Saturday, May 31, 2008

Encryption - How far do you really need to go?


One of the questions that have recently passed my mind is how far do you really have to go with encryption. After listening to Steve Gibson at for almost a year now, I've heard him talk a good deal about encryption. But what is enough?

The amount of encryption you should use it directly proportional to the value of the most valuable data in the folder/drive.

I've developed this theory after using a program called TrueCrypt. It allows you to basically create a container, similar to a .zip folder, that you can mount like a hard drive. But what is really cool about it is that the file looks like a regular file, so if someone is just glancing through your files, they really would never be able to tell the difference.  And if you have to work with others, but have you encrypted files open, the container looks just like another hard drive on 'My Computer', giving them no reason to be suspicious of anything. You can also encrypt whole USB Drives or even entire partitions. One of the features I find handy is the ability to set hotkeys, and most of the keys are things that would be really useful if someone is coming to look over your shoulder. I currently have the a key (Ctrl + Alt +Backspace) bound to automatically dismounting all the drives and exiting TrueCrypt. That way if anyone is coming over, they would never know that I am working with encrypted file, or where they are.

But getting back to my theory. TrueCrypt allows you to create layers of encryption that if you have something extremely important, you can bury it upon several encryption algorithms and passwords. Plus the fact that you can require that along with the password, a keyfile is given. This is a file that about the first 1,000 bytes of are used along with the password to encrypt your container.

So, if you have some of the sensitive information lying around on a laptop, you might want to bolt it up tight with TrueCrypt or another popular encryption techniques.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Schools miss it....

I find that some schools are definitely moving in the right direction to get more involved into technology. My school has tons of computers almost everywhere, all of the grade reports are online, and all the grades are recorded online. But still all the computers take forever to boot because of the massive keyloggers and recording intentionally put on there, they miss the entire social side of the Internet by blocking any pages that say 'Social Networking', and they've really just missed the point of the Internet entirely. It is a lot like big media corps. They see all the people doing wonderful things with the Internet, and they want so bad to be able to use it for the best things they can, but then when they put an honestly effort out to try to incorporate it into the curriculum, it is a hit and miss effort. Part of this is because of the teachers that they can't fire, are so resistant to bringing technology into classrooms, or even learning how to use most computers! Sadly, that chain reacts down to the students who are missing out on great learning experiences because their teachers won't make an effort to learn some of these new technologies.

Maybe in a decade once most of the older teacher retire, there will be room to expand and bring in these new technologies, but from where I'm currently standing, it is definitely affecting my learning experience.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Instability at Twitter

If any of you have used Twitter for any length of time, you might have realized it gets very addicting, and if you've looked at the public timeline, you also might realize that a lot of people use it. Now, if you have really got to be a Tweeter, you've probably also witnessed first-hand that it goes down, a lot. No .. not just once a week, I mean A LOT. One of the big problems that many Tweeters have is the fact that Twitter goes down very often, and if you use Twitter as a means of communication, entertainment, or more, this becomes a annoying occurrence. Twitter Developers have made steps to try to reduce the amount of down time that Twitter experiences, but if there becomes a major spike in users, like say, a mention on a mainstream source, the entire system will most likely collapse. One of the technologies that might allow us to allow Twitter to stay online is a idea from Techcrunch's Michael Remmington brought up on May 5th, 2008.

The key weakness in Twitter (and therefore opportunity for a new decentralized approach) is the fact that so much Twitter activity occurs off Users are getting very used to using desktop clients (Twitterific, Alert Thingy, Twhirl, etc.), IM, SMS, and other interfaces to talk to Twitter. Those third party applications can be tuned to lock in to the new decentralized Twitter-like service instead or in addition to Twitter itself. - Techcrunch - Michael Arrington

Decentralization is one of the ways Twitter can be freed of the often down time it has. The key to this is to make the 'Tweets' alot like instant messages, where the user would subscribe to a person's tweets, and then the followers would get pinged whenever there is a new tweet. Because there is no single server to be relied on, there in turn could be no site-wide outage. Thus solving the problem.

Desktop Blogging Software FTW

Yes, I have finally found my desktop blogging software. I have no idea how well it currently works, but I am going to try it out for awhile an see how it works. The program in Windows Live Writer, and I stumbled upon it while installing Windows Live Mail onto my laptop.


