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The Weekly Future Bit: Antivirus

... to the Future, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/monterd/

… to the Future, courtesy of monterd

The Weekly Future Bit is a weekly spot that will focus on predictions of the future, socially, technologically, and anything else that comes in its way.

Computer viruses are something that everyone who uses a computer needs to worry about, Windows, Mac, and Linux alike, albeit the latter two less so.  But, there will always be security exploits for software, and people using those exploits to gain access to your computer and data.  And since the first computer viruses, there was antivirus software to help protect against intrusion, and that has been the mode of operation: you protect yourself through your antivirus.  Sure, there are additional measures, like firewalls, that do help, but all of these combined do not stop viruses.  Even all the extra security measures in Windows Vista that gave users such pain, did not completely stop the issue of a virus.

To combat this, IT security is going to go on the offensive.  This has already started a little bit too.  For one, antivirus companies such as McAfee and Norton team up with service providers to block the ability for high profile viruses to phone home, and really wreak havoc (without phoning home, most viruses are not very dangerous at all).  The next move that’s about to begin is proactive response to detection.  Australia, for example, is going to begin contacting users of infected machines, and even go so far as to disconnect the machines from the Internet.

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Posted in Tech, Weekly Updates. Tagged with , .

Peak Population

Chrome Hill, UK Peak District, taken by tricky ™

Chrome Hill, UK Peak District, taken by tricky ™

Peak population is the thought that there is a maximum number of people that the planet can sustain. The thought is that our usage of resources will get to a point at which ability for farming, both literally and figuratively, will be surpassed by demand. Science fiction suggests that we simply will begin to harvest those resources beyond the planet; that science will provide solutions to our problems.

I think that peak population will not be reached (if it has not been reached already) due to resource scarcity, but due to human economic forces. The idea here, is that the services and manufacturing activities of civilization will reach a point where so much is made and performed, that unemployment will increase as a result of competitiveness resulting in increased efficiency. After this point, society will continue to evolve, however population will decrease to provide.

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Education may finally evolve

The New York Times reports that Congress just recently passed legislation that will cause the formation of a new organization, focused on finding ways (primarily though technology) to make education better. This has the potential to be a huge success for education (not just in the US, but really the entire world). The new organization is set up very similarly to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where it will supply grants and venture capital for organizations, targeting specific goals. DARPA has been wildly successful, and the new agency, the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies, I wager will follow suit.  This is an especially needed effort though, as the education system in the US has been accused of not changing much at all since the 1950′s.  With luck, the new agency will help transform the Education Department’s policies, and education as a whole in the country, for the better, hopefully making it a modern model for the world.

The only thing that I think it’s lacking though, is a good name. It’s not nearly as catchy, or easy to say, as DARPA.  You can view the NYT article here.

Posted in Tech. Tagged with , .

Outer Space, Commercialized

NASA has an article up on their website right now, detailing a proposal for a revamp of NASA operations and goals (link).  The plan details a flexible path to Mars, the agency’s current long-term goal, that the current scheme places bubble suited astronauts on Martian soil at earliest, 2030.  The new strategy though, might bring humans to another planet earlier, and make it easier for NASA to provide scientific advancement.

The old idea was basically as such: get back to the ISS under NASA’s own power (instead of getting the Russians to fly us up on old Soyuz capsules), get to the Moon, build a permanent manned installation on the Moon, and then go to Mars.  There are two main problems with this, that the new plan addresses.  First, and probably most importantly, it’s flexible.  Instead of outlining a straight line sort of path with no deviations or pit-stops, it’s more like directions from Google; here’s one way you could go, or another, but you’ll still get there.  And if along the way it seems like there’s traffic up ahead, you just ask for an alternate.  The second, is that it doesn’t provide the best platform for actually getting to Mars, just the Moon (the idea being that the ISS can act as a sort of rest area between here and there).

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Posted in Tech. Tagged with , .

Final proof that it was the Chinese

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I had my doubts about the attacks on Google, Yahoo!, and all those other companies that where listed as being the target of successful hacks using IE and Adobe Reader exploits over the last year (the first attacks that where found to be connected where in July).  Everyone claimed that it was the big red and gold flag’s fault, but no one said how Google, VeriSign, and McAfee, came to that conclusion.  The only mention of a link was that part of the attacks where targeting data either of or directly related to human rights activist groups, some of which had ties to China.

Now though, there are reports that several of the websites of these same groups where targeted by a DDoS attack over the weekend (effectively shutting down those websites by flooding them with fake web traffic).  All of the evidence presented to the public that I or anyone else I had spoken to before was not definitive proof, but this really does make the People’s Republic look rather bad.  And, this after they where mum to near direct accusations by Google that although China sees hacking by its citizens illegal, it does not see the government or some other group sanctioned by the Chinese Communist Party, basically saying without actually doing so, that the Chinese government is above its own laws.

Posted in Tech. Tagged with , , , .

Haiti

Don’t crucify me too soon, but this whole Haiti thing is a little bit bull shit. Now, hear me out. Haiti, before the earthquake, and the following aftershock, and another earthquake I’m told, wasn’t exactly the most well-to-do country in the world. In fact, Wikipedia has it at a human development index (HDI) of 0.532 in 2007. That’s not that good. To give you an idea of how not good that is, the US is 0.956. By another perspective: Haiti is the least developed country in the western hemisphere. Now, there are worse countries. Afghanistan for one, has an HDI of 0.352. But there are not a plethora of countries that are that low. The billion people in China are better off as a collective, at 0.772.

