Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Linux Mint 13 rallies behind Gnome


The newly released Linux distribution comes in two variants, Cinnamon and Mate, both of which use Gnome

By Joab Jackson 

With the new version of Linux Mint, released Wednesday, the developers behind the open source Linux distribution have put all energies behind Gnome, offering two versions of the desktop interface.
Linux Mint 13 gets back to basics
One version of the Linux Mint distribution, called Mate, is based off the widely used Gnome 2 desktop interface. The other, called Cinnamon, runs a variant of Gnome 3, which offers more cutting-edge features, such as support for 3D acceleration. Both versions will be supported until April 2017.
"These two desktops are among the best available, they're perfectly integrated within Linux Mint and represent great alternatives to Gnome 2 users," wrote Linux Mint founder and lead developer Clement Lefebvre in a blog post announcing the release.
Last year, Canonical dropped the Gnome interface for its Ubuntu Linux distribution in favor of Unity, which the company's engineers felt could be used more easily across a wider range of devices, such as television sets.
Linux Mint 13 -- codenamed Maya -- is built from Ubuntu 12.04, but bypassed Unity, which has been criticized for being buggy and difficult to use.
The Mate distribution builds upon Gnome 2, which could be called the classic version of Gnome. It is best suited for those users who want a stable platform with well-known features. It can run the many applications with interfaces built with the GTK2 toolkit. The developers behind Gnome have moved to work on Gnome 3, though Linux Mint will maintain this code base, under the name of Mate, and even add more enhancements over time, according to the Linux Mint site.
The Cinnamon distribution is based on the new version of Gnome that is still being developed, although the Linux Mint developers are adding additional features here as well. Cinnamon features a number of different themes and add-ons that could speed productivity. The Linux Mint people, however, admit that Cinnamon, as well as the underlying Gnome 3, is not as stable as Mate.
In addition to the choices in desktop UIs, Linux Mint also features a number of other changes. This is the first version to include MDM (MDM Display Manager), a console for setting and even scripting the display settings. With this release, Linux Mint has also switched the default search engine for the browser to Yahoo. Linux Mint is funded, in part, from ad revenue generated by user searches. Previously, the distribution used DuckDuckGo as the primary search service.
Created by Lefebvre to be an easy to use version of Linux for the home, Linux Mint is currently the most widely used Linux distribution today, according to an informal ongoing poll by Linux distribution news site DistroWatch. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Raspberry Pi: are you one of the lucky 57?

Takeaway: If you’ve been lucky enough to receive your Raspberry Pi, then well done; you’ve beaten the gauntlet that is the Pi supply chain.
It has been almost three months since the highly anticipated Raspberry Pi launched, and the global queue for the credit card-sized computer currently numbers over 300,000, according to CM Lim, head of electronics marketing, RS Components, which is one of the suppliers of the device.
And as for Australia, there are only 57 units that have been shipped to customers, or are in the process of being delivered. That’s less than five per week that have potentially come into the country.

Raspberry Pi: it’s an accessory lovers’ wonderland.
(Credit: Chris Duckett/TechRepublic)
Some relief will occur for people at the head of the 300,000-strong queue, with Lim stating that 70,000 devices will be available for delivery over July and August. He also said that the company is contacting 15,000 people every two days, to be removed off the waiting list and place their final orders for processing and delivery.
Lim said that the focus of the device remains teaching programming skills, and that the priority is to get the Pi into students’ hands after the enthusiast queue has been satisfied.
Nick Heath has produced a number of stories that discuss potential uses of the Pi, but, after seeing it in action, I’d be cautious on many of them.
After my first encounter with the Pi, a fair chunk of its charm has been lost. That moment occurred when it took 20 seconds of waiting to load a rather small movie with gxine.
It’s hardly the Pi’s fault; it is, after all, only an ARM processor that is sharing its meagre 256MB of memory between the GPU and the rest of the system (64MB for the GPU, 192MB for the rest in the default scenario).
Sorry, folks, I just don’t think it’s cut out to be a home media centre.
I’ve wrestled with under-powered Linux computers masquerading as media centres before, and their specs would blow the Pi out of the water — and even they had to be given up eventually, as things like high definition, newer processor-heavy codecs, and Flash reliance took off.
Is the Pi a great toy? Yes.
Can it replace a TV media-centre appliance? Not on your life; for starters, I don’t think I could wait the months needed to negotiate the supply chain.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

How to land a cybersecurity job

5 tips for getting hired in this fast-growing, high-paying segment of the IT industry

By ,

Cybersecurity jobs are plentiful, from government, financial services and utilities to manufacturing and retail. But what skills do IT professionals need to qualify for these high-paying jobs?

