Remembering Marc Perkel

I don’t relish writing memorials or testimonials. But, “DVORAK UNCENSORED” needs a small jot of memory for one of the folks who authored many of the posts there in recent years. Marc Perkel. His company hosted the site.

Mark died August 1st after what feels to all of us like a really short, truly brave battle with lung cancer. I’m including a couple of links to reference sites he authored. I recommend you take the time to click through the abundance of links and get to fill out the gaps in your online contact with him.

He will be missed.



Democrat gun control sit-in became a social media sensation – a Republican FAIL

A blackout of television cameras in the U.S. House Representatives during the Democrats’ gun control sit-in may have spurred public interest in the protest as it forced the demonstrators to use social media to broadcast their message.

Democrats leapt on Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope after the cameras, controlled by the House, went dark Wednesday when presiding House officer and Republican Representative Ted Poe declared the chamber not in order during the protest.

As Democrats took to alternative forms of video broadcasting, their message gained tremendous momentum from social media. On Twitter, the hashtags #NoBillNoBreak and #HoldTheFloor have been tweeted at least 1.4 million times.

Of the roughly 20 members of Congress who remained at the sit-in overnight, 19 of them used Facebook Live for a total combined viewership of 3 million.

❝ “It really connected with people out there,” Congressman Scott Peters told Reuters.This whole phenomenon with [live video] struck a nerve.”

Peters used the application Periscope, which is connected to the social media platform Twitter, to send out video.

“Without that, think about it, it would have been a caucus meeting where we talk to ourselves,” he added…

Even C-SPAN, which typically broadcasts footage recorded by the House cameras, picked up live video from four different members of Congress roughly two hours after the House cameras shut down, according to communications director Howard Mortman. It marked the first time the channel broadcast a live social media feed from the House floor.

All this in violation of rules designed by anachronistic fools for stodgy politicians.

What can we look forward to? Sooner or later, something approaching an equivalent of the Arab Spring – without ordinary citizens being shot down in the streets by coppers obeying criminals holding government office.

Oh, BTW – over the timespan of the sit-in, 88 people were shot in the United States.

Want to be the next geek/handyman for Stephen Hawking?

Think you could be the next Technical Assistant? Graduate Assistant to Stephen Hawking

The salary is expected to be in the region of £25K; the exact value will be confirmed in the near future.

Disclaimer: This is not an official job applications page, however similar it may look! The official applications process will be started when the post has been properly advertised, probably in mid-January. We will not be able to offer the post to anyone on the strength of this unofficial submission alone; we can only direct people to apply through the official channel. However, if you fit our requirements, we would like to hear from you.

The post is more accurately described by the title “Technical Assistant to Stephen Hawking.” It is not a PhD or Post-Doc position for academics looking to study physics, but a purely technical post to allow Prof. Hawking to function within the physics community and as a public speaker.

…The job…now includes:

Managing national and international travel for Prof. Hawking and his care team. Expect to spend around 3 months per year abroad!
Development and maintenance of Professor Hawking’s communication and speech systems
Procurement and maintenance of his wheelchairs and accessible van
Preparation of lecture graphics and public speaking
Dealing with the media and press
Answering inquiries from the public and maintaining the website
The post requires a wide range of skills, most importantly:
Ability to work under pressure
Maintenance of “black box” systems with no instruction manual or technical support
Computer literacy
Electronics knowledge
Ability to speak to a large audience
Ability to show others how to use complex systems

The role of ‘Graduate Assistant to Professor Hawking’ is funded as a research post at the University of Cambridge. Normally it has been under a 12 month contract, although recent graduate assistants have stayed on for several years.

For the application form, click here. I wish I was about 30 years younger.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Tech sector lifts Massachusetts economy at the start of 2011

Massachusetts’ technology sector is fueling strong growth, helping the state’s economy expand more than twice as fast as the nation’s in the first three months of this year, the University of Massachusetts reported yesterday.

Global demand for technology products and increased business spending on software and equipment have provided a strong boost in Massachusetts, which has a high concentration of companies that sell high-tech equipment, components, and services, particularly to other businesses…

“It’s the reason we have a stronger economy than the country as a whole,’’ lan Clayton-Matthews said. “We export a lot of science and technology-based goods and services to other countries around the world, especially developing countries like China and India.’’

The global tech boom helped the Massachusetts economy grow at a 4.2 percent annual rate, accelerating from 3.3 percent in the last quarter of 2010, UMass said. The US economy expanded at a 1.8 percent rate in the first quarter, after growing at a 3.1 percent rate the previous period, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

In March, the state’s 8 percent unemployment rate, though historically high, remained well below the national rate of 8.8 percent.

Reflecting technology’s strength, some Massachusetts companies are fiercely competing for skilled workers, offering cash bounties to find them…

The same is happening on an even larger scale in Silicon Valley. Growth and expansion there requires another 150,000 staff and local sources can’t provide for the situation.

I note this – as I have been for years – that college-level education in one or another arena of technical prowess is what should be recommended to those with any apparent talent, a bent for geek adventure and economics. Ain’t nothing wrong with being overqualified until the right job happens along.

Catch thieves from your couch and win cash

Just think – this could be your living room

Anyone who owns a laptop computer can now fight crime from the safety of their home and win cash prizes for catching thieves red-handed, under a new British monitoring scheme that went live this week.

The service works by employing an army of registered armchair snoopers who watch hours of CCTV footage from cameras in stores and high street venues across the country.

Viewers can win up to 1,000 pounds in cash a month from Devon-based firm Internet Eyes, which distributes the streaming footage, when offenders are caught in the act…

Participants, who pay a fee to subscribe, press an “alert” button which relays an instant text message notifying a shop keeper of suspicious behavior. The SMS is followed up with a photographic image of the potential crime…

“The problem with CCTV is that while cameras are practically everywhere, there’s hardly anyone watching them in real time,” Tony Morgan said. “Most people know this, so CCTV is no longer the deterrent it used to be, and crime is rising…”

The government’s Information Commissioner’s Office says the firm is being made to comply with data protection laws and has also insisted on background checks on viewers employed by the site…

The director of…Big Brother Watch said it was a worrying development akin to “pimping out” CCTV images to amateur bounty hunters and should be switched off…

“Whatever one thinks of our surveillance culture, we can all agree that the technology is better off in the hands of trained, accountable professionals rather than voyeurs.”

Since I live in a part of the world that offers reality TV shows to bounty hunters, I think I’d fit in just fine.

The article says nothing about turning away voyeurs in New Mexico, USA.