I’ve toyed with a few titles for this post, including - ‘My Kingdom for a Backslash’, or ‘Fish Don’t Know They’re in Water’. In the end I felt ‘The Long Road /home’ was the most fitting. This post is about my thoughts and experiences as a software developer, leading up to my use of Linux and building my first non-Microsoft based Web application.
In The Begining
I’m a non-CompSci grad - having started my academic life with a college diploma in biology (a Canadian community college is the equivalent to what would have been called a ‘polytechnic’ in the UK). After about four years of working as a laboratory assistant, I decided that biology wasn’t for me, and moved into IT. I started the hard-way – in PC support, and slowly worked my way up from there. I had a couple of lucky breaks along the way, which combined with a lot of work, meant that I was eventually able to pass for a ‘nearly’ competent IT professional.
This link to Macworld was sent to me by a colleague - "iPhone 4S: Why no NFC chip?". I think it's another excellent example of editorial polyfiller. How can a market be created for NFC technology - without handsets that support NFC?
I think the decision not to include NFC technology in the iPhone 4S was based on two factors.
I completed my master's degree in information security from Royal Holloway, University of London this May. It took a little while for the results to come out, and to be sure that my thesis had been accepted and graded accordingly. Now that I'm in the clear, I'm able to publish the report online - which can be found here at the following link - 3-D Secure: A critical review of 3-D Secure and its effectiveness in preventing card not present fraud. It can be read as HTML, or downloaded in PDF form (with larger figures and illustrations) from here.
I think the executive summary, introduction and conclusion read fairly well, and might be of general interest. In another life - I'd love to spend more time on human computer interaction for security related tasks (HCI-Sec). It's a fascinating field and I found some really interesting material on the topic.
I also wanted to say thank you to all of those who participated in the survey; in particular to Paul Stack (@stack72 ) and Craig Murphy (@CAMURPHY) for helping to drum-up participants.
Having recently joined the 'cult of Apple' - here's what I consider to be the minimum required set of Mac OS X utilities and helper applications for any Mac OS X installation:
1) Quicksilver: Update: 2014-10-11 - One of the features I've relied on in Quicksilver, was the ability to easily set system-wide keyboard shortcust. Thanks to this very cool app - Apptivate which does nothing 'but' set system-wide accelerators (including my prefered keybinding to launch Pathfinder), I'm less reliant on an app launcher now. Spotlight works fine, and Yosemite will finish this off nicely. Original Post: Thanks to This application launcher is the business. It's been around for ages, and does what it says on the tin. It looks a lot like 'Gnome Do', and I love it. A very fast, and very convenient way to launch apps, scripts, open documents and a lot more. It's also free. An alternative to Quicksilver is Alfred - which also looks nice - although I've yet to take it for a spin.
I’ve been experimenting with the development environment of my Linux setup recently. I’m running two virtual machines via VMWare Workstation from my Windows 7 PC. One is an Ubuntu 10.10 install using the Gnome desktop, and the other is openSUSE 11.4 using the KDE Plasma desktop.
I thought this was worth breaking my tech blog silence for.
I’ve been doing some research on storage options for a media company who are in desperate need of an easy-to-use, safe and large capacity storage solution. I spent the best part of a week looking at various offerings, when it became clear that LTO and LTFS were going to hit the sweet spot. The LTO specification is currently at LTO-5 – which provides 1.5 TB of uncompressed storage to the linear tape format and data transfer speeds of up to 140MB per second. Impressive.
I wouldn’t normally post a rant article on my blog – but iTunes – grrrrr. I really wish I wasn’t forced to use iTunes to sync my Outlook Contacts and Calendar with my iPhone 3GS. For the last few days I’ve been unable to sync my Outlook 2007 Contacts with my iPhone – and it was driving me nuts. I tried reinstalling iTunes 9.1, tried the Edit –> Preferences –> Devices – Reset Sync History option. I tried checking all my recurring dates in Outlook – since this was reported in the past as a problem. In the end – the answer was to roll back to iTunes 9.03 – by doing the following. As per http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1923 … Use the Control Panel to uninstall iTunes and related software components in the following order:
LINQ to Objects in C# has been around for a while now – and yet I’m regularly amazed at how easy LINQ has made it to perform what would have previously been fairly tedious tasks (well unless you were very clever and had written your own set of IEnumerable helper methods) - like the following – where I needed to synchronise a list of records in a database…
For a while now I’ve been jumping between IE8, Firefox, and Google Chrome. The browser that’s pulling me in – is definitely Chrome. For starters it’s fast. I mean really fast – even after a solid couple of months of use with a large local cache.
Other sticky features include being able to just type my search terms into the address bar – and execute a search (not unique to Chrome of course IE8 and Firefox both do this). And then the little details – like the screen shot shown here. While visiting one of my regular podcasts with Chrome – just clicking on the MP3 file – from what I’m assuming is a progressive download – launched a very nice little audio player. I don’t know why it’s there – or what ‘auto-magical’ stuff happened under the hood – it just worked. I also like the dark theme I found for Chrome and just ‘clicked’ and it was in – nice and dark and less painful to the eye – just like my dev IDE.
There are bigger issues and tectonic industry shifts at work here. I couldn’t write about them all with enough zest or knowledge to be of interest in this short post (like the future of Firefox now that the Mozilla Foundation’s largest funding organisation – Google – has their own browser) – suffice to say that for me at least- Chrome is sticky – and I’m using it more and more.