A site devoted to discussing techniques that promote quality and ethical practices in software development.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Choose your random number generator carefully

Bruce Schneier has just released his overview of the recently released US Government's official standard for random number generator.

His disclosure of a trap door found in the Dual_EC_DRBG is something of a worry:
This is scary stuff indeed.

Even if no one knows the secret numbers, the fact that the backdoor is present makes Dual_EC_DRBG very fragile. If someone were to solve just one instance of the algorithm's elliptic-curve problem, he would effectively have the keys to the kingdom.
And his recommendation to selecting a random number generator:
My recommendation, if you're in need of a random-number generator, is not to use Dual_EC_DRBG under any circumstances. If you have to use something in SP 800-90, use CTR_DRBG or Hash_DRBG.
I wonder what is the purpose behind all these.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This can't serious, can it?

Someone asked a very simple question, how could I produce a PDF document from my Word document and this was one of the answers:
in the office, why not just print the word document and then using the printer, scan it and email the document to yourself, the default format is PDF.
I am not sure if the person is offering this in jest or what but I can tell you that this person is involved with technology at a senior position. That is scary.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What do you call a Windows Live Writer that does not write

The Internet is buzzed with the excitement that Windows Live has finally came out of the beta. So I installed the Messenger, Mail & Writer to see what's the fuss about the Writer. I have been a long time user of MSN messenger and WLM .

What a total disappointment when WLW can only be used with a keyboard.

Perhaps someone has forgotten to tell WL developers that there is a Microsoft Product called Tablet PC.

Looks like they have repeated the same mistake as in Windows Live Space where that blog site is hostile to tablet users, the very reason I deserted it for blog spot. Firefox is a far better editor for me on blog spot and need no Windows (Dead) Writer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New report shows file-sharing does not harm music industry at least in Canada

It is good for everybody, industry or music lovers, to see this kind of studies. It can only be good for those open-minded people. A recently released report by University of London for Industry Canada studies the impact of file sharing on the music industries.

Of course, there are always people who refutes this with no publication of solid data. That's human nature. In this world, it is either put up or shut up. Comments like this:
It's not rocket science to work out that if you get your music for free, why would you go out and buy it.
I have also reported else where musician's view towards this issue and they have not found that file-sharing tracks is hurting their income as their income does not derive from CD sales. Rather, their main source of income is from concerts and live performance. This kind of music sharing can be good for their as kind of advertising.

Many predicts the introduction of eBook, electronic libraries, such as 24X7 and O'Reilly Library, and the Internet spells the death knell for physical books - why would anyone want to buy a physical book when one could read it mostly free? The same argument as presented above. It is interesting to know that sales figures released and available on Google have disappointed these doom-sayers and the contrary actually has happened.

It is an interesting finding:
In the aggregate, we are unable to discover any direct relationship between P2P filesharing and CD purchases in Canada. The analysis of the entire Canadian population does not uncover either a positive or negative relationship between the number of files downloaded from P2P networks and CDs purchased. That is, we find no direct evidence to suggest that the net effect of P2P file-sharing on CD purchasing is either positive or negative for Canada as a whole.
However, our analysis of the Canadian P2P file-sharing subpopulation suggests that there is a strong positive relationship between P2P file-sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file-sharing increases CD purchasing.
we find some indirect evidence that price influences CD purchasing, as the variable capturing the motivation to engage in P2P file-sharing because of the perception that CDs were too costly was negatively associated with CD purchases.

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