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Olivia Russell

Olivia Russell

Remarkably gifted, knowledgeable and resourceful Market Research Analyst with over eight years experience in collecting and analyzing data to evaluate existing and potential product and service markets; identifying and monitoring competitors and researching market conditions and changes in the industry that may affect sales. I have done masters in marketing from Australian Institute of Business.

It is estimated that only 4 percent of the Web is visible and 96 percent of the Web is invisible or Deep Web

You’ve probably heard about the Deep Web; it becomes more well-known circa 2013 when the FBI took down the Silk Road drug marketplace. This brought widespread attention to the level of underground activity that goes on in this place on the internet that’s not accessible to anyone using a standard browser.

In essence, the Deep Web refers to any Internet content that, for various reasons, can’t be or isn’t indexed by search engines like Google or Bing. This includes dynamic web pages, blocked sites, limited access networks, intranets, and more. It is estimated that only 4 percent of the Web is visible and 96 percent of the Web is invisible or Deep Web.

Here is a graphic from OpenText which puts things in perspective.

Here are some of the things you may not have previously associated with the Deep Web:

1.Cannabis, cannabis everywhere – light drugs are the most-exchanged goods, with cannabis being the most traded drug. This was followed by pharmaceutical products like Ritalin and Xanax, hard drugs, and even pirated games and online accounts.

2.Hitmen for hire – hitmen are available on the Deep Web with prices varying based on the preferred manner of death or injury and the target’s status.

3.Doxing information is widely available – which is a huge concern if you’re a public figure. Doxing is the act of researching and broadcasting an individual’s personally identifiable information such as date of birth, address, emails and phone numbers. One site—Cloudnine—lists possible dox information for public figures, political figures, and celebrities.

4.Child exploitation is rampant on the Deep Web – as a father of two girls, this is one of the most horrifying findings to me. It includes sites which host child pornography or snuff films that feature children.

5.The Deep Web is a match made in malware heaven – as it hosts command-and-control infrastructure for malware. The hidden nature of sites like TOR and 12P and other services makes it easy to host and hide malware controlling servers on the Deep Web. One such malware is CryptoLocker, a ransomware which encrypts victims’ personal documents before redirecting them to a site where they have to pay to regain access to their files.

6.Bitcoins – are the currency of the Deep Web, frequently used when purchasing illegal goods and services. To ensure it maintains its anonymity, Bitcoin-laundering services have surfaced to help increase the anonymity of moving money throughout the Bitcoin system. By “mixing” Bitcoins through a spidery network of microtransactions, users end up with the same amount of money but a harder-to-track transaction trail.

7.Unfortunately, it’s too huge for law enforcement to track – as everything is encrypted, determination of attribution is difficult, and constant fluctuations mean that law enforcement agencies face a tough job when it comes to regulating and monitoring the Deep Web.

What does this mean for security?

While a majority of normal Internet users will not find the use for the Deep Web, organizations need to understand the goings-on beneath the surface of the Deep Web so that they can protect their customers from the cybercriminal activities happening within it.

Organisations need to implement a means of early detection and countermeasures against these threats, as they will, sooner or later, find their way to victimize users.

The future of the Deep Web

There is an ongoing race between the criminals who inhabit the Deep Web and law enforcement agencies, with the criminals working on technological developments to improve the stealth of their activities and finding new ways to become even more anonymous and untraceable.

One thing that will definitely grow in the future is the “shadow marketplace” which was previously brought to light by the FBI sting on Silk Road. Transactions on the Deep Web guarantee high anonymity, with Bitcoin technology allowing both sellers and buyers of illegal assets to bypass any external regulatory financial authorities. In fact, Bitcoin technology will probably develop to more advanced levels, making the cryptocurrency even less traceable than it is today.

The anonymity offered by the Deep Web will continue to raise a lot of issues and be a point of interest for both law enforcers and Internet users who want to circumvent government surveillance and intervention. As such, IT security pros like you and I need to continue keeping tabs on the Deep Web as its role on the Internet grows.

Source: This article was published cso.com.au By Dhanya Thakkar

Conducting academic research is a critical process. You cannot rely solely on the information you get on the web because some of the search results are non-relevant or not related to your topic. To ensure that you only gather genuine facts and credible data for your academic papers, check out only the most trusted and incredibly useful resources for your research.

Here's a list of gratuitous and best academic search engines that can help you in your research journey.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a customized search engine specifically designed for students, educators and anyone related to academics. It allows users to find credible information, search journals, and save sources to their personal library. If you need help for your best essays, citations for your thesis and other researches, this easy-to-use resource can easily find citation-worthy materials for your academic writing.

iSEEK- Education

iSeek education is a go-to search engine for students, scholars and educators. It is one of the widely used search tools for academic research online. iSeek offers safe, smart, and reliable resources for your paper writing. Using this tool will help you save time, effort and energy in getting your written work done quickly.

Educational Resources Information Center - ERIC

ERIC is a comprehensive online digital library funded by Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. It provides a database of education research and information for students, educators, librarians and the public. ERIC contains around 1.3 million articles and users can search for anything education-related such as journals, books, research papers, various reports, dissertations, policy papers, and other academic materials.

Virtual Learning Resources Center - VLRC

If you're looking for high quality educational sites to explore? You must check out VLRC. This learning resource center is the best place to go when you're in search for useful research materials and accurate information for your academic requirement. It has a collection of more than 10,000 indexed webpages for all subject areas.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library, enables users to get free access to cultural artifacts and historical collections in digital format. It contains millions of free books, music, software, texts, audio, and moving images. Capturing, managing and searching different contents without any technical expertise or hosting facilities made easier for you through this search engine.