We asked the experts and came up with this list of five tips for landing a top-notch cybersecurity job:

1. Get certified.

Security-related certifications are a prerequisite for most commercial cybersecurity jobs and all defense-related IT security jobs. These credentials range from basic CompTIA Security+ to the gold standard ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).
Other popular security certifications include those from GIAC, ECCouncil and ISACA. Vendor-specific certifications from Cisco, RSA, Symantec and others are also in demand.
"There are a lot of security certifications that are very well accepted and are extremely beneficial to the individual," says Jacob Braun, president and COO of Waka Digital Media, a Boston-based IT security consultancy. "They demonstrate a body of knowledge and experience...Some of those certifications are more than written exams. They have some practical components, which are an additional hurdle to achieve."
"I like to see the CISSP," says Dave Frymier, Unisys CISO. "Somebody who has the CISSP has passed a pretty comprehensive test and is likely to share terminology with you so you can make sure you are both talking about the same things."
Verizon, which compiles an authoritative annual report on security breaches, recommends having IT security staff pass a course such as GIAC Incident Handler so they know how to properly respond to a breach.
"A lot of organizations lack personnel on hand who know what to do in the event of a data breach," says Bryan Sartin, director of Verizon's Research Investigation Solution Knowledge (RISK) team. "They need to know how to freeze the environment, how to move toward incident containment, and how to maintain crime scene integrity."

2. Join the military or the feds.

Most companies prefer to hire cybersecurity experts with experience in the U.S. military or law enforcement agencies.
"It's not a requirement, but it helps," Braun says. "Often times, you'll find an individual who is coming from the military or a federal government agency who has received a variety of cybersecurity training that is not yet attainable in the commercial realm."
"Military experience is good to see," Frymier says. "In fact, the security director that we hired last year is ex-military intelligence. The ability to use these [security information and event management] systems and track down persistent threats are skills more closely aligned with the intelligence community than with the IT community."
Verizon has members of its security breach investigation team with military intelligence and law enforcement experience. "The law enforcement are great at interviews...If it's an inside job, they can usually spot the guilty party," Sartin says. "The military people are more process oriented."

3. Learn SAML.

The issue of information security, identity and access management in the cloud is a major concern for CIOs, who are deploying software-as-a-service applications such as Salesforce and Concur to complement their enterprise applications. They are looking for employees who understand how to extend their directory services to control access to cloud applications.
"We want individuals who understand the technology, who understand the policy and who understand the intelligence side of things," Braun says. "If someone has experience deploying security solutions in a new business model, such as the cloud model, that's very valuable."
One specific skill related to cloud security that's in demand: SAML. The Security Assertion Markup Language is an emerging standard that allows enterprises to extend their directory, authentication and identity management systems into cloud-based applications.
"You can learn SAML very quickly, and it's incredibly applicable because almost all the [Software-as-a-Service] companies support a SAML interface," Frymier says. "We've implemented a SAML product in the last year and half or so. It allows us to create an interface to an LDAP store like Microsoft Active Directory and in a secure manner expose account information from Active Directory to SaaS applications. We can do account management inside our Active Directory and have that immediately reflected in our SaaS applications."

4. Master mobile security.

As more organizations adopt Bring Your Own Device policies, they are facing a host of challenges including how to secure information stored on a range of devices that they don't own.
Mobile device management "is a sweet spot for me," Frymier says. "I'm the executive of interest for our consumerization effort because it has such security aspects to it....We have a Bring Your Own Device program, and now 4,000 employees have their own iOS devices. We have got them set up in a way that's secure using Microsoft ActiveSync."
Unisys also is focusing on security in its mobile application development efforts.
"The people who understand mobility at a very deep level tend to be very young, often right out of college. What we find is that we need to pair them up with more senior people who understand backend systems," Frymier says. "You have all of these sexy streams of data on mobile apps. You need to understand how it gets in and how it gets out and how authentication is done and who has access to it."

