Recommended reading: Robots, Luddites and social media

Security gets scarier still; When IT workers are Luddites; Get to know your Nobel winners; How to win friends in social media

Security gets scarier still
Source: CSO

Here’s a thought to give you pause before booting up your Roomba: Could your automated vacuum cleaner be turned against you?

Researchers at the University of Washington say many makers of consumer-oriented robotic devices are treating security as “pretty much an afterthought,” according to CSO.

The problem is that some robotic devices have wireless access points that a nearby hacker could exploit. In theory, a hacker could use the robot to vandalize a house or, in the case of Web cam-enabled devices, such as WowWee’s Rovio, spy on its residents.

The more robotic technology evolves, the bigger the threat such hackers become, the researchers said.

When IT workers are Luddites
Source: Computerworld

If social media, smart phones and other leading-edge technologies aren't making headway in the workplace, don’t necessarily blame the managers.

That's one of the findings of a recent survey of information workers by Forrester Research. Although so-called iWorkers would seem primed to adopt the latest personal productivity applications, they largely prefer old-school technologies such as desktop computers, Microsoft Office and e-mail.

Real-time collaboration just isn’t a priority, according to the survey. For example, 74 percent of survey respondents never use instant messaging at work, opting instead to use e-mail messages or the telephone. And about 90 percent of respondents said they don’t use social-networking or videoconferencing technology.

Get to know your Nobel winners
Source: Washington Post

The Washington Post’s David Brown offers an in-depth look at the lasting contributions of this year’s Nobel Prize winners in physics: Charles Kao, Willard Boyle and George Smith.

In the 1960s, Kao helped solve a problem that had made it impractical to transmit data via light. He figured out that glass fiber would keep data intact as it traveled from point to point, rather than scattering it along the way. Thus optical networking was born.

Boyle and Smith, also working in the 1960s, unknowingly laid the groundwork for the current generation of digital photography. To develop a new approach to storing data, they created the charge-coupled device, or CCD as it is known, which turned out to be an ideal approach for capturing images. The technology is now used in everything from medical equipment and digital cameras to large telescopes.

How to win friends in social media
Source: Complexity and Social Networks Blog

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) has turned his 15 minutes of fame into a big win, thanks in part to social networking, according to the Harvard University blog.

After Wilson put himself on the national stage by yelling “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s recent health care address, he capitalized by hiring a new-media strategist.

“Within 24 hours, the Congressman's Twitter account had sent out 50 new messages, and his followers had increased by an unprecedented 500 percent to over 10,000,” according to the blog. The net result: More campaign dollars and more influence than ever.

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