Infotopia is Google alternative safe search engine that gives information and reference sites on the following subjects: art, social sciences, history, languages, literature, science and technology and many more.

Source: This article was published hastac.org By Amber Stanley

Thursday, 18 January 2018 05:20

Trust is not a strategy for cyber security

Let’s talk seriously about industrial cybersecurity: What you don’t know can hurt you.

Industrial cyber security is all over the news, and not in a good way. Our most vital industries – including power, water, nuclear, oil and gas, chemical, food and beverage, and critical manufacturing – are under attack. The gravity of the situation became clear when the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security went public in October about existing, persistent threats. Virtually or not, bad actors are among us.

Unlike physical attacks, cyber attacks are nonstop. Cyber hackers have graduated from simple mischief and denial-of-service attacks to ransomware, theft of competitive information, interception or altering of communications, the shutdown of industrial processes, and even knowledge manipulation through the news and social networks (it’s bigger than just politics). Who knows what’s next?

Digitalization and connectivity are heightening cyber risk, though they are foundational to the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Big Data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Breaching a single connected operational technology (OT) device or system puts everything on the network at risk.

Low-security and small networks provide easy access for bad actors, whether they’re traditional hackers, black-hat hackers making money on the dark web, nation-states, or malicious insiders. Human error and negligence also are cyber risks.

To establish and sustain cybersecurity and restore the confidence of the public, greater awareness of threats and ownership of risks are imperative. In addition to mastering basic security measures, the industry needs to detect and respond to attacks with persistence and resilience. Trust is not a strategy.

Fortunately, industrial software, technology, equipment, and service providers are fast ramping up their defenses, and dozens of new cybersecurity technology and services firms are offering to help. Consultants, legislators, regulators, and standards bodies also have prominent roles, but it is the end users, ultimately, who must put the cybersecurity puzzle together.

Here, several industry and cyber professionals weigh in about industrial producers’ cybersecurity risks and responsibilities and offer their actionable recommendations.

How bad is the problem?

When companies are surveyed about their top business risk, the answer increasingly is cybersecurity, says Alan Berman, president, and CEO of the not-for-profit Disaster Recovery International Foundation (DRIF). The IoT – now a $3 trillion to $6 trillion industry – is opening new doors to cyber hackers. An estimated 50 billion connected devices (handhelds, sensors, etc.) are in use already.

Speaking at the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) 2017 Conference, Berman noted that cyber hacking has matured to become a sophisticated industry seeking to penetrate devices and systems through the weakest link in the chain, with the goal of profitability. “It is a business and we have to deal with it as a business,” he explains.

The weakest link could be a vending machine in the plant, Berman says. “Once hackers get on the network, they can get into everything,” he says. “When that happens, it could be months before the breach is discovered. What looks like a malfunction could actually be a hack.”

Until there’s awareness within the maintenance organization of the security risks associated with adding or replacing a connected device, the number of cyberattacks an organization sees will continue to rise, says Howard Penrose, president of MotorDoc.

Penrose has easily uncovered industrial cybersecurity gaps using Shodan.io, a search engine for finding internet-connected devices. In one case, “We found numerous points of access to different IoT devices using (the organization’s) default passwords, including links to the documents with those passwords,” he says. “In another case, an OEM had installed software on wind generation systems that allowed them to be turned on or off with a smartphone app.”

Most people equate cybersecurity to the network or IT, but the things that go “boom” in the night are on the industrial control system (ICS) side, says Joe Weiss, managing partner at Applied Control Solutions. “Not enough people are looking at this,” he says.

Weiss has been compiling a nonpublic ICS cyber-incident database that he says already contains more than 1,000 actual incidents, representing about $50 billion in direct costs. Each new entry serves as a learning aid or reminder; often they’re logged in his cybersecurity blog.

“People worry about the IT/OT divide, but the real divide is what comes before and after the Ethernet packet,” suggests Weiss. “Before the packet is where the Level 0,1 devices live (sensors, actuators, drives), and that’s where cybersecurity and authentication are lacking.”

As managing director of ISA99, Weiss recently helped start a new working group for Industrial Automation and Control System Security standards to address the cybersecurity of Level 0,1 devices.

Fear or fight?

Digitalization adds significant value despite the cyber risk. “Don’t fear connectivity – the benefits are too great,” says Eddie Habibi, founder, and CEO of PAS Global. On the other hand, he cautions, the threat of cyber attack is imminent and proven; critical systems are vulnerable; and “every minute, day, or month that you put off securing your systems, they remain at risk.”

Malicious code can sit dormant on a network for months or years before it suddenly activates, explains Habibi. The consequences can be significant to safety, production, the company’s reputation, insurance costs, and even the cost of borrowing for organizations that are not considered secure. “It’s beyond the theft of data; it’s now hitting the bottom line,” he adds.

While OT operators face all of the cybersecurity risks common in IT environments, many of the tools used to mitigate those risks are not available for OT networks, observes Chris Grove, director of industrial security at Indegy. He notes the following crucial distinctions:

  1. OT networks are not designed from the ground up with security in mind, meaning that industrial controllers are not typically protected with authentication, encryption, authorization, or other standard security mechanisms.
  2. A successful cyber attack on an OT network could have safety, financial, and environmental implications.
  3. It is much more difficult to monitor OT networks than it is to monitor IT networks because of the lack of monitoring tools, the proprietary protocols in use, and network isolation.

With the right tools, such as those developed for OT asset discovery and for tracking of user activity and changes to operational code, operators can identify risky configurations, malware, human errors, and insider attacks.