5. Learn to analyze data.

Cybersecurity pros are masters at finding needles in haystacks. They need to deal with huge volumes of data gathered by security devices and find anomalies that indicate security breaches are occurring.
"One area where we see a skill gap is in general log monitoring," Sartin says. "Everyone seems to have someone who is responsible for monitoring logs, but these people don't have enough experience. They look at endless amounts of data, and they don't find the evidence of the SQL injection," which is the most common type of security breach.
IT professionals need to brush up on their ability to analyze log monitoring data and find important trends.
"Cybersecurity experts need to understand and analyze the trends in the log data to find anomalies and other signs of security breaches," Braun says. "They need to understand how data comes in and leaves an organization and how it should be handled. They need to understand how partner organizations work and competitive organizations work, so they're in the best position to identify when something is malicious or a threat."

Monday, May 07, 2012

Structural Racism: The Role of Race in Public Policy

Maker’s Paradise TechShop Opens In Allen Park — With Assist From Ford

U.S. Rep. John Dingell and other area dignitaries used a plasma arc cutter to slice a metal 'ribbon' at the formal opening of TechShop in Allen Park Friday.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell and other area dignitaries used a plasma arc cutter to slice a metal ‘ribbon’ at the formal opening of TechShop in Allen Park Friday.
 Reporting Matt Roush 
ALLEN PARK — A new free-form innovation center has opened near Rotunda Drive and the Southfield Freeway, less than two miles from Thomas Edison’s preserved Menlo Park idea factory at Greenfield Village.
You get the idea that the most prolific inventor of the late 19th and early 20th centuries would be right at home at TechShop. So would Henry Ford, who built his first horseless carriage in his backyard shed. In TechShop might just be the next Alexander Graham Bell or Nikola Tesla or Marie Curie or Elijah McCoy or the Wright brothers.
TechShop is the idea of Jim Newton, a serial entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley who’s owned several software and Web development companies, but who’s also always had a weird hobby — using expensive machinery like welding gear and machine tools to build various inventions and robots. He’s a former Battlebots competitor and consultant to the TV show Mythbusters.
“I wanted to be able to play with all these extreme, expensive tools, use all this crazy stuff and build all this crazy stuff,” Newman said. “I started thinking about how I could do that without having to work for somebody else building things. And I hit upon the idea of running it like a health club.”
That’s precisely the idea behind TechShop. For $100 a month, you get access to more than a million dollars’ worth of shop tools, design software and computers.
If you don’t know how to weld or use a cutting tool, no problem — TechShop will teach you, for $60 for a basic course lasting a few hours. (Right now TechShop Detroit is running grand opening specials on both membership and classes.)
TechShop held a grand opening for the press Friday, and will have its grand opening for the public Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located at 800 Republic Drive, across a parking lot from the Detroit Lions’ practice facility.
Watch a video of the grand opening featuring Newton at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FlG3GF-kX4&feature=youtu.be.
But TechShop actually opened around Christmas for its major customer so far, Ford Motor Co. And it’s partly because of Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies LLC, the automaker’s intellectual property and innovation arm.
“I read a story about TechShop and gave them a call,” Coughlin said. “I though it would be good for Ford and good for the community. Our unit tries to innovate. We do brainstorming sessions with engineers. But we have no facilities to fabricate anything we dream up. Well, this is it. Here, we can fabricate our ideas.”
Coughlin said Ford is now offering employees with approved ideas three months’ free membership in TechShop, and is offering all Ford employees a 50 percent membership discount.
He said Ford guaranteed to put about 2,000 people through TechShop this year, prompting TechShop to locate here ahead of schedule.
“Here, anyone can have access to $1 million in prototyping tools for $99 a month,” Coughlin said.
Autodesk is also offering free home access to Autodesk Inventor design software along with membership.
The shop will be open to members from 9 a.m. to midnight, and will eventually move to 24 hours as memberships increase.
More about TechShop Detroit at http://techshop.ws/ts_detroit.html.
TechShops are now located in Menlo Park, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco, Calif. and San Jose, Calif. New TechShops are scheduled to open later this year in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Pa., Austin, Texas, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Chandler, Ariz.
The 38,000-square-foot TechShop was formerly a Ford dealer training center and customer feedback office.
Ford says that since its Employee Patent Incentive Award program began providing free TechShop memberships to Ford employees submitting inventions, invention submissions have risen 30 percent from year-earlier levels.
Dozens of Ford employees have already received TechShop awards for a variety of ideas that may be incorporated into future Ford vehicles, or licensed to other companies.
More about how Ford innovators are using their memberships at http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=36443.

