November 11 – 18, 2012

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This week’s headline story: Obama focuses on Cybercrime

The Washington Times is reporting that President Obama signed a secret directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyber­attacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks. The Times says that Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record.

Cybersecurity is clearly on the mind of our reelected President. Now that the election is over, and since little has changed in respect to divisions and partisanship in the Senate, analysts predict that President Obama will sign an executive order to push his cybersecurity bill through. You may recall that the bill has failed twice in the Senate over partisan controversy. Security experts continue to emphasize the risks to the nation if no action is taken.

and elsewhere in Tech News….

  • The big news this past week is the serious fighting that has erupted in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. While missiles were being launched and tanks were deployed, the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas militants exchanged fiery tweets throughout the fighting in a separate war to influence public opinion. Through videos on YouTube, groups on Facebook, and hashtags on Twitter, it is clear that social media has become a major tool for politics and war.
    Israel and Hamas Battle Fiercely on Social Media [NewsFactor]
  • China’s next generation of leaders has been appointed. The seven new appointees have embraced social media with unprecedented enthusiasm to help guide public opinion, stir up excitement about the staid and scripted party meeting taking place in Beijing, and help kick off a transition to a new, younger government.
    China Embraces the Twitter Age at Mao-Style Conclave [NewsFactor]
  • The U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s newly installed Titan system, a Cray XK7, has stolen the title as the world’s fastest supercomputer from the DOE Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Sequoia supercomputer, an IBM BlueGene/Q system.
    Cray bumps IBM from Top500 supercomputer top spot [Computerworld]

and in Tech Industry news…

  • You may recall that Microsoft owns Skype. Well, now that the software giant has released Windows 8 for all platforms, it is concentrating on bringing Skype into the fold. Skype is being redesign with the tile-based Windows user interface formerly known as Metro. Skype will be integrated into Windows cloud platform, and remain an ad-supported free service.
    Skype Grows Up, Goes To Work [NewsFactor]
  • Microsoft has released its redesigned Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. The radically improved Web browser which was upgraded for the new Windows 8, can now be downloaded for free on older versions of Windows.
    Microsoft Releases IE 10 Browser for Windows 7 [NewsFactor]
  • Microsoft’s Steve Sinofsky, president of both Windows and Windows Live, is immediately leaving the company. Neither Microsoft nor Sinofsky offered any official reason for his departure, but analysts speculate that it has something to do with Steve Ballmer’s new push to get division heads working together towards common goals.
    Did Ballmer Clash Lead to Windows Chief Sinofsky’s Exit? [NewsFactor]
  • Cisco’s popular WebEx teleconferencing software is being re-purposed for education. Cisco is releasing a new product named WebEx Social for Higher Education, which is intended to integrate with Learning Management Systems to provide an online social meeting space for teachers and students.
    WebEx Social for Higher Education Unveiled by Cisco [NewsFactor]
  • Free online file sharing service Dropbox, has crossed the 100 Million user mark. The company will have to work hard to stay ahead of new free cloud storage options from Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
    Dropbox Claims 100 Million Users, But Integrated Rivals May Have Edge [NewsFactor]
  • IT looks like Facebook is out of the financial heat for the moment. While many were expecting its stock price to tank this past week, when more than 850 million additional shares in the company were freed up for sale, it’s stock actually maintained a steady increase of 7 percent.
    Facebook Jumps on Biggest Lock-Up Expiration Day [NewsFactor]

and finally….

  • John McAfee, founder of McAfee security software is denying involvement in the slaying of his neighbor on the Caribbean island of Belize. McAfee, who sold his stake in the anti-virus software company in the early 1990s, lost tens of millions of dollars in the U.S. financial crisis, and moved to Belize to lower his taxes. McAfee says that he hid from police by burying himself in the sand, and then fled the area and is in hiding. Belize police said that McAfee remains a “person of interest” in the murder, not a suspect, and that he is being sought for routine questioning. They believe he is still in Belize, but they have also contacted authorities in Mexico and Guatemala.
    McAfee Founder Says He’s Innocent of Murder [NewsFactor]

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