Why Mobile Health Care Applications Should Be Regulated

Why Mobile Health Care Applications Should Be RegulatedThe next time you go to your doctor or dentist’s office, pay attention to the mobile device they are using. I know the last time I went to my doctor’s office, the nurse had a portable device in which she was recording my blood pressure, weight, and my reasons for seeing the doctor. I didn’t give it much thought until after I left and the examination was complete.

Before I proceed with my opinion, I would like to state that I believe we should have the least amount of intrusion by the government as possible. However, there are certain things, especially when it comes to our health, that need to be controlled and regulated by some type of governing authority. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has the responsibility to monitor the food that we eat and the prescription drugs that we take.

So why do mobile devices and their applications that are designed for health care professionals even need regulating? First of all, these applications need to be accurate in their record keeping abilities. The applications and the way the information is shared with other health care providers, or third parties, needs to be controlled. Our privacy needs to be protected by those who may use the data or personal information for other than its intended purpose.

Today it may seem like a non-issue when only vital statistics are saved onto the mobile device. In the future, one can see that more and more information will be stored as the applications improve. Security comes into question as to how safe our information will be from prying eyes. I would also be concerned as to how the insurance companies in the future could use this data to discriminate against those applying for health insurance.

I believe that the FDA must place requirements on application developers, not as to how their software functions, but on how this information will be stored and used. Can the application developers meet a simple security requirement to keep our data safe? In addition to safeguards to protect our data, we also need to protect a patient’s ID from being used by those who could use another’s insurance to pay for their own operations or medication.

Comments welcome.

Why We All Should Be Concerned About The Sony PlayStation Data Loss Incident

When I first read about the Sony PlayStation incident in which data theft occurred, I thought to myself it didn’t concern me. So what if some hacker obtained the names, addresses, email addresses credit card information of some 77 million users of Sony PlayStation online, since I don’t own such a beast. But as the week progressed and we learned more about the intrusion it became more apparent that this incident could have a far reaching affect for all of us.

Many of us, me included, use our credit cards for online purchases for everything from buying electronic equipment to buying applications for other devices we own. Though Sony has turned over the information about the break in to the F.B.I. and has warned Sony PlayStation users of the break in, what hasn’t been addressed as of yet is why the data was insecure to begin with?

This afternoon I sat down and added up the number of companies that have stored my informatoin on their servers. Information that could compromise my credit card account or my checking account. PayPal has both. I determined that there are 17 companies that have this information including my name, home address, email address, credit card account information and unfortunately my DOB and social security number, in some cases.

What has always amazed me is that social security numbers were never designed to be a secure means of identification. There was a time when it was stated on the social security card that it was not to be used to ID a person. But this has slipped through the cracks over the years and social security numbers are used to identify us. Armed with our DOB and social security number, thieves can steal our identity easily.

We should be concerned because it seems that whenever an incident happens in which consumer identification could be compromised along with credit information, little is ever done to hold the company responsible accountable. Telling the consumer to monitor your credit charges in case of illegal activity is like telling a murder victim to apprehend the suspect who killed them.

I believe that all companies who store our identification on their servers owe us the proper protections to keep prying eyes away from the information. Until this happens we are all at risk of identity theft.

Credit Card Thief Shares His Expertise On How To Protect Yourself

I just finished reading an article in which a credit card thief shares the secrets of his trade and how crooks steal your credit card information. In addition he provided information on how your identity can be compromised and what to do to protect yourself online when making purchases. What is scary is that there are people out there who can steal your information so easy, it is kind of scary.

One scam that I wasn’t aware of is that waiters or waitresses can carry hand-held skimmers and scan your credit card number off of your card. They then sell this information online for $10 to $50 to scammers. The scammer takes the information and encodes it on a new credit card, and then makes purchases with the fraudulent card.

Here is some other information you should be aware of:

What about debit cards?

I always recommend against them. With debit cards, it’s your real money in your bank account you’re playing with. So if someone gets your debit card information and uses it, your cash is gone until you fill out a lot of paperwork and persuade the bank to give it back to you. Credit cards are much better at protecting you against fraud.

Is online shopping safe?

