IT actually concerned about security
May 31st, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Microsoft We Don’t Feel So Good About’.

David Gelles and Richard Waters, in a piece titled “Google Ditch­es Win­dows on Secu­ri­ty Con­cerns” in the Finan­cial Times:

New hires are now giv­en the option of using Apple’s Mac
com­put­ers or PCs run­ning the Lin­ux oper­at­ing sys­tem. “Lin­ux is
open source and we feel good about it,” said one employ­ee.
“Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.”

[Dar­ing Fire­ball]

I wish the “secu­ri­ty” com­pa­ny I worked for had that much sense. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they make it as hard to get Mac (or Lin­ux) machines as Google has made it to get Win­dows. And since the Pow­ers That Be decid­ed to “out­source” our entire IT depart­ment to a com­pa­ny that man­u­fac­tures Win­dows PCs, I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

Quote of the Day
May 30th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Most of those who have made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice for your lib­er­ty nev­er knew they would. They died just going about their own lives as they saw fit. Peo­ple like Kathryn John­ston, Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones, Isaac Sin­gle­tary, and Sean Bell. In fact, their biggest con­nec­tion to your lib­er­ty is that they were killed, mur­dered, by those who are the sworn ene­mies of lib­er­ty in all its forms. Their sac­ri­fice is defined more by their ene­my than it is by any oth­er con­nec­tion to those of us who strive for true jus­tice and lib­er­ty for ALL.

Kent McMani­gal

Encrypted voice and IM for Android
May 27th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

End-to-End Encrypt­ed Cell Phone Calls.

Android app. (Slash­dot thread.)

[Schneier on Secu­ri­ty]

From the arti­cle:

Red­Phone uses ZRTP, an open source Inter­net voice cryp­tog­ra­phy scheme cre­at­ed by Phil Zim­mer­mann, inven­tor of the widely-used Pret­ty Good Pri­va­cy or PGP encryp­tion.


TextSe­cure uses a sim­i­lar scheme devel­oped by cryp­tog­ra­phers Ian Gold­berg and Niki­ta Borisov known as “Off The Record” to exchange scram­bled text mes­sages.

This means that you could talk secure­ly to any­one using Zfone on a com­put­er, and IM secure­ly to any­one with Adi­um or anoth­er app that sup­ports the OTR pro­to­col.

There’s also this rather impor­tant dis­tinc­tion from Skype, the “secu­ri­ty” of which I’ve crit­i­cized before:

Whis­per Sys­tems’ apps aren’t the first to bring encrypt­ed VoIP to smart­phones. But apps like Skype and Von­age don’t pub­lish their source code, leav­ing the rig­or of their secu­ri­ty large­ly a mat­ter of spec­u­la­tion.

Dropbox and iDisk
May 26th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

I’ve been using MobileMe for a while to han­dle sync­ing of con­tacts and the like between two dif­fer­ent Macs, an iPod Touch, and now an iPad. It works quite well for that, but the iDisk fea­ture is sad­ly lack­ing. I use it to move small files between var­i­ous com­put­ers (includ­ing my Win­dows desk­top), but only for that lim­it­ed pur­pose. If I try to move a file larg­er than about 1 MB it will at best take a very long time, and not infre­quent­ly will freeze up entire­ly. Leav­ing files that I need to have reli­ably avail­able on my iDisk and open­ing files there direct­ly are right out.

After see­ing pos­i­tive men­tions here and there I decid­ed to give Drop­box a try. The Drop­box inter­face is basi­cal­ly the same as iDisk’s–it puts a fold­er in the side­bar of Find­er win­dows, and you inter­act with it the same as you do any oth­er fold­er. Unlike iDisk, where you are con­nect­ing to a serv­er, the con­tents of the Drop­box fold­er are stored local­ly and synced to the serv­er when some­thing changes.

Keep­ing files on the local dri­ve makes it prac­ti­cal to work direct­ly with files locat­ed in the Drop­box. Sync­ing also hap­pens much faster than iDisk–for exam­ple, a 1.2 MB Curio file which broke iDisk when I attempt­ed to upload it synced to Drop­box in under a minute. As a test I put a (rough­ly) 1 MB Tin­der­box file that I use to keep track of all the builds I’m respon­si­ble for at work on Drop­box, and found that changes made on my Desk­top Mac sync in the time it takes to walk the ten feet to my lap­top Mac.

