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IT Trends for Thursday, April 15, 2004

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

In This Issue


Terry Calhoun, IT Trends Commentator
Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
University of Michigan

SCADA Security and the "Most Monumental Non-Nuclear Explosion and Fire"

SCADA Security and the "Most Monumental Non-Nuclear Explosion and Fire" You probably have to be of a certain age to remember that the Internet itself came about as a U.S. defense project to create a distributed information network that would still function even if parts of it were destroyed. Let me brag that I have in fact *heard* of SCADA before, but temper that by saying that I knew little of it and appreciate frequent guest-commentator J'e St Sauver asking us, this week, to think about this other aspect of national security that apparently hasn't kept up with the Internet.

By J'e St Sauver
University of Oregon Computing Center

Like Cliff Claven (the jovial factoid-sharing postal carrier of the syndicated television comedy, "Cheers"), I'm easily enthralled by trivia. For example, I bet you didn't know that Hells Canyon, location in remote northeastern Oregon, is North America's deepest river gorge, did you?

Now that you know my attraction to trivia, you can imagine my reaction when I came across news reports of a Siberian explosion in 1982, an explosion that was said to have been the "most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space." This incident was first disclosed by Thomas Reed, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Air Force, in his new book, At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War (Presidio Press, March 2004, ISBN 0891418210).
Read more


Leading Edge University IT Resources Targeted in Massive Hack Attacks

Possibly connected attacks at several universities in recent weeks have given hacker access to large networks and supercomputers. As many as 15-20 successful attacks were made at institutions including Stanford, the University of San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Chicago. Typically, the attacks are on sophisticated research networks and although severe damage could have been caused, so far it has not.
Read more

Colleges Leaking Confidential Data

And it's not just from hacking, a lot of it is from inadequately trained employees or improperly protected software.
Read more

The Gopher Isn't Dead

If you don't know what "gopher" is, then you may well not be a baby boomer. Gopher was a protocol that fought, briefly, with HTML, for dominance of the Internet. But it's not dead yet.
Read more

Turf Battle Between Bagel and Netsky

Throw MyDoom into the mix and the unholy trio has, some estimate, caused $85B in lost productivity already in 2004. Now, the authors Bagel and Netsky are in a "pathetic little battle" that makes users' time and dollars the collateral damage.
Read more

The Interplanetary Internet Grows in Importance

Utilizing something called "delay-tolerant" networking, NASA and others have been working on plans to ensure Internet connectivity throughout the solar system. A ".mars" domain is a ways off yet, but some of the knowledge gained is getting applied back on Earth.
Read more

Not Everyone's Optimistic About the Blackboard IPO

Has Blackboard matured enough to go public? According to this in depth article, while some praise the quality of the product and the brand Blackboard has established, others decry the cost, and the company's lack of year-to-year profitability. (free subscription required)
Read more

Macintosh "Trojan Horse" Not a Threat?

The supposed Trojan horse is a benign proof of concept file that d'es exploit an original Macintosh operating system vulnerability. It d'esn't appear to be an immediate threat, and many don't think it is ever likely to be.
Read more

The FBI Wants a "Wiretap Friendly" Internet

And there a lots of software companies gearing up to help large organizations (Like colleges and universities?) handle subp'ena requests. For a fee, of course.
Read more

Progress in War Against Spam Hit or Miss

The "killer app" is still being killed, and seems powerless to help it. It's like watching a slow-motion murder. (free subscription required)
Read more

Students at Chinese a University Celebrate Computer-Free Day

Well, it was a weekend day - a Saturday - but it was reported as bring a refreshing experience.
Read more

Optimistic About P-to-P "News" Networks?

Using Peer-to-Peer for sharing news stories is an idea gaining a lot of coverage lately, but there are a few issues.
Read more

Google Searches Focused on Academic Papers at MIT

A pilot test is underway now at 17 institutions, to see if a new Google feature offering a search of academic, scholarly literature is a possible and useful option.
Read more

Ivory Towers Take Up Arms Against Hacks

Focusing on Boston College and UMass, this article examines the special issues institutions face with student hackers, as opposed to commercial corporations who are dealing with employees.
Read more

Higher Ed Coalition Opposes Extending Wiretap Law to Internet Providers

Current wiretapping laws, known as CALEA, are written for traditional telecommunications. The FCC wants to extend them to broadband, and now a new coalition of higher education and library associations has been created to oppose that extension. (PDF)
Read more


New Stanford U. Web site Offers Resources for High-tech Entrepreneurs

Got an idea for a spin-off? The STVP Educators Corner Web site offers Stanford course materials, case studies, links to resources, and videotapes interviews with successful entrepreneurs.
Learn more


Ten Colleges Nationwide Will Get Campus-Wide Wi-Fi System Free

The Higher Education Wireless Access Consortium (HEWAC), in conjunction with WiSE Technologies announced rules for colleges that would like to apply for one of 10 grants being given by the two organizations that will provide campus wireless networks to colleges.
Read more

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Lightpath’s End-to-End Educational Network

Long Island University has deployed the first end-to-end educational network on based on Lightpath’s new 2.5 Gbps fiber optic metro area network linking LIU's three residential campuses. This new technology will enable: video conferencing, IP telephony, additional bandwidth, and broadcast of public radio.

OneTouch Interactive Distance Learning Technology

Helius Inc. announced the availability of the OneTouch Classroom Site Controller system into the Helius MediaGate Router platform. A Helius technology partner, OneTouch is a provider of interactive distance learning solutions. Helius will deliver an integrated platform with OneTouch technology inside for distributing content and managing interaction for distance learning initiatives. Helius MediaGate Router, customers can deploy a single hardware device at each location, simplifying the deployment and management of a distance learning environment.

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The Impact of Wireless Network on Instructional Computing

Howard Strauss, manager of technology outreach as Princeton University

Despite the popularity of the technology, wireless is only beginning to show its potential uses for instruction. Howard Strauss comments about the use of the technology, both in the classroom and remotely.

Click Here to Listen

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