Tag Archives: evolution

I’m Infected With Technology Fatigue

imageThe Internet is a demanding mistress. Once you hookup – you’re hooked. At the moment I’m on a short vacation and yet, I find I have a craving to stay connected.

Now, that’s either a sad commentary on my lifestyle, or the tentacles of “always on” communication have finally managed to wrap themselves around my DNA. Maybe this is what evolution is really all about   Smile Frankly though, I’m beginning to find the whole thing neuron numbing.

It’s not just the Net that has wormed its way into my subconscious (I wonder what Freud would say about that), it’s the entire technology thing – the world of connected devices, and the ever increasing perceptual need for increased speed.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece – which I didn’t post – in which I kicked around the following personal points.


image_thumb2_thumb_thumbI’m an old computer dog now, and I must admit, that being so makes it just a little harder to learn new tricks. On the other hand, being an old dog does have a positive side – I’m not a techno lemming.

You won’t find me jumping off the cliff with the masses on their way to the Apple (Techno Lemmings “R” Us) Store, for the latest and greatest iPad, or iPhone, or stripping out a dual core processor for a tiny improvement (maybe) to be gained by installation a quad core, or better, processor.

Even Facebook has little appeal – although, I will admit, I do have a Facebook account. Not sure why really – I just don’t see the benefit; at least not yet. Hmmm, maybe I’m more hype driven than I feel comfortably admitting.


Fast forward to today  – I now use Facebook more than ever, (as well as Google+), I jumped off the techno lemming cliff and bought an iPad (to mate with my smart phone) and, went so far as to install a quad core processor – and realized no perceptible gain. Although, I’m sure a benchmarking application will show an increase in performance – if I could only learn to count in microseconds I’m convinced I’d see it too.

This past week, I paid a visit to my Bank (for the first time in years), and not surprisingly, few of the staff recognized me as a customer. Hardly unusual given that I conduct all my financial affairs on the Net. Still, I found it troubling since in years gone by, dropping into the Bank was not unlike stopping by the coffee shop – a bit of conversation – a chance to catch up on the local gossip.

I’m not suggesting that I’ll give up on Internet banking anytime soon but, my banking visit drove home to me that there is a personal hidden price to all this new fangled technology – at my Bank, for example, I’ve become a nameless, faceless, non-entity. Given the types of transactions I complete on the Net, I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg. In all likelihood, I’ve been reduced to an IP address.

Some years back, I cut my Internet connection for eighteen months or so (2000 – 2001), and, I was more than a little surprised to find that I didn’t miss it – not at all. Interestingly, by the time I reconnected, the basics had not changed. Sure, the hype machine was in its usual overdrive mode in its attempt to convince me that I had missed a revolution – and admittedly, I had missed some evolution – but, hardly a revolution.

I’m now an even older computer dog and, despite my best efforts, I have become a techno lemming. I’m convinced that I’m addicted to the adrenalin rush attached to the self driven need to stay on the leading edge of technology. Sad really.

Marshal McLuhan was right – “The medium is the message”. On balance, I think that connective technologies have been hijacked, more often than not, so that the technologies have become the message rather than content. And so, the need by technologists to disparage “soon to be old technology” which must be replaced by new and more exciting advances. Or so goes the ever active hype machine.

I’m taking myself out of that game. While it’s hardly practical for me to cut the Internet cord again – it is time for me to climb another mountain I think – time to reassess the benefits of my wired world – time to reconnect more closely with the “real” world.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

27 Comments

Filed under Connected Devices, Internet Addiction, Opinion, Point of View, Social Networks

Checkout Your True Nature With Devolve Me

Back in the early 1990s, I was enthralled by the early releases of morphing software – most of which were free. I was blown away with my newfound ability to transition myself into a Tiger, for example – or, another person. The transition possibilities, in fact, were virtually limitless.

Britain’s Open University has taken this technology, and in an unusual twist, has developed an online morphing tool kit (Devolve Me), that allows you to take a peek at what you might have looked like at various stages in our evolutionary past.

Australopithecus afarensis – 3.7 million years ago.

Homo habilis – 2.2 million years ago.

Homo erectus – 1.8 million years ago.

Homo heidelbergensis – 500,000 years ago.

The process is fairly simple – starting with you uploading your pic to the site (as I’ve done here) – adjusting the pic’s parameters – then choosing any one of the four programed stages in humankind’s evolutionary development –

Bill 3 for Blog

image

This one’s not too far off what I look like some mornings!

image

image

Using the “slide bar” function (as illustrated in the following screen capture), provides an opportunity to view intermediate stage development.

image

Where you stand on the issue of Evolution is a personal choice. It’s not my intend to question your personal beliefs. For those of us who are convinced that Evolution is a well established fact, this small tool is an interesting curiosity.

To take a trip into your evolutionary past, go here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under Freeware, Graphic Software, Multimedia Tools, Online Learning, Personal Perspective, Photo Tools, Recommended Web Sites, Software

Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence Says 20 Million New Strains Of Malware In 2010

imageIt may well be, that malware creators have discovered the same principal that countries involved in the the nuclear arms race have come to know – once you have enough weapons; you have enough.

According to Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs – “so far in 2010, purely new malware has increased by only 50 percent, significantly less than the historical norm. It seems hackers are applying economies of scale, reusing old malicious code, or prioritizing the distribution of existing threats over the creation of new ones.”

Complacency though, is not in the cards , at least not yet, since Corrons went on to say –  “This doesn’t mean that there are fewer threats or that the cyber-crime market is shrinking. On the contrary, it continues to expand, and by the end of 2010 we will have logged more new threats in Collective Intelligence than in 2009.”

The evolution of malware – 2010:

The average number of new threats created daily has risen from 55,000 in 2009 to 63,000 in 2010 to date.

The average lifespan of 54% malware has been reduced to just 24 hours, compared to a lifespan of several months that was more common in previous years.

34% of all active malware threats were created this year.

20 million strains of malware have been created already this year; the same total for the year of 2009.

Many malware variants are created to infect just a few systems before they disappear. As antivirus solutions become able to detect new malware more quickly, hackers modify them or create new ones so as to evade detection.

image

Graphic courtesy of PandaLabs.

So, should these statistics hold any relevancy for you? Should you be preoccupied, or overly concerned, with these numbers? The answer, it seems to me, depends on how aware you are of the overall Internet security landscape, and where you fit into the following user groups.

  • Those who know.
  • Those who think they know.
  • Those who don’t know, that they don’t know.

Hopefully, you are in that small group who can confidently say – “I know”.

About PandaLabs:

Since 1990, PandaLabs, the malware research division of Panda Security, has led the industry in detecting, classifying and protecting consumers and businesses against new cyber threats.

At the core of the operation is Collective Intelligence, a proprietary system that provides real-time protection by harnessing Panda’s community of users to automatically detect, analyze, classify and disinfect more than 63,000 new malware samples daily.

The automated classification is complemented by a highly specialized global team of threat analysts, each focused on a specific type of malware, such as viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware and other exploits, to ensure around-the-clock protection.

Learn more about PandaLabs and subscribe to the PandaLabs blog here. Follow Panda on Twitter and Facebook.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, Online Safety, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Windows Tips and Tools