“Security is not a static thing,” cautions Dr. Allan Friedman, director of cybersecurity initiatives at National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the U.S. Commerce Department. “It needs to be adaptive, resilient, and scalable.” He continues: “For example, don’t assume that an air-gapped system (unplugged from any network infrastructure) will stay that way. Improperly trained personnel may establish new connections, or the USB drive used for a software update may carry an infection.”

Security by design and necessity

Trust is the new currency; more regulations are coming, and cybersecurity is not an option because we are moving toward digital at the speed of light: Dr. Ilya Kabanov, global director of application security and compliance for Schneider Electric, made these three points at the ASIS 2017 international security conference.

Kabanov urges OEMs to embed privacy and security in the products themselves. “It is not security vs. innovation; security requires innovation,” he explains.

Richard Witucki, the cyber security solutions architect at Schneider Electric, agrees. “Since security by obscurity is no longer a viable option, it is incumbent upon manufacturers such as Schneider Electric to embed cyber security directly into their products,” he says. “By doing this, we enable the end users to take a much more defense-in-depth approach.”

Schneider Electric’s approach includes actively training its development teams and engineers in secure development life-cycle programs, incorporating established security controls into its products, and conducting exhaustive internal and external testing. The ISA99/IEC 62443 set of standards was chosen because it addresses cybersecurity at several levels, including the products, the systems, and the development life cycle of the products and solutions.

“We all rely on products that control our critical infrastructure to perform as expected,” Witucki says. “Ironically, because these systems are so reliable (e.g., PLCs controlling a seldom-used diesel generator for 20 years), they have now become a vulnerability within the shifting threat landscape.”

Predictive maintenance (PdM) system and service providers are also tackling cybersecurity. Paul Berberian, the condition monitoring specialist at GTI Predictive Technology, has heard customer comments ranging from “It is not an issue” and “Nothing in the plant is connected to the outside world,” to concerns about internal secrets being vulnerable through an internet connection.

“Maintenance and reliability departments want to use PdM technology, but some don’t want to fight the battle internally with IT,” explains Berberian. “In my opinion, the concern for most of these companies is that hackers will be able to find a way into their plant network through the PdM data portal.”

To mitigate this risk, GTI uses SSL certificates to ensure the security of its sites; it requires encrypted usernames and passwords for access; it encrypts the stored data, and it uses a secure (HTTPS) web address.

Operational security technology partnerships are also forming. “Manufacturers and utilities want a single, accountable provider with a reputation like Siemens’ rather than a dozen suppliers,” says PAS Global’s Habibi.

The Siemens-PAS partnership looks to help companies that are struggling to establish adequate cybersecurity regimens. The PAS Cyber Integrity analytic detection engine identifies and tracks cyber assets, enabling fleetwide, real-time monitoring of control systems. Forensic and analytics technologists at the Siemens Cyber Security Operations Center apply their expertise to this information so they can dig deeper and provide a more robust response to potential threats.

“There is a 100% probability that any company will suffer from a cyber attack, and these attacks travel with lightning speed – how resilient will your response be?” asks Leo Simonovich, vice president and global head of industrial cyber security at Siemens.

What should you do right now?

First, master the basics: access controls, backup and recovery, software updates and patching, network segmentation, system hardening, and malware prevention on endpoints. Consider using a search engine like Shodan.io to quickly gauge risk exposure.

Cybersecurity should be treated like lean manufacturing and Six Sigma initiatives; it should be a continuous process reviewed and assessed on a regular basis, says Schneider Electric’s Witucki. “It is not a goal, but a journey,” he says.

He suggests selecting a cybersecurity standard appropriate to your industry and organization and then focusing attention where it is needed most with a gap analysis or risk assessment. This starts with an inventory of all computer-based assets (hardware, software, etc.). “When you consider some of this equipment may have been operating for 20 years inside an enclosure, you start to understand why this may be difficult,” adds Witucki.

GTI’s Berberian’s urges both industrial solution providers and end users to establish a strategy and security protocol that suppliers must meet. “A strategy that everyone understands, other than ‘We will never use the cloud,’ is most helpful,” he says.

To secure complete operating environments, companies must begin by addressing the fundamentals: discovery, prioritization, monitoring, and protection of their assets, advises Siemens’ Simonovich. He also advocates that company leaders consider addressing OT cybersecurity as one of their core responsibilities. This requires ownership, a strategy that looks at the challenge holistically, and strategic partnerships with best-of-breed companies.

NTIA’s Friedman suggests the following when acquiring new equipment or devices:

  1. Ask questions regarding security: What are the risks, and how can they be mitigated?
  2. Employ basic security hygiene: Use strong passwords and security credentials; apply patches promptly; employ network segmentation; and “know what’s under the hood” (e.g., which operating system is used).
  3. Partner with other sectors and organizations on design principles: Your problems probably aren’t unique, and others may have developed useful security solutions.

Ensure that the default passwords are changed, especially in the settings of variable-frequency drives, energy monitoring devices, and other connected systems adds MotorDoc’s Penrose. Also, never let a vendor bypass security to connect to the network. “We once found that a USB WiFi card had been installed on a secure network so a vendor could access the system remotely, eliminating the isolation of the critical system's network,” he says. He adds that if the IT personnel are capable, they should be performing device vulnerability analyses.

Indegy’s Grove says that while active, passive, and hybrid ICS security monitoring approaches all have advantages, a hybrid approach is likely to provide the best value for most organizations because it “gives organizations total visibility into their OT network and environment.”

Applied Control Solutions’ Weiss reminds us that it isn’t always clear what is or isn’t a cyber event, and SCADA is not a fail-safe to identify potential cyberattacks. By design, in some cases it may not detect critical malfunctions. Weiss suggests getting involved in the new ISA99 working group and sharing your ICS cyber incidents with him (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Finally, and perhaps of most importance, cautions Schneider Electric’s Kabanov, everyone from executives to end users must decide whether cyber protections make sense. If they don’t believe they do, they’ll work around them.

