Dressing For Success

When it comes to clothes, fashion and the concept of “dressing for success”, most of the people of Nutjob Hills aren’t very different from people anywhere else.  Mr Cramden is one of the more notable exceptions.

He believes that instead of following all of the latest “power fashions” that one should keep things simple and functional.  His wardrobe consists of basic variations on the t-shirt, jeans & tennis shoes for days off around the house.  For work it’s basic solid color shirts, conservative sweaters, slacks and basic black dress shoes as opposed to the more expensive so-called “elite power fashions” that so many people seem to favor these days.

Over the years there have been people that have tried to convince him to “get with the times” but he has no need to, being quite comfortable (and successful) with what he’s been doing for years.

The secret, he says, is to keep things simple, comfortable and concentrate on doing the job right instead of trying to rely on fashion to get you there.  Makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Technorati Tags: nutjob hills, fashion, success

Affordable Terabytes

One of the things that I learned when I started getting into playing around with video (and more recently, rendering video from animated 3D models) is that the better the video quality and the higher the resolution, the larger the files are.  When I first got started my videos were initially done in 320 x 200 resolution with Windows Movie Maker.  It wasn’t long before I moved to 640 x 480 and the file size doubled.

Later, when I was first using the then new camcorder, I was doing everything in 720 x 480 resolution and the files grew larger again.  Then a little over a year ago I started using the HD capability of that camera and since then I have done all my videos in 1280 x 720 resolution and once again the file sizes grew considerably.  I have no doubt that some day I’ll find a better camcorder on sale and I’ll move to full 1080i HD video and the files will get even bigger still.

All of these increasingly large video files add up to an enormous amount of hard drive space in very short order.  As it is, between projects I’ve saved, completed videos and my growing collection of stock footage, sound files and graphics, I have over 66 GIGS of hard drive space devoted to video (that’s not counting the space required for the software being used.) and that amount is literally growing every day as I continue to make new videos.

While the 250gig drive on my desktop and the 360gig on my laptop are more than enough to hold this collection for a long time to come, there’s also the matter of making backups because I do NOT want to have to “start from scratch” after a catastrophic loss of some kind.  This is why I’ve been thinking seriously about a 1.5TB External Hard Drive.  It’s got enough space for several full drive images of both the desktop and the laptop hard drives and that means I’d be covered in the event something ugly happened.

Yeah, I could burn all that stuff to DVD’s, the problem is that would also mean creating some kind of an index so that I could find what disk something was on.  Much better to just have it all stored on some monster-huge hard drive because I know the directory structure I store this stuff in *very* well and don’t HAVE to look things up as long as it’s all on a single media large enough to hold all of it.

Besides, the line you hear these days about storage being “cheap” is more true than ever.  I remember way back in 1992 when hard drives would cost about $10 per megabyte of capacity and a 40mb disk was the best you could find.  This 1.5 terabyte drive actually goes for $94 and change … with Free shipping!  It’s amazing how times have changed isn’t it?

Technorati Tags: making video, large files, file sizes, backup, video editing, storage

4th Amendment Protection Eliminated In E-mail

I just read something on Slashdot that should be a great big red flag to anyone that has any interest in email privacy at all.

The 11th Circuit court handed down a decision in Rehberg v. Paulk which severely limits how much fourth amendment protection there is for Email.  The decision was that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered.

The problem with this is that because of how email works, Just because a copy of the message was delivered to you when your email program downloaded it from the server it doesn’t mean that the copy on the server instantly ceases to exist.  This means that the government or any Law Enforcement Agency can just wait until email is delivered and then snag a copy from the server it was delivered from.

If you’d like an in depth look at why this decision is wrong I suggest you have a look at this article.  The author goes into the legal nuts and bolts of why the 11th circuit court is wrong.

Regardless of whether it’s ever overturned or not, this case serves as a reminder that even with forth amendment protections, email is NOT very private at all unless you take steps to MAKE it private.

The only real answer to the problem of course is to use encryption.  And before you start going with the “If you haven’t got anything to hide then you have nothing to worry about” crap think about this.  For the average person (even law abiding people), it’s not a question of having “something to hide” so much as having privacy.  Back in the days when everybody used postal mail, if you didn’t want the contents of your message to be read then you would use a security envelope or perhaps even put it into a package that was much more difficult to open.

