If you are a Facebook investor you had better get prepared to lose even more money next week. You may remember that the stock tanked a few months ago when top ranking employees were able able to cash out their stock. Well starting Monday, everyone in the company will be able to cash out their stock and many will actually be doing so since they will becoming instant millionaires. Some 225 million shares (worth around $4.3 billion) are owned by employees and analysts expect about half of those shares to be sold on Monday. Brendan Spaar thinks the only way to get rich off of Facebook is to have worked at the company from day 1. Outside investors don't stand a chance.
If you are in IT or pay attention to the news then you probably remember the great flooding situation in Thailand last year. One thing that Brendan Spaar realized real quickly was that Thailand manufactures a large portion of the world's hard drive supply. Disk prices skyrocketed and companies like HP began stockpiling all the drives that they could find. Companies that ran offsite backup services were hit especially hard.
There's one backup company named Blackblaze that offers unlimited offsite backups for only $5 a month. This great deal has given them a ton of business but also puts them in a bad place if they can't find hard drives to expand their storage. This company needs an average of 50TB per day of additional capacity to keep their customers happy. During the hard drive shortage they went to Costco and Best Buy to buy their drives because their suppliers were either out or the wholesale prices were rediculously high. The article below details how they had to get creative to avoid the retailer's policies that were meant to prevent big companies from hoarding drives. In this case it was a necessity for the company to buy the drives. What's to stop some company from buying technology like a comodity when prices are low and selling them on eBay or other sources when the world market skyrockets?
Here's a warning to all of you pirates out there. Talk like a pirate day has come and gone but American Internet Service Providors are keeping piracy in the news with a new policy that is set to go into effect next month. The RIAA and MPAA have been battling BitTorrent sites like The Pirate bay for years over hosting links to illegal content. Kim DotCom was recently arrested and put in jail for running one such site. Well Brendan Spaar doesn't think the content providors are going to be sending the sherrif to your house to arrest you but they have another way of dealing with you. Content providors will be scanning Torrent sites collecting IPs of people who are downloading the content. They will then turn over the list of IPs to each ISP (Internet Service Providor). The ISP will then send an email to the individual warning them to stop such activity. If the user is caught a second time, another warning will go out. On the fifth (yes FIFTH) warning, the ISP will take action which includes turning the subscriber's info over to the RIAA as well as possibly suspending their account.
I'm actually in support of this approach so long as the RIAA and MPAA have some proof that the person actually completed their download. The ISP should not be turning over this info (sans court order I might add) just because a business wants them to. What's to stop me from requesting subscriber information from AT&T when I receive a blog comment that I don't like? Now the RIAA and MPAA has to give the subscriber 5 strikes before they can go after them. A little extra investigation never hurt anyone and sometimes when you take your time you can actually find out what is going on.
The next time you go to like a baby photo or status update on Facebook you may want to think about people in the Philippines who don't have this right. You see, the Philippines have recently passed a Cybercrime Prevention Act which will have anyone arrested if they are caught participating in cybersex, identity theft, hacking, spamming, pornography, and even social media. This vague Act was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III. Brendan Spaar wishes that more politicians would read the laws before they vote on them and that more presidents would veto laws that are too vague in nature. This could very well happen here so we need to keep our politicians in line. Sure there are problems with people using the internet for commiting crime but issuing a vague law isn't the way to stop it. These vague laws like the Patriot Act have far reaching consequences and sometimes sweep innocent people up in the net along with the criminals.
Criminals sure are crafty these days. According to the Lancaster County Sherrif's Department, criminals are taking to the unsecured air waves to carry out high tech crime waves in their county. Because of this, sherrif's deputies have been driving around looking unsecured WiFi signals bleading out from homes. If one is found, don't worry, you won't be arrested. The officials will only send you a letter in the mail warning you of the dangers of leaving your WiFi network open to the world. One of those dangers you may be letting in: child pornography. Apparently child molesters are driving around in the county looking up this junk on unsecured WiFi connections.
If you own a business that uses unsecured WiFi, don't worry, you won't be getting a letter. The sherrif's department must think that pedophiles are more likely to sit in front of someone's house stealing their WiFi than blending in at a public place like a Starbucks. Brendan Spaar is here to tell you that securing your WiFi connection is not enough to stop crime. Someone can crack WEP encryption in a matter of minutes. If you want true security, you should hard wire all of your devices and live underground.
This is an oldie but a goody. A man in Santa Fe has sued his neighbor charging that electronics in the home are upsetting his "electromagnetic sensitivities." Arthur Firstenberg, a 59 year old man was living a peaceful life until one day a woman moved in next door. All of a sudden poor Arthur started getting body aches, vertigo, insomnia, nausea, and heart arrhythmia (or what Brendan Spaar would diagnose as the special feelings that a man gets for a woman). Arthur went over and asked the woman to work with him and to limit the use of her iPhone, laptop, wireless router and (get this) dimmer switches. This isn't Arthur's first battle though. He organized an online (yeah that's legit) petition to stop the city from building WiFi antennas around the town. If you are ever in Sante Fe and need to borrow some tin foil, I'm sure Arthur has more than enough to spare.
I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Mega toy store Toys R Us has started up a streaming video service for children that is a lot like Netflix in some ways and a lot different in others. For one, the service is targeted at a pay-per-rental model with prices starting at $2.99 and going as high as $5.99 for a 24 hour rental. The service is going to have child friendly HD quality movies before they are out on DVD as shown with the release of Madagascar 3 a good 2 weeks before the movie hits store shelves. Brendan Spaar is not a fan of pay per view streaming and doesn't feel that you should be charged this much for one-time use. In this area, Netflix has Toys R Us beat before it even gets started. You may have to wait longer before the movie is available but that seems to be worth the price you will end up paying ($10/month unlimited vs. $5.99 per movie).
Here's something that you may never see happen to an iPhone. Last week, Samsung smartphones running the Android operating system fell victim to a rogue line of HTML code that would remotely wipe the phone if accessed. Something like this isn't supposed to happen and Samsung quickly released a patch to its affected user base. The reason that Brendan Spaar does not believe this would ever happen on an Apple device is because of how locked down the devices are. Unless you jailbreak the iPhone, you run very little risk of having your phone wiped or compromised. That's because Apple tightly controls the OS and puts its development through many beta cycles before it is released to the public. I'm not saying that Apple has the best phone out there but mobile security is one big concern of mine when debating whether or not I should switch from the fruit to the Droid.
Brendan Spaar is a technology blogger from Forsyth County, GA. Since 2008 he has had a major presence on the web from Alpharetta to Georgia you can find many of his posts all over the internet. This is the technology blog where you will not find arrest or mugshot photos of people but instead you will find