Thursday, December 29, 2011

Startup culture starts to set down roots in Tampa Bay business community - Tampa Bay Times

Startup culture starts to set down roots in Tampa Bay business community - Tampa Bay Times: Startup culture starts to set down roots in Tampa Bay business community

By Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist
In Print: Sunday, December 18, 2011

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One of Tampa Bay's most transforming business trends in years is emerging amid this difficult economy. It can be described in two words. Entrepreneurial ecosystem. It's not my favorite phrase. Try saying it three times fast. But the words capture the momentum behind a new regional infrastructure for people who want to start businesses here and - just as important - keep them here, adding jobs as they grow. "It's like seeding the fields," veteran entrepreneur and University of South Florida Center for Entrepreneurship chief Michael Fountain says of propagating new businesses. "Some will take root." Why do we care? Because Tampa Bay has malnourished its entrepreneurs for too long. Regionally, we need larger numbers of new companies with smarter business ideas, quality management and better access to capital. Tampa Bay's economy is not built on Fortune 500 headquartered companies. It is a mix of back-office operations of distant corporations, mid-sized companies and an enormous number of small businesses.

Gov. Rick Scott and our own regional economic development groups focus heavily - with mixed success - on luring jobs, typically from other companies based in other states. Why not complement that strategy with a stronger culture to help businesses start and grow here? It makes economic sense.

Encouraging entrepreneurs is not some overnight fix. It won't produce dramatic numbers of new jobs quickly.

"You have to take a 20-year view," says serial entrepreneur Marvin Scaff, one of the veteran quintet behind the Gazelle Lab business accelerator that this year kicked into gear to help area startups.

Well, here's my own 20-year view from writing for decades about the Tampa Bay business scene: If this emerging regional entrepreneurial ecosystem proves real and sustainable, it may deliver a critical injection of fresh ideas, enthusiasm and new jobs into our sluggish economy.

Sure, some entrepreneurs have prospered here for years. Others have left for greener, friendlier metro areas. So the arrival of an infrastructure that helps startups gain traction here and acts as a community support system is an exciting prospect.

Given time, more startups here mean more and better jobs. It means a more dynamic business culture that will appeal to young and talented people who every day are asking: Should I stay or should I go?

Tampa Bay is still losing that demographics battle. We remain a net loser of sharp, younger adults to places like Denver, Dallas, Austin and Seattle - places where they sense better career opportunities and, frankly, find more people like themselves.

. . .

So what exactly is an entrepreneurial ecosystem?

It's a core of people in this region experienced in how to start businesses. It's people willing to share that knowledge, drive, discipline and connections.

It's people like Linda Olson, whose Tampa Bay Wave group, now a nonprofit, has become one of the chief gathering places for folks with early-stage startup ambitions.

It's people like Michael Fountain, kind of a father figure of entrepreneurial experience in Tampa, who has run USF's successful Center for Entrepreneurship in Tampa for more than a decade.

It's people like Daniel James Scott and Bill Jackson in St. Petersburg, who are driving forces behind training potential entrepreneurs through the USF St. Petersburg College of Business. Scott helps direct the new-this-year Gazelle Lab, an intense 90-day program for competitively picked business startups. And Jackson heads the new entrepreneurship major for USF business students.

It's people like lawyer Brent Britton, chairman of law firm Gray Robinson's emerging business and technology practice in Tampa. Britton combines a West Coast hipster style with legal experience on how startups must organize to be most efficient and most attractive to venture capitalists.

And it's people like Tom Wallace, a senior statesmen of Tampa Bay tech startups and a founder of his latest firm, Red Vector. He's increasingly lending his expertise and influence to further the entrepreneur network via his work at the regional group known as the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

Rebecca White, a relative newcomer to the area, heads the University of Tampa's recent plunge into entrepreneurship. The UT professor and entrepreneur sees a surge in startup interest in the Tampa Bay area tied to this long stretch of bad economy and higher unemployment.

"It's more important today than in prosperous times," she says. "We are in a position where people who did not see themselves as entrepreneurs increasingly want to take responsibility for their own lives and careers."

White and Wallace want to see some Tampa Bay entrepreneurs deliver a home run or two. They want a few startups to grow to significant size, gain fame and generate investor wealth to put this region on the map.

