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Journal: Eyebrow-raising job post

Journal by Ellie K

lol job

Cryptography project bids sought, 13 May 2013
Project Description:
I need a preimage for a specific MD5 hash (will be revealed in private message). Length or content of the image doesn't matter (however I would pay more if I could choose a prefix). The submitted image will be verified by the *nix standard md5sum application, the first one who submits a valid image will be accepted and be paid.

Posted by user md5guy via


Journal: Microsoft Developer Network Identity Confusion

Journal by Ellie K

Microsoft Developer Network Blog
This is the most bizarre thing I've seen yet from Microsoft. They acknowledge, on the Developer blog, that the sign-in process for using MSDN communities, resources, forums, tutorials, API etc has confused so many DEVELOPERS that they will consider redesign. That's of some comfort to me, as I was feeling a bit confused too. This blog post was dated May 2010, I'm going to check to see how it all turned out, and if I'm fortunate, I'll be able to create a second MS Live profile (apparently one isn't sufficient) and actually access the site!

User Journal

Journal: What Identities are Used for Sign-in and Where, Gigya

Journal by Ellie K
Yes, this is a bit on the web analytics and behavioral side BUT bona fide statisticians (like me) do segmentation analyses too. That's what this is.

For the month of May 2010, Gigya reports on what sign-on's and ISP's were used for major traffic sites, stratified by category types. So that means there's more than merely Facebook and Twitter and social networking. Thankfully, that was only one of many category types used for the stratification. I haven't checked the methodology, but I did see that the sample sizes were sufficient, and that comparisons are provided in percentage and absolute values.

Gigya Identity Study , And I'll even provide the image for our lighter readers:
The Courts

Journal: Second Amendment Applies to States (and Localities) | Sands Anderson PC - JDSupr

Journal by Ellie K
The Right to Bear Arms in the City of Chicago (and your town too) On June 29, 2010, the US Supreme Court issued a much-anticipated ruling on restrictive City of Chicago gun control measures, effectively, Chicago's ban of citizen possession of firearms. (The City of Chicago is not alone in setting these sort of laws. Washington D.C. has a similar law, and the rationale is obvious, regardless of whether effective or not.)
Most U.S. federal-level laws are applied at the state and local level by "Due Process", which exists as a clause in the Fourteeth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Second Amendment applies to gun control. That eponymous phrase, "the right to bear arms", is actually applicable only at the Federal level per the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the the Second Amendment was applicable to the City of Chicago by Due Process instead of a stronger measure known as Privileges and Immunities. (Actually Justice Clarence Thomas based his opinon on Privileges and Immunities, but was the only Justice who did so).
What are the implications of this case ruling? Well, it could mean increased legislation, or "open season", on existing illegal possession of firearms-related laws for all U.S. states and localities. How might it affect the gun control laws in the five Boroughs of Manhattan? Washington D.C.?
User Journal

Journal: White House seeks comment on trusted ID plan, 25 June 2010

Journal by Ellie K
Computer World reports on Public Input for Trusted ID Plan

I went to the site National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace last Friday afternoon, June 25. That was a few hours after the site was opened to comments. There were a dozen posts at that time, suggesting, or commenting, in each of the various categories provided. I was pleased to an see OpenID-related suggestion, as also referenced in ComputerWorld's article

"One person suggested the White House take advantage of existing open-source trusted ID efforts, including OpenID"

I happen to be an advocate of OpenID, from what I know to-date. I also read some other rational-sounding observations, further comments, and more new ideas to address the problem of protecting individual and corporate electronic security. There were maybe 10 duplicate or substantively similar submissions at that time.

Approx 36 hours later, I checked the site. It had devolved into a mess of off-topic rants and paranoid comments about the evils of Big Government (ignoring the fact that Big Government was providing this venue for citizens to express their thoughts!). I continued reading.

Oddly enough, I read many sensible and well-written posts that were duplicates of the original 10 or 15 ideas submitted. I find the latter the most annoying in many respects. Why? Because I assume it is a matter of ego that so many individuals cannot vote up an idea they like or also had been contemplating, then using the commenting feature following each idea, should there be variations or refinements, or corrections of some part to be considered. No, apparently it is far more important to get your name in there, even if it merely displays as "Community Member", the auto assigned name for those who wish to remain anonymous, than to add one's vote to an already-posted idea you endorse. What a frustrating thing it will be for whomever has the job of moderating this morass of entries!

Failure to solicit public input is a very common complaint about government. In some cases that is valid. However, one look at this site is enough to make one think the public should be able to behave itself better if it wants to be taken seriously.
That is a rhetorical suggestion, I am merely remarking on collective behavior. I am not a government employee nor contracted or funded by government, minor disclaimer.