The cur­rent ver­sion of the Drop­box soft­ware on the Mac doesn’t pre­serve file meta­da­ta such as file type (for files with no exten­sion) or Spot­light com­ments when sync­ing, but there is a pre­re­lease ver­sion of the soft­ware on the company’s forum which does pre­serve the metadata–that’s the ver­sion I’m cur­rent­ly using.

Wrong approach
May 26th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Brows­er add-on blocks Google Ana­lyt­ics. Google has released an add-on for Web browsers that blocks infor­ma­tion from being sent to its Ana­lyt­ics ser­vice. [Mac­Cen­tral]

This is rather point­less, as Tor blocks Google Ana­lyt­ics, and any oth­er form of spy­ing on the Inter­net. Any­one who wants their brows­ing to be pri­vate is using it, which means that the peo­ple com­plain­ing about Google Ana­lyt­ics track­ing their activ­i­ty are only announc­ing their own igno­rance or stu­pid­i­ty (or both).

Brows­ing the web with­out Tor and com­plain­ing about pri­va­cy is like stand­ing on a crowd­ed side­walk and then com­plain­ing that peo­ple can see you.

Interesting quote
May 24th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Quote of the Day.

Every time I sur­ren­der, even nec­es­sar­i­ly, to author­i­ty which dis­re­gard­ing­ly or con­temp­tu­ous­ly vio­lates me, so I vio­late myself. Every time I break an unnec­es­sary law, doing so for my own joy and to the detri­ment of no oth­er human being, so I regain myself, and become strong in the parts of me that the secu­ri­ty man can nev­er see.

– William T. Voll­mann, Rid­ing Toward Every­where

[Will Wilkin­son]

This quote was enough to make me flag the book in my Ama­zon “wish list” for pur­chase when the price comes down to a more rea­son­able lev­el.

Just what user interfaces need, more hieroglyphics
May 23rd, 2010 by Ken Hagler

New iCon­ji Lan­guage For the Symbol-Minded Tex­ter. bill­dar writes “As tex­ting evolves into its own lan­guage, a North­ern Col­orado Busi­ness Review arti­cle cov­ers an ambi­tious project to devel­op a new symbol-based lan­guage called iCon­ji for mobile tex­ting and online chat­ting. ‘iCon­ji is a set of user-created 32x32-pixel sym­bols that rep­re­sent words or ideas, not dis­sim­i­lar from ancient Egypt­ian hiero­glyph­ics or Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage.’ There is an instruc­tion­al video for the iPhone app and it is also inte­grat­ed into Face­book.”

Behind this project is Kai Staats, for­mer­ly CEO of Ter­ra Soft Solu­tions, the orig­i­nal devel­op­er of Yel­low Dog Lin­ux. [Slash­dot]

From what the screen­shots show, the sym­bols are even more cryp­tic than the tool­bar hiero­glyph­ics in Win­dows apps.

Computers cause insomnia?
May 21st, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Read­ing on iPad before bed can affect sleep habits. Light-emitting devices, includ­ing cell­phones and yep, the iPad, tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, star­ing direct­ly into the light, the effect is ampli­fied com­pared with, say, a TV across the room or a bed­side lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, direc­tor of the UCLA Sleep Dis­or­ders Cen­ter in San­ta Mon­i­ca. [Los Ange­les Times]

It’s an inter­est­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty. I use a lap­top right up until I go to bed, and often have trou­ble get­ting to sleep (although the ele­phants stam­ped­ing upstairs cer­tain­ly don’t help). On the oth­er hand, I’m wary of stud­ies these days, as they are often polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed and wild­ly exag­ger­ate dan­gers (sec­ond­hand smoke) or make them up com­plete­ly (cell phones caus­ing can­cer).

Quote of the Day
May 20th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Not doing Transformers 3 is not an option. Too much money involved. And Micheal Bay has to blow things up! Not giving him a creative outlet to do that could be disastrous.


Photoshop Crash Reports
May 20th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

I came across a col­lec­tion of very fun­ny Pho­to­shop crash reports.

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