Posted by Sam Gliksman
I consider it my civic duty to keep you updated on the latest technological advances. Now I recognize that the new iPad is fascinating and advances in electronic cars are definitely important for the environment. What I’d like to know however is whether you are up to date on the latest “IMonics” – abbreviations our kids using when instant messaging and texting each other.
I read an article this morning by educational author Ian Jukes. He reported on a teacher that assigned an essay for his students and received the following from one of them:
My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we ud 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :-@ kds FTF. ILNY, its a gr8plc.
True story. Do you know what it says? Scroll down for the answer…
“My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It’s a great place.”
How did you do? The instant messaging generation sends more than 19 billion messages every day on average. Instant messaging lingo is described as a hybrid write-speak language based on a combination of abbreviated words and pictures. And of course, most messages are sent while their senders are occupied with a myriad of other tasks at the same time.
Here are some more IMonics from the front lines…
A3 – any time, anywhere, any place
FML – F my life
BOOMS – (don’t want to see anyone messaging this in your class…) bored out of my skull
SOMY – sick of me yet? (please, no jokes…)
T+ - think positive
L2G – would love to go
KPC – keep parents clueless
SMHID – scratching my head in disbelief
@TEOTD – at the end of the day
PRW – parent/people are watching
PSOS – parent standing over my shoulder
Just for the record, my son sent me a text message the other day and I responded by saying “lol”. He’s not speaking to me.
11.12.10 at 11:14 am | Despite efforts to block offensive material,. . .
8.31.10 at 3:23 pm | Troubled celebs featured in call for mobile fast. . .
6.3.10 at 10:18 am | Yahoo! Weather users must now choose between West. . .
5.14.10 at 10:26 am | Supermodel Bar Refaeli gets busted at Tel Aviv's. . .
4.14.10 at 12:27 pm | Tablet computer will be confiscated at. . .
3.23.10 at 4:50 pm | California growers use Israeli technique to. . .
10.7.09 at 5:34 am | Wiezmann professor awarded Nobel Prize in. . . (5)
7.30.09 at 1:51 pm | Security experts find flaw that allows hackers to. . . (3)
1.27.10 at 9:19 pm | Apple’s tablet looks great, but will it have. . . (3)
January 27, 2010 | 9:19 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Apple’s long-rumored tablet device, iPad, was heralded by Apple CEO Steve Jobs today following the strains of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. But will a recession-weary, iPhone-wielding public be singing “It Ain’t Me, Babe” by the time the $499-$829 iPad roll out starts in late March?
Serving as a middle ground between the smart phone and laptop, and as Apple’s entry into the cheap Netbook market, the 9.7-inch iPad is a lightweight device (.5 inches thick, 1.5 lbs) designed to browse the Web, share photos, watch videos, listen to music and play games. The iPad will also handle e-books (ePub format) through the new app iBooks.
“Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little further,” Jobs said. “It looks like a bookshelf. … It’s an iBook Store to allow you to discover, purchase and download e-books right on your iPad.”
Like most Apple products, iPad looks great—but looks aren’t everything.
The iPad runs on the iPhone OS, which doesn’t support Adobe Flash without a workaround, so portions of the Web (from movie sites to online gaming) won’t be available to iPad users. And according to Jobs, the device will run “almost all” of the iPhone apps—iPod Touch users will be happy to lend a sympathetic shoulder. Also like the Touch, iPad doesn’t feature a camera, much less a Webcam, video output, USB or firewire ports. And forget multitasking—running two or more apps at the same time—which we take for granted now on desktops and laptops.
As far as what’s under the hood, iPad is powered by a custom silicon chip called the A4 (1Ghz) and includes WiFi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, compass, speaker, microphone, dock connector and 10-hour battery. Although the iPad isn’t designed to be a phone, Skype via WiFi will likely be an option. One thing Apple got right with the iPad was offering a peripheral keyboard dock in addition to its virtual keyboard. “If you’ve got to write ‘War and Peace,’ just plug your iPad in,” Jobs said.
The first iPad model (WiFi only), will be available in late March with pricing at $499 (16 GB stoarge), $599 (32 GB) and $699 (64 GB). The second model, which includes WiFi with a 3G connection through AT&T (yeah, sorry Verizon and Sprint customers), will be available in late April featuring price points of $629 (16 GB), $729 (32 GB) and $829 (64 GB). The monthly 3G data plan options are: $14.99 for 250 MB or $29.99 for unlimited access.
For international customers – pricing for 3G is coming this summer.