Much more needs to be done to protect the critical industrial sector. The bad actors already are planning their next move. What’s yours?

Source: This article was published plantservices.com By Sheila Kennedy

Thursday, 14 December 2017 02:54

Basic Sourcing Techniques You Can Use Today

What are your most effective sources for finding talent? Do you leverage job postings? Ask for employee referrals?

These are both successful ways to fill a position. In fact, each one can play an integral role in your recruiting.

The only downside is that they’re reactive. You have to wait for the talent to come to you, in hopes that the right candidate is among them.

What you need is the ability to aggressively seek and go after ideal candidates. You need to build an active pipeline to fill today’s requisitions, make connections for hard-to-fill roles, and prepare for future needs.

You need to be proactive.

Luckily, there are several sourcing techniques you can start leveraging right now:

Boolean Sourcing for Google

Boolean sourcing allows recruiters to search for candidate information from all over the web.

You can find resumes and cover letters that are stored within personal websites, job boards and social platforms by using a unique set of search commands.

These commands tell search engines exactly what you’re looking for, and help drill down your search results to reveal the candidates who truly align with your requisition.

Getting started with boolean sourcing is as simple as learning some basic commands. The following operators work best when used within Google.

OR The command OR will return results containing at least one of your specified keywords or phrases. For example, entering programmer OR developer OR engineer would produce results containing any of these terms but not necessarily all of them.
"" Use quotations to return sites containing the exact phrase you’re searching for. For example, the senior manager would return pages containing either of these keywords, but "senior manager" would only return pages containing that exact phrase.
- Use the minus or dash command "-" before a keyword to return pages that exclude that word. For example, if you searched "marketing -manager" your results would exclude any pages that contain the word manager.
* Use the asterisk (*) within your query to identify a placeholder or wildcard terms. For example "Master's degree in *" would return pages containing the phrase "Master's degree in Marketing," "Master's degree in Computer Science, " etc.
() Brackets are for grouping Boolean phrases, and are generally used in more complex search strings. For example, if you searched for (Engineer or "Software Developer")(CISCO OR Microsoft OR HP), your results would show pages containing any of your job title keywords that also contain one of the company keywords. This is a great combination for finding talent who has worked for one of your target competitors.
site: Use the command site: to search pages within a specific website. For example, search for Facebook profiles by entering site:facebook.com. Searching for site:facebook.com "web designers" Phoenix would return Facebook profiles containing both keywords Web Designer and Phoenix.

Use these basic commands to create more elaborate search strings and effectively find candidates through Google. By adding more criteria to your search queries, you can produce more relevant results and ultimately find the best candidates who align with your job.

Job Board Sourcing

You can also leverage most online job boards to proactively source your candidates. Look for the option to search or source the job board's resume database by using common keywords your prospects would use.

Social Sourcing

Leverage the social platforms where your prospects already spend a lot of their time. Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook offer unique tools to proactively find your next great hire.

In March 2013, Facebook released Graph Search. It’s a free tool that allows anyone to use specific queries to search for individuals. Find people who work for a specific industry, near a special location or for a particular company.

Here is an example of a common Facebook Graph query:
Facebook Graph

Twitter is also a great tool for sourcing candidates. Use its search engine to identify professionals by specific keywords, phrases, and locations. The best part is that Twitter is an open network, so you’re free to connect with anyone.

You can also find candidates on LinkedIn by using the Boolean logic you’ve already learned. After you replace the italicized words with your keywords, enter this powerful search string into Google to return precise LinkedIn profiles:
site:linkedin.com "web designer" "location * Greater Phoenix Area"

Go After Your Talent

Identifying qualified candidates is the most critical part of the recruiting process. It can also be the most difficult—especially if you're waiting around for the right job seekers to apply. Instead, set yourself up for success by proactively finding them yourself.

But before you get started with methods like Boolean, job board, and social sourcing, make sure you have a clear understanding of the job you’re recruiting for and the keywords your prospects may use during their job search.

Knowing how your candidates describe themselves and which terms resonate with them will give you a head start on your proactive search for talent.

Initiate Conversation

When you finally find the candidates you’re looking for, connect with them! Send them a message about your available position and ask if they would be interested in the opportunity. For more tips on reaching out to candidates, read Candidate Sourcing: Get More Replies to Your Contact Emails.

How do you run 100 billion web searches a month?

Google gave an inside peek into how web search works today, revealing some fascinating numbers in the process.

Search starts, of course, with crawling and indexing, and Google says that the web now has 30 trillion unique individual pages. That up an astonishing 30 times in five years: Google reported in 2008 that the web had just one trillion pages.

Google says that it stores information about those 30 trillion pages in the Google Index, which is now at 100 million gigabytes. That’s about a thousand terabytes, and you’d need over three million 32GB USB thumb drives to store all that data.

When you search, Google tries to figure out not just what you’re typing into the box, but what you mean. So algorithms for spelling, autocompletion, synonyms, and query understanding jump into action. When Google thinks it knows what you want, it pulls results from those 30 trillion pages and 100 million gigabytes, but it doesn’t just give you what it finds.

First, a ranking procedure uses over 200 closely guarded secret factors that look at the freshness of the results, quality of the website, age of the domain, safety and appropriateness of the content, and user context like location, prior searches, Google+ history and connections, and much more.

Then, in just over an eighth of a second, Google then delivers the results to your computer, tablet, or phone.

To test how well its searches are actually performing, Google also uses real-live humans: search evaluators. Forty thousand times a year, Google’s search testers check results, see what’s working, and provide suggestions on how to improve.

