Jul 29

No surprise given the sluggish economy, but venture capital (VC) funding for U.S. startup companies remained flat in the second quarter.  According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), venture capitalists invested $7.4 billion in 990 deals.

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Jul 22

If you’re one of thousands of Simpsons fans who added ChunkyLover53 as an AOL Instant Messenger buddy, your computer may be at risk from a Turkish botnet.

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Jul 17

A creed is a statement of belief or faith often recited as part of a religious service or organizational gathering.  The word “creed” derives from the Latin credo (I believe) or credimus (we believe).  Perhaps the oldest is Apostle’s Creed cited in Christianity.  However, the Rifleman’s Creed is arguably the most famous, made popular by the Stanley Kubrick war movie “Full Metal Jacket” (warning: language).  This has inspired me (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) to write a creed for our noble profession of software development.

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Jul 16

A disgruntled computer engineer working for the City of San Francisco apparently seized control of a new multimillion-dollar computer system.  Police arrested Terry Childs, 43, on four charges of computer tampering.  Authorities say Childs hacked the city’s new FiberWAN (Wide Area Network), which stores official emails, payroll records, confidential law enforcement documents, and jail bookings.  Childs locked the entire system and created a password that gives him exclusive access.

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Jul 15

In the “old days” of typewriters, forensic scientists could match a ransom note to the typewriter that produced it to apprehend the kidnappers.  This was possible because microscopic differences in the metal letters produced a “typographical fingerprint” that could be identified from any page printed on that typewriter. 

As a result, it became fashionable to produce ransom notes with disparate letters cut from a magazine, such as:

Ransom Note

Today, computer printers are highly precise instruments that make it nearly impossible to distinguish between pages printed on the same brand printer.  However, an article in USA Today describes how many color laser printers leave microscopic yellow dots on each printed page to identify the printer’s serial number and ultimately, you.

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Jul 10

The millionaire founder of an Internet software security company has gone missing in Hawaii following months of bizarre behavior.  Steven Thomas, 36, was last seen June 30 at a Waikiki hotel.

Thomas and ex-girlfiend Kirsten Talley founded Webroot Software in Boulder, Colorado in 1997.  Thomas wrote Spy Sweeper and Window Washer programs.  The pair sold their stake for $108 million to venture capitalists in December 2004.  They split the proceeds and parted ways.  Thomas then moved to O’ahu, where he bought a beachfront home.  His net worth is estimated to be around $50 million.

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Jul 09

Cyclone This is part 3 in a series of articles on obscure programming languages.

The Cyclone programming language is a safe dialect of C.  Pure Cyclone programs are not vulnerable to a wide class of bugs that plague C programs: buffer overflows, format string attacks, double free bugs, dangling pointer accesses, etc.

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Jul 08

The U.S. Congress is considering a major reform of copyright law intended to solve the problem of “orphan works,” copyrighted material whose owner cannot be found.  This “reform” would significantly limit the rights of original artists and unnecessarily burden them with costs and bureaucratic paperwork.

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Jul 02

While developing software, you may encounter errors that are recorded in the application event log:

Event Log Error

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Jul 01

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