Friday, August 31, 2007

FBI Spied On Martin Luther King's Wife

Federal agents spied on the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. for several years after his assassination in 1968, according to newly released documents that reveal the FBI worried about her following in the footsteps of the slain civil rights icon. Coretta Scott King might try to tie "the anti-Vietnam movement to the civil rights movement" according to some of the nearly 500 pages of intelligence files, which go on to show how the FBI trailed King at public appearances and kept close tabs on her travel.

The documents were obtained by Houston television station KHOU in a story published Thursday. Coretta Scott King died in January 2006. She was 78. One memo shows that the FBI even read and reviewed King's 1969 book about her late husband. The entry made a point to say that her "selfless, magnanimous, decorous attitude is belied by ... (her) actual shrewd, calculating, businesslike activities." The documents also focus on her relationship with Stanley Levison, who was a close adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and a person the government long suspected was a communist.

There is also evidence that the Nixon administration and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were kept informed of the FBI's surveillance. Martin Luther King Jr.'s activities were long known to have been monitored by the federal government. News of intelligence gathering on famous Americans and war critics became so infamous that rules to curtail domestic spying were put in place in the 1970s.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Apple launches TV service in UK

Fans of US TV will be able to download episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty as Apple launches its video downloads service in the UK. Initially 28 series will be available with Apple promising more content soon. There is currently little UK-produced content, although ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC all offer their own download catch-up TV services. Unlike the BBC, Apple will charge iTunes customers £1.89 per episode for their favourite shows.

Music core

The BBC and Channel 4's offerings are essentially catch-up services, whereas any content bought via iTunes can be kept. The content - available from Apple's iTunes store - can be viewed on TV, iPods or a widescreen TV via its add-on peripheral Apple TV. Apple launched its video download service in the US two years ago with mixed results.

"Video content in the US has clearly not been as strong as music in terms of both the breadth and depth of what is available and in terms of how much is being sold," said JupiterMedia analyst Mark Mulligan. While a video catalogue is an important addition to the UK iTunes store, music will remain its core service, he said. Down the line partnerships with the BBC and Channel 4 could be on the cards, he thinks.

"It is a natural partnership and UK companies have shown a willingness to experiment with online video distribution but a lot of questions remain over things such as usage rights and how to differentiate content," he said.

Source: BBC

Smoking warnings

If you are smoker and looking for ways to quit smoking, then here are some pics from BBC Science which would definitely motivate you to take the path of quitting.

Monster website hacked. Theft of millions of Users' info

Jobs portal has released details about the severity of the attack on its site. It said confidential details of more than 1.3 million people, mainly Americans, were stolen by malicious hackers who carried out the attack. It said that servers in Ukraine and hijacked home computers were used to mount the attack. Monster said the information was stolen to lend credibility to e-mails sent out as part of a phishing campaign.

Bank job

The thieves got away with names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of users. The job site said that the thieves did not get any useful financial information such as bank account details in the attack. Monster told the Reuters news agency that it first heard about the attack on 17 August thanks to security firm Symantec. The jobs portal said it managed to shut down the rogue servers used in the attack on 21 August after contacting the Ukrainian company hosting them.

These servers were used to get access to Monster's database using stolen login details. The attackers wanted to get hold of personal information in an attempt to make e-mails supposedly sent by recruitment firms more plausible. By getting people to open the fake e-mails and click on the attachments the thieves aimed to steal more saleable information or hijack an infected machine.

The vast majority of those affected by the attack are based in the US. Monster estimates that fewer than 5,000 people outside the US had their details stolen in the attack. Monster said it had more than 73 million CVs in its database.

Source: BBC

Million more UK homes go online

The number of UK homes with internet access has gone up by nearly a million over the last year, figures suggest. Some 15.2m UK households - 61% of homes - now have an internet connection, compared with 54% in 2006, research from National Statistics found. London and south-west England had the highest percentage online at 69%, with Northern Ireland lowest at 52%. In total, 84% of web-enabled households said they had a broadband connection, up from 69% in May 2006.

Internet shopping

The research found that age was a significant factor in determining whether individuals were likely to go online, National Statistics said. "There was still a large difference between the number of young and older people accessing the internet," it said. According to the report, 71% of those aged over 65 said they had never used it, while the figure for those aged 16 to 24 was just 4%. It found that internet shopping is also on the increase, with 53% having bought goods online, compared with 44% last year.

But the research found evidence that users were not taking threats to their online security seriously enough. A total of 46% of internet users said they had never or hardly ever made a back-up of files on their computer - and of those, 21% had had a computer virus in the last 12 months.

