Tuesday, October 18, 2011


A few computer-centric curiosities from my file of virtual clippings:

Living Google-free. Impossible? (He asks ironically, while blogging on a Google property.) Here's the experience of someone who actually tried. How I Learned to Live Google-free: A quest to quit the most pervasive company on the Web (from IEEE Spectrum's Inside Technology blog).

Maintaining such independence, should you so desire, isn't getting any easier. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Google Acquires Facial Recognition Technology Company. Why? "The Web-search giant didn’t say what it plans to do with it."

 What has Google had to say about such technologies?

Google has said it built facial recognition technology for smartphones into a product known as Google Goggles, but withheld it. “As far as I know, it’s the only technology that Google built and after looking at it, we decided to stop,” said Google Chairman Eric Schmidt last month at a conference. “People could use this stuff in a very, very bad way as well as in a good way."

Not that Google has a monopoly on encroaching on your privacy. Your car may be ratting you out, with a little "help" from OnStar. Even if you canceled your OnStar subscription. See "The Car as Informant," again courtesy of IEEE Spectrum. (There was enough of an uproar that OnStar is changing this policy. In a few months. Here is OnStar's press release.)

Did you read the report a few months ago that Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than users of other browsers? The scary thing is that serious news outlets actually ran with it. See "Journalists Miss Hoax Clues in Dumb IE User 'Study'," from Sci-Tech Today.

Having a background in physics and computer science, I've long been fascinated by prospects for quantum computing. I recently came upon an excellent report on the status of the technology. See "Is Quantum Computing real? The answer is yes and no. And yes and yes. And no and no." from Network World. The subtitle says it all ...

You won't find languages for quantum computing here, but the list is nonetheless interesting (to this blogger, in any case). You did wonder about the ten top programming languages, didn't you? Of course you did. So (yet again from IEEE Spectrum -- have I mentioned I'm an IEEE member?), see "The Top 10 Programming Languages: They're mostly ones you'd expect--and then there's Lua."

Finally, noting that pretty much everything -- from industrial-strength computing to Netflix movies to Google Docs to your iTunes collection -- is in, or moving to, the (i)Cloud, I'm pleased to see my alma mater taking a crack at making the Cloud more reliable and secure. With backing from the US Air Force, "New Assured Cloud Computing Center to be Established at Illinois".

(That's the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. As in, you may recall, the birthplace of the HAL 9000. Watching 2001: A Space Odyssey as a student at the U of I (yeah, I know how that dates me) was a hoot.

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