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Large Hadron Collider Struggling 371

Writing in the NY Times, Dennis Overbye covers the birthing pangs and the prospects for CERN's Large Hadron Collider (which we have discussed numerous times). "The biggest, most expensive physics machine in the world is riddled with thousands of bad electrical connections. [And] many of the magnets meant to whiz high-energy subatomic particles around a 17-mile underground racetrack have mysteriously lost their ability to operate at high energies. Some physicists are deserting the European project, at least temporarily, to work at a smaller, rival machine [Fermilab's Tevatron] across the ocean. ... Technicians have spent most of the last year cleaning up and inspecting thousands of splices in the collider. About 5,000 will have to be redone... Retraining magnets is costly and time consuming, experts say, and it might not be worth the wait to get all the way to the original target energy [of 7 TeV]. Many physicists say they would be perfectly happy if the collider never got above five trillion electron volts. Dr. Myers said he thought the splices as they are could handle 4 [TeV]. 'We could be doing physics at the end of November,' he said in July, before new vacuum leaks pushed the schedule back a few additional weeks. 'It's not the design energy of the machine, but it's 4 times higher than the Tevatron,' he said."

Submission + - When Rogue IT Staffers Attack, Companies Burn (

onehitwonder writes: "Terry Childs. Jérome Kerviel. Robert Hanssen. They are among eight notorious IT professionals who used their tech-savvy to subvert their organizations or expose wrongdoing that their employers would have preferred to cover up. To some, these men are criminals and trouble-makers. To others, they're heroes who demonstrate why you shouldn't f*&! with IT workers. Check out the slide show When Rogue IT Staffers Attack to learn about the havoc they wreaked on their organizations and the prices they had to pay."

Submission + - Why Increased Privacy Attention Will Hurt Facebook (

C.G. Lynch writes: "It turns out people actually do care about their privacy on social networks, and the effects could have far-reaching effects on the ability of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to make money. Research and interviews with privacy experts revealed that people have begun using Facebook's granular privacy settings.

Take for example this research we got from the UNC Department of School of Information and Library Science:

More than 70 percent of 495 college students surveyed claimed to have altered their Facebook privacy settings in some way. Around half of the students also said they limited access to their profile to "friends only."

Although Joe Social Networker might not pay close attention to "inside baseball" incidents like Beacon, they do notice general trends in the media, says Fred Stutzman, a social networking researcher at UNC. "Each individual incident is too abstract for most users, but they do sense an accumulation of all these things," he says.

We also spoke with Facebook's chief privacy officer, Chris Kelly, asking if it's harder to monetize users who utilize the privacy settings.

"What advertisers want is to be able to target at people who have attributes," he says. "So what we do is abstract profile information and the information flows of the site into keywords that advertisers can target their advertising against. But the advertisers don't get a list of who matches those keywords, so it doesn't really impinge upon the users' privacy interests."

The experts we spoke with felt otherwise."


Submission + - Did Google Sway Obama for CIO Appointment? (

C.G. Lynch writes: "The news that President Obama appointed District of Columbia chief technology officer Vivek Kundra as the nation's Federal CIO got us wondering who had the most sway behind the scenes. Did Google have a heavy hand? After all, Kundra's appointment might be good for Google's emerging software (Google Apps) business. Back in September, when we spoke with Kundra, he was in the process of rolling out Google Apps and enterprise Gmail to the District's 38,000 employees, citing cost savings. We wonder if the Google friendly CIO might bring about an uptick for Google Apps sales, and if Kundra will make the government more software as a service oriented in general. Google's CEO Eric Schmidt served as an advisor during the Obama transition, so it stands to reason he had some willing ears."
Social Networks

Submission + - Facebook Connect: Good numbers, but more questions (

Chris Lynch writes: "An analysis of Facebook Connect and its early implementations found websites that embraced the service saw large increases in traffic, registration and better overall engagement from users who log in using Connect. As an example, "Joost, a site that allows people to watch and share mainstream TV shows, films and music videos online, implemented Connect back in mid-December. Since then, people who have navigated the site using a Connect account have watched 30 percent more videos than non-Connect users. They have also made comments on videos 15 percent more of the time."

But some questions about Connect remain unanswered. How long will Facebook go offering another service for free (as it did application developers) without wanting something in return or changing the rules in some way? In interviews and research, we found that it would be in Facebook's best interest to eventually push for more information about their users at Facebook Connect partner sites, even if it has to change its user agreement or deal with more questions about privacy.

"While Facebook garners incredible web traffic and user retention in its own right, people don't utilize the social network's search tool for many product related activities, a limiting factor when it comes to serving up relevant ads that people actually click on to make purchases. 'Even heavy Facebook users only spends a portion of their day there,' says Jonathan Yarmis, an industry analyst. 'They should want to see what you're doing elsewhere. If they can see the things I do on the other website, they get a better image of what I do and can have a more commercial view of things.'""

