Tuesday, 03 October 2006

My job is all about catching bad guys, building great software to help do that, protecting information, and a variety of similar things. the company I work for builds software than somewhere around a third of the country uses in some manner to conduct financial transaction on the Internet, so the topic of security is important to me.

I'm regularly participating these days in interviews with members of the media, and recently one resulting story was published that I thought did a nice job of covering the bases regarding security in financial services and the human elements. What has to be recognized in order to succeed in this fight is that the user is not predictable, accountable or reliable. It's the truth, it's important to know, and it's a fact we have to plan for and design into our security models.

Read the story here: Finance on Windows - "For Your Eyes Only"

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Tuesday, 03 October 2006 13:05:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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From the "Department of You've Got To Be Kidding Me" comes word that BlackBerry users are blaming others for their problems:

"CrackBerry addicts: Why the workers who can't switch off are suing their employers"

... now these discreet handheld gadgets, which provide workaholics with constant email updates, are being blamed for chronic insomnia, relationship break-up, premature burn-out, and even car crashes.

British employers are being warned they could face multi-million-pound legal actions from BlackBerry-addicted staff on a similar scale as class law-suits taken against tobacco companies. Research by the University of Northampton has revealed that one-third of BlackBerry users showed signs of addictive behaviour similar to an alcoholic being unable to pass a pub without a drink.

The report found that some BlackBerry users displayed textbook addictive symptoms - denial, withdrawal and antisocial behaviour - and that time with their families was being taken up with BlackBerry-checking, even at the dinner table.

That's awesome. So what this means, basically, is that I am set for life. I have a guaranteed lawsuit at this rate, I mean you should see me with this thing - I blame the world for my addiction! Who can I sue next?

What ever happened to plain-old, self-assigned-responsibility? Jeez.

And, for your related viewing pleasure (note the video contains some video-blurred nakedness):

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Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 03 October 2006 10:26:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 01 October 2006

As I mentioned before. I recently acquired a Nikon D200 camera (new) and along with it a used but immaculate lens - the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED AF-S model. Both the body and the glass are exceptional pieces of equipment. I can't say enough about them. I also added the MB-D200 batter pack and extension to the body, which allows more battery time as well as vertical shooting trigger and wheels (mandatory in my book - I spent too many years with F3's and F4's not to have that capability).

I shot a few pictures out in the yard this afternoon to post here, since people have been asking me to do so. What I didn't realize until I uploaded them was that I had the ISO set to 800, which is ridiculously high for daylight, heh. So the image noise is a bit higher than it should be. But anyhow, they still look pretty good. The pictures below are clickable and will take you to my flickr feed, where you can see them in their full-size glory if you want to.

I highly recommend the D200 - I have not found a single thing I don't like about it yet (well okay it eats batteries for lunch, but hey - what can ya do?)

Japanese Maple leaf, backlit:

Red Maple Leaf

Diogi, my friendly (and spastic) chocolate lab:

Diogi, October 1 2006

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Photography | Random Stuff
Sunday, 01 October 2006 15:12:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So, this is a pretty cool find. I recently acquired a Nikon D200 (which, by the way, is super-sweet and I still need to write about it and the lens and stuff I picked up), which has (or will soon have) a cable that can plus into a GPS device to record your position on the face of the earth in the image EXIF data. I may just make my own cable -we'll see.

Meanwhile, Jelbert has this nifty new thing called GeoTagger:

"The Jelbert GeoTagger connects to a Garmin Geko 301 GPS device and fits into a DSLR's flash shoe. Every time you take a photo the camera triggers the geotagger, which records the precise position and heading of a camera using the GPS device."

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Geek Out | Photography | Tech
Sunday, 01 October 2006 13:26:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So let's say, not quite so hypothetically, that I was going to be in Vienna, Austria for a week in the late-October and early-November timeframe (for work-related stuff). Let's also say that I happened to have an extra week of vacation time available, so I went ahead and got the plane tickets on the cheap(er) and I am arriving in Austria a week before I have to start the work effort. Meaning I have an extra week to see an area of the world I have never visited.

Since that means eight days to do pretty much whatever I want (and to travel wherever seems best) before spending five or six days in Vienna proper, I wonder what people think would make for a good plan? I don't have to stay in Vienna for the extra week, mind you - and I think I'd prefer to get away for that week and see some other places in the region.

I was thinking that maybe a Eurail pass that lets you cross into a couple other countries might be good? So - Where to go and what to do? A friend of mine will also be with me, so we were thinking the "saver" pass for the train system is a good idea.

I've done a bunch of Internet searches to see what others have done, and I have found some interesting and helpful information. But I figured maybe someone who reads this has been there before and will have some ideas. Plus, the bulk of the Internet information I have found is commercial search-optimized generic content meant to drive click revenue, and I am looking for some real-world advice and experience here.

Anyone? :)

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Random Stuff
Sunday, 01 October 2006 11:24:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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On10.net has a video demonstrating the forthcoming Zune media players (the guys there got a couple pre-release models to mess around with). The video demo shows sharing pics and music between devices wirelessly.

I think I'm-a-gonna get me one of those... Looks like it will be a even better option than my iPod for video on airplanes maybe.

Watch the video here.

the Zune is scheduled to be available November 14th for $249.99. It includes a whole host of cool features:

WMA, MP3, AAC, JPEG,WMV, MPEG-4, H.264 media playback
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) connectivity
30 GB Hard Drive
3 inch video LCD 320x240
White, Black, and Brown Colors
FM Radio
TV output connectivity 640x480
Dedicated song download site (Zune Marketplace)
DJ Mode
Podcast playback
Updateable Firmware
Estimated 12 hr battery life for audio, 3.5 hr video
3 day playback of Wi-Fi transfered songs from friends (hmmm...) 
XBOX streaming
XBOX (Microsoft) points compatability
Preloaded music videos
Over a dozen accessories at launch
5.6 ounces in weight, 4.4 x 2.4 x 0.58 inches size
Metric: 158 g, 112 x 61 x 14.7 mm size
Custom background images
WiFi transfer of photographs
Tag based storage system (Will not appear as drive)
PC Compatability (no Mac client at launch)
Zune tag enabled
Horizontal and vertical video orientation

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Sunday, 01 October 2006 09:53:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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