Every TechShop membership includes:
* Use of all tools and equipment (safety and basic usage class required for some)
* Spacious workshop with large worktables with 115-volt outlets and compressed air
* Use of computer workstations with software including Autodesk Inventor suite
* Wi-Fi with high-speed Internet access
* Free member-only meet-ups and other special events
* Fresh-brewed coffee and hot popcorn
Members can also rent storage space for their projects as well as a limited number of private workshop spaces.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Pay it Forward, My 1000th posting..

Well this is post 1000 contains  videos on working to repair Detroit. I hope more native Detroiter's will get involved in the rebuild or we will left out.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world 
news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Ubuntu Linux 12.04 'Precise Pangolin' Is Here at Last

With five years of built-in support, this free new OS aims to offer a compelling Windows 8 alternative.

By Katherine Noye

After months of widespread anticipation, the latest version of Canonical's popular Linux distribution--Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin"--was released in its final form early Thursday morning.
"For PC users, Ubuntu 12.04 supports laptops, desktops, and netbooks with a unified look and feel based on an updated version of the desktop shell called 'Unity,' which introduces 'Head-Up Display' search capabilities," wrote Ubuntu Release Manager Kate Stewart in the official announcement. "Finding and installing software using the Ubuntu Software Center is now easier thanks to improvements in speed, search, and usability."
Ubuntu 12.04: A 'Coming of Age' on Servers Too, Shuttleworth Says
As a Long Term Support (LTS) release, Ubuntu 12.04 will be supported for a full five years on both desktops and servers, making it a particularly attractive choice for business users.

Though Canonical's servers appeared to be swamped by demand on Thursday morning, the free and open source operating system is available for download from the Ubuntu site. Users of Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" will be offered an automatic upgrade.
For a quick tour of Ubuntu Linux 12.04, check out the slideshow I put together earlier this week.
A Three-Way Choice for Productivity
A raft of improvements are included in the server version of Ubuntu 12.04 as well, including the Essex release of OpenStack and Canonical's new Metal as a Service provisioning tool, but the desktop release is particularly compelling because Canonical is aiming it squarely at business desktops.
In addition to five years of guaranteed updates and the option of commercial support, the software features a matured Unity interface along with native office apps and support for leading desktop virtualization solutions from Citrix and VMware as well as Microsoft RDP 7.1.
As a result, enterprise users of the software have a three-way choice for office productivity: remote delivery of desktop applications, browser-based cloud solutions like Google Docs, or the native, Microsoft-compatible LibreOffice suite that comes pre-installed.
'A Great Time to Look at Open Source'
"Over the past two years, the ties that bound people to proprietary solutions are going down, so barriers to using Ubuntu as a primary desktop are decreasing," Steve George, Canonical's vice president of communications and products, told me in a briefing on Tuesday.
Canonical has also forged numerous partnerships with hardware vendors including Dell, HP, and Lenovo, so "everything should work perfectly," he added. The software is already certified to run on more than 20 laptops and desktops, with more to come.
Particularly as Windows 8 looms on the horizon, then, "this is a great time for people to look at open source as a desktop solution," George said.
A Refined Unity
Users who upgrade to Precise Pangolin from the last LTS release--Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx"--will have their first experience with the new Unity interface, which was introduced 18 months ago.
Though it has been controversial in some quarters, Unity has gone through significant refinement since then, George told me, and "tests very well with both new users and power users."
Tweaks in this latest release focus on user experience and search capabilities, he added.
'We Hope People Will Be Excited'
Also new in Precise Pangolin is the Head-Up Display (HUD) interface through which users can work without having to navigate menus.
"We wanted to put it out so people could start playing with it," George explained. Though it's essentially still a preview of expanded capabilities yet to come, "we hope people will be excited about it," he added.
In the meantime, rigorous code optimization over the past two years has resulted in a release that boots faster and is more robust than its predecessor as well as offering a much longer battery life.
'See What's Possible'
I'll definitely be upgrading to Precise Pangolin soon, but I'm especially excited about its potential as a Linux-powered alternative for those facing the big Windows 8 decision.
"In the course of this year, lots of people will be considering the upgrade to Windows 8," George pointed out. "Ubuntu is a great platform for people to explore open source, see what's possible, and give it a try."

