinent provisions of the Constitution and other laws of Michigan, and other rules and regulations which the City council may specify. This compilation shall be known as the Detroit City Code.
Copies of the Code shall be furnished to City officers, placed in libraries and public offices for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the City council.
3. Each ordinance and resolution having the effect of law and each amendment to this Charter, shall be printed promptly after enactment, and the printed ordinances, resolutions and Charter amendments shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices to be fixed by the City council.

After publication of the first (1st) Detroit City Code, the ordinances, resolutions, and Charter amendments shall be printed in a form for integration with the Code currently in effect.

Sec. 4-119. Veto.
Every ordinance or resolution of the City council, except quasi-judicial acts of the City council including any under section 9-302, appointments by the City council or action taken under section 2-107(2-3), 4-102, 4-105, 4-108, 4-109, 4-120, 4-121, 7-1006, or 12-110 of this Charter, shall be presented by the City clerk to the mayor within four (4) business days after adjournment of the meeting at which the ordinance or resolution is adopted.

The mayor, within seven (7) days of receipt of an ordinance or resolution, shall return it to the City clerk with, or without approval, or with a veto and a written statement explaining the veto. However, with respect to an emergency ordinance, the mayor shall notify the City clerk of a veto in any reasonable manner within twenty-four (24) hours after the mayor's office received written notice from the City clerk that the emergency ordinance has been adopted.

An ordinance approved by the mayor shall be deemed enacted thereupon. An ordinance returned to the City clerk neither approved nor vetoed by the mayor shall be deemed enacted upon receipt by the City clerk. The mayor shall return any resolution neither approved nor vetoed to the City clerk with a written statement explaining the reason the resolution was neither approved nor vetoed. An ordinance or resolution not returned to the City clerk within seven (7) days of receipt by the mayor shall be deemed enacted upon expiration of the seven (7) day period; however, with respect to an emergency ordinance, should the mayor fail to notify the City clerk of a veto within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt by the mayor's office of notice that the ordinance has been adopted, the ordinance shall be deemed enacted upon expiration of the twenty-four (24) hour period.

An ordinance or resolution vetoes by the mayor can be reconsidered by the City council only at a regular meeting within one (1) week after receipt of the mayor's veto. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of City council members serving may pass the ordinance or resolution over the mayor's veto.

Sec. 4-120. Council Personnel.
The City council may appoint a staff, exempt from article 6, chapter 5 of this Charter.

Sec. 4-121. Special Counsel.
The City council may obtain the opinion or advice of an outside attorney in any matter pending before it. Where there exists a conflict of interest between the City council and another branch of government, the City council has the authority to retain an attorney licensed to practice law in Michigan who shall represent the City council in legal proceedings. Such attorney shall not represent the City as a municipal corporation in any legal proceeding.

Sec. 4-122. Approval of Contracts.
The City may not purchase or in any way procure property of the services of independent contractors without approval by resolution of the City council except as provided by ordinance.

The 12 holy sites of IT

Tech meccas: The 12 holy sites of IT

You can't call yourself a true IT pro until you've visited at least one of the "holy sites" where computing history was made
By Dan Tynan

If you really want to qualify as a member of the Geek Tribe, you have to make a pilgrimage to the holy land. Fortunately with high tech, there's not just one sacred site but dozens, says John Graham-Cumming, author of "The Geek Atlas," a guide to "128 Places Where Science & Technology Come Alive."

Graham-Cumming's guide book covers everything from where Newton's apple fell to the pub where Watson and Crick announced they'd unlocked the secret to DNA. He also has a handful of entries specific to computers.

[ Think you're a tech fanatic? You've got nothing on these guys: True believers: The biggest cults in tech | And for a look at the most pivotal moments in the evolution of IT, see 15 turning points in tech history ]

"If you're a computer person, the three essential places to visit are the Computer History Museum in San Jose, Bletchley Park, and the London Museum of Science," says Graham-Cumming. "At the latter you can see a working model of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, which they built using the tools available at the time. It's remarkable."

Those are hardly the only ones. We've identified the 12 most sacred places where IT enthusiasts can go to pay homage to the computing gods that passed before them -- or at least catch a peek at where some of the more exciting events in IT lore occurred. Fortunately, would-be pilgrims can do a lot of the traveling via the Web, saving wear and tear on the sandals and sackcloth.

