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Unmasking Anonymous Posters

Reader comments on online articles have become a must-read for many people. Although they are often informative and entertaining, they can just as often fulfill cynical expectations for mean-spiritedness and incivility, especially when the commenter doesn’t use his or her name.

Perhaps it’s not surprising then that certain anonymous posters declined to talk to a Boston Globe reporter about their online discourse. “The loudest, most aggressive voices grew mum when asked to explain themselves, to engage in an actual discussion,” wrote Neil Swidey for the Boston Globe Magazine. “The trolls appear to prize their anonymity more than anyone else.”

Many of the frequent posters Swidey contacted did speak with him on the record for the article, even though they use on-screen handles instead of their real names when they post comments. The article provides an inside look at how one big-city newspaper Web site is tackling the challenge of encouraging people to join online communities while ensuring that they behave responsibly.

The Coming Cloud Disaster
Source: Ars Technica

There’s nothing like a disaster story to get the headlines whirring on just about anything else, and the fairly mundane subject of cloud computing — all the hype aside — is apparently no exception. Some industry watchers are warning that information technology’s equivalent of the BP oil spill is just around the corner.

Jon Stokes at Ars Technica quoted various industry sages as saying that, at some point, a major breach of security or act of terrorism involving the cloud will cause everyone in industry and government to retrench as they massively rethink the technology’s worth.

Of course, cloud computing is not in the same league as offshore oil drilling, and it’s difficult to gauge the likelihood of a major, game-changing data breach. It all comes down to the issue of ownership, Stokes said. Giving up some level of control, as the cloud requires, is bound to make people jittery about privacy, security and reliability. For many people, those worries outweigh the perceived benefits of the cloud, at least for now.

The Future of IT
Source: InfoWorld

Computers that can be grown from algae? Laser projectors that replace monitors? User interfaces that respond to the wave of a hand rather than the click of a mouse?

Those are just some of the next-generation computing technologies Neil McAllister describes in an article for InfoWorld. “From the network to storage systems to the securing of sensitive data to the way in which end-users will one day interact with computing interfaces — every facet of the enterprise is being pushed in revolutionary directions,” he writes.

And it’s not all science fiction. McAllister says these innovations are already under development at research labs and “could be arriving sooner than you think.”


About the Author

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In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


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