2014-03-09

A Calendar for Everyone

We all kind of dislike calendars that we aren't accustom to, and tons of folks over the centuries have thought they could do a better job.  And some people around the world see calendars as being a primarily religious instrument since Pope Gregory XIII's people pushed for the one we use today.

Here's my proposal, which combines the Herschel and a modified Holocene calendar.
  • Take on the proposal of Sir John Herschel, so that there are 969 leap days every 4000 years.
  • Take on the concept of the Holocene calendar year numbering system, but modify it as such: 
    • The year number is an aggregate of the top 30 year numbers of the calendars of the world, modulo 100.  Then add 10,000.  My calculation comes up with the year 10043.  For you Gregorian fans, just subtract 8029.
  • Retain the other structures of the Gregorian/Julian calendaring system, notably: month numbering, month length, weekdays.
  • Call this the Earth Solar Calendar.
Result:
  • A calendar that is not the Gregorian calendar
  • A calendar that is generally compatible with the Gregorian calendar for all practical purposes
  • A calendar with a new year style which clearly identifies itself from other commonly used calendar styles
  • A calendar that is generally not affiliated with any specific religion or society
Concerns:
  • The proposed calendar retains the Gregorian correction to the Julian calendar.  The timing of that reform is tied to a religious event.
  • The calendar retains the month model of the Julian calendar.
  • Those that appreciate the supposed linkage of the Gregorian calendar with religion may be unhappy with the proposal.  However, the Gregorian calendar is a weird hodgepodge of lunar and solar calendars with a stem several thousand years older than the current Gregorian calendar year. Furthermore, the Gregorian year number is widely known to be inaccurate.
  • No one likes change.

My Computer Security Failures

I'm a security-concious guy, but I have screwed up before.  Here are my security failures over time that I know about:


1994: I downloaded and executed a program from the Internet.  The program spun through the Windows 3.11-based system, overwriting all files.  This resulted in significant data loss.

Root cause: User trusted untrustworthy software.  User failed to back up system.


2001: Fell victim to an SSH exploit on my Linux-based router machine.  The machine was compromised by a remote attacker and used to send spam.  The machine needed to be wiped and reloaded.

Root cause: Zero-day exploit vulnerability, and/or failure to keep on top of security patches.


2006: I gave administrative rights to my brother's au pair's Windows XP-based PC, under pressure from the au-pair who wanted to install software.  The machine was quickly overwhelmed by malware despite anti-virus practices.  The machine was kept in service after significant cleanup.

Root cause: The platform assumed users would need powerful privileges; administrator inappropriately complied.


2008: My account at a popular Internet Service, Twitter, was compromised and misused.

Root cause: I followed poor password management practices: I re-used an identical username/password pair with multiple service providers for accounts "I didn't care about".


2008: Unprivileged Mac OS X user account was compromised remotely over SSH via brute force, due to simple username and matching simple password.

Root cause: Administrator enabled remote SSH access but failed to restrict ssh access to specific accounts.


2014: Wireless access point unsecured, resulting in open network access over-the-air.

Root cause: Administrator created a second wireless SSID without properly securing it.

2014-03-02

Save big money with Free WIFI?

Who wants to pay for Internet?  Maybe your neighbor has open WIFI!  Freedom!  FREE!!!

The problem is that your neighbor's WIFI should never be trusted.  Here's what your neighbor could find out about you:
  • Who you are
  • What sites you visit
  • Your daily schedule
  • What kind of devices you use
  • Probe your devices for vulnerabilities
  • Read many of the web pages you read as you read them
  • See how much mail you receive and send
  • Manipulate what you read on the internet
Now don't be surprised - your ISP can do these things too.  But at least your ISP has a reputation to uphold and (weak) regulations that they must legally conform to.  Your anonymous neighbor that you're stealing from?  They don't really have to worry about such things.

If you're going to steal Internet, use VPN.  VPN doesn't solve all problems, but it solves some of them.


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