User Journal

Journal: Definitive guide to Keyboard Shortcuts

Journal by Ellie K

EDIT: Website is offline now.

This is a good reference for keyboard shortcuts. Why? What's so special about it?

Well, it is very carefully illustrated and sized well for printing then taping to a shelf or lamp near one's workstation. Of course, this would be even more useful to anyone new to the World of Windows and PC's, particularly if they want a document written in Spanish. (I don't know if the same keyboard shortcuts are applicable for Mac OS, though). There's a nice explanation about the Alt-Gr key, otherwise known to me as Alt- |, and a bit of history about the different key placement for European versus North American market. The Gr in Alt-Gr meant "Graphics", fyi.

The post covers these combo's, and don't give me a hard time for my choice of notation!
Alt + x
Windows symbol + x
Shift + x
Alt-Gr + x , or Alt-Shift -\ + x
for West of the Atlantic users Function keys
F1 ... F12
Ctrl + x

Personally, I try to avoid keyboard shortcuts, as they remind me of Emacs and WordPerfect, neither of which were bad, just indicate that I'm getting a little long in the tooth. However it is good to have the info handy, as one sometimes gets stuck in an application where an expected function is not offered on the pull down menus, and use of the keyboard shortcut is the only choice.

User Journal

Journal: Floppy Diskettes from IBM: Formatted 10pk

Journal by Ellie K

Verbatim 3.5 inch Floppy Diskettes

Yes, this means that there's at least one seller of new 3.5 inch floppy diskettes! I saw these on Verbatim's online site, available in an unnervingly elaborate variety of color combinations.

The site is worth having a quick look at. There are also some new tech and innovative household/ consumer items. I want a four pack of Verbatim-branded batteries: NiMH and 2,500Au (not sure about that unit of measurement...). Very good quality batteries, for rechargables, and affordable too. Don't forget the computing storage devices, including super high-end secure USB's, $400+ for 16 GB. Preview the future PCI replacement storage device, a.k.a. known as Express cards.

User Journal

Journal: Unconventional Computing: The Future is Hot Air

Journal by Ellie K

Google's massive computing facilities use 12V auto batteries as back-up power source! Is it true? Yes, per David Kanter, editor-in-chief of Real World Technologies in his Exectweets post from May 7, 2010. Google, much like Amazon, Yahoo! or Facebook relies on aggregate computing processing power. Cost remains an issue, despite increased hardware affordability and performance advantages from better systems architecture. This might be old news at Slashdot, as it was based on events of perhaps mid-year 2009. It was new to me though:

"Google shared some of its Borg hardware with the world... a 12V car battery was used for backup, rather than an UPS. Why? Modern UPS designs improve reliability in exactly the same way, but the conversion efficiency is not perfectâ"a good UPS might convert power at 90% efficiency. For a company with a dozen servers, a 10% inefficiency power is unfortunate, but may not be worth chasing after... [Google's] car battery approach achieves 99.9% efficiency, and with hundreds of thousands of servers, that can make a big difference."

Hmmm.... I'd like to see the numbers. Reliability is based on expected failure rates. Without knowing more about the probability distribution for 12V car battery failure, and how multiple 12V batteries are configured for back-up power, I don't have sufficient info to make even a rough estimate.... Other considerations would be: Exactly how many 12V batteries does Google use? How much space do they require and isn't there some trade-off due to the enormous footprint of a vast 12V battery farm?

David described another aspect of Google's energy efficient operations:

"Google simplifies their designs to only use 12V power rails. A modern motherboard requires several voltage planes: 3.3V, 5V and 12V. To provide each voltage, the power supply needs to convert 115V AC to the appropriate level. Instead, Google's power supplies only output 12V and use high efficiency voltage conversion on the motherboard to go from 12V to other voltage levels"

The macro-benefits of data center optimization are very green-friendly, and not exclusive to Google. Any large corporate data center consumes a great amount of electricity, and outputs waste heat. Locating a data center near cheap power sources is sensible, and is presumably why Amazon and Google, amongst others have chosen the Pacific Northwest due to the region's plentiful hydroelectric power. However, the most pleasing idea was to recycle the heat and warm air generated by server rooms and data centers, and using it for temperature control, to heat buildings, swimming pools or maybe industrial purposes. The article concludes with a real-world example; Telehouse, a U.K. colocation provider, specifically designed its London data center with an exhaust pipe to move heat to third parties in the Docklands.

Do not use the blue keys on this terminal.