You’ve got to be careful. It is really easy to create a fake online store or to create a store that sells stuff, but its real purpose is to collect credit card information. I’d try to stick to reputable sites or at least to sites that have reviews.

That’s the reason it’s so important to access secure websites if you’re putting in any sensitive data, so look for “https” in the Web address.

So how do you protect yourself from all of the scams and scammers?

What’s your No. 1 tip on how consumers can protect themselves?

You’ve probably heard this before, but the most important thing really is to watch your accounts. And I don’t mean just checking your statement once a month. If you’re only checking your statement once a month, someone can start using your card at the beginning of the billing cycle, and they can do a lot of damage before you catch it. You’re talking thousands of dollars, and it will be a lot harder to catch them and dispute it. I use Mint.com, which is a free aggregation service that allows you to put all your accounts on there and monitor everything at once. I check that every day. It’s also a good idea to check your credit report at least twice a year to make sure no one has stolen your identity.

I don’t know what you do, but I follow the above advice religiously. I check my accounts and credit card statements at least once a week or more. I also do get my credit reports and scan them carefully. It is an eye opener when you see the erroneous information on your credit report. I recall several years ago that one of my reports showed two dates of birth. Go figure.

I only shop at trusted online merchants like Amazon. I rarely stray away and normally avoid unknown online business shops.

I also avoid using ATM machines when possible. I carry some emergency cash on my person just in case I feel uncomfortable using my credit card, especially when I travel.

What do you do to protect yourself?

Comments welcome.

Source – Yahoo Finance

New Standard Proposed For Supercomputing

A new supercomputer rating system will be released by an international team led by Sandia National Laboratories at the Supercomputing Conference 2010 in New Orleans on November 17.

The rating system, Graph500, tests supercomputers for their skill in analyzing large, graph-based structures that link the huge numbers of data points present in biological, social and security problems, among other areas.

“By creating this test, we hope to influence computer makers to build computers with the architecture to deal with these increasingly complex problems,” Sandia researcher Richard Murphy said.

Rob Leland, director of Sandia’s Computations, Computers, and Math Center, said, “The thoughtful definition of this new competitive standard is both subtle and important, as it may heavily influence computer architecture for decades to come.”

There should be an image here!The group isn’t trying to compete with Linpack, the current standard test of supercomputer speed, Murphy said. “There have been lots of attempts to supplant it, and our philosophy is simply that it doesn’t measure performance for the applications we need, so we need another, hopefully complementary, test,” he said.

Many scientists view Linpack as a “plain vanilla” test mechanism that tells how fast a computer can perform basic calculations, but has little relationship to the actual problems the machines must solve.

The impetus to achieve a supplemental test code came about at “an exciting dinner conversation at Supercomputing 2009,” said Murphy. “A core group of us recruited other professional colleagues, and the effort grew into an international steering committee of over 30 people.” (See graph500.org.)

Many large computer makers have indicated interest, said Murphy, adding there’s been buy-in from Intel, IBM, AMD, NVIDIA, and Oracle corporations. “Whether or not they submit test results remains to be seen, but their representatives are on our steering committee.”

Each organization has donated time and expertise of committee members, he said.

While some computer makers and their architects may prefer to ignore a new test for fear their machine will not do well, the hope is that large-scale demand for a more complex test will be a natural outgrowth of the greater complexity of problems.

Studies show that moving data around (not simple computations) will be the dominant energy problem on exascale machines, the next frontier in supercomputing, and the subject of a nascent U.S. Department of Energy initiative to achieve this next level of operations within a decade, Leland said. (Petascale and exascale represent 10 to the 15th and 18th powers, respectively, operations per second.)

Part of the goal of the Graph500 list is to point out that in addition to more expense in data movement, any shift in application base from physics to large-scale data problems is likely to further increase the application requirements for data movement, because memory and computational capability increase proportionally. That is, an exascale computer requires an exascale memory.

“In short, we’re going to have to rethink how we build computers to solve these problems, and the Graph500 is meant as an early stake in the ground for these application requirements,” said Murphy.

How does it work?

Large data problems are very different from ordinary physics problems.

Unlike a typical computation-oriented application, large-data analysis often involves searching large, sparse data sets performing very simple computational operations.

