Tuesday, 25 January 2005

Google has launched their Google Video Search, which lets you search through what appear to be transcripts from television shows for any terminology you woudl typically use in your Google searches.

For example, click here to search for "blogosphere" and you can click through and see where the term was used on television in recent weeks.

Cool stuff, especially if you're looking for coverage and use of key terms or names:

You get the idea.



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Tech
Tuesday, 25 January 2005 07:40:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 24 January 2005

I had to change one of my passwords today (good security practices and all that), and with the recent discussions around the 'net concerning using passphrases in place of passwords, I decided to go full tilt and start using passphrases on this account rather than passwords.

One of the great things about passphrases is that they can be quite long and secure, yet easy to type and remember. For example, I could use either of these as a secure passphrase that more than meets all the security requirements of a Windows standard password-complexity template:

Is this my nifty-difty passphrase?

   - or -

Wow yo thats a really cool Red Radio you have there!

Of course, I could also be more paranoid (and in real life I am) by using something like "Is this my nyftie-dyftie passphraze?" but even with the standard dictionary words, the combination of having to determine the number of words, case, punctuation, order and spacing is a pretty darn complicated task. For more information about effectiveness of passphrases and their complexity, read what Jesper Johanssen wrote on the topic.

I can included spaces and everything - they're part of the passphrase, and the fact that I am using dictionary words works in the case of a passphrase, where they don't really pass muster when using 8-character-minimum passwords.

Passphrases use multiple words or variations, can be out of place and odd, easy to remember and easy to type quickly. The only problem I have had since changing to my new passphrase is remembering that I changed my password at all - I keep typing the old one... It's like writing "2004" on checks, I guess... This, too, shall pass.

Anyhow, I can type my passphrase accurately every single time, very quickly and reliably, so I am happy with that. If I choose a phrase that means something to me at the time, it will be easy to work with until I have to change it again in several weeks. I think it's a good thing - all in all better from a user standpoint than convoluted and hard-to-type passwords.

More on passwords vs. passphrases can be found here. Also, Susan Bradley, who blogs about Small Business Server quite a bit, has some thoughts on the subject and some policy configuration information (via Adam Field).



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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 24 January 2005 21:52:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Last year, a company called MailFrontier produced their Phishing IQ test. Phishing is a form of fraud, where the bad guys set up web sites to collect personal data and then send out emails to get you to visit the web sites. More often than not, the web sites look at least semi-official, and at times they look like the real thing. While financial institutions are the most frequent targets (emails and web sites that look like they came from a bank, but did not), insurance companies ad other online merchants are also often spoofed in these phishing scams.

Now MailFrontier has a new Phishing IQ Test:

Ready for more? Over 225,000 people took the first MailFrontier Phishing IQ Test, successfully raising "phishing" awareness to an all-time high in both the industry and consumer media. But with phishing emails increasing daily—and the online holiday shopping season officially open--it's time for a whole new challenge: the MailFrontier Phishing IQ Test II.

We're back with 10 new suspect "phish" fresh from our collection – all actually received by real people like you. Whether you're brand new or a repeat tester, the question is the same: If you received one of these emails in your inbox – what would you do?

Take the Phishing IQ Test II



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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 24 January 2005 13:02:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 21 January 2005

Now on eBay - You can bid to purchase absolutely nothing. Bidding started at £1.00 and is now (at the time of this post) up to £1,000,100.00, which means if the bidding progresses at a constant rate until the auction closes is 8 days, 18 hours, the closing price will be something like, ohhhh maybe £9,000,100.00... What a bargain!

From the auction listing:


This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity to buy absolutely nothing! The successful bidder will receive absolutely nothing direct from me.

  • The perfect gift for the person who has everything.
  • Takes up no space. Easy to store.
  • Helps fight capitalism. Possibly.
  • No postage required.
  • Environmentally friendly, 100% organic and edible.

(Note. It is not recommended that you eat absolutely nothing for prolonged periods.)

 Bid now on this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Please note. This is a genuine auction, and the successful bidder will receive absolutely nothing.


