TechMan Texts: Really, NSA? Really?

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Give me a break: The National Security Agency analyzes astronomical amounts of information using massive server farms but it says it doesn't have the technology to search its own employee email.

Justin Elliott of the reporting site ProPublica asked for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period for a story he was working on.

"There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately," NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told him. The system is "a little antiquated and archaic." she added.

Tech Talk: eliminates up to 500 jobs

This week on 'Tech Talk,' the PG's TechMan Ced Kurtz and Laura Schneiderman talk about eliminating up to 500 jobs and Jeff Benzos buying the Washington Post for $250 million. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 8/19/2013)

NSA's FOIA office can search emails only "person by person," rather than in bulk. The NSA has more than 30,000 employees.

Patching Patch: AOL Inc. last week began layoffs at its Patch neighborhood news websites. Cuts are expected to reach 500 out of the unit's more than 1,100 employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The company will close 150 Patch sites, while it will look for partners for another 150, out of a total of 900.

Hyperlocal was the buzz word in the news industry for a while. Patch is just the latest company, including some of the nation's largest newspapers, to find out that ad-supported neighborhood news on the Web is not the answer to profitability.

No word yet on which sites will close.

Let's rethink that one: Engadget reports that phone maker LG came up with what it thought was a clever way to launch its new G2 phone in Seoul, Korea, but the plan went awry.

The company attached vouchers for free devices to helium balloons and let them go into the air. But some people brought BB guns to the event in hopes of shooting down the balloons. In the end, 20 people were shot with BB guns, so LG canceled all future similar events.

Fix that compose window: If you don't like the smaller window in the lower left-hand corner in the upgraded Gmail for composing a new message, you can change it.

If you click on the dropdown for more options in the lower right-hand corner of the compose window and select "default to full screen," your compose screen will come up larger and centered.

Free art, free art: The J. Paul Getty Museum, which houses an enormous collection of art at two locations in Los Angeles, is opening up its digital collection for anyone to view, download, modify and publish, free of charge.

The Open Content Program enables access to 4,600 (and counting) high-res images at

The 800-pound gorilla: There was a brief outage Friday for all of Google's services. All reported being back online after 11 minutes.

Not a big deal, right? But, according to Web analytics firm GoSquared, worldwide Internet traffic dipped by a stunning 40 percent during the minutes that the services were offline.

Website of the week: has excellent information on how to secure your computer. Go to the site and type "security configuration guides" and you will get a trove of detailed information.

Geek quote of the week: Many are familiar with Albert Einstein's quote about quantum physics: "God does not play dice with the universe." But fewer know physicist Niels Bohr's retort: "Einstein, stop telling God what to do."

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