SLACKWARE ENCRYPTED SWAP

2013-01-22 21:36 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When available memory drops below a certain point, the Linux kernel will swap the contents of memory pages to swap space. This content may include sensitive information such as passwords, usernames, PINS, banking or other identity information. This data is usually in plain text and so can be read without effort. Encrypting the system swap space protects its contents against unauthorized access and attack should access to the hard drive be compromised or physically removed.

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CLOUD RELIABILITY

2012-12-28 16:03 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The "Cloud" is supposed to be a flexible, resilient and redundant resource for computing power and data storage. But just how reliable is it?

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WE’VE GOT OUR EYES ON YOU !

2012-11-28 18:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Think you're location is private because you turned GPS off in your cellular telephone? Think again.

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A PRAYER OF REMEMBRANCE

2012-11-11 10:29 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Gracious God, our help in ages past, our support in present times and our hope in years to come; in memory and in hope we come before you.

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THE LITTLE DUTCH GIRL’S COAT

2012-10-19 15:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A recent story came to my attention that revolves around an artifact in the Canadian War Museum. It is an unusual artifact to find in such a place being a little girls coat. It was sent to me by Eric Fernberg, Director of Collections and Programs at the museum. It is quite poignant, and shows the gentler and more humane side of war stories beyond the blood and combat. As next month is November and as Remembrance Day approaches, I'd like to share it with you.

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BOOK REVIEW: RECURSION

2012-09-08 20:20 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Recursion by Tony Ballantyne is an ambitious exploration of the future development of artificial intelligence blended with the often current relevance of “Big Brother” and the “nanny state”.

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WINTER AUTOMOBILE STORAGE

2012-09-08 17:13 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

For those with multiple vehicles, especially vintage or sports cars, the end of autumn marks the time to prepare such vehicles for winter storage. Proper preparation can help ensure a worry free start-up come spring, and a longer life overall.

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EXPAND YOUR HOSTING STORAGE

2012-08-28 15:39 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Places to host a web site are plentiful, and good quality hosting can be had at reasonable prices from a plethora of firms. But often the space available, if you wish to host a large number of files is limited. There is a way, however, to obtain a large amount of storage space that shrinks and grows as you need it, and only pay for what you use.

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CONSIDERING HIRING A CONTRACTOR ?

2012-07-31 21:00 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

More and more people are renovating their homes and cottages every day. Some do the work themselves, while others chose to call in a professional contractor to do the job. Before you even collect the materials there are a few preliminaries that can save a whole lot of potential grief down the road.

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THE FIRST CLICK

2012-06-20 16:03 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Eugene Polley died last month (May 20 , 2012) at the age of 96. Most people don’t recognize his name but millions have used, and continue to use, the device he invented more than fifty years ago. Eugene Polley was the father of the cordless television remote control.

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INSIDER THREAT MITIGATION

2012-05-21 22:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Ask any computer professional who works in security what the biggest threat to an information system is and you might be surprised at the answer. It's not outside “hackers”, it is insiders within the organization itself. And the best way to stop these internal attacks is by putting a solid prevention program in place.

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DANGEROUS INFLATION

2012-04-20 17:10 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A friend asked me if I had ever heard of inflating a tire with gasoline. Well the answer is yes. But it isn't a wise thing to do.

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EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT STYLE

2012-03-30 01:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Jobs need to have elements that provide satisfaction (beyond their pay) to those doing them. Employees who feel unfulfilled in their work can be as serious a problem, if not more so, than inefficient methods and procedures. By giving people more freedom to do their jobs in the manner they would prefer (within reason), the more satisfaction they will gain from it, and the result to the employer is generally an overall increase in moral and the accompanying rise in productivity.

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GAME REVIEW: ASSASSIN'S CREED REVELATIONS

2012-02-14 17:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Like its predecessors Revelations has fantastic graphics, an interesting storyline and good game play. Unfortunately, it seems this episode, at least for the PC, was rushed out the door. On a fully patched and up to date OS, I encountered never ending problems with graphics tearing, mouse sensitivity and crashes, so much so I could play no further than a sequence into the game. Many of these problems apparently have been solved in the patches - if one can get the patches. I have tried for almost a month to download the patches without success and so I have been unable to proceed further.

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SEASONAL OIL THEFT A RISK

2012-02-05 10:58 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Once again winter brings with it the necessity for many to fill their furnace oil tanks and burn an increasingly costly resource in order to keep their homes and organization’s buildings habitable in cooler/colder climates. Given the price of heating oil it is perhaps not surprising, though contemptible, that those with no scruples find profit in stealing it, sometimes by the tankful.

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VOIP SECURITY AWARENESS

2012-01-15 15:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

There are generally two camps when it comes to VoIP security - the “perfectly safe” folks and the the “dangerously vulnerable” folks. The former group tend to be made up of IP telephony people (vendors, suppliers, and the like) and the financial officers who see big savings over conventional telephony systems. The latter group tend to be made up of network and security technicians, and the inevitable doomsayers.

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HARD DRIVE MAKERS CUT WARRANTIES

2011-12-20 10:16 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Seagate recently announced that due to a “need to align to current Industry standards”, it intends to reduce warranty periods on its hard drives as of December 31, 2011. Western Digital will follow on January 2, 2012.

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CONSIDERING THE CLOUD?

2011-12-07 18:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In times such as these where economics is consistently first and foremost, enterprises look to reduce expenditures by removing overlap in IT allocations, consolidating redundancies in infrastructure and in-house applications to the “cloud”. Almost universally cloud services believe in the benefits of optimization and service oriented computing and cater to those wishing to maintain a narrow focus on core objectives rather than having to manage operational detains of providing data services.

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THE ILLUSION OF SURVEYS

2011-11-26 20:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Every day we are bombarded with surveys. News outlets, magazines, radio, television, product reviews, special interests and lobby groups. All with their own agendas, all with survey results to back them up and quite often with diametrically opposite results. How is this possible? Due to what I call the Illusion of Surveys.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENTS

2011-11-14 20:19 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [3]

An open letter to the governments of Canada and the United States of America regarding Do Not Call Lists.

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SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

2011-09-17 16:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Social media tools and sites have expanded the collaborative landscape and the ease with which information can be shared with large numbers of other people. Organizations, whether they use these tools or not, need to spend serious effort communicating with their employees regarding their use, and keeping confidential information private.

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LATE TO THE SECURITY GATE ?

2011-09-08 18:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Sony announced this week that it has hired Philip Reitinger, former deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as a vice president and to fill the newly created (emphasis mine) post of Chief Security Officer.

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E-MAIL NEWSLETTER TIPS

2011-08-19 17:02 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In a day and age where unsolicited e-mail is a rampant problem, there are those who create and distribute some very interesting and useful opt-in e-mail newsletters and mailing lists. If you, or your organization is planning on starting such a newsletter, or even if you have one you would like to rejuvenate, the following tips should help you get started.

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12 DAYS OF COMPUTER WISHES

2011-08-09 19:39 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I was recently going through same old papers and found an article titled “Twelve Wishes for a Computer Christmas” by Peter Talbot. It was a fairly old article as such things go, having been published in The Computer Paper, Metro Toronto Edition in December 1992.

