sunnuntai 31. toukokuuta 2009

the future is here - and only 8 months old

 


Here's the future. You see her above this text.
I usually talk a lot about future, and it's only now I realized she's the one.
She will be skipping a lot of tech generations, which I have used. She won't be much bothering
with a certain piece of equipment by Commodore Business Machines - instead she will start playing
probably with Apple's or Nokia's toys.

It would be really interesting to have even a glimpse into the actual selections she will make.
I have honestly no idea. Of course it is early to tell, since she is less than year old.
Ok, she will have better laptops and way more cool cellphones, with better mobile services.
I can definitely track her via GPS, and keep sending those irritating messages which warn of
the dangers of the world. And she will come up perhaps with a way of blocking daddy. This
advise will come from her peers, either via a social network or face to face.

She won't be too interested in IP numbers or antivirus software. But she will be somewhat aware
of what's cool and what's not - I'll teach the tech enough to keep her from fumbling.

What inspired me to think about the situation in my family, was this:

Why our 'amazing' science fiction future fizzled - CNN.com
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Summer feelings - a pictorial

 
 
 
 
It's impossible for me to have such eloquent words that would properly describe
the beauty of summer. So let the pixels talk for themselves.
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Hot Sunday, 29 celsius in Helsinki

 
It was a day to be expected. By Friday I'd got the news that Sunday would be extremely hot.
The centigrades rose to 29 degrees. We headed down to Linnanmäki amusement park. Due to me
lacking an ID badge (it was a company-only private occasion from 10-13) we didn't get in
yet. My social engineering skills weren't adequate, so to say :D

But no problem, later on in the day we went strolling around the park and it was fun.
It was the first time I skipped all the equipment but enjoyed good company instead. Our
daughter was delighted and behaved spectacularly.

I started writing about the overall network speed of Internet. It's an interesting question,
and I need to get more background information from it before writing anything.

The weekend went really fast. Doesn't it always? :)
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perjantai 29. toukokuuta 2009

Future, part XXIII ?!

WARNING: extremely confusing post. :D

Creating your own mobile presence is pretty easy with Gypsii, brought to you by an ex-Benefon company turned into GeoSentric. It was recommended by a friend, and I started using it. More and more! This could be the thing I had been searching for many years. I wrote about a social media product with the title BrainDiary. It was during a multimedia course in Helsinki Univ. of Technology. Combining the story-telling part with automatic mobile presence (=location) it really gets interesting.

I've kept diary for a long time. I was thinking one day that this whole blogging trend is basically transforming your diary into public bits. It's about writing, revealing, discussing, arguing, and having fun.

I am going to reveal something to you: I tend to write a couple of afternoon each week in a cafe in Helsinki. It's a kind of way for me to invent fresh thoughts, let go of the steam accumulated during the week, and also I honestly believe that just by writing you are participating in something Bigger. Nobody can tell what it is; blogosphere, global consciousness, whatever.

When I don't read blogs and news, I feel kind of missing seriously on the world. I can skip ordinary mainstream news, but blogs are pretty important part of my life. They seem to have more of an editorial view in many occasions. And there's definitely a persona behind one. News corporations do have people working, but they're
taking this work-role, naturally. It's an interesting difference nevertheless.

Sitting at the cafe sparks many thoughts. I look at people passing by, eating, shopping, discussing. It reminds me a little of the holidays in Italy early in
my life, when part of the trip was the experience of... well, sitting at cafes!

