Apple vs FBI: The unspoken Truth on Encryption

While one can admire Apple for ‘defending’ it’s customers privacy, while also benefiting with the positive advertising. It is probably a moot, and hollow victory as the NSA and the CIA have already broken Apple security.

Not that it shouldn’t be of high importance, the resources required to do the cracking of any particular extraction of an encrypted message sent with a iPhone would most likely exceed the budget of a small country. Which is exactly the point of encryption, making it hard, and expensive to decrypt. Imagine the joviality at the NSA/CIA after the hours of decryption, that the ‘Important’ message turns out to be a high priority, top secret Cookie Recipe from you mothers cookbook.

And thereby is the unspoken truth of encryption the first one is this: you must either decrypt everything, to find what is being said, because if you can only choose strategic messages, choosing the right ones are tantamount.

During WWII monitoring enemy communication was aided by observing the frequency of communication traffic, when frequency increased, something important was being communicated. Modern military communications is continuous and unbroken, transmitting meaningless message traffic, and therefore not highlighting any particular message in the traffic stream that would be required to be decrypted. This would now be a requirement to decrypt everything, in the military traffic stream.

The second Truth is this; The assumption that you can decrypt all the messages is the hight of arrogance and ignorance. Anyone, yes anyone can create an encryption that will be impossible for a machine of any sort to decrypt, and many of these can be hidden to the point that even a human expert directly observing the message can not decipher.

Imagine hiding messages in the continuous email stream called Spam, which now constitutes more that 80% of all email traffic?

Thoughts like this keep the NSA/CIA/FBI up nights, and no matter what Bull Shit they might tell you about the need to have back doors and encryption keys it will NEVER catch all the potential secret messages that terrorists might choose to pass to each other.

Because the simplest of truths: It isn’t possible.

RTE Political Debates 2016

The only thing that I hear from the ‘Debates’ were that Parties were running against Parties. There was no debate about anyone being held responsible for decisions, no one responsible for any outcomes. It’s the Party’s choice. The Party that Failed, the Party that succeeded, the party that brought you X or Y.

We the people are voting on, and for PEOPLE, not parties. We know that Kenny never fulfilled any campaign promises, but it’s not his fault, he was doing what his party wanted. Sinn Fein has killed people in the past, therefore the people who now represent Sinn Fein are all murderers, because Sinn Fein, the party, murdered.

There are criminals who have been CONVICTED dozens of times, that do not get painted as a criminal when next they come to trial, why does ANY party get painted with past party issues, by past party members, when it was the members who committed them.

This lame attempt by our politicians to redirect blame to an anonymous ‘Party’ is another attempt to shed personal responsibility for the outcomes of bad decisions and choices. Like cheap used auto dealer, I have to talk to my party…er manager about that deal.

I hold Kenny & Noonan responsible for Water Charges, and paying off the bond holders, not Fine Gael, and Labor.

But if you want to play party politics, fine, Kenny, Noonan you have lost my vote for ANY Fine Gael politician, Labor too, as you had no guts to stand up for your ‘Party’ position, you also will fail to get a vote.

Programming as Hotdog vending

street_vendor

Yesterday while talking with a colleague, I was trying to get across the idea the most ‘programmers’ don’t understand what goes on inside a computer. And his response was, “Does it matter any more?” and while it took me back, I had to respond, “No!” After sleeping on it, I came to a revelation of sorts.

Current IT is equivalent to being a Hot-dog vendor on the street.

And while we IT/CS folk might try and elevate our profession to that status of demigod status we are merely vendors of what the computer can DO!‘ We don’t create the computer, we splash condiments on the hot-dog, and sell it as computing. We don’t even make the condiments anymore, call them libraries, functions written by gnomes in dark caves. And don’t even mention the buns, the dressing ,the cover, beyond us.

In the early days of computing, the common question was, what do I use my computer for. And the first answer often was, you could put your cooking recipes in it. Creating the first cookbook you needed to plugin. The computer is still the same, just that the cookbook has gotten more sophisticated.

I have harped for years that the ‘hardware’ of computing has crippled real advances in computing, more and more systems are opting for generic in their selection of Hot-dog instead, choosing to dress it up with more and intriguing spices and toppings, things like AI and Neural Networks. While these latter are more sophisticated and sexy, they are more or less toppings on the same Hot-dog.

Man in the Stars

Throughout Science Fiction there is always a belief that man will be ‘Mankind’ while evoking a rational and reasoning mind. And it’s disturbing to think that reason, and considered actions will be how Humans will be perceived. If there is a considered, planned rational approach to traveling among the stars, it will be from an AI consciousness not a Human one, and there by hangs ‘humanity’ if we show who we are, we may not survive, but if we survive without all the elements that make us human, emotions, excitement, joy anger and sadness and wonder, it won’t be us. It will be ‘them’.

The next moment, a new World.

Almost all religion speaks of a next world, a heaven if you will. If their followers uphold the values that religion espouses. Christianity, Islam even Norse speaks of Valhalla. But time and space in the real world is a very different place. Each moment a branch in space-time, each moment, a new world. And while in most religions, you must die to enter heaven, in space time that is only a next moment, a new branch. You die, you don’t die, each on it’s own branch. Each a possibility, taken or not.

If you assume that each religion has fundamental elements that provide a moral framework to betterment of society, and the individual. Then each positive action that person betters, improves, does good in the world, betters the next world in the next moment. So each individual, makes the next world a heaven, or a hell of the next world in the next moment. Each branch an upward movement, or a downward one. Good, or not, betterment or not, each leading to a better or worse world for everyones next moment.

Any practitioner, priest, cleric or minister that preaches the worst elements of their religion, calling for any of mankind’s worse traits, they are wishing for the hell, striving for the worst world in the next moment for everyone. And any, who are not religious, who by their actions uplifts, that does good, that betters, are saints, and righteous for they uplift all mankind, in the next moment, in the next world.

ED:Republishing this.

AI (Artifical Intelligence)

There are a number of AI movies arriving in the near future, and the thought that seems to run through them all is that AI, Artificial Intelligence is depicted as being contained within humanoid constructs, frequently Female Humanoid. It brings up several interesting notions;

  • If one of the defining characteristics of AI is being ‘Self Aware’ can a computer, an AI contained within a box become self aware?
  • Does it need sensors to see, hear and touch itself to become aware of it’s existence?
  • Would a box be more or less likely to to identify with Humans if it identified itself as a box that thinks it’s alive?
  • Does an AI contained in a Female humanoid framework Identify with Female Humans? (and maybe hates Male Humans?)

All interesting things particularly in the event of an AI operating IoT (Internet of things) within a persons house. How would it ‘identify’ with the Humans, cats and dogs residing therein?

More than enough Ideas to make movies about.

Could an AI really be that angry about not having reproductive sex?

MicroSoft Weasel Words

The boys at the office have been experimenting with Redis at the office however the server they were using was a Windows Server, and therefore the Redis database was running on Windows. So I took a look at the ‘release notes’ from Microsoft and their ‘Lawyer Speak’ was all over it.

MSOpenTech™ Redis on Windows

We strive to have a stable, functionally equivalent and comparably performing version of Redis on Windows. We have achieved performance nearly identical to the POSIX version running head-to-head on identical hardware across the network. Aside from feature differences that help Redis take advantage of the Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis should work in most situations with the identical setup and configuration that one would use on a POSIX operating system.

Having seen this type of language from Microsoft before, in ‘Open’ products like LDAP and ODBC where Microsoft would alter the implementation specification standards to suit themselves, I am wholly obliged to translate their opening paragraph into English for those who don’t ‘get it’. The paragraph should read as follows:

Microsoft’s Proprietary version of Redis for Windows
We have not managed to achieve a stable, functional equivalent or comparably performing version of Redis on Windows yet. We have managed to produce performance almost as good as a POSIX version running head-to-head on identically throttled networks connections. Aside from the changes we had to make to enable it to work within a Windows infrastructure, our version of Redis (using a Microsoft infrastructure) could almost perform using a setup and configuration that looks like a Posix operating system.

Reads a bit differently doesn’t it.

I have warned the developers here not to implement a production system based upon Microsoft’s version of Redis. I do not have anything against Redis, just the dark hole MS expects developers to jump into again.

Walking on water

Some time ago a visitor to my site commented that the photo I used as a header was ‘Horses walking on Water’ and I really never took notice, but yes, they do look that way.

cropped-B_header

But this photo taken with a very cheap digital camera just didn’t bring out the picture well enough to see the shallow beach on which the water was covering, and my clipping of the photo has eliminated the shoreline. The beach, and the inlet are located to the north in Donegal Ireland. A lovely place to visit, if you can avoid the frequent rain. Beyond that further hill, and 1000 miles of ocean, is Greenland.

Water Charges

For those who haven’t got it yet, the Water charges are just another ‘Stealth’ Tax. It was NEVER intended to fund water services. It was an excuse to tax the people of Ireland, suggested to them by the Troikia to pay for the Bank Bailout.