To deal with this, the Graph 500 benchmark creates two computational kernels: a large graph that inscribes and links huge numbers of participants and a parallel search of that graph.

“We want to look at the results of ensembles of simulations, or the outputs of big simulations in an automated fashion,” Murphy said. “The Graph500 is a methodology for doing just that. You can think of them being complementary in that way — graph problems can be used to figure out what the simulation actually told us.”

Performance for these applications is dominated by the ability of the machine to sustain a large number of small, nearly random remote data accesses across its memory system and interconnects, as well as the parallelism available in the machine.

Five problems for these computational kernels could be cybersecurity, medical informatics, data enrichment, social networks and symbolic networks:

  • Cybersecurity: Large enterprises may create 15 billion log entries per day and require a full scan.
  • Medical informatics: There are an estimated 50 million patient records, with 20 to 200 records per patient, resulting in billions of individual pieces of information, all of which need entity resolution: in other words, which records belong to her, him or somebody else.
  • Data enrichment: Petascale data sets include maritime domain awareness with hundreds of millions of individual transponders, tens of thousands of ships, and tens of millions of pieces of individual bulk cargo. These problems also have different types of input data.
  • Social networks: Almost unbounded, like Facebook.
  • Symbolic networks: Often petabytes in size. One example is the human cortex, with 25 billion neurons and approximately 7,000 connections each.

“Many of us on the steering committee believe that these kinds of problems have the potential to eclipse traditional physics-based HPC [high performance computing] over the next decade,” Murphy said.

While general agreement exists that complex simulations work well for the physical sciences, where lab work and simulations play off each other, there is some doubt they can solve social problems that have essentially infinite numbers of components. These include terrorism, war, epidemics and societal problems.

“These are exactly the areas that concern me,” Murphy said. “There’s been good graph-based analysis of pandemic flu. Facebook shows tremendous social science implications. Economic modeling this way shows promise.

“We’re all engineers and we don’t want to over-hype or over-promise, but there’s real excitement about these kinds of big data problems right now,” he said. “We see them as an integral part of science, and the community as a whole is slowly embracing that concept.

“However, it’s so new we don’t want to sound as if we’re hyping the cure to all scientific ills. We’re asking, ‘What could a computer provide us?’ and we know we’re ignoring the human factors in problems that may stump the fastest computer. That’ll have to be worked out.”

[Photo above by James Vaughan / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Neal Singer @ DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

Rensselaer Team Shows How To Analyze Raw Government Data

Who is the White House’s most frequent visitor?

Which White House staffer has the most visitors?

How do smoking quit rates, state by state, relate to unemployment, taxes, and violent crimes?

How do politics influence U.S. Supreme Court decisions?

How many earthquakes occurred worldwide recently?

Where and how strong were they?

Which states have the cleanest air and water?

If you know how to look, the answers to all of these questions, and more, can be found in the treasure trove of government documents now available on Data.gov. In the interest of transparency, the Obama Administration has posted 272,000 or more sets of raw data from its departments, agencies, and offices to the World Wide Web. But, connecting the dots to derive meaning from the data is difficult.

“Data.gov mandates that all information is accessible from the same place, but the data is still in a hodgepodge of different formats using differing terms, and therefore challenging at best to analyze and take advantage of,” explains James Hendler, the Tetherless World Research Constellation professor of computer and cognitive science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “We are developing techniques to help people mine, mix, and mash-up this treasure trove of data, letting them find meaningful information and interconnections.

There should be an image here!“An unfathomable amount of data resides on the Web,” Hendler continues. “We want to help people get as much mileage as possible out of that data and put it to work for all mankind.”

Mining Data.gov

The Rensselaer team has figured out how to find relationships among the literally billions of bits of government data, pulling pieces from different places on the Web, using technology that helps the computer and software understand the data, then combine it in new and imaginative ways as “mash-ups,” which mix or mash data from two or more sources and present them in easy-to-use, visual forms.

By combining data from different sources, data mash-ups identify new, sometimes unexpected relationships. The approach makes it possible to put all that information buried on the Web to use and to answer myriad questions, such as the ones asked above. (Answers can be found on the Web site).