Considering this was one of the most anticipated product launches in consumer electronics history, the response thus far has been a notch above meh. It didn’t have the oomph of the iMac in 1998 or the iPhone in 2007.
Hype surrounding the iPad reached a fever pitch toward the end of December 2009 when MacRumors reported that Apple had purchased the domain name iTablet.com in 2007 through MarkMonitor.com. Additional names thrown into the mix included iSlate and MacTablet.
Apple first played with the tablet concept in 1983 with its Bashful prototype and then created one of the first handheld PDAs with the Newton. But the 21st century development of the tablet PC left Apple loyalists desperate to find a laptop-sized Mac equivalent. Los Angeles-based Axiotron won the Best in Show award at the 2007 MacWorld Conference with its after-market Modbook, which remains the only tablet-form Mac available to the public until iPad rolls out in March.
The iPad is rightly being called an iPod Touch on steroids. We’re no longer wowed by features like touch screens, virtual keyboards and mobile apps. These features were unique in 2007, when we were first introduced to the iPhone. Today they’re pedestrian, expected.
Hardware deficiencies aside, Apple will need to update its iPhone OS to make the iPad an appealing alternative to Windows-native Netbooks. Yes, iPad offers more features than an e-book reader like Kindle, but its inability to support basics like Adobe Flash or multitasking might make consumers think twice about a product that’s almost double the cost of its PC competitors.
And then there’s the name, which “Mad TV” predicted (and rightly mocked) in 2006… (mature audiences only)
December 13, 2009 | 2:58 pm
Posted by Sam Gliksman
(from Israel National News IIN.com) A self-identified Turkish Muslim returned for the second week in a row Saturday night to hack the popular Five Towns Jewish newspaper website. Readers of the site were met with a picture of the Statue of Liberty, carrying a Muslim holy book, apparently the Koran, and decked out in a burka, the Moslem robe that covers the body. Last Saturday night, readers attempting to access the site saw images of burning Israeli flags and a video demonizing former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The hacker, calling himself Seyhul-isLam, posted the following message to the website. “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter [Al-Maida: 33] Allahu Akbar!!!”The Five Towns Jewish Times is a weekly newspaper serving the Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens area of New York.
Samuel Sokol, the newspaper’s Israeli correspondent, noted that “The internet has increasingly become a battleground in both the Arab-Israeli conflict and the war against terror. In 2008, a Muslim hacker posted an anti-Semitic message on the website of the Bank of Israel, stating ‘Listen to me Jews - you are a nation whose fate has been decreed… we will kick you out. Millions of young Muslims are ready to die for the sake of Al-Quds [Jerusalem]...’
“In 2006, a Moroccan group calling itself ‘Team Evil’ hacked over 750 Israeli websites over a period of several hours in response to IDF operations in the Gaza Strip following the kidnapping of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit.”
November 4, 2009 | 1:41 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Researchers at the University of Haifa report they have stumbled onto a medical treatment that could limit the release of stress hormones in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it’s increasingly available in L.A. storefronts.
According to a study by published in the September issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, research student Eti Ganon-Elazar, under the supervision of Dr. Irit Akirav, found that synthetic cannabis (marijuana) could aid in the treatment of PTSD suffers.
PTSD and substance abuse tend to go hand in hand, and the treatment for patients who self-medicate often requires specialized cognitive-behavioral approach. But researcher Akirav believes weed should be considered as a medical treatment option.
“The results of our research should encourage psychiatric investigation into using cannabinoids in post-traumatic stress patients,” she said.
In most cases, the result of experiencing a traumatic event –- a car accident or terror attack –- is the appearance of medical and psychological symptoms that affect various functions, but which pass. However, some 10%-30% of people who experience a traumatic event develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition in which the patient continues to suffer stress symptoms for months and even years after the traumatic event. Symptoms include reawakened trauma, avoidance of anything that could recall the trauma, and psychological and physiological disturbances. One of the problems in the course of treating trauma patients is that a person is frequently exposed to additional stress, which hinders the patient’s overcoming the trauma.
The present study, carried out by Dr. Akirav and research student Eti Ganon-Elazar, aimed to examine the efficiency of cannabinoids as a medical treatment for coping with post-traumatic stress. The researchers used a synthetic form of marijuana, which has similar properties to the natural plant, and they chose to use a rat model, which presents similar physiological responses to stress to that of humans.
