NDA-Cloaked Posts Hint At Next Big Thing

Given the sudden spontaneous emergence of “Gee, this doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but have you thought about how helpful query statements are?” posts going around, I think Friday, September 16 1:00 PM- 2:30 PM Room: 152/153 (Hall F) is going to be the most interesting :90 minutes at the PDC.


Zero Blog Bounce Harder Zero Email Bounce

After an initial sweep to clear the spam and no-further-reading-required blog posts, I’ve got 92 emails in my Inbox and 193 posts in my RSS folder after ten days on the road. Getting to zero email bounce (ZEB) looks to be a lot easier since the next action on individual items is generally obvious (reply, file, or delete). Unfortunately, RSS items are almost all interesting-but-not-urgent; the urgent action is to clear out my aggregator so that I have a clear working space.

Not that I’m close to achieving either a ZEB or a ZBB soon…

Knee Pain On Long Flights Solved With Ace Bandage

Just in (to Hawaii) from the East Coast. In the past few years, my left knee has become excruciating on long flights from fluid accumulating due to a combination of long periods of sitting erect and (perhaps) lower air pressure. Yesterday, I wrapped my knee in an ace bandage (not tightly, just enough to press in slightly) moments before getting on the plane in Boston. Worked like a million bucks — hardly a twinge of pain the whole flight. (I know, off-topic, but perhaps one day someone will Google this article and save themselves some pain.)

Art Historians Want Side-By-Side PowerPoint, Lament the End of Kodak Carousels

My friend the Art Historian tells me that Kodak has announced that they will cease manufacture of slide carrousels, much to the chagrin of thousands of museums and colleges. He also says that there is a multimillion-dollar market for a presentation program that can show, side-by-side, two randomly-accessed images (i.e., “Let’s compare a Manet on the left with a Monet on the right”). He says it would be dead-simple to market, since the art-history world is so small. I’m long past the days of being tempted by speculative programming, no matter how trivial the application or lock-sure the profit. If you want to program such an app, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Einstein’s Riddle in C#

Inspired by Edi Weitz’ solution to Einstein’s Riddle in Common Lisp (via O’Reilly Radar), I used Andy Chun’s NSolver constraint programming library to solve the program using .NET.

Here’s a sense of what C# / NSolver looks like:

//The green house’s owner drinks coffee
//The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds
//The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill


On my 1.5Ghz, 768MB RAM Tablet PC, NSolver can solve the problem 100 times in .79 seconds. C# source code (165 lines).


Phighting Phish With Honeypot techniques?

Dan Gillmor wonders if there’s an effective way to battle scam e-mails. Here’s a thought: banks, eBay, CC companies, etc. provide a Web site or Web Service that provides an array of fake userids and passwords that are identified in their back end as “fraudulent.”

  • A savvy person receiving a phish goes to, say, honeypot.ebay.com (the service provided by the real eBay) and says “Gimme’ a traced id.”
  • eBay responds with “JohnSmith78“ “87htims“
  • Savvy person clicks through to the phish site and “logs in“ as “JohnSmith78“
  • The phisher passes through the traced id and eBay says “Hi, John, you have $25,213,123 in your account“
  • The phisher says “Oh, wire that to Russia Federal Credit Union account #1234“
  • Standard wire fraud techniques are used thereafter

Of course, the use of offshore accounts by phishers is a challenge, but that’s a matter for law enforcement, not gullible Internet users.