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Friday, February 27, 2015

Blacksmith New Year Display - Wow!


Amazing Video showing a Chinese New Year Celebration!

Better than fireworks.

China’s Blacksmiths Put On Dazzling Display for New Year   - WSJ

Transcript needs work...  The problem of automatically generating one, when the language is Chinese - well, just click to see it. The sub-titles are OK.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

China drops leading technology brands for state purchases

No surprise that China is limiting US equipment. There are two main reasons for thsi:

1. Security
2. Increase China's technical ability

No longer on the list is:

  • Apple
  • Intel
  • Cisco

I believe a lot of this is because of what Edward Snowden has disclosed, on how the NSA can intercepting US equipment, and put a back door into it. If your an organization outside the US that is worried about US surveillance, you would need to be stupid to use US equipment, unless you absolutely need too.

China drops leading technology brands for state purchases - Reuters

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Levovo Adware

If you bought a consumer grade laptop from Lenovo within the past couple of months, you may have some nasty adware on your laptop called SuperFish. What is really bad  about SuperFish, is it puts a huge hole in your security.

Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware - The Register

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NSA Firmware Hard drive Hack - Wow!

I am amazed by what the US Government, through the NSA has done. Amazing technical hack.

Basically, anti virus software can't even see the hack, because the firmware on your hard drive gets rewritten. The firmware is the software code used to control your hard drive. Each hard drive has the ability to be updated, to be "flashed" with a software update. And the software in the hard drive was not designed with security in mind, so there is no way to tell if the hard drive has been hacked.

The knowledge required to do this hack is amazing. It's per hard drive manufacturer, using commands that are not public.

The positive news, for now, is only a few computers in the world have been targeted. None in the US.

The hack was found by Kaspersky, that is a Russian based anti-virus company.

How the NSA’s Firmware Hacking Works and Why It’s So Unsettling - Wired Magazine

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Chinese Money in Hollywood

I don't think the Chinese need to invest directly in a movie studio, to many potential downsides.

Michael Wolff on Hollywood's Disappearing Chinese Money - Hollywood Reporter

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Future of Colleges

Good article that is a summary of a Washington Post excerpt from a new book.

The comments add a lot to the discussion.

My take:

  1. A US Supreme Court ruling basically destroyed using testing to figure out if somebody is suitable for a job. The work around for this is using a college degree to show base knowledge. My opinion is the ruling actually made things worse on finding good people. Note that the US military, that uses lots of testing, especially during World War 2, is exempt from this ruling
    Griggs vs. Duke Power Co.
  2. I question the assumption that colleges will go to a liberal arts typology. I don't see the economics that would drive this. The current structure of colleges in the US overall, is doing a poor job of education, with a high drop out rate, at a high cost.
  3. Credentialing is the biggest issue I see for the growth of MOOCS.
  4. If everyone is using the same material, from online classes for example if a video existed of the Feynman Lectures, what will differentiate a school then?
  5. Many businesses are frustrated with the output of colleges for the skills they are looking for.
School’s Out Forever - The American Interest

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Year of the Ewe

Fun article to read. Supposedly, per the Chinese, a child's personality varies depending on what year they are born. So if your born in the year of the sheep, your more like a sheep.

Happy Ewe Year: Astrological Signs Bad for the Sheep Year - NBC News

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