“We think the ability to create these kinds of mash-ups will be invaluable for students, policy makers, journalists, and many others,” says Deborah McGuinness, another constellation professor in Rensselaer’s Tetherless World Research Constellation. “We’re working on designing simple yet robust Web technologies that allow someone with absolutely no expertise in Web Science or semantic programming to pull together data sets from Data.gov and elsewhere and weave them together in a meaningful way.”

While the Rensselaer approach makes government data more accessible and useful to the public, it also means government agencies can share information more readily.

“The inability of government agencies to exchange their data has been responsible for a lot of problems,” says Hendler. “For example, the failure to detect and scuttle preparations for 9/11 and the ‘underwear bomber’ were both attributed in a large part to information-sharing failures.”

The Web site developed by Hendler, McGuinness, and Peter Fox — the third professor in the Tetherless World Research Constellation — and students, provides stunning examples of what this approach can accomplish. It also has video presentations and step-by-step do-it-yourself tutorials for those who want to mine the treasure trove of government data for themselves.

Rensselaer offers the country’s first undergraduate degree in Web Science and has one of the first academic research centers dedicated to the field. The White House has officially acknowledged Rensselaer’s pioneering efforts in the field. Hendler has been named the “Internet Web Expert” by the White House, and the Web Science team at Rensselaer includes some of the world’s top Web researchers.

“Rensselaer has pre-eminent expertise in what the Web is and what the Web future will be,” says Hendler.

Data.gov offers opportunity

Hendler started Rensselaer’s Data-Gov project in June 2009, one month after the government launched Data.Gov, when he saw the new program as an opportunity to demonstrate the value of Semantic Web languages and tools. Hendler and McGuinness are both leaders in Semantic Web technologies, sometimes called Web 3.0, and were two of the first researchers working in that field.

Using Semantic Web representations, multiple data sets can be linked even when the underlying structure, or format, is different. Once data is converted from its format to use these representations, it becomes accessible to any number of standard Web technologies.

One of the Rensselaer demonstrations deals with data from CASTNET, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Status and Trends Network. CASTNET measures ground-level ozone and other pollutants at stations all over the country, but CASTNET doesn’t give the location of the monitoring sites, only the readings from the sites.

The Rensselaer team located a different data set that described the location of every site. By linking the two along with historic data from the sites, using RDF, a semantic Web language, the team generated a map that combines data from all the sets and makes them easily visible.

his data presentation, or mash-up, that pairs raw data on ozone and visibility readings from the EPA site with separate geographic data on where the readings were taken had never been done before. This demo and several others developed by the Rensselaer team are now available from the official US data.gov site.

Many examples on the Web

Other mash-up demos on the site include:

  • The White House visitors list with biographical information taken from Wikipedia and Google (now also available in a mobile version through iTunes);
  • U.S. and British information on aid to foreign nations;
  • National wild fire statistics by year with budget information from the departments of Agriculture and Interior and facts on historic fires;
  • A state-by-state comparison of smoking prevalence compared with smoking ban policies, cigarette tax rates, and price;
  • The number of book volumes available per person per state from all public libraries;
  • An integration of basic biographical information about Supreme Court Justices with their voting records from 1953 to 2008, with a motion chart that looks at justices’ decisions over the years on issues such as crime and privacy rights.

The aim is not to create an endless procession of mash-ups, but to provide the tools and techniques that allow users to make their own mash-ups from different sources of data, the Rensselaer researchers say. To help make this happen, Rensselaer researchers have taught a short course showing government data providers how to learn to do it themselves, allowing them to do their own data visualizations to release to the public.

Many potential users

The same Rensselaer techniques can be applied to data from other sources. For example, public safety data can show a user which local areas are safe, where crimes are most likely to occur, accident prone intersections, proximity to hospitals, and other information that may help a decision on where to shop, where to live, even areas to avoid at night. In an effort McGuinness is leading at Rensselaer along with collaborators at NIH, the team is exploring how to make medical information accessible to both the general public and policy makers to help explore policies and their potential impact on health. For example, one may want to explore taxation or smoking policies and smoking prevalence and related health costs.