Tech mecca No. 1: 367 Addison Ave., Palo Alto, Calif.Tech mecca No. 2: 2066 Crist Dr., Los Altos, Calif.Tech mecca No. 3: 232 Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, Calif.Tech mecca No. 4: CERN -- Geneva, SwitzerlandTech mecca No. 5: Bletchley Park, EnglandTech mecca No. 6: Xerox PARC -- Palo Alto, Calif.Tech mecca No. 7: Ames Lab, Iowa State University -- Ames, IowaTech mecca No. 8: Moore School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania -- PhiladelphiaTech mecca No. 9: IBM's "Main Plant" -- Poughkeepsie, N.Y.Tech mecca No. 10: Room 2713, Dobie Hall, University of Texas -- Austin, TexasTech mecca No. 11: Kirkland House, Havard University -- Cambridge, Mass.Tech mecca No. 12: Lyman Residence Hall, Stanford University -- Stanford, Calif.

Garageland USA: Silicon ValleyTech mecca No. 1: 367 Addison Ave., Palo Alto, Calif.Tech mecca No. 2: 2066 Crist Dr., Los Altos, Calif.Tech mecca No. 3: 232 Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, Calif.

Like punk bands, some of Silicon Valley's most legendary companies started inside garages -- so many of them, in fact, you start to wonder where anybody managed to park their car.

No grease-stained shed is more famous than the one located at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif. Here in 1938, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard developed their first product, the Model 200A audio oscillator. (According to Graham-Cumming, the engineers named their first product Model 200A so that it would appear they'd been in business for a while.) Initial capital investment: $538, including a Sears Roebuck drill press owned by Packard.

One of their first customers was Walt Disney, who used the 200A in creating the soundtrack for "Fantasia." In 1989, the State of California designated the shed the official "birthplace of Silicon Valley." Eleven years later, HP -- by now a $42 billion company -- purchased the house for $1.7 million and began restoring the garage to its original 1938 state, which it completed in 2005. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. However, the garage is closed to the general public and pilgrims are discouraged from disturbing the quiet residential neighborhood.

Other notable Silicon Valley garages include 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos, where in 1976 the Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) formed Apple Computer. Ironically, Wozniak worked for HP at the time, but the company didn't see much future in his early version of a personal computer.

And then there's the garage at 232 Santa Margarita Avenue in Menlo Park, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked, hot-tubbed, and raided the fridge for five months after their nascent startup, Google, outgrew their Stanford dorm rooms (see Tech mecca No. 12). The search giant bought that property from its owner (now Google VP) Susan Wojcicki for an undisclosed amount in 2006. No commemorative plaques there yet, just busloads of Google acolytes, hungry for a glimpse of history.

The nucleus of the WebTech mecca No. 4: CERN -- Geneva, Switzerland

Science disciples touring the continent have plenty of reasons to visit CERN (originally called the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, now known as the European Council for Nuclear Research) on the French-Swiss border. It's where particles come to collide, revealing the mysteries of subatomic physics. If nothing else, you may want to catch the Large Hadron Collider when it comes back online this fall, just to see if it produces a black hole that swallows up the planet.

For IT geeks, though, CERN probably holds more significance as the birthplace of the World Wide Web. In 1990, physicist Tim Berners-Lee and systems engineer Robert Cailliau devised the concept of an information system based on hypertext links (which Berners-Lee originally called the "Mesh").

On exhibit at CERN you'll find the original Web server, Tim Berners-Lee's NeXT machine. Can't afford a ticket to Geneva? Berners-Lee's March 1989 proposal for a new information management system and screen shots from the first browser can be found on the CERN Web site.

In his original proposal, Berners-Lee wrote:

We believe Tim achieved his aims.

The cure for the uncommon codeTech mecca No. 5: Bletchley Park, England

Did computers defeat the Nazis? You'll find a strong argument for the case at Bletchley Park, home to the United Kingdom's supersecret code-breaking think tank. Though breaking the Germans' communications codes relied mostly on "human" computers -- civilians recruited for their puzzle-solving prowess, as well as loftier types like author Ian Fleming and mathematician Alan Turing -- they needed machines to do much of the heavy lifting. The most famous of these: the vacuum-tube-based Colossus, one of the first programmable, binary electronic computers.

Colossus was destroyed after the war on orders from Winston Churchill, but was later rebuilt, and now stands as the premier exhibit at Britain's National Museum of Computing -- located at Bletchley -- where it continues to demonstrate how it helped break the Nazi's Lorenz cipher. If you can't make it across the pond, you can catch Hollywoodized versions of the story by renting "Enigma" (2001) or "Breaking the Code" (1996).