If you think that 0.005€ per liter is magiclly derived from average water usage, to arrive at ~280€ per month you would have been shocked if it had been 1.00€ per liter to arrive at that same monthly figure had the usage data been lower.

Economics of computing devices

I have been observing that as smartphones are becoming smarter, they are also becoming more expensive, there have been a segment that have also entered the market once fill by feature, or dumb phones, but they are almost designed to entice you upgrade to the more expensive and glamorious models.

At the same time, laptops, particularly ChromeBooks are now dropping below the price of the average smart phone. Add in the increasing use of pads, especially Android pads and you have to imagine that MicroSoft should be getting very worried.

Desktop computers, PC’s, are almost non-exsistent these days, traditional laptops are in decline and the base for an exclusive Microsoft Windows empire is crumbling before our eyes.

Aren’t we glad that Bill Gates is still the richest (published) man in the world.

And to put another nail in the bed Microsoft sleeps in, no one wants Windows 8.0 or 8.1! Why not just rename Windows 7 to Windows 9 and go on from there? Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Garth Brooks, victim of bad Business (Ireland)

screenshot-area-2014-07-08-184736

The entire Garth Brooks debacle is an example of Irish ‘Wink and a Handshake‘ culture. I have absolutly no doubt that the concert series was ALWAYS for 5 shows, but that the promoter thought they could make more money by promoting only the first three, then adding on the additional two shows, with the full support and agreement of the GAA and Dublin City Council.

The promoter KNEW he could not get 5 nights, but thought that they could ‘work around‘ the issues in back room deals the the GAA and Councils. The issue is that they were NOT required to get a license BEFORE promoting the concerts.

This is the same issue that the building boom had, that collapsed the Irish Economy, get the planning permission AFTER you completed the building. Bass Ackwards!

The “INFLUENCER” in social media.

linkedin_44x36

I’ve often been invited to link to the current ‘INFLUENCER-DU-JOUR’ from Social Media sites. And ofttimes is a Successful entrepreneur, or angel investor, someone who has hit it big. And in many cases the success is a one off, and the personality at the center, is now an established ‘Expert’ in all things, even outside of their granted success niche.

I have encountered such people, and with rare exception, the success, their victory, has been more a ‘in the right place, at the right time’ event. Call it one time lucky. Mind you some have been very lucky, and struck big. And either by ego, or genuine desire, seek to do it again, or to help others ‘make it’. More often it’s the former, reveling in Ego, lies at the root. I won’t begrudge their Win, I just won’t listen to them any more than I would the next stranger on the street. I read once, that one of the great brokers before the great crash in the 1930’s, claimed he had received ‘Stock Tips’ from his shoeshine boy, at which point, he got out of the market, and saved his own shirt.

I feel that here, too many shoe shine boys.

IT’s not always a boy’s game, by choice.

TW-whatyouget-1

I’ve been having a few twitter conversations about Internet startups, IT development and the ‘Boys Club’ it always appears to be. I’ve been working at a Internet Company, more than a startup, less than a powerhouse. And what was once called TeamworkPM.net is now called Teamwork.COM with the recent purchase of that very domain name.

Several Ladies have commented, one in Australia and another in California, particularly on the photos we had up for the ‘re-branding’ event.

However this is NOT the whole story, we have tried to hire NON-WHITE-NON-MALE personnel, We have held ‘Open Houses’, posted all over Cork (Home base) out of 10 (very disappointing) no persons of color, and only one woman. No one really qualified, as even the universities aren’t teaching what students need to get into the computing environment. We weren’t even trying just for ‘programmers’ none of the people bothered to even find out what we did on the Internet.

We have had interns (1 Male 1 female) in, and while useful, they were more interested in finishing school than working for us. Last year Teamwork.com set out to hire 10 people, more than doubling the staff, and we managed only 4, not all developers, from Lithuania, the Netherlands, Australia
and Bulgaria. All male, all white. And it’s not our choice, it’s all that we are presented with that are educated and/or interested in working with us.

In Catholic Ireland, the Nuns still teach that Math and Science (and technology) are for the ‘boys’ and tell the girls to choose something else. Only since things like Coder Dojo’s have girls been learning coding and web development. And even there, the female component constitutes only a minority.

Until such time as females are educated, and qualified to develop code, or web working. The all-white-all-male club will be more the norm than than in the general populations. And you can’t enforce a gender balance on startups and lean companies, it would crush them. Only educations will change this imbalance. So please stop complaining about us, and others, and start sending your daughters, wives and girlfriends to school.

So if you are qualified and motivated send a CV or drop an email at Teamwork.COM