Google Gets Into Energy Biz
While Google's archrivals have always been Microsoft and Yahoo, you can now
start adding electric companies to the list. By now, you've no doubt heard of
, dubbed "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal."
This is big news. The company will be hiring scientists and engineers to develop
new approaches to generating and storing solar, wind and geothermal energy.
The first work will be on solar thermal energy. Google's plans call for using
mirrors to redirect sunlight to solar panels, then using the heat energy to
generate steam. Nothing like saving a little energy for a rainy day. Wind and
geothermal initiatives will follow shortly thereafter.
In a prepared statement released during this massive press blast, Google co-founder
Larry Page says, "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy
capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years,
If anyone can execute on such a grand plan and such a corporate reinvention,
it's got to be Google. Google first got interested in power generation and energy
management projects while designing its massive data centers. Google also already
has one of the nation's largest solar cell arrays at its corporate headquarters.
Lately, we've taken Microsoft to task for trying to be too many things to too
many people. What do you think of Google's new direction? This is much more
than merely dominating the search-engine world or doing battle with online apps.
On the other hand, the company has the smarts and the cash to make it happen.
Think we'll be writing checks for our electric bills payable to Google any time
soon? Plug in and let me know at email@example.com.
Cyber Monday Racks Up Big Numbers
If you saw Peter Varhol's report on Cyber Monday in yesterday's
Redmond Report, that may have reminded you to start your own online shopping.
That means repeatedly clicking on one of my favorite phrases: "Add to Cart."
Cyber Monday may be a myth propagated by the nation's retail behemoths, or
it may be a real phenomenon -- hard to tell. Wal-Mart, Target and several of
the other usual suspects ran specials on Cyber Monday, ranging from discounts
to free shipping.
Early indications from shop.org were that online clicking and buying rates
were running three times higher than last year's electronic shop-fest. According
to stats just released from market researcher comScore, Cyber Monday sales rose
21 percent over last year to a whopping $733 million. That's good news for
an economy reeling from high gas prices, high war prices and the high cost of
the mortgage mess.
Still, Cyber Monday may not be the ultimate "make or break" day.
Last year's busiest online add-to-cart day was Dec. 5 or 12, according to two
separate surveys conducted by MasterCard and shop.org, respectively. Either
way, Cyber Monday certainly signals the kickoff of the online shopping season;
I know it does for me. I found some funky, hard-to-find things for my mom and
my son (fear not, boss -- it was during lunch).
Myth or reality, anything that saves me a trip to the mall is a beautiful thing.
I'd much rather click "Add to Cart" for my entire Christmas list than
face one hyper-caffeinated cell phone salesman or try to hold my breath through
the barrier of perfume fog that guards the inner sanctum of any department store.
I don't shop; I buy. It really is as simple as that.
And I think they should change the name of Cyber Monday to "Add to Cart"
day. Don't you? What are your online shopping habits? Have they changed in the
last couple of years? Were you a part of Cyber Monday? Stop "adding to
cart" for a second and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mozilla Patches Holes in Firefox
Earlier this week, Mozilla released
the latest revision of Firefox, with the snappy label version 18.104.22.168.
The latest update patches three recently reported vulnerabilities.
Two of the potential security holes involved cross-site scripting issues. Hackers
can use these vulnerabilities to steal personal information while visiting certain
sites. Exploiting the first cross-site vulnerability, an attacker could create
a fake HTTP refer header when setting the window location property. There's
a timing issue involved with this process that permits the hack. The other cross-site
loophole comes into play with Web sites loading ZIP archives.
The third vulnerability involves memory corruption, some of which could be
used to insert random or malicious code.
Mozilla is pushing the update to all current Firefox users, so that should
get the word out as soon as possible. Check out the Mozilla Web site for more
on these fixes.
Mozilla seems to have its own Patch Tuesday. And I thought Mondays were bad
news. Are you using Firefox? Have you found any of these vulnerabilities? How
about IE? Found any loopholes on your own there? Log in and let me know at email@example.com.
Local Hackers Get Nailed
It may not be on the level of breaking into the Department of Defense or stealing
tons of credit card data from TJX, but we've just heard of a couple of local
hackers who obviously aren't as smart as they thought they were.
A few students at the prestigious Milton Academy decided to pull a little digital
Animal House and got
into the school's records to change attendance records and grades. They
even got a look at a test before it was given to students. The four students
involved have been either suspended or expelled from the exclusive academy,
where tuition rates hover north of $30,000.
C'mon, kids. You're obviously pretty smart if you could pull this off. Use
your powers for good, not evil. Want to rule the world at the next Google, or
rule your cell block at the state pen?
Sure, this is a local story, but it has other implications as it's yet another
example of hackers getting caught and paying the price. Has your organization
ever been hacked or had data stolen? Were the perps brought to justice? What
was your role in the investigation and persecution process? Rest your case with
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.