WikiLeaks on the Dark Side for Greater Good

Post MagnetoWikiLeaks had a long list of haters for all the concerned party secret documents published on their site. The list of haters has exponentially grown since they published secret U.S. diplomatic cables. They have been ousted by Amazon as their backup hosting provider, Paypal has terminated them and public release documents point to WikiLeaks illegal activities, MasterCard has blocked them, and their site has been hit by denial of service attacks.
I am not a lawyer and wouldn’t pretend to know the law but I do know that institutionalized old media like the New York Times, The Guardian and every established old media group in the world would die to get their hands on secret documents information, publish them and get themselves a pulitzer prize award. A quick search in Wikipedia (source here) lists the following investigative reporters who have won a Pulitzer award:

1964: James V. Magee, Albert V. Gaudiosi and Frederick Meyer, Philadelphia Bulletin, “for their expose of numbers racket operations with police collusion in South Philadelphia, which resulted in arrests and a cleanup of the police department.”
1965: Gene Goltz, Houston Post, “for his expose of government corruption Pasadena, Texas, which resulted in widespread reforms.”
1966: John Anthony Frasca, Tampa Tribune, “for his investigation and reporting of two robberies that resulted in the freeing of an innocent man.”
1967: Gene Miller, Miami Herald, “for initiative and investigative reporting that helped to free two persons wrongfully convicted of murder.”
1968: J. Anthony Lukas, The New York Times, “for the social document he wrote in his investigation of the life and the murder of Linda Fitzpatrick.”
1969: Albert L. Delugach and Denny Walsh, St. Louis Globe-Democrat, “for their campaign against fraud and abuse of power within the St. Louis Steamfitters Union, Local 562.”
1970: Harold Eugene Martin, Montgomery Advertiser and Alabama Journal, “for his expose of a commercial scheme for using Alabama prisoners for drug experimentation and obtaining blood plasma from them.”
1971: William Jones, Chicago Tribune, “for exposing collusion between police and some of Chicago’s largest private ambulance companies to restrict service in low income areas, leading to major reforms.”
1972: Timothy Leland, Gerard M. O’Neill, Stephen A. Kurkjian and Ann Desantis, Boston Globe, “for their exposure of widespread corruption in Somerville, Massachusetts.”
1973: The Sun Newspapers Of Omaha, “for uncovering the large financial resources of Boys Town, Nebraska, leading to reforms in this charitable organization’s solicitation and use of funds contributed by the public.”
1974: William Sherman, New York Daily News, “for his resourceful investigative reporting in the exposure of extreme abuse of the New York Medicaid program.”
1975: Indianapolis Star, “for its disclosures of local police corruption and dilatory law enforcement, resulting in a cleanup of both the Police Department and the office of the County Prosecutor.”
1976: Staff of Chicago Tribune, “for uncovering widespread abuses in Federal housing programs in Chicago and exposing shocking conditions at two private Chicago hospitals.”
1977: Acel Moore and Wendell Rawls, Jr., The Philadelphia Inquirer, “for their reports on conditions in the Farview (Pa.) State Hospital for the mentally ill.”
1978: Anthony R. Dolan, Stamford Advocate, “for a series on municipal corruption.”
1979: Gilbert M. Gaul and Elliot G. Jaspin, Pottsville Republican (Pennsylvania), “for stories on the destruction of the Blue Coal Company by men with ties to organized crime.”
1980: Stephen A. Kurkjian, Alexander B. Hawes Jr., Nils Bruzelius, Joan Vennochi and Robert M. Porterfield, Boston Globe, “for articles on Boston’s transit system.”
1981: Clark Hallas and Robert B. Lowe, Arizona Daily Star, “for their investigation of the University of Arizona Athletic Department.”
1982: Paul Henderson, Seattle Times, “for reporting which proved the innocence of a man convicted of rape.”
1983: Loretta Tofani, The Washington Post, “for her investigation of rape and sexual assault in the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Detention Center.”
1984: Kenneth Cooper, Joan Fitz Gerald, Jonathan Kaufman, Norman Lockman, Gary McMillan, Kirk Scharfenberg and David Wessel, Boston Globe, “for their series examining race relations in Boston, a notable exercise in public service that turned a searching gaze on some the city’s most honored institutions including the Globe itself.”

