Friday, July 12, 2013

Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart dies at 88

The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, has died aged 88.
Engelbart developed the tool in the 1960s as a wooden shell covering two metal wheels, patenting it long before the mouse's widespread use. He also worked on early incarnations of email, word processing and video teleconferences at a California research institute.
The state's Computer History Museum was notified of his death by his daughter, Christina, in an email.
Her father had been in poor health and died peacefully on Tuesday night in his sleep, she said.
Doug Engelbart was born on 30 January 1925 in Portland, Oregon, to a radio repairman father and a housewife mother.
'Mother of all demos'
He studied electrical engineering at Oregon State University and served as a radar technician during World War II.
He then worked at Nasa's predecessor, Naca, as an electrical engineer, but soon left to pursue a doctorate at University of California, Berkeley.
His interest in how computers could be used to aid human cognition eventually led him to Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and then his own laboratory, the Augmentation Research Center.
His laboratory helped develop ARPANet, the government research network that led to the internet.
Engelbart's ideas were way ahead of their time in an era when computers took up entire rooms and data was fed into the hulking machines on punch cards.
At a now legendary presentation that became known as the "mother of all demos" in San Francisco in 1968, he made the first public demonstration of the mouse.
At the same event, he held the first video teleconference and explained his theory of text-based links, which would form the architecture of the internet. He did not make much money from the mouse because its patent ran out in 1987, before the device became widely used.
SRI licensed the technology in 1983 for $40,000 (£26,000) to Apple.
At least one billion computer mice have been sold.
Engelbart had considered other designs for his most famous invention, including a device that could be fixed underneath a table and operated by the knee.
He was said to have been driven by the belief that computers could be used to augment human intellect.
Engelbart was awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize in 1997 and the National Medal of Technology for "creating the foundations of personal computing" in 2000.
Since 2005, he had been a fellow at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
He is survived by his second wife, Karen O'Leary Engelbart, and four children.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

US President Obama holds Kenya dear, says official

Kenya’s omission from President Obama’s Africa itinerary does not signify a downgrading of Washington’s relationship with Nairobi, a White House official said on Friday.
President Obama is due to visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania next week in an Africa tour that will bypass Kenya, his ancestral homeland.
“The Kenyan people just hold a very special place in the president’s heart,” declared Ben Rhodes, spokesman for the US National Security Council.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to hide your data from Internet snoops Like NSA

Let's face it: Most of us don't e-mail, tweet, text or post anything worthy of clandestine scrutiny.
But having concerns about NSA cybersnooping doesn't mean we must surrender all privacy -- what's left of it -- in our day-to-day online activities.
It's easy to forget that we're volunteering basic information about ourselves in return for free e-mail, social networking and other digital services. And let's remember that third parties -- from government agencies to cybercriminals -- can get their hands on even more personal stuff if they're actively trying.
So, whether it's due to a vague fear of Big Brother or a more specific desire to keep your bank information out of the hands of thieves, you might be considering ways to keep your communication more secure.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NSA Scandal

America’s largest Internet companies are tripping over themselves to bolster their public image following blockbuster disclosures about their role in the U.S. government’s controversial data-gathering program. Ever since news reports suggested that major tech firms — including AppleGoogle, Facebook and Yahoo — provide the National Security Agency (NSA) with unfettered or “direct” access to their servers, the companies have been waging an aggressive campaign to demonstrate that they’re not government stooges.
Now, several of the top Silicon Valley firms are engaged in a game of one-upmanship to show that they are the most transparent Internet company on the block.

13,000 government requests for data from Yahoo

Yahoo has received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests for user data from U.S. law enforcement agencies over the last six months.

The Web portal company followed other major tech companies in revealing the extent of its involvement in the government's web surveillance program. Its report indicates it has had more requests than Facebook (FB)Microsoft (MSFTFortune 500)or Apple(AAPLFortune 500).
As with other companies reporting data requests, Yahoo said most of the orders concerned criminal investigations.