Dr. Brenda Wilson with her crew of volunteers from Women in Computing at the Tent City - 2011 Homecoming

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  • In the cloud, code doesn't need developers

    JULY 24, 2013

    Automated approaches to development are gaining ground, but have their limits and won't render professional developers obsolete

    By Paul Krill | InfoWorld

    Codeless development environments, which rely on models and templates for building applications rather than strict coding, are gaining a foothold. But they are limited and won't render professional developers obsolete, observers of these technologies say.

    Platforms from companies such as OutSystems and Mendix have emerged in this development niche, and with them comes growing interest in codeless tools, says analyst David Norton of Gartner. "We're seeing SMBs who are trying to lower costs" by looking at high-productivity, model-driven environments, he says.

    Also driving interest is frustration with IT and business units that want to handle their own development....

    (Read the whole story here)



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  • Cyberthieves Looted A.T.M.’s of $45 Million in Just Hours

     Yet, in two precision operations that involved people in more than two dozen countries acting in close coordination and with surgical precision, the organization was able to steal $45 million from thousands of A.T.M.'s in a matter of hours.

    In New York City alone, the thieves responsible for A.T.M. withdrawals struck 2,904 machines over 10 hours on Feb. 19, withdrawing $2.4 million. 
     Yet, in two precision operations that involved people in more than two dozen countries acting in close coordination and with surgical precision, the organization was able to steal $45 million from thousands of A.T.M.'s in a matter of hours.

    In New York City alone, the thieves responsible for A.T.M. withdrawals struck 2,904 machines over 10 hours on Feb. 19, withdrawing $2.4 million. 
     Yet, in two precision operations that involved people in more than two dozen countries acting in close coordination and with surgical precision, the organization was able to steal $45 million from thousands of A.T.M.'s in a matter of hours.

    In New York City alone, the thieves responsible for A.T.M. withdrawals struck 2,904 machines over 10 hours on Feb. 19, withdrawing $2.4 million. 

        It was a huge bank heist – but a 21st-century version in which the robbers never wore ski masks, threatened a teller or set foot in a vault. 

        Yet, in two precision operations that involved people in more than two dozen countries acting in close coordination and with surgical precision, the organization was able to steal $45 million from thousands of A.T.M.'s in a matter of hours.

        In New York City alone, the thieves responsible for A.T.M. withdrawals struck 2,904 machines over 10 hours on Feb. 19, withdrawing $2.4 million. 

    Click this link for the rest of the story

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  • Buying Their Way to Twitter Fame

    [Linked on April 9, 2013; Published Aug 22, 2012]

    AS a comedian, Dan Nainan was blessed with fans, millions of YouTube views and, once, an audience with President Obama. But one thing was missing.

    “The number of Twitter followers I had in relation to how many people in the world know about me was woefully inadequate,” he said. So in June he bought a small city’s worth for $424.15, raising his Twitter follower count from about 700 to more than 220,000.

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  • How Marissa Mayer Figured Out Work-At-Home Yahoos Were Slacking Off

    Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider

    Last week, Yahoo banned employees from working from home.

    How did CEO Marissa Mayer decide to make such a controversial decision?

    According to a source, the only way Mayer is comfortable making any decision: with the help of data.

    Read the whole story here

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  • Anonymous hacks US Sentencing Commission, distributes files

    By Violet Blue for Zero Day | January 26, 2013 -- 11:33 GMT (03:33 PST) 

    Hacktivist group Anonymous took control of the U.S. Sentencing Commission website Friday, January 25 in a new campaign called "Operation Last Resort."


    The first attack on the website was early Friday morning. The second - successful - attack came around 9pm PST that evening.

    By 3am PST ussc.gov was down (it has since been dropped from the DNS), yet as of this writing the IP address (66.153.19.162) still returns the defaced site's contents.

     

    Read the rest of the story here

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  • The UK Government Shows How to Design for Simplicity

    The UK government is leading the way in using design to create simpler digital services for its citizens.

    Sample layout for Gov.uk


    A 2010 report commissioned by the government made a series of strong recommendations, including creating a single ‘front end’ for all government digital services, releasing API’s to government data, creating a central team with absolute control over all interaction experiences for digital services, and appointing a CEO of Digital with absolute authority over user experiences across all digital channels.

     

    (Get the whole story here)

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  • Programming, Database Are Top Skills for IT Pros on Wall Street

    by Darryl K Taft

    If you are looking for a job on Wall Street, IT skills are the way to go, particularly programming and database expertise, according to a recent study conducted by a leading career site network for the financial services industry. eFinancialCareers, a global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries, recently released its top 10 skills searches on Wall Street, and programming and databases skills come out on top

    Read the whole story at eWeek

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  • You too can get a job as a developer!

    by Eric Knorr

    Last time I looked, the U.S. unemployment rate was 8.1 percent. Yet as InfoWorld's Andrew Oliver noted a couple of weeks ago in "Is a computer science degree worth the paper it's printed on?" the unemployment rate among developers is more like 5 percent -- which is considered pretty close to full employment.

    My, how things have changed. What happened to the hue and cry of just a few years ago that offshoring would eventually gobble up every last U.S. programming job?

     

    [Read the whole story here]

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  • How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking

    By Mat Honan | August 6, 2012 | 8:01 pm |

    In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

    In many ways, this was all my fault. My accounts were daisy-chained together. Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my...