And what about web spam?

Web spam is useless pages that are crafted to rank well on Google, draw your attention and clicks, and then monetize your eyeballs or clicks off to somewhere else. Google said that it notifies sites that it considers them spam, or that they have been hacked, at a rate of 40,000-60,000 per month.

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

Source: This article was published venturebeat.com By JOHN KOETSIER

Google is getting ready to make a big change in the way it indexes web pages for search results.

In a few months, the company will implement a previously announced plan to index mobile pages separately from desktop pages, a Google employee said at a conference Thursday, according to Search Engine Land.

Google also plans to keep its mobile website index more up to date than the desktop index, which means mobile users will get the best results faster than desktop users.

It also means websites and online publishers will have to make sure their sites are mobile friendly if they want to be properly indexed by Google.

This is the latest move in Google's efforts to enhance search on mobile. Recently it introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which loads news articles found through Google much faster on mobile devices and shares a cut of the advertising with the publisher.

Google didn't say exactly when the new mobile index will come, but it sounds like it'll be here soon.

Get the latest Google stock price here.

Source: This article was published businessinsider.com By Steve Kovach

Friday, 19 May 2017 06:57

The untold truth of Bill Gates

You'd think that we'd know every detail of the life of the richest man in the world, especially since he's been number one on the Forbes list 17 out of the last 22 years. But Bill Gates doesn't get a ton of attention. There've been two movies about Steve Jobs and a dissection of everything Apple, but the founder of Microsoft tends to keep a fairly low profile. So, get to know a little bit about the world's most famous college dropout billionaire.

Harvard was a lot harder than he thought it would be

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It clearly takes brains to become a billionaire, unless your name rhymes with Fronald Frump. Bill Gates always knew he was much smarter than average Seattle youngster. So, in high school, he'd show off his smarts, undoubtedly to impress the ladies. Classes were a breeze, and when he got into Harvard, he figured he'd waltz right through the Ivy League school like a badass nerd genius.

Unbeknownst to him, Harvard was hard. It's practically in the name. He got a B in his first theoretical math class, a completely new experience. So Gates changed his major from theoretical math to applied math after his horrible defeat. But a one-time B was far from his last failure.

Before Microsoft, he had a company called Traf-O-Data that was a complete failure

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Eventual co-owner of Microsoft Paul Allen met Gates in high school. One summer, when Allen was back in Seattle from college and Gates was a high school senior, they started a business. You know, just normal teenage boy shenanigans.

They created a minicomputer to track the flow of traffic. Though that sounds incredibly boring, it could be very useful to cities wanting to know where to place new traffic signals or stop signs or make road alterations or repairs. Gates came up with the name "Traf-O-Data," like it was some kind of horrible date-based candy. Gates and Allen had a working prototype two years and $1,500 later.

Unfortunately for the Data duo, nobody cared. They did no market research, so they didn't realize that getting the local government to invest money in anything is a real pain. In Newsweek, Paul Allen said, "We had virtually no customers." After six years of trying, Traf-O-Data lost $3,494 and put away their traffic files forever. Obviously, that didn't stop the pair, and they went on to create Microsoft, probably to get revenge on those who didn't appreciate their traffic ideas.

He was arrested in New Mexico

Generally, Gates doesn't seem like a guy with a long rap sheet. But looks can be deceiving.

In 1977, Gates was arrested in New Mexico, though his exact crime wasn't recorded. Could it be some kind of computer/drug smuggling scheme? No: it was a traffic violation, and they just didn't record what specific error led to his arrest. Though the details are sketchy, it definitely happened, and Albuquerque has the smiling mug shot to prove it. It's doubtful that DUI was to blame, since few drunks can look so clean cut and wholesome while the cops are documenting their crimes.

Said "no one is getting rich" making software in 1980

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In 1976, Gates wrote an "Open Letter to Hobbyists," to discourage computer hobbyists from using his software without paying. The technology was so new it wasn't clearly covered under copyright law. Gates was adamant that the "share and share alike" culture of early computer fiends would discourage programmers from bothering to make new software if they knew it would only be stolen.

Gates thought the letter would be the end of it, since open letters asking people to start paying for stuff they can get for free are usually very effective. But copyright law remained cloudy. In 1979, a federal court ruled that one company selling an exact copy of another company's computer chess game was not a violation of the law. By 1980, Gates had to speak out again about unlicensed software usage. In an interview with 80 Microcomputing Magazine, the hottest of all microcomputing magazines of 1980, Gates detailed the importance of software copyright and made this incredibly unprecient statement:

"There's nobody getting rich writing software that I know of."

This was true at the time, and with the licensing issues and completely uncharted territory of the software world, Gates had no reason to think he'd wind up the richest man in the world. Still, that's a quote that probably won't end up on a lot of inspirational Facebook memes.

Gates was critical of Paul Allen's efforts when Allen was sick with cancer

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Gates and Allen had a long relationship of working together. After the Traf-O-Data failure, the two pressed on, working feverishly to create software needed for the upcoming computer world. Since Gates named Traf-O-Data, Allen thought it best to take over the naming of any future endeavors, and he came up with the now legendary name "Microsoft."

Gates had a lot of respect for Allen. In fact, he dropped out of Harvard his sophomore year to join Allen in New Mexico to grow their business. But he didn't always treat him as an equal. When they debuted their first major project, the programming language BASIC, Gates spent hours double-checking all of Allen's work. Turns out, it was error-free.

Despite Allen's major contributions to Microsoft, in 1982, he overheard Gates and Steve Ballmer (who ran the business side of the company) talking about Allen's diminishing contributions, conspiring about how they could dilute his equity. But Allen wasn't just slacking off. He had cancer.

