Category Archives: Interesting Items

Things the staff found interesting, or fun.

Cool Projects: September is Tech Fiesta Time

For a lot of people, September is “back to school” time. But it’s not just the little ones who can have their minds expanded with new ideas this year.  Since last year’s events proved to be so successful and well-received, the Albuquerque Technical Fiesta is back again to inspire and illuminate. Now called Tech Fiesta ABQ 2014, it features over a week of panels, presentations, and meetings by and with some of the brightest people in town from September 5-14. The schedule really kicks off with TEDxABQ on Saturday the 6th at Popejoy Hall at UNM. Now in it’s fifth year, TEDxABQ is an independently organized, officially-licensed TED event to showcase a full day of big local ideas and innovative thinkers who are making a difference. This year with the theme “Whispers and Roars”, there’s a roster of 18 dynamic speakers. Tickets are necessary and can be purchased at the site. The week following features various events at our own coworking space, Ideas and Coffee. On Wednesday, September 10 at 7pm, Quelab maker space hosts Ignite New Mexico. These are a free series of quick presentations on community chosen topics, designed to be fast, fun, and fascinating.  Then on Friday evening at 5:30pm at the City of Albuquerque Library Special Collections, there’s a talk by James S.A. Corey, sci-fi authors of the exciting The Expanse space opera series recently purchased by the SyFy Channel. The Tech Fiesta finishes up with … Continue reading

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New Mexico, for all its fame for ancient Indian cultures and rich Spanish tradition, is also a magnet for people who look not to the past but the future. After all, Robert Oppenheimer and Robert Goddard both lived and worked in our state, and the development of the atomic bomb and pioneering rocketry put our state on the map long before that infamous crash occurred at Roswell. (Who knows? It was probably that kind of science which drew them here, too – that, or the green chile.) It should come as no surprise then, that this proud technological heritage has been reflected in science fiction. The late Jack Williamson, a professor of English at ENMU, wrote novels where Albuquerque is the capital of the solar system because of all the cutting-edge technology being developed here. He was not alone, either. Robert Silverberg, Frederic Brown, and others also wrote stories in that vein. It made sense at the time, and once flights start taking off from Spaceport America, it might again. A lot of very smart and talented writers have been drawn to the Land of Enchantment, and being so bright, a fair number of them have elected to use Southwest Cyberport. Perhaps it was because for years our Director of Technical Support was none other than Daniel Abraham, who with Ty Frank, writing together under the pen name James S. A. Corey, have recently sold their The Expanse series to … Continue reading

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US Leads the World in Spam

One interesting fact that didn’t make it into this month’s newsletter article on “The Secret Life of Spam” is that the United States leads the world in the overall volume of spam produced. And by a huge margin, too: according to security site Sophos, 24% of all spam generated this spring. That’s nearly a quarter! France and China, the runners-up, come in at less than 7% each. The full results can be accessed here. The results may be surprising because we tend to think of spam originating in Russia or Nigeria, or the actual place where the criminals who generate it live. But spam is a world-wide problem, and one would think the bad guys generally know enough to not spoil their own nests. Instead, the countries which actually generate the most spam are those where the most computers are infected with malware. The US merits the top billing for volume not so much due to poor security practices, but to our large and highly-connected population. When the overall amount is divided by population, the US doesn’t do so badly. In a per-person comparison, we come up merely twelfth, near the bottom with Bulgaria and Belarus being tops at 2.7 and 1.9 times the American rate. However, the US is still spewing a lot of crap messages, and if you’re infected, you’re part of the problem. Once your machine becomes part of a botnet, it’s essentially a zombie out of … Continue reading

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