Thursday, 11 October 2007

UPDATE: The question of whether this actually tells you whether you're left or right brained has come up (I wondered myself how legitimate of a brain test this could actually be), and a post right here on greengabbro.net offers a reasonable and well-written explanation as to why it likely does not, in fact, tell you much of anything about your personality or brain. There's also some links to some interesting auditory "illusions" that I found quite interesting. But still, regardless of the braininess of the image, please enjoy playing with the illusion below. It's true that it can be seen turning either way (it's an illusion). But it's also still very interesting that different people see it different ways on the first try, or more often than not the first several tries.


The Herald Sun, a newspaper in Australia, has a cool page up with an animated image that can tell you whether you are right- or left-brained. Here is the original page, with the details.

Look at the image below. Which way is the dancer model turning, clockwise or counterclockwise?

Most people see it turning counterclockwise, which is correlated to being left-brained. If you see it turning clockwise, you're right-brained. Can you make it change directions? for some it can be difficult to impossible. I can get it to change briefly if I really try (I see it turning counterclockwise).

Here's what they say it all means:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

 How's it look to you? What do you think?



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Random Stuff
Thursday, 11 October 2007 10:32:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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widows_home_server_logo Windows Home Server, a way-cool implementation of the operating system that lets you easily create a flexible and remotely-accessible storage point, is now available for purchase on newegg.com. The price (as of the time of this posting) is $189.99, and it's worth every penny.

What is Windows Home Server? In a few short words... Backups, share and access files, easy setup (simpler than a VCR to use) and you just add drives to grow over time. Plus there's a bunch of cool add-on's already available. If you're a Windows geek, it's based on Windows 2003 server, so adapt away!

First of all, you should read a few of the reviews on the newegg page. They accurately and effectively describe the high points (and the remarkably few lower points) of the product. And here is a marketing description of the product that hits the basics:

Windows Home Server helps you pull together and protect all your family's files in a single, central location that makes sharing easy.

Protect the things you care about
Keep all those digital memories safe for future generations with features like automatic daily backups and full system restore.

Connect with your friends and family
Share your photos, music, movies, and other files from a single, central location that everyone in your home can get to. Friends and family can see and share any files you want, whether they're in another room or another country.

Organize everything all in one place
This smart hub helps your family organize all your shared files in one place. Windows Home Server cuts down on clutter and brings order to digital chaos.

Grow into the future
You can add more space easily whenever you need it, so no more hard choices about what to keep and what to delete. And new products and services will be added as Windows Home Server keeps growing and getting better.



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Tech
Thursday, 11 October 2007 06:20:19 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Jason Cross hits the nail on the head. It's not the hardware, it's not the software, it's not even the company. It's something else completely.

Bad apples (pun intended) can truly spoil the barrel.

I have to say, based on my own experiences and as a Mac user since the very first one came out (yes, that one) when I was a kid, I agree with Jason's points. Well-said and fairly-put.

Now you go read it. Someone needs to say these things, and Jason did. Good for him.



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Random Stuff | Tech | Things that Suck
Thursday, 11 October 2007 05:56:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 09 October 2007

master_chief2 Attention all Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area peoples:

Drop everything, sign up right now (see details below), and meet me to play HALO 3 on two 50-foot ultra-hi-def video movie screens this Thursday (October 11th) at 7:00 p.m. just across from the Portland Airport in Vancouver at Cinetopia. Why? Because it will be the ULTIMATE Halo 3 event.

And you're guaranteed a win, because I will be there. Bonus. Heh.

YOU GET TO PLAY HALO 3 on two 50-foot ultra-hi-def video movie screens (like double 1080p resolution, beautifully up-scaled by some super-fancy equipment to make for an awesome image) and an awesome theater setting, reserved just for us - and the proceeds benefit the fight against diabetes. What more can you ask for?

Your donation of $25 (or more) at the door or will go straight to the America Diabetes Association. You can also pre-donate online and bring your printed donation receipt to the door. There's room for 120 people, so register today to save your seat(s)!

Click to donate!ALSO -- The first 10 people who let me know (in the comments and/or via email) that they have signed up (details of which are below) because they read it here - and then show up to play - will have their $25 donation matched by me. So let's make this happen! It's for a great cause and will be tons of fun.

And blog about this on your own site if you have one. Spread the word!

You need to sign up ahead of time so seats can be counted - so please do it now!

Here are the details:

  • When:  Thursday evening, October 11th, 7:00-Midnight (and yes, you can leave earlier if you want or have to, it's not Hotel California or anything)
  • Where:  Cinetopia - here's a map and their web site
  • Who:  Due to the content and whatnot, 18 and older, please
  • Register for this event at http://iammasterchief.com/ with the RSVP code "FIGHTDIABETES" (and just ignore the fact that the date there is wrong, and you won't get an email confirmation - if you see the PDX event after signing up, you're good to go)
  • You can donate online and bring your web receipt, or donate at the door (but either way, please sign up at the link above)

You can also read more about this event on Rich and Scott's blogs. Proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association (and Scott explains that quite well).