Scratchpad - these things would make me happy:
* a good single sign on system for the Web
* easier user interface to Gypsii - faster to use
* phones that would start to suggest useful things, like route optimizations
* getting rid of paper - in favor of bits
* lighter laptops
* remote battery charging for devices

In the year 2039, we are partly scanners. People walk with 3d scanning beams coming
out of their eyes or other parts. These make sense of the environment.
When you see something interesting, you can instantly follow up on it in the
virtual world: load a web page, or store the point into further reference.
Safety in all meanings of the word becomes number one issue for city dwellers.
Cities become carefully crafted entities, where it's fun to live. The ecosystem
works extremely efficiently, yet without a stress-creating effect.
We have recording devices, which can alleviate crime. But these systems
also encompass an intelligent system that preserves privacy of individuals.
We have access control mechanisms to the visual data.
Laws are decided by a new mechanism, which enables people to better participate
in the governing of their own lives. We get news feed about parliamentaty
debate and decision-making. We no longer have to randomly pick a candidate in
elections; we can use hard statistics to back up our decision.

keskiviikko 27. toukokuuta 2009

Watch out links coming from your Facebook friends!

There has been widespread phishing (robbing) of Facebook account passwords.

Do not install Flash player or any other program, based on following a link
sent by any of your Facebook friends.
Unless you really know that the link
is valid content. The installation is a vital step, which is needed in order for the
machine to get infected.

http://www.securitypark.co.uk/security_article262602.html

being social - security viewpoint

Elements of security

A very short memo about what security in a company means.

Importance of Sociability
- being a learned person, but lonely: so much information to draft through each day; task impossible; 1,000,000 viruses and increasing. New kinds of tricks: social engineering, technical bugs, vulnerabilities, spamming, malware, etc.
- loneliness also increases the likelihood that a social scam will work: people who don’t interact, don’t know the latest scams going around.
- social activity increases the possibility to learn new things. It’s what has kept humanity alive and developing for millions of years
- modern tribes may be virtual: a sysadmin feels closest kinship with fellow sysadmins around the world

=> companies should make sure that people also engage in interactions. Preferably
facial, but virtual interactions can be useful too. The better people know each
other, the more they form integral networks, where trust exists. Too many unknowns
mean cumbersome co-operation and also due to lack of trust, there's probably
a lot of duplicate work being done.

The problem is that many organizations are shattered in the social sense. There are tight, small clusters of people; and in addition to that, there are many outsourced persons, etc. The old-fashioned family business type of model no longer exists. So if there's a social engineer (somebody who wants to con information) he has a high probability of cutting it.
At least once.

Where does it lead? Security and competence problems. If there’s no mentor-attitude, the newcomer may be quite lost. People working under pressure and feeling the expectations for fresh meat may do critical errors early on in their careers;
giving out passwords to people who should never know these; revealing otherwise
sensitive information to someone who demands it. Etc.

Blue Looks - Deep and tranquill

Welcome to the blog! It's the same psiic, but now in blue color. Blue is one the
favorite colours of mine; orange is my classic one.

tiistai 26. toukokuuta 2009

ease of readability and content - info for blogs

Do you remember the time that word processors had this legibility and grammar indexes, calculated for each document? You could easily determine basically how difficult
the text would be to read.

Introduce this to blogs!!! Use case: I'm heading home in a bus, want to read
some easy and entertaining texts. I could choose such blog entries by
weeding out the candidates using the index.

Anyone? Some linguistics expert company?

maanantai 25. toukokuuta 2009

first day at the new job



It was a start for new job today. Of course due to non-disclosure I'll
keep most details inside, but suffice it to say that it was an interesting
day. I am going into full action on Wednesday, with first real customer
cases unfolding. I made my own work laptop a bit more customized, meaning
that it now has Chrome as the browser.

According to Murphy's law, it was well into late afternoon that actual work came available. Well, setting apart some complications with software that I'd never
like to see, the installation went well. We countered some well-known "features"
that make the installation procedure bit more complex. But of course, it's
good that these exceptions really are known know. I used to fight with the same
issue for many, many days 2 years ago.

The house holds a lot of experience, in fact it's probably the most
experienced people I've worked with. With an average career length of
over 15 years, it's quite exceptional in IT. (Is it? If you have
countering knowledge, let me know).

What is a little troubling is the complexity of traveling. With bus,
it's not your average walk in the park. My role includes occasionally
going between sites within the same day, and this holds a challenge.

