Discovering JKCS 041

his is a composite image of JKCS041. The blue cloud is an X-ray image from the Chandra Space Observatory. The white galaxies were photographed by the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile. X-ray light pervades the cluster and also projects out in a jet. The jet surrounds a large galaxy. A string of five equally spaced galaxies spirals around the central elliptical.

his is a composite image of JKCS041. The blue cloud is an X-ray image from the Chandra Space Observatory. The white galaxies were photographed by the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in Chile. X-ray light pervades the cluster and also projects out in a jet. The jet surrounds a large galaxy. A string of five equally spaced galaxies spirals around the central elliptical.

The structures and star populations of massive galaxies appear to change as they age, but much about how these galaxies formed and evolved remains mysterious.

Many of the oldest and most massive galaxies reside in clusters, enormous structures where numerous galaxies are found concentrated together. Galaxy clusters in the early universe are thought to be key to understanding the life cycles of old galaxies, but to date astronomers have located only a handful of these rare, distant structures.

Galaxies are normally found in groups or larger collections called clusters. The Local Group consists of our own galaxy, the larger spiral galaxy Andromeda (M31) and several smaller satellites, including the Large and Small Magellenic Clouds.

New research from a team led by Carnegie’s Andrew Newman has confirmed the presence of an unusually distant galaxy cluster, JKCS 041.

“Our observations make this galaxy cluster one of the best-studied structures from the early universe,” Newman said.

Although the team began studying JKCS 041 in 2006, it has taken years of observing with many of the world’s most powerful telescopes to finally confirm its distance. The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to capture sharp images of the distant cluster and split the starlight from the galaxies into its constituent colors, a technique known as spectroscopy. They found 19 galaxies at precisely the same great distance of 9.9 billion light-years, the telltale sign of an early galaxy cluster.

Hubble as seen from Discovery during its second servicing mission

Hubble as seen from Discovery during its second servicing mission

A previous study using the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered X-ray emissions in the location of JKCS 041.

“These X-rays likely originate from hot gas in JKCS 041, which has been heated to a temperature of about 80 million degrees by the gravity of the massive cluster,” said team member Stefano Andreon of the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, who led a companion paper published by Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Artists concept of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: CXC/NGST

Artists concept of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Credit: CXC/NGST

Today the largest and oldest galaxies are found in clusters, but there is a mystery about when and why these giant galaxies stopped forming new stars and became dormant, or inactive. Peering back to a time when the galaxies in JKCS 041 were only 1 billion years old — or 10 percent of their present age — the team found that most had already entered their dormant phase.

“Because JKCS 041 is the most-distant known cluster of its size, it gives us a unique opportunity to study these old galaxies in detail and better understand their origins,” Newman said.

Once massive galaxies enter their dormant phase, they continue to expand in overall size. This is thought to occur as galaxies collide with one another and evolve into a new, larger galaxy. Early clusters are suspected to be prime locations for these collisions, but to the team’s surprise they found that the galaxies in JKCS 041 were growing at nearly the same rate as non-cluster galaxies.

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5 Amazing Microsoft Word Tips

imagesHave you ever used Microsoft Word and actually needed to print a document? I bet you have! It can actually be difficult to get a Word document to look just right on paper, especially the more complex the document is.

I often am asked to help a work mate with printing “issues”.

Therefore I took a little time to prepare some tips for Word 2010 and 2013. Enjoy friends.

1. Use Print Preview

Before you print anything, you can preview it. Just go to File > Print to see a preview of your document. From there, you’ll also be able to adjust different page layout and printing settings, such as the page orientationpaper sizemargin width, and more.

Any changes you make will be updated in the preview pane as well.

screenshot of Microsoft Word

2.  Use smaller page margins

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for ways to make your document take up fewer printed pages and fit as much information on each page as possible.  One of the easiest ways to do this is by using smaller margins. Just go to the Page Layout tab, click Margins, then select Narrow (you can also select Custom Margins for even smaller margins).

Be aware however too much text at the top and bottom margins can really crowd the page so use this tip wisely my friends.

I do find this especially helpful if I have a multi-page document with just a few sentences on the last page. Making the margins smaller will bring the text up, which will usually remove the extra page.

screenshot of Microsoft Word

3. Print double-sided

Double-sided printing is another great way to save paper. Double-siding printing options can vary, depending on your printer.

