Sunday, May 28, 2006

Finding balance

I'm spending a lot of energy trying to find balance today. With the arrival of our daughter, Virginia this week, everything has changed.

Getting the right amount of food, clothing and diapers for her is part of it. I'm finally comfortable changing diapers... a balance of preparation and improvisation is required.

I posted photos on Flickr... but didn't quite feel comfortable leaving them public. So I changed them to the "family and friends" setting... which makes me much more comfortable, but does tend to block off the serindiptious nature of Flickr.... so I still don't feel balanced.

I'm sure discussing all of this with friends and family will eventually help me reach a sane balance to all of these matters and more.

She's soooooo cute when she sleeps! (But I worry because she's so quiet!)

Well... she's waking up....

--Mike--

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Life

Children are a blessing from God.

They let us re-live and reflect on our own life, offering a more profound understanding and deeper sense of joy for all they encounter.

I'm a very lucky man.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Why we can't save the internet, yet

Doc has a thread going about saving the internet as we know it. His focus is on maintaining "net neutrality" or "net equality", and there's a lot of energy being thrown at this issue. Regardless of the lobbying efforts and the grass roots response... right now we just can't save the net.

Why?

Security

Having a fair and open internet requires that everyone have a nice wide open set of TCP and UDP ports... which is suicidal with today's operating systems. Everyone filters things behind firewalls and filters. Thus, the battle for an open net is effectively lost.

If anyone needs an excuse to defend their actions, they can simply assert "oh... we're just protecting the users"... and innovation dies a rapid death.

I've written so many times about the need for real security that I'm afraid everyone's going to think I'm a broken record... but it's crucial that we get an OS together that can run mobile code, have all its ports open, and still remain secure.

Linux, MacOS, Unix, and Windows all are completely incapable of running mobile code in any type of secure fashion. Until we get the paradigm shifted to one built around not trusting code, we're not going to be able to trust our computers... and thus we can't trust the net.

Security, Security, Security.....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Seen on the red line

This is your life
and it's ending
one minute at a time

It makes you think...

It's time to smell the flowers

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's the 4th amendment, Stupid!

So I'm reading the link from one of my favorite Propagandists, Matt Drudge... this story - "Spy Agency Watching Americans From Space" written by Katherine Shrader of AP. The subject is one of the many stories written to help spin the news (long suspected by many of us) that we're being spied upon by OUR own government.

First we get the feel good use of spy satellites to Support Our Troops:
It set up mobile command centers that sprung out of the backs of Humvees and provided imagery for rescuers and hurricane victims who wanted to know the condition of their homes. Victims would provide their street address and the NGA would provide a satellite photo of their property. In one way or another, some 900 agency officials were involved.

Then we get to the sugar coated lie:
Spy agencies historically avoided domestic operations out of concern for Pentagon regulations and Reagan-era executive order, known as 12333, that restricted intelligence collection on American citizens and companies.

No, actually it's all about the 4th Amendment to our Constitution....

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
See.... spying is the same as searching... and this is an attempt to justify unregulated searches... and nullify the 4th amendment, to allow spy agencies to operate domestically.

It's interesting that the article goes on with this statement

"We are not trying to examine an individual dwelling, for example, because what our mission is normally going to be is looking at large areas," he said. "It doesn't really affect or threaten anyone's privacy or civil liberties when you are looking at a large collective area."

So... it's ok for them to look at our individual homes. We just need to trust them, and not worry about Judical oversight any more, right?

Gosh, I guess we really didn't need the 4th amendment, did we? It's just too inconvinient for them to worry about....

NUTS!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Inventing the future

Alan Kay said it in 1971....

"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws!"
I've got quite a few ideas bouncing around in me... and I'm frustrated with my own inability to get them substantiated into reality. I'm hoping this blog will help change that. I seek others who want to discuss ideas and build the future. I don't care who profits, as long as I'm not left in the poor house.

Computers can be secure, and much much faster. We shouldn't be forced to worry about little strings of digits controlling our financial future. We shouldn't be forced to import our energy. There are many things we can change, and make much better. It'll require effort, but it is possible. Join me in my quest to build a better future.

