• Strazcynski: We have an obligation to one another...

    It’s worth mentioning that this story was initially conceived in the midst of the Me Generation, the decade of “I’ve got mine, jack, screw you all.” Since then the culture has gotten increasingly factionalized, groups of Me’s pulling and tugging at the fabric not only of the country, but of the planet itself. The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to a cause, seems to have become…passe. Old fashioned. Silly.

    We have an obligation to one another, responsibilities and trusts. That does not mean we must be pigeons, that we must be exploited. But it does mean that we should look out for one another when and as much as we can; and that we have a personal responsibility for our behavior; and that our behavior has consequences of a very real and profound nature. We are not powerless. We have tremendous potential for good or ill. How we choose to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it. We’re told every day, “You can’t change the world.”

    But the world is changing every day. Only question is…who’s doing it? You or somebody else? Will you choose to lead, or be led by others?”

    — J. Michael Strazcynski, Creator, Babylon 5

  • Heinlein: Specialization is for insects

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    — Robert Heinlein

  • Aristotle: Excellence is a habit

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

    — Aristotle

  • The Real Problem with MobileMe Security (or lack thereof)

    Over the past couple of days, a debate has been raging over the security (or lack thereof) on MobileMe’s web services. While it’s obvious to anybody who is paying attention that the MobileMe web services do not use an SSL connection to secure any data beyond your password, a recent article by “Prince McLean” at AppleInsider implies that this is actually of no concern as the JSON data exchanges between the client and server apps are themselves secure:

    Data transaction security in MobileMe’s web apps is based upon authenticated handling of JSON data exchanges between the self contained JavaScript client apps and Apple’s cloud, rather than the SSL web page encryption used by HTTPS. The only real web pages MobileMe exchanges with the server are the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files that make up the application, which have no need for SSL encryption following the initial user authentication. This has caused some unnecessary panic among web users who have equated their browser’s SSL lock icon with web security. And of course, Internet email is not a secured medium anyway once it leaves your server.

    Of course, whenever a comment like this is made, you can rest assured that there will be more than a few people who will be eager to check it out — in many cases simply out of idle curiosity.

    Several posts in the comments to the above article (mine included) make the situation quite clear: The data exchanges between the MobileMe back-end and the user’s browser are definitely not in any way encrypted. Data transactions travel “in the clear.”


  • Bluetooth Proximity Detection on OS X

    One thing that I’ve been playing with off and on for some time is a small efficient little solution for handling basic Bluetooth proximity detection, specifically for being able to perform certain actions when a cell phone or other Bluetooth device is in range of my Powerbook.

    As an IT Consultant, I am frequently working in various locations at different clients’ sites, and it’s nice to have my Powerbook secure itself when I’m away from the machine. In addition, my other objectives are to keep the OS X Address Book application connected