The first stage of the research examined how long it took for the rats to overcome a traumatic experience, without any intervention. A cell colored white on one side and black on the other was prepared. The rats were placed in the white area, and as soon as they moved over to the black area, which they prefer, they received a light electric shock. Each day they were brought to the cell and placed back in the white area. Immediately following exposure to the traumatic experience, the rats would not move to the black area voluntarily, but a few days later after not receiving further electric shocks in the black area, they learned that it is safe again and moved there without hesitation.
Next, the researchers introduced an element of stress. A second group of rats were placed on a small, elevated platform after receiving the electric shock, which added stress to the traumatic experience. These rats abstained from returning to the black area in the cell for much longer, which shows that the exposure to additional stress does indeed hinder the process of overcoming trauma.
The third stage of the research examined yet another group of rats. These were exposed to the traumatic and additional stress events, but just before being elevated on the platform received an injection of synthetic marijuana in the amygdala area of the brain –- a specific area known to be connected to emotive memory. These rats agreed to enter the black area after the same amount of time as the first group –- showing that the synthetic marijuana cancelled out the symptoms of stress. Refining the results of this study, the researchers then administered marijuana injections at different points in time on additional groups of rats, and found that regardless of when exactly the injection was administered, it prevented the surfacing of stress symptoms.
Dr. Akirav and Ganon-Elazar also examined hormonal changes in the course of the experiment and found that synthetic marijuana prevents increased release of the stress hormone that the body produces in response to stress.
October 7, 2009 | 5:34 am
Posted by Adam Wills
Ada Yonath became the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel when the chemistry prize was awarded Wednesday. The Weizmann professor, who has dedicated her career to studying and mapping the ribosome—the protein factory within cells—shares the prize with two U.S. scientists: Thomas Steitz and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. The trio were honored for “having showed what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level,” according to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Yonath, a professor of structural biology and the director of the Helen and Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly at the Weizmann Institute, was born into an impoverished Sephardi family in Jerusalem during British Mandate Palestine. “We were so poor we didn’t even have books,” she told Israeli21c in 2008, after becoming the first Israeli to win a lifetime achievement award from L’Oreal and UNESCO.
“There was nothing in my childhood to suggest that I would reach this point, even though my parents and family have always thought there was a chance of recognition,” Yonath told Israeli public radio, according to AFP.
After the award was announced, Israeli President Shimon Peres, also a Nobel laureate, called to congratulate the Weizmann professor, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expressed his “enormous pride, along with the entire nation” for her achievement.
“The Nobel Prize is a true Olympics of humanity,” said Netanyahu. “It is an enormous achievement.”
Yonath was the first Israeli biologist to work with NASA in sending research material to outer space. She cooperated with NASA on 12 missions. Her research contributed greatly to the development of more effective antibiotics, which can overcome phenomenon of drug resistant pathogens.
Yonath is the fourth woman to win the Nobel chemistry prize and the first since 1964, when Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin of Britain received the prize.
“I’m really, really happy,” Yonath said after being informed of her victory. “I thought it was wonderful when the discovery came. It was a series of discoveries…. We still don’t know every, everything, but we progressed a lot.”
This year’s three laureates all generated three-dimensional models that show how different antibiotics bind to ribosomes.
“These models are now used by scientists in order to develop new antibiotics, directly assisting the saving of lives and decreasing humanity’s suffering,” the academy said in its announcement.
“All three have used a method called X-ray crystallography to map the position for each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome,” the academy said.
Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite, established the Nobel Prizes in his will in 1895. The first awards were handed out six years later.
Each prize comes with a 10 million kronor [$1.4 million] purse, a diploma, a gold medal and an invitation to the prize ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10. The Peace Prize is handed out in Oslo.
Israeli physicist Yakir Aharonov lost the Nobel Prize for physics, despite predictions that he was likely to win. The committee awarded the the physics prize to engineers who developed the mechanism used in digital photography, preferring to award the prize to practical technology that could be used on a daily basis rather than the theoretical physics which Aharonov focused on.
The last Israeli to receive a Nobel Prize was Yisrael Robert Aumann, who was awarded the prize in economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis. He shared the prize with Thomas Schelling.
The number of Nobel prizes won by Israelis now stands at nine: three for chemistry (Yonath, 2009; Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko, 2004), three for peace (Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, 1994, and Menachem Begin, 1978), two for economics (Aumann, 2005, and Daniel Kahneman, 2002), and literature (Shmuel Yosef Agnon, 1966).
September 17, 2009 | 2:12 pm
Posted by Sam Gliksman
Didn’t your Mother always remind your father to cancel the mail and newspaper delivery before you left on holidays? Well, for those of you using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, you should exercise the same caution when updating your status or sending out messages. A recent BBC news report shows that criminals are increasingly using social media to target their victims. If you announce your plans to go out for the evening or away on holidays you may be posting a public sign that reveals the fact that you’re not home.
