Saturday, December 30, 2006

Musical computers

If you are one crazy, music lovin', record makin' monkey (or are just curious about how a computer could help you with recording music) this link from PC Magazine might help. I haven't had a chance to read it thoroughly, so let me know what you think.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Is your degree worth what it cost?

Diploma mills have been around for some time, but with the emergence of internet they have come back with a vengence. The people that run these businesses, have become more clever and adept at concealing their true nature. This article may help you decide if the institution you are considering is more interested in your money than your education.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Steve at GRC (Gibson Research Corporation) has a page that generates pseudo-random strings of characters that can be used for passwords. GRC has been known for years as a security resource and generally credible website for learning about vulnerabilities and how to remedy them. I remember reading an article that Steve wrote about being attacked by someone who had taken offense at being characterized as a script kiddie (although Steve didn't remember making such an accusation). The DNS attacks caused him no small trouble and to me showed the basic problem with much of the networks and technology today. If someone has it in for you personally they may not be able to accomplish exactly what they want, but they can almost certainly accomplish things that you would rather them not. I don't like to bring up problems without solutions, but, unfortunately, for this problem there are no easy answers. Thicker defenses and mitigation of damage done is the best most people can accomplish. If you cannot confidently protect certain data, then you had better do your best to make sure that you can do without it, get it from multiple independent sources or somehow do without it for the time you think that someone might be able to deprive you of it.
Many people (myself included) have gotten used to using inovations in technology to do things not possible (or perhaps reasonable) ten years ago. We need to understand how to get by without these things for short term outages or more permanently. A more pedestrian example of this is the power outages that have affected the Seattle area in the past couple of weeks. People have become so dependent on consistent electrical power that over the period of a few days at least eight people have died due to an inability to cope without electricity. As a society we are moving toward a similar dependence on information. Just something to think about.