--Mike--

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stone age credit

Here we are in the year 2006, and we're still gullible enough to think the knowledge of a 16 digit number is enough to justify handing over money? ALL of someone's money? AND kill their future credit?

WTF?

What I want to know is why anyone still is being forced to use a system from the 1950s to handle their financial transactions in the world. The validation of credit cards is done online... why can't their be a pin number for face to face transactions, just like a debit card?

For online transactions, why can't we log into our issuing banks system, and generate a ONE TIME number for each and every separate transaction? We're already online... wouldn't it be worth a cut and paste to protect your financial reputation?

If the one time use numbers were tied to the recipient of the money, many of the woes that we consumers are faced to deal with would immediately disappear... compromise of one vendors database would be worth approximately $0.00 to any other vendor or customer.

Why doesn't this happen? People aren't aware of the technical possibilities, just as they don't know enough about DRM to seek open alternatives. We all need to find our voices, both online and elsewhere, and help bring the power of the technology we've built to everyone. Because we're not aware of the possiblities, we put up with utterly obsolete systems for moving money.

The same thing is true in many other intersections of technology and everyday life. There are models for computing security that are fast and secure, but not actively pursued. There are other computer architectures which may be able to offer a few orders of magnitude increase in computation speed for specialized tasks.

We need to talk about possibilites in the long term, as well as the short term. We need to get our imagination back. I've long known that some day I would be able to afford a Terabyte of disk space... and I imagine I'll buy it some time in the next 2 years. What the future holds in terms of computing is simply astounding.

We need to be aware of the forces that want to stop things for their own benefit, such as the Phone and Media companies. We need to creatively route around their economically motivated damage to innovation.

I fear that if we fail to do this, the enlightenment itself is going to be rolled back... and I definitely don't want that to happen.

--Mike--

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Still clueless about security

The /. community still hasn't figured out that they all live inside a box... if you want proof, just look at this recent discussion about security. Everyone pointing blame at the vendors, the users, and the criminals. The blame game can go on forever, and it'll never solve the problem.

  • Blame the vendors - assumes that they can build a system worthy of trust
  • Blame the users - assumes an paranoid user can be safe
  • Blame the criminals - admit the problem is un-solveable
Anyone who engages in any of these arguments loses, and is screwed long term.

The assumption built into almost everyone's world view is so well embedded it's almost impossible to see. Everyone assumes that there is a way to build a trustworthy computing system with today's OS models. It's patently absurd in my world view.

It's impossible to write code without bugs. Requiring the code to be perfect as a layer of security is insane. We should almost NEVER trust the code.

There should be one, and only one, piece of code on the planet that gets trusted... the kernel responsible for handling virtualization inside an OS. This code is irreplacable, all of the rest of it shouldn't be trusted.

Once we move past the blame game (if ever) and stop trusting the code, we'll be able to run anything from anywhere without fear.
--Mike--

Linking 1 2 3

Steve Gillmor thinks that linking has been gamed to death, making it worse than useless. I see how he might get tired of seeing the same link in multiple places, but he's reading the situation with just a bit too much cynicism.

The links themselves haven't been gamed at all. The gaming comes when the links get decoupled from their ends, and aggregated. Technorati, Digg, Google, and all the others divorce the link from its context, which is how the opening for gaming got created.

If Steve, Doc, or someone else makes a link to a site, it can't get gamed between the author and the person directly reading the page (or RSS thereof). It's only in the value subtractive process of Silage that we open the door for rot (aka Gaming the system).

The point of Gesturebank seems to be to preserve the context, and try to avoid undifferentiated bulk accumulation of data, which is defintely the way forward. I'm still waiting to be able to see the data I'm already giving to the cause there... (I don't get to see the anonymous pile of data yet, for some reason) because I think it'll be VERY interesting, and useful.

I'd like to know what Doc reads, and be able to make it as cheap as possible for him to point out something interesting. I imagine what we really need is the thing that Vanevar Bush originally described back in 1945... a system for leaving a trail of hyperlinks and commentary about a vast collection of documents.

The threads are the value, not just the weight of them, or their bulk counts. We need to preserve the value of the ends by building and using tools which keep his in mind.

--Mike--

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