Your online “friends” get direct feeds of everything you publish on your social media. To test how readily people accepted ‘friends’ online, Opinion Matters - a European market researcher - recently sent out 100 “friend” or “follow” requests to strangers selected at random. 13 percent were accepted on Facebook and 92 percent on Twitter—without any checks.
Despite these new “friends”, the survey found that nearly two-thirds of 16-24 year olds shared their holiday plans using their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Men were very relaxed about giving personal information online, with 13 percent going so far as to include their mobile phone number on their profile compared with 7 percent of women. Nine percent of men also posted their address compared to 4 percent of women. Of course, even if you don’t post your address it’s a relatively simple task to find it for those that know how.
So think twice before publishing that “So excited - we just left for a two week vacation” post. A complete stranger can quite easily learn about your interests, current location and movements in and out of your home ... and it would certainly ruin any holiday or evening out to come home to a ransacked house.
September 14, 2009 | 12:33 pm
Posted by Sam Gliksman
I feel that it’s my responsibility to keep you apprised of developments in the field of technology use. It pains me to have to reveal that this bulletin is about two girls from Australia - my country of origin - but the story is just so absurd that I had to swallow my national pride and report it.
Two girls in Adelaide, Australia found themselves trapped in a storm drain ... one could end the story there and wonder how they managed to get themselves into a storm drain in the first place. Faced with the prospect of being lost in the drains for days, they conjured up a unique and creative solution to their problem. They managed to update their status on Facebook revealing that they were trapped and in desparate need of assistance. How did they accomplish it? They used their cell phone!!
Rather than use their cell phone to actually DIAL for emergency help, they instead used it to update their status and send out a call to their Facebook friends. One of their friends read the update and called the Fire Department. Thankfully they were released within a few hours.
Firefighter Glenn Benham, who took part in the rescue, said: “These girls were able to access Facebook on their mobile phones so they could have called the emergency services. It seems absolutely crazy but they updated their status rather than call us directly.”
Technology can be wonderful asset but it’s never a replacement for common sense…
July 30, 2009 | 1:51 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner have found a bug that enables hackers to take control of an iPhone via SMS, Andy Greenberg reports at Forbes.com.
If you receive a text message on your iPhone any time after Thursday afternoon containing only a single square character, Charlie Miller would suggest you turn the device off. Quickly.
That small cipher will likely be your only warning that someone has taken advantage of a bug that Miller and his fellow cybersecurity researcher Collin Mulliner plan to publicize Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. Using a flaw they’ve found in the iPhone’s handling of text messages, the researchers say they’ll demonstrate how to send a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that can give a hacker complete power over any of the smart phone’s functions. That includes dialing the phone, visiting Web sites, turning on the device’s camera and microphone and, most importantly, sending more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking.
“This is serious. The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone,” Miller told Forbes. “Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this.”
Though Miller and Mulliner say they notified Apple about the vulnerability more than a month ago, the company hasn’t released a patch, and it didn’t respond to Forbes’ repeated calls seeking comment.
Here’s what happened: While I was talking on the phone to Charlie Miller, his partner, Collin Mulliner, sent me a text message from his phone. One minute I’m talking to Miller and the next minute my phone is dead, and this time it’s not AT&T’s fault. After a few seconds it came back to life, but I was not able to make or receive calls until I rebooted.
The attack is enabled by a serious memory corruption bug in the way the iPhone handles SMS messages, said Miller, a senior security researcher at Independent Security Evaluators.
Previous iPhone attacks required an attacker to lure the iPhone user to visit a malicious Web site or open a malicious file, but this attack requires no effort on the part of the user and requires only that an attacker have the victim’s phone number, Miller said.
Once inside a victim’s phone, the attacker could then send an SMS to anyone in the victim’s address book and spread the attack from phone to phone, he said.
Previously, Miller discovered a hole in the mobile version of Safari shortly after the iPhone was launched in 2007 and earlier this year he won a contest at CanSecWest by exploiting a hole in Safari.
Asked what an iPhone user can do when attacked, Miller replied: “Rebooting wouldn’t be a bad idea. It would stop all but the most sophisticated attacker. However, it doesn’t take but a second to grab all your personal info from the device, and as soon as you turn it back on, the bad guy could attack you again. That’s why I think this is so serious.”
On Friday, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0.1 to fix the SMS vulnerability.