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FIRST WEB IMPRESSIONS

2011-07-12 14:40 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The Web, in general, has the effect of helping level the playing field for businesses. A well designed website allows a small business to create an image, provide information and reach the on-line market as easily and effectively as a large corporation.

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PASSWORD SECURITY AWARENESS

2011-07-05 12:13 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

People are increasingly connected to some information network or other, be it the office, at home, an airport lounge or your local coffee shop. With this increased connectivity comes increased risk.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: PLANTRONICS EXPLORER 370 SPORT BLUETOOTH HEADSET

2011-06-21 18:08 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The Plantronics Explorer 370 is a nice little headset. It’s rugged, seems imunne to casual drops (shoulder height or less) and does well in the rain, being waterproof.

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UNPLEASANT REMINDER

2011-06-20 13:45 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In these days of advanced web technologies, multifunctional browsers, high resolution screens and all the paraphernalia of modern computing, it is surprising and sadly amusing when we come across reminders of the “bad old days” of the web.

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COMMUNICATING SECURITY

2011-05-28 15:08 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In light of recent high profile security breaches , one cannot help but ask: “Are these people asleep at the wheel?” Often Security departments are ignored or played down in the interests of economics. Not only is security expensive, it gets in people’s way and makes then uncomfortable and/or frustrated. The end result of which is that either proper procedures don't get implemented or they fall on deaf ears.

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CORPORATE DISCONNECT

2011-05-14 15:10 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A recent article called Hacked With No One To Call by CMP Channel Group President Robert Faletra struck a resounding chord before I was more than a paragraph or two into it.

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MOVIE REVIEW: THE DAY OF THE JACKAL

2011-05-13 18:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Based on a novel by the same name by Frederick Forsyth, and while it was not a huge box office success by today's standards it was well received.

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TAPE BACKUP STRATEGIES

2011-04-29 19:55 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In this day and age of massive inexpensive hard drives high capacity optical disks and flash media an older option for backup is often overlooked; that is except among organizations that need very large scale archival storage. I’m talking about magnetic tape. Always somewhat out of the mind of consumers and small businesses, tape backup has long been a mainstay of archival storage for larger enterprises, organizations such as universities and research centres and government agencies and departments.

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A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PIRACY

2011-03-20 01:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Over the years many piracy studies have been released by industry stakeholders. Almost without exception, these have been done by entertainment and software companies, or their umbrella organizations based of course on their own figures (mostly estimates) of alleged losses. However, recently a group made up of dozens of academics have collaborated to produce the most objective and elaborate piracy study done to date. Not surprisingly, their results differ significantly from that of the copyright lobby groups that have been promulgated out over the years.

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SECURE SSD ERASURE

2011-03-01 18:32 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

California researchers recently published a paper at the Usenix conference on File and Storage Technologies that examined the effectiveness of secure erasure methodologies on SSDs (Solid State Disks).

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GREED IN OPEN SOURCE

2011-02-27 16:18 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Canonical, creator of the Ubuntu distribution of Linux, and the Banshee music player developers have found themselves in a morass over money. Banshee has it, and Canonical wants it - as the price for being included in their distribution’s next version.

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BOOK REVIEW: FOOLS’ EXPERIMENTS

2011-02-06 16:57 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A brief review of the book Fools’ Experiments, Edward M. Lerner, Tom Doherty Associates, 447, ISBN-13: 978-0-7653-1901-2896836-43-7.

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SHORTENED URLS: A RISKY CLICK

2011-01-20 17:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Recently security software vendor McAfee Inc. has been warning of the security risk of shortened URLs for use on social media sites such as Twitter.

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A CHARITABLE CHRISTMAS TRADITION

2010-12-02 16:56 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

During the Christmas season many people put up lights and decorations. Some in celebration, joyful festivity or just for fun. Others work towards this charity or that, usually one that has meaning for them. One man manages to combine the two.

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SOMETHING SINFUL

2010-11-30 19:43 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

If you're looking for something salacious (based on the article title) I’m sorry to disappoint you. The article title is the name of a drink / cocktail I created quite a few years ago (1997). The name is a bit of a private joke but is not otherwise related to sin (unless you happen to be one of those folks who regard alcohol consumption as sinful). I have had several people ask for the recipe so I decided to post it here. The recipe is fairly simple, like most good mixed drinks. Please share it with your friends just provide me due credit.

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A BIT ABOUT OPEN SOURCE

2010-09-09 15:56 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the open source model of software design and distribution. Many of these arise from the use of “open source” as a generic marketing term, but it has a very specific meaning. If a project or application you are considering doesn’t allow you to access the code, doesn’t allow the creation of derivative works, doesn’t allow for the redistribution of said works, then it is not open source.

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ZEN AND THE CAR WASH

2010-08-07 17:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

For some people washing their vehicle can be a labour of love. For others a necessary evil. It either case a few basic tips can help make the most efficient use of your time and efforts.

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MICROSOFT SHORTCUT VULNERABILITY

2010-07-17 16:34 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Researchers have discovered a new variation on malware that piggybacks on USB storage devices and takes advantage of an (apparently) unknown security vulnerability in the manner Microsoft Windows processes shortcut files.

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MEN, WOMEN AND MARRIAGE

2010-06-24 20:55 | by WD Milner | Full Article

What keeps a marriage going? Not surprisingly there is a fair bit of agreement between men and women on the top reasons. But after the first seven, opinions differ, often dramatically.

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WHEN PASSWORD IS YOUR PASSWORD

2010-06-07 20:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

We have all heard the stories about the folks who come up with long strange secure passwords, and then write them down on a ubiquitous yellow Post-It® style sticky note and place it on their monitors so they won't forget it. Sadly, they are not just stories but are common occurrences. The hardest part of information systems security is not the hardware and software, but accounting for and attempting to control the human factor.

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FOR MEMORIAL DAY

2010-05-30 15:35 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

For Memorial Day the following prayer is offered: The Marine’s Prayer

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PRINTER SECURITY - OVERLOOKED LEAK

2010-05-10 13:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A much overlooked item when considering information security is the printer. Often these printers contain hard drives that retain data even after printing, or in the case of multifunction devices after scanning documents, FAX options that permit sending to anyone, and completed documents left in out and in trays. There are some basic stes that can be taken to help reduce or eliminate security risks associated with printers.

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GAME REVIEW: F.E.A.R. 2: PROJECT ORIGIN

2010-04-25 19:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Having played a bit of this on a friends machine I can say it is almost as good as the original for FPS play. I think the original was a bit better in terms of audio and some visual effects.

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IS YOUR SWAP FILE LEAKING INFORMATION ?

2010-04-24 19:02 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Almost all computer operating systems use some form of “swap file” (sometimes called a paging file) for aiding in memory management and speeding up certain operations. In some systems it is a separate partition on a hard disk drive, rather than a file within the file system.

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PATENT VICTORY OR BUST ?

2010-04-17 17:16 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Last autumn, the Canadian Patent Appeal Board ruled on Amazon.com’s application for its “one-click” shopping system. Their decision was that Amazon’s system was not patentable since it did not fall into one of the five categories of patentable subjects listed in the Patent Act.

