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Today’s Tidbits.

January 28th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Just a few things that caught my attention today..

We'll start with a post over at ha.ckers.org by RSnake on the ability to have an emergency sequence linked to your account for emergencies... It comes out of a (potential) myth that entering your PIN in reverse at an ATM will summon the police. It's an interesting idea. There are benefits to this everywhere... Passwords, PINs, Alarm Codes... Perhaps a push should be made to make it the new standard...

  • Your Bank Card is associated with two PINs... One that allows you to withdraw money and one that gives an insufficient funds message, locks the account and summons police to the ATM in question.
  • Your Alarm could have two codes.. One that disables/enables the system and one that sends a silent alarm to the alarm company signaling that you entered the code under duress.
  • Online banking could have two passwords for each account. The first password logs you in, the second locks the account and notifies the bank of possible fraudulent transactions.
  • Two passwords for your operating system, email, or anything else. One password logs you in, the other locks the account... recording the Terminal in use, the IP the connection came from or other information depending on the service in question. As RSnake mentions, you could write the "safe password" on a post-it... This could be your warning sign that someone has been casing your office looking for passwords.

Next up is an interesting little side note... Nokia's Website was defaced...

Up next we have Ubuntu install.exe. I was directed to this "feature" by an article on freesoftwaremagazine.com. The article has a lot of valid points... However I think the biggest point is made by the install.exe wiki entry... Reading through the write-up it feels like it's been written by kids... The members of the Linux community that give that very community a bad name. Comments, like the ones I'm going to list, keep me from ever using this in a production environment and stop me from even wanting to experiment with it on a test system.

Some of the Comments:

  • "The elimination of the need for partitioning, and thus the chance of data loss, will help ubuntu gain acceptance in the corporate world." -- It isn't the need for partitioning that keeps Ubuntu out of the corporate world... and anyone who would think such a thing has very little knowledge of the corporate world. Also, with todays tools... partitioning, or modifying existing partitions (which is what they are talking about), seldom leads to data loss
  • "The elimination of the need for an installation CD will allow users without CD burners or spare CDs to try ubuntu, ease burdens on ShipIt, and allow installation on ultra-portable laptops with no CD drives." -- Didn't we already do this with Linux that boots of a USB Thumbdrive.
  • From one of their use cases: "inexperienced Windows user who is tired of viruses and crashes" -- The viruses and crashes don't come from being a Windows user... they come from being inexperienced... This reads like the writing of a Linux Zealot.
  • From the same use case: "he downloads it, runs it, clicks "OK" through the installer" -- Should we really be recommending that people "Click OK through the installer"?
  • From another use case: "Peter is an amateur video editor who is interested in trying out ubuntu." -- Wouldn't a live CD be better than a prototype installer... After all a video editor is going to have a CD drive.

There are additional issues with the write-up that push me away from ever trying this software (at least until the Authors become more mature in their actions and write-ups)... but I think you get the idea.

Another short comment... Robert Scoble posted an interesting question on his blog... "Do A-list Bloggers have a responsibility to link to others?"... I'm definitely not an A-List blogger but I think all bloggers have a responsibility to link to others.... and I think linking to only the big blogs is a mistake... I'd like to think that the smaller, less popular blogs (like this one) have just as much to offer and sometimes interesting little tidbits of information are missed by avoiding these smaller blogs.

So today's write-up is short and sweet... I'm just going to take you back over to ha.ckers.org and another post that RSnake made today... For this one, I'll just say that I think it's a cool idea and I look forward to seeing the finished product. Now I'll quote part of RSnake's post:

Several months ago Syngress Publishing asked a few people to help contribute to a book on XSS. The contributing authors are Jeremiah Grossman, Anton Rager, Seth Fogie and yours truly. We are still several months away from completing the book, but we are well on our way. Sorry I didn’t tell you all earlier, but I was just finally allowed to start talking about it.

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