Social Networks

Submission + - Facebook App Developers Struggle as Rules Change (

lgmac writes: "Among the more than 650,000 third-party developers who make a living in the ecosystem around Facebook, resentment is brewing. A redesign to the service several months ago has made it tougher to recruit new app users and make money. "A lot of apps were lost overnight," one source tells's C.G. Lynch. "Many developers hate Facebook for it because they left their day jobs, and they put a significant amount of their time and money developing stuff for Facebook." And a successful developer who's gotten out of the Facebook app business has this to say: "If someone was coming to me now and saying they want to create a Facebook app, I'd tell them all the problems and how hard it is." Facebook, for its part, says third-party developers will play a big role in the future, as it pushes Facebook Connect as a type of operating system for the Web. But can the Facebook platform flourish despite the current developer dissatisfaction? Not everyone agrees."
Social Networks

Submission + - LinkedIn Clamps Down on Heaviest Users (

C.G. Lynch writes: "LinkedIn has slapped new restrictions on members of a controversial 16,000-member group called the LinkedIn open networkers, or LIONs, who accept almost all LinkedIn connection requests and introduce strangers out of good will. These super-connected users say LinkedIn is worried that open networkers may affect the company's future ability to monetize the service. In the recent development, some users have received messages saying that they have exceeded a newly imposed connection limit of 30,000."

Submission + - From World of Warcraft Guru to Starbucks CIO (

twailgum writes: "Starbucks' new CIO, Stephen Gillett, doesn't look or act like most CIOs. Formerly a college football player and top guild master in World of Warcraft, he's more GenX than gray, but has a resume most mid-life crisis victims would envy. Here's a look at his fast-moving career path and why Starbucks hired him to transform IT at the struggling company."

Submission + - What If Yoda Ran IBM?

Esther Schindler writes: "The big vendors beat down the doors of large companies to get business, but a small-company gets the brush-off. One CIO wonders how to harness the powers of the Force, and get some big-company expertise to help the little guy.

Yeah, this is written from the boss's point of view (because, duh, it's a CIO who wrote it), but it certainly applies to anybody working in a smaller company who needs attention from a big vendor (for sales, tech support, whatever):

Herein lies the problem. Just because Sequoia is a $25 million dollar organization (in revenue), that does not exempt us from some of the same challenges that larger organizations endure. Although $25,000 may not seem like a large amount to IBM, imagine if they had many customers similar in size to Sequoia.

This guy's solution? "Let's imagine (with apologies to George Lucas) what Yoda might do if he were running a large consultancy....""

Submission + - California Testers Find Flaws in Voting Machines ( 1

quanticle writes: According to Ars Technica, California testers have discovered severe flaws in the ES&S voting machines. The paper seals were easily bypassed, and the lock could be picked with a "common office implement". After cracking the physical security the device, the testers found it simple to reconfigure the BIOS to boot off external media. After booting a version of Linux, they found that critical system files were stored in plain text. They also found that the election management system that initializes the voting machines used unencrypted protocols to transmit the initialization data to the voting machines, allowing for a man-in-the-middle attack.

Altogether, it is a troubling report for a company already in hot water for selling uncertified equipment to counties.


Submission + - Malware grew by 100% during 2007 (

BaCa writes: In its 2007 data security summary, F-Secure reports of a steep increase in the amount of new malware detected during 2007. In fact the amount of cumulative malware detections doubled during the year, reaching the amount of half a million. This indicates that network criminals are producing new malware variants in bulk. While no truly new malware technologies were seen the existing ones were refined and adapted for much greater effectiveness. Social engineering remains a key method for propagating malware, and more productive malware development tools and kits are increasingly used by the criminals.

Submission + - Stuart Scott's New Gig: Not as Great as It Seems? (

Chris Lindquist writes: "Stuart Scott's loud departure from Microsoft's CIO role concluded with his exceptionally quick landing as chief operating office for mortgage company Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. But the speed of the turnaround has some executive recruiters scratching their heads about the whole turn of events. For instance, how's Scott going to manage his 3,000-mile commute from Washington to Florida, since he reportedly isn't planning to move?"
Operating Systems

Submission + - Dearly Departed 2: Most Mourned Dead Products

Esther Schindler writes: "In Dearly Departed: Products and Companies that Didn't Deserve to Die (slashdotted here), listed several favorite products—from minicomputers to software utilities—and mourned the best and brightest that died an untimely death. The follow-up article, Dearly Departed 2, looks at the top nominations from the site's readers, such as Be and NeXT, and examines when and why the companies failed."

Submission + - In Defense of Gen Y Workers (

Chris Lindquist writes: "Entitled? Spoiled? Maybe. But Gen Y workers are the future, like them or not. has a couple recent articles defending Generation Y from the attacks generally heaped upon the group these days. One is by a 21-year-old editorial assistant who concludes "I'm different, I'm better and I'm tired of hearing otherwise. Ignore me at your peril." The other is by a reader who posted a piece noting that his own 21-year-old daughter's discarded alarm clock led to his recognition that the world has changed dramatically for the next generation — and for him."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Linux Distro Dudes Make Case for Business Use (

rabblerouzer writes: "Are you trying to convince your manager that Linux is the OS for you? If you want to make the best case for a company-wide switch to Linux, developers of four leading distros tell, in their own words, why they are best for business use today. Open source gurus Mark Shuttlworth (Ubuntu) and Max Spevak (Fedora) and corporate leaders Roger Levy (Novell's SuSE) and Brian Stevens (Red Hat) offer the details from cost savings to security to interoperability that can win your case."

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