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DESK SECRETS HYGIENE

2010-04-04 01:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Messy desks can leak secrets. Working papers and items we use every day can give away secrets, divulge intellectual property, or negatively impinge our privacy and that of others if left laying about in plain view.

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WEB HOST TELECOMMUTE

2010-03-25 01:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A friend recently asked me my opinion of doing tech support for a web host through remote access (also known as telecommuting). It can be a good job so long as it is done in a proper manner and with a few things in mind.

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MAGNETIC TAPE - ALIVE AND WELL

2010-03-02 22:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

For those who thought magnetic tape was old-fashioned, obsolete or simply non-existent anymore, guess again! Magnetic tape, and its billion dollar market are alive and well, and doing better than ever.

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PARLIAMENTARY PROROGUEMENT

2010-03-01 22:54 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Prime Minister Steven Harper has prorogued Parliament. What that essentially means, is that he has suspended all parliamentary business until after a set date (there is more to it but you get the idea). From the furor being raised by the Liberal opposition and the caustic criticism for doing such a thing you would think it was something had never happened before.

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DEPLORABLE OLYMPIC MANNERS

2010-02-04 17:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

As the opening of the Winter Olympics in British Columbia near, one can’t help but consider how they reflect upon the society and political arena in which they take place.

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CASH FOR CLUNKERS ET AL ?

2010-01-19 17:22 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The “Cash for Clunkers” program in the United States ran last summer and resulted in 700,000 government subsidized trade-ins. The new cars were, theoretically, more fuel efficient by about an average of 58% (which may not be accurate due to speculations regarding the inflation of EPA fuel saving by auto manufacturers). Of equal interest to car enthusiasts is how many units of significant interest, collectibility or otherwise notewrothy models were turned in by misguided individuals and were subsequewntly destroyed.

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A CHRISTMAS POEM

2009-12-20 15:32 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Christmas is here and some credit is due to our service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. In some small payment towards what we owe these brave folks, stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. May God bless and watch over each and every one of the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces.

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E-MAIL MARKETING

2009-11-30 18:36 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

As Christmas draws closer and the shopping frenzy gets started, the e-mail in-boxes of the world get inundated with a fresh deluge of SPAM. Fortunately. most of it gets filtered out but there is always the rare one that slips through. For those doing e-mail marketing following a few simple guidelines would likely prove more profitable in the long run — and legal too.

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OPEN LETTER ON SELF-DEFENSE IN CANADA

2009-10-24 14:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The following is an open letter written following a discussion in an on-line forum. The arguments and information is cogent and rational, unlike much rhetorc surrounding the issue of self-defense in Canada.

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CANADIAN WEATHER HUMOUR

2009-09-28 13:52 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Some Canadian weather humour comparing temperature activities.

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HOME SECURITY

2009-08-10 17:41 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Most criminals who do serious break and enter (as opposed to impulse crimes) will “case” the neighbourhood before they choose a residence to burglarize. The overwhelming first choice is an empty dwelling. Anything you can do to make your home occupied while you are away from it will help deter burglars. The following are some useful tips.

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CANADIAN TRIVIA

2009-08-05 17:23 | by WD Milner | Full Article

Some Canadian trivia.

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TOP HOME WI-FI ERRORS

2009-07-19 15:38 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Research has shown that eighty percent of people with wireless home networks don’t turn on the security features. The biggest reason given is that it slows down the network. Compounding this, most wi-fi routers ship from the manufacturer with security turned off by default. The following are five common security errors made with wi-fi networks.

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RFID INSECURITY REDUX

2009-06-30 17:30 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When RFID was starting to become popular a few years ago, those who suggested that there were security problems that were not being addressed (such as reading tags from a distance) were considered, if not part of the tinfoil hat crowd, then perhaps just that wee bit too paranoid. Proponents of RFID laughed at the idea that tags could be read more than a few inches away and that surrepticiously stealing data wasn't possible. Guess what?

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MICROSOFT INJECTS VULNERABILITY INTO FIREFOX

2009-06-03 17:49 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Microsoft has done it again. The draconian and sheer corporate arrogance have resurfaced yet again in a Windows Update that surrepticiously installs a FireFox extension that opens wide vulnerabilities in that browser. Not surprisingly Microsoft feels no need to apologize and indeed considers this compromise to system security to be a service.

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TEXT MESSAGING & 911

2009-05-19 16:45 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Text messaging continues its growth in popularity as the service and phones which support it become more and more widespread. With this increasing use will come the need for 911 call centres to be able to handle text messages. This has both life-saving potential, and immense challenges for those who man these centres.

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IDENTITY THEFT REDUX

2009-04-28 17:35 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

About two years ago I did a little piece on identity theft. After a conversation with a friend about lost credit cards, I thought it worth revisiting.

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BIBLICAL PRINTING ERRORS

2009-03-08 17:53 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [2]

Over the centuries errors made when printing the Bible have occasionally crept into versions making them famous, or infamous. Mistakes in typesetting are not uncommon in any book and often attempts were made to recall the print run but as is usually the case not all erroneous copies are retrieved. These become rare and collectible over time, sometimes becoming worth considerable amounts of money. What follows is a list of some of the more notable versions of the Bible with printing errors.

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NEED TO KNOW

2009-02-23 21:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A long standing and well known concept in many security and intelligence communities is “need to know”. This is the idea that unless there is some specific compelling reson for a person to have access to a piece of information then they should not have access to it.

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WHEN E-MAIL STANDARDS ARE NOT

2009-01-26 05:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I was recently recruited to help a friend set up e-mail on their Linux system. I discovered that not all providers follow the various e-mail standards that have developed over the years.

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MANAGING PARTITIONS

2008-12-30 20:16 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While most average computer users never have a need, or desire, to play with or otherwise manipulate the partitions on their hard drive(s), those enthusiast users and computer professionals often have a need to do so. A great free tool can make this a painless operation. That free tool is GParted.

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FRIENDSHIP

2008-11-30 18:08 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I was recently cleaning out some old papers from a desk and came across the following short piece about friendship and thought I would share it.

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OSI MNEMONIC (Humour)

2008-10-19 18:48 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

For those not intimately acquainted with networking theory remembering the Open Systems Interconnect Reference model can be difficult. Those needing to remember the layers can devise a mnemonic - a phrase where the first letter of each word in the phrase corresponds to the first letter in the name of each layer

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ETHICAL HACKING OR ILLEGAL TRESPASS ?

2008-10-07 18:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

An article that recently appeared on the ITBusiness.ca website covered a story about the discovery that some cyber-criminals have obtained log in credentials for thousands of websites, compromising them and using them as a base for further attack vectors elsewhere.

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PROVINCIAL NAMES

2008-09-22 02:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While looking through some papers I found a small article that listed how the various Canadian provinces came by their names. While some I remembered others were a “learning again” experience. For your edification, and perhaps education, the list follows.

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AUP GONE WILD

2008-08-28 16:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The following is an excerpt from one of the most “anal” AUP statements I have ever read. The provisions virtually make the content unusable, and place any user instantly in violation.

