Tag: geek

World suffering from a Linux geek shortage

133846870_25114cfae4_Mj7XD_1822With the surprise success of Linux in Android, and on the server, the world is suddenly faced with a shortage of Linux geeks.

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said that there are enough computing niches where GNU/Linux is the major player — from supercomputers to the next generation of automotive systems.

As a result Linux has become a super-important widely used operating system that has grown amazingly since Linus Torvalds first shared his kernel and shared his first swear word with the world in 1991.

The only problem is that there is a shortage of weirdy beardy types who know how to administer and otherwise work with Linux. In fact there are some calls in some regions for normal people to be actually trained in the black art.

Zemlin said that there are plenty of Linux jobs available if people took the time to train. He did not mention if any of them would have to give their heart to Richard Stallman or be baptised in the Tao of the Penguin, hard core Linux  still has elements of Open Sauce fanaticism which make Apple fanboys look like five year old girls – well more like five year old girls than they do already.

The Linux Foundation is developing new courses in tandem with massive open online course provider edX. Unlike some of the Linux Foundation’s previous course offerings, their edX ones are free to audit, and the cost for certification  – if you want a cred, not just knowledge –  is lower than many IT certification tests and certificates.

Games developers arrested for spying in Greece

Two Czech games developers have been arrested for “spying” outside a Greek military base.

The pair were caught with photos and video of a military installation and arrested in the Greek island of Lemnos. This would normally be an open and shut case. After all, the whole world wants to know about Greek military technology which has not really changed much since the battle of Thermopylae – but is a bizarre source of national pride for a country that can’t afford to run one.

According to Edge, the two developers, aged 28 and 33, face up to twenty years in a Greek prison, which is a little harsh because the pair were working for video game developers Bohemia Interactive and were collecting reference material for ArmA III, an upcoming military game that is set on a Greek island.

Bohemia Interactive boss Marek Spanel confirmed that the story is true.

He issued a statement that these developers were in Greece on holiday and “visited the island with the sole purpose of experiencing the island’s beautiful surroundings”.

However, it does seem to be distancing itself a little from the filming activity of its developers.

In a statement, Bohemia Interactive said it has created games based only upon publicly available information and the software house always respects the law and has never instructed anybody to violate the laws of any country.

The company said that all its effort goes towards supporting the guys over there, as well as their friends and families. But then it comes out with a statement like: “We sincerely hope that this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of their passion as artists and creators of virtual worlds”.

Strange wording. It could be read as we really hope the developers we packed off to take pictures of Greek bases were not really spying. 

'G20 geek' found not guilty

The insecurity expert who was arrested for  allegedly plotting to bomb the 2010 summit of world leaders in downtown Toronto has walked free from court after two years behind bars.

Byron Sonne, the so-called “G20 geek”, lost his marriage when his wife Kristen Peterson ended the couple’s eight-year marriage while Sonne was in jail.

Sonne is a hacker who was a big name in the cyber security industry. He was arrested on June 22, 2010, as the first high-profile detention of the chaotic G20 weekend.

According to the Star, he was charged with mischief, weapons possession and intimidating justice officials. But by the time the case reached trial, most of the charges were dropped.

It turned out that the weapon was a potato cannon and the other charges were chucked out.

Sonne was left with four counts of possessing explosive materials and one count of “counseling the commission of mischief.”

According to the prosecution, Sonne had all the necessary ingredients to build a homemade bomb and was encouraging people, through social media, to disrupt the G20.

He had not assembled any explosive devices and police found neither bomb-making plans nor a detonator.

The prosecution claimed that since he had all the ingredients to build a bomb and was criticising the G20 through his Twitter and Flickr accounts he must have been planning to kill people.

Sonne admitted to having materials that could be made into an explosive, but said he hadn’t combined them and hadn’t intended to.

Justice Nancy Spies said that the Crown could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Sonne was guilty of any offence.

Out of all those arrested during the G20, Sonne was the least likely to be a terrorist.

The potentially explosive chemicals he possessed had household uses and others were part of his model rocketry hobby.

Sonne said he had published photos of the $9.4 million security fence, surveillance cameras and pictures of police officers.

Some of his headlines would not have endeared him to the police. They included disparaging headlines such as “bacon on wheels” and “stationary bacon”.

But that is not a reason to arrest someone for being a terrorist – and opposing bail for two years.

Sonne said that his job was testing the vulnerabilities in online security systems and he could see flaws in the G20’s security.

Other evidence suggested that Sonne was intentionally provoking police to test the limits of civil liberties. 

Intel trying to help Stephen Hawking to keep talking

Intel is apparently working out a way to help British scientist Stephen Hawking talk a bit quicker.

Hawking, who turned 70 this week, suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, an incurable degenerative disorder that has left him almost completely paralysed. While an infrared sensor attached to his glasses translates the pulses in his right cheek into words spoken by a voice synthesizer, the nerves in his face have deteriorated and those close to him say his rate of speech has slowed to about a word a minute.

Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner said his company had a team in England to work out how to help Hawking communicate more quickly.

Rattner told USA Today the team’s task at the moment was to gather data for further study.

Hawking managed to overcome his deteriorating speech for a while by dictating scientific papers to a secretary, or speaking through an interpreter. A computer was built to synthesise his speech in a robotic monotone that has become his trademark.

At first, Hawking retained some limited hand movement and could manage about 15 words a minute, but now that the nerves in Hawking’s cheek are beginning to fade, Rattner thinks that it is time for a new approach perhaps involving brainwaves or eye tracking.

Rattner thinks his best bet is high-definition cameras that pick up on the minute movements in Hawking’s face to synthesise his speech. 

Hawking wants a voice update

Top British brain Steven Hawking needs a new geeky assistant who can repair electronic devices with no instruction manual or technical support.

The physicist is advertising for an assistant to help develop and maintain the electronic speech system.  We guess they will also have to make coffee.

Hawking lost his real voice in a tracheotomy in 1985, but a wheelchair-mounted computer helps synthesise speech by interpreting the twitches of his face.

However, the speech system is also connected to the internet over mobile phone networks and a universal infrared remote enables the physicist to switch on the lights, watch television, or open doors either at home or at the office.

All pretty cool, but it is tricky to run. According to a snap of the back of Hawking’s wheelchair, it is loaded with coiled wires and electronic equipment.

The advert says “Could you maintain this? “If your answer is ‘yes’, we’d like to hear from you!” the website says.

Money is not that great, $38,500 but there is travel and you will probably pick up a lot about wormholes and card playing with Data on Star Trek.