Allen called them out on their little "try to weasel money from the guy with cancer" plan and quit the company a while later. Luckily, Gates's cheapness worked to Allen's advantage. Gates wanted to buy Allen out of his stock holdings at $5 a share. Allen wanted $10, Gates said "no thank you," so Allen kept his stock. Now, he has almost $20 billion, all because of Bill Gates's cheap-o ways.

Gates dealt with many monopoly problems

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As Microsoft became huge, they faced a lot of monopoly problems. Not that Gates kept putting up hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, but the United States was investigating hi, for violating antitrust laws. The government had an eye on Microsoft since 1990 and in 1994 made Microsoft sign an agreement to not use their preeminence over the software world to keep out competition. In 1997, the US struck again, filing a suit that Microsoft violated the agreement, by forcing PC makers to ship Internet Explorer with Windows 95. The courts felt they were purposely keeping out competitors. For years, the suit waged on, with Microsoft claiming it was easy to remove Internet Explorer and opposing witnesses saying it was impossible to remove. A lot of thrilling "can I delete this icon" trial footage is floating around somewhere.

Microsoft agreed that computer makers could have the choice whether or not to include Internet Explorer with Windows. But that wasn't the end. After many years, a court found that Microsoft was acting as a monopoly and ordered the company to break up to loosen its hold on the industry. But after many appeals, that judgment was overruled, and by 2002, Microsoft agreed to a settlement. That meant Microsoft could stay one company, but they had to make their software compatible with non-Windows works and couldn't enter into any new agreement that would keep competitors out of new computer technology till 2011. By 2011, Microsoft was finally completely out of the woods with all this monopoly business. And it only took 21 years.

He owns an insane house called Xanadu 2.0

Though Gates had his share of difficulties, he's been rewarded for his software genius with a net worth of $75 billion. He's not known for splashing out on crazy, expensive purchases. Unlike Paul Allen—who owns the Seattle Seahawks, has a collection of vintage war planes, and made a Rock 'n' Roll museum in Seattle that contains lots from his personal collection—Gates doesn't have any such hobbies. But, he did go all out on an insane house.

Sitting on Lake Washington, the 66,000-square-foot property is called "Xanadu 2.0." Sadly, it's not because Gates is a big Olivia Newton-John/ELO fan but is named after the fictional mansion of Charles Foster Kane. Though he doesn't seem like a gym rat, Gates built in a 2,500-foot fitness center, complete with trampoline room.

The coolest part is that Xanadu 2.0 has crazy smart home technology that none of us will have for another 40 years. Every guest who enters is given a pin. That pin interacts with sensors around the house that will adjust your surroundings based on your taste of music and lighting. Gates was already ahead of the curve with touchpad technology, since he's had a pad in every room to control the temperature since 1995. And within the walls of the mansion is the Codex Leicester, Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, which Gates bought for $30.8 million. If only we could all grow up to live out every child's dream of owning a 16th-century genius's scribbles.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tops the Forbes most charitable list

Despite his lavish home, Bill Gates really does give a lot of his money away. Bill and Melinda Gates are number one of the Forbes list of most philanthropic people, and they have no intention of slowing down their generosity. In just one typical year, the husband-and-wife foundation gave away $2.65 billion toward fighting malaria, polio, and other diseases while donating tons to the World Health Organization. They decided to give a little $50 million bonus to the International AIDS vaccine initiative, just for fun, and also to help the world.

The Gates foundation also gives away millions in college scholarships and other educational causes. He's given nearly a billion dollars out in scholarships to minority students and recently set up a Cambridge scholarship program with a trust of $210 million. All in all, Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $30.2 billion, a third of their net worth. It's nice to see all those billions aren't just going to trampoline maintenance.

He did an AMA full of fun facts and made a "David Pumpkins" sequel to promote it

Now that he's stepped down from running Microsoft, Gates has time for the little things in life, like Reddit AMAs. His Ask Me Anything was full of absolutely crucial facts, like that Gates's favorite sandwich is a cheeseburger, he loves going to Australia for vacation, and he doesn't have a lot of parenting advice. When a father-to-be asked him for dad tips, Gates replied, "Melinda is very creative about helping me find chances to spend time with the kids. Even just driving them to school is a great time to talk to them." Cool. So, talk to your kids. And drive cars. Thanks.

Gates seemed to take the Q&A seriously and even filmed a sketch to promote it. Clearly a viewer of Saturday Night Live, Gates did a David Pumpkins sequel, as "Christmas Pumpkins." Though his dancing leaves something to be desired, it's good that Gates chose to keep the Tom Hanks voice and do some fine lip syncing work.

When he dies, he'll leave most of his money to charity

When they aren't busy talking to their dad in cars, the Gates kids must getting ready for their sick billion-dollar inheritance, right? Well, Gates doesn't think his kids should get the majority of his wealth after he's gone. His three children won't have to work at McDonald's necessarily, but they aren't going to waste away in their own Xanadu-style mansions.

"They are never going to be poorly off," Gates explained. "Our kids will receive a great education and some money … but they'll go out and have their own career. It's not a favor to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path." Gates has it that each child will get $10 million.

Luckily, his kids agree with his thrifty inheritance plan and are happy that the money will go to help those in much greater need. Though his children may not be able to have a house with 24 bathrooms, somehow, they'll get by.

Also, Bill Gates can jump over chairs

Bill Gates doesn't seem to be the sportiest chap around, but that doesn't mean he completely lacks physical ability. In an interview with Connie Chung in 1994, she pulled out the hard questions: "Is it true you can leap over a chair from a standing position?" Whoa, that's some real gotcha journalism. But Gates happily admitted that he can jump over chairs, though "it depends on the size of the chair." Good move, Gates.

Chung could have pulled out some Iron Throne-type stuff and really made him look like an idiot. But Gates was happy to jump over a regular office chair, and the world now knows of his prowess in vertical leaps.

Source: This article was published grunge.com By Amber Petty

Friday, 19 May 2017 03:27

11 Uses for Your Old Smartphone

Do you have an old smartphone lying around? Turn it into something cool

Smartphones! Everybody loves 'em. In fact, they're an absolute necessity in today's information age. We don't do anything or go anywhere without our little magic pocket slabs. But here's the super weird thing about smartphones: They all seem to last around two years before they need to be retired.

Two years just happens to the amount of time that most contracts or payment plans last. Strange how that seems to work out, right? I attribute no foul actions, nor endorse any conspiracies, BUT if you are ever in the mood to be inundated with a bout of raw unfiltered anger, try doing a Twitter search for "planned obsolescence."

After a few years, all devices—particularly those that we carry with us at all times—are bound to show a little wear and tear. They might have a few bumps and scratches or perhaps they slow down to molasses speeds. Most physical trauma can be avoided if you have the very wise foresight to purchase a case and screen guard; and the slowness is usually a software issue that can be fixed with a nice clean factory restart.

The takeaway is this: If you take basic precautions, your old phone can have a productive afterlife. While the specs might no longer be bleeding edge, your old phone can still be super useful if you have Wi-Fi access.

Here we present eleven cool ways to repurpose your old smartphone. Have you done anything cool with your old phone? Drop your idea in the comments.

Kids' Camera

1- Kids' Camera

Pixl Toys recently launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to produce a shell that could transform old smartphones into handy, rugged camera for kids. As a rule, I don't usually write about crowdfunding projects because there are so many examples of vaporware, not to mention the outright scams

Even if you don't buy into this particular effort by Pixl, this project showcases an obvious second life for smartphones as a standalone camera. You don't need a wireless network for the camera to work and any images can be transmitted via Wi-Fi or a wired medium.

Always-On Skype Machine

2- Always-On Skype Machine

As long as you have decent Wi-Fi coverage, your old smartphone could serve as a dedicated Skype interface (or FaceTime, Google Duo, or whatever video chat platform you prefer). This is a benefit because it guarantees you won't miss a call and allows you to still use your main device while conversing with friends and family.

Clock (For Alarms or Walls)

3- Clock (For Alarms or Walls)

Painfully obvious pro-tip: Your phone's nice big display will still work even if you no longer have a network connection. One cool use might be as a permanent clock—but one that is much more versatile than your standard bedside tick-tocker.

In the above photo, we used a free Android app, Digital Clock Live Wallpaper-7, which allows you to display the date/time in a number of ways. There are, of course, a zillion clock apps out there that do similar things—you can find the right one for you.

VR Headset

4- VR Headset

While there are some truly impressive high-end (i.e. expensive) standalone VR headsets out there aimed at serious gamers, there are also a number of "shells" designed to transform your smartphone into a decent VR headset for passive viewing. 

There are shells designed for specific models (Gear VR which is meant to be paired specific Samsung Galaxy phone models; or Daydream View$78.23 at Amazon designed just for Google Pixel$649.99 at Verizon Wireless devices), which are quite good, but limited and still fairly expensive. But don't neglect the minimalist pizza-box tech of Google Cardboard, which is available to just about all smartphone models (iOS or Android) and you can pick it up for about $15

The other cool thing about the Cardboard-iverse is that there's lots of available content already out there—there are numerous VR apps it will play nicely with and it can display any "360" video on YouTube. So, for comparatively little investment, you could turn your old smartphone into a permanent VR headset. A nice party favor to have around.

TV Remote

5- TV Remote

A while ago I lost my Roku remote. I assume it will turn up someday, or maybe the wall gremlins just got it. BUT, I was able to download the official Roku app onto my phone and boom—it's a virtual remote that connects to my Roku via their shared wireless network.

There are a few setups that allow for Wi-Fi remotes including OTT devices like Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV in addition to a number of connected TVs.

Dedicated Music Player

6- Dedicated Music Player

If you subscribe to one of the many streaming music services out there, you gain access to just about any song ever made—and that's really kinda cool when you think about it. 

So, you can use your old phone as a dedicated music player. But if you don't dig the tinny audio quality of your generation-old device, pair it with a Bluetooth speaker or connected dongle such as Chromecast Audio$35.00 at Best Buy, and you will have a decent internet-connected juke box with access to all of the world's tunes.


7- Doorbell

The above image is from a smart doorbell setup known matter-of-factly enough as Ring$178.49 at Amazon. Ring allows you to monitor and record who's at your door via a camera on the outside (there's also SkyBell and the subscription-based Vivint home security system$49.99 at Vivint) . 

Those are fine solutions, but will run you some nice bits of coin at the end of the day. You could jerry-rig your own system by connecting your device to any number of quality Wi-Fi cameras or even another phone.

An Emergency 911 Phone

8-An Emergency 911 Phone

As long as your old phone can still turn on, it has the ability to connect to emergency services. All phones can connect to 911 even if they don't have SIM cards installed (this is the case in the US, at least—regulations related to emergency calls vary from country to country). 

In fact, even if your phone registers zero bars or tells you there's "no service," it may still be able to connect to emergency services. No bars may simply mean that your phone doesn't have network coverage in that area (or, in our example, you don't have a SIM card in your phone). However FCC regulations dictate that all carriers provide access to 911, whether they are paying subscribers or not

If you really want to get into the survival scenarios, and you find yourself in need of assistance in a total dead zone (where there appears to be no coverage at all), then it may be in your interest to still try to connect to 911. You may be able to reach a distant cell tower to facilitate a "handshake" in which your device and the tower acknowledge each other's existence, even if they cannot facilitate an actual call. If emergency crews are specifically looking for you, this will help them locate you.

