Monthly Archives: October 2011

The best bits from the “Steve Jobs” Biography

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

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CNN has done a great job putting together a summary of the book outlining Steve Jobs‘ life.  To quote from the article:

“Steve Jobs,’ the biography of the late tech visionary that went on sale Monday, has already produced plenty of headlines: How Jobs met his birth father without knowing who he was, how he swore bitter revenge on Google for developing its competing Android system, and how he waited too long after his cancer diagnosis to get surgery that might have saved him.

“But the 656-page book by hand-picked biographer Walter Isaacson also contains a wealth of smaller, but no less telling, details about the brilliant but difficult Apple co-founder.

“Taken together, they build an illuminating portrait of a charismatic, complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. Even on their own, many of these snippets are still fascinating glimpses into an extraordinary life.

Nation-Wide Facial Recognition Service Being Launched by FBI

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency of the...

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I first started working with Biometrics back in the 1970’s in helping a graduate student develop a signature recognition system.  Back then we were using mainframes, punch cards, a TTY33 and some very grainy EBCDIC artwork to help render the signatures.  We never got very far, but we were able to make some interesting inroads.  Boy have things changed.

We’ve talked on the show before about the NFL’s ties to the FBI and CIA and how you haven’t been able to go to a Super Bowl football game in years without having your photograph taken and analyzed against a database of known terrorists and criminals.  This technology has reportedly been used to stop and arrest less than a handful of people over the course of the program.

The UK has become surveillance-central with tens of thousands of cameras capturing images of people’s faces, automobiles and tracking them as they move throughout the cities.  This information is also being used to fight crime and detour n’er-do-wells.

Now the FBI has stepped in and is planning on rolling out a national-wide Facial Recognition Service which will allow any cop on the street with a smartphone to take your photo and run it through an FBI background check.  Police vehicles will end up being equipped with cameras which go beyond their current function of running every license plate of every car within their shot to be fully integrated with the FBI and used to look up your background.  Hopefully, they’ll catch a few bad guys.

But data has a way of sticking around.

Given a few years, this database of queries against the system will contain incredible information about the movement of people throughout the country and around the world.  The government will be able to question you because they think your movements aren’t quite what they’d like them to be.  They will be able to determine where you work, which restaurants you frequent, which car you drive and much more.

Database analytics has become a very large field for the government, and with the advent of a national facial recognition service, database vendors will be able to look forward to their best growth ever.  Citizens, however, must be eternally vigilant to make sure this type of power does not become mis-used.

And the private sector?  Google, Facebook and others are pretty excited about using facial recognition to tie all of your photographs together.  Kinda nice to be able to find shots of your great aunt Lucy with your Mom and Dad, and the marketing angles are incredible.  So are the risks.

E-Voting Machines More Dangerous Than First Thought

This is an image of a Diebold Elections System...

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I’ve talked about the new electronic voting machines before on my show and with Charlie Sherman and Paul Westcott.  It’s scary to think that there’s no real audit trail on these machines, which are designed to provide a friendly user-interface and be reasonably easy-to-use.  The real problem is the lack of an audit trail.

We’ve discussed at least a half dozen serious problems with these devices which have been installed all across the country.  The most recent problem?  Direct hardware hacks.

Turns out that with a $20 bill, a technical person could build a small card which, when installed, would allow a hacker to remotely control the votes that were cast by the machine with no way to determine which votes were changed and how.

Manage and Secure Business Mobile Infrastructure

Jamie Barnett a Senior Director of Product Marketing at Zenprise joins Craig to discuss how businesses can manage and secure their mobile infrastructure and transform enterprise mobility into a competitive business advantage.

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Zenprise® MobileManager™ software is the first all-in-one platform with monitoring, device management, security and expense management for BlackBerry, Google Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Symbian and Windows Mobile.

Proven Mobile Device Management: Whatever Device You Have, We Secure It.

  • Effectively manages and monitors company- and employee-owned smartphones from a single dashboard
  • Get an overall snapshot of smaprtphone operations, with breakdown by device and carrier
  • Automatically ‘discovers’ your entire mobile infrastructure
  • Dynamically discovers new or upgraded servers, smartphones or applications as they are deployed
  • Manages and secures the full mobile lifecycle: BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad , Google Android, Windows Mobile and Palm devices
  • Provides a full-service Web dashboard for centralized control of employee-liable and corporate-liable smartphones and their platforms
  • Repairs smartphone problems remotely to minimize user down-time and improve help desk productivity
  • Embeds an Expert Knowledge base of 6,500 problem resolution workflows for rapid troubleshooting and remediation
  • Provides proactive 24×7 monitoring and automated alerts to protect smartphone users from availability and/or performance problems
  • Enforces security and management policies at both device-owner and department/group levels
  • Enables auto-configuration of password policies on all devices, including length, complexity and encryption
  • Proactively controls and monitors mobile expenses to limit unexpected costs

Mobile Productivity Regardless of Device or Location

  • Manage, monitor and secure your organization’s smartphones.
  • End-to-end visibility into both smartphone-specific issues and back-end network or server issues ensures mobile employees stay productive, wherever they are located.
  • Roles-based views provide each support team with instant access to the tools and information they need to get the job done right.
  • Users are more productive, the mobile enterprise is more secure, and you can sleep better at night.