September 16, 2012

Social Media is a Great Way to Connect, But What's the Risk?

Like any new technology, we often focus on the benefits to help it gain mainstream adoption before we can predict the potential risks that come with it. Social media is one of the greatest modern examples of this. While our lives get busier, our desire to connect with people around the world has grown as well, and social media has been a driving force behind our ability to do this no matter how crazy life gets.

Whether it's sharing photos with friends and family, meeting new people, or dating, social media has firmly entrenched itself in our every day communication with just about everyone. So much so that it's easy to forget that we need to be savvy and responsible when online. Just as we have to remind ourselves to obtain more than one source to get balanced news, or remember that Wikipedia isn't necessarily verified information, so too should we be skeptical when we're engaging in social networks.

Take this recent example written by Dara Kerr at CNET of Taliban members engaging with military troops in Australia with false Facebook profiles to gain important mission information. And if you're unsure, use this rule of thumb: be ware of hot women randomly "friending" you on the popular social networking site. And for more info, check out the US Army's Social Media Handbook which has a lot of great information for anyone - in service or not.

September 12, 2012

I must be missing something in the Avro Arrow vs. F-35 argument

As you all know, I like learning about pretty much anything aerospace and defence and the Avro Arrow is one of those stories that is just so full of complex engineering, politics and scandal that even if you're not Canadian, it's hard to resist (yes, I have the movie..whattup Dan Aykroyd!).

But then I read this article in the National Post. Which indicates that the Arrow has been proposed as an alternative to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. Now, I'm not a pilot, I'm not an engineer, and I'm not an accountant, but how on earth does this even make sense? The Arrow designs have not been revised to meet the needs of our current Air Force. It certainly hasn't been approved for tender. No one's bid on its business. It's most certainly not in production. And it definitely hasn't been tested.

How is this even a logical proposal? Even if all of the aforementioned could be accomplished in the next few years, the cost of the aircraft (claimed to be cheaper) would need to account for the loss of time and money already in the F-35 program. On top of that would be the loss to future business within the F-35 maintenance and sustainment programs around the world.

I'm not saying the Arrow couldn't be revisited as an overall design for the future, but it seems a bit daft to cut your nose off to spite your face just because the F-35 has had a rocky political start here in Canada.