Dedicated Car Display with GPS

9- Add a TouchScreen UI to Your Car

Do you have an older car without a fancy interface? My car, for instance, even lacks support for modern mobile interfaces like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The good news is that there are a variety of quality third-party solutions to help you update your car's tech, but the bad news is these options can run you several hundred dollars. However, there is just a bit more good news: It is possible to set up a decent workaround infotainment system using your old phone. 

First you're going to need a wired adapter to keep your device juiced (or just keep charging it at home, between trips). You could simply rest your old data-less phone on your dashboard, or choose one of the many affordable phone mounts out there. BAM! You have yourself a handy clock display or a touch-screen interface for (downloaded) music and podcasts. But you can even go a step further and get yourself a nice GPS map interface even without a data plan. 

While GPS access is free to any device, you need a data plan to keep your map app updating and functioning. Fortunately, most map apps like Google Maps now allow users to "download" maps for offline use (here's a handy how-to—alternatively, here are some free additional mapping apps for iOS). Offline maps obviously won't provide real-time traffic info, but they will provide all the basic directions you need to get where you are going. Alternatively, if you really want that real-time info, you can tether your current device or purchase a subscription for your car (but if you're making that much of an investment in time and money, maybe just go for one of the aforementioned third-party upgrades)? 

(h/t commenter "lostviking")

Contribute Your Phone to Science

10-Contribute Your Phone to Science

As long your old smartphone still turns on, it's probably just about as powerful and capable as your late-90s desktop. So, why not "donate" some of those unused resources to a good cause? Currently just for Android, you can download the BOINC app (Google Play) which was developed by the University of Berkeley to harnesses your device's unused computing power for crowdsourced science such as [email protected] (crowdsourced project searching for signals from E.T.); IBM's World Community Grid (using computational power for health and sustainability research); or [email protected] (help the Earth from getting smashed). Choose which project you want to help, hook it up to your local Wi-Fi, and help our species progress into the future!

Wall Art

11- Wall Art

You can add a nice post-modern vibe to any room by re-purposing your old phone as a multi-faceted piece of wall art. Unlike a static piece, your phone can afford you lots of aesthetic choices: set it up to display some high-minded meditative video art, use a slideshow/gallery app to cycle through photos/images, or even add an interactive element—the point is to have a focus point for your room that is more versatile than a static image. 

There is, however, one wrinkle you will need to consider—namely the plug. In the above example, we didn't include the phone's power source—it was just running off batteries. Perhaps your old phones could be charged elsewhere and stuck to a wall when guests are expected, or you could simply set it up near an available outlet.

Source: This article was published pcmag.com By EVAN DASHEVSKY

FILE PHOTO: An illustration picture shows a laptop on the screen of an X-ray security scanner, April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic/Illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security chief John Kelly has not made a final decision on extending a ban on larger electronic devices on airplanes, but the department still believes an expansion is likely, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices prompted the United States to announce in March it would restrict passengers from bringing devices larger than cellphones on flights originating from 10 airports, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. Britain followed suit with restrictions on a slightly different set of routes.

DHS spokesman David Lapan declined to offer guidance on when a decision on an expansion would be made, but reiterated it was likely the restrictions would be expanded. He also said any expansion could affect international airports in Europe and elsewhere.

European Union and U.S. officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss airline security, including a possible extension of a ban on passengers carrying laptops in aircraft cabins, a European Commission spokesman said.

The meeting was arranged during a phone call between Kelly and EU ministers on Friday. DHS Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke will attend the meeting.

The United States has been considering increasing the number of airports affected by the ban to possibly include some European ones, prompting the EU to hold a meeting of aviation security officials last week.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday the country may ban passengers from bringing laptop computers into the cabin on some international flights.

"We are looking at it very closely, taking into account all the information and advice we are receiving internationally and working very closely with our partners," Turnbull said, according to a transcript released by his office.

Chief among the Europeans' concerns is the fire risk from placing hundreds of devices with lithium-ion batteries in luggage holds.

Reuters reported last week that the Trump administration would likely expand a ban on laptops on commercial aircraft to include some European countries but was reviewing how to ensure lithium batteries stored in holds do not explode in midair, citing officials briefed on the matter.

Any expansion of the ban could affect U.S. and European carriers such as United Airlines , Delta Air Lines Inc DAL.N> and American Airlines Group .

In 2016, 30 million people flew to the United States from Europe, according to U.S. Transportation Department data.

(Additional reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: This article was published reuters By David Shepardson


Google has confirmed they are testing removing the featured snippet from the main core web results.

Being a “featured snippet” had allowed sites to effectively double-dip with Google visibility, but the search engine is currently testing a change that ends this.

Usually, a site that’s selected as a featured snippet appears both at the top of Google’s search results in a special box and again as one of the 10 web search listings further below. However, it’s been spotted that Google is dropping that web listing if a site is already featured.

Google has confirmed that this is an experiment to Search Engine Land and specifically told us that it’s not a permanent move. They also sent this statement:

We’re always experimenting with ways to create the best possible experience for our users but have nothing to announce at this time.

Of course, the experiment could become permanent down the line. But at the moment, that’s not the case.

I posted screen shots of Google testing removing the featured snippets listings from the core web results. Here is what you normally would see:

Here is where the featured snippet is removed:

Again, Google confirmed they are indeed testing this but has not commented on if this will be rolling out to everyone or not.

Source: This article was published searchengineland By Barry Schwartz

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