Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irene's wrath leaves 6,500 cell towers out, FCC says

Storms movement through New England adds to hits on communications

By Matt Hamblen

Updated figures released by federal officials on Monday showed 6,500 cell towers and sites were damaged or disrupted as a result of Hurricane Irene. That number includes about 44% of all cell sites in Vermont, which suffered massive flooding that cut off dozens of towns.
The Federal Communications Commission updated its count of outages at 3 p.m. EDT Monday, based on reports to the FCC by registered communications providers.
The FCC reported more than four times as many cell site outages on Monday it did Sunday afternoon, taking into account the more recent ravages of Irene in New England states such as Vermont and Connecticut. Monday's count was 6,500, compared with 1,400 cell site outages on Sunday.
The Monday figures also showed 210,000 wired customers out of service Monday afternoon, compared to 132,000 on Sunday. Twice as many customers, 1 million, were without cable service on Monday, compared with 500,000 on Sunday, the FCC said.
Also, two TV stations and 10 radio stations were down as of Monday afternoon, the FCC said.
The updated FCC figures show about 44% of all cell sites were out in Vermont, 35% in Connecticut, 31% in Rhode Island and 25% in Virginia. In North Carolina, the percentage dropped to 11% of cell sites down, an improvement from 14% of the total registered Sunday, the FCC said.
Many times, cell site outages are due to power failures. Sometimes power can be restored quickly to the cell sites by providing gasoline-powered portable generators to the sites, carriers and rescue officials said. Flooding at the base of cell towers can cause circuit disruptions, or an antenna at the top of a tower could be blown out of alignment, requiring a relatively minor repair. Rarely are 120-foot-tall cell towers knocked completely over.
The FCC and the carriers do not track wireless outages by numbers of subscribers, since a cell phone's failed transmission to one tower could transmit to another working tower nearby.
Despite the increased outages reported Monday, the three largest wireless carriers -- Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T-- issued statements Monday morning saying their crews were making repairs and that no significant network outages had been encountered after the storm moved into Canada.
The FCC confirmed that no major network switch was knocked out of service in the storm. On Sunday, the FCC reported all 9-1-1 centers as well as public safety officials had retained communications.
The FCC has been counting communications outages using mostly voluntary reports provided by the communications companies. The FCC took the action as a result of the widespread and prolonged network outages that occurred following Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast six years ago.

How Social Media Improves Disaster Response

During recent natural disasters, social media has played a major role in dispersing information. According to a recent study, public health officials should utilize social media tools more often in order to best prepare the public for catastrophe. The reason: social media uniquely places public health officials in direct contact with civilians.It will take a few weeks to do a post-mortem to see if officials and government agencies did a good job preparing the public for hurricane Irene. If past natural disasters are any indication, the level of use of social media may be correlated to the success or failure of their efforts.
When an earthquake rattled the East Coast in August, social media sites such as Twitter were immediately abuzz with information, warnings and reactions. According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, social media trends like this can make a major difference in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

According to the study, social media could significantly improve public preparation and response during natural disasters like hurricanes.

According to the researchers, social media uniquely places public health officials in direct contact with civilians. With over 40 million Americans using social media, the tool allows citizens to get information quickly and researchers to collect real-time data.
Social media can play a positive role in nearly any type of disaster, including earthquakes, oil spills, heat waves and floods. (And in the next few weeks, we’ll see how it did with Irene.)
"By sharing images, texting and tweeting, the public is already becoming part of a large response network, rather than remaining mere bystanders or casualties," the researchers write.  The two-way communication of social media creates "a cohesive story about a recovering community's capabilities and vulnerabilities in real time."
The authors cite several recent catastrophes in which social media provided aid. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, for example, YouTube and Twitter users spread information about vaccinations. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, photographs of damaged animals quickly proliferated throughout the social media landscape, prompting volunteers to aid in clean-up. 
The authors provide several example situations in which social media could play an even larger role. They suggest that location-based apps, such as Foursquare, could enable emergency planners to find nearby doctors and nurses if they have checked-in to an area. The authors also call for an online “buddy system” to help friends and family look after at-risk people during weather emergencies, like heat waves.
The paper proposes the use of RSS feeds and mobile apps to track wait-times and capacities of emergency rooms. Such tools could enable public health planners to better organize collaboration between hospitals during emergencies.
Raina M. Merchant, MD, MS, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, led the investigation. Nicole Lurie and Stacy Elmer of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assisted with the paper.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hundreds of U.S. Data Centers Closing

  • To save money, the U.S. government will shut down hundreds of data centers across the country and consolidate their services into its remaining data centers.The White House Office of Management and Budget recently announced that it would be shutting down 373 U.S. government data centers by 2012.
    Over the last two years, the number of U.S. data centers has quadrupled, and yet they are running at only about 27 percent utilization, according to the Office of Management and Budget. The maintenance costs of these data centers, including backup power supplies, air conditioning, fire-suppression and special security devices, has been astronomical, causing them to consume 200 times more power than the typical office space. By more fully utilizing the remaining data centers, the White House hopes to maintain current service levels while drastically cutting costs.

    The bulk of the U.S. government data center shutdowns will be on the East Coast, but a total of 30 states will have at least one data center plug pulled.  
    So far the Administration has shut down 81 of these data centers already this year, and has a goal of shutting down another 195 during 2011, and 97 more by the end of 2012 for a total of 373. Beyond 2012, its overall goal will be to shut down 800 data centers by the end of 2015, which it claims will save taxpayers over $3 billion annually. The shutdowns are a part of the Obama Administration's attempts to cut government costs called the Campaign to Cut Waste.
    The data centers range in size from a 195,000-square-foot Department of Homeland Security facility in Alabama that is bigger than three football fields, all the way down to four tiny 1,000-square-foot Department of Agriculture data centers all in the same zip code.
    The 373 data centers to be shut down by the end of 2012 include 113 used by the U.S. Department of Defense, 44 used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 36 used by the U.S. Justice Department, 25 used by the U.S. Department of the Interior, 24 used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 22 used by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 22 used by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 19 used by the U.S. Department of Human and Health Services, 15 used by NASA, 12 used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 10 used by the U.S. Department of Treasury, six used by the U.S. Department of State, six used by the  U.S. Veterans Administration, five used by the U.S. Department of Energy, five used by the U.S. General Services Administration, four used by the U.S. Academic Decathlon, and two each used by the U.S. Labor Department and the U.S. Small Businesses Administration.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Focus: HOPE career training programs!