Now, the part that is bunk about all this, is the fact that now that they’re capital has basically been reduced entirely to rubble, everyone in the world is trying to help them out.   Why can’t we show compassion when people aren’t getting buried under rubble, but are still not well off at all?  If this is how we treat people, then maybe there should be more earthquakes.  More volcanic eruptions.  More all of this sort of thing.  Liberia, you’re at a lowly 0.442 on the scale.  Maybe you should set fire to your cities, blame it on a meteorite or two, and call up the media.  I can almost guarantee an infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, or even more.  By the way Liberia, you do have good things going for you; don’t take this as a slight against you.

Thanks to BK.  He brought the idea to my attention.  I just decided to share it with the world.

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The Weekly Future Bit: Cameras

... to the Future, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/monterd/

… to the Future, courtesy of monterd

The Weekly Future Bit is a weekly spot that will focus on predictions of the future, socially, technologically, and anything else that comes in its way.

I was taking a couple of pictures today of my living room. You see, I need to go get a couch or two to fill a void in the room, and every time I go to the store, I have no pictures. And that doesn’t help. So, again, I was taking these pictures, and when I uploaded them to my computer, then transfer to my phone, I noticed that even though the lighting hadn’t changed in the room, the auto function on my very nice Nikon decided to make each other angle have a different amount of this, that, or the other. I won’t go into a detailed breakdown of the options it chose to shoot the images with, but suffice to say, the colors were off in most cases, and not consistent from a picture of one corner of the room to another.

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Posted in Tech, Weekly Updates. Tagged with .

(for once) Stealing from GM

There’s a new concept afoot, and it’s called the Trexa EV Development Platform. Now, it is just a development platform, where you can basically tune it endlessly to your desired specifications for the end-vehicle, but all the same, this is nearly identical to an idea GM had a few years ago. At that time, GM was for some reason or another thinking that Hydrogen would be the next fuel source, and that the car of tomorrow would actually be based on a ‘surfboard’ like chassis, almost identical in appearance to the one pictured below. The Hydrogen fuel cells would create electricity, and voila, you’ve got yourself a drivetrain. This idea is basically exactly the same. Power the wheels via electric motors, batteries in the floor, and just pop what you want on top, be it a sedan, mini-van, or Hummer.

It’s a fantastic idea for a real life product if you ask me. Think about it. Instead of buying a car, you buy a platform. Then from there, you buy the sort of configuration you want it to be in. And you can buy a second one too, for not nearly as much as a whole ‘nother car. Think of having a sports car body for those days where you’re not hauling around groceries or kids, and then switching over to a people carrier upper deck for when you’re packing more than just yourself into your sweet electric car, all for a price that’s less than it would be to buy the two entirely separate.

I think it could be a way for car companies to make a little bit more money. There are people who don’t buy a second car for themselves because it’s just too much, but could afford to buy, say, another half of a car. And, when the lower body starts getting old, people will be more willing and able to go in and make a purchase of a new one. Possibly even with a higher trade-in value than just selling it off, because they could recycle the thing too. I think there’s a lot of profit in an idea like this, if it can be pulled off.

Via Engadget. Check out trexa.com for more details, and some sweet Flash action.

Posted in Cars, Tech. Tagged with .

My new love afair, to be.

You wouldn’t guess it, but I am embarking on a new love affair.  With a woman (for all of those who might have thought otherwise, I’m giving you the evil eye as you read this).  And that woman’s name is Audi R8 5.2 FSI Spyder.  She is the most beautiful car ever, and has an engine that is to be lusted after.  Car porn, you have a new leading actress, and she is an Audi.  Thank you Audi, for birthing such a magnificent creature, and debuting her at the Detroit Auto Show.  Now please let me take her out and woo her.

Pics courtesy of Autoblog.

Posted in Cars. Tagged with .

GMC Granite

2010 GMC Granite ConceptYou might be saying to yourself “why is he bothering writing about a crummy car with a GMC badge?”  Well, if you look below at the images of the thing, you’d know why.  But you must bear with me.  It is GM’s idea for something to sit in the Scion xB / Nissan Cube / some other car that doesn’t matter either segment I like to call CCUV’s, or Compact Car Utility Vehicles.  These things are small.  They’re built on top of regular auto platforms.  They’re not mean to be able to tow a fully loaded 18 wheeler up a 20% grade at 65mph.  And all the other ones are ugly.  The Scion xB was ugly to begin with, and has gotten a lot worse.  The Nissan Cube is, well, a flipping cube.  The only way to make it less attractive is to put a giant spoiler on the back and try to drag race it (flames might actually make it look better though).

The Granite on the other hand, is much more muscular, like a good car should be, if it’s not trying to be sleek and seductive.  Which no other car in this micro-segment is.  It is the first car that has ever had a GMC badge that I would actually buy.  Even if I wanted a truck, I wouldn’t buy one with the General’s badge on it.  I won’t go into a full blown breakdown session of the design of the car like I did with Bugatti’s latest baby, but I hope that you’d agree that this actually is a rather sexy car, with few mistakes made.

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Posted in Cars, Design. Tagged with .