Go to File > Print and select the menu just below the Pages: field (if you’ve never changed this option before, it will say Print One Sided). Select Manually Print on Both Sides, then print your document. One side of the page will be printed, and you’ll then need to reload the page into the printer to print the other side.

screenshot of Microsoft Word

With some printers, you’ll also have the option to Print on Both Sides. If you use this option, your printer will reload and print on the second side automatically.

screenshot of Microsoft Word

4. Show or hide markup

If you’ve used any of Word’s reviewing features with your document, such as Track Changes or Comments, you’ll need to decide whether to include that markup in the printed version. For example, if you’re still in the review process it may be helpful to include comments. If you’re printing a final version, you’ll probably want to turn these off. To do this, go to File > Print, click the very first menu below Settings (it will usually say Print All Pages), and select Print Markup to uncheck this option.

screenshot of Microsoft Word

5. Print a test copy

If you’re printing multiple copies of the same document, it’s a good idea to print a test copy first. This is especially true if the document has a unique design, like a newsletter or poster. A test copy will let you see whether the document looks the way you want, and you can then make adjustments before printing the final version.

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Windows 8.1 with Bing’s Low Cost

You can see that Microsoft is really – really trying to get Windows 8.1 computers into our homes and offices.

Microsoft has this week announced a new low-cost version of Windows 8.1 that will be pre-loaded on new computers. The newest SKU (stock keeping unit) is simply called “Windows 8.1 with Bing” and according to Microsoft will allow its hardware partners to “build lower cost Windows devices.”

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When I first heard rumors of this Bing-ified version of Windows 8.1 back in late February, it was being suggested that it would be made available for free. However, nothing in Microsoft’s announcement this week mentions anything about the new SKU being “free” to OEMs.

According to Microsoft, “Windows 8.1 with Bing” will look and perform exactly the same as all other versions of Windows 8.1 with Update 1. However, Bing will be mandatory as the default search engine in Internet Explorer (it is believed that OEMs can set their own default IE search engine from the factory, but this obviously won’t be the case with a subsidized version of Windows 8.1). However, customers will obviously have the ability to change their default search engine if they wish, which of course Microsoft is hoping the majority will not take the time to do.

Microsoft explained the reasoning behind providing OEMs with this new Bing-ified SKU:

More people—across consumer and commercial—will have access to an even broader selection of new devices with all the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 provides, and get Office too, all at a really affordable price. Additionally, as reach expands, the opportunity for developers and their apps also increases.

It is obvious that the only reason for doing this by Microsoft is to offer a less expensive version of  Windows 8.1 for customers.

Microsoft is hoping to push more Windows 8.1 and at the same time increasing the usage of Bing, which ironically is actually a quite good search engine.

An honorable, out-of-the-box attempt by Microsoft if you ask me.

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Apple & Beats Combine Forces

In a surprising move, at least to me Apple is actually set to purchase Beats.

Apple will buy Beats for about $3 billion and bring recording mogul Jimmy Iovine into its ranks, hoping to win points with the music industry and help it catch up in fast-growing music streaming market.

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As expected, Beats co-founders Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre will join Apple as part of the acquisition of the music streaming and audio equipment company.

While the price tag represents a very small portion of Apple’s roughly $150 billion cash flow, it marks a significant departure for a company that for two decades has stuck mainly to acquisitions worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

what really surprises me is that Apple, the once dominate player in innovation has turned to trying to buy it’s way into the growing music streaming market. This is something new for Apple and makes me wonder if real innovation is in the rear view mirror for Apple.

The deal is seen as Apple’s effort to jump-start an uneven attempt to make headway in music streaming, the fastest-growing segment of the market, as iTunes sales decline. Meanwhile Pandora Media Inc and Spotify have raced ahead while Apple’s eight-month-old iTunes Radio has not made a dent with subscribers.

To add further woes for Apple music downloads have continued to decline and record labels have been putting pressure on Apple to get its act together on streaming. It is believed that the record labels hope Apple can turn Beats Music into a strong competitor to Spotify and other streaming services.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, Apple said on Wednesday, May 28.

 

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Spotify Hacked

spotify-logo-primary-vertical-light-background-rgbIf you are a Spotify user beware.