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6.6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION

2008-08-05 16:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A story that has been carried by numerous sources this week would seem to validate the “six degrees of separation” concept popularized in movie and trivia games.

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MONOPOLIES ARE EVERYWHERE

2008-07-15 18:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When we here the word monopoly what inevitably comes to mind are huge, looming corporations controlling major markets we rely on every day. Well there can be smaller monopolies too. These are what I like to call "effective monopolies" rather than the more narrow legal definition. And these can be found everywhere.

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SUMMER IN THE DATA CENTER

2008-06-24 00:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Summer is once again upon us in the Northern hemisphere and with it elevated temperatures. While good for the beach and outdoor activities, it can be a major concern for data center operators. Air conditioning is a major concern at any time of the year but more so of an issue now as the outdoor ambient temperatures rise. There are some factors to take into account when providing cooling and maintaining stable operations as temperatures climb which can help alleviate much of the burden on power air conditioning and computer systems.

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MEDICAL ALERT (Humour)

2008-06-16 20:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The Center for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically.

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DOMAIN SLAMMING

2008-06-10 13:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Just when one thinks a vile practice has disappeared it resurfaces its ugly head. I'm talking about “Domain Slamming”. This is the practice of trying to trick domain name holders to switch domain registrars by feeding off FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and the impression of official communications. Well, it’s back.

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FORWARD TO THE PAST

2008-06-04 17:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In a move sure to raise the ire of many subscribers, Time-Warner are test marketing metered internet. Many of us remember the bad old days of limited megabytes or minutes per month and how frustrating it was. That was why we were so glad to see broadband arrive for the consumer. Well if Time-Warner has its way the in stead of “back to the future” it will be “forward to the past”.

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CISCO PIX FIREWALL GUIDE

2008-05-31 15:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While looking through some older whitepapers I came across a useful document for those using some of the various models of Cisco PIX firewall. Despite its age it is still useful.

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WEB HOST OPERATING SYSTEMS

2008-05-25 16:36 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I read a comment not too long ago in a piece about Microsoft and the Web that claimed Windows had a majority of the server market. Well, that is true - sorta, kinda, if you read the statistics in a certain way.

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WHY AN OLYMPIC BOYCOTT

2008-05-18 17:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Someone asked me why I would put an Olympic boycott link on my site, “don't I support my country’s athletes”?. The answer is quite simple - I do support my country’s athletes. But . . .

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PRODUCT REVIEW: SAMSUNG SM932B PLUS

2008-05-09 22:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While I've done product evaluations/reviews before I've never really published one on the Internet. A couple of months ago I needed a fairly inexpensive monitor and found the Samsung 932B Plus on sale at Staples. After several weeks of usage I thought I'd write a review as a practice piece . I hope you find it useful.

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QUÉBEC POLITICIAN WANTS CCTLD

2008-04-28 15:14 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [2]

Apparently, for some, in the province of Québec having a provincial domain name of .qc.ca or using .ca isn’t good enough. Daniel Turp, a Parti Québécois member of Québec’s National Assembly has started a petition for a Québec specific .qc domain. Under current regulations, however, it would require that Québec be deemed a country in its own right first.

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MICROSOFT HOME SERVER PROBLEMS

2008-04-12 20:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Microsoft discovered that many people had small home servers, and many more, especially those with large media collections, would like to have one and so it brought out Windows Home Server™. And then the gremlins appeared.

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FINDING BIBLICAL BOOKS -TAKE TWO - THE SOLUTION

2008-04-04 19:11 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Last month I posted another article with a puzzle paragraph in which were hidden the names of twenty-two books of the Bible. The solution follows for those who want to double check, or to find those they gave up on locating.

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GUARDING YOUR LAPTOP

2008-03-29 19:41 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

It is estimated that a laptop computer is stolen about once every 50-55 seconds. The odds of this happening to you are one in ten. Some common sense in managing your laptop can go a long way to reducing its vulnerability to theft and the resultant hassles.

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ECO-PATENT COMMONS INITIATIVE

2008-03-18 20:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, in partnership with IBM, Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony, have initiated an effort to have companies release patents to the public domain aimed at increasing innovations in environmental research and development.

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FINDING BIBLICAL BOOKS - TAKE TWO

2008-03-09 20:22 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A bit of interest was shown in the last hunt for books of the Bible in a paragraph so here is a sequel. The same rules apply and as before, I shall post the answers next month. Like the last one, the following “puzzle” may prove entertaining when you have a few spare minutes. Surprisingly it isn’t as easy as it first appears.

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STRAINED CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS

2008-03-02 22:23 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

After a conversation with a friend about their loss of a client I thought it would make a good article. After all, retention of current customers is as important if not moreso than the acquisition of new clients.

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MICROSOFT GETTING DESPERATE IN PUSHING VISTA ?

2008-02-20 17:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A study by Info-Tech, and sponsored by Microsoft, has determined that upgrading an enterprise with 5000 systems from Windows XP to Windows Vista could save close to $50,000 and reduce carbon emissions by over 100 tonnes. But what's the catch?

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BYPASSING INTERNET CENSORSHIP

2008-02-16 23:34 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Censorship continues to be a problem on the Internet. While “more enlightened” western democracies legislate censorship by declaring various forms of expression illegal, various countries around the world block basic reference websites such as encyclopedias and news providers.

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WHEN IS A COUNTRY A U.S.A. STATE ?

2008-02-07 22:31 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When is a country actually a state in the United States of America? Apparently when its country code top level domain name corresponds to the postal abbreviation of a U.S. state.

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ARE SECURITY BEST PRACTICES A MYTH ?

2008-01-23 20:57 | by WD Milner | Full Article

An often used term in business is “best practices”. Generally, this means a commonly accepted, informally standardized set of procedures and policies aimed at a particular goal. But can one really say that the concept can be applied to security?

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TERRORISTS HAVE BASICALLY WON

2008-01-12 18:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The terrorists have basically won (though most won't admit it). They have scared people, understandably, and due to the knee jerk reaction of politicians, their desire to be seen as saviours, and the ulterior motives of those who benefit by restrictions have forever changed the way of life in previously free and easy democratic societies.

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A CHRISTMAS PRAYER

2007-12-18 00:40 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A recent Christmas card serves as a reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.

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SOME HOLIDAY HUMOUR

2007-12-11 20:09 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A little holiday humour I found in going trough some old bulletin board files.

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FINDING BIBLICAL BOOKS - THE SOLUTION

2007-12-02 02:34 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Earlier this month I posted an article with a puzzle paragraph in which were hidden the names of thirty books of the Bible. The solution follows for those who want to double check, or to find those they gave up on locating.

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SIX STEPS TO BETTER SECURITY

2007-11-29 16:20 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While network attacks are expected to rise in 2008, small businesses can protect themselves by implementing some practical steps.

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CROSSING THE LINE BETWEEN THE VIRTUAL AND THE REAL

2007-11-25 20:46 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Welcome to virtual reality, where people can buy, pay real money for, non-existent items such as furniture, to furnish a non-existent apartment, and where a thief can be charged for theft in the real world for stealing said non-existent property in the virtual world.

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FINDING BIBLICAL BOOKS - A PUZZLE

2007-11-12 17:03 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The following “puzzle” may prove entertaining. Surprisingly it isn’t as easy as it first appears.