Who do you know that is unemployed or is working in a low-paying, dead-end job?
Let your light shine and provide a glimmer of HOPE to your friends and family….pass along the good news about Focus: HOPE career training programs!

Student and Graduate Ambassadors,

Please help us to let others know about the educational opportunities available at Focus: HOPE.  As you go about you day to day activities, as you have conversations with family, partners, friends, or FaceBook  and Twitter exchanges, pass the word about the career building opportunities which exist through our education program offerings, here on Oakman Blvd. 
Pass along our website address : www.Focushope.edu, where they can click the “Career Training” tab. There they can find detail information about our programs.  They can reach an Admissions representative at 313-494-4300,  get additional information and schedule a visit to our campus. 
Our Facebook page can be reached at www.facebook.com/focushope, and they can get involved with us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/focus_hope .
Hear from Focus: HOPE graduates on YouTube:
You are an important part of our extended recruiting team, thank you for your continuing effort and support.
Linda Hanks and colleagues
ITC Manager

Evolution Has Ossified the Internet

The Internet is evolving, according researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but unfortunately extinction has resulted in a rigid structure where all information is being forced through a small set of mid-layer protocols that reduce flexibility and decrease security. To remedy, Georgia Tech recommends restructuring the mid-layers into a set of nonoverlapping protocols that do not compete with one another and thus will not become extinct as they evolve.Anyone who has used the Internet for very long knows about its evolution by the number of extinct protocols that are no longer used. For instance, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) used to be the only way to transmit files too large for SMTP (Simple Mail-Transfer Protocol), but clever programmers have devised ways of using server-side algorithms to deliver large files using HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). As a result, FTP has become virtually extinct on all but legacy systems.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology wondered if these evolution and extinction phenomena on the Internet were in any way similar to evolution and extinction in nature. After all, protocols could be viewed as species that compete for resources, with the weaker ones eventually becoming extinct. Similarly, the evolution of the Internet's architecture could be described as a competition among protocols, with some thriving and others becoming extinct.
To test their theory, the group headed by computer science professor Constantine Dovrolis crafted a research program that tracks the evolution of architectures, called EvoArch. The overall goal was to help understand how protocols evolve in order to develop better ones that protect the Internet from the wide variety of threats it is facing today and to prevent extinctions that ossify the Internet, making it more vulnerable to attacks. The general conclusion derived from EvoArch was that unless new protocols are crafted to avoid competition, they will inevitably lead to extinctions.

The six layers, from top to bottom, are specific applications (like Firefox), application protocols (like HTTP), transport protocols (like TCP), network protocols (like IP), data-link protocols (like Ethernet) and physical layer protocols (like DSL).  
In particular, the six layers of the Internet have evolved into an hour-glass shape where protocols at the very top and bottom continue to evolve, but where those toward the middle have become stagnant, leaving unnecessary security-risk opportunities open for exploitation.
At the top application layer where browsers, email clients, video and audio streamers exist, there is still plenty of diversity and competition among alternatives. Evolution here is still healthy, weeding out the weaker applications and strengthening those with better security. At the application protocols layer, where HTTP, SMTP and newer protocols like RTP (Real-time Transfer Protocol) exist, extinction has eliminated some of the weaker protocols, but enough variety still exists.
In the middle layers, however, extinction has left only a few survivors, ossifying its structure. At the transport layer (layer three), TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) competes with only a few other alternatives, such as UDP (User Datagram Protocol), and at layer five, the network protocol, IP (Internet Protocol) and ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) are used almost exclusively. Diversity resurfaces at layers five and six, where Ethernet and other data-link protocols such as PPP (Point-to-Point Protocol) communicate with a wide variety of physical layer protocols including DSL (digital subscriber line), coaxial cable and fiber optic alternatives.
From running simulations with the EvoArch program these researchers have concluded that the only way to reintroduce diversity into the middle layers without inevitable extinctions is to create protocols that do not overlap with the others. By thus eliminating competition for the same resources, a rich set of middle layer protocols with increased security should be able to survive.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pieces of Gold in Those Job Postings

Job Postings are “pieces of gold.” They are your customer’s wish lists.
Any sales person would tell you that in order to sell someone something you have to know what they need.
Read through job postings to find out what your customer (the employer) is looking for – what is the need?
By familiarizing yourself with the language of the job posting you will be able to not only read the words and the content, but you will be able to read between the lines.
Here’s an exercise that will help you find the “gold” and make good use of it once you discover it.
Look at the job postings and the ads to see what experiences, skills and traits are in demand for the type of position you are seeking. In fact, look at several job postings that would be of interest to you.
For this exercise, don't limit yourself to geographical location. Look at jobs of interest located anywhere.
Your goal is to find key words and phrases. Some postings will be more vague about what it takes to get the job done and will require reading between the lines to determine what other skills are necessary. When you have several postings, read each word and sentence carefully, taking notes as you do.
Read the job posting three times.

  • Read the first time for content.
  • Read the second time for words – vocabulary. What words appear consistently in almost every posting?
  • Read the third time and read between the likes - what would it take to get this job done? What are they looking for?
Now, take a piece of paper and divide it in half. On one side of the paper write, “What they are looking for,” and on the other side, “What I have to offer.” Each time you apply for a position, it will be invaluable for you to know how you stand against what they are looking for. This exercise will help you see how close a match you are and where you should focus.
Your next step is to add your uniqueness to the “What I have to offer” list. Some postings will list additional skills required, which make it easier for you to see what is important to them.
An example would be, “Must have excellent communications skills, strong organizational skills, and be a willing team player.”
If these words appear in most of your posting examples, then make sure that these are a part of your focus.
Can you work these words and your five strengths into the interview to demonstrate your fit – and then some? It is your challenge to do just that to make yourself stand out in the crowd.
- Carole Martin

How to Create a Job for Yourself

If you’ve been jobless for an extended period of time, maybe you ought to stop looking for the right job.
Instead, try looking for the right employer.
If you do, and contact them with the right message, employers may create a job just for you.
It happens all the time -- even in today’s economy.
Here are three case studies and takeaway lessons to illustrate …