That type of success should attract more investors and venture capital here. Startup financing has been and remains hard to find in the region.

In May, a Tampa startup called Wufoo, a maker of forms and survey documents, was sold for $35 million in cash and stock to another company called SurveyMonkey. That news heartened area entrepreneurs with their own dreams of success. The bad news is the buyer of Wufoo moved the business to California.

Tampa Bay wants the next generation of startups to stay here, whenever possible.

"What will be the tipping point for Tampa Bay?" White asks. Making this region a cooler place for young talent would help, she says. And that means getting this region's act together on quality public transportation and raising the bar on the our educational system.

There's another key piece of the business startup culture missing in Tampa Bay: the notion that it is okay to fail.

Business failures, White says, are sometimes more valuable to an entrepreneur than success. The Tampa Bay business community still needs to learn not to write off budding entrepreneurs because they failed.

"If you are not failing," says Wallace, whose many startups included Tampa's BrainBuzz.com a decade ago, "you are not taking enough risk as an entrepreneur."

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@tampabay.com.

Some movers and shakers in the regional startup scene

Linda Olson

Founder of Tampa Bay Wave

Why: Nonprofit's captured a "cool" factor, lots of buzz in young entrepreneur network. About 60 members. Offers common space in downtown Tampa for startups.

Quote: "This is not just about job creation, but driving and inspiring more people here for higher-wage skills that companies need. We want to provide a clearer path for our fellow citizens to pursue entrepreneurial ventures if they want."

Tom Wallace

Founder and CEO, Red Vector, online education firm, Tampa

Why: Serial entrepreneur and senior leader in Tampa Bay Technology Forum entrepreneur network.

Quote: "It has never been a less expensive or better time to start a tech company. You can go out and get what you need through the cloud (online services). You do not have to invest in expensive hardware or software. That is a big difference. I am hopeful we will have some very successful tech startups come out of this area that go on to do great things."

Rebecca White

Chair of entrepreneurship program, director of University of Tampa's Entrepreneurship Center, UT's Spartan business accelerator

Why: Street cred, making a mark even though here only a few years.

Quote: "Our ecosystem needs informality and the ability to change. Add too much structure and you get bureaucracy. We want to create a coolness factor to attract entrepreneurs to stay here."

Marvin Scaff

Co-founder of Gazelle Lab business accelerator at University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Business

Why: Serial entrepreneur, Silicon Valley veteran, massive Rolodex.

Quote: "What needs to happen next? We must not get discouraged in the short term. Take the long view. There is so much wealth here. We need some of that capital to get interested in entrepreneurship."

Michael Fountain

Tampa director of University of South Florida Center for Entrepreneurship; chair in entrepreneurship, USF College of Business; also professor titles in USF's College of Engineering and College of Medicine

Why: Serial entrepreneur, major credentials, longevity (one of his students was Daniel James Scott, who now runs Gazelle Lab at USF St. Petersburg).

Quote: "The biggest challenge we face, and it is not unique to Tampa, is finding financing sources for early-stage companies. It's really difficult and it's more problematic in this tough economy than at other times. The challenge is: How do companies go from having five or six people to 20 or 50 people?"

.up Support system

Key pieces of Tampa Bay's entrepreneurial ecosystem

Tampa Bay Wave, Tampa: Grass roots nonprofit network for entrepreneurs. Visit tampabaywave.org/.

Center for Entrepreneurship, University of South Florida Tampa College of Business. Princeton Review ranks the graduate program No. 19 among top 50 entrepreneurship programs.

Visit ce.usf.edu.

Entrepreneurship Center, University of Tampa. Promotes business startups. Visit ut.edu/entrepreneurcenter/.

Gazelle Lab, University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Business. Young, 90-day crash course in starting a business, offered twice a year. Must apply. Visit gazellelab.com/.

Degree in entrepreneurship, University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Business. New undergraduate program. Visit usfsp.edu/cob/undergraduate_studies/entrepreneurship.htm.

Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, University of South Florida Tampa: Supports high-tech development. Visit usfconnect.org/Incubator.asp.

Tampa Bay Innovation Center, Largo: Fosters high-tech jobs, supports startups. Visit tbinnovates.com/.