The Semantic Web describes techniques that allow computers to understand the meaning, or “semantics,” of information so that it can find and combine information, and present it in usable form.

“Computers don’t understand; they just store and retrieve,” explains Hendler. “Our approach makes it possible to do a targeted search and make sense of the data, not just using keywords. This next version of the Web is smarter. We want to be sure electronic information is increasingly useful and available.”

“Also, we want to make the information transparent and accountable,” adds McGuinness. “Users should have access to the meta data – the data describing where the data came from and how and when it was derived — as well as the base information so that end users can make better informed decisions about when to rely on the information.”

The Rensselaer team has also been working to extend the technique beyond U.S. government data. They have recently developed new demos showing how this work can be used to integrate information from the U.S. and the U.K. on crime and foreign aid, to compare U.S. and Chinese financial information, to mashup government information with World Bank data, and to apply the techniques to health information, new media, and other Web resources.

Some Mash-ups:

Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CastNet)

US Global Foreign Aid from 1947-2008

White House Visitor Search

Trends in Smoking Prevalence, Tobacco Policy Coverage and Tobacco Prices

[Photo above by James Vaughan / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Mark Marchand @ Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location Determines Social Network Influence

There should be an image here!A team of researchers led by Dr. Hernán Makse, professor of physics at The City College of New York (CCNY), has shed new light on the way that information and infectious diseases proliferate across complex networks. Writing in Nature Physics, they report that, contrary to conventional wisdom, persons with the most connections are not necessarily the best spreaders.

“The important thing is where someone is located in a network,” said Professor Makse in an interview. “If someone is in the core, they can spread information more efficiently. The challenge is finding the core.”

That kind of information could help marketers and public relations practitioners conduct more effective of social media and social marketing campaigns. It could also help epidemiologists target resources to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

To identify the core, Professor Makse and colleagues used a technique call k-shell decomposition. In this process, network nodes with just one link are removed until no single-link nodes remain. The remaining nodes are assigned a k-shell value of one. The process is repeated with higher k-shell values assigned to remaining nodes after each round of cuts. Those nodes that cannot be reduced to a single link are identified as the core of the network and have the highest k-shell values.

In the study, the researchers examined four networks representing archetypical examples of social structures: members of LiveJournal.com; email contacts in the computer science department at University College London; inpatients of Swedish hospitals, and adult film actors. The latter group was studied because it is a distinct subgroup of the acting profession whose members rarely appear in other genres, Professor Makse explained.

Each network member’s position in that network was plotted on a graph with the number of connections along one axis and the k-shell value along the other, e.g. (100, 5), (50, 25). The team found that nodes with many connection hubs located at the periphery of a network, i.e. low k-shell values, were poor spreaders.

However, nodes with fewer connections but locations near the core, i.e. high k-shell values, were just as likely to spread information or infections as similarly situated nodes with more connections. Hence, they conclude the most efficient spreaders are located in a network’s inner core.

“In the case of LiveJournal, someone with a thousand friends but a low k-shell level will have less impact than someone with a hundred friends but a high k-shell level,” Professor Makse said. “Small players and big players spread just as well if they are at the core of the network.

For the spread of disease, nodes located in high k-shell layers are more likely to be infected and they will be infected sooner than other nodes, the researchers found. “The neighborhood of these nodes makes them more efficient in sustaining an infection in early stages, thus enabling the epidemic to reach a critical mass such that it can fully develop.”

This knowledge could greatly help public health officials trying to head off an epidemic in situations where limited quantities of vaccines are available, Professor Makse said. “You try to identify the most likely spreaders and vaccinate them first.”

The researchers explained the existence of hubs at the periphery of real networks as a consequence of their “rich topological structure. In a fully random network, all hubs would exist near or at the core and they would contribute equally well to spreading.

While high k-shell value nodes were found to be the best single spreaders, regardless of their connectivity, this did not necessarily hold up for situations involving multiple spreaders. In those cases, connectivity between hubs did not accelerate the spreading because of the overlap of infected areas created by the different spreaders.

“The better spreading strategy using (multiple) spreaders is to choose either the highest k or k-shell nodes with the requirement that no two spreaders are directly linked to each other,” the researchers wrote.