I find WikiLeaks as great and quick resource for commoners to exercise freedom within the boundaries of responsibility and integrity of its content.
WikiLeaks has not yet been convicted of a crime and vendors like Amazon, MasterCard and Paypal have taken it way too far but not letting the justice system work and decide on the allegations of WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is just a single client and I see where this vendors are coming from. They would rather axed a single client than be subject to scrutiny by higher officials.
Nonetheless, one has to take his stance on the benefits of WikiLeaks. I believe in the intent and purpose of their organization but I feel they should align themselves with the practices and methods of old media like New York Times and the rest of old media who are praised for exposing secret information to the world as they go through a series of approval processes before something is exposed. I do not know whether WikiLeaks is doing this already but they should make it known that they are no different with investigative reports who have earned respect and accolades.

Groupon Lays Down the Hammer on Google Acquisition

Mighty Thor HammerGroupon has boldly and courageously put down its powerful hammer rejecting search giant Google’s $6 billion dollar acquisition.
Groupon is a company offering discounts, deals and coupons for groups of people on a large variety of goods. This is a combined social networking site aimed for discount deals. The idea here is that the company posts coupons or large discounts for a certain merchant which would become active once a minimum number of people pledge to buy the product. Groupon has gone micro, targeting local shops across 300 cities around the world. Currently their staff has 3,000 employees who have sold more than 18 million coupons for merchants since it launched in 2008. Because of the economic challenges, a large number of people flocked to the internet sniping at discounts and the ease of group buying that Groupon provides is a big time saver which quickly caught fire. Groupon was given the title as the fastest growing company in history and is bound to break more records as they move in to earn $2 billion dollars in just two years of operation.
Because of this meteoric rise, search engine giant Google has offered the company $5 to $6 billion dollars. Groupon CEO and founder Andrew Mason is just 30 years old and the offer by Google is hard to resist. Wrong! Groupon didn’t think $6 billion dollars was a good move for the company, and Andrew even teased saying that only McDonalds or Exxon can buy his company. Simply put, he doesn’t want to sell Groupon. Andrew is definitely confident on the growth and potential of his company that he sees no reason to get acquired. Approaching $2 billion dollars in sales is mighty indication of the potential growth of this company. So many companies with five times the workforce of Groupon couldn’t even break the $1 billion dollar annual revenue and having a company that pulls in ton loads of cash with low operating cost given that all they need are telephones and people calling merchants whole day long have to stand on their own, grow and make a name for itself. For Andrew, these aren’t sentiments but a clear vision of where he can take the business.
Groupon has got balls and they sure threw the hammer down at Google mightily strong.

Mario Lemieux Mosaic built using 21,000 Fan Photos

Mario Lemeiux MosaicHockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux was paid tribute to by NHL’s Penguins from Pittsburgh by creating a mosaic made up of 21,000 fan photos.
I am impressed by the photo created from thousands of small images. I wonder whether they used a third party software or created an algorithm to sort through all the photos, arrange them on the mosaic to create a magnificent image. I’m pretty sure they didn’t worked on it manually one by one, did they?
Anyways, go ahead and read the full story here — From 21,000 Photos, a Pittsburgh Hockey Icon Emerges

Coca-Cola Themed Monopoly

Coca-cola MonopolyI am a big fan of Monopoly board game and have played this with friends & family for the longest time. It teaches a number of business skills from finance, negotiation, chance, risks, etc. Playing monopoly while drinking Coke is a common happening for me, and as such, the would be release of Coca-cola Monopoly board game to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the beverage company is an exciting news for me.
As reported: “Next May 8th will be the 125th anniversary of The Coca-Cola Company and we just received the first licensed item celebrating the anniversary. Coca-Cola has produced two Monopoly games in the past, the first was done in 1999 and the second, a Classic Ad Collectors Edition was released in 2005. The goal of the new version is to have standout collectibles items from throughout the 125 year history of the Company.”
Go ahead and read the full news here (image source also came here) — New 125th Anniversary Monopoly Set.

Three Selling Points of Google Editions

Google Edition BookstoreGoogle has finally decided to go full blown on their e-book initiative through their recently announced Google Editions which competes directly with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, & Kobo. The search engine has been scanning old and out of print books for the last few years and after 10 percent completion have progressed their business model eyeing every book on the planet. Google has reached a settlement with the “Authors Guild, Association of American Publishers and other major author and publishing firms to publish their work and make them searchable.
The move by Google is bound to happen and most likely they have been planning and thinking about it from the get go. They might have started with old books to keep their relationship in good terms with Amazon whom they have partnered in many business ventures. Starting out with “out of print” books also allowed them to develop their technology while keeping a low profile and stay out of radar with the big firms.
The three selling points of Google Edition are as follows:
1. Cloud based e-books – readers no longer have to purchase a specific device to read their e-books only maintaining a limited set of books at a time. All their books are in the cloud which takes care of storage and maintenance.
2. Ability to download in multiple platforms – for people going offline, downloading the e-books no longer require a specific device and have readers perform migration activities to view their downloads in different devices.
3. Google’s technology excellence should allow publishers to reach wider audience and provide better viewing experience to readers.
Google can quickly turn their Google Editions into a huge success to the dismay and disappointment of Amazon and the rest of the players.
I am personally going to be a big user of Google Editions as I have loved my current subscription which is similar to what Google’s future product offering is going to be. I have never wanted to have another device to maintain in Amazon Kindle, and the like.
Bravo to Google on this.