The music streaming service just posted a message on its company blog indicating that one (yes one) user’s account has been hacked. Spotift assured that steps are being taken to ensure that other users will not fall victim to the same exploit

Over the coming days, the Spotify Android app will prompt users to re-enter their username and password to log back in. Users running outdated versions of the app will be guided through the update process to ensure they’re running the latest version.

At this time these actions are limited to just Android. The company does not have any recommended actions for users on iOS and Windows Phone.

Spotify did not detail the security breach besides stating that user data, such as password, financial or payment information, was not accessed. The one user effected has been notified by Spotify.

Following widespread security breaches as eBay & Target users are reminded just how important it is to take personal responsibility with their online security. Online security and tasks such as password management are only going to become more important for all of us.

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Facebook’s Recent Changes

Most users will "like" these new facebook changes.

Most users will “like” these new facebook changes.

Maybe it is just me but Facebook Fatigue (FF) is a serious concern. Many practices of Facbook can creep you out. For example the way in which Facebook has been allowing third party apps to entangle themselves throughout the news feed can really screw with your news feed.

There is some hope for us because Facebook just recently announced that it will reduce the number of auto-shares on users’ News Feeds making it an opt-in feature, instead displaying only explicitly shared stories.

Facebook said user feedback suggests that “people often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared without taking an explicit action.” Third-party apps many times share updates without any action required from users. Spotify, for example, will tell a users’ friends what music they are listening to.

Posts and status updates that are explicitly chosen by users have better circulation as compared to auto-share updates. While auto-shares will continue to exist, they will not appear on News Feeds “as often”.

While Facebook seems to be taking a tough stand against third-party apps, Peter Yang, from Facebook’s product marketing team, provided a number of alternatives for such apps to appear on feeds, such as the Send to Mobile feature.

Facebook will also make the Like button appear on mobile apps. This will give users the chance to share content from their apps with a single tap. The feature is now available for iOS users but Facebook said it was planning a wider rollout soon.

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XP Hack Promises Windows Updates

I guess where there’s a will, there’s a way. I cannot say I am surprised by this story, however I am surprised that Microsoft did not see this one coming.

It has recently been revealed that some Windows XP users are discovering that their now-unsupported operating system can receive updates from Microsoft by making a few simple changes to the Registry.

Windows-Embedded-POSReady-2009-640x325

Of course Microsoft is not thrilled and is warning people away from the hack. This hack apparently is allowing users to continue obtaining free security updates for Windows XP.

The hack apparently involves altering the Windows XP’s Registry to make it appear to Windows Update as if it were a copy of Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 (WEPOS).

WEPOS is especially designed by Microsoft as an OS that “combines the power and familiarity of Windows XP Professional with a smaller footprint and specific features for point of service (POS) computers.”

In other words, it bears enough under-the-hood similarities to Windows XP to nab its updates.

When ZDNet ran news of the hack and confirmed that it worked, Microsoft contacted ZDNet and issued the following statement:

The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers. Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

When ZDNet ran news of the hack and confirmed that it worked, Microsoft contacted ZDNet and issued the following statement:

Microsoft’s been stressing the importance of moving away from XP for some time now, but to little effect. However 26 percent of desktop users are still apparently using Windows XP, with XP having only lost only single percentage points of market share over the last three months. By that measure, it will take at least two years for the existing base of XP users to phase out completely. In the meantime, XP users are as likely to keep engineering their own work-arounds as they are to turn to third parties for protection or aid.

In my opinion, after 13 years of service XP is long past it’s prime an should be retired, sooner then later. These workarounds are not guaranteed to do anything other then provide the XP with a false sense of protection.

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Microsoft Proves XP Abandonment

140127080752-windows-xp-620xaIf there was any hope that Microsoft would reverse course and continue supporting XP with security patches because of their surprise Heartbleed patch you can put it to rest. Microsoft is no longer supporting XP as you can see from this Windows security story.

Hackers are now exploiting an Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerability that was left unpatched in Windows XP on Tuesday, May 13,

The bug, identified as CVE-2014-1815, was one of two Microsoft patched with a critical update issued Tuesday for IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9, IE10 and IE11. In the accompanying security bulletin, Microsoft noted that the vulnerability had been both known to hackers and used by them prior to yesterday’s update.

