Categories
Economics

Just a little bit more Bitcoin trouble

Originally published on June 17, 2014

There has been so much tumult in bitcoin and cryptocurrency over the past few days! Interest and concern extends beyond online communities. Motives vary.

Categories
Tech

Growth of the early Internet, node by node

Network diagrams are a popular way of visualizing social and corporate relationships. Network theory has been used to model telecommunications performance and especially, the Internet. Communications networks increase in value as the number of connections increases. Metcalfe’s Law attempts to quantify the increased value.

Categories
Design

Not so current developments in typography

I wrote this post about the Indian rupee some years ago but never published it. Given the feeling of time suspended brought on by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders (and suspension of normal life in general), I decided to publish rather than discard it.

My initial motivation was to come up with something interesting to say using combinations and permutations in meaning of the words “economics”, “typography”, “development”, and “current”. I DO love typography!

Categories
Tech

SHODAN related infosec assortment

I never attended DEFCON, though it remains a dream I hope to realize one day, soon. It may soon become too logistically awkward due to increasing numbers of attendees.

Shodan is a remarkable search engine. Traditional search engines use “spiders” to crawl websites. Shodan culls data from ports. It was created by John Matherly in 2007. He continues to develop it.

Shodan is helpful for locating web server vulnerabilities. It is available as a free service, for up to 50 searches. Query syntax includes searches by country, host name, operating system and port. Shodan can search for software AND hardware. It has been acknowledged by mainstream media. The most prominent coverage was in early June, via The Washington Post, when Stuxnet received so much press attention.

Categories
Tech

Monetize Your Followers

As a statistician and mathematical modeling practitioner, I’m not a stranger to the concept of quantifying the value of intangibles.  In the ethical framework in which I studied and worked, such quantification might be applied to a concept such as negative dollar value of ill-will (per person) generated by denied boarding due to passenger aircraft over booking.  Yet I found myself rather unnerved today by TweetUp’s article today, How much is a follower worth?.  According to TweetUp analytics, the answer is $136.80, as of June 2010.

Categories
Economics

Activism for profit

Activist hedge funds have been playing an increasingly central role in corporate governance. Stock markets do not capture the long term costs of short-term pillaging. As a result, these activist investors can pursue transactions that increase prices at the expense of long-term performance, such as cutting project investments or reserve funds.

Categories
Tech

Cutting corners on telecom infrastructure with Huawei

In January 2013, I wrote a blog post about Huawei’s twisty, winding path to prominence. There were plenty of oddities, e.g. Huawei was supplier to the Taliban and nearly acquired by GOP presidential Mitt Romney… but not a the same time!

Huawei is back in the limelight. Curiously, the problem is not one of Chinese state interference but of sloppy software development. I’ll get to that, but first, let’s take an illustrated tour of the Huawei story.

Categories
Googleplex

Google graphs and graphs for code search

A graphing calculator

In 2012, Google discontinued its highly-regarded code search. It was freely available for open source projects residing on Google Code project hosting. This is the only description of the pre-2012 Google Code Search I could find:

…it was designed to help people search for open source code all over the web [and] will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012.

Simultaneously, a graphing calculator functionality was introduced to regular search.

Categories
Uncategorized

My father In memorium

Veteran’s Day

For my father, Captain Russell H. Kesselman, U.S. Air Force, 1927 – 2009.

The loss and sorrow does not diminish. I think of my father every single day. I miss him so much. I wish I would have been a better daughter.

My father was not always tactful. He could say hurtful things, carelessly. He was often unhappy, moody. Yet he was absolutely consistent about this: When I was unsure about myself, he always told me that he believed in my ability to accomplish things. It never felt like reassurance, but rather, certainty. If I could, I would say,

“You were a good parent! I was so fortunate, yet never realized that. Thank you for constantly encouraging me. You never led me to doubt myself. I am so proud that you were my father. You worked for 50 years, helping people, working for the Veteran’s Administration as a cardiologist, going on house calls for your elderly patients even though you were 75 years old yourself. I love you, Father.”

I can’t though. My father is gone from this world.

Don’t be like me. Tell your parents that you love them, now, while you can. Don’t be obstinate (as I often was), particularly if there is no good reason for it.

Don’t do what I did, and feel such regret, more than I have words to describe.

Categories
Uncategorized

The problem with randomness

How to generate random numbers from spam

I found SecurityDump’s WPRandom the other day:

Generating random numbers is pretty complicated if you need them for cryptographic algorithms. This software generates them based on spam comments…