Recommended Reading: Michael Jackson, botnets and digital democracy

The 12 holy sites of IT
Source: InfoWorld

InfoWorld’s Dan Tynan highlights the 12 landmarks of technology history that are a must-see for anyone who wants to “qualify as a member of the Geek Tribe.”

The top three “IT meccas” are, in fact, garages, beginning with the address in Palo Alto, Calif., where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, working with a capital investment of $538, created the Model 200A audio oscillator, effectively launching the company now known as Hewlett-Packard.

A garage in Los Altos, Calif., was the birthplace of the Apple Computer. Tynan notes that Steve Jobs launched the company with the help of an HP employee, Steve Wozniak. HP, evidently, “didn’t see much future in his early version of a personal computer.”

Measuring emotion in cyberspace
Source: Scientific American

The day that Michael Jackson died marked one of the unhappiest days in recent years, according to a survey of blogs across the Internet.

The survey, which covered 2.3 million blogs published during the last four years, focused on first-person sentences containing the word “feel.” Each sentence was assigned a score of 1 to 8, depending on whether the keywords in that sentence were unhappy or happy.

According to the survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont, the measure of happiness plummeted after Jackson died June 25. In contrast, it spiked on Election Day 2008, driven largely by the use of the word “proud,” according to researchers.

The study was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

A toolkit for retooling democracy
Source: The IBM Center for the Business of Government

Guest blogger Matt Leighninger, executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, provides a potpourri of resources for the Obama administration and anyone else looking to re-engineer how the government interacts with the public online.

For example, a recent conference at the University of New Hampshire brought together local government officials, academics and civic activists to discuss the lessons that they have learned about civic engagement. Those results will soon be available online.

Other studies include “Democracy as Problem Solving?” from MIT Press, “Promising Practices in Online Engagement” from the Center for Advances in Public Engagement, and “Deliberative Democracy and the Problem of Scope” from the Journal of Public Deliberation.

Botnets: Be scared, very scared
Source: Network World

Consultant Linda Musthaler, doing a turn as blogger for Network World, explains why everyone should be alarmed by the threat of botnets.

Botnets, you probably know, are networks of computers that have been hijacked for nefarious purposes, such as denial-of-service attacks. The concept is nothing new, but the technology is getting better and better. “The techniques they use to create malware or command-and-control software are as sophisticated as those used by any commercial software company,” Musthaler writes.

Worse yet, botnets are becoming big business, with larger networks being created, resold or rented in the underground market. And it is increasingly difficult to detect botnet malware on a PC — or to eradicate if you are fortunate enough to find it.

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