The figures were compiled from the National Statistics Omnibus Survey conducted each month with 1,200 adults aged over 16 in Great Britain, and with 400 adults in Northern Ireland in May 2007. They echo a recent report by Ofcom which found older media such as TV, radio and DVDs are being abandoned in favour of more modern technology.
Source: BBC

'Big brother' records first 3 years of baby

Every movement, gurgle and chuckle made by a baby in the first three years of its life is being recorded by a scientist in the US. Professor Deb Roy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is recording his son's development to shed light on how babies acquire language. The Human Speechome Project, as it is known, uses cameras and microphones installed in the scientist's home. The project will eventually gather 400,000 hours of material.

"As every proud parent knows, there's no such thing as too many images and videos you can take of your newborn," Professor Roy told a press conference. "I think we're taking this to a whole new level."

Language difficulty

There is still a considerable amount of debate about how infants acquire language. Although listening to the cooing of parents is thought to play an important part, most scientists believe it cannot be solely responsible for the rapid progress seen in most children. Instead, language-specific genes and environmental factors have both been put forward as additional factors that help children to learn to speak.

Until now, the environmental influences on development have been very difficult to test because scientists have been unable to observe a baby for long enough in its home environment. The Speechome Project will change that by generating and analysing vast tracts of recorded material. For example, to understand how Professor Roy's son learnt his first words, the scientists will be able to mine their records to see who used those words around the child, where they were and what the child was doing at the time.

Frank Moss, director of MIT's Media Lab, believes the project has close parallels to the Human Genome Project. "Just as the Human Genome Project illuminates the innate genetic code that shapes us, the Speechome Project is an important first step toward creating a map of how the environment shapes human development and learning," he said.

Big brother

The project started recording nine months ago when Professor Roy's newborn son left hospital. Since then a "big brother" network of 14 microphones and 11 omni-directional cameras has been recording his son's waking hours. The surveillance system is turned on at eight o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night, producing nearly 350GB of compressed data every day.

It will be switched on for the next three years, by which time Professor Roy's son should be using complex language and spending more time outside, making recordings more difficult. In case Professor Roy's family requires some privacy, every room is fitted with a PDA that can turn the microphones or cameras off. An "oops" button allows people to erase the last few minutes of footage. "You can type in how many minutes back in time you want to scrub permanently from the house's memory," said Professor Roy.

Source: BBC

Life Recorders

A person's entire life from birth to death could one day be recorded by a network of intelligent sensors, according to a senior scientist. By 2057, Martin Sadler of PC firm Hewlett Packard, said there could be at least 1m devices for every UK resident. Predicted advances in storage and cameras coupled with decreasing costs would allow this explosion, he said. But, he warned, the amount of personal data that could be collected would lead to difficult ethical dilemmas.

"Maybe the first time you know you are pregnant is when a targeted piece of advertising comes through on your computer screen offering you some baby clothes because somehow the smart toilet, or some other aspect of your environment, leaked that information," he said.

Life recorder

Already we live in a world surrounded by sensors and recording devices, said Professor Sadler, director of the Trusted Systems Lab at Hewlett Packard. Current uses include CCTV, wildlife monitoring, mobile phone cameras and GPS devices. A 2002 study calculated there were around 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK, one for every 14 people. Professor Sadler said: "The average Londoner may be viewed as many as 300 times a day."

The growth in the number of devices would continue to grow, he predicted. "If you go forward 50 years, you are probably talking about one million forms of sensors per person in the UK," he said. This was a conservative estimate, he said. "More aggressive" calculations suggest there could be 20m sensors per person. Already some researchers at Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and MIT have developed devices that record a person's every move. Research like this, as well as advances in sensor technology and manufacturing techniques would see a continued "slow and incremental, year-on-year" growth in the number of devices that surround and monitor people, he said. This would result in a world where "everything we want monitored can be monitored," he said.

Future use

A lot of the applications would be "innocent and harmless", he said. We imagine by 2057 our motorways, rivers and coastal defences, farms, businesses, homes and neighbourhoods and bodies will all be highly instrumented," he said. But he said there would be potential to misuse the networks and the data they collect. "We will hit some of these scenarios when people suddenly think, 'Oh, I didn't really intend to go there'," he said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of after the event working out what we do about some of the more invasive uses of the technology."

As a result, he said, people needed to make decisions now about the future use if the technology. "We have some real choices that we can make over the next few years about how much we benefit from all this information... or how much it presents some sort of dark future for us."

Source: BBC

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Claim of discovering the world's biggest-ever diamond.

