Showing posts from April, 2014

Heartbleed bug updates fighting it, accessing cyber criminals, what is at risk....

Big tech companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Cisco and Amazon included) are now helping fund (giving $300,000 each over the next 3 years) to a small group of barely funded volunteers who are working to resolve the bug which caused numerous problems for many companies. This was a very weak link which had not been addressed and there was no funding to address it, yet it was very important internationally in about 2/3 of all international business systems. Fixing it is going to cost a lot of companies a lot of money (millions).  The kicker is that they believe a code change in the software (Open SSL) was directed by one person. Will they ever find this person? Who is it who knew exactly what to do to make this mess and access millions of people's passwords and credit card info? Someone who is quite smart and techy and devious. To read more about it click here

Here's another update of interest. Heartbleed is now being use…

To Kill a Mockingbird to go digital

After that posting title what else can I say? It's going to happen. I hope this allows more people to read it and be moved by what I consider one of the greatest books ever. Read more about it here
A letter sold at auction for 119,000 pounds. It was a letter written the day the Titanic sank, by Mrs. Esther Hart and her 7-yr-old daughter, Eva. They both survived, as did the letter, in her husband's coat pocket, which he put on his wife before she and Eva got in a lifeboat, leaving him to perish. Although the Clarke and Park have many publications, including children's books and a movie, about the Titanic, we do not have any Titanic letters. Sigh. To read more about it click here

Andy Warhol's art/computer experiments found on "obsolete discs"

Andy Warhol's experiments with art in computers has been found on "obsolete discs". A film has been made showing efforts to salvage them. Archivist and IT to the rescue. For more info click here

Brazil hosts international meeting about control of Internet addresses

Hundreds of international government reps will meet in Brazil to discuss what to do about governing  Internet addressees. This is a result of Snowden's revelations about NSA and the Internet. Brazil wants major changes. These changes could cause what is described as a "Balkanization" of control over Internet addresses and other related issues. Most people believe little if any actual change will result from the meeting, that Brazil is just flexing its muscle in the face of the US to make a point.. A fact is that by Sept. 2015 the US will give up control over regulating Internet addresses to the "global multi-stakeholder community". There are also changes called for in governance language.  Already some reps think it is too vague. There are also calls for wording supporting human information rights over accessibility.  We'll have to wait and see what the substantive results are, if any. To read more click here

Assistant Archivist Posting. Grand Valley State University


April 23rd is World Book Night: Encourage a "reluctant" reader to read a book!

2,000 British men and women were surveyed and 75% of men admitted they prefer to see a movie adaption of a book or spend time online compared to reading a book and 30% admitted they haven't read one book since leaving school (I assume this is high school, age 18-ish). This is no surprise to me. I know more women who love to read than men. Also, not mentioned here, is reading preferences. Comic book style versus  longer free verse style. Men tend to be slower readers who are more likely to not finish reading books.

Don't despair, bibliophiles. There is an effort called World Book Night on April 23rd to try to engage "reluctant" readers into reading more often. Apparently most of these men realize they should read more and feel badly about it. Excuses, excuses.... To encourage them a list of 20 free books is being distributed to encourage them to read. So, if you know a reluctant reader perhaps you could share a good book with them on April 23rd in an effort to get the…

Asimov's predictions 50 years ago about how we live and communicate today

50 years ago the great sci fi writer Isaac Asimov made predictions about the future. Many of these concerned how we would communicate. He predicted flat-screen tvs, being able to talk to others far away while seeing them simultaneously, as well as predictions about how we lived.  He didn't get everything right, but it is fascinating how much he did get right, especially regarding communications. Click here to learn more

the Digital Public Library of America is a year old

As of Mon this week, the DPLA is now a year old. It is adding millions of records to its archives- Ars Technica. This non-profit organization is a platform connecting other institutions digital archives to make them available to the public through one portal shall we say.  "The DPLA announced partnerships with the California Digital Library, the Connecticut Digital Archive, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the US Government Printing Office, Indiana Memory, and the Montana Memory Project." Think of all the material in the GPO alone. This is a fabulous source for students, teachers, scholars, the average researcher.  To read more about it click here

My intern Mark and his internship experience, including the rumrunners and Mr. Sovereign's yatch


lack of education, books, libraries, distribution of publications in Libya: interview with an author

Interesting interview with a Libyan playwright, Mansour Bushnaf,  discussing post-Gaddafi Libya. There is still a lack of education, books, libraries with anything in them, and his own publications were published but left in a warehouse and not distributed to the public. People were afraid to be educated or own books for fear they'd be seen as a capitalist and malcontent or rebel and a threat. He was imprisoned for more than 10 years for writing this catchy title, When the Rats Govern. Books were smuggled into Libya during this time. To read more click

Heartbleed bug has slow recovery

Over 500,000 websites are estimated to have been hit with the Heartbleed bug."Many sites, including Google, Facebook, DropBox and OKCupid, have now patched the version of the security software they ran, called OpenSSL, that was vulnerable to Heartbleed." It will be a slow recovery with slow access times for awhile. This is the bug that may or may not have been in some way instigated by the NSA. Sites that are recovering also have to "take action to change a separate security measure if they wanted to be sure that visitors' data did not go astray.This separate measure is known as a security certificate and is a guarantee of a site's identity." All of this hacking and bugging makes one wonder about security that is guaranteed. There really is no such thing. 
Read more about it here

If you have any type of Android device it is being affected by Heartbleed bug although the major companies are working on fixes. Rea…

UM History conf.: Work: The Politics of Laboring in American History May 9-10, 2014

