Many of us have seen the action movie I-Robot staring Will Smith where a self aware robot begins killing people. Google has been working for many years on perfecting a self driving car that may one day eliminate the need for humans to drive vehicals. Brendan Spaar welcomes this day because there are some crazy people on the roads. This advance in science is a both a convenience and a limit on human rights. Sure we don't have the right to drive a vehicle but shouldn't we be allowed to drive it? The population is growing at an exponential rate and computer automation is limiting what we can actually do. Robots exist today that will clean your home (althought they aren't very good at it), build your cars, and connect your phone calls. All of these jobs were once done by humans. Any boy or girl in school today should think about making a career in robotics.
It's every person and company's worst nightmare. You have been hacked. Your identity has been compromised or your data has been stolen. It's one of the worst kind of robberies there is and what's even more troubling is that the police do not have the knowledge or resources to go after hackers. What if you had the knowledge and resources to go after these criminals? This kind of vigilante justice is illegal according to The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Should this be changed? That's the great debate that's taking place right online now. Counter hacking is sort of an eye for an eye justice where hackers inflict digital damage upon those that hack them. Brendan Spaar does not think that you should be allowed to hack your hackers just like you shouldn't be allowed to burn down someone's house that wrongs you. Now that's not to say you can't use your resources and knowledge to have the hackers arrested. Why not turn all of the evidence that you are able to collect over to the sherrif deputies so that they don't have to do any work? Then the hackers will go to jail and not be able to hack ever again. Read more about the debate below.
It's one thing to tax people on goods that are bought and sold in your state but Brendan Spaar feels that California has gone too far. California is taxing its residents on shipping and handling. Most of handling is labor costs and aren't generally taxable. California is so far in debt that they are tryin gto get money any way that they can. Taxing costs that are intangible seems to be a step in the wrong direction. It won't be long until California starts taxing the tax on your bill. This is going to have a huge impact on online retailers like Amazon.com because big box retailers aren't subject to the same taxes. So if you live in California, beware the next time you order something online. You may be paying more than you would by going to pick it up in a store.
Stop me if you've heard this one: A guy walks into a bar carrying his not-yet-released prototype phone. After a few drinks, he leaves the bar without the phone. Yes this happened again! This time it was the Google Nexus 4 that was left behind in a California bar. A bartender at 500 Club in San Francisco found the phone and put it by the cash register for a few days. Surprisingly no one claimed the phone. He later got with one of his tech-savy friends and tracked it down to Google. This isn't the first time someone has left their prototype phone in a bar. Back in 2010, an Apple engineer (former?) named Gray Powell left a prototype of the iPhone 4 at Gourmet Haus Stadt in Redwood City. Someone found this phone and sold it to Gizmodo.com for $5,000. Luckily the Google Nexus 4 was returned to Google and not sold. Brendan Spaar recommends leaving the prototype phones at home the next time you are going out for a night on the town.
You know the phrase "good help is so hard to find?" Many employers are using this phrase to complain about the lack of talented IT Security professionals. What ths article points out is that employers are probably disqualifying candidates because they do not fit the mold of typical job seekers. Take this example from the article. Ask the security job seeker if someone were to kidnap their family. would they turn on their company to get the family back? If you answer yes to the question you probably won't get the job because it's not the politically correct thing to say. However, the honest answer is an emphatic YES! Brendan Spaar believes that employers need to put political correctness aside and have the applicants explain their answers. If the applicant has a good reason for saying yes then you should evaluate it accordingly. Don't come up with interview questions that place professionals into buckets.
You know that iPhone that you're walking around with? How would you feel if you knew it was made by underage Chinese laborers? Not so good eh? Well it turns out that after months of denying it, Chinese technology assembler Foxconn has fessed up to using children as "interns" to produce some of the iPhones that it delivers for Apple. Not only are they using young boys and girls to make these phones, they aren't paying them anything! That's what intern means, right? According to the article, Foxconn had been using these child interns because of a labor shortage. When your country has a couple billion people, Brendan Spaar finds it hard to believe that the company cannot find enough unskilled laborers (of legal age) to assemble these phones. Is this a case where we should be looking to companies like Apple to bring their manufacuring back home to the United States?
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.
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