Archives for Computers

Posts about software, the Internet, and computing general

2011, The Year of Fighting Back Against the Black-Hats, Part 2: Defenses Against Phishing

As you may recall, back in January I wrote a post declaring this the year of “fighting back against the black hats. Now it’s mid-October, and I am finally getting around to the second post in the series. So maybe 2012 will be a year of fighting back as well… What is Phishing? Simply put, […]

Changing Auto-Run Programs in Windows 7

I’ve been running Windows 7 for about a year and a half now. I have never been a Windows fan but Windows 7 definitely seems the least annoying — and most reliable — version of Windows I’ve seen. One of the remaining annoyances though is that even though I’ve been pretty careful about what I […]

Best Password Advice Ever

I have actually been mulling over posting about passwords and my current beliefs about how to choose them, but the Web comic xkcd beat me to it, and of course said in about 100 words what would have taken me 10 times as many:

Searching within PDF Documents using Windows Search

Windows Search is a a built-in feature of the operating system which, if I recall correctly, has been around since Windows XP. It can find which files (“documents” in Windows-speak) contain certain words or phrases. It is very handy if, for example, you know you have the shopping list somewhere on your computer but can’t […]

Installing Ubuntu 10.10 on a Dell inspiron 1210 (mini 12)

This post is a bit more technical than what I usually write for this blog, but I spent a lot of time and trouble trying to fix an issue with my Dell mini 12 laptop. I wanted to I document it to help make it easier for others. A couple of years ago I bought […]

Top 11 Technology Developments of the Decade

I don’t want this blog to be just about re-posting articles someone else wrote, but I thought this was interesting and that I’d share it. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (that’s “I-triple-E” to those who know what it is), of which I happen to be a member, published a list of the top […]

2011: The Year of Fighting Back Against Black-Hats, Part 1

Happy New Year! 2010 was a big year for me in terms of learning about computer security. First and foremost, last year was the first full year I had worked in security-related research. I also took a course at the Harvard extension school and attended meetings of a local industry group for computer security. So […]

It is Never a Good Time to Change Your Password

Many people, including (I am embarrassed to say) myself, have given people advice to periodically change their computer passwords. The more I learn about computer security and human factors, the more I come to realize this is fundamentally bad advice. A Boston Globe article from a couple of weeks ago explains this far better than […]

Face Painting for Confusing Face Recognition Software

A researcher named Adam Harvey published some of his findings about how face paint can confuse face-recognition software. He has pictures on his Web site. This makes me think of science-fiction games, especially cyberpunk games. I kind of like the idea of characters painting their faces with camouflage patterns before they run the shadows. And, […]

E-Books and DRM

E-books and devices with which to read them are gaining popularity. If you are thinking of getting an e-reader, there is something you need to understand about e-books: digital rights management, or DRM for short. DRM is what used to be called “copy protection:” it’s software that prevents you from making copies of an e-book […]