A SOUTH African mining company yesterday claimed to have discovered the world's biggest diamond, twice the size of the current biggest known stone, the Cullinan. Brett Jolly, a spokesman for the company, Two Point Five Construction, said the rough diamond - reportedly a 7,000-carat stone about the size of a coconut - had been transported under tight security to Johannesburg and deposited in a bank vault Mr Jolly, in a local radio interview, said he was now consulting with lawyers about future steps concerning the diamond.

The Cullinan, which was discovered in South Africa more than 100 years ago, became part of Britain's Crown Jewels.

Before anything else happens, in the country's strictly controlled diamond mining industry, the stone will have to be examined by the South African Diamond Board, which registers all diamonds, to confirm its authenticity and that it was found at a licensed diamond mining site.

In the north-west of the country, where Two Point Five operates, hundreds of small diamond prospecting companies are registered. It is illegal to attempt to sell stones other than from registered sites and both the Diamond Board and the government's Ministry of Minerals and Energy have to register stones and give permission for export. It would also be subjected to the Kimberley Process, a system aimed at controlling the sale of "blood diamonds" used to finance Africa's many wars.

Tom Tweedy, a spokesman for De Beers, the world's biggest diamond company, said that if the find were genuine it would be "the stone of the century". However, he said photographs of the "diamond" show it to be light green in colour, which while possible is very rare. "I have my doubts that it is real," Mr Tweedy added. Various diamond industry spokesmen said that while the precise site of the find had yet to be revealed, it was standard practice not to do so with a potentially very valuable diamond for security reasons.

It is also common for the owner of a big find to keep details under wraps initially for the purposes of increasing buyer interest. "If it is what it is, it's very, very rare," said Les Milner, a gem scientist with the Jewellery Council Laboratories, the umbrella organisation of South Africa's precious stones trade. "I tend to be very sceptical about this kind of thing."

But Mr Milner added that photographs show it has the typical octahedral shape of a diamond.

Now the topic of biggest diamonds has come up, so, let us see some other biggest ones. Following are some well known names of biggest diamonds.
  • Cullinan I
  • The Excelsior
  • Orloff
  • The Great Mogul
  • The Idols Eye
  • Sefadu
  • The Centenary
  • The Premier Rose
  • The Regent
  • The Blue Hope
  • The Sancy
  • The Taylor-Burton
Diamonds are indeed out of reach for a common man as most of us think. Infact some diamonds are out of reach for all and are literally out of this world. Lucy, a 3000KM wide diamond is 500 trillion kilometres away from the Earth was unveiled in 2004.

Source: News

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

VMworld 2007 in San Francisco

Thousands of IT professionals and executives, developers, technology providers, and industry experts from around the world are expected to join in VMworld 2007 on September 11-13 at the Moscone Center in scenic San Francisco to experience the latest and greatest in virtualization technology and business solutions. As part of the VMworld 2007 industry leaders speak about the latest trends and challenges in the virtualization ecosystem.

The event is expected to be attended by more than 10,000 technology experts and business executives including VMware employees. VMworld 2007 will offer over 250 breakout sessions that fall into one or more of following eight tracks.
  • Infrastructure Planning
  • Infrastructure Operations
  • Workloads & Virtual Appliances
  • Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
  • Software Lifecycle Automation
  • Desktop Virtualization

"Solutions Exchange"- an event which will have over 100 industry leading companies showcasing the latest products and services in the virtualization ecosystem.

Registrations can be done at

Source: VMware

Tags: VMworld 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Secrets of Successful Job Hopping

Not all job hoppers succeed. Constructive job hopping takes thought and planning so you're achieving your goal of moving forward. Do it badly and you'll move laterally or backward, either of which is not recommended. Consider these three secrets of successful job hopping.

1. Make strategic moves within your industry. Contrary to myth, successful job hoppers are focused and targeted. They know what they want and go after it. Each job change can be likened to a move on a chessboard. It's carefully planned rather than an impetuous or thoughtless act.

2. Don't burn bridges. Farsighted job hunters change jobs without leaving a bad taste in the mouths of previous employers. A take-this-job-and-shove-it attitude is career suicide. Even though you hate everything about the job, leave on good terms and swallow your feelings.

3. Leave in style. That means no surprises. Give plenty of warning so the powers-that-be have plenty of time to find a replacement. Waiting the obligatory two weeks before telling your boss is bad form. The same goes for colleagues. Prudent job changers leave a job even better than they found it. They do everything they can to ensure a smooth transition.

Source: grantthead Newsletter by Bob Weinstein

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