Monday, October 10, 2011

What Will Apple Be After Steve Jobs?

Known around the world for making the latest computer tech fashionable to a wide-range of folks – even to the fashionista crowd, will Apple continue to be one of the world’s top technology firms without Steve Jobs?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though he passed away in October 5, 2011 at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Apple co-founder and visionary will surely be missed. The computer technology company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak has always been seen as the “alternative” from the mainstream. Steve Jobs’ first ever major commercial product to be launched with much advertising fanfare was the 1984 era McIntosh, which itself was a technological tour-de-force at the time as to being the first ever personal computer that came with a mouse. Sadly, the 1984 era Mac didn’t do as well commercially in comparison to Steve Jobs’ more recent products.

The 1998 era rainbow-colored PC was probably the first toe-in-the-water exercise for Apple’s path to slowly but surely into becoming a consumer-electronic juggernaut of the 21st Century. From the i-Pod, the i-Phone to the i-Pad, Steve Jobs seem to manage to do the impossible by making computer technology hip and stylish enough for the fashionista crowd. Whether you love or hate his commercially successful inventions, there’s no denying that Steve Jobs is probably the most influential visionary when it comes to making portable internet access a commercially viable entity. Not to mention that during the height of his creative and managing powers at Apple, he forego focus groups and other corporate niceties citing that they tend to skew his creative vision.

Tributes had been pouring in of his untimely passing, from US President Barack Obama to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, not to mention rival computer companies and more importantly, the millions of people who have benefited from his vision of establishing user-friendly and “fashionable” access to the global information superhighway.

Will Apple still retain the vision and brilliant inventiveness of Steve Jobs? Only time will tell; but – to the millions of his fans – it seems like he has already mapped out the direction for Apple to go through for it to remain as a strong and visionary computer technology firm.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Do We Need Rules of Engagement in Cyber Conflicts?

Given the devastation and inconvenience of the cyber attacks directed at Estonia’s state internet infrastructure back in 2007 to the April 2011 hacking of Sony Playstation Network, do we need a legally binding rules of cyber conflicts?

By: Ringo Bones

During the 2011 Munich On-Line Security Conference, policymakers and powers-that-be had finally declared the internet or cyber space as the new battleground, but will it going to leave us mere civilians eventual road-kill in the information superhighway? Sadly, as the case maybe, there are yet no internationally binding agreements – similar to those of the Geneva and Hague Conventions – governing the rules of cyber conflicts and/ or cyber-warfare.

High-profile incidents of what could be described as cyber-warfare – i.e. got noted by the major news providers – already happened back in 2007 when a directed denial of service or DDOS attack directed at the state owned internet infrastructure of Estonia ground basic government services down to a halt. The alleged cyber-attack was primarily due to the removal of a Soviet-era World War II memorial without the consent of Kremlin – allegedly by Russian government sponsored computer hackers.

Sadly, there are still no legally binding agreements modeled after the Geneva and Hague Conventions governing the dos and don’ts of cyber-warfare. Could this mean that micro-finance groups of refugees or other ethnic minorities could have their financial databases declared as fair game during a cyber-attack? And does this also mean that databases of children’s hospitals could be fair game too during an all-out cyber-war making kids awaiting organ transplants to be not able to receive life-saving medical procedures in a timely fashion?

Do we really have to wait to hear of accounts of wanton incidents of cruelties of cyber-warfare and/or cyber-terrorism similar to that of “Un Souvenir de Solferino” / “A Souvenir of Solferino” as written by J. Henri Dunant back in 1862 that eventually became the basis of the establishment of the International Red Cross and the Geneva and Hague Conventions? Sadder still, even the ontological definition of what passes as cyber-attack and/or cyber-terrorism is still deemed “nebulous” by legal standards.
Various criminal organizations and rogue states around the world could still get away with launching audacious cyber-attacks even when the evidence is stacked against them – pricey lawyers or not – not only due to the lack of conventions governing it, but also primarily due to lack of enforcement in most territories around the world when it comes to cyber-terrorism prosecution. Cyber-warfare today is about as convention-free as the Crimean War.