[Photo above by MrTopf / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Ellis Simon @ City College of New York

[awsbullet:social network beginner]

Things You Should Know But Probably Don’t

I received this in an email from a friend of mine this morning, and I thought I would share it with you. If you have any useless information to add to this list, please feel free to do so.

Things You Should Know But Probably Don’t

  1. Money isn’t made out of paper; it’s made out of cotton.
  2. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp (marijuana) paper.
  3. The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a ‘tittle.’
  4. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.
  5. Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller.
  6. 40% of McDonald’s profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.
  7. 315 entries in Webster’s 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.
  8. The ‘spot’ on 7UP comes from its inventor, who had red eyes. He was albino.
  9. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.
  10. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.
  11. Chocolate affects a dog’s heart and nervous system; a few ounces will kill a small-sized dog.
  12. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark’s stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.
  13. Most lipstick contains fish scales (eeww).
  14. Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn’t wear pants.
  15. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine.
  16. Upper- and lower-case letters are named ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the ‘Upper case’ letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, ‘lower case’ letters.
  17. Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time, hence multi-tasking was invented.
  18. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.
  19. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.
  20. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan; there was never a recorded Wendy before!
  21. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, and silver.
  22. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa’s lips.
  23. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death.
  24. The mask used by Michael Myers in the original ‘Halloween’ was a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
  25. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know.)
  26. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can’t sink in quicksand (and you thought this list was completely useless.)
  27. The phrase ‘rule of thumb’ is derived from an old English law, which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
  28. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.
  29. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat and digest a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It’s the same with apples.
  30. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!
  31. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
  32. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries.
  33. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages it. (I NEED TO REMEMBER THIS.)
  34. George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart: “Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she’s behind bars. O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the ONE woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard, and they haul her off to jail.”

Comments welcome.

PS I have no clue how valid this information is. I am presenting it as I received it.

Microsoft Officially Releases Tag

Microsoft Tag is mobile bar-coding service that Microsoft first talked about a little over a year ago; this fantastic product is getting its official launch today. Microsoft says that, during the testing of Tag, more than one billion Tags have been created, establishing a new channel for people to obtain information about products or services in the real world. The tags, when attached to a sign, billboards, or a magazine article, allow users to view additional information on their mobile phones.

The basic use of the new Microsoft Tag technology will be available free of charge, allowing marketers or small businesses to direct people in the physical world to more information. For example, Getz today said that City of Amsterdam is using the technology on landmarks and monuments so visitors can learn more information. The Mall of America also plans to incorporate the technology.

The official launch of Microsoft Tag comes as Facebook experiments with QR codes, a similar technology which allows mobile phone users to obtain more information by snapping a photo of the code.

Delete: The Virtue Of Forgetting In The Digital Age

There should be an image here!Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age looks at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget. Digital technology empowers us as never before, yet it has unforeseen consequences as well. Potentially humiliating content on Facebook is enshrined in cyberspace for future employers to see. Google remembers everything we’ve searched for and when. The digital realm remembers what is sometimes better forgotten, and this has profound implications for us all.

In Delete, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger traces the important role that forgetting has played throughout human history, from the ability to make sound decisions unencumbered by the past to the possibility of second chances. The written word made it possible for humans to remember across generations and time, yet now digital technology and global networks are overriding our natural ability to forget — the past is ever present, ready to be called up at the click of a mouse. Mayer-Schönberger examines the technology that’s facilitating the end of forgetting–digitization, cheap storage and easy retrieval, global access, and increasingly powerful software — and describes the dangers of everlasting digital memory, whether it’s outdated information taken out of context or compromising photos the Web won’t let us forget. He explains why information privacy rights and other fixes can’t help us, and proposes an ingeniously simple solution — expiration dates on information — that may.

Delete is an eye-opening book that will help us remember how to forget in the digital age.

What Others Know About You And What You Should Know About Yourself

Every once in a while I stumble on an article that is too good not to share with all of you who read this blog. So today when I read this over at The Consumerist, I thought I would pass this on. Basically what The Consumerist has done is to list Web sites that provide information about us that others know about us. This is information that we need to know, especially if there are errors about our past history that need to be corrected. Some of those that are listed can be completed online, while others you need to mail in with a copy of your ID and also a utility bill [each site may be different] by which to identify yourself.

Here is what The Consumerist has posted:

Employment History Reports
The Work Number
ChoicePoint (866) 312-8075

Tenant History Reports
ChoicePoint (877) 448-5732
First Advantage SafeRent (888) 333-2413
Tenant Data Services
UD Registry (818) 785-3905

Auto & Home Insurance Claim Reports
Insurance Services Office (ISO) (800) 627-3487

Credit Bureau Reports
Payment Reporting Builds Credit (PRBC)

Full File Disclosure/Personal Information Reports

Check Writing History Reports
ChexSystems (800) 428-9623
TeleCheck (800) 835-3243.
Shared Check Authorization Network (800) 262-7771 Fax: (800) 358-4506

Health History Reports
Medical Information Bureau (MIB) (866) 692-6901

Prescription Drug Purchase History Reports
Ingenix MedPoint
Milliman IntelliScript

Social Security Statement
Social Security Administration

Purchase Returns History Reports
Retail Equation

Gaming Patron’s Credit History and Transaction Data
Central Credit

Other Reports

Utilities & Telecommunications Reports
National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange, Inc (NCTUE) Call 1-888-201-5643 for reports

I am currently checking online and mailing in requests for information on some of the history reports I am interested in.

Hope this helps.

Comments welcome.



Let me be completely honest with you — I’m losing my mind. Have you ever been so busy that you were afraid to even start the day because you knew that there was no way that you were going to be able to get to everything that needed to be done? Yeah, that’s happening to me all the time right now. It’s possible to do a lot, but the key is organization. If you’re not organized, whatever you have to do is going to seem like a big deal whether it is or not. I could definitely stand to be more organized, and there are online services that help with this. Evernote is a popular one, and if you haven’t heard of it yet, then here’s your chance to get your content and thoughts back in shape.

Each day we all come across various bits of information that we need to remember, and Evernote enables their users to capture everything from notes to parts of a Web site. You can use Evernote on the Internet, your desktop, and even your mobile device, so you’ll be covered wherever you are. Once captured, your bits of data can be automatically organized and you can quickly search for and find content that you’ve previously captured. Thank you, Evernote.

Will The Apple Tablet Save The World? I Doubt It

I just read an article over at BussinessWeek by Ben Kuntz in which he describes the five ways that the Apple Tablet may change the world. I am glad he used the word ‘may’, because it ‘may’ also not change a thing. That is the beauty of the word ‘may’. You have a 50 – 50 chance that you ‘may’ be right. This is supposed to be journalism at its very best and it is this type of writing that is going to save printed news. Well I seriously doubt that it ‘may’ save the printed media nor will it save the world.

I have never understood why those who are paid to write content for well established printed news magazines or newspapers refer back to their journalism 101 classes. You first need to come up with a specific number, usually 5 or 10 of something to write either a positive or negative spin about. You next write something short and sweet about the subject matter and dazzle the reader by replaying worn out facts about the person or company.

Here is an example:

Apple may be introducing a new table PC sometime in April of 2010.

Here is where journalism 101 comes into play:

Established in Cupertino, California on April 1, 1976 and incorporated January 3, 1977, the company was called Apple Computer, Inc. for its first 30 years, but dropped the word “Computer” on January 9, 2007 to reflect the company’s ongoing expansion into the consumer electronics market in addition to its traditional focus on personal computers. Apple has about 35,000 employees worldwide and had worldwide annual sales of US$32.48 billion in its fiscal year ending September 29, 2008. For reasons as various as its philosophy of comprehensive aesthetic design to its distinctive advertising campaigns, Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry. This includes a customer base that is devoted to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008 and in the world in 2009.

Every journalist has access to pre written facts about every company, corporation, celebrity in the world, that they can add to a story to fill up space. Once this is done, the journalist now thinks about 5, 10 or some other number of pro or con items to add substance to the article.

In this case it is 5 reasons why the Apple Tablet will save the world:

The timing makes sense. The iPhone is three years old, the U.S. economy is rebounding, and gadget demand is pent up among Americans who held off on toy upgrades during the recession.