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NEXT YOU’LL NEED TO VET YOUR PHONEBOOK

2007-10-31 16:09 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Well Apple makes the news again with its iPhone. When introduced, Apple made news, and disgruntled customers, by tying it to a single carrier, AT&T. Associated Press reported last week that Apple was limiting the purchases to two devices per purchaser. But now, in what is sure to fuel even more sentiment against the company, if not its product, Apple has directed its retailers to only allow users to purchase them with credit or debit cards — no cash.

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IT MAKES ONE WONDER

2007-10-26 17:02 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Sometimes you have to wonder what some people are thinking - what reasoning processes they use to come to certain decisions and conclusions. Two items about two very different men prompted this article. The gentlemen are Danny Carlton and Al Gore. What have they in common? Nothing as far as I know other than triggering the thought “Does this person just not get it?”.

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THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY & THE ENVIRONMENT: GREEN OR GREED

2007-10-15 15:41 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Let me start by saying that I'm not an environmental zealot by any means, but I do care about environmental issues. I picked up my printed copy of Electronic Engineering Times magazine today to read with coffee at lunch. An article lead in spread across the cover just begged for a response.

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ISO, ODF, OOXML & MICROSOFT

2007-10-05 15:31 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Despite hard lobbying, and perhaps some attempted “ballot box stuffing” techniques, Microsoft has failed in its attempt to have its OOXML (Open Office XML) file format declared an ISO standard.

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OUT DAMN SPOT, I MEAN MICROSOFT !

2007-09-11 15:14 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Microsoft, as usual doesn’t get it. While touting a renewed commitment to operating system security, they go and bypass the basic tenet of such - systems changes are not made without the owner’s explicit permission.

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WHO ARE YOU ?

2007-08-14 14:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

How much data would it take to uniquely identify you? No names, no Social Insurance or driver's license or passport numbers, no fingerprints or retinal patterns or DNA profiles. The answer might surprise you.

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DEFCON HACKERS OUT DATELINE NBC REPORTER

2007-08-08 15:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Things got interesting at this year’s DefCon conference when an associate producer with television news magazine Dateline NBC fled Friday after being publicly identified her as an undercover reporter in front of the crowd gathered for a popular conference session.

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MAKING AND USING A PINHOLE CAMERA

2007-06-26 12:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Anyone can make a camera using common household materials that will produce pictures . Making and using a pinhole camera will acquaint you with the basic elements of photography while providing an inexpensive and interesting way to take pictures.

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802.11 INTERFERENCE STANDARDS

2007-06-13 20:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Products based on the upcoming 802.11n standard are in the pipeline as the Wi-Fi Alliance announced the first products certified to the standard and a new test suite for latter in the summer. A question still unanswered is just how compatible these devices will be with legacy clients and how robust it will be as it is phased in.

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SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY

2007-05-24 22:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I suppose in many ways it is — emulating the style of a favorite athlete, artist, musician or writer. One needs to draw the line though at what amounts to plagiarism.

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BLAME CANADA EH ?

2007-05-21 13:52 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

One again the unbalanced right in the United States are indulging in a favorite pastime — making Canada out to be a semi-communist Third World home of yokels who don’t properly appreciate what the the great government of the United States has done for them.

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OIL COMPANIES GAS PRICE GOUGING

2007-05-10 16:38 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Not that it will come as a surprise to anyone that has recently filled their vehicle with gasoline, but a study by independent researchers has found that Canadian consumers are paying gasoline prices far higher than can be justified by production costs or historic profit margins.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO COMPOSTING

2007-05-07 17:18 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Composting is a simple way of converting organic waste into humus. This rich dark humus produced by micro-organisms is called compost. Composting produces a natural inexpensive (free) soil additive to help increase lawn, flower, tree and vegetable growth.

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FORENSICS INVESTIGATION GUIDELINES

2007-05-02 19:11 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When an incident occurs requiring a computer forensic investigation it must be done in the most responsible manner possible. While it is a given that it be done in a legal and ethical manner, it must also be done in an effective manner. The following are some basics guidelines to follow to help ensure that any investigation provides the needed information.

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ARE YOU DEPRESSED ?

2007-04-25 19:46 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Are you depressed? Depression is a common yet treatable condition affecting about twenty-five percent of women and ten percent of men sometime in their lives. Less that one-third of those with depression seek help but for those who do seventy-five percent are treated successfully. The first steps towards this success are spotting the warning signs and seeking help.

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COLLUSION IN CANADIAN POLITICS

2007-04-13 15:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Well, just when I though politicians couldn’t surprise me anymore with their idiocy, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion will not run a Liberal candidate against Green party Leader Elizabeth May in the next federal election. The leaders have agreed not to run a candidate in each other’s riding. In the past, Liberal Party members have disparaged other parties for not being national parties (the criteria for a national party is to run candidates in all 308 ridings in Canada). As of this deal, only the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party fill this requirement.

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BOOK REVIEW: CELTIC CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES

2007-04-12 22:32 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A brief review of Celtic Christian Communities by Ian Bradley, Northstone Publishing, 255 pages, ISBN 1-896836-43-7.

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PITFALLS TO SSID CLOAKING

2007-04-07 18:07 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Service Set Identification (SSID) has been frequently used as a method to add another layer of security to wireless LANs. While commonly considered a means to improve security, and indeed a recommended best-practice, it can in many cases actually reduce the effective security of the network.

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VANITY & SEGREGATION COME TO SECOND LIFE

2007-04-03 21:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

As if there wasn’t enough vanity, prejudice, discrimination and subtle segregation in real society, now those who seek a break from the frustrating and demeaning judgements of day to day existance can reimmerse themselves in all the same superficial mind games when they go on-line.

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IPv6 SLOWLY DEPLOYED

2007-03-26 20:49 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In the face of an advancing United States government deadline, major network and security vendors continue to scramble to include support for IPv6 in their leading router and firewall products.

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ULTRA CERTIFIED OR CERTIFIABLY USELESS ?

2007-03-13 16:05 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I recent received a letter from Verisign promoting their new Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates. The latest “spin” seems just another way to get companies to jump through more compliance hoops and spend more of their money, most likely ineffectually.

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CORPORATE COERCION

2007-03-01 16:27 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Legal threats from manufacturers prevent security researchers from presenting a discussion paper on flaws of radio tag-embedded (RFID) building access ID cards.

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QUICK AND EASY SECURITY CHECKS

2007-02-24 21:21 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The Internet can be a wonderful place to find information about many things. The one thing you don't want though is for it to be a place to find out about things you regard as confidential. Here are a few quick and easy ways to check for possible security leaks without ever leaving your chair.

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SQUELCH STONE STAINS

2007-02-19 17:53 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

To clean stains off stone you need to lift the contaminant with an appropriate chemical solvent and a powder poultice. When placed on a stain, the solvent dissolves the stain and the powder absorbs it away from the stone surface.

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LOCKING DOWN YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK

2007-02-17 22:19 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Most wireless routers and access points are totally insecure out of the box. While fixing that situation only requires a few minutes, it is easy to become lost in the sometimes confusing options of the router’s management tool menus. To help ease the process, the following guide will help you secure your wireless network.

