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Archive for January, 2007

Protecting against casual hacking: security through inconvenience

Posted in Electronic Security on January 23rd, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

I’ve often heard that “security through obscurity is no security.” I don’t agree with this one bit. After all a password is only useful in that its value is obscure. DRM schemes rely on obscurity — they are only effective because the public doesn’t know where or how the secure media’s decryption keys are stored. Similarly, it actually does help to use a non-standard port number for exposing a service to the public net that you really don’t want outsiders using — it significantly reduces the number of people who will notice that the service is exposed and even think…

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The Power of Community: Stick Figures in Peril

Posted in Humor on January 20th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on The Power of Community: Stick Figures in Peril

It’s thing like this that make me love Flickr: The Stick Figures in Peril Photo Pool. Demonstrating the unbridled power of internet community…

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Why you won’t be able to send text messages from an iPhone while driving

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Tech Industry, Technology, User Experience on January 17th, 2007 by leodirac – 3 Comments

A few months ago I wrote about why single-purpose devices will always have better UI’s than general purpose devices. Here, always really means for about the the next 5 years. I’ll explain why in a second. In the iPhone, Apple has built a completely generic UI. All the controls are software reconfigurable “soft keys” — you touch a part of the screen that has a picture of a button on it. This offers a fantastic level of flexibility, allowing them to build a lot of useful functions into a small package. But soft keys like this are intrinsically limited by…

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One Laptop Per Child: What I missed at CES

Posted in Education, Societal Values, Technology, Transhumanism on January 15th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on One Laptop Per Child: What I missed at CES

I generally find CES exhausting. It’s amazing how far you have to walk to get anywhere in Vegas. It’s about a half mile walk from the hotel lobby to the elevators to get to your room. And there’s this inflation field caused by everybody living on an expense account — $4 for a small bottle of water or $10 for a small sandwich. It’s worse than an airport. So while I’m always happy to go there and get some hands-on market research and competitive analysis done, or try to close some deals with partners, I’m also generally just as happy…

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Reggae Salad: A Tasty Healthy Snack with Infinite Shelf Life

Posted in Cooking on January 13th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Since my old recipe blog seems to have crashed, I guess I’ll post a recipe here. (Really what do I expect leaving a server in a friend’s laundry room? We all know computers love warm moist environments.) I developed this salad as a way to avoid junk food when my evenings are booked solid with business school. It’s really good for you — lots of veggies, protein, complex carbs and monounsaturated fats — and it’s made almost entirely from non-perishables that you can keep in your pantries. In fact the version that has none of the fresh ingredients is a…

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A Small Tip when Setting up a Raid array

Posted in Hardware on January 7th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on A Small Tip when Setting up a Raid array

If you’re building a RAID array for your home, or somewhere else that isn’t super-industrial-strength enterprise, here’s a tip. Get each hard drive as a different brand. That way it’s way easier to tell them apart. If your drives are identical save for a serial number, and one of them crashes, the raid controller will tell you the serial number of the crashed drive, and then you need to figure out which of your drives to pull and replace based on that, and you probably try it by just unplugging each of them and seeing when the system thinks it’s…

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Dodgeball Etiquette

Posted in Community, Personal Growth, User Experience on January 3rd, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

“Should we dodgeball?” my ex-girlfriend asked as we sat down for brunch. The question struck me because nobody had ever asked me that before, although the question should have come up a lot. She had figured out a key question about proper dodgeball etiquette which had been bugging me. I’ll explain, after some background. What is Dodgeball? If your friends have discovered dodgeball, I’d guess you’re probably in one of three states: Infatuated with this neato service that broadcasts SMS text messages to your friends when you go out Wondering what your friends are always doing with their phones under…

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