Business sponsors of the event include: Aivea, Robert Half Technology, Microsoft, the Portland Area .NET Users Group (PADNUG), the Software Association of Oregon, of course Cinetopia and others. A special thank-you goes out to all of them!



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Geek Out | Helping Others | Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 09 October 2007 09:30:43 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 02 October 2007

I have realized more and more that the time I'm taking off from working right now is time I need to spend doing the sort of things I can't realistically do while employed full-time. For example, I'm actually considering taking the time (and the expense) to get my private pilot's license. We'll see. That may be a bit of a stretch (and the rainy season is coming). But every time I see Jeremy Zawodny post about airplanes and flying, I get excited about it again. Darn you Jeremy!

Broc Driver I've always wondered what it would be like to travel the highways in a big truck. I'm writing this from northern California because I am on the road this week with my friend Broc (he's the goofball in the picture). He drives a 18-wheeler for his family's moving company. We left Portland on Tuesday and we're driving someone's household items to Modesto, California. Then we turn around with a different trailer and load and head back home by the end of the week.

I'm not sure exactly what it is about traveling from here to northern California in a semi truck that interests me this much. Seriously, we could be going anywhere and it would be an adventure for me just traveling over the road in the semi for the first time. Add to that the fact that I have never made the trek from Portland to California on the ground (it's always been by air) and it certainly makes for something to look forward to. In fact, I have never driven further south in Oregon than Eugene before today. Considering I've lived here for pushing nine years, that's kind of sad. And the chance to hang out with a friend for a few days is pretty darn cool, so I'm glad he asked.

It was a great drive today - nice scenery. Mt. Shasta is incredible and huge. It was amazing to be able to see it off and on for such a long time as we approached it and drove past. The peak is at more the 14,000 feet and much of the surrounding area sits down around 3,000 feet more or less, so you can imagine how it stands out. Shasta Lake is very, very low right now. Like maybe even 100 feet low, it's crazy. But it looks like a great place to bring the boat for an extended trip next year. It's on the list.

What would you do if you had unlimited flexible time? I'm always open to new ideas. :)



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Tuesday, 02 October 2007 20:04:12 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I've worked in the financial services software industry for years. For the last couple years I ran the security division of a major online-banking software and services provider. Security is paramount in that market. The responsibility that goes along with the role is huge, but it's a responsibility that's shared by everyone involved. Taking security seriously can't be something that happens after the work is done, and it can't just happen at some milestone point in a project. It needs to be an ingrained principle, part of the way things are done from beginning to end.

Threat modeling, loosely-described, is a design process by which you examine your software application design through the eyes of the bad guys, in order to determine what your design needs to take into consideration and how it should be built to protect against malicious threats. From the design phase you take your documented threat model into development and use it as a living document throughout the development lifecycle. Or at least that's how we did it.

Larry Osterman, who's worked at Microsoft pretty much forever, is a pro when it comes to threat modeling and secure coding. I haven't ever met Larry, but I've read his thoughts on the topic and they're solid. He's written before a couple times about this, and more recently (over the past month) he wrote and posted a series of excellent articles on his blog about threat modeling at Microsoft in the Windows division. If you're into this sort of thing, as I am, it's also very interesting to look back at his articles from the earlier years and to compare how they do things today. They've matured quite a bit.

I'll leave the narrative and examples to Larry, but let me add this by way of punctuation: Threat modeling takes some time and effort, but understand that security is a critical component of quality. Reputations (and therefore businesses) depend on it. It takes a very intentional process to properly understand the landscape and to look at all the threats and vectors of attack. It's not easy for people to shift gears. Most developers spend all their time thinking in terms of getting software to function according to customer requirements. Just as important is making sure it won't do what the bad guys want it to do. So, if you're ready to argue that you don't have time to do threat modeling, I have a solid argument (several of them really, which are backed up by real-world proof) that you can't afford not to. Threat modeling is risk management for the software industry.

And then there's the very-real side benefit of threat modeling. When your designers and developers sit down before building the product and really start to think about all aspects of quality in a formal, documented manner, you don't just get security improvements. They'll be seeing and thinking about general product improvements that you just won't get otherwise. I can't tell you how many times someone has come to me during a threat modeling process with a look of glee in their eyes, excited to tell me "hey this threat modeling stuff is pretty cool, and we even came up with some other stuff that isn't strictly security-related but will make it a much better product. I'm glad we did this."

The rule of the game is strategic thought, proper defense, quality first, and better software done faster that costs less. And it can happen if you let it.

If you're a software developer, tester or product manger and you don't know what threat modeling is and how it works, you're missing out on something that really should be required in this day and age. So here is what you should do:

  1. Read Larry's articles, they're quite good.
  2. Buy three books (you'll notice Michael Howard is an author on them all):
  3. Be a leader and implement what you learn.


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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 02 October 2007 19:17:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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