Tag: Computers

2016: The Year to be Network Aware

I’m really starting to wonder about the wisdom of plugging everything into the internet. This also includes the need to create another online account to go with each device. So for 2016 I’ll be asking myself the following question before buying anything network enabled: Does the convenience of having this device connect via wifi, mobile data, or bluetooth outweigh its inherent lack of network security? I’m also going to guess that in most cases the answer will be “no.

Podcasting File Sizes and Data Transfer Costs

In researching the how-tos of podcasting one of the more interesting things is the amount of data used in downloading files.1 I also noticed that audio is seen as the poor cousin to video. Video files are much larger, but very few people pay for their own video hosting. I doubt YouTube would be as popular if it required a monthly fee to keep your videos online. The usual recommendations for podcast files seem to say to encode the episode file (MP3) at 128kbps.

Google to close Google Code open source project hosting

Google Code is to join the long list of Google projects that have been consigned to the dustbin of history. The open source project hosting service will no longer be accepting new project submissions as of today, will no longer be accepting updates to existing projects from August 24, and will be closed entirely on January 25, 2016. § Killed by spam. But not just closing, everything will be deleted.

The Apple Spring Forward Event

I watched the Apple event this morning so you wounldn’t have to. Tim Cook covered a lot ground in the 90 minuite event. The last half-hour was devoted the Apple Watch. Apple TV HBO GO coming to Apple on April 12th, for $14.99/mo. Apple TV price cut to $69. Miscellanious Apple Pay coming to Coke vending machines. CarPlay has every major car maker committed to using it. 40 new car models with CarPlay coming in 2015/2016.

PogoPlug, ArchLinux and Time Machine backup, Pt. 1

One of the great features of Mac OS X is having Time Machine backups of your data. Time Machine can work with an external hard drive plugged in to a USB port, or it can operate over the local network. I have a laptop that spends most of its time on my lap. An external hard drive is just inconvenient. I also don’t want my backups to happen only when I remember to plug the drive in.

The FREAK Attack

On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, researchers disclosed a new SSL/TLS vulnerability — the FREAK attack. The vulnerability allows attackers to intercept HTTPS connections between vulnerable clients and servers and force them to use ‘export-grade’ cryptogrpahy [sic], which can then be decrypted.. § This all traces back to the Clinton administration. The US government wanted decided that cryptography was the same as military weaponry. This led to an export ban in which US designed crypto apps couldn’t be sold outside the US borders.

The permanence of Twitter

In 2010, the Library of Congress announced it had started archiving all of Twitter. Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter social media service? Congratulations: Your 140 characters or less will now be housed in the Library of Congress. That’s right. Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.

Exploiting the Superfish certificate

With a $35 pocket computer, you can read SSL (🔒) traffic from a Superfish infected Lenovo laptop. Thus, this example proves that this exploit is practical, not merely theoretical as claimed by the Lenovo CTO. Exploiting this was a straightforward application of commonly available tools. §

Amazon Echo Review: Talking Helper Alexa Is No Match for Siri

I already yell at my computers. I don’t want to yell at them just to make them work. Alexa is Amazon.com ’s answer to Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft ’s Cortana, which all come standard with different smartphones. She’s the latest sign that big tech firms believe our future involves talking to computers that can talk back. §

Screenshot Workflow with Hazel

Hazel is a all-purpose file moving tool for the Mac. It can move and rename files based on rules for a given folder. But it can do a lot more. This is how I use Hazel to manage my screenshot workflow. I don’t like a bunch of files littering the desktop. This action sweeps them up and renames and resizes them for me. Folder setup Mac OS X saves all new screenshots to the Desktop.