ENTRIES TAGGED "crypto"
Better Crypto, NukeViz, Weed Economics, and Ethics of Prediction
- Applied Practical Cryptography — technical but readable article with lots of delicious lines. They’re a little magical, in the same sense that ABS brakes were magical in the 1970s and Cloud applications share metal with strangers, and thus attackers, who will gladly spend $40 to co-host themselves with a target and The conservative approach is again counterintuitive to developers, to whom hardcoding anything is like simony.
- Nukemap — interactive visualization of the fallout damage from a nuclear weapon. Now we can all be the scary 1970s “this is what it would look like if [big town] were nuked” documentaries that I remember growing up with. I love interactives for learning the contours of a problem, and making it real and personal in a way that a static visualization cannot. WIN. See also the creator’s writeup.
- Legalising Weed — Chuck, a dealer who switched from selling weed in California to New York and quadrupled his income, told WNYC, “There’s plenty of weed in New York. There’s just an illusion of scarcity, which is part of what I’m capitalizing on. Because this is a black market business, there’s insufficient information for customers.” Invisible economies are frequently inefficient, disrupted by moving online and made market-sense efficient.
- Can Software That Predicts Crime Pass Constitutional Muster? (NPR) — “I think most people are gonna defer to the black box,” he says. “Which means we need to focus on what’s going into that black box, how accurate it is, and what transparency and accountability measures we have [for] it.”
Sterling on Disruption, Coding Crypto Fun, Distributed File System, and Asset Packaging
- Bruce Sterling on Disruption — If more computation, and more networking, was going to make the world prosperous, we’d be living in a prosperous world. And we’re not. Obviously we’re living in a Depression. Slow first 25% but then it takes fire and burns with the heat of a thousand Sun Microsystems flaming out. You must read this now.
- The Matasano Crypto Challenges (Maciej Ceglowski) — To my delight, though, I was able to get through the entire sequence. It took diligence, coffee, and a lot of graph paper, but the problems were tractable. And having completed them, I’ve become convinced that anyone whose job it is to run a production website should try them, particularly if you have no experience with application security. Since the challenges aren’t really documented anywhere, I wanted to describe what they’re like in the hopes of persuading busy people to take the plunge.
- Tachyon — a fault tolerant distributed file system enabling reliable file sharing at memory-speed across cluster frameworks, such as Spark and MapReduce. Berkeley-licensed open source.
Buffett Lessons, Crypto Startup, HTTP 451, and Fixing Academic Publishing
- Warren Buffett Lessons — nice anthology of quotes, reordered into almost a narrative on different topics. (via Rowan Simpson)
- Silent Circle — Phil Zimmermann’s new startup, encrypting phone calls for iPhone and Android for $20/month. “I’m not going to apologize for the cost,” Zimmermann told CNET, adding that the final price has not been set. “This is not Facebook. Our customers are customers. They’re not products. They’re not part of the inventory.” (via CNET)
- New HTTP Code for “Legally Restricted” — it’s status code 451.
- PeerJ — changing the business model for academic publishing: instead of charging you each time you publish, we ask for a single one off payment, giving you the lifetime right to publish articles with us, and to make those articles freely available. Lifetime plans start at just $99. O’Reilly a happy investor.
Crypography Illustrated, Hollywood Futures, Machine Learning Mastery, and Analytics Assumptions
- An Illustrated Guide to Crypographic Hashes — exactly what it says: learn how hashing works and how you’d use it for passwords, digital signatures, etc.
- The Age of Fanfiction — We live in a time where copyright means very little to younger people, and it’s not just because they want free movies or free music. More than that, they want to be able to play with the amazing toys that they’ve been given by filmmakers and comic book writers and TV creators, and they want to do so without the constraints that copyright creates. Eloquent and thoughtful piece on what this means for Hollywood and how “the Age of Fanfiction is reflected in what Hollywood’s making. (via Sacha Judd)
- How Khan Academy is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery — it is bloody hard to know when a student has mastered a subject, both for real live teachers and for roboteachers like Khan Academy. This is a detailed discussion of a change in assessment within Khan Academy. if we define proficiency as your chance of getting the next problem correct being above a certain threshold, then the streak becomes a poor binary classifier. Experiments conducted on our data showed a significant difference between students who take, say, 30 problems to get a streak vs. 10 problems right off the bat — the former group was much more likely to miss the next problem after a break than the latter.
- In Which I Declare Four Things My Probability Class is Not About — a reminder of the assumptions we make when we use numerical analysis to understand a problem.
Open Access, Retro Crypto, Open Source Q&A, and Music Visualization
- Open Access Week — a global event promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research.
- The Copiale Cipher — cracking a historical code with computers. Details in the paper: The book describes the initiation of “DER CANDIDAT” into a secret society, some functions of which are encoded with logograms. (via Discover Magazine)
- Coordino — open source Quota-like question-and-answer software. (via Smashing Magazine)
- Baroque.me — visualization of the first prelude from the first Cello Suite by Bach. Music is notoriously difficult to visualize (Disney’s Fantasia is the earliest attempt that I know of) as there is so much it’s possible to capture. (via Andy Baio)
Windows 8, CC YouTube, Corporate Innovation, and Crypto Lifetimes
- Building Windows 8 – Video #1 (YouTube) — lovely to see Microsoft’s operating system finally leaping past a 2002 look and feel.
- YouTube Offers Creative Commons Licensing (BoingBoing) — bravo!
- Redefiners Capturing Media Growth Dollars — Anil Dash’s corporate presentation about innovating within large (media) companies. The initial slides are money posturing to get the attention of the audience, but after that there’s some heavy-hitting drumming of the message: how to make startup success happen within big companies. Nothing new, but well said.
- Lifetimes of Crypto Hash Functions (Val Aurora) — in Nelson Minar’s words, “spoiler: not long”. Love the lifetime table at the bottom. (via Nelson Minar)
Email Game, Faster B Trees, RFID+Projectors, and Airport Express Broken
- The Email Game — game mechanics to get you answering email more efficiently. Can’t wait to hear that conversation with corporate IT. “You want us to install what on the Exchange server?” (via Demo Day Wrapup)
- Stratified B-trees and versioning dictionaries — A classic versioned data structure in storage and computer science is the copy-on-write (CoW) B-tree — it underlies many of today’s file systems and databases, including WAFL, ZFS, Btrfs and more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t inherit the B-tree’s optimality properties; it has poor space utilization, cannot offer fast updates, and relies on random IO to scale. Yet, nothing better has been developed since. We describe the `stratified B-tree’, which beats all known semi-external memory versioned B-trees, including the CoW B-tree. In particular, it is the first versioned dictionary to achieve optimal tradeoffs between space, query and update performance. (via Bob Ippolito)
- DisplayCabinet (Ben Bashford) — We embedded a group of inanimate ornamental objects with RFID tags. Totems or avatars that represent either people, products or services. We also added RFID tags to a set of house keys and a wallet. Functional things that you carry with you. This group of objects combine with a set of shelves containing a hidden projector and RFID reader to become DisplayCabinet. (via Chris Heathcote)
- shairport — Aussie pulled the encryption keys from an Airport Express device, so now you can have software pretend to be an Airport Express.
Systematic Voice, gTLD Branding, Haikuleaks, and PS3 Code Signing
- Groupon Editorial Manual (Scribd) — When introducing something nonsensical (fake history, mixed metaphors), don’t wink at the reader to let them in on the joke. Don’t call it out with quotes, parenthesis, or any other narrative device. Speak your ignorance with total authority. Assert it as fact. This is how you can surprise the reader. If you call out your joke, even in a subtle way, it spoils the surprise. Think of yourself as an objective, confident, albeit totally unqualified and frequently blatantly ignorant voice speaking at a panel you shouldn’t have been invited to. It’s interesting to see a quirky voice encoded in rules. Corporates obviously need this, to scale and to ensure consistency between staff, whereas in startups it emerges through the unique gifts and circumstance of employees (think Flickr’s Friendly Hipster voice). (via Brady Forrest on Twitter)
- Deloitte Corporate gTLD (Slideshare) — Deloitte one of the early bidders to buy their own top-level domain as a branding move. The application fee alone is $185,000.
- Haikuleaks — automated finder of haiku from within the wikileaked cables. (via Andy Baio on Twitter)
- PS3 Code-signing Key Broken — the private keys giving Sony a monopoly on distributing games for the PS3 have been broken. Claimed to be to let Linux run on the boxes, rather than pirated games. Remains to be seen whether the experience of the PS3 user will become richer for the lack of Sony gatekeeping. There’s even a key generator now. (via Hacker News)