    [Ed: Not sure of the veracity, but seems plausible enough to warrant a warning to others]

    Go here for the rest

     

     

    More evidence that this really happened: Amazon Quietly Closes Security Hole After Journalist’s Devastating Hack

    Previously, Amazon allowed people to call in and change the email address associated with an Amazon account or add a credit card number to an Amazon account as long as the caller could identify him or herself by name, email address and mailing address — three bits of personal information that are easily found online.

    On Tuesday, Amazon handed down to its customer service department a policy change that no longer allows people to call in and change account settings, such as credit cards or email addresses associated with its user accounts.

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  • Digicrits goes live!

    It is immensely satisfying for teachers to see their students take an idea and carry it to a finished product or service. Digicrits is one such business. Last Spring Aaron Tribou (CIS) and Brenon Conn (Business major, Art minor) came together in the CIS420 class with the intention of taking Conn's digital social network idea to a proof-of-concept.

    Digicrits is a facebook-like social network where members share their photography, graphic design, illustrations, and more. Digicrits provides a platform for those images to be rated. Artists, photographers, or just anybody who wants to share their best Instagram photos can do so and be rated and commented on by the digicrits community. It has all the elements of a modern digital social network with a focus on art and images.

    Members of teh DigiCrits team

    As instructor, Dr. Raj often looks for projects that have an immediate benefit to the project sponsor. "CIS420 is the capstone course for all CIS  majors and is intended to give students as near a 'real world' experience as possible. Brenon had been after me from the previous term (Fall 2011) looking for a developer who could take his 'baby' and 'birth' it."

    Seeing his persistence and energy Dr. Raj offered to take it up in the following term if the students in the class would be interested. He pitched the idea to Aaron Tribou who was the only one needing CIS420 and then introduced him to Brenon Conn. Tribou agreed to take up the challenge although he knew that he was going to be the sole developer in the 2-person team. Raj asked Conn to sign up for the Special Problems (CIS585) class and work with Tribou.

    After weeks of discussing the pros/cons of various tools and programming languages, Tribou, Conn and Raj settled on PhP for the programming language and MySQL for the database - both available for no cost. During this time the team also firmed up on the scope of the project and a schedule for project "deliverables".

    Tribou did all the technical work - programming, database and project management while Conn dealt with the user interface, the styling, and pretty much anything to do with graphics. Raj kept both on track with deadlines and played the "devil's advocate" for many of the design decisions.

    The project was completed on schedule and demonstrated at the annual CSIS awards banquet on April 21, 2012 at Barkley room in Curris Center. The participating students and the members of the CSIS Advisory Board present were blown away by the demo.  Several of the Advisory Board members spoke privately to Conn and Tribou and encouraged them to take it to the next stage and go commercial. The demo also caught the attention of some students who asked Tribou and Conn if they could participate in additional development.

    By the end of the Spring term, Digicrits became a legal entity with Conn as the Chief Executive Officer and Tribou as Chief Technology Officer.  Conn and Tribou asked Dr Raj about hiring student interns for the summer with the idea of going live in August. Once the internship terms were finalized, Tribou and Conn conducted a series of interviews and settled on Ben Hester (CSC) and Yasha Yang (MSIS) as student interns.

    The new team was faced with the challenge of learning PhP, MySQL (and related tools) as well as mastering AJAX and CSS.  On his experience, Ben Hester had this to say, "I feel I learned a great deal about developing in a professional environment. I learned how to develop with a team, when to ask questions and how to combine code from different sources into one project [using version control]."

    During this time Conn was actively involved in the legal, testing, design, promotion aspects of the project as well as the morale and coordination between members of the team. His optimism and leadership were essential elements of the whole venture.

    Earlier in the term Conn participated in the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development's State Business Plan Competition and won second place for his Business Plan. In a letter to the Dean of the College, the Team sponsor, Mr Steve Dublin - Lecturer in Management - said, "He (Conn) could not have missed first place [by] much, his plan and presentation was outstanding. His winning prize money was nearly $8000.  It should be noted that Victor Raj has mentored Brenon and has been a great influence".

    This is an example of cross-disciplinary interests coming together in a University setting with several teachers and courses contributing to the birth (and delivery) of a finished product. It needed Art, Business, Technology - programming, database design, Web scripting - entrepreneurship as well as teachers willing to take on challenging projects even if they cannot follow the norm and structure of a traditional 3-credit class.

    Raj noted that Conn and Tribou met on campus every Tuesday and Thursday for 75 minutes (sometimes more) even if they knew they could accomplish the same from their home. "They definitely put in a LOT more than what is typically required of a 3-credit class. The class had no homework assignments or tests and yet they progressed by setting targets and deadlines; they certainly learned a lot. The class was a true 'real-world' experience for these two young men".

    "Of course the driving force is the well-motivated student. Both Aaron and Brenon fit this bill perfectly."

    As part of the internship, Ben had to write a 10-page paper summarizing his experience. He notes, "Probably one of the most important things I’ve done during this internship is make mistakes—mistakes that could have been disastrous on a much larger project and cost me my job. However these are mistakes that I won’t make again because I’ve learned proper procedures when dealing with version control, working with a team and how to utilize my time correctly if I ever find myself stuck on one particular portion of a task."

    Yasha and Ben under the leadership of Tribou and the gentle prodding of Conn worked hard and finally released the application on August 3, 2012. It is quite a change from the original proof-of-concept hosted on the department's Linux server to the first release on shared hosting off campus. Depending on funding availability, the team will eventually move to a dedicated server.

    This is truly a remarkable story of hard work, diligence, team work and passion. The CSIS department is proud to recognize this young team for their efforts. Dr. Raj's wish is that Murray State continue to provide the environment that facilitated and produced such trail blazers.

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