True Video Lies

This is a longer version of a piece I recorded for the BBC World Service. The other day my wife lost her phone out shopping. We narrowed it down to either the supermarket or the taxi. So we took her shopping receipt to the supermarket and asked to see their CCTV to confirm she still …

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Using LinkedIn to Research Spies Like Us

Several of the 11 alleged Russian spies leave interesting imprints on LinkedIn, suggesting rewarding pickings for journalists. Donald Heathfield, for example, had 74 connections. His specialities sound like they could equally applied to espionage: Comprehensive management of Risks and Uncertainties, Anticipatory Leadership, Building of Future Scenarios, Development and Execution of Future Strategies, Capture of Strategic …

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The Power of Non News

I attend a lot of conferences where newsmen (yes I know it’s an outmoded, sexist term, but that’s the kind of industry we’re in) wring their hands about the future of their profession. Or rather the lack of it. And loyal readers of this column will know I tend to throw my hands up in …

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Obese Texters, Back to the Future, and Scams

I make an appearance on the excellent Breakfast Club show on Radio Australia each Friday at about 01:15 GMT and some listeners have asked me post links to the stuff I talk about, so here they are. Texting reduces obesity If your kids are getting a little overweight, then treat them to a bit of …

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Some Early Lessons from The Georgian Cyberwar

illustration fron Arbor Networks There’s some interesting writing going about the Georgian Cyberwar. This from VNUnet, which seems to confirms my earlier suspicion that this was the first time we’re seeing two parallel wars:  “We are witnessing in this crisis the birth of true, operational cyber warfare,” said Eli Jellenc, manager of All-Source Intelligence at …

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South Ossetia: The First Cyber/Physical War?

BBC picture Wikipedia is doing a good job of chronicling the war in South Ossetia; its mention of several apparent cyberattacks on both sides makes me wonder whether this is the first instance of a physical war being accompanied by a cyberwar? All those listed on Wikipedia are not parallel attacks, i.e. they are not …

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Google Killer? A Clip Around the Ears, Maybe

There’s a new search engine out there, according to the Guardian, and it sort of tries to figure out what you’re looking for. Which is good. Google searches are great so long as they’re simple. But is Powerset up to snuff? Here are some searches I did (betraying my interests): Pretty good stuff. And how …

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Backed Up? Or Cracked Up?

There’s quite a commotion online about a program called g-archiver that promises to back up your Gmail account, but in the process apparently harvests all users’ Gmail usernames and passwords, and mails them to a separate Gmail account. This is indeed scary, although it’s possible that the person behind it wasn’t collecting the passwords for …

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Offended By Spit

The truth about writing, especially comic writing, is that you’re always going to offend somebody. The trick is not to do it deliberately, but also, not to care when you do. Seinfeld’s The Boyfriend episode is a classic of the genre, mocking JFK assassination buffs (Stone’s JFK had just come out) with the spitting sequence. …

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Piracy Helps Some Countries Grow

One can only imagine Bill Gates’ discomfort: Standing silently as the Romanian president told the world that pirated Microsoft software helped his country become what it is: Pirated Microsoft Corp software helped Romania to build a vibrant technology industry, Romanian President Traian Basescu told the company’s co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday. “Piracy,” Reuters quoted him …

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