Stuxnet: Weaponized Computer Virus ala Rambo + Bond

Rambo and James Bond are weaponized humans that can single handedly infiltrate enemy bases, tear them down and escape victoriously. In our modern time where cyber attacks evolve and cripple organizations, Stuxnet gives a whole new meaning to the power and destructive nature of computer algorithms. The computer algorithm, Stuxnet, is the most advanced known program to attack and destroy hardware operations. Simply described: “is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.”
Stuxnet is a milestone in weaponry: “The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.”
An attack at this complexity and magnitude takes the best, brightest technology minds and strategist in the world coupled with large sum of resources. While it requires elite people with lots of resources, this program could open a lot of avenues for developers and organizations of the potential of weaponizing algorithms for attacks. What was once reserved for Hollywood make believe has finally arrived.
Go ahead and read the full story here — Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions
Thanks to my colleague, Jeff, for sending this article.

Apple Carbon Fiber iPad Casing, Does it Matter?

Apple iPhone CaseApple has filed a patent for their iPad housing using carbon fiber grade material. The patent application number is 20100289390. The patent in a nutshell says:
A housing for an electronic device or other object formed from a fiber-in-matrix material. A layered fiber-in-matrix type material, such as CFRP, may be used. A spine made from CFRP may support, and be attached to, a CFRP skin. The CFRP spine may be a unitary frame that imparts strength and rigidity to the overall housing and also form at least some of the corners of the frame. In some embodiments, the spine may be rectangular. The skin may be formed from multiple layers of CFRP type material stacked atop each other. Each layer may be cut at one or more corners to expose at least a portion of the layer beneath. The skin may thus have an overall cross shape, such that each arm of the cross may be wrapped around a different side of the aforementioned rectangular spine.
I’m pleased that Apple is improving the durability & strength of their electronics housing but I don’t think users really care. Users are going to go out of their way and buy all sorts of housing protection to be added on top of their gadget no matter how strong the default housing is. Users need another level of protection, a security blanket, a component for their peace of mind.
I don’t see the rationale in here. It’s like seeing a car being used with a car cover in it. Ok, I think that’s a little far off.
Users will not care much about the durability of the existing case as they are spending dollars for a better case which suits them. More than protection, users need to personalize their gadgets.
Apple is doing what they should be doing with their product and the users would continue using them as they see fit. Again, thanks to Apple for making sure their product can be as strong as possible without relying on their vendor ecosystem.

Kieron Williamson, in born genius painter

Kieron Williamson is 6 year old kid born with immense talent. While some people take decades honing their skill sets, Kieron simply got hold of a brush and began painting in the level of artists ten years older his age. In an excerpt of a news run a while back:
A street scene from the paintbrush of a child usually involves triangle-topped boxes for houses. And often an unnaturally large dog.
But Kieron Williamson’s attempts are so beautifully rendered that artists ten times his age will be filled with envy.
Experts have said that the six-year-old’s atmospheric paintings, which began with harbour scenes and expanded to include rural vistas, animal portraits and landmarks, have perspective, shadow and reflections that demonstrate an ability well beyond his years.

Read more:

FIFA World Cup 2010 Finals: Netherlands vs Spain

Pre-game: Netherlands vs Spain (11 Jul 2010)The FIFA World Cup 2010 Finals featuring Netherlands vs Spain is locked and loaded.
This is going to be an exciting game as Spain is an attacking team anchored on their midfield prowess to control, setup plays, and get ton loads of shots on goal.
Netherlands on the other hand would rely heavily on the brutal defense of Arjen Robben, his accurate and deadly corner kicks, and the finishing touches of Wesley Sneijder.
I am routing for Spain on this tournament. You can view the various articles I have written and updating for this match below:
Pre-game: Netherlands vs Spain (11 Jul 2010)
Liveblogging: Netherlands vs Spain (11 Jul 2010)
Videos: Netherlands vs Spain (11 Jul 2010)
Match & Result: Netherlands vs Spain (11 Jul 2010)

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