P.S. our management does blog! :-)

Logging out,
/J

sunnuntai 24. toukokuuta 2009

writing about internet law as exercise


I've got a couple of exercises which involve the decisions by both
The Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman and Justice Ministry in Finland. Let me tell you, I've never been an enthusiastic follower for things that involve law. I think they are mostly really boring, compared to new technology. But reading some cases and thinking them through is actually interesting. I will not study law as a major, it's only a minority detail in my studies, so getting the spirit of law, and understanding why certain decisions are made, is crucial. With a sample of 3 exercises this will not yet happen, though, but a sense rises of what is there to be expected. And if I'd tackle any real case, I would make sure proper professional law services would be available for me to use.



A sample case goes like this:
Mr. A had borrowed a digital photo taken by B, and used it in a sales ad he placed in certain web-based service. B wanted a fee of 400 euros, because A had used the photo without his permission. The jury decided that since B took so many almost-similar photos of the target, the photo was not particularly unique. And thus A was in no
obligation to pay anything.

Tomorrow starting a new job. I know more when the day has passed. It's definitely
IT, and involves several clients in the 3 month period. I figured the best way to get there tomorrow morning, taking the bus. The routes are simpler than I thought, which is definitely plus.

We're also developing with a friend some pre-stages of the aforementioned Tuokko transportation
service. It's really fun to just give ideas the wings; even though there's no
prototype and it's all in talks, I enjoy the mental work. Just going "in the wild",
meaning keeping your eyes open while shopping, gives material for the requirements
specifications. It's after all a lot of negotiations and making sure all the parties involved get their motivation. What's it all about is being smart; recognizing the needs, recognizing our greatest problems (which may well be non-IT) and keeping our mind open. We haven't set any timeframes yet. It may take 6 months, or it may take several years for a first working prototype. Or it may not happen at all, that's a possibility too.

It's going to be busy for a while now, with studying (Microsott C#) and working at the same time, but not for long. The studies cease for summer.. I'll try and write more this week. Tomorrow I'll probably be too busy to do that. Which reminds me
of a good question my friend posed: "How the hell do you have so much digital
presence?"
I was a freelancer at the time, and honestly it meant that I had more than enough
free time :-)

torstai 14. toukokuuta 2009

two articles under work.

In general, I'm pretty happily busy with all kinds of things. Writing and
tending for our 7+ month old daughter, who is adorable. That's some
"software" for sure!

I'm finding myself writing a couple of articles, both related somewhat to
security. The other one is more a software-centered, whereas the other
is inspired by me reading Kevin D. Mitnick's "The Art of Deception".

Got a work today, starting on 25th May. It'll be computer administration,
more to come later. Since 2008, the one-man company Me hasn't being doing
too well, so back on the payroll. It was and probably will be in the future
a pleasant experience, but there's certainly a need to improve customer
relations and customer acquisition. Otherwise the cashflow gets low, and
that's never good for any company.

I'm working on couple of ideas too, with different people. They're the kind
of ideas that stick in the back of your head, and might provide a seed for
something good in the future. I am seeking all the time advice and people who
know start-up scenery in Finland. It's not imminent nor would we have the
seed money ready currently, but it never hurts to scan what's out there and
how it's done.

My other site, the Jukkasoft blog, is up and running - I checked the newest
statistics from Google Analytics, and was positively surprised. If you are
interested, I wrote a short article here.

keskiviikko 6. toukokuuta 2009

Google advanced - providing guidance through APIs

Google is just my favorite pet company. Always innovating new things, but still doing it in way that raises curiosity. And objection! But were it not raising
heated debates, it just wouldn't be anything.

Today I happened to come across a Google cam car on the road. It's an
otherwise ordinary car, that has a pole/tripod attached to it, and
there are cameras mounted so it can see to all directions.

It sparked
my imagination, and I did come to think how strange things we actually do
as humanity. Photograph systematically roads, countryside, people, buildings,
forests, and everything in between. Although a bit jaded, I have to mention
that Orwell's 1984 had the famous telecasters, which were placed in every home and they made the government able to spy on any individual it wanted to. It is no wonder that these moving cameras are raising some privacy
conserns. But come to think of it, I think we already gave up on privacy a long
time ago, with security cameras.

