Various and Sundry: 1 DRP, 2 Factor Auth, 4 Security Rules, and 7 TV Shows

There are days I think I should include a table of contents with these things :-). It’s been a crazy two days, so here are some various thoughts:


I hate Desktop Replacement time. This is something that periodically happens here at work when you are informed your computer is too old, and you’re the lucky winner of a new one. Now, the company comes out and moves your data (that you have in the standard places), and gives you a system with the standard software installed. This is fine for about 60% of the staff, but us engineers often have non-standard software as well. This means that DRP time is stressful in that you’ve got to find and reinstall a lot of software, and figure out where the configuration settings are to migrate. My system was replaced just about 24 hours ago—this morning has been rebuilding and reinstalling, and I think I’ve figured the last missing piece I needed.


Brian Krebs had a nice piece yesterday on how Google is implementing 2-factor authentication for Gmail: The factors are a user ID, password and six-digit code sent to their mobile phones. This suddenly turns your cellphone into the something you have, without you (or the service provider) having to buy any additional hardware. Quite elegant. This is something that banks and financial institutions should implement, although I can see it creating potential problems with automated downloads such as Quicken.


Bruce Schneier’s blog yesterday touched on something that has impact over here on Livejournal: The four immutable security laws of Malcolm Hawkins. These laws are:

  1. Users want to click on things.
  2. Code wants to be wrong.
  3. Services want to be on.
  4. Security features can be used to harm.

Think about these laws in light of the current debate about Facebook Connect. The combination is scary.


Some television thoughts. Last night, I watched the premier of “Mike and Molly”. I thought it was a cute program and relatively funny (more than I can say for many comedies on TV these days). Right now, I think CBS’s Monday night lineup is pretty strong. Did anyone else watch M&M? What did you think? It will be interesting to see how Big Bang Theory and the Bleepin’ Bill Shatner show does on Thursdays. On the other hands, I read how “Weeds” has been renewed for another season. After watching last night’s episode, I think the show is going off the deep end, diving into the big vat of batshit. It seems like they are just throwing things at the characters to see how they react; the show has really been sliding down the razorblade of life since they left Agrestic.


Link Sausage

Because I’ve been walking at lunch, I haven’t had the chance to assemble news chum. But here are some articles that caught my eye:


Three Unrelated Things

  1. One thing I forgot to mention in my review of Mary Poppins: When they were singing “Feed the Birds” and spreading the imaginary breadcrumbs over the orchestra pit, I was thinking “Feed the Musicians…”
  2. We had a White Elephant gift exchange at work today. It’s no fun when you end up with the gift you gave last year.
  3. In other security news: Santa’s Naughty Database has been hacked. It must be true. I got the link from Bruce Schneier.

Being The Anomaly

Today’s lunchtime news reading has been light, so I’ve been thinking…. always a dangerous thing…. My recent review of history (triggered by going through my dad’s photo albums), combined with friend rediscovery, has reminded me how I am in many ways quite an anomaly in my surroundings:

In my teen years, I went to Jewish summer camp. In this situation, I always felt like the odd person out: I was interested in science, math, and computers, and I was surrounded by future doctors and lawyers. Of course, this has continued in our synagogue memberships. I distinctly remember the new member orientation at our previous congregation: “People would stand up and state their professions. Lawyer, Lawyer, Lawyer, Lawyer, Appelate Lawyer, Social Security Lawyer, Assistant District Attourney, Banker, Doctor, Teacher, Producer, Director, Casting, Production Manager for a Studio, etc. I stand up: ummm, I do computer security for an Aerospace firm. There was one other IT person there, and one other retired engineer.” It’s a little bit better at our current congregation.

Having gotten burned out a few congregations ago when I held a large number of congregational positions, at our new congregation I’m just getting involved with Men’s Club. Of course, I’m an anomaly there, not having one whit of interest in sports (I never really have). Perhaps this is why I’ve never had close friends of the same gender: men bond over shared sporting events, and I can count the number of sporting events I’ve been to… in my entire life… on my physical fingers.

In high school, you would expect a math and computer geek to have close relationships with similar folks. However, my best friend (Karen Pratt) was not a computer person: she was a creative person: an artist, a book lover, a complete imaginative spirit. I still miss her creativity: she was taken from us in a car accident around 2000. I’ve just gotten back in touch with someone (uisna) who was a very close friend in my pre-teen days (a friendship I hope to reestablish). Again, she’s an extremely creative person. Must be a long-delayed application of the law of conservation of creative good friends.

But, you say, you married an engineer (gf_guruilla). True, but if you know her, she is always creating. She had a doll business with the other Karen; she’s into almost any fiber or sewing art. She’s the creative, artistic person. Although I was creative when I was younger (at camp I always did arts and crafts), I’m not that artistic now. Perhaps it is buried.

Most computer folks aren’t into theatre. They are into various fandoms, usually related to science fiction. If they are into art, it is often manga. Their entertainment is typically movies. Although I do enjoy science fiction, I’ve never been the fannish type, and as you know from this blog, my ideal entertainment is live theatre: plays and musicals. A year with more than three movies is an oddity. I will note that some creativity must be rubbing off from my daughter and her theatrical design skills: I’ve begun to see choreography and staging when I listen to music.

I love music: as you know, my iPod has over 18,400 songs on it, spread over a wide variety of genres and artists from cast albums to folk, from rock to Sinatra, from big band to calliope music, from Roger Whittaker to the Austin Lounge Lizards. Yet I can’t play an instrument — others in my family have the music playing ability.

So I’m an anomaly, and I guess I should just embrace it. Love the creativity around me, and hope it sinks in more, and treasure not being the cookie-cutter doctor or lawyer. Who knows what might happen if I ever have that mid-life crisis (which I’ve had to put off because I’m too busy :-)).

What about you? Are you one of the pack, or anomalous like me? In what ways?