The fathers of inventionTech mecca No. 6: Xerox PARC -- Palo Alto, Calif.

Here's an easy wager to win. We'll bet something you're using at this very moment was invented at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Xerox PARC is where the first graphical user interface was invented (for the Xerox Alto) and the first Ethernet cables were connected. It's home to the first laser printer and the first WYSIWYG text editors. Adobe Systems? Ubiquitous computing? Yep, those were started there, too, and whole lot more. (Now pay up.)

Besides being the geek equivalent of Jerusalem, Mecca, and the mythical city of El Dorado rolled into one, PARC is also an independent research business, having spun off from Xerox in 2002. It now delves into such arcana as context-aware computing, human-machine interfaces, and biomedical systems, to name but a few. In other words, don't even think about trying to get in without a VIP pass, though a regular Thursday lecture series is open to the public.

Separated at birth: The first computer(s)Tech mecca No. 7: Ames Lab, Iowa State University -- Ames, IowaTech mecca No. 8: Moore School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia

The fight over what shrine deserves the title as "the birthplace of the digital computer" is a holy war with no end in sight. But the folks at Iowa State's Ames Lab can make a pretty strong theological argument. This is where John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry built the first electronic digital computer between the years 1937 and 1942.

The Atanasoff Berry Computer (or ABC) was the first machine to incorporate binary arithmetic, regenerative memory, and logic circuits, beating the University of Pennsylvania's ENIAC machine by a couple of years (and beating it again in a 1973 patent dispute). In 1997, researchers at the Ames Laboratory built a working replica of the ABC, which is now on display in the lobby of Iowa State's Durham Center for Computation and Communication.

Needless to say, the supporters of the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) have a slightly different take; they'll argue the machine -- whose initial task was to crunch numbers for H-bomb designers -- is the first electronic system that is "Turing complete," meeting the requirements for modern computers laid out by Alan Turing (see Tech mecca No. 5: Bletchley Park, England). To commemorate the ENIAC's 50th anniversary in 1996, Professor Jan van der Spiegel and his students at the University of Pennsylvania built a functional replica of the original machine -- which contained more than 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighed over 30 tons -- on a single chip less than a quarter of an inch square. Check out the Java-based simulation.

Ecumenical tech pilgrims will probably want to visit both.

Where big iron was born Tech mecca No. 9: IBM's "Main Plant" -- Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

In April 1953, IBM unveiled "the most advanced, most flexible high-speed computer in the world," the IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine. It, and every other IBM mainframe made for the 56 years since, rolled out the doors at the company's famed "Main Plant" in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

It was here in 1964 that IBM created its first general-purpose mainframe, the System/360 family. The S/360's interchangeable software and peripherals made it possible for businesses of almost any size to take advantage of computers, then add more powerful systems as their needs grew. It was an IBM System/360 Model 75 that helped NASA get Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon and back 40 years ago. It doesn't get much holier than that.

Students who win IBM's annual Master the Mainframe Contest still get a free trip to Poughkeepsie to view the hallowed ground where IBM's iron was forged, along with lesser prizes like iPods and Linux laptops.

Dorm rooms of the rich and famous Tech mecca No. 10: Room 2713, Dobie Hall, University of Texas -- Austin, TexasTech mecca No. 11: Kirkland House, Havard University -- Cambridge, Mass.Tech mecca No. 12: Lyman Residence Hall, Stanford University -- Stanford, Calif.

If a tech company wasn't born in a garage, odds are pretty good it started in a dorm. The first and arguably most famous dorm shrine is Room 2713 of Dobie Hall, half a block from the University of Texas campus, where Michael Dell began selling computers via the mail in 1984. If you can't get to Austin to see the room where Dell Computer began, you can visit the virtual one on Dell's island in Second Life.

Touring colleges of the Northeast? Pack your beer bong and visit the third-floor suite Mark Zuckerberg shared with Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes at Kirkland House in Cambridge. That's where the three Harvard undergrads cooked up Facebook (or "borrowed" the idea, depending on your point of view) in February 2004.

Before the Google Guys opened shop in that garage (see Tech mecca No. 3: 232 Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, Calif.), they started out in Larry Page's room in Stanford's Lyman Residence Hall in 1997, which housed the search engine's first server farm. (No, the Googlionaires haven't bought that yet, but give them time.)

Finally, no tour would be complete without a stop at Albuquerque Police Station, where a 22-year-old Harvard dropout named Bill Gates got detained for driving without a license, resulting in possibly the most famous billionaire mugshot ever taken.