  1. Offer to help first and get hired later While not every company wants to expand hiring these days, every company wants to increase revenues, save money and increase profits.
    In other words, every company has problems to solve. And all jobs, in good economic times and bad, are ultimately created to solve problems.
    The best employers -- the ones you want to work for -- are flexible and opportunistic enough to hire people who demonstrate that they can solve problems.
    Michael Mingolelli, Jr., CEO of Pinnacle Financial Group, in Southborough, Mass., has twice created jobs to bring promising employees on board. “These people approached us with a good value proposition to help us continue to grow our practice, and we made positions for them.”
    Both prospective employees first contacted Mingolelli by phone and demonstrated their knowledge of Pinnacle. “They were very attuned to what we do and the type of clients we have,” he says.
    Your takeaway lesson: Answer these three questions before approaching any employer:
    A. What are their problems?
    Put differently, if you were the CEO, what would keep you up at night right now?
    B. What are their opportunities?
    If you were CEO and could wave a magic wand, what would you make happen? What are the industry leaders doing?
    C. How could you help solve their problems and/or capitalize on their opportunities? Match your skills and achievements with your target employer’s needs. For example, if they need to save money and you’ve saved money, there’s a match. Quantify your results in dollars, numbers and/or percentages.
  2. Prove you fit the employer's culture When contacting employers, try to match your message to their corporate culture. Otherwise, you’ll never connect or fit in long term.
    That’s the advice of Annie Huidekoper, VP of Community Partnerships and Customer Service for the St. Paul Saints Baseball Team, whose corporate slogan is, “Fun is Good.”
    Fun may explain how the Saints’ Executive VP was hired for a role created for him, after he overnighted an introductory letter to owner Mike Veeck. What set this letter apart? “It was written with a Sharpie on a piece of frozen lutefisk,” says Huidekoper.
    Trust me: Nothing says “fun” like lutefisk.
    And lutefisk is 100% Minnesotan, like the Saints. A perfect fit.
    Your takeaway lesson: Research an employer’s culture to know if you’re a fit. It’s as simple as picking up the phone. “Talk to people who have worked there and find out what’s important to that organization,” suggests Huidekoper.
  3. Meet and get hired The more meetings you have with company presidents and other executives, the greater your chances of impressing someone enough to create a job for you.
After interviewing an applicant for a job that didn’t fit his qualifications, Jordan Solomon, President of Ecostrat, Inc., in Toronto, was impressed enough to make a counter offer. “This young man was too good to pass up -- he was eager, showed all the right qualities and I thought he would be a success. So we created a position and gave him a two-week trial,” says Solomon.
How did it turn out? “He ended up working for us for about seven years.”
Your takeaway lesson: Lightning won’t strike if you’re sitting in front of a computer. Try sitting across from an employer.
What company presidents would you most like to work for? I suggest you make a list of 10-20. Then contact them with offers to meet and discuss how you could help, based on careful research.
Employers are always on the lookout for smart people who can solve problems and fit with their corporate culture. “I would give anyone like that a chance, and if they were good, I’d create a position for them,” says Solomon.
- Kevin Donlin

Motivational Moment


The going is always hard on the road to greatness. If success were easy,
everyone would achieve it. NFL All-Pro lineman Brian Holloway recalled that
when  he  was playing for the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles
Raiders,  there wasn’t a single day when he didn’t feel like giving up
because the road was too tough and the sacrifices were too great. He didn’t
quit, of course; he was willing to pay the price because he was determined
to succeed. True thoroughbreds never quit. Competition only spurs them, and
obstacles merely reinforce their determination to succeed. If you have not
yet achieved greatness in your life, it is because you have been willing to
settle for less. You may not cross the finish line first every time you try,
but if you stay in the race, you will eventually prevail.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Motivational Moment


Julius Caesar had long wished to capture the British. He sailed to the
British Isles, quietly unloaded his troops and supplies, and gave the order
to burn the ships. He then called all of his men together and said, “Now it
is win or perish. We have no choice.” With that single order, he guaranteed
the  success  of  his  campaign. He knew that people who have no other
alternative -- or will accept no other -- always win. If you find yourself
in a situation where victory seems impossible, you may benefit your cause by
developing an alternate course of action. If your objective won’t yield to a
full frontal assault, try an oblique approach. There are very few problems
in  life that are impossible to solve, and few obstacles that will not
eventually give way to a determined, motivated person with a plan that is
flexible enough to cope with changing condition.

Monday, August 22, 2011

IBM Debuts Brainlike Cognitive Computer

By replicating the neural networks of the brain in silicon chips, IBM aims to create a cognitive computer that can perform tasks that are easy for people but difficult for traditional computers. These tasks range from playing games to making predictions about the weather.Today IBM debuts the world's first cognitive computer chips, which I called cognizers in my book "Cognizers--Neural Networks and Machines that Think" (John Wiley & Sons, October 1988). By replicating the functions of neurons and synapses in the human brain, IBM has crafted the world's first chips aimed at taming the overwhelming wealth of information in multiple sensor data-streams by learning to adapt like human brains. The chips have already beat humans at the game "Pong" and promise to impart humanlike abilities of all sorts of future cognitive computers.
The traditional computers that we all use today are actually based on an antiquated design first proposed by John von Neumann in 1945. The so-called von Neumann architecture artificially separates programming from memory--putting the processor on one core and its memory on others. Unfortunately, this division of labor makes it incredibly difficult to combine the knowledge gleaned from multiple data streams--the No. 1 unsolved problem facing computer systems today. Cognitive computers, on the other hand, replicate the way the human brain distributes processing and memory among the same circuitry, which in the brain is composed of neurons and synapses.

Principal investigator Dharmendra Modha in front of the brain-wall at IBM Research, where the operation of the neurons and synapses in IBM's cognitive computers are visualized. 
"Our chip represents a sharp departure in architecture from the tradition von Neumann computers," said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research. "All memory functions are integrated with program functions, creating a kind of social network of neurons with all their software stored in synapses."
Neurons are tiny cells that by their very nature integrate inputs from multiple sources, which in the brain are the other neurons, of which there are billions. The brain uses its neurons together to solve problems by integrating the pulses received over dendrites from other neurons until a threshold is exceeded, at which point it fires a pulse down its output axon, then resets and starts integrating anew. Firing rates are typically 10 Hz, with power only being consumed when a pulse is actually produced, thus enabling ultra-low-power operation for brainlike computers even though they using billions of neurons.

