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Current Topic: Technology

Data Center Overload
Topic: Technology 8:05 am EDT, Jun 12, 2009

Tom Vanderbilt:

Who and where was this invisible metropolis? What infrastructure was needed to create this city of ether?

Much of the daily material of our lives is now dematerialized and outsourced to a far-flung, unseen network.

The tilting CD tower gives way to the MP3-laden hard drive which itself yields to a service like Pandora, music that is always “there,” waiting to be heard.

But where is “there,” and what does it look like?

Have you read Vanderbilt's "Traffic"?

Ultimately, Traffic is about more than driving: it’s about human nature.

Data Center Overload

Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 Satellite Collision
Topic: Technology 12:04 pm EST, Feb 28, 2009

On February 10 at approximately 1656 GMT, the Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 communications satellites collided over northern Siberia. The impact between the Iridium Satellite LLC-owned satellite and the 16-year-old satellite launched by the Russian government occurred at a closing speed of well over 15,000 mph at approximately 490 miles above the face of the Earth. The low-earth orbit (LEO) location of the collision contains many other active satellites that could be at risk from the resulting orbital debris.

The following videos, interactive 3D Viewer files, 3D models, and high-resolution images are available to better understand this event.

See also:


Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 Satellite Collision

The New School of Information Security
Topic: Technology 11:16 am EDT, Mar 16, 2008

Adam Shostack has a new book.

Why is information security so dysfunctional? Are you wasting the money you spend on security? This book shows how to spend it more effectively. How can you make more effective security decisions? This book explains why professionals have taken to studying economics, not cryptography--and why you should, too. And why security breach notices are the best thing to ever happen to information security. It’s about time someone asked the biggest, toughest questions about information security. Security experts Adam Shostack and Andrew Stewart don’t just answer those questions--they offer honest, deeply troubling answers. They explain why these critical problems exist and how to solve them. Drawing on powerful lessons from economics and other disciplines, Shostack and Stewart offer a new way forward. In clear and engaging prose, they shed new light on the critical challenges that are faced by the security field. Whether you’re a CIO, IT manager, or security specialist, this book will open your eyes to new ways of thinking about--and overcoming--your most pressing security challenges. The New School enables you to take control, while others struggle with non-stop crises.

This is interesting but the editorial review (quoted above) makes a lot of bold claims without explaining how those claims are met. I eagerly await further reviews and shorter articles written by the authors to promote their book...

The New School of Information Security

New Unit of Reviewed Code Quality
Topic: Technology 11:00 am EST, Feb  6, 2008

Now I can finally tell my non-technical friends and family what my company does.

New Unit of Reviewed Code Quality

Risking Communications Security: Potential Hazards of the Protect America Act
Topic: Technology 12:44 am EST, Jan 29, 2008

This paper by Bellovin, Blaze, Diffie, Landau, Neumann, and Rexford will appear in a forthcoming issue of IEEE Security and Privacy.

A new US law allows warrantless wiretapping whenever one end of the communication is believed to be outside national borders. This creates serious security risks: danger of exploitation of the system by unauthorized users, danger of criminal misuse by trusted insiders, and danger of misuse by government agents.

Noteworthy first told you about this paper in October, when he recommended an early draft. It is a follow-up on Landau's op-ed in August of last year.

Risking Communications Security: Potential Hazards of the Protect America Act

Why the Internet only just works
Topic: Technology 7:09 pm EDT, Jul 31, 2007

The core Internet protocols have not changed significantly in more than a decade, in spite of exponential growth in the number of Internet users and the speed of the fastest links. The requirements placed on the net are also changing, as digital convergence finally occurs.

Will the Internet cope gracefully with all this change, or are the cracks already beginning to show?

In this paper I examine how the Internet has coped with past challenges resulting in attempts to change the architecture and core protocols of the Internet.

Unfortunately, the recent history of failed architectural changes does not bode well. With this history in mind, I explore some of the challenges currently facing the Internet.

Why the Internet only just works

Topic: Technology 4:06 pm EDT, Apr 24, 2007

A new project from the author of Witko.

Who at the NSA uses Gmail?
Which NASA employees are using Myspace/LinkedIn?
Which people in Kabul are using Skype?

This is some interesting code.

He also claims to be working on an automated identity hijacking capability.


Freedom to Connect | Summary
Topic: Technology 9:28 pm EDT, Mar 31, 2007

Bruce Sterling wants to fund the Industrial Memetics Institute.

"I'm shocked that I understood every damn thing Benkler's saying. Online experiences need to be granular, modular, and integratable. Furthermore, I didn't know about self-selection, humanization, and trust construction. I'd love to see that industrialized. Norm creation, transparency, peer review, discipline, yeah, all of that's lacking today. Internet institutions lack sustainability. They have the lifetime of my skin. They get bought out. The available platforms for self-expression are terrible. I use seven word processors, all of them terrible."

"Why are social applications businesses? Why aren't they political parties?"

"I hang out at a lot of gigs like this. Everybody's sticking it to the man; nobody's the man. What if the state of Vermont gets metal-spined ubiquitous broadband? If it leaks over state borders, are you going to sell connectivity? Will they make sure nobody in New Hampshire can 'steal' Wi-fi? What if New Hampshire becomes the next Baltic-style e-state, the next Estonia?"

What you build, you cannot contain or control. "I'm a cyberpunk. Information wants to be free. It used to be hard to find, but Google was my apotheosis. We now have this unbelievable tidal wave of information. There's no end to it. It's endlessly seductive. Suddenly, your skills at ferreting out obscure information are almost worthless. Now they don't want to pay you. I say, follow your bliss. I spend more time with Google now than with novels and magazines. I'm swimming in it. I'm marinating it."

"Follow your bliss into the abyss. That's my new bumper sticker. This is the abyss. This is where my explorations led me. You guys are the denizens of the abyss. I strap on my diver helmet and go into the internet as far as you can go. You're the guys laying the pipe. It's a cyberpunk Mariana Trench in this room. I have to cheer you. Thank you for having us here."

Freedom to Connect | Summary

Government research to track online networking
Topic: Technology 10:30 pm EST, Feb 25, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security is paying Rutgers $3 million to oversee development of computing methods that could monitor suspicious social networks and opinions found in news stories, Web blogs and other Web information to identify indicators of potential terrorist activity.

The software and algorithms could rapidly detect social networks among groups by identifying who is talking to whom on public blogs and message boards, researchers said. Computers could ideally pick out entities trying to conceal themselves under different aliases.

It would also be able to sift through massive amounts of text and decipher opinions - such as anti-American sentiment - that would otherwise be difficult to do manually.

Nicholas Belkin, a University professor who studied in the field of Information Retrieval Systems, said "It could be used to identify members of groups who want to form a demonstration or oppose a particular event or government policy."

Big brother is reading your blog.

Government research to track online networking

Seagate to encrypt data on hard drives
Topic: Technology 2:04 pm EST, Oct 31, 2006

Following up on this post from earlier this year ...

Seagate Technology LLC hopes its new security system for the hard drive will become the most formidable barrier between computer data and thieves.

The world's largest hard drive maker says its DriveTrust Technology, to be announced Monday, automatically encrypts every bit of data stored on the hard drive and requires users to have a key, or password, before being able to access the disk drive.

... and on this IBM press release from last month, about their encrypting tape drive.

Seagate to encrypt data on hard drives

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