“Microsoft is aware of limited attacks that attempt to exploit this vulnerability in Internet Explorer,” the bulletin stated.

But because Windows XP exhausted its support privileges last month, users running the 13 year old operating system did not, and will not receive the IE security update, as did owners of Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs.

CVE-2014-1815 is a classic “drive-by” vulnerability that can be triggered simply by tricking IE users into visiting a malicious or compromised website. As soon as an unpatched Internet Explorer reaches such a site, the exploit leaps into action, immediately hijacking the PC and sticking malware on the hard drive.

Because IE6, IE7 and IE8 on Windows XP will not be patched, users will remain vulnerable to these sneaky attacks forever.

A work around of sorts for XP users is to switch at another internet browser such as Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox.

The best choice at this point however is to simply move away from XP and over to Windows 7 or 8. The security problems with XP are simply going to worsen with each new month.

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Changing Your eBay Password

As a result of the recent eBay hacking incident I decided to change my eBay password and found that it was actually quite difficult. More so then usual. So if you decide to change your eBay password, which you should you can speed the process up with these directions:

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  1. Sign into your eBay account at eBay’s home page.

  2. After you have logged in, hover over the down arrow at the top of the page next to your name. A dropdown menu displays a few options, including one for Account settings. Click the Account settings option.

  3. Your account page appears. On the left side, under my eBay Views, click the link for Personal Information.

  4. At the Personal Information page, a section called Account Information appears at the top with a setting for Password. Click the Edit link to the far right of the word Password.

  5. eBay prompts you to enter your email address or user ID. Type either one and then click Continue.

  6. eBay asks how you want to reset your password, either through email or a text message. Click the option you wish to use.

  7. Assuming you selected the email option, eBay sends you a Reset Your Password message. Click the link in the email. That link brings you to a page where you can enter your new eBay password. If you picked the text option instead, eBay displays a form to enter a PIN and texts you that PIN. Type the PIN in the appropriate field on that form, and the page to enter your new password appears.

  8. As always, try to devise a password that’s as strong as possible yet one you’ll remember. A good password manager like LastPass makes this very easy.

  9. Enter your new eBay password once and then again to confirm it. eBay then prompts you to log in again with your new password.

There you have it. I have not seen another password change process as overly complex as this one that’s for sure.

 

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eBay Hacked Brings Password Alert Again

Just two weeks ago I held a training class in which I tried to impress the importance of taking passwords seriously. I suggested that managing passwords is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. During the training I provided “real world” examples of big company’s getting hacked and customer’s account information compromised.

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The recent and often occurring instances of accounts hacked in addition to Heartbleed really require password management at the user end, or you are playing Russian roulette with your online security.

Again, this week another big company, Ebay reported being hacked.

Cyberattackers compromised a small number of employee log-in credentials, allowing unauthorized access to eBay’s corporate network, the company said. Working with law enforcement and leading security experts, the company is aggressively investigating the matter and applying the best forensics tools and practices to protect customers.

The database, which was compromised between late February and early March, included eBay customers’ name, encrypted password, email address, physical address, phone number and date of birth. However, the database did not contain financial information or other confidential personal information. The company said that the compromised employee log-in credentials were first detected about two weeks ago. Extensive forensics subsequently identified the compromised eBay database, resulting in the company’s announcement today.

The company said it has seen no indication of increased fraudulent account activity on eBay. The company also said it has no evidence of unauthorized access or compromises to personal or financial information for PayPal users. PayPal data is stored separately on a secure network, and all PayPal financial information is encrypted.

Yesterday eBay users were starting to notified via email, site communications and other marketing channels to change their password. In addition to asking users to change their eBay password, the company said it also is encouraging any eBay user who utilized the same password on other sites to change those passwords, too. The same password should never be used across multiple sites or accounts.

Obviously first and most importantly, if you have an eBay account change the password as soon as possible. Also understand that these security issues are not going to go away.

One of the biggest excuses I get for not managing your passwords is that it simply “just takes too much time”. I really believe that using a system like LastPass will not only eventually save you time (just the opposite of this most common excuse)  but more importantly may prevent your information from being exposed when the company you have an account with is hacked.

The training I provided and the LastPass demonstration can be found here.

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