The other major component of brains are and trillions of synapses that add weight to the pulses emitted by firing neurons. Even though a neuron might be connected to thousands of nearby neighbors, each of these connections is enhanced or mitigated by a synapse, which holds the memories of the brain. Often used connections between two neurons will grow a synaptic connection that is large and fast, thereby enabling it to quickly contribute to pattern recognition tasks--such as recognizing your friends’ faces. Seldom used connections, on the other hand, are small and weak, thereby requiring extra time to recognize patterns under their control, such as the outline of the new 2012 Chrysler 200 that you have only seen a few times.
IBM claims this type of architecture has wide and deep applications that can easily make sense of today's increasingly common multiple simultaneous sensor data streams. For instance, a cognitive computer could easily monitor thousands of sensor inputs measuring the ocean's temperature, pressure, wave height, acoustics and tide, then issue super-accurate tsunami warnings. In grocery stores, a sensor-studded stocking glove could monitor the color, smell, texture and temperature of produce as it is being put on store shelves, and immediately flag any spoiled or contaminated items.  
The new cognitive computer chips are being created under a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) program called SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics). IBM and its university research partners just received a $21 million infusion of cash to continue with the project. Already the research partners have crafted a simulation of a complete cat brain--called Blue Matter--and more recently have mapped the entire wiring diagram of a monkey brain. Using the latest neurological science to craft algorithms to accurately model these brain functions, then they used nanotechnology to implement the core architecture of its cognitive computer chips by implementing its supercomputer model in nanoscale semiconductors. The ultimate goal of the project is to build an artificial brain similar in size, capability and power consumption to a human brain.

Game Theory Improves Detection of Security Breaches

Network attackers are becoming more adept at breaching even the most advanced firewalls. Now, using models from game theory an information technologist has created an anti-hacking tool that is more effective than traditional approaches. An added bonus: Unlike other methods, the new tool identifies attacks in real time.With several major IT security concerns in recent months, many companies are seeking protection beyond traditional methods like firewalls and log analysis. At Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., a researcher has applied game theory to models of security breaches to create a better defense mechanism for networks. Already, the approach has proven more effective than traditional technologies.
Information technologist Heechang Shin recently published his results in the "International Journal of Business Continuity and Risk Management." According to Shin, the vast growth in the types and numbers of devices—including smartphones, iPods and tablet PCs—connected to networks has created vulnerability across information systems. These devices are a major cause of the uptick in network attacks.
Security breaches can lead to significant service disruptions for users, and they can also cost as much as 1 percent of annual sales per incident, Shin says. “That number amounts to tens of millions of dollars for the average publicly listed company,” Shin said in a statement.
Using the game-theory model of defensive forecasting, Shin has created an anti-hacking tool that identifies security breaches in real time. The tool compares network reality to a forecasted breach and alerts network operators when the two match up.
While traditional security methods—such as log analysis—detect breaches after they have occurred, Shin’s tool monitors real-time data to identify problems immediately. This allows for a quick response to breaches, thereby reducing the damage to service and profits that attackers can cause.
The tool is able to identify a wide variety of attack types, including denial of service attacks, attacks by insiders and probing attacks.
A standard classification method for network attack identification, according to Shin, is the data set based on a support vector machine and created from the dump data of the simulation of an average U.S. Air Force LAN to a network intrusion system.
When compared to the SVM-based tool, Shin’s game-theory tool is just as effective, but works in real time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Texting, grand theft auto style; alarms pose risk

SAN FRANCISCO — Texting and driving don't go well together — though not in the way you might think.
Computer hackers can force some cars to unlock their doors and start their engines without a key by sending specially crafted messages to a car's anti-theft system. They can also snoop at where you've been by tapping the car's GPS system.
That is possible because car alarms, GPS systems and other devices are increasingly connected to cellular telephone networks and thus can receive commands through text messaging. That capability allows owners to change settings on devices remotely, but it also gives hackers a way in.
Researchers from iSEC Partners recently demonstrated such an attack on a Subaru Outback equipped with a vulnerable alarm system, which wasn't identified. With a laptop perched on the hood, they sent the Subaru's alarm system commands to unlock the doors and start the engine.
Their findings show that text messaging is no longer limited to short notes telling friends you're running late or asking if they're free for dinner.
Texts are a powerful means of attack because the devices that receive them generally cannot refuse texts and the commands encoded in them. Users can't block texts; only operators of the phone networks can.
These devices are assigned phone numbers just like fax machines. So if you can find the secret phone number attached to a particular device, you can throw it off by sending your own commands through text messaging.
Although these numbers are only supposed to be known by the devices' operators, they aren't impossible to find. Certain network-administration programs allow technicians to probe networks to see what kinds of devices are on them. Based on the format of the responses, the type and even model of the device can be deduced. Hackers can use that information to craft attacks against devices they know are vulnerable. (In this case, the researchers bypassed these steps and simply took the alarm system out of the car to identify the secret phone number.)
Actually stealing a car wouldn't be so easy.
You'd have to ensure that the phone number you found is attached to the car you're standing in front of, for instance. There are hacking tools to do that — they listen for cellular traffic around a particular vehicle — but in many cases it's easier to take a car that doesn't have an alarm.
The research from Don Bailey and Mat Solnik is unsettling because it shows that such attacks are possible on a variety of other devices that use wireless communications chips. Those include ATMs, medical devices and even traffic lights. Hackers have already sent specially crafted texts with commands to instantly disconnect iPhones from the cellular network.
Bailey, whose specialty is cellphone network security, also found that similar techniques can be used to get a certain type of GPS system to cough up its location data. Such information can be used by stalkers or home burglars, for instance.
The type of GPS system he studied is known as assisted GPS, which means that it uses cellular signals in addition to the usual satellite signals. That makes the system vulnerable.
The research isn't just about taking off with someone else's car or finding out where that person has been.
It raises the possibility of other, more sinister dangers, such as those potentially affecting braking and acceleration, said Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a group that studies hacking threats. That becomes possible as networked electronics are more tightly coupled with physical machinery.
"Doing one that is harmful is quite hard, but we need to prepare for people doing that," Borg said.
The research got the attention of a trade group for electric utilities, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. After the pair showed off the techniques at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this month, the group warned that the types of wireless chips exploited by the pair are also used at power plants and said that more caution is needed in their use.
The vulnerable GPS system was made by Zoombak Inc., which promotes its products' usefulness in tracking children and automobiles. The company said it has made changes to its devices, so that outside parties can no longer get location data without passwords.
Bailey and Solnik are working with the manufacturer of the car alarm system to fix its vulnerabilities. Bailey said the unidentified manufacturer has fixed many of the security issues.
Bailey said stricter security standards are needed.
"We're so excited to use technology that we're deploying it too quickly and not really thinking about the impact of security," he said.
Video demonstration of attack: http://bit.ly/n6axTv

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gator power: Alligator fat pitched as biodiesel

