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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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Dangers of Public WiFi

[Note: This is derived from articles originally published in the July and August editions of the SWCP Portal, our monthly newsletter. Due to the importance of the security information they contained, we're republishing them here for everyone.] Ars Technica tech news site recently warned that public WiFi hotspots can post a security risk to users. It’s not that the hotspots are themselves insecure. It’s the way most computers, tablets, and phones implement WiFi logins that poses a danger. AT&T and Comcast, among others, are promoting large networks of WiFi hotspots which are free for their customers to use. For example, AT&T’s free WiFi hotspots are available at McDonald’s and Starbucks. When you see the “attwifi” network at any of these places around the country you can log in with your AT&T login. The same goes for Comcast’s “xfinitywifi“. It’s as convenient as it is dangerous. The trick is that once you have logged in to one of these networks, your computer or tablet saves the login information so you can reconnect to these networks without entering a password the next time you are near one of their hotspots. This is the window that can let the bad guys in. What the criminal can do to the unsuspecting device owner is set up his own WiFi hotspot using the network name “attwifi” or “xfinitywifi“. But the crook’s hotspot has some tricks up its sleeve. First, it allows you to connect regardless … 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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