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REMOVING DRM LEGALLY

2007-02-16 14:36 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Many on-line suppliers of music embedd DRM technology in their product which limits where you can play the content, and how often. Stripping this technology out of the content files by “cracking” the encryption is illegal in many places (notably the United States of America). One can often acheive the same ends in a legal manner by using the following procedure:

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SCO UNABLE TO FIND PROMINENT JOURNALIST

2007-02-15 13:43 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It would appear from a recent article at InformationWeek that SCO is unable to find the author and principal contributor of the Groklaw.net web site.

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INTERNET PRIVACY THREATENED

2007-02-14 17:05 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Looks like at least some members of the United States of America government want to complete the slide into a Orwellian state with afterburners blazing. A bill introduced to the US House of Representatives would require Internet service providers to record all users' surfing activity, IM conversations and e-mail traffic continuously and store it indefinitely.

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GHOSTS IN THE MACHINES

2007-02-08 18:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

An ever increasing problem for those enterprises looking for better LAN security are the numerous “ghosts” that are wandering about their networks.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO IDENTITY THEFT

2007-01-22 18:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [2]

While definitions vary, identity theft is generally considered to be “obtaining or using someone's personal information without their consent or in a fraudulent manner for economic gain or other purpose”. Protecting yourself is a matter of awareness of how it happens, how to prevent it and how to address the problem if you become a victim.

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A MERRY AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

2006-12-19 16:36 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

May the spirit of Christmas be with you and yours, now and always.

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THE DIVINE OFFICE

2006-12-17 21:15 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The liturgical offices of the Church, which marked the daily and nocturnal passage of time in monasteries, were called “opus Dei”, the ‘work of God’ (not to be confused with the organisation of the same name), and constituted the major work of the monks.

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RFID, YOUR SHOES, AND YOU

2006-12-15 17:47 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It appears that a group of researchers at the University of Washington have shown how you can use RFID for surveillance.

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UNINSTALLING INTERNET EXPLORER 7

2006-11-24 16:50 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

If you have found yourself less than enamoured of the newest browser offering from Microsoft here is how to remove it.

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COST OF MODERN PRINTING

2006-11-15 21:13 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When it comes to making hard copies of the plethora of documents used on computers daily, the true cost of printing cannot be found in the price of the printer but in the consumables and other hidden costs.

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FIAT LUX

2006-11-12 15:31 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I came across the following while looking for something on the web and the sheer "jabberwockyness" struck my fancy so I offer it here for your perusal.

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MICROSOFT GIVETH & MICROSOFT TAKETH AWAY

2006-11-01 14:29 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Microsoft alters Vista licening to a friendlier version and at the same time attempts a subversion of open source.

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SEMPER COMMEMORATUS

2006-10-31 23:45 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It is during November that we celebrate Remembrance Day (or Armistice Day). It is a time for reflection on what has gone before and the lessons learned. It is a time to remember and venerate the honoured dead who gave their lives in service to their countries during times of war, and to honour those living who have and do serve in both war and peace.

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HALLOWEEN AGAIN

2006-10-28 16:14 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

Halloween is a contraction of two words Hallow's Eve. All Hallow’s Eve is the evening vigil prior to the celebration of All Saints’ Day on November first in the Christian calendar. The celebration of a holiday on this day is far older however.

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INTERNET EXPLORER 7 BUGGED ALREADY

2006-10-20 15:10 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

After almost two years of development and over five years since the last major upgrade to the company's browser Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 7. Within hours, a security company warned users of the new browser's first official bug.

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RETAIN OR DELETE

2006-10-17 22:06 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Which electronics records should you save; which are you required to save; and which should you delete? The retention of data or it's permanent deletion are flip sides of a coin that all companies must increasingly deal with. Beyond legal and ethical considerations, it is also a critical storage and security issue for any IT department.

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MICROSOFT (IN)SECURITY AWARDS

2006-10-09 15:03 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In interesting, but not surprising irony, Microsoft has apparently awarded one of it᾿s “coveted” Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award which honours developers and others who Microsoft believes made significant contributions to users in the past year, to a creator of adware that Microsoft’s own security scanner tags as malware.

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INTEL & nVIDIA

2006-10-05 22:19 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Fueled by the recent acquisition of ATI Technologies by AMD, rumours have been crculating that Intel may be acquiring nVidia. This is a disquieting thought.

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PINK FOR OCTOBER

2006-10-01 19:13 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

October is Breast Cancer Awarenes Month. In support of this, the site Pink for October has started a campaign for web sites to show their support by incoporating pink somehow into their design for the month.

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OF SPAM & SPAMMERS

2006-09-27 16:47 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Spammers harvest e-mail addresses wherever they can. Here are some of their techniques, and some tips to help alleviate the load on your in-box.

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PASSPORT SECURITY - GET IT NOW !

2006-09-19 15:50 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Despite all the warnings and demonstrations about the ease of data theft from RFID tags from surreptitious reading of data to outright cloning, the United States government in its seemingly infinite blind stubborness has decided that RFID are just the thing for new passports.

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MICROSOFT PRIORITIES & DRM

2006-09-13 15:38 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Microsoft bypassed its normal monthly patch cycle Tuesday and delivered what is probably the fastest security patch ever from the company.

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RESPONSE TIME & COMPUTER ANGST

2006-09-09 21:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When a researcher at the University at Arlington, J.L. Guynes, started looking at how different people react to a slow computer, she thought that the greatest frustrations would be experienced by Type “A” personalities. Her comments was, “You can tell them by the way they bang on their keyboards.”

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SECURITY, CENSORSHIP & COPYRIGHT

2006-09-04 22:00 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

Microsoft researchers are apparently experimenting with an automatic “ edit and replace” function for inclusion in the Internet Explorer Web browser. Intended for security it could have other uses.

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DESIGN AND QUALITY CONTROL

2006-09-01 18:49 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Following the massive recall of lithium-ion batteries in Dell and Apple laptops batteries, speculation has arisen as to whether or not the problem indicates a larger problem - that laptop designs are just too hot and need to be redesigned. Notebook computers increasingly have higher thermal envelopes, and more localized hot spots.

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REGULAR EXPRESSIONS: AN INTRODUCTION

2006-08-26 18:04 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The power and usefulness of good notation reaches beyond traditional programming languages. Regular expressions are one of the most broadly applicable specialized “languages”, a compact and expressive notational format for describing patterns of text. Besides being interesting from an algorithmic viewpoint, they are quite useful and , in their simpler forms, easy to implement.

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS

2006-08-24 12:55 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While it may be startling to some it comes as no surprise to those working in the IT security field that the executives most influential in security decision making are not those who are most supportive of security spending. This tends to have the perhaps inevitible effect of insufficient funding for IT securiity to be as effective as it could be.

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LAPTOP, NOTEBOOK ... TARGET!

2006-08-22 20:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A recent spate of laptop thefts have returned to the spotlight a problem that has existed for as long as there have been laptop computers - theft of same. You would think that after approximately 20 years of use that individuals and business would have learned and this would not be such a serious issue. Sadly that is seldom the case.