The same thing applies to email.  People send emails every day the contents of which they very much do NOT want to be read by anyone but the intended recipient.  Those emails can be literally anything from important business matters about a new secret project to you Aunt Jane’s secret collection of home remedies for acne.  The point is that you want them to be read only by the person that you’re sending them to and that anyone else reading them is an invasion of privacy.

This is where encryption comes in.  For example if you use Thunderbird as your email program it’s a small thing to get a plugin called Enigmail and a copy of GnuPG, take a few minutes to read some instructions about how to set them up and create a keypair, publish the public part of the key and you’re ready to begin encrypting your email.

Ok, Granted, it’s not much use to encrypt email unless the other party has the same kind of setup but that’s really easy.  All of the programs I just mentioned are free and take only minutes to set up.

I have personally been using encryption for years.  Even when I don’t encrypt emails I use Enigmail & GnuPG to digitally sign all of my emails so that the recipients can A, verify that it was me that sent it and B, they can tell if the message has been altered in any way.

If you want your email to be private the ONLY way to insure this is to use encryption.  I think that it’s long overdue for encryption to come into mainstream use.  It’s not hard to do and does something that regular, unencrypted, email can’t do: It guarantees that you have an “Expectation of privacy” because you have taken extra steps to make it clear to anyone looking at the message that you don’t want anyone but the intended recipient to read it.

Technorati Tags: encryption, forth amendment, enigmail, email, privacy, gnupg, 11th circuit court

Why I PGP Sign All My Emails

I’ve been making it a point to PGP sign all of my emails for several years now and I still get the occasional question asking why I bother.  The answer is simple really, I’m using it as a form of identity theft protection.

You see about five or six years ago I and people I know suddenly started getting spam that had my email address in the From line.  I had known for a long time that it was actually a trivial matter to spoof the from line in an email but this is when it really hit home.  Just by faking the origin of the email somebody could, if they wanted to, send literally anything they wanted to my friends & family and there wouldn’t be any real way for me to convince anyone that I didn’t send it.

Granted, family members are most likely to believe me if I tell them I didn’t send that nasty email with my address in it’s header but most people don’t tend to be as forgiving if they’re not family.

I had been using PGP occasionally to encrypt private messages but I hadn’t used it much otherwise.  This is when I instituted a policy of always signing emails that I send.  That way, if there’s ever a question of “did you send such-and-such?”, I can ask them “Does it have a valid PGP signature created with my personal key?”.  If the answer is no then I didn’t send it.

After deciding on this I let everyone know that if there was ever a question about the validity of an email appearing to be from me, all they have to do is look for and check the signature.

It insures that nobody can send something claiming to be me because they can’t duplicate my signature without my private key and the passphrase.

And no, you can’t just copy the signature block from one email and past it in another.  It doesn’t work that way.  Any PGP signature is totally unique to message it appears in.

Technorati Tags: digital signature, encryption, identity protection, pgp

If I were to tell you that the sale of home security systems is causing an increase in break ins and home invasions you would think I was out of my mind wouldn’t you?

Well, those that have been screaming bloody murder over various forms of piracy, music, movies and lately, E-Books, are essentially trying to do just that.

A recent example is an article on CNN.  In one breath you have publishers whining and crying about how piracy is costing them a bloody fortune and in the next you see clear evidence to the contrary.  Like for example this quote:

Sales for digital books in the second quarter of 2009 totaled almost $37 million. That’s more than three times the total for the same three months in 2008, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

There have been similar revelations about the music and movie industries.  They claim that piracy is costing them millions, even billions, of dollars yet they are at the same time posting all time record profits.

It seems to me that it’s long past time to put this baby to bed and give it a rest.  We’re tired of all the crying and whining, shut up and take a nap in all that effing money you’re making.

The truth of the matter is that yes, a lot of people do download pirated copies of music, movies and e-books.  However it’s also true that sales of the same are skyrocketing.  My favorite theory is that there’s a ton of people using the pirated copies as a “try before you buy” tactic.  They get the movie, music or e-book and check it out.  Then, if they like it, they buy a legal copy of it.  If not, they simply delete it and go on to the next thing.

If publishers of content would actually “GET” this idea, they could stand to make a humongous fortune by A, not spending so much time, money and effort on combating individual piracy and B, actually getting a clue and facillitating the “try before you buy” model.

It’s worked or shareware software authors for nigh on a couple of decades now, seems to me that big content could learn a thing or six from them.

Technorati Tags: piracy, movies, big content, music, publishers, shareware, ebooks

 Page 2 of 14 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »