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Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

Architect Mark Allan recently suffered the loss of his job due to the economic downturn in the housing construction market. Sending out hundreds of resumes did not help his situation, so along with his job search he also spent the last of his savings to develop a construction toy for children. His wife and kids encouraged him to use his advanced 3D computer training and architectural software to develop the prototype models and metal molds. From that point forward, it was just a short step to full plastic production.

As a father and an architect, the inventor, Mr. Allan, realizes that math and science can be intimidating mentally, “But if you can put something in the hands of a child, they will be able to comprehend things better and have more fun,” he says. “Toys influence children; hopefully Qubits(R) will inspire today’s children to expand their horizons to include engineering, chemistry or nanotechnology.”

The economy might be bad, but toys are just as popular as ever. 🙂

The Qubits Construction Toy can also be purchased on the website, www.Qubits.com

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Cyberbullying, using the Internet, cell phones, or another type of communication technology to hurt or embarrass others, is an increasingly common problem among today’s youth. In a recent study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council and Harris Interactive Inc., more than 43% of teens ages 13-17 have experienced cyberbullying within the past year.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 93% of teens use social media Web sites, and 55% of online teens have created a profile through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These sites allow teens to express their feelings online for the cyber world to view. Often motivated by anger, frustration or boredom, cyberbullies harass individuals by posting negative comments and pictures.

Victims of cyberbullying usually feel a wide range of emotions, including indifference, anger and embarrassment. According to a study conducted by Fight Crime, only 35% of teens have told a parent about being cyberbullied; 16% have told no one.

Parents need to be aware of cyberbullying by monitoring their teen’s online activity. If a cyberbully harasses your teen, the California Association Marriage and Family Therapists offers the following tips for parents:

  • Encourage your teen not to respond to the bullying.
  • Save pictures and messages as evidence.
  • Contact your teen’s school to report the cyberbullying.
  • Closely monitor your teen’s computer use.
  • Try to identify the individual doing the bullying.
  • If possible, block the cyberbully from future contact.
  • Try to contact the cyberbully’s parents, if possible.
  • Contact the police or an attorney if cyberbullying becomes violent.

Cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. If your child is seriously troubled by a cyberbully and it affects his or her emotional or mental behavior, consider seeking professional help.

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A Missouri woman was indicted on federal charges for fraudulently using an account on the social networking Web site MySpace, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Thomas P. O’Brien announced today. The woman posed as a teenage boy who feigned romantic interest in a 13 year-old girl, who later committed suicide after the “boy” spurned her and told her, among other things, that the world would be a better place without her.

Lori Drew, 49, of O’Fallon, Mo., was named in a four-count indictment returned this morning by a federal grand jury. The indictment charges one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress on the girl who, because of juvenile privacy rules, is referred to in the indictment only as M.T.M.

The indictment alleges that Drew, along with others, registered as a member of MySpace under the name “Josh Evans.” Drew and her co-conspirators then used the Josh Evans account to contact M.T.M. and began what the girl believed was an on-line romance with a 16-year-old boy. In taking those actions, the indictment alleges, Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace’s terms of service that prohibit users from, among other things, using fraudulent registration information, using accounts to obtain personal information about juvenile members, and using the MySpace communication services to harass, abuse or harm other members.

After approximately four weeks of flirtatious communications between “Josh Evans” and M.T.M., Drew and her co-conspirators broke off the relationship. Within an hour, M.T.M. had hanged herself in her room. She died the next day.

“This adult woman allegedly used the Internet to target a young teenage girl, with horrendous ramifications,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “After a thorough investigation, we have charged Ms. Drew with criminally accessing MySpace and violating rules established to protect young, vulnerable people. Any adult who uses the Internet or a social gathering Web site to bully or harass another person, particularly a young teenage girl, needs to realize that their actions can have serious consequences.”

To become a member of MySpace, individuals are required to submit registration information – including name and date of birth – and have to agree to certain terms of service that regulate their use of the Web site. Among other things, MySpace terms of service require prospective members to provide truthful and accurate registration information; to refrain from using any information obtained from MySpace services to harass, abuse or harm other people; to refrain from soliciting personal information from anyone under 18; to refrain from promoting information that they know is false or misleading; and to refrain from posting photographs of other people without their consent. The indictment alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated all of those provisions.

“Whether we characterize this tragic case as ‘cyber-bullying,’ cyber abuse or illegal computer access, it should serve as a reminder that our children use the Internet for social interaction and that technology has altered the way they conduct their daily activities,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. “As adults, we must be sensitive to the potential dangers posed by the use of the Internet by our children.”

The conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison. Each count of accessing protected computers, each of which alleges that the access was for the purpose of intentionally inflicting emotional distress on M.T.M., carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. Drew will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in June.

This case was investigated by special agents with the FBI in St. Louis and Los Angeles.

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Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. heads-of-household have never used e-mail, according to National Technology Scan, a forthcoming study from Parks Associates. This annual phone survey of U.S. households found 20 million households are without Internet access, approximately 18% of all U.S. households.