One of the things I really like is when a developer makes desktop software to easily publish things onto the Internet. I find most things require that you go to the actual web site to use the functionality of it. was not even a question of whether I would use it or not for awhile. I just don't remember to check different web sites frequently enough to make use of it. But as soon as I found it had Twitter and Email functionality, and I had desktop software to alert me of tasks, it suddenly became a very viable web site to use.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Great Conversation

In a Tweet from chacha102: "Go out today, and make a difference. Help to create the great conversation! Twitter, IM, Blog, Comment! Create Content for the Entire World!" (Me). What this tweet says is more true than anything else on the internet. In the last decades that we have had the internet, can you believe what a gigantic change the internet has made. So many great services has popped up that truly tend to the ways most people would like to use the internet. You can have discussions with groups with Google Groups, keep in touch with people with services like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and more. You can create your own website extremely easily with some of the great online free website hosting wizards. With a quick search you can learn almost anything very quickly with many sites filled with tutorials and articles on almost everything under the sun. You have easy quick ways to allow you to e-mail all your friends and share links and notes.

Getting back to the main subject is the fact that over the past few decades the internet has became a gigantic conversation between lots of people. And of those people, there are content creators, content consumers, or content creators and consumers. One of the best ways to become involved on the internet is to enter the 2-way street of communication. If you are a creator, make sure that the consumers have easy ways to give you feed back and converse with the other members of a website. If you are a consumer, push for the creators of the content you love to make sure that you and others can comment. Everyone has something to say about any news article, program, or content in any type. So embrace the great conversation going on around you!

New Age in Media

For most of the content providers that older people are used to such as TV and Radio Stations, the new age of the internet has became a double-edged sword. Most content providers want to hang onto their content and copyright and put DRM on it. But as the internet grows, we enter the new media age that wants content to be freed and opened for everyone to use on any platform, and providers just arn't ready to let go of it. But slowly, some providers are starting to let go of their content, or at least make it more accessible by allowing online movie rentals, freely accesible flash video feeds of the content, and offering DRM-Free content.
But that isn't enough! The fact is people want to be able to access media when they want, where they want, on the device they want. And people are able to do that by pirating and ripping content, making it DRM Free. And when you really get down to who uses the content and who the DRM blocks, it blocks the good guys. The people who are willing to pay for a copy of something as long as they are able to move it around. Its still their content, why can't they use it?
And is isn't like there isn't any hope. No media company is going to go broke because they begin offering DRM-Free, no cost episodes of TV shows after they have aired for a month.
No company is going to lose a large chunk off income for offering DRM-Free, no to low cost movies after they have hit the DVD stores. The easier and cheaper it is for customers to conviently access content, the more they are going to want to pay for the content instead of pirating it, because if you offer it in a way that is more convient than downloading it off BitTorrent, people are going to pay for it.

The big idea is that old providers need to starting heading towards DRM-Free content, and allowing more people to get access to really old movies and TV shows.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Firefox Release Candidate 1

Okay, it might only be a release candidate for Firefox 3 .. but it is the best browser I have used. It is lightning fast, the 'smart bar' for an address bar is absolutely phenomenal. Some of the best features of all the major browsers are incorporated into RC1, but it remains extremely fast. Let me give you a little tour:

1. The Fastest Browser so far. I'm not exaggerating at all. Lifehacker has done tests on RC1, and it has turned out to be the speediest browser:
"Mozilla VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer claims that Firefox 3 is 9.3x faster than Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and 2.7x faster than Firefox 2 in terms of JavaScript performance. In terms of Gmail message load time, he claims Firefox 3 is 6.8x faster than IE7 and 3.8x faster than Firefox 2. And he says Firefox 3 beats Apple's Safari, which is also faster than Firefox 2." - From Lifehacker
2. Sleek New Design I don't know about you, but I spend a gigantic amount of time on the internet, in my web browser. So much so that I acctually care about how the browser looks around the page it is framing. Firefox 3 RC1 really delivers with much sleeker tabs, buttons, and ever the 'Back' button has been redesigned to be larger for when you need to go back. The regular buttons are take up less room and the tabs are shorter in height, which really adds some space.

