Home Depot and the smoking zip-zap machine

VigodaI was at Home Depot on Sunday, buying flower pots and some lumber to repair the fence where Sadie the Dog has been plotting her escape. Checking-out of the Garden Department I handed my credit card to the cashier, who promptly dragged out an old zip-zap machine (that’s the technical term coined by BankAmeriCard 50 years ago) and took an impression of my card.

“You’ve been hacked,” I said.

“No, it’s just that my terminal is down so I have to do it the old fashion way,” said the cheery cashier.

“Don’t give me that, you’ve been hacked,” I said.

The lady behind me with fertilizer and a Jack Russell Terrier began to […]

Refresh mobile hits the desktop

Screen Shot 2013-09-27 at 1.16.26 PMI’ve been away on a secret mission, which must remain secret for awhile longer.

Somehow this summer my so-called career had a revival of sorts. My earnest and heartfelt book, The Decline and Fall of IBM, is doing well and will shortly appear in a number of foreign language editions coming from actual book publishers. In a week or two I’ll publish here a general IBM update that’s mainly material to bring those foreign editions up to the present. The short version is it still sucks being Big Blue.

But wait, there’s more! Suddenly I have four (four!) television projects in the works, two of them literally back […]

Did the NSA help kill UWB?

2-UWB-1Revisionist history is looking back at past events in light of more recent information. What really happened? And no recent source of information has been more important when it comes to revising the history of digital communications than former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Today I’m really curious about the impact of the NSA on the troubled history of Ultra Wide Band (UWB) communication.

I stumbled on this topic with the help of a reader who pointed me at a story and then a paper about advances in secure communication. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts came up with a method of optical communication that they could […]

Level3 is without peer, now what to do?

NSFnetBackboneThere’s a peering crisis apparently happening right now among American Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and backbone providers according to a blog post this week from backbone company Level3 that I am sure many of you have read. The gist of it is that six major ISPs of the 51 that peer with Level3 have maxed-out their interconnections and are refusing to do the hardware upgrades required to support the current level of traffic. The result is that packets are being dropped, porn videos are stuttering, and customers are being ill-served. I know exactly what’s going on here and also how to fix it, pronto.

The problem is real and Level3’s explanation is pretty […]

Avram Miller says Steve Jobs has one more Apple intro

steve-jobs-apple-big-brotherWe all have friends (people we know) and friends (people we not only know but hang out with). Maybe the better contrast might be between friends and buddies. Well Avram Miller is one of my buddies. He lives down the road from me and my kids prefer his pool to ours because his is solar heated. The retired Intel VP of business development is quite a character, knows a lot of people who know people, and understands the business of technology at a level few people do. So when he wrote a post this morning predicting that Apple will clean Google’s clock in search, I sat up in my chair.

Avram’s thesis is […]