The alligator, an animal that's been around since the time of the dinosaurs, can help reduce our use of fossil fuels, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Louisiana yesterday published a paper that concluded alligator fat has good potential for biodiesel. Fifteen million pounds of alligator fat is disposed of in landfills annually from U.S. industry, which slaughters alligators for their skin and meat.
The focus of the research was to understand the characteristics of alligator oil and to see whether it could be easily converted into biodiesel. The researchers found that alligator oil is worth pursuing because it is currently a waste product and would serve better than lard from some other animals.
Using alligator fat would also curb demand on soybeans, which is the primary source for biodiesel in the U.S. About 21 percent of soybean production goes to making biodiesel but there's ongoing concern that greater demand for soy biodiesel will increase food and animal feed prices.
The 15 million pounds of alligator waste that is thrown away now could be converted to 1.25 million gallons of fuel with an energy content of 91 percent, Rakesh Bajpai, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Louisiana, told The New York Times. He estimated that processing would cost $2.40 a gallon, assuming the fat is free.
For comparison, the study points out that 700 million gallons of biodiesel were created from soybeans in 2008. So at its current consumption rate, alligator oil could serve just a small fraction of current demand. As the researchers point out, though, alligator fat is currently thrown away and is well suited suitable chemically for biodiesel.
American alligators, which live in the southern U.S., are not an endangered species, although crocodiles are.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Webcam System Reduces Workplace Back Problems

  • Researchers have developed a new desktop Webcam-based training method to improve posture and reduce the risk of MSD (musculoskeletal disorders) among office workers using computers.For companies to be agile, they rely on new technology to optimize processes, speed analysis and improve productivity. But many of these applications will not deliver measurable improvements if key personnel cannot work.
    What keeps workers out? Well, there are obviously many causes people miss days. A lot of them are unpreventable. But one of the largest factors that results in workforce absence is back pain. Specifically, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) accounted for 28 percent of all reported workplace injuries and illnesses requiring time away from work in 2009 (the last year for which complete statistics are available), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    To put the impact of MSD to businesses into perspective, consider that an estimated 100 million work days are lost each year to low back pain. And this is estimated to cost employers $20 billion.
    Many times, MSD problems arise from workers sitting in an improper manner while working on their computers. To address this dilemma, a multidisciplinary team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel has developed a new training method that uses a desktop Webcam to improve ergonomic posture and reduce the risk of MSD among office workers using computers.
    In their research, the university team worked with a group of 60 office workers. Participants received training in good posture techniques and were given frequent (and automatic) feedback from a system that displayed a Webcam photo of a worker’s current sitting posture alongside the correct posture photo taken during the training session.
    Both training methods provided short-term posture improvement. However, only the photo-training method provided continued improvement. In fact, the frequent and continuous feedback using photos was found to be effective in improving computer workers’ sitting posture over time.
    The research suggests that organizations should implement this type of frequent video reinforcement in addition to the conventional approaches that combine specialized ergonomic training and workstation adjustments.
    Interestingly, both methods (training sessions and automatic and frequent reminders via Webcam photos) had a greater effect on older workers and on workers suffering greater MSD pain. And the photo-training method had a greater positive effect, overall, on women than men.
    In light of the differences in effect between men and women, the researchers recommend that organizations consider combining supplementary feedback targeted to different audiences. For example, they suggest that an organization using the Webcam technique might consider adding more detailed feedback that would call attention to deviations from the desired pose for each body segment.
    This study was funded by a grant from Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor to support the incorporation of video and computer-based technology to address occupational health problems.

Motivational Moment


If you are waiting for success to seek you out, you are headed for a big
disappointment. Success is rarely forced upon anyone, and it will never
overtake you unexpectedly. You must prepare for it and actively seek it out
if you ever plan to achieve any measure of success in your life. Constantly
be alert to changes in your business or profession. Subscribe to trade
magazines  and  professional  journals,  join industry associations or
professional societies, and get to know the experts in the field in order to
keep abreast of new developments.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Anonymous breaches San Francisco's public transport site

The group has released personal data as retribution for BART cutting off phone service on Thursday night

By Jeremy Kirk

The hacking collective Anonymous released personal data on Sunday belonging to more than 2,000 public transport customers in the San Francisco area in retaliation for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system's shutdown of mobile phone service on Thursday night.
The data came from myBART.org and consists of user names, last names, addresses and telephone numbers for riders who used the website to manage their accounts. On Monday, the site was a blank white page with the message that it was unavailable for "renovation."
The attack comes after BART shut off mobile-phone service to hundreds of thousands of commuters on Thursday night. The agency claimed that riders planned a disturbance that threatened the safety of other passengers. The shutdown meant passengers could not dial emergency services.
BART, which has its own police force, has been criticized for the fatal shootings of two men over the last two years by its officers. Charles Hill, a 45-year-old homeless man, was fatally shot after he confronted police with a knife. In 2009, Oscar Grant was shot in the back during a scuffle with police.

In a statement, BART said personal information for 2,400 of its 55,000 users of the myBART.org website were affected. The website has been shutdown, and law enforcement has been notified, BART said. No financial information was stored on the site, it said.
But BART warned that people should be alert they could be targeted by scammers because of the breach. BART also provided information for how users can request a free credit report.
"We are sorry this intrusion into the myBART data occurred, and we notified those affectedright away in case anyone tries to exploit the information," the agency said. "We will provide an update as soon as we have additional information."
Anonymous publicly posted the data. The domain for that website, which uses the country code top-level domain for Austria, was blank except for a message in German that read "Back soon, do not worry."
Anonymous has been tweeting about the action under the hashtag #OpBART and under a Twitter account "OpBART."
"We apologize to any citizen that has his information published, but you should go to BART and ask them why your information wasn't secure with them," the group wrote. "Also do not worry, probably the only information that will be abused from this database is that of BART employees."
Anonymous said the database that was compromised was vulnerable to SQL injection attack, a common hacking method that involves inputting commands into a web-based form to see if the backend database storing the data responds. Secure databases will filter out commands that are not allowed if configured properly.
The group also said it would hold a peaceful protest at 5 p.m. Monday at Civic Center Station, near San Francisco's City Hall.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Motivational Moment


If you had only one more day on this earth, how much sharper your senses
would be. The beauty of nature, the simple pleasures of life, would be
indescribably wonderful, and every moment would present an opportunity to
spend  quality time with your family and strengthen relationships with
friends, acquaintances, and business associates. Every thought would be
laser-sharp in that highly focused state. Well, today is the last day on
earth for today’s opportunities. Don’t let them pass you by.

