links for 2009-10-20

  • IMAGINE a workplace where all the plum assignments, all the bonuses and all the promotions are steered to relatives, friends and other members of an executive’s inner circle. In any self-respecting organization, such a practice wouldn’t be tolerated.
    Most companies purport to be meritocracies, claiming to reward, recognize and promote employees based on workplace achievements, rather than on educational pedigree, political connections or other criteria not based on merit. In a meritocracy, advancement doesn’t hinge on who you know; it’s based on what you’ve accomplished.
  • Tens of millions of U.S. computers are loaded with scam security software that their owners may have paid for but which only makes the machines more vulnerable, according to a new Symantec report on cybercrime.
    Cyberthieves are increasingly planting fake security alerts that pop up when computer users access a legitimate website. The “alert” warns them of a virus and offers security software, sometimes for free and sometimes for a fee.
    “Lots of times, in fact they’re a conduit for attackers to take over your machine,” said Vincent Weafer, Symantec’s vice president for security response.
    (tags: security)

  • Casting a nationwide net for potential victims, the FBI last night released photos of a Saugus man the feds allege enticed dozens of teenage girls to perform sexual acts for him in front of their computer Web cams, some of which he recorded and posted on the Web.
    Lawrence Joseph Silipigni, 41 – who claimed to be a married father of daughters – was arrested in Massachusetts last month and is expected to answer to federal child pornography charges today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
    The FBI announced yesterday some of the alleged victims “have not yet been identified.”
  • Five years from now, will Internet historians signpost the Facebook movie, due out in 2010, as the beginning of the site’s end?
    “West Wing” writer Aaron Sorkin is writing and producing the flick, called “The Social Network,” about Facebook’s birth. Jesse Eisenberg will play founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Justin Timberlake is cast as Sean Parker, the first company president.
    But will the real star be . . . nostalgia? Will Facebook seem passe, like watching a movie about the invention of VHS? A dramatization of the site could turn it into a time capsule, with fossilized reenactments of the first friend poke.
  • Roger McNamee treasures his cache of memorabilia from more than 180 Grateful Dead shows. Another point of pride: his Silicon Valley venture capital firm, with its $1.9 billion investment fund. So how does he merge his pride with joy?
    The answer is on display Monday night at Baltimore’s 8×10, a club where the playbills usually announce pierced and inked frontmen who look nothing like McNamee. With his saucerlike glasses, graying mop of shoulder-length hair and Dartmouth MBA, he’s hardly the prototypical rocker. And he got to this stage through none of the usual indie-rock hype-mongering methods for finding financiers. Instead, Moonalice is funded by its own unlikely frontman.

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