Categories
How-To software

Basic Security is Not Secure

Let’s say I wanted to do basic security. I want to be able to defend myself against cyber attacks on my laptop, network, phone as well as any peripherals I might use that connect to any of the devices I use. I want to communicate securely. I want to be untrackable or have privacy. Basic security for the purposes of this post will consist of 3 things:

  1. Malicious code barriers & Cyber Defense
  2. Secure communications
  3. Privacy

Let’s tackle the first one. I have a computer that I just purchased from a store. A sales person might even suggest buying anti-virus software with a firewall. It’s guaranteed to protect me from everything except a zero day hack. Well what about this “zero day hack.” Anything on my computer that is listening to the Internet, e.g. notifications, Dropbox, Adobe, GoogleTalk. Ok, we turn these off. Are we still secure? What if the hardware is not secure? In light of recent revelations, we can’t even trust the hardware anymore. We are forced to build are own computer with our components we can trust, but this begs the question of finding a trustworthy component. Back in the days of 6502 processors, it could be possible to know all the contents in memory, and to even know the factory that made all the components. With our global economy such an empirical luxury (if it was ever so enjoyed) is no more. We might as well stop here, and think about what it would take to secure the supply chain of computer components. There’s a suggestion for it in the dystopian, Draka series of novels by S.M. Stirling. All computers are Read Only Memory (ROM), and produced under close government / military scrutiny. What we can conclude is that even on a basic level, we are not secure.

In my next piece, I’ll look at secure communications on an ok, sorta secure computer.

Categories
software TechBiz

Litecoin Mining: Building a Rig

Last week I built a Litecoin mining rig which cost $1673.96 to build. To break even, assuming I can produce 10 Litecoins, I need Litecoin to trade at around $167.40 USD. It is currently trading as of 12/16/2013 at around $25 USD.

The 2 important things to know about Litecoin mining or mining any cryptocurrency are:

  1. most mining profitability calculators are wildly off after a few days. They assume linear growth of Litecoins whereas growth is really logarithmic, and eventually mining becomes unprofitable. The most accurate one I could find is at Bitcoinwisdom and that assumes you guess the growth of difficulty accurately, and
  2. electricity costs determine your profitability.

If you have any questions or have anything you’d like me to write about, please comment below.

Categories
Social Media software Webalytics

In Twitter No One Can Hear You Scream

I’ve been wondering if Twitter is useful for mainstream people now that it has gone mainstream.

I used bufferapp on Friday and as an experiment posted a 2 pleas for help. Bufferapp calculates the most opportune times for sending tweets.

It’s been great for driving traffic to my blog but not so great with actual engagement.

Here are the results:

0 Retweets
0 Replies
24 clicks

The tagline for the scifi film, Aliens, was “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream.” Twitter is very much like space.

Categories
Erlang Social Media software TechBiz WebApps

Twitter: Thoughts That Are Hard to Fit Into 140 Characters

What are the limits of expressing thoughts in Twitter?

Here’s a powerful but inefficient (when run) thought that can be expressed on Twitter, a quick sort in Erlang in 126 characters.

qsort([]) -> [];
qsort([Pivot|T]) ->
qsort([X || X <- T, X < Pivot]) ++ [Pivot] ++ qsort([X || X <- T, X >= Pivot]).

A lot of Perl one-liners can fit into a tweet – powerful and useful ones.

Haikus can be expressed in a tweet.

The answer to the question, “What form of body language do most FBI interrogators consider to be the most telling?” can be answered in a tweet.

A marriage proposal can be answered in a tweet.

You can propose the concept of a hash tag in a tweet:

hashtag proposal

However, there are many thoughts that seem to be difficult to fit into a tweet:

  • The Pythagorean Theorem and one of its many proofs
  • Anselm’s Ontological Proof for God’s Existence
  • Merge Sort in Ruby
  • Merge Sort in PHP
  • Why you should or shouldn’t outsource
  • What qualities make a great tech hire
  • Well-thought out political proofs
  • How to subtly tell someone something in an indirect way with the only others knowing being those in the know
  • A legally-binding, work contract – It would be amazing if you could!
  • The mechanism for how DNA works

Twitter encourages the laconic expression of thought which means plenty of affirmations, aphorisms, insults, congratulations, and reminders that can display any combination of sharp wit, pointed humor, and succinctness of expression. The mot juste becomes very important with the constraint of 140 characters.

Categories
software TechBiz

Market Prediction means AI

A brilliant insight just came to me:

Achieving true market prediction means having the capacity to create and predict the behavior of an artificial intelligence.

Here are the reasons why:
1. The description of AI from Caprica suggests consciousness can be built given a sufficient amount of recorded on-line activity.
2. If you know how the parts of a market works, you can know how the whole works.
3. A person is a part of the market.
4. How a person interacts on-line is part of a market, e.g. people build and use a system for products use.
5. An AI can imitate on-line market behavior such that it’s indistinguishable from a person.
6. If the program allows for predictive behavior, then you can predict a part of market behavior.
7. Since you can predict the part, you can predict the whole.
8. Therefore, in order to predict how the market will work, you need an AI.

This implies that the more AI-like or better your modeling, the more you can predict how the market will behave.

If AI proves to be un-predictive behavior, then perfect market prediction is impossible. (It might just be quantum in nature.)

If AI proves to be impossible, then perfect market prediction is impossible. (See the Chinese Room Argument.)

Categories
software TechBiz

3 Clients for Storing Data into Amazon S3

It’s not that difficult to store data into your Amazon S3 account and share that data with 50,000 or so people on the cheap.

Armed with just your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key, you can use these two cool storage clients.

S3 Webmaster

For Windows, you can download the S3 Webmaster for free, and you just simply drag and drop your files and S3 will automatically set the permissions for public download.

S3Hub

For Macs, there is S3Hub, which works whether or not you have an S3 account. If you don’t have an S3 account you can view other public S3 buckets. If you do have an account you can easily upload and share the assets you stored.

Transmit

If your data storage needs run the gamut from sftp, webdav, iDisk, automated upload workflows, and S3, you’ll want to plunk down some cash like I did and get Transmit. At $17.95 it’s a bargain. I use it’s webdav and S3 features almost daily.