What’s the latest from the amazing, astounding and occasionally terrifying world of high technology? Glad you asked — here it is!
* Hey, we’re back with another fascinating Last Thursdays Unwired @ Lawrence Technological University program for you at LTU Thursday, Feb. 28. We’re covering the increasing prevalence of BYOD — That’s Bring Your Own Device. Employees have all kinds of smartphones, iPads, Kindle Fires and other tablets — and they all want to bring them to work and use them on the corporate network. How do you manage this? There are advantages, after all — your employees can easily work on these devices while they’re on the road or after normal business hours. But there are risks, too — the security of sensitive information you don’t want getting out into the wild though all these different devices, each of which has its own security system. Learn how to balance security and flexibility in this informative event. For more information or to register, visit this link.
* Our friends at Comcast have become the first ISP to introduce security protection for your tablet or smartphone. To address growing security threats to consumers’ mobile devices, today Comcast has launched Constant Guard Mobile, an app that can be downloaded onto smartphones and tablets to help prevent online threats. Constant Guard Mobile helps to protect consumers from phishing attempts, identity theft and connecting to fraudulent Web sites and is available to Xfinity Internet customers for no additional charge. Constant Guard Mobile is currently available to Xfinity Internet customers and can be downloaded to iOS devices from the Apple iTunes Store. An Android version of the app is planned to launch in the coming months.
* Way up in the Keweenaw country, Michigan Technological University does a Winter Carnival every year. Hey, you gotta come to terms with winter and even learn to like it if you’re gonna survive someplace that gets upwards of 10 feet of snow a year, and where winter can stretch from early October to late April. Highlights of the carnival include a snow sculpture contest, an all-night party, human dogsled races, snow volleyball, broomball, and in general much silliness. The PR director there sent me the Flickr photostream. Looks like a blast. You will see the snow sculptures had a superhero theme this year. The winner, from the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, used “The Incredibles” as a theme, about how a family working together becomes a set of superheroes. Second place among the fraternities went to Tau Kappa Epsilon for their Fantastic Four-focused creation next to Michigan Tech’s Administration Building. Within the sororities, Alpha Sigma Tau, located near Franklin Square on College Avenue, took first with a statue depicting Hercules slaying the serpent Hydra. (Ooh, highbrow.) Second place went to Theta Chi Epsilon, in front of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.
And now the rest of the news:
* Hey, Facebook, thanks for breaking the Internet. At least you fixed it quickly.
* Did you know the Earth from time to time has mini-moons — asteroids, temporarily captured by our gravity and then flung free? Neither did I. But now NASA wants to find them and perhaps explore them.
* Now that we have a little bit better idea where to look, we’re looking for radio signals from nearby stars we think might host habitable planets. No signals yet, though. One thing’s for sure, if anybody’s listening, we’re shouting. In some radio frequencies, we’re the brightest thing in the galaxy in a sphere 200 light years in diameter.
* A shelter dog’s freakishly human features launch him into Internet stardom.
* January has been declared the second warmest worldwide in 35 years.
* The FAA approves Boeing test flights of the 787 Dreamliner, a step toward getting the troubled plane back in service.
* Scientists also think they may have found the ancestor of all placental mammals (that’s us — and mice, and cows, and everything else that keeps a fetus alive with a placenta inside the mommy instead of a pouch semi-outside).
* Here’s another look at the same study, which also gives more credence to a huge asteroid impact on what is now the Yucatan Peninsula wiping out the dinosaurs, leaving room for us timid little mammals to take over.
* And in a report that’ll be no surprise to anyone who’s ever studied statistics, everyone thinks they are above average.
* The Curiosity rover drills into Mars for the first time.
* Apple confronts its first lawsuit from a disgruntled activist shareholder in a long, long time.
* A judge narrows a Google patent lawsuit against Microsoft.
* NBC turns off its EveryBlock hyperlocal news service.