Entrepreneur Network, Tampa Bay Technology Forum: Networking group for startups and young tech companies. Visit tbtf.org.

Career and Entrepreneurship Center, St. Petersburg College: Includes new "entrepreneurship certificate" program. Visit spcollege.edu/cec/academics.html.

BarCamp: Brainstorming weekends on technology ideas. Visit barcamptampabay.org/.

Startup Weekend: Launch a startup in 54 hours. Visit tampa.startupweekend.org/.

Florida Venture Forum: Building a pipeline to venture capitalists, investors for Florida startups. Visit floridaventureforum.org/.

Are You Being Tracked? 8 Ways Your Privacy Is Being Eroded Online and Off | | AlterNet

Are You Being Tracked? 8 Ways Your Privacy Is Being Eroded Online and Off | | AlterNet: 1. Tracking

The Carrier IQ controversy exposed the long-festering problem of the Unique Device Identifiers (UDID), 40-digit-long strings of letters and numbers that distinguish one device from another. Most troubling, it cannot be blocked or removed by a user. (A report by the Electronic Freedom Foundation details how CIQ works.)

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Some Facts About Carrier IQ

There has been a rolling scandal about the Carrier IQ software installed by cell phone companies on 150 million phones, mostly within the United States. Subjects of outright disagreement have included the nature of the program, what information it actually collects, and under what circumstances. This post will attempt to explain Carrier IQ's architecture, and why apparently conflicting statements about it are in some instances simultaneously correct. The information in this post has been synthesised from sources including Trevor Eckhart, Ashkan Soltani, Dan Rosenberg, and Carrier IQ itself.

First, when people talk about "Carrier IQ," they can be referring to several different things. For clarity, I will give them each a number. You can think of senses 2, 3 and 4 as being "layers" of code that are wrapped around each other.

  1. The company, Carrier IQ, Inc.;
  2. a core software library that is written by Carrier IQ Inc. and which is present on all of the 150 million handsets;
  3. a Carrier IQ application or program running on a phone, which includes the software in layer 2, but also additional porting code written by handset manufacturers (sometimes called "original equipment manufacturers" or "OEMs"), mobile network operators ("telcos"), or baseband chipset manufacturers;
  4. the entire Carrier IQ stack, which includes the program described above as layer 3, but also often includes other code within a phone's Operating System and Baseband Processor OS to send data to layer 3. Like layer 3, this code is written by handset manufacturers, telcos or baseband manufacturers.1
Diagram of Carrier IQ Architecture
Graphic by Parker Higgins

The huge amount of disagreement about various points, such as whether Carrier IQ logs keystrokes and text message content, is a result of using the term "Carrier IQ" to mean one of these four different things, as well as the fact that layers 3 and 4 vary on depending on which manufacturer built the phone, and which network it was customized for. Finally, there is an additional configuration file (called a "Profile") that controls the behavior of layer 2 and determines what information is actually sent from the phone to a carrier or other Carrier IQ client. Profiles are programs in a domain-specific filtering language; they are normally written by Carrier IQ Inc. to the specifications of a telco or other client.

There is consensus agreement that layers 2–4 collect information that can include location, browsing history (including HTTPS URLs), application use, battery use, and data about the phone's radio activity.2 The Carrier IQ Profile that is active on the phone determines where this information is intentionally transmitted, under what circumstances, the way in which it is filtered or processed beforehand, and whether it contains unique phone identifiers.

Our client Trevor Eckhart (whose research set off the present firestorm) and his subsequent collaborator Ashkan Soltani have shown that on some phones, dialer keypresses and SMS text are being written to system logs by layer 4 code. However, it seems that only much more limited types of keystroke and SMS information can make their way down from layer 4 into the underlying layer 2 Carrier IQ software.3 Unfortunately, our current belief is that the layer-4 logging that has been observed, which goes to Android system logs, is in fact being inadvertantly transmitted to some third parties and otherwise made available to other applications on the device.4 This happens when crash reporting tools collect copies of the system logs for debugging purposes. The recipients of such transmissions are unlikely to have anticipated receiving keystrokes, text messages, URLs or location information through such channels, but that can in fact happen on some of the phones to which Carrier IQ has been ported. What this means is that keystrokes, text message content and other very sensitive information is in fact being transmitted from some phones on which Carrier IQ is installed to third parties.

The complexities of this situation explain the apparent contradiction between claims by Carrier IQ Inc. and researchers examining code written by the company, who have said that the company does not collect full keystroke data or the content of text messages, and others who say that they have observed this happening. People on all sides of this debate may be simultaneously correct.

The information that we need now is a complete history of all of the Profiles that carriers have ever installed on their customers' phones, to learn what the carriers meant to collect. This would be a good place for regulators and others to start their inquiries. Separately, and equally importantly, the carriers and the OEMs need to take the steps necessary, whether OS updates or better yet, removing Carrier IQ software entirely, to stop the overbroad logging and transmittal of sensitive user data out of their customers' phones.

  • 1. Carrier IQ Inc. provides reference code for telcos, handset and chipset manfuacturers implementing layers 3 and 4, which is sometimes used and sometimes not.
  • 2. Carrier IQ calls these observable variables "metrics". The metrics are effectively an API that layers 3 and 4 use to make reports down to layer 2.
  • 3. Eckhart and Soltani have demonstrated this on phones that run modified variants of the Android OS as customized by OEMs and telcos, but we should stress that Android as an OS is not to blame here. Android's relative openness has facilitated research on the situation, but the Carrier IQ stack has been ported to iPhones, BlackBerry devices, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices, and non-smartphones as well; we do not know what if any bugs exist in any of those ported versions of the stack.
  • 4. The Android OS has a fine-grained permissions model in which any newly-installed software must disclose to the user that it may read copies of system logs before being installed. This is a good security design, but unfortunately, most users would not associate permissions to read system logs with permissions to read the sensitive information that some ports of the Carrier IQ stack are writing to the logs. Applications that come pre-installed on phones do not have the same install-time permissions dialog, but these apps at least sometimes use clickwrap dialogs. So we may face a situation where companies have taken some steps to try obtain consent from users for crash-reporting and debugging transmissions, without anybody being clear about how sensitive the data in those transmissions would end up being.

Thank You Jesus Christ for Creating The Way of Your Word!
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I I Love You Dearest Loving Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water

Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water: Fight back against enslavement
As long as people believe their rights stem from the government (and not the other way around), they will always be enslaved. And whatever rights and freedoms we think we still have will be quickly eroded by a system of bureaucratic power that seeks only to expand its control.

Because the same argument that's now being used to restrict rainwater collection could, of course, be used to declare that you have no right to the air you breathe, either. After all, governments could declare that air to be somebody else's air, and then they could charge you an "air tax" or an "air royalty" and demand you pay money for every breath that keeps you alive.

Think it couldn't happen? Just give it time. The government already claims it owns your land and house, effectively. If you really think you own your home, just stop paying property taxes and see how long you still "own" it. Your county or city will seize it and then sell it to pay off your "tax debt." That proves who really owns it in the first place... and it's not you!

How about the question of who owns your body? According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, U.S. corporations and universities already own 20% of your genetic code. Your own body, they claim, is partially the property of someone else.

So if they own your land, your water and your body, how long before they claim to own your air, your mind and even your soul?

Unless we stand up against this tyranny, it will creep upon us, day after day, until we find ourselves totally enslaved by a world of corporate-government collusion where everything of value is owned by powerful corporations -- all enforced at gunpoint by local law enforcement.

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Thank You Jesus Christ for Creating The Way of Your Word!
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I I Love You Dearest Loving Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

LG BE06LU11 Optical Drives - 6x External Blu-ray Disc Rewriter - LG Electronics US

LG BE06LU11 Optical Drives - 6x External Blu-ray Disc Rewriter - LG Electronics US: This is not an LG issue. Microsoft has put this website out to assist customers with their disc drive. Please go to support.mircosoft.com/kb/982116. Follow the steps on the screen to update your drivers on your unit. There is a chance that your unit will work after that. If you are in warranty, please call one of our product specialists at 1-800-243-0000.
3 months, 2 weeks ago
by
StanW

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Thank You Jesus Christ for Creating The Way of Your Word!
What
I I Love You Dearest Loving Lord Jesus Christ.