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LINUX, MICROSOFT & LENOVO

2006-08-16 18:25 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Lenovo, the new owner of the ThinkPad line of ntoebooks, announced plans to release two high-end ThinkPad notebooks that will support Novell SuSE Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10. While this is a drastic reversal of the statement of a Lenovo executive this spring that the company would not be supporting Linux on the ThinkPad, it is still not quite as good as it sounds.

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SOFTWARE: OPEN, CLOSED AND DOCUMENTED

2006-08-12 13:47 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In the world of software and documentation, long before there was closed source and open source there was . . . open source.

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NOT WELCOME TO FLY BRITISH

2006-08-10 14:11 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It seems that there will be no more working on that presentation, spreadsheet, trade negotiation or playing your favorite game or watching your favorite movie using your laptop/notebook on British airlines.

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THE OLD IS NEW AGAIN - AND HOT !

2006-08-05 21:50 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Dell reinvents its notebooks using innovations that are over 20 years old, and potentially explosive.

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SYMPATICO IS WATCHING

2006-08-03 16:22 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

In a recent change in it’s service agreement, Bell/Sympatico, arguably Canada’s largest ISP, stated that it would be monitoring customers’ on-line activities for possible reporting to government agencies. Understandably this has raised concerns over privacy and dubious data use.

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FULL DRIVE ENCRYPTION

2006-08-02 22:49 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

With the recent epidemic of lost and stolen laptops filled with sensitive information you would think that it wouldn’t be a problem; just encrypt the data. While a reasonable approach and one that many individuals do follow, it requires a certain self-discipline depending on the system chosen. And let’s face it, most people when they are in a hurry are lazy and take shortcuts, or just simply forget. Seagate intends to make such worries a thing of the past. They announced in June their FDE model 2.5 inch drive for notebooks.

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PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

2006-08-02 21:57 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Planned obsolesence. It is nothing new, it has been around for decades - the idea that a company deliberately perceptually renders one of its products less attractive and useful in order to sell a new version. perhaps the most high profile example is the automotive industry but it is pervasive in hi-tech as well.

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OBSOLETE OR JUST UNFASHIONABLE ?

2006-08-02 13:38 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Are all those computers out there more than a year or two old obsolete? The PC manufacturers, software makers and marketers would certainly have us think so. But is it true?

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THE BIRCHES REDESIGNED

2006-07-28 13:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I have finally finished a redesign of the website. It has a more serene design and with the backend handled by Textpattern it now has some dynamic, interactive capability lacking in the previous design.

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NOVA SCOTIA’S IT IN-SECURITIES

2006-07-27 13:21 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Incidents documented in a report by Nova Scotia’s Auditor General, Jacques Lapointe would be enough to get any IT administrator in the private sector shown the door. After less than six months in the position, Nova Scotia’s new Auditor General has found major IT related bungling. Unfortuantely, in this province this will not provoke the outrage and reaction from government that it should.

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LIFETIME MEMORY

2006-07-25 11:53 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

MRAM chips have finally hit the market. In a combination of magnetics and silicon, it relies on magnetic tunnel junctions that act like transistors. Data is stored as resistance to current at these junctions. As magnetic polarization doesn't bleed off when power is removed, data can be retained indefinitely.

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INTEL, AMD AND THE CONSUMER

2006-07-15 17:41 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While competition is invariably good for advancement of technology, and is generally good for the consumer - it can often lead to questions about how much better it might have served the consumer.

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SCO AND THE MISSING PROOF

2006-07-10 02:48 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It would appear that SCO’s attempt to grab the brass ring by dubious means has met yet another setback. In Late June, 182 of 201 claims by SCO against IBM were dismissed by the U.S. District Court for lack of specifity, ie they failed to show where any code infringed their intellectual property.

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MULTICORES DON’T ADD UP

2006-07-04 20:29 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A discussion with a colleague over his selection of a new CPU and paraphenalia ended up in a short clarification of what dual-core, and indeed multi-core processors in general mean to computing speed.

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NIKOLA TESLA REMEMBERED

2006-06-27 19:52 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

He is one of the greatest inventors, engineers and scienttists in history, and all too often unknown or overlooked. Nikola Tesla was a pioneer in the fields of electric power, power distribution, alternating current and static electricity. He has inspired hundreds if not thousands of engineers and yet remains relatively obscure to the general populace.

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YOUR DATA IS *OUR* DATA.

2006-06-23 19:23 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

If you are an AT&T customer, your privacy vanished into the ether. The company recently sent a letter to its more than seven million Internet customers telling them that, effectively, all their usage information is owned by AT&T, and the company can do anything with it that it wants.

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SPAM ADDRESS HARVESTING

2006-06-11 15:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A discussion of SPAM and how addresses get harvested led to the discovery of a forum where a Chinese stock tip spammer has over 200 pages of e-mail addresses listed on the web, and about 20,000 addresses per page. Stop and think about that for a minute. These addresses are there for any harvest bot that comes by. Despite numerous requests they somehow rationalize it as ‘free capitalism’.

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FIVE SNIPPETS

2006-06-01 21:22 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I was housecleaning parts of an older version of my website and came a cross five short blurb type things that are pretty small to post by themselves so here they are as a small smorgasbörd of readings.

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EFFECTIVE E-MAIL TIPS

2006-05-28 17:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

E-mail is so widespread as to be ubiquitous. It is the single, most used internet application. It helps businesses communicate, keeps families and friends in touch, and provides a reliable means for the transfer of information. When misused, however, it can be a nightmare, for users, administrators and companies (and this isn’t even considering spam). The following are some tips or e-mail “etiquette” to help keep e-mail useful and a big step towards making a safe mode of communication for individuals and companies.

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RESETTING TEXTPATTERN ADMIN PASSWORD

2006-05-25 21:40 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Occasionally one forgets passwords. This can be particuarly frustrating when it locks you out of editing your own site content. Her's how to reset your Textpattern administrator password if you forget it.

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AUCTION TIPS FOR eBAY

2006-05-23 03:35 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Here are a couple of suggestion to help improve you chances of winning an eBay auction. While there are never any guarantees, a bit of forethought can improve your odds.

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ISO & SECURITY

2006-05-12 15:10 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While much discussion has occured surrounding the general inability to prevent cyberattacks, the addition of new technology at best impede attackers and forces them to find other approaches. A recently approved ISO specification may help some organizations.

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QUEST FOR A CMS

2006-04-15 21:09 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Well, I have broken down and decided that making the site a bit interactive might not be such a bad thing and so am in the process of transferring the content over to a Content Management System. Choosing a CMS isn’t as simple as I thought it might have been.

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SUCCESSFUL CONSULTANTS

2006-04-02 20:07 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

It would be nice to be able to predict who will be successful, who clients will seek out and invest with and recommend to friends, who will still be around when the others have gone. Unfortuantely clairvoyance is a chancey thing. The following characteristics tend to be common amongst successful people and their businesses.

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LONE STAR PLANET

2006-03-10 23:45 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Has Hollywood forgotten how to make decent movies, especially science fiction, based on literature anymore? Political correctness, gratuitous violence and sex seems to be their entire artistic vocabulary of late. This prompts some proposals for new movies (if made faithful to the written word).

