Month: August 2008

Convergence

I’m not into writing generic posts about buzzwords but I have to admit that I’m astonished. We just got a Nokia N95 8GB last week and I’ve been playing with it since then.

It’s amazing! I’ve never used my laptop since I bought it… It has a decent web browser with Flash Lite support. All websites work perfectly: Gmail, Google, Youtube, BBC, The Register, Slashdot. Even the Google calendar works well. But the best thing is that it has wireless 802.11g support, so I don’t even have to pay a penny to browse the internet! And all major websites have their mobile versions as well automatically chosen by user agent.

Games? It supports the n-gage engine (as all new Nokia do) and has some decent games for it’s small screen. The best thing about the games is that they use a OpenGL 1.1 ES GPU on the thing. Skype, messenger, GPS, step counter etc are also available. Can it get better?

Yet, the best thing is that you can develop in C++, Java and Python! Not on the move, though… I guess I’ll have to wait a few more iterations to get a terminal and a (free as in speech) compiler and a good processor to be able to compile code while I browse the web and listen to podcasts…

False security

False security is worse than no security. It’s that simple.

Bruce Schneier won’t stop saying how CCTV cameras are not only plain ineffective, but they bring the false sense of security even on police forces that won’t patrol the streets as good as they would without cameras. People won’t worry as much as they would without cameras and become easy baits for common robbers.

The same apply to computer security, of course. Building up a firewall in your computer, running an updated version of the latest anti-virus / anti-rootkit / anti-malware / anti-whatever won’t protect you from the most simple of the attacks: social engineering. One email or phone call done right to the right person is enough to render the whole network inoperative for hours or to pass sensible information to black hats do whatever they want or need in order to hack a system. Yours or any other.

As if it was not enough, as Bruce always point out, placing cameras will make robbers attack on places without cameras. In the same line, placing personal firewalls will make viruses mutate and attack on more subtle ways. Placing proxies and snooping hardware on your network will only make the real offenders care more when they’re accessing prohibited websites or protocols, for they will anyway.

The fact is simple: You can’t assure 100% of security.

Money is hardly the issue here. Think on the amount of money the US spend on securing their own classified data. Probably more than what they spend on wars around the world. But it wasn’t enough, Gary McKinnon could get into all of that to search for UFO information (yes, I do believe him). Apple spends a whole bunch on securing their devices and Brazilian hackers unlocked it only 3 days after the new iPhone 3G was released.

DRM is the other myth I can’t understand how people with a bit (not much) of clarity and intelligence can ever think it’s worth the shot. All major locks imposed to consumers were broken immediately after they were released. Hackers (good and bad ones) can easily break into any security scheme but the normal public will have to use the digital handcuffs. It’s not only unfair, it utterly stupid and pointless.

There is no sensible choice other than agree with Richard Stallman’s philosophy: ideas should be open and free. Competitive advantage must be on what you are doing rather than on what you’ve done. It’s impossible to secure the past, let it go, walk forward, invent!

What’s the value (worth of stealing) of your previous achievements if your future ones are much better? What could a hacker possibly want with old things? If they’re hacking, it means you’re not fast enough! Keep up!!