Streetview?
Go to
http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/

Let's get to the idea stage. I talked to a tech friend today on the phone.
We always have infinitely refreshing talks about technology. He's into it,
and I am a devout follower. We both hacked code as children, and exchanged
knowledge and skills in the classic way: he taught me things, and I taught
him different things in return. It came to my mind that perhaps how Google
can tap into the companies business even further, is by offering more refined
and easy to use APIs. Companies could start to use programming, even if their
main developer had only had 1 year worth of formal disciplining in computer
programming.

The APIs would go from current web-accessible data searches into much more
strategically valuable data. Perhaps Google would start provisioning some of the
data as per-pay only, depending on how much work it take to make the data.
I don't know G's strategy so well that I could speak in this arena.

Microsoft offered the same idea perhaps 25 years ago: everyone can and
should become a programmer. In fact, any company that doesn't have its custom engineer who programs, will wither!!

What is this compulsion behind being specifically a programmer?
It's the power that code leverages. You can cut repetitive tasks, you can
order (sort, view) information in different ways; add, remove, join, archive,
refine - basically you work on the information. And information has become
an arch-factor in every possible field of human activity. It directs the action,
spreads the word, makes sales possible, etc. Without information we'd really
be lost.

With modern tools like Google there's one big change: we no longer are required
to tap the keyboard to make input data. We just guide the process of selection,
and data sources provide us huge amounts of data.

But there's a cost: developing code costs time and effort. It's by no means
an easy skill to master. Even the most user-friendly language has to be
learned, and then there's all the learning with application programming interfaces.
It's like learning a new natural language. I've learned assembler, Pascal,
Basic, Visual Basic, Perl, C, Scheme, Java, C#. They all take their own time. It becomes
easier to learn more languages when you already have a basis on something, but it's
no free lunch nevertheless.

Here comes Google's part: it's a software/services house, that has a LOT
of intelligent code. You may not realize it, but the search engine is one
big chunk of code lines. It probably has at least hundreds of thousands of
source code lines, but might span to millions. The engine has to have pretty
sophisticated parsing engine for HTML and other format content, too. Then there
are the algorithms that rank a page (PageRank), and a LOT of code to fight abuse - which tries to promote pages
into better positions than they truly deserve.

With this knowledge of code, Google has started to produce APIs (interfaces for
programmers to use, from all the main languages). An API is specifically
targeted at certain problem set: like searching. It has its own Search API.
code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/
I'm thinking that small companies, perhaps with some aid from specialized
consultants, could start using the vast data search and other capabilities
that Google has. It's not just searching for web pages anymore - there's
plenty more. And I'm 100% sure we're only beginning to see the whole thing.

What about financial/strategy search, for example? Let Google mine the right
path you should take operations-wise. You could make calls to the Strategy-API
and Google would make its knowledge of the markets available to you. It could
return results regarding competition. Call it mini-BI, whatever. The idea would
be to start applying real knowledge in hard situations, with minimal programming.
Because usually small and medium businesses apply butt-knowledge to business
problems, and often this is the reason they don't grow (actually they would like
to, but don't see the growth potential areas).

We'd have to make a careful balancing between the benefits and fear of being
controlled. Google is a nice fellow, but there's something in its way of
functioning that makes hair stand on end: too much things are free. We've
been taught for all our lives that there's no such thing as free lunch.
The common knowledge goes: use the services, and lose your soul. This is what
many people think. Google is the modern day incarnation of a camera for aboriginals.
The same with Facebook: be there, and say byebye to privacy. It's not so simple in reality.

I've actually read the document which defines Google: The Anatomy of a Search
Engine. It's a bit dry technical documents that illustrates what the goals of
Google are, and what are some of the details of its inner workings. The PageRank
algorithms, the heart and soul of G, are not public. Google has probably been
refined a lot from those times of about 1996-1997. I don't believe in losing my
soul! :-)

Links
- http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/304