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FIREFOX MEMORY TIPS

2006-02-20 22:42 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Many people have been experiencing Firefox 1.5's penchant for using large amounts of memory. While some of this may be attributable to heavy and/or conflicting extension use, it has often affected those using no extensions at all. It may also be partially atributable to the prefetch and forward/back caching features used to speed up site display and navigation.

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ENIAC TURNS 60

2006-02-14 21:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

ENIAC has turned 60. The first digital computer could do 5000 calculations a second. Unlike it's descendants it used a decimal rather than binary system.

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REQUIESCAT IN PACE, BROTHER ROGER OF TAIZÉ

2005-08-17 13:47 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Roger Shutz, the ninety plus year old founder of the Protestant monastic movement in Taizé, France was assassinated today, apparently by a Romanian woman, who is being held by the authorities.

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DESPERATION OR ILLUMINATION ?

2005-06-06 21:31 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

A recent article on TechRepublic regarding Apple’s proposed announcement of a switch to Intel processors started me thinking. Friends and colleagues and I have discussed this many times over the years. The use of the PowerPC and a dedicated operating system have been, along with a certain image, what have separated and marked Apple as distinct in the personal/micro computer marketplace. Will they alienate all those who have bought into the Apple platform and the Apple mystique, for whatever reason?

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RETROGRADE TECHNOLOGY

2005-04-10 13:40 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While I don't always agree with John C. Dvorak in his various columns, his piece titled "Failed Promises, Failed Initiatives" ( PC Magazine; October 19, 2004; pp. 67) was dead on, and addresses a pet peeve of mine.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND

2004-12-15 23:17 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

What follows is a is a rather poignant poem titled Merry Christmas My Friend written by a by James M. Schmidt, Lance Corporal, USMC Battalion Counter Sniper, about a veteran at Christmas time.

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CSS / XHTML TEXT BUTTONS

2004-10-27 20:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

As an experiment in reducing load times, and playing with CSS, I created text versions of the W3C validation buttons. While variations of this can be found on a number of websites, for one reason or another they didn't quite suit my needs so I created my own.

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THE EDITORIAL THAT ISN’T

2004-10-01 16:24 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

This is an editorial that isn't. What do I mean by that? Well, I really don't have a topic of deep interest or technical tips to share at the moment. But rather some musings on an occurance I observed last evening.

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WHAT IS RSS?

2004-09-17 19:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

RSS is a Web content syndication format. Its name is an acronym for 'Rich Site Summary' (also referred to as 'Really Simple Syndication').

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MANAGING YOUR E-MAIL

2004-07-12 20:51 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Increasingly people who regularly use the Internet are seening the amount of e-mail in their inbox swell to considerabl amounts. The following are a few pointers to help control your e-mail before it becomes unmanageable.

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IT’S *MY* CONTENT

2004-06-15 12:59 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

This web site holds a personal web site. It has original content, it has content from some others, used with permission, it has public domain content. It isn’t the fanciest site on the net, nor the most elaborate, nor yet the worst. It isn’t the busiest site but isn’t entirely unknown either. But it is MINE.

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BLOCK WEB ADS FOR FREE

2004-01-29 22:09 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The details collectible via on-line advertising and the various privacy concerns surrounding them have bene discussed extensively in mnay venues. These issues asside, most of these ads are just plain annoying. Whether they be banners, pop-ups or pup-unders, they all use bandwidth and get in the way. There are dozens of programs, free, shareware and commercial that can be used to block them, but there is another way that is siple, and involves only the use of a simple text editor.

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ANALOG MODEMS FOR LINUX & BSD

2003-06-27 19:56 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The following is a list of analog, controller (hardware) based modems known to work with Linux systems. Note that this list is only for internal modems. This list is principally PCI as, with few exceptions, ISA modems are hardware based and work fine in a linux system. While there are a few software based ISA modems they are rare. Likewise almost any external RS232 serial port modem should work fine with Linux. There is great variation in USB modem compatibility which is not addressed in this list.

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THEOLOGY MEETS TECHNOLOGY (Humour)

2003-05-17 20:54 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

I came across a couple of old computer humour files yesterday and as they are amusing I have posted them for perusal. The first one is about a good bit newer than the second which dates back to the 1970's.

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GELATIN PASSES BIOMETRICS

2002-08-01 19:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Japanese cryptographer Tsutomu Matsumoto recently demonstrated the vulnerabilities in current fingerprint recognition systems.

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MATCHING SCREEN RESOLUTION

2001-08-20 19:12 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

As one explores the World Wide Web one can't help but notice the corporate adn organizational sites that change layout based on the screen resolution used to view them. The best approach is to use Cascading Style Sheets and relative positioning to place elemetns in position regardless of the display size. However, this can sometimes be difficult when using fixed size elemetns such as graphics.

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VALLEY PIRATES

1999-09-01 22:23 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

Those who have seen the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley” (based in part on Michael Swain’s book “Fire in the Valley”) got a look at some history. The movie used actual Altairs and Apples. The costuming was accurate, as was the portrayal of Steve Jobs. All was not perfect however.

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CHOOSING AN ISP FOR BUSINESS

1998-06-10 21:00 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When it comes to choosing an ISP for corporate intranet, extranet or internet access, knowledge of the candidates is essential. The following is a list of considerations that may be used as a checklist when shopping for a corporate ISP.

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IRQ’S, DMA’S, I/O & PORTS

1997-09-16 22:33 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

When installing, managing and troubleshooting add-on PC cards it is important to understand how the system communicates with the cards in the expansion slots.

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PENTIUM DIVIDED

1995-09-28 17:26 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

While most people have heard about the Pentium flaw, the more telling concern is whether you really need to ged a replacement processor.

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COMMENTS ON THE HACKER’S MANIFESTO

1991-11-14 18:08 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments [1]

The following are reprinted comments received when the “Conscience of a Hacker” and its preface were published on the Sleepy Hollow BBS. They are reprinted here as reflecting, expressed in less subtle terms, the same angst as Mentor’s more famous declaration.

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CONSCIENCE OF A HACKER

1991-10-10 22:28 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

The Hacker’s Manifesto was written by a ‘hacker’ named Loyd Blankenship (aka The Mentor). The first time I encountered the Manifesto was its initial publication in Phrack Magazine (Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3, January 8, 1986). Since then it has found its way first across the electronic bulletin board systems (BBS) of the world, and then across the Internet. It has been translated into many languages and has even seen dissemination in a very abbreviated, abridged and somewhat reworded form by Hollywood in the movie Hackers. One can only hope that permissions, credit (and royalties) for its use were accorded to Mr Blankenship.

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XMODEM PROTOCOL BASICS

1989-01-06 17:34 | by WD Milner | Full Article | Comments

XMODEM is a method for exchanging files over a communications link between two computers. It is based on a program called MODEM written in 1977 by Ward Christensen for the CP/M-80 operating system. It was subsequently modified by Keith Petersen and became known as XMODEM. While many people use the XMODEM protocol on a daily basis, few are familiar with how it actually works. What follows is a basic discussion of the mechanics of XMODEM.

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