Work: The Politics of Laboring in American History
University of Michigan, Department of History
Graduate Student Conference in US History
May 9-10, 2014
**All events will take place in 1014 Tisch Hall (435 S. State Street).
Friday, May 9:
11:00-11:30 am Opening Remarks
11:30-1:15 pm Panel 1: Above Meets Below: Institutions in American Labor History
Liz Harmon, University of Michigan, “Philanthropic Foundations, Social Welfare Policy, and the Commission on Industrial Relations, 1912-1915”
Cristina Groeger, Harvard University, “Paths to Work: Commercial Education in Boston, 1890-1940”
Andrew Hnatow, Wayne State University, “‘And These Communities Will Become Partial Ghost Towns’: Local 600 and the Campaign Against Industrial Decentralization”
1:15-2:00 pm Lunch
2:00-3:45 pm Panel 2: The Politics of Gendered Laboring
Seth LaShier, George Washington University, “ ‘They Work Us Like They Can’t Do Without Us and Pay Us Like They Don’t Need Us’: The Workplace Politics of Atlanta’s Hospital Workers, 1965…

27 amazing looking libraries

Here are images of 27 amazing libraries ot celebrate national library week. See

Records of WWI spies/spying released

The British National Archives is releasing more WWI materials online to honor the memory of WWI. This time it's not soldiers diaries or images of soldiers or RAF recordings, but documentation on spies, such as Mata Hari, who died by firing squad, and organizations the Brits spied on, including famous people, authors, and organizations, including the Boy Scouts.  I thought the Boy Scouts just camped and built fires. Apparently someone thought they were up to no good. To read more about it click here

50th anniversary of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the extremely important Civil Rights Act of 1964, the President Johnson Library, part of the National Archives, is hosting a summit on civil rights.  Johnson fought his friends in the South to pass it. The Fair Housing Act followed. The two acts became law and positively changed the US and most everyone in it.  Thanks LBJ!  To read more click here

I also thought this is interesting. Here are remarks by Pres. Johnson in 1968 about signing the Civil Rights Act.

Gurlitt art update

On Nov. 11th I blogged about stolen art that had recently been found. One story was about Gurlitt's art, most of which had been "missing" for over 70 years.  His father was a collector employed by Nazis to accumulate and sell "degenerate" and other art, mostly confiscated illegally from Jews. After finding a huge stash of art in his apartment and another home, police and those brought in to evaluate and authenticate the art kept quiet about it for two years. Only in late 2013 was the public informed. Gurlitt believes the art he inherited is his and his alone legally. Laws in Germany support him. Now art will be released to owners, but this is maybe 3%  of all of it or 1,280 works (that's just 3%-it boggles the mind!). Descendants of those who were robbed have to be able to document/ prove their legal claim to the art. They have one year. Knowing it was stolen from your family is insufficient. Gurlitt has a book documenting the art, the date, and who the ori…

Italians find 2 missing paintings

2 French paintings stolen from a London home in 1970, bought for $30 by an Italian man in a lost property sale, and he hung them in his kitchen for about 40 years. The man died, and his son went to sell them. One is a Paul Gauguin worth up to $40 million, the other over $800,000. No heirs so where should they go? Click here to read more

NSA and its code breaking efforts

NSA encouraged a web encryption company RSA to develop a code using random numbers which made it 65,000 times easier for NSA to break the code and spy on people. That is a direct quote, 65,000 times easier. RSA at first denied that it agreed with NSA to make the code, then said it trusted the NSA. How did RSA not run the numbers for how much easier it made spying for NSA? Seriously, like anyone can believe RSA at this point. Customers did not like the code system so it was not widely used. This follows the report in late 2013 that NSA paid for "backdoor" entries via RSA into another more popular random number encryption system for a mere $10 million. To read more about it click here

Turkish courts lift Twitter blog

On March 21st I blogged about how certain countries were controlling free speech and access to information by limiting access to certain social media. Turkey's government banned access to Twitter. Now, two weeks later, the nation's court system has ruled against the ban, much to the government's chagrin. I assume this will become an ongoing issue, but we'll have to wait and see Read about it here

digital colloquium announcement

lost 1923 Brit. film found in dust in Holland

A significant film from Britain's film history heritage, lost for decades, was found in the dust of an old Dutch movie theater. The film from 1923 stars Betty Balfour, the biggest silent movie era star of Britain, considered the Mary Pickford of the UK.  Love, Life and Laughter,  was written and directed by George Pearson. who was often compared to Dickens (not my fav. Sorry Mr. Dickens) Britain has a priority list of "lost" films of significance it is searching for. This was in the top 75. To read more about it click here

secret police files of Romania

This is very interesting about a still living Romanian family and its history, recently discovered, in secret police files. The father had been imprisoned and tortured. Neighbors, friends, spies were sent to trap them into confessions, even when his wife gave birth in the hospital, the staff and fellow patients were all involved. The transcribers of the records got so familiar with the family that they wrote notes in the margins of the transcripts about family arguments as to which family member they believed was right! The family escaped to Michigan before the fall of communism and went back to visit and check their files, huge piles of files with fingerprints, photos, etc. I am amazed the family was allowed access. To read more and view images click here

the UK now fighting cyber crimes and illegal website info in new ways

Britain fighting illegal websites with illegal copyrighted materials by going after advertisers. A list of known illegal sites is being generated in the hope that advertising will abandon these sites, which will cut their revenues and render the sites obsolete. To read more about it click here

In related news the UK has now announced a national unit to coordinate and fight cyber crime CERT or cyber emergency response team, which has a whopping 850,000 pounds budget. This is in response to nearly 100% of the UK major corporations being cyber trounced in the last few years. The article notes that many companies have their own CERT. If the UK is doing this, other countries will follow (maybe they won't all announce it). I wonder if we will get a future report about how well CERT works. To read more about it click here

All this talk of control and fighting…