Email“Nearly one out of three household heads has never used a computer to create a document,” said John Barrett, director, research, Parks Associates. “These data underscore the significant digital divide between the connected majority and the unconnected minority that rarely, if ever, uses a computer.”

Age and education are factors in this divide. One-half of those who have never used e-mail are over 65, and 56 percent had no schooling beyond high school.

National Technology Scan found just seven percent of the 20 million “disconnected” homes plan to get an Internet subscription within the next 12 months. Still, the study reports a steady decline in the number of disconnected households when comparing findings with previous years. National Technology Scan reported at year-end 2006 that 29 percent of all U.S. households (31 million homes) did not have Internet access, citing low perceived value.

“Internet connections have slowly increased in U.S. households, but getting the disconnected minority online will continue to be difficult,” Barrett said. “Age and economics are important factors, but the heart of the challenge is deeper. Many people just don’t see a reason to use computers.”

National Technology Scan provides an accurate picture of current adoption levels, demand, and total available market for technology products and services in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.parksassociates.com or contact sales@parksassociates.com, 972-490-1113.

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Microsoft Research has recognized five innovative, young faculty members from across the nation to join the ranks of Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows. This program now encompasses 20 academic researchers whose exceptional talent for research and thought leadership make them standouts in their fields. The selected professors are exploring breakthrough, high-impact research that has the potential to help solve some of today’s most challenging societal problems.

“We want to make it easier for early-career faculty to take risks in their research,” said Sailesh Chutani, senior director of Microsoft External Research. “We believe our New Faculty Fellows program provides young professors with the means to pursue research with the potential to make a profound impact.”

About 100 young faculty members from the United States and Canada were nominated for the 2008 awards. The five 2008 New Faculty Fellows are as follows:

Grauman’s work is in the area of inferring object properties such as shape or pose from electronic images, which has major implications for data mining and search.Kristen Grauman, University of Texas at Austin. Grauman’s research focuses on designing the algorithms and learning processes that will allow computers to understand and organize visual information. In particular, she is interested in tackling the major scalability issues that surround visual recognition and search. The goal is to make it possible to efficiently index large volumes of visual data (images or videos) based on their content – a functionality that has the potential to greatly benefit a variety of users, from consumers to scientists and engineers.

Hohenberger has done some groundbreaking work in the area of cryptography, including electronic transactions, and verifying the authenticity of incoming messages and encrypting outgoing ones in energy, data and time constrained applications.Susan Hohenberger, Johns Hopkins University. Hohenberger focuses on cryptography, the art of securely communicating. She is interested in designing secure solutions for pervasive settings, where devices everywhere are constantly talking to their environments, which may require the ability to quickly process a large number of incoming messages. Her research includes an emphasis on developing privacy-friendly technologies, such as anonymous communication and electronic cash.

Kleinberg is developing algorithms and theory to address complex interactions in a networked environment. His work has implications for the fields of online learning, routing and information transmission in networks.Robert Kleinberg, Cornell University. Kleinberg studies the theory of algorithm design under informational limitations. This means that he looks at practical questions in computer science – such as how to design more robust adaptive systems for Web search, network routing, online auctions and product recommendations – and address these questions using mathematically rigorous techniques that build on ideas from learning theory, game theory and information theory.

Phil Levis is working on advanced operating systems for sensor networks, which has tremendous implications for environmental science and other fields.Philip Levis, Stanford University. Levis researches software and networking for tiny, low-power, wireless sensors. He focuses on making these networks of sensors easier to deploy and maintain by researching ultrasimple algorithms that use robust local rules to achieve desirable global behaviors. Software he develops is used by hundreds of research groups worldwide and runs on millions of nodes.

Russ Tedrake has taken a whole new view on the control of robots, incorporating the physics of natural motion into the design of his controls.Russell Tedrake, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tedrake focuses on computational and machine-learning approaches to control system design for robots that walk, run, swim and fly more like real animals. He believes that to succeed, both the mechanical design of the robots and the algorithms for controller design must exploit the natural, nonlinear dynamics of locomotion. In the next few years, he aims to build bipedal robots that can walk and jump across piles of rocks, and develop robotic birds with flapping wings that can gracefully land on a perch.

“I’m delighted and honored to be selected for the Microsoft fellowship, and to be included among the group of past and present winners whom I deeply admire,” said Robert Kleinberg, assistant professor in the department of computer science at Cornell University. “The most important resource that my research requires is interaction with gifted colleagues, and the fellowship funds give me a wide range of options, such as supporting graduate students and postdocs, and organizing symposia. I’m grateful to Microsoft Research for this extremely generous gift and for the hugely positive influence they’ve had on my growth as a researcher over the years.”

The Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship program was created in 2005 to honor first-, second- and third-year university professors who demonstrate exceptional talent for unique research and thought leadership in computer science and related fields. These awards provide funds to encourage creative freedom and collaboration opportunities among tomorrow’s most promising new professors.

The Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellowship program provides $1 million in funding each year. Each chosen fellow receives $200,000 to be used at his or her discretion. Additional resources include software, invitations to academic and professional conferences, and the opportunity to engage firsthand with leading researchers from Microsoft Research. As an unrestricted gift, the fellows have the freedom to plan their research agenda, hire grad students, build labs and purchase equipment.

According to the eligibility criteria, only one nominee per university may be entered into the program’s rigorous, multitier selection process, which culminated this year with 11 finalists being interviewed face to face by a distinguished panel of Microsoft Research executives and researchers, as well as faculty members from some of the nation’s leading universities. From the 11 finalists, five were chosen as the 2008 Microsoft Research New Faculty Fellows.

“Microsoft is committed to the New Faculty Fellows program with its potential to create exciting opportunities for the computer science researchers, educators and leaders of tomorrow,” Chutani said. “For the pipeline of computer science and engineering students to increase, there also needs to be a pipeline of dynamic faculty like these to inspire and lead them.”

These awards are part of Microsoft Research’s broader efforts aimed at funding innovative academic research that will significantly extend the state of the art in computing and ensure a rich future for computing through recognition and support of the next generation of computer science leaders.

About Microsoft Research

Founded in 1991, Microsoft Research is dedicated to conducting both basic and applied research in computer science and software engineering. Its goals are to enhance the user experience on computing devices, reduce the cost of writing and maintaining software, and invent novel computing technologies. Researchers focus on more than 55 areas of computing and collaborate with leading academic, government and industry researchers to advance the state of the art in such areas as graphics, speech recognition, user-interface research, natural language processing, programming tools and methodologies, operating systems and networking, and the mathematical sciences. Microsoft Research currently employs more than 800 people in six labs located in Redmond, Wash.; Cambridge, Mass.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; Cambridge, England; Beijing, China; and Bangalore, India. Microsoft Research collaborates openly with colleges and universities worldwide to enhance the teaching and learning experience, inspire technological innovation, and broadly advance the field of computer science. More information can be found at http://www.research.microsoft.com.

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Award winning editor, Walter Murch, best known for his work on films such as Apocolypse Now, Cold Mountain, Jarhead and The Talented Mr. Ripley, gives his first video interview describing his use of FileMaker Pro databases in the making of many of his landmark movies.

Video interview highlights:

  • B.C. (Before Computing) index cards were used to capture details of each scene and each shot. Each card was manually numbered, entered into a logbook and the entry was correlated with film stored in large cans. He remembers thinking back in the 70’s, “Someday we’ll be able to have a computer in the editing room, and we won’t have to do this all by hand … it was kind of lusting after something that didn’t exist.”
  • In the mid-80’s, Macs arrive in the cutting room and FileMaker followed soon after to greatly improve the information-gathering process. “That’s the nature of a film, that there is a huge amount of information about every shot. How you access that information as quickly as possible, and then derive results from that, can inform how you shoot the film and how you edit the film.”
  • FileMaker makes storyboarding of screen captures possible. Images of key moments in a specific shot are gathered, printed and posted to a board in the editing room. The process makes it clear to everyone on the team what the most important actions, expressions or moments are to a particular scene. “FileMaker is the database repository for all of those thousands of photographs that we extract from the film, which are very valuable things for me in editing … “
  • As the industry moves to digital, “more film … just increases the information overload. You need a tool of some kind, like FileMaker, to get access to (and) to penetrate through that jungle of information.” Based on his experience, ” … if you put the right information in, and you manipulate it to give you the right information out, it can … allow you to predict things later on. It could save millions of dollars ultimately because you’re predicting the future … .it’s a limited slice of the future, but it really is a significant one.”

About FileMaker, Inc.

FileMaker, Inc. (http://www.filemaker.com) develops award-winning database software. Its products include the legendary FileMaker Pro product line for Windows, Mac and the Web, and the new Bento personal database for Mac. FileMaker Pro won 46 awards, more than its next eight competitors combined, from 2003-2007 in the U.S., and a total of 129 awards worldwide during this time. Millions of customers, from individuals to large organizations, rely on FileMaker, Inc. software to manage, analyze and share information. FileMaker, Inc. is a subsidiary of Apple Inc.

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Computer Sciences Corporation announced that President George W. Bush has appointed CSC’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael W. Laphen to the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).

The NSTAC membership currently includes senior executives of major communications carriers, network service providers and information technology, software, finance, and aerospace companies. The NSTAC provides industry-based advice and expertise to the President on issues related to national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) communications and information systems.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve on the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee,” said Laphen. “CSC has been a dedicated contributor in the NSTAC since its inception in 1982. I will continue that tradition, supported by the extensive knowledge and experience of CSC’s world-class experts. The growing dependence of national and international critical functions and services on cyber systems, the increase in global terrorism and other major shifts, all make the work of the NSTAC even more urgent today.”

About CSC

Computer Sciences Corporation is a leading information technology (IT) services company. CSC’s mission is to be a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions and services.

With approximately 91,000 employees, CSC provides innovative solutions for customers around the world by applying leading technologies and CSC’s own advanced capabilities. These include systems design and integration; IT and business process outsourcing; applications software development; Web and application hosting; and management consulting. CSC reported revenue of $16.1 billion for the 12 months ended Dec. 28, 2007. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.csc.com.

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