Also note the Photo of Absolutely Nothing at http://www.fotothing.com/dom/photo/ea67a03a320c1f80a5a3ca95dd975952/

Wow. I'm in!



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Humor | Random Stuff
Friday, 21 January 2005 21:39:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Jeremy Zawodny points out the Blogger's Bill of Rights and gives his opinion on the matter. He doesn't like it. Neither do I. It's just another example of people making something out of nothing, and trying to avoid personal responsibility in the good name of free speech. Here's where I speak up and say why I think it's crap, too...

Now, I'm a fairly outspoken person. I've also had a tendency in the past to open my big mouth, say exactly what I think, and then go into another room to extract my foot from my esophagus. But when I stick my foot in my mouth, I am keenly aware that it's my foot, it's my mouth and it's my choice - regardless of whether or not I thought it through ahead of time. Whether or not I was correct isn't relevant. You can be correct every time, but that doesn't necessarily make you right.

People, this is all about responsibility and ownership. You want to say something? Fine, but ya gotta own it, like it or not.

Let's define a couple of terms for the purposes of the discussion:

  • Consequences: The results of something one chooses to do, or not to do. All choices have results, both good and bad. Some of those results impact the chooser, some impact others.
  • Speech: Pretty much any form of communication - collective, individual or otherwise - in a variety of forms. In this context, we'll keep it somewhat simple (since we are talking about individual weblogs) and say it's an individual's written or spoken words.

Okay so - Right up front I'll say this: There is no special, magical set of rights that bloggers can (or should) expect, not with regard to employers, husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, coworkers, friends, family members, governments, or anyone else. The idea that blogs are somehow special or different and should be treated differently is arrogant and probably and indicator of the root of the problem - people think they are entitled to say whatever they want, however they want, with no consequences. Sorry, Charlie. Ain't happening.

  • Your right to free speech does not apply to the specific medium in which you exercise it. Speech is protected in certain circumstances, in certain locations, regardless of the form that speech takes. You have no more right to expect protection on a blog than anywhere else. Your rights are reasonable to expect, but when your exercising of your rights infringes upon the rights of another, you're crossing a line.
  • If you shoot off your mouth on your weblog, it's not an ollie-ollie-oxen-free home-base super-top-secret say-anything-I-want kind of thing. You are responsible for what you say, at the time you say it.
  • Speech is behavior. In a previous career I was always amazed at the idiots who thought if they could just get their car into the driveway, they were safe, regardless of the level of alcohol in their blood while there were on the street that got them to their driveways. It's not where you land, it's who and what you affect along the way.
  • Your speech is your speech, and with it come consequences. If you choose to say or write something on a weblog, keep in mind, it's speech in a public place and you are making a choice, and with that choice comes certain consequences. Your choices may impact others (coworkers and employers), and as a result, the very second you post your words, you choose to accept all of the consequences of that speech, regardless of whether or not you have taken the time to think about said consequences.
  • Your employer can hire and fire based on the quality of your behavior and how it impacts business, your performance, personalities, coworkers, morale, anything. You should remember this before you post on your weblog for everyone to read. And comment on. And quote. And read again. And copy/paste/email to your coworkers and your boss and his/her boss. And to end up on the Wayback Machine.

It's not about who yells the loudest or who thinks/knows they're right. What it is about is being responsible for oneself and thinking ahead about the impact of exercising one's right to free speech.

One important aspect of thinking ahead is considering the consequences and weighing the risks. Preferably before speaking. But if you don't take the time to do that, it shouldn't be (and isn't) someone else's problem.

Anyhow, that's about all I have to say about that.



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Blogging | Things that Suck
Friday, 21 January 2005 21:19:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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According to a part-time tutor at Cardiff University, Monday will be the crappiest day of the year. He even has a formula used to determine that fact.

It might be a good day to sleep in, says the BBC.

JANUARY BLUES DAY FORMULA:

1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA

  • W: Weather
  • D: Debt
  • d: Money due in January pay
  • T: Time since Christmas
  • Q: Time since failed quit attempt
  • M: General motivational levels
  • NA: The need to take action


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Random Stuff
Friday, 21 January 2005 19:58:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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