Friday Blurbs… April 2nd

Impersonal e-mail can be profitable – Hate reading emails and responding to everyone, thumb especially to those people you don’t like! Well to bad, deal with it. We all hate that, however the guys at have come up with a way to at least make it profitable. The service called “Attention Auction” it lets advertisers pay you to read their email notices. Say you don’t read their message right away, they can offer you more money to read their message.  As a recipient you’ll see messages sorted from the highest price to the lowest. Open the message and get paid. Now if I can use this to get  aunt Martha to bump up the money she sends me in my birthday cards.

Cheap, Lazy or Just Dumb -  A Florida Panhandle deputy was able to track down and arrest a man on charges of illegally dumping a boat near his home with a surprising tool: satellite pictures provided by Google Earth. Deputy Gregory Barnes used the images after finding an 18-foot boat dumped in an undeveloped subdivision about 15 miles north of Pensacola.  Google Earth shows archived satellite and aerial images of communities across the world. Barnes used it to look at the surrounding area and saw a fuzzy image of the vessel at Dwight Everett Foster’s home. Authorities say Foster admitted dumping the boat and his son later removed it. Police say it cost $18 to dispose of the boat at a landfill.  Foster faces a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

iGoogle – I see that iGoogle got a few enhancements this week. Notice the camera,  phone  and group chat icons have been relocated. However the File Transfer capabilities are the real bonus here.  The File Transfer works directly in the browser so you don’t need to install anything. Just start a conversation with a friend and click “Send a file…” in the “Actions” menu. After you select a file, your friend will be asked if they want to accept the transfer. I bet AOL Chat is quaking in their boots!

Pinching Pennies – News outlets far and wide are picking up on this week’s announcement by Computing and Information Technology team within the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The University will switch to Century Gothic instead of Arial as the default e-mail typeface. Because the former uses 30 percent less ink when printed to paper, it’s a winner on two counts: “green” practices, and also cost savings.  The University says that  while the change sounds minor, it will save money on ink when students print e-mails in the new font. The new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one.  That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon.

Cockroaches -  According to IT World, Network operators are seeing an infestation of silicon cockroaches, “..a term used to describe Internet-connected devices such as mobile sensors, bio-medical systems and RFID-powered asset trackers that operate without human administration.” According to IT World  silicon cockroaches  are listed as a “… key factor in the Internet becoming a network of things, rather than a network of computers, in the future.” The article estimates that more than ” …15 billion devices could be hooked up to the Internet by 2015, a figure that will be “orders of magnitude bigger” than the number of Internet-connected people. Silicon cockroaches pose several threats to network operators, including naming, security and management headaches that require additional research…”

This is the Government we are Talking About –   According to a NY TIMES Article -  “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has suspended work on parts of its huge computer overhaul, dealing the agency the latest costly setback in a decade-long effort to develop a modernized information system to combat crime and terrorism. The overhaul was supposed to be completed this fall, but now will not be done until next year at the earliest. The delay could mean at least $30 million in cost overruns on a project considered vital to national security, Congressional officials said. F.B.I. officials said that design changes and “minor” technical problems prompted the suspension of parts of the third and fourth phases of the work, which is intended to allow agents to better navigate investigative files, search databases and communicate with one another.This is terribly frustrating,” Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who has been a frequent critic of the F.B.I.’s computer systems, said in an interview Thursday. “We’ve been through this song and dance before. Wouldn’t you think after hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted that they’d finally get it right?”  F.B.I. officials said they viewed the issues more as minor kinks than serious problems.  While the F.B.I. described the problems as a minor setback, Congressional officials said they were alarmed. Mr. Grassley and Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, told Mr. Mueller in a letter this week that they viewed the problems as a “serious development” that threatened the entire project.  “This is a red flag,” said a Congressional official briefed by the F.B.I. on the problems this month, “because they’ve failed so many times before.” I think all of us would agree that if we told our boss a project we had been working on for years was going to be delayed another 2 years… we know we would probably be looking for a new job.