3. Smart Bar The Firefox Address bar is offically one of the coolest address bars I've seen. Like most browsers it will look through your history, and as you begin to type it will give you a list of places you've recently visited. But the cool part is the more you use it, that smarter it becomes. If you type in 'Tw' when you are going to, and shows up first, you simply can press the down button a few times to get to the entry. The next time you type 'Tw' it will bring up before

Firefox 3 has certainly won me over, and now I can't wait for the offical version so developers update all of their addons.

Sorry for the Delay

Sorry for the delay for posting. Lot of great stuff on the horizon and I am just getting everything right!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leo Laporte - Charging a Path into the future of digital media

Leo Laporte ( has been a radio personality for a long time on his current Tech Radio show 'Leo Laporte - The Tech Guy' which airs on radio every week. When he is normally recording the radio show at 11-2 PST on Satudays and Sundays, he also is taking on a new feat by streaming his the recording of his radio show in live video.

His Live video is being served by Stickam, and has reached up to 3,000 users without completely lagging out. He is also taking a new view to taking questions on his radio show by allowing listeners to twitter messages to his twitter account (leolaporte). Besides that he also reads the Stickam chat that is conviently located right below the Stickam Screen at Along with that he has his own IRC chat at

All of these things greatly increase the communication between him and his viewers that allow his to keep this great internet conversation going. A conversation that basically involves everyone that has access to the internet and has something to say. And it is easy to join this conversation! There are so many great sites like Twitter, Blogger, Facebook, Pownce and several others that allow you make your own content, and put your input into the grand conversation of Technology.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Twitter has got to be one of the greatest Social Networks that has gone up on the internet. Its extremely simple.

Its very simple to send a message. There is a big box on your home page when you go to . You type in there up to 140 characters, and everyone who follows you can see what you are posting. Also you can put @username of someone on twitter, and that will allow them to directly see the Tweets, the @ also has other uses.

Basically, at every users personal page there is a giant button that allows you to follow that user. After that, the Tweets get displayed on your home page

Direct Messages
For those more private messages that need to be sent directly to the user, there are direct messages that are alot like replies, except they can only be viewed by the user it was sent to, and you can only direct message people who are following you AND you are following them.

Evernote: The Future of Note Taking?

Evernote (, is one of the great new tools I've come to love over the past few weeks. In short, it is a note taking program that allows you to take content from Websites, take screenshots, import pictures, and more into a database of online media that you can search on any of your computers after they sync.

Handwriting Recongnition
Evernote is very good at handwriting recognition in pictures so if you take a picture with your phone of a California ID, and after it indexes, type California, or another word on the picture, that picture will come up in your search results.

Screen shots
Evernote comes with a great widget called the Universal Clipper, which allows you to press a 2 keys, and select a part of the screen you want to take a screen shot, press enter, and you have whatever you selected

Thats just some of the great features, check it out at If you would like a Beta invite, twitter me (chacha102) and I'll gladly give you one if I have any left.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Live Broadcasting

I've always loved the idea of live broadcast. It gives a sense of community and interaction between the broadcaster's and the users. There is just something about being live that is much more real and more enjoyable than having a pre-recorded show because there are flaws. It doesn't look like you are perfect and it doesn't look like you never make mistakes. It allows the user to relate to you.

I'd like to point out a great new Live broadcast on Tuesday-Sat (Except Fridays) by Leo Laporte at . They are really doing something awesome there by recording all of their podcasts live and allow a chatroom usually ranging from about 1,000 people in at a time.

If you know another Live Podcast that you'd like me to check out and maybe recommend, put it in the comments or message me on Twitter (chacha102)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hulu - Videos for the Bored

Miss that last episode of The Tonight Show or The Office? Fox wants you to head to and sign up, watch, and enjoy the 10 second commercials every 10 minutes!

Honestly, I enjoy Hulu, its a very nice way to be able to watch things when I'm bored and really don't like whatever is currently on TV. Hollywood is going in the right direction with Hulu and offering free episodes of shows online, but it still isn't there yet. What really needs to happen is after a certain amount of time, like a 2 years after a movie comes out, it needs to be able to be downloaded for free. Because really, after 2-3 years, there is not going to be a big amount of money coming from the sale of that movie.

Monday, May 12, 2008

How important is it to design your blog well?

