Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

June 26, 2008  12:29 PM

Overheard: PGP is just an envelope

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
phil_zimmerman.jpg Perhaps you think your E-mail is legitimate enough that encryption is unwarranted. If you really are a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, then why don’t you always send your paper mail on postcards?

Phil Zimmerman, Why do you need PGP?

Phil Zimmerman is an interesting guy. You may remember that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California tried to put him in jail for making his email encryption program, Pretty Good Privacy, public. It was a crazy story.

So what’s he up to now? VoIP security.

June 26, 2008  3:27 AM

Quiz: Writing for business — is, are

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Which is correct?

Jeff Bezos, as well as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, _____ going to be at the conference.
a. is
b. are

Continued »

June 25, 2008  1:01 PM

Quiz: Writing for business — have or has

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Which is correct?

Each of you _____ contributed a great deal to the success of this project.
a. have
b. has

Continued »

June 24, 2008  10:05 PM

Overheard: The secret to Wikipedia is Squid?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
domas-mituzas.jpg “Down time used to be our most profitable product.”

Domas Mituzas, as quoted in A Look Inside Wikipedia’s Infrastructure

Domas Mituzas works as a MySQL support engineer for Sun Microsystems in his “day job.” He says that Wikipedia has 200 application servers, 20 database servers and 70 servers dedicated Squid cache servers.

Guess we  need to define Squid!

June 24, 2008  8:47 PM

Overheard: How to remember your strong password

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mail7.jpg “For most people, changing passwords is little bit of a pain in the ass.”

Smackdown, Passwords That Are Easy To Remember But Impossible To Guess

Way back in the day when the kids would do the modem dance (bong, bong) and yell “I’m in!” when they got through to AOL, my oldest daughter forgot her new password after changing it three times in one day and had to call AOL to find out what her password was.

Yep, that’s what you did in those days. You’d call AOL up on the phone and give them your old password and they’d give you your new password. The reason I remember this is because it turns out my oldest daughter had chosen a VERY BAD WORD for the last password that worked — and pretty much cried because she had to say it out loud on the phone to the AOL rep in front of her parental units. (She was 13. It’s good that she felt bad.)

In that spirit — sort of — the author of the blog Smackdown has created a strong password generator that encourages you to pronounce your strong password out loud and memorize it that way.

The random ones from his generator are still too hard for me to memorize, but if you stretch the idea and pronounce your strong password as if it’s a text message abbreviation, it fits my learning style perfectly.

So I’m going to make up some new strong password rules for myself and see if I can not cringe the next time I’m forced to change passwords.


Here are my new strong password rules, and a couple of examples for you to see how my new speak-aloud process works. (Give yourself extra points if you’ve already been doing this and I’m just late to the party.)


1. Should be at least 8 characters long
2. Should contain at least one number and one special ASCII character
3. Should be a mix of upper and lower case letters

My own additions:
4. Substitute the number 1 for the word “I”
5. If the word is capitalized, or the word is important, use upper case letter


tr2GDumd — pronounced “There are two GUIDE DOGS under my desk”

1ma*diPMM — pronounced “I am a star, damn it, PAY ME MORE”

1dcwbP@l@inGB — pronounced “I don’t care who becomes President as long as it’s not GEORGE BUSH”

Try creating a new strong password of your own — not only will you be able to remember the darn thing and impress your system administrator with your super-strong passwords, you’ll have a mysterious smile on your face every time you type your passphrase and everyone will wonder what you’re up to!

June 23, 2008  5:01 PM

Overheard: Is the set-top box doomed? Not likely.

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
cynthiabrumfield.jpg Less than two weeks after the blogosphere and press erupted with stories that the cable TV set-top faced extinction as a result of Sony signing onto a major interactive TV initiative by cable operators called Tru2Way, folks close to Tru2Way say the first certification test of the technology is a “disaster of spectacular proportions.”

Cynthia Brumfield, Terrible Troubles with Cable’s Tru2Way Initiative?

Cynthia got slammed for this blog post, but even James McQuivey (Forrester) has said “So here’s where I stand on tru2way: I’ll believe it when I see it.” As close as I can figure it, here’s what the big deal is:

1. Cable companies would like to get rid of set-top boxes. They cost them money.

2. TV manufacturers are getting extra press by announcing they are getting behind Tru2way as the standard for allowing the TV itself perform the functions of the set-top box. (True2way is open source.)

3. A lot of industry experts don’t see how the business model for this change is going to work — consumers worry that putting the interface in the TV means it’s one more thing that can break on their TV — vendors remember a former effort to get rid of the set-top box (called CableCard) that just confused everyone and went belly up.

June 23, 2008  11:20 AM

Overheard: Microsoft gets a “D” in SOA

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
block_with_letter_d.jpg Just what the world needs…yet another programming language. As soon as you say it’s aimed at non-developers, “real” developers will avoid it like the plague. And without “real” developer support, it’s dead in the water.

Fred Fredrickson, responding to Mary Jo Foley’s blog post Microsoft declares its modeling love with a new language, ‘D’

June 20, 2008  3:17 PM

Overheard: Symantec and SaaS

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
mark_twomey.jpg I don’t believe Symantec have their head around SaaS. Up their own SaaS maybe, the pricing shows that.

Mark Twomey, SwapDrive. It’ll cost you!

Thank you Storage Anarchist (Barry A. Burke) for sending me this quote.  Barry, if you will recall,  coined the popular phrase “Hitachi math.”

June 19, 2008  7:38 PM

Overheard: It’s official — IBM Roadrunner is world’s fastest computer

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
walaika_haskins.jpg Perhaps surprisingly, more than 5 million PlayStation 3 owners in the U.S. have first-hand knowledge of at least one of the processors that carried the Roadrunner to victory.

Walaika Haskins, IBM Roadrunner Meep-Meeps to Top of Supercomputer Rankings

The IBM supercomputer is powered by 12,240 IBM PowerXCell 8i Cell chips similar to those found in the gaming console. The system’s 6,562 AMD Opteron dual-core processors handle the basic compute functions, leaving the Cell chips available to deal with the heavy lifting necessary for the math-intensive calculations in which the processors specialize.

June 19, 2008  11:51 AM

Overheard: Keystroke dynamics in two-factor authentication

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
jason_striegel.jpg Nathan Harrington amended the GNOME Desktop Manager to include keystroke dynamics in the user verification process. When the user enters their username, the timings between key press events are measured and compared against a stored pattern.

Jason Striegel, Add keystroke user verification to Gnome

I think Nathan Harrington has one of the coolest jobs of anyone I know. He’s always putting something new out for people to tinker with.

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