Jim’s WebLetter for 9/25/10

Hi-ya neighbors and friends!

It’s another Web weekend with stories about malware, GPS systems, an App for Android phones, and an App for Gmail users. That and some jokes sent in from all over the world where you live. So let’s get started …

To give you an idea of how sophisticated computer programming has become, reports were released this week of a malware, software that is designed to take control of a computer system, that could create real havoc in our systems around the world.

Stuxnet has been identified as the world’s first known “cyber super weapon” designed specifically to destroy a real-world target like a factory, a refinery, or just maybe a nuclear power plant. It has been discovered to be able to take control of the automated factory control system it has infected and do whatever it was programmed to do with it. Senior US researchers have confirmed that this malware so far “has infected at least 45,000 industrial control systems around the world without blowing them up, although some victims in North America have experienced some serious computer problems”. It hasn’t been determined just how the program has infected these systems, but it is sure that at some time, it may take control of the systems. Here’s the rest of the story … http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/327178

From Wikipedia, “Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’, anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook”. Because most phone sold today come with a GPS system installed, more and more people are getting involved with the game. The geocaching website (although there are several, there is only one with the geocaching.com domain) gives you details about playing the game and steps to get involved. It’s a great way to use modern technology and get out and enjoy. http://www.geocaching.com/

Android users, an app called Visibility, developed by researchers at University of Southern California, lets users take a photo of the sky and get data on the air quality. It’s a neat idea and it’s interesting to see how smartphones are giving rise to the trend of citizen science and crowdsourced data. With the Visibility app, each user photo of the sky is tagged with location, orientation and time. The data is transferred to a server where the calculations take place. The level of air quality is estimated by calibrating the images sent and comparing their intensity against an existing model of luminance in the sky, say the researchers.
The result is sent back to the user and the data is also used to create pollution maps for the region. An iPhone version of the app is in the works. Visit the Droid Market Place and search for Visibility.

Here’s a free service by CloudMagic to browse Gmail faster. It allows instant search results (just like Google’s new search) and allows you to preview the email in the search result by just hovering your mouse cursor over the title. However, IE users, it only works with Google’s Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Word has it that they will soon support Google Document searching as well. http://cloudmagic.com/

A little girl asked her father, “Daddy? Do all Fairy Tales begin with ‘Once Upon A Time?'”
He replied, “No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with ‘If elected I promise…'”
(thanks, Naomi)
As an English professor, my father would often write little notes on student essays. Often he worked late, and as the hours passed, his handwriting deteriorated. One day a student came to him after class with an essay that had been returned. “Mr. McDonald,” he said, “I can’t make out this comment you wrote on my paper.” My father took the paper and, after studying it, sheepishly replied, “It says that you should write more legibly.”
(thanks, Don)
A blind man was out walking with his seeing-eye dog when suddenly the animal paused and wet the man’s leg. Bending down, the blind man stretched out his hand and patted the dog’s head.
Having watched what happened, a bystander said, “Why are you patting him? That dog just peed on your leg!”
“I know,” said the blind man, “but I gotta find his head before I can kick his butt.”
(thanks, Reggie)
Things that make you go, “hmmmm …”
– If money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
– Why do you have to “put your two cents in”…but it’s only a “penny for your thoughts”? Where’s that extra penny going to?
– Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
– What did cured ham actually have?
– Why is it that people say they “slept like a baby” when babies wake up like every two hours?
– If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
– Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They’re going to see you naked anyway.
(thanks, Ron)
And that’s a heapin’ helping of WebLetter stories and sites, and humor to fill your day. Until next weekend, may God bless you and keep you safe.

Jim’s WebLetter
Discover the best of the Web
C-my-site at http://www.jimonline.com


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