Watch out, Raspberry Pi: Intel unveils ultra-small Next Unit of Computing PC

Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) exterior case

Details of a new, ultra-compact computer form factor from Intel, called the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) are starting to emerge.
First demonstrated at PAX East at the beginning of April, and Intel’s Platinum Summit in London last week, NUC is a complete 10x10cm (4x4in) Sandy Ivy Bridge Core i3/i5 computer. On the back, there are Thunderbolt, HDMI, and USB 3.0 ports. On the motherboard itself (pictured below) there are two SO-DIMM (laptop) memory slots and two mini PCIe headers. On the flip side of the motherboard (pictured below-below), is a CPU socket that takes most mobile Core i3 and i5 processors, and a heatsink and fan assembly.

Intel's Next Unit of Computing motherboard
According to Fred Birang, a senior product marketing engineer at Intel, the NUC is primarily targeted at digital signage and kiosks — but I’m sure we can all agree that it would make an awesome set-top home theater PC (HTPC), or an introductory system for kids. The only real problem is the GPU: This is Sandy Bridge we’re talking about, so you only get Intel’s HD 3000. Presumably, though, an An Ivy Bridge version of the NUC, with the HD 4000 GPU, is on its way.
At 10x10cm, the NUC is actually one of the smallest complete PCs on the market. The only x86 competition comes from VIA, which has produced Nano-ITX (12cm), Pico-ITX (10cm), and Mobile-ITX (6cm) motherboards for a few years — but these motherboards only support slow, weak VIA CPUs, and are generally targeted at embedded, low-power installations. That Intel has managed to cram a mobile Core i5 processor into such a form factor is rather impressive.
Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) internals
Where does this leave Raspberry Pi? At 8.5×5.5cm, the Raspberry Pi is still a fair bit smaller than Intel’s NUC (and at 2cm deep, it’s probably thinner as well). The Raspberry Pi has more inputs and outputs, too, though the NUC’s mini PCIe connectors mean that almost any functionality could be added. Processing power-wise, though, the NUC’s Core i3 and i5 processors will utterly obliterate the Rasp Pi’s 700MHz ARM SoC — but of course it will consume a lot more power, too. There’s also the fact that NUC users will be able to use the vast x86 Windows software ecosystem — and likewise, developing for the NUC will be as easy as developing for a standard, Windows-based x86 PC; two perks the Raspberry Pi will not enjoy.
Price-wise, Birang, speaking to Just Press Start, says the NUC will “not be in the hundreds and thousands range,” and that Intel is still looking at “different kinds of SKUs.” It almost certainly won’t be as cheap as the $25 Raspberry Pi, but a price point around $100 would be realistic. Judging by the heatsink and fan assembly, the NUC will probably come with a CPU pre-installed — and hopefully some RAM, too. Intel certainly could produce a computer that competes with the Raspberry Pi on price, but it’s unlikely to do so (damn those profit margins). Availability-wise, Birang says we can expect the NUC to arrive in the second half of the year.
With a name like Next Unit of Computing, it would seem like Intel has grand designs for this mini form factor. The use of the word “unit” is particularly interesting — it suggests that the NUC might be stackable, in much the same way as my imaginary Apple iStack computer.
Read our Raspberry Pi explainer
Update – 5/1/12 – We’ve heard from Intel and it turns out that there will only be an Ivy Bridge version of the NUC available. There will be no Sandy Bridge version available. Expect to see it some time in the second half of 2012. – Sal Cangeloso