Isn’t it funny that Apple is already having one of their better years with the sale of their iPhone, new iPod and Macbook computers. Apple hasn’t been hurt by the recession. Their stock is very strong compared to some companies. Consumers are still buying toys. It is things like food and shelter they are struggling with buying.

So yes, the Jesus Tablet will appear. And yes, you’ll buy one with an artificially high price of, say, $800 as penance for being an early adopter. Within two years the price will fall to $199 until everyone including your 6-year-old has a gleaming, do-anything, interactive pane of glass on his or her desk.

This man doesn’t know anything about Apple products or the high premium Apple places on their products. I would guess that the Apple Tablet will be in the $999 or higher range. Their will be little discounting on this product since it is going to be a real computer with little or no subscription subsidy aka contract pricing to fall back upon, like they received for their iPhone from AT&T.

Here are the five things that the Apple Tablet may change:

• Magazine and newspaper publishing will bounce back as consumers rediscover paid subscriptions.

Hmm….. If people are like me they have already canceled their newspaper subscriptions. I also just let my subscription to Time magazine expire. So why would I run out and buy an Apple Tablet for a grand and turn around and pay for a news subscription?

• Television and radio ratings will continue to fall. Unlike print, TV and radio won’t fit easily into the Apple tablet’s format.

I beat if you asked people what they would rather have in their livings room. A new HDTV or a copy of your magazine, which do you think they would wish for?

Augmented-reality views of the world will increase. If you missed this trend, Augmented reality puts computer graphics on top of live video feeds, similar to the yellow line you see on the field in NFL games.

Funny. I have watched football for years without the yellow line. I could still tell how far the offense needed to go to get a first down. So pretty graphics are going to save the magazines and newspapers? I don’t think so.

• Two-way video on tablets will push communication costs even lower.

How much lower can they go. Google Talk already offers the service for free.

• Telecommuting may finally take off

Telecommuting has already taken off. I have been doing it for years. I don’t think an Apple Tablet PC will make it any easier than it already is.

Just my two cents.

Comments welcome.

BusinessWeek article source

Apple history source

Belarc Advisor – What Do You Use?

Yesterday I received an email from a friend of mine which asked for help with a used computer system he had purchased. The computer had software preinstalled on it but came with no documentation, installation disks for the operating system, nor any serial numbers for the software. My friend asked if there was a program I could recommend, preferably a free one, that could help.

My first thought was Belarc Advisor. The software is free for personal use and does a good job in finding out information on a system where the documentation has been lost, or as in this case, non existent. On their site Belarc Advisor is described as:

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, missing Microsoft hotfixes, anti-virus status, CIS (Center for Internet Security) benchmarks, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

  • Operating Systems: Runs on Windows Vista, 2008, 2003, XP, 2000, NT 4, Me, 98, and 95. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows is supported.
  • Browsers: Requires IE 3 or Netscape 3, and higher versions. Also runs on Opera, Mozilla, and Firefox.
  • File size: 2004 KB.
  • License: The license associated with this product allows for free personal use only. Use on multiple PCs in a corporate, educational, military or government installation is prohibited. See the license agreement for details.

This is what I had advised my friend to use and he responded that the software worked fine for him. But I starting thinking. Is there another software that one could recommend? So please share your thoughts with us.

Comments welcome.


Download Belarc Advisor from here.

  • Wish to run the Belarc Advisor on your corporate network? Drop by their web site for more details.
  • Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates

    Over at Career Builder they have posted the results of a recent survey in which 45% of employers who responded stated that they check potential employees on social networking sites. What is also surprising is that some potential employees are not hired because of what they have posted on their web pages.

    The article from Career Builder also states:

    Job seekers are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

    Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information 53 percent
    Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs 44 percent
    Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients 35 percent
    Candidate showed poor communication skills 29 percent
    Candidate made discriminatory comments 26 percent
    Candidate lied about qualifications 24 percent
    Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer 20 percent

    Fourteen percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face, while 16 percent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an e-mail or job application.

    In this time when our unemployment rate is high, when job seekers are competing in a limited job market, potential employees should be careful what they post online. It could come back to bit you in the butt.

    Comments welcome.