Lately, I've fallen to using Google Reader exclusivly for all the blogs I look at. I used to individually go to all of the blogs I read, and look through to see if there is any new news, and now I really don't have to. I know plenty of you have already discovered this, and yes I'm behind in the tech world when it comes to some diffrent Web applications, but I pose this question to you:

How important is it to design your blog well, perticularly for readablility.

Personally, after going through a entire week without even acctually going to, techcrunch, or slashdot, except for 'read' links, I've came to realize that designing the acctual website for readibilty isn't that important, what is really important is catching a user's attention the first time, maybe the second or thrid time, and then making it easy for them to read via RSS.

And really, isn't that what it's all about. It's not about the page design or the flashy graphics, it's the content that matters and that is what is going to drive readers to your site. Estimates a few months ago declared that 1,000,000 (1 million for short) people around the globe have the resources to make a podcast. And if everyone of them did, and also wrote a blog, you would have so much content on the web that you wouldn't know what to do with it.

Think of a world that no matter where you were, what you were doing, you could open up a device that you would have hours worth of content of stuff you like.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Microsoft Tells Its Alternate Yahoo Board Members It Won’t Be Needing Them

Microsoft Tells Its Alternate Yahoo Board Members It Won’t Be Needing Them

I can't make heads or tails of this entire deal. First Microsoft wants Yahoo!, then it doesn't, and then everyone says that they are just going to try to buy out Yahoo!, and then they tell the people they were going to use to do that, that they no longer need them. Somethings is happening here, but it ain't happened yet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Page2RSS - Create an RSS feed for any web page

Page2RSS - Create an RSS feed for any web page

This is the next service I'm gonna try. Basically it takes a website, monitors it for updates, and puts it into an RSS Format. I'm first gonna try this out for my homework for my Teachers, and see if it works that well, and how it works, and I'll post my review to you guys in a couple of days.

Macworld | Bug delays Photoshop Express update

Macworld | Bug delays Photoshop Express update

This is the kinds of applications that I think are really changing the way buisness think of customers. The fact is that Photoshop is a rather expensive program. Most people don't really want to buy that expensive program. Free Online programs allow people to develop a sense of the product, and get to use the major features in the product for Free with no time limit, so there is no end-of-use time and you have to buy it in order to continue using it. And now that Adobe is expanding its integration with Flickr, it just gives more of a reason to use it.

Microsoft and NBC working on copyright filters for Zune? - Engadget

This Update from 'Engadget' (Which Firefox does not think is a word):
Microsoft and NBC working on copyright filters for Zune? - Engadget
NBC recently told the New York Times that it's working with Microsoft to develop "copyright filters" for the Zune that would "remove pirated movies and videos."
Unfortunately, this is yet another reason why NBC isn't exactly the most liked of all the corporations. Putting DRM on content that you have purchased as reserve the right for Fair Use. Just makes life alot more difficult for everyone else. I personally like the DRM on, very light and simply is put there to make sure that the authors get their money. This is what the DRM on movies is suppose to do. But they fail at it. BIG TIME. Big Corps spend way too much effort into trying to make movies only work on certain players and certain devices, when in the long term, they would get a lot more money if the movies worked on many different devices. That way they arn't going just to a sepcific audience of Zune users (Its a real time waster to make a DRM that will be block 5 people.) Instead allow it to be used by many people, you spend less time in making the DRM, you save money.
Update: Although a spokesperson told the NYT that Microsoft was working with NBC on anti-piracy efforts, the company is now saying that it has no plans to implement a "copyright cop" in the Zune, and the Zune Insider blog confirms. Great, now just cancel the ISP-level filtering system and we'll be all set.
Meh .. No Comment

Faster than a Speeding Bullet!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more swift than Cat Woman and with the finesse of a drunken irish dancer, I have conveniently posted my Twitter updates onto the side of my blog! All of this without breaking a sweat! How do I do it? No body knows!

Welcome Once Agian!

Welcome once again to my attempt to force myself to publish a blog. Whether or not this attempt will succeed or not, nobody does know. But at least I have conviently taken up another sub address! Reachable at Not only will I attempt to post onto this blog, I will use it to test my Blogger PHP API skills. So, sit back, relax, refresh a couple times, and watch as I attempt to give you a Students Guide to Tech