Permanent link to this post: Live each day as if it were your last, and you’ll develop a keen respect for opportunity.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Motivational Moment


Opportunities  are  never  just  handed  to you; they must be created.
Opportunities abound for every individual in every walk of life. They may
not be the opportunities that you prefer, but each opportunity of which you
take advantage leads to bigger and better opportunities. Physical and mental
handicaps may mean that you have to explore territories unknown to others,
but they also mean you have opportunities those others will never find.
Think of Stephen Hawking’s brilliant research on the nature of the universe
despite the fact that a crippling disease makes writing and speaking, as we
know it, impossible for him. Those who approach their jobs and careers with
enthusiasm always find plenty of opportunities, while those who complain
about no one ever giving them a chance are merely observers of life. When
you are determined that you will not allow others to determine your future
for you, when you refuse to allow temporary setbacks to defeat you, you are
destined for great success. The opportunities will always be there for you.
If there are adversities that you cannot overcome right now, remember to
capitalize  upon  them  at  a later date by looking for the seed of an
equivalent or greater benefit.

Permanent link to this post: Don’t ever admit that the world has not given you an opportunity.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Why Tablets Don't Kill the Laptop

I’ve heard predictions lately that the emergence of the tablet will most certainly kill off the laptop. If you have a smartphone and tablet, that’s all you need. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s hogwash. Here’s why.

The historical development of mobile has gone from the laptop to the smartphone and, more recently, to the tablet. Laptops are "destination" computing systems. By that I mean that you take the laptop from one place to another where you can use it. Laptops can do everything, but in mobile the primary thing they do is "create" content. They are great for content creation because of the large screen, keyboard, Web browser, apps such as iTunes and Skype, and the OS and applications that support content creation from Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook).
Smartphones are great for talking and messaging. You carry your smartphone around with you all day. You make a call. You check email. You do little "snippits" of things such as checking an email, checking postings to Facebook and sending a text message. The keyboard is typically on the screen (iPhone, some Android devices) but others have small keyboards that provide physical, tactile feedback.  Smartphones are not meant to create a lot of content but, rather, to review what others have created and then make a quick comment or text.
Tablets, on the other hand, have the large screen like a laptop but are portable enough to carry around all day like a smartphone. They contain a mobile OS and user interface so the experience is more like a smartphone rather than a laptop.  Tablets are great for reviewing and responding. It’s more comfortable typing on a keyboard that’s on a large 10-inch display. You can turn it sideways to more easily review Web pages and watch movies and TV shows. 
Thus, in tablets, you can more easily review information and show it to others.  Whereas laptops are often frowned upon for use in most upscale restaurants (tolerance is, however, growing), it’s perfectly acceptable and deemed cool to show someone something like photos or presentations using a tablet in such situations. Given these characteristics, each platform is excellent for different types of mobile tasks. In other words, mobile is a three-legged stool: One leg is the laptop, one is the smartphone and the third leg is the tablet. Together, they provide a stable platform for mobility.
In the end, the use of portable products is all about the user experience. Laptops are better for content creation, while tablets are better for reviewing and smartphones are great for talking and messaging. I believe that these three mobile device categories will be with us for a long time.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Motivational Moment

Those who are quick to see their limitations generally are slow in seeing their opportunities.

Movie producer Michael Todd once said, “Being broke is temporary; being poor is a state of mind.” So it is with opportunity. Whether you see opportunities or limitations is entirely within your control. How you view the world is a reflection of your mental attitude. If you focus on your inadequacies, you will be plagued by fear, doubt, and failure, but when you focus on your strengths, you will find courage, confidence, and success. Self-confidence can replace self-doubt only by deliberate, planned effort. When you start to doubt your capabilities, pause to review your previous accomplishments. Identify every experience that might be helpful to you in your present situation. When you apply the knowledge and wisdom you have accumulated, there are few limitations that you cannot overcome.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Why Wi-Fi as we know it is in trouble

Today, 8/02/11, is the perfect time to contemplate the future of 802.11 networks

By Bill McFarland, VP of technology for Qualcomm Atheros,

Aug. 2, 2011, isn't just the day that the U.S. risks defaulting on its debt. It is also 802.11 day (8/02/11), a day when the wireless industry should ponder its future because today's Wi-Fi networks are about to be hit by a perfect storm of problems.
Until recently, users relied on Wi-Fi networks simply to access Web pages and email -- fairly non-demanding traffic that doesn't consume a ton of bandwidth. But users have gone from "connecting" to "consuming," as they download music from iTunes, stream movies from Netflix and Hulu and enter into multiplayer games on their Xboxes and PlayStations.

Devices have changed, as well, offering "control" capabilities. In homes, everything from thermostats to home healthcare equipment to light bulbs (yes, light bulbs) will connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi networks. In businesses, of course, all sorts of office gear connects to the Web for diagnostics and to deliver value-added services.
Eventually, many of these "control" activities will be automatic, with devices communicating amongst themselves and adhering to preset policies. For instance, during periods of peak energy consumption, utilities will avoid brown-outs by turning off air conditioners of willing customers. Office copiers will sense that toner is low and order more. Sprinkler systems will connect to weather service information so lawns won't be watered during rain storms.
Most of these "control" activities will happen automatically with little or no human intervention. Devices will function as "users," performing an array of simple tasks - that is if the gateway networks are up to the task. 

Pushing Wi-Fi forward

For Wi-Fi to handle all of this, standards must evolve. Here are four problems that must be overcome:
* 2.4 GHz is crowded and prone to interference issues.
* Current Wi-Fi networks are unable to keep up with rising volumes of rich media traffic.
* 2.4 GHz networks have insufficient throughput for supporting new types of media, such as high-definition video.
* Current Wi-Fi networks can't offer high data rates to multiple devices simultaneously.
A few of these problems are obvious today. Cordless phones, garage door openers, baby monitors and microwave ovens all interfere with Wi-Fi traffic in the 2.4 GHz band. Moreover, adjacent access points can interfere with one another. And if you've ever logged into an overcrowded public Wi-Fi network, those super slow connections are a sneak peak of what all networks look like as more and more wireless devices compete for bandwidth.
Other problems are just over the horizon. Most of us aren't trying to stream high-definition video - yet. Of course, five years ago, few of us were even streaming audio. Most of us also aren't connecting more than laptops, tablets and, occasionally, smartphones to Wi-Fi. As chip prices continue to drop and Wi-Fi capabilities get built into more devices, 802.11n networks will grind to a halt.
Fortunately, a new standard is in the works that will address these problems. 802.11ac operates in the clean 5 GHz spectrum where there aren't any non-802.11 devices generating interference, and where there is a large amount of spectrum for devices to spread out.
THE FUTURE: Toward a Gigabit Wi-Fi Nirvana: 802.11ac and 802.11ad
The 5 GHz band provides "wider" channels, offering 80 MHz and 160 MHz channel bandwidths, an improvement over the 40 MHz maximum of 802.11n. In fact, in the 2.4GHz band, most 802.11n networks are restricted to only 20 MHz wide channels. Using the 5 GHz spectrum, 802.11ac will be able to deliver 1Gbps throughput, more than six times that of typical 802.11n devices.
Another big advantage in 802.11ac is multi-user MIMO. Traditionally, an access point can only communicate with one device at a time. It appears to be communicating with multiple devices simultaneously by jumping among different devices and dividing the time -- and throughput.

Multi-user MIMO enables an access point to communicate simultaneously with multiple devices, delivering higher overall throughput and a steadier stream of traffic to each device. To use an analogy from wired networking, traditional Wi-Fi behaves like an old-fashioned Ethernet hub, while multi-user MIMO is like a non-blocking switch. 802.11ac provides simultaneous connections for up to four devices without having to divide up time among users.
Of course, as networks get saturated, this may not seem like enough. However, many devices -- say thermostats or sprinkler systems -- will come online infrequently, and most will access networks when other devices aren't active. Moreover, the fact that the 5 GHz band is uncluttered means that homes and offices can have multiple 802.11ac access points without worrying about interference and having to bring in engineers to set channels and frequencies. [See: "Tips for navigating the evolving wireless LAN landscape"]

Importing concepts from other networks

New forms of 802.11 have other advantages as well. Concepts from Personal Area Networks for direct device-to-device connections will catch on, so that when you want to view home movies from your camcorder on your HDTV, you simply connect the two, rather than routing traffic through an access point.
Another possibility -- and one that wireless providers should seriously consider -- is designing 802.11ac access points so they can also serve as extensions to 3G and 4G cellular networks. Most smartphones these days have multi-mode capabilities, so service providers could incentivize the use of Wi-Fi, offering discounts for calls or data routed over Wi-Fi. Consumers would also benefit from stronger signals inside their homes or offices, where cellular signals tend to degrade. The key to this vision is creating a seamless user experience as the device roams between traditional cellular and 802.11ac-based off-load networks while carrying data streams and potentially even voice calls. Achieving this will require deep expertise in both 802.11ac and cellular devices.
Today, we're on the brink of the era of the "Internet of Everything." Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and San Francisco have all rolled out smart parking meter stations, which can wirelessly approve credit card payments. Eventually, you should be able to download an app that will direct you to available parking spots.
Wireless sensor networks, many of which rely on Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, are monitoring everything from soil conditions in vineyards to corrosion in pipelines. And more devices will be coming online soon, including everything from refrigerators to pacemakers.
IMS Research reported that in August 2010 more than 5 billion devices connected to the Internet. Putting that in perspective, there were only 500 million connected devices in 2007. Industry estimates see 1 trillion devices coming online by 2013 or 2015.
According to Metcalfe's Law, the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. As more users (or devices) come online, the network's value increases dramatically.
With 1 trillion-plus devices coming online soon, it's imperative that the 802.11ac standard gets ratified, and devices are launched as soon as possible. 802.11n was slowed by vendor in-fighting. It's critical to avoid such foot-dragging this time, since we are entering an era where Internet-connected devices will be responsible for everything from flood control in dams to airport runway safety.
As more devices come online, public networks will become mission-critical for the whole country. It's imperative, then, that the wireless gateway between devices and the Internet is robust enough to handle that mission-critical role.

Wet Electronics Open Door to New Possibilities

Gadgets, gizmos and wireless wonders must be fastidiously protected from moisture today, but researchers using circuitry with the consistency of Jell-O claim that the smarter electronics of the future will be all wet.Twice I ran my old Sony-Ericsson cell phone through the washing machine and it miraculously survived, but that is only a testimonial to device's excellent waterproofing technologies. That all may change soon, when ultra-secure moisture-friendly prototypes recently shown by North Carolina State University (NCSU) are commercialized.
Today, electronic devices of all types must be protected from not only submersion in water, but even from humidity in the air. Medical implants, for instance, must be hermetically sealed to secure them from shorting out. By harnessing the synergy between water-compatible hydrogels and liquid metals, NCSU researchers herald a new era of smarter moisture-compatible electronic devices.
  A 2-by-2 array of crossbar switches where memory-resistors at each crossing operate like synapses in the brain. (Source: NCSU)
As you might imagine, materials that can happily be submerged without dissolving or shorting out their circuitry are few and far between. And those that can—such as plastics—have inferior electrical characteristics, making them too slow reacting for medical implants and other mission-critical electronics that must work rain or shine. However, by combining liquid metals with polyelectrolyte hydrogels, which have the consistency of Jell-O, a new class of fast submersible gadgets is on the horizon.
The key to this invention of NCSU professor Michael Dickey, however, is not the water compatibility of the materials themselves, but rather the ability of the metal—an eutectic alloy of gallium and indium—to form a nonconductive oxide skin when current flows through it. The switches can be programmed to act like synapses in the brain. In effect, these crossbar switches remember their "experiences"—an effect called a memory-resistor, or memristor, by their inventor, University of California at Berkeley professor Leon Chua (this technology is currently being commercialized by HP Labs and Hynix).
Consequently, the new liquid-metal/hydrogel combination can be used to create brainlike circuitry that learns from its environment. The first task of these new water-compatible circuits, however, will be much less ambitious, since for one thing they are still being built on the millimeter scale rather than the micron- and nano-scale of circuitry in the brain. However, simple circuitry can be realized with the new approach to create biological sensors that can be directly implanted for medical monitoring.
NCSU doctoral candidates Hyung-Jun Koo and Ju-Hee So also contributed to the work, which was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Social Media Fuels New Web-Based Political Party

A new political party seeks to do to elections what Amazon.com did to local bookstores. Americans Elect is holding an online convention in which anyone can register as a delegate to nominate a new presidential candidate.As the Democrats and Republicans prepare for the 2012 presidential election, an unusual new third party is making strides. Fueled by social media and based entirely online, Americans Elect seeks to change the traditional primary system by allowing voters to nominate their own candidate through the Internet.
Americans Elect has already received more than 1.6 million signatures and has been given ballot access in several states, including Arizona, Alaska, Kansas and Nevada.
The centrist group aligns itself with no particular party, but instead seeks to bring more voices to the political floor.
“Americans Elect is the first-ever open nominating process,” the organization explains on its Website. “We’re using the Internet to give every single voter—Democrat, Republican or independent—the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. The people will choose the issues. The people will choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, the people will make history by putting their choice on the ballot in every state.”
For the online convention, anyone will be able to register to be a delegate. To register, participants must complete a questionnaire about their personal politics. The Website then unites users with similar views so that they can organize and either nominate or support a candidate.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, all candidates in the Americans Elect convention must be constitutionally acceptable and of the same prominence of other candidates. In April 2012, users will participate in three rounds of voting to reduce the nomination pool to six candidates.
“The questions, the priorities, the nominations and the rules will all come from the community, not from two entrenched parties,” Elliot Ackerman, chief operating officer, told the New York Times.
The six candidates will then choose their running mates, who must belong to a different political party. A Democratic presidential nominee, for example, must run with either a Republican or an independent.
“Each presidential candidate has to pick a running mate outside of their party and reaching across the divide of politics,” Ackerman told the New York Times.
In June, users of the site will choose which of the six candidates will appear on ballots around the country.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The BDPA Insider - July 31, 2011

The BDPA Insider - July 31, 2011

What better way to start the day than with your weekly message from BDPA!

In this issue:  

Click here for the latest issue of "The BDPA Insider":

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BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) spends a good deal of time talking with people about BDPA programs and services. We think that the worthiness of these programs is so self-evident that the money should be flowing in from donors to help us expand them. Of course, we've learned over time that we're just having a 'pleasant conversation' if we don't close the deal. I think that the following fundraising tip may be a helpful reminder to all of us that work with nonprofits that are doing good works.

Make Specific and Direct Asks for Money:

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BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) spends a good deal of time writing grant proposals. Our success rate isn't very high. I think that the following fundraising tip may be helpful to us as we move forward in our grant-writing campaign.

Never Apply for a Grant Without Contacting the Foundation First:

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by Tonya R. Taylor
It's a fact, love them or hate them tattoos are popular and (almost) permanent. The tattoo design choice, or body art, says something about you; well actually a lot about you. It may convey your mood at a particular moment in time, it may have a deep personal meaning, you may like the artwork or some may think they're just stylish.

Even though tattoos have become incredibly mainstream the kind I am talking about has nothing to do with body art. This type of tattoo is about your business or career; yes even if you have a small business, be a college student or work in corporate America. Let me ask you a simple question, what does your digital tattoo say about your business?

Before you can answer that, I need to explain exactly what a Digital Tattoo is.

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When you think about it, you truly are an amazing being. How you think causes how you feel (emotions), which in turn urges what you do (performance), thereby creating your results and how others perceive you (impressions). It all begins with how you think. Your thoughts, about 60,000 per day, arise from what you believe and how you choose to observe and interpret the world. In effect, you keep making thoughts up and believing they are real, without realizing you are the master of how you made yourself feel and what you achieve. Each minute of every day, you have the option to think in a manner to produce joy, optimism, enthusiasm, gratitude and love, or just as easily, you can produce fear, worry, envy, doubt and anger. No one controls how you think but you, and you can produce either of these emotions at will or without regard to your actual circumstances. For example, you can cause yourself to feel upbeat during bad times, or you can allow yourself to feel beat down during good times. The biggest challenge you face every day is controlling how you think in order to self-motivate your best performance, results and impressions. So how is that working out for you?

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from BDPA Detroit TAC by Cliff Samuels Jr
By Jason Hiner

Takeaway: The IT profession and the IT job market are in the midst of seismic changes that are going to shift the focus to three types of jobs.

There's a general anxiety that has settled over much of the IT profession in recent years. It's a stark contrast to the situation just over a decade ago. At the end of the 1990s, IT pros were the belles of the ball. The IT labor shortage regularly made headlines and IT pros were able to command excellent salaries by getting training and certification, job hopping, and, in many cases, being the only qualified candidate for a key position in a thinly-stretched job market. At the time, IT was held up as one of the professions of the future, where more and more of the best jobs would be migrating as computer-automated processes replaced manual ones.
Unfortunately, that idea of the future has disappeared, or at least morphed into something much different.

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Join your host chapter for a


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This video provides a preview of the 33rd annual BDPA Technology Conference set to take place August 3-6, 2011 in Chicago, IL.

Video Credits: LeVern Danley (LAD4 Creations)

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Wayne Hicks & LaShawn Sithole
The 2011 BDPA Technology Conference begins next week. One of the people that I'm looking forward to seeing is LaShawn Sithole (owner, One In a Billion Consulting). I met LaShawn a few years ago at a BDPA conference (see photo) and have followed the growth of her business interests since. In fact, my hope is that the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation will work closely the Next Young Phenom Foundation in the coming weeks and months.

It is for these reasons that I'm looking forward to sitting in on LaShawn's workshop next week in Chicago.

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Black Data Processing Associates Conference Features April M. Williams. The 2011 National Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) Technology conference will feature April M. Williams, an executive coach and author of "Social Networking Throughout Your Career." She will present two sessions, 'Creating Buzz Marketing for Professionals' and 'Facebook: Your Chapter PR Friend.'

During these 90 minute sessions, BDPA conference attendees will engage in interactive sessions to promote their professional careers using social networking tools. As a result of these presentations, participants will be armed to promote themselves effectively in the marketplace and demonstrate the value of their skills.

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Careers in Technology and much, much more

The objective of this workshop is to inspire you to embrace and effectively use Information Technology in your academic pursuits and professional career.

Careers in Technology and much, much more
Who: Milt Haynes, Founder, Blacks Gone Geek [bio]

Date: Friday, August 5, 2011 
Time: 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Where: Hilton Chicago
Room: TBD
Address: 720 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605

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Are you taking your career in a new direction?
...or are you just entering the workforce?
...or are you undecided about your career path?

Then this EXPO is for you!!
August 5-6,  2011
Chicago Hilton
720 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Click here to download the Career Fair Flyer to give to a friend:

Click here to register for the Friday event:

Click here to register for the Saturday event:

Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of the Big Shoulders by registering for the 33rd Annual National BDPA Conference, August 3-6, 2011 at the Hilton Chicago.

Click here to register for the 2011 National BDPA Conference today!

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