Tuesday, June 30, 2009

False Security

I don't know exactly know why, but the only logical reason I can think of as a justification of having to change my password on my company computer every couple of months is so that in the rare case that I leave the company I can't access the computers after a couple of months.

They (the IT guys) tout this measure as added security but I believe that my passwords are now less secure. Why? Well because I was able to remember them, but after so many changes I can't think of anything else that I know I will be able to remember after a weekend. So what do I do? That's right, sticky note next to the computer. Anyone at my desk can now find my password by just looking, not by guessing like that had too before. This is far less secure.

However there is even a more sinister security hole that is made with frequent password changes that require many types of characters -they appear to be strong words when in fact they will be very predictable.

For example, a typical password choice might be: 12#$TY . Seems pretty secure right? I doubt it is, and I bet it is on the short list for password crackers. Why? Because the password is just 1234ty, with shift being held down for the 34ty part. It is easy to type, easy to remember, and satisfies the three types of characters requirement.

So are our computers any safer now that we have to have complicated passwords that rotate every so often. I doubt it; determined hackers will easily be able to find patterns in the passwords or physical evidence of passwords. However, is it a pain in the butt to have to keep coming up with new passwords?


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jones for the Green

I general I don't care much about cars. Sure some look cool, or would be fun to have, but if I was handed millions of dollars I wouldn't go out and buy some fancy car -cars just don't interest me.

That is except for Green Mustangs. Red Mustangs, eh. Green Chargers, pass. But paint a Mustang Green and I think it is the coolest car ever.
That is all.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1984? More like 2009.

Really, was 1984 not required reading in England? It have been.

First they put up CCTVs everywhere. But it's not just to record public spaces in the case of crime, no, they have people watching them at all times and even scold people who are behaving badly. There should be public outrage, but there is little.

And its not like the English government is trying to cover up what they are doing. Here is an actual poster made to promote the new CCTVs:
How does this poster even get made? It is almost flaunting the fact that England was 15 years late to 1984.

Now, just to make life "better" famous quotes will be broadcast in the subway system. Sure it is a good idea to do, but not through government mandate. That will get all too old all too fast. And when will "anti-terror" quotes start to get slipped in?

It is amazing how someone can so fully understand people and foresee what will happen, and then actually write the prediction down. Bravo Orwell, you win again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Fun

I have many things I want to write about (such as why people that have no idea what the normal procedure at a restaurant is feel like they should give orders to others who go there all the time) but I found this clip and, well, it is more entertaining than I would be.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The start of the end

First watch this video (it is from Project Natal, on the XBox 360):

If half of this video is true we are in serious trouble; it will be the start of computers replacing people as companions. Sure there are a couple people right now that attach themselves to the odd story book hero, anime girl, or new hot American Idol, but those characters can't react back to your affection. This program on the other hand, has a personality, idiosyncrasies that take time to learn, interaction in both physical and mental.
It could be argued that the interaction that is taking place (at least from the standpoint of the human) is real. And as long as it feels real for the human it will push all the buttons that a real human interaction will normally push, this means that there won't be a reason to have human relationships. Why try to date somebody that will just break your heart in the end? Why have a baby that will wake you up in the middle of the night? Why put so much effort into a kid that will not appreciate the effort until far too late in life? All of these can be replicated in the program, and you get none of the inconvenience.

The human race might have just met its hardest foe yet -can we survive when the other option is bliss?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Cure Terrorism or the Flu -I'll choose the latter.

After getting a warning email about how we all need to get more proactive to prevent terrorism, such as notifying authorities immediately upon finding an unattended bag, and being aware of people that frequently visit the Middle East I started to do some reading up on death tools.

"Using State Department figures, he [Alan Harris] assumes a worldwide death rate from international terrorism of 1000 per year--that is, he assumes in his estimate that there would be another 9/11 somewhere in the world every several years."

full article

So say that even including regular 9/11 terrorism this number is a bit low and terrorism is on the rise, so 2000 people a year world wide will die from terrorism each year (twice the projected rate).


"According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July, 2005, there were approximately 6,446,131,400 people on the planet, and the death rate was approximately 8.78 deaths per 1,000 people a year. According to our nifty desktop calculator, that works out to roughly 56,597,034 people leaving us every year. That's about a 155,000 a day."

full article

So 155k people die each day (56597k a year!), compared to 2k a year from terrorism worldwide.

Even if all 2k people died in one day the death toll for the day would probably not be significantly higher since so many other people die every day.

The flu kills 56k a year in just America according to the CDC. If all terrorist deaths in a year were to occur in America you still would have 28 times the chance of dying from the flu. If we get the flu do we start writing our will?

In the US 43k people die each year in car wrecks. Do we still drive to work every day?

27k people in the US die from poisoning each year. Do you take a food tester with you and use it every time you are about to eat something?

We don't need to shriek in terror from unattended bags, we don't need to "keep an eye on" the tourist from Egypt, and we don't need big brother to "keep us safe".

The fact is that you will not die in a terrorist attack. But you will be affected by the laws that are placed to stop an event that has such a small chance from happening. Our fear is causing us to sacrifice our precious few freedoms, and fear mongering will not help us survive any longer.

To make a real impact on our chances of surviving we should just wash our hands more.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Things I can't do

I think that I can handle almost any task that I am assigned. If I don't already know how to do it, I think that I would have no problem learning how to do it. I figure if somebody else can do something then I should be able to figure it out as well.

However there is something that I am finding out I am terrible at: wiring down letter or numbers while someone tells me them to me. It often happens at work that I get a customer on the phone that I will need to contact later after I have some time to work on the problem, so I must either get their phone number or email address. Oh how I fail at this simple task. Phone numbers I can somewhat handle because they are a set length and there are only ten options for each space and each number sounds different.

Email addresses on the other hand shut my brain off. As soon as letters start getting rattled off I lose all function to write and remember and after I get the first two letters down I am lost until the domain.com part. Then I have them say it again and I get another couple of letters but that is it. I just can't do it. To save the customer from repeating it a third time I just guess at what the other letters should be (usually it is their last name, or can be found in our companies database) and get to work on their problem.

Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest.