Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #234
October 5th, 2008

Software Randomizes Airport Patrols

A guard patrol is nearly pointless if it’s predictable, because criminals and terrorists usually surveil potential targets as they plan their attacks. That’s why many security managers direct their officers to vary their routines. But what security professionals may not know is that humans trying to randomize actions invariably sink into predictable patterns, unintentionally offering adversaries the predictability they seek. A new software program called Assistant for Randomized Monitoring over Routes (ARMOR) may solve the problem.
Source: Joseph Straw, Security Management, September 2008

Train engineer was texting just before Calif. crash

The train driver blamed for the worst U.S. train crash in 15 years was sending and receiving text messages seconds before his crowded commuter train skipped a red light and collided head-on with a freight train, federal investigators said on Wednesday. The Metrolink commuter train plowed into a Union Pacific freight locomotive on September 12 in Chatsworth, California, killing 25 people and injuring 135 in the worst train accident since 1993.
Source: Reuters, October 1, 2008

How do bloggers make money?

Last week, the blog search engine Technorati released its 2008 State of the Blogosphere report with the slightly menacing promise to “deliver even deeper insights into the blogging mind.” Bloggers create 900,000 blog posts a day worldwide, and some of them are actually making money. Blogs with 100,000 or more unique visitors a month earn an average of $75,000 annually — though that figure is skewed by the small percentage of blogs that make more than $200,000 a year.
[Note: I have serious doubts about the validity of these numbers.]
Source: Michael Agger, Slate, October 1, 2008

Seven blog news trackers compared

In many ways, Wednesday’s release of an updated front page to Google Blog Search has put blog news tracking into the limelight. Google didn’t get there first though. Sites like Techmeme, Blogrunner, and Technorati have been tracking the hottest blog posts for quite some time. Now’s a good point to take a look at what makes these sites (and others) individual and different from Google’s new tool.
Source: Josh Lowensohn, CNET’s Webware, October 2, 2008

Hijacking Satellite Navigation

The Global Positioning System (GPS) lies at the heart of an increasing number of technologies, from vehicle navigation systems to the power grid. And yet, although the military version of GPS includes security features such as encryption, civilian signals are transmitted in the clear. Now, researchers at Cornell University and Virginia Tech have demonstrated a relatively simple way to fool ordinary GPS receivers into accepting bogus signals using a briefcase-size transmitter.
Source: Erica Naone, Technology Review, October 2, 2008

Who were you in 2001? Check Google’s old index

Once of Google’s 10th birthday gifts to the world is its re-release of a 2001 version of the search index. (The FAQ says there are “various technical reasons” for not displaying results back to Google birth year of 1998.) On it you can see what the service knew about any topic back then. Like you. Go ahead.
[Note: the 2001 Google index is at]
Source: Rafe Needleman, CNET’s Webware, October 1, 2008

Bank robber hires decoys on Craigslist, fools cops

In an elaborate robbery scheme that’s one part The Thomas Crowne Affair and one part Pineapple Express, a crook robbed an armored truck outside a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Wash., by hiring decoys through Craigslist to deter authorities. It gets better: He then escaped in a creek headed for the Skykomish River in an inner tube, and the cops are still looking for him. “A great amount of money” was taken, Monroe police said, but did not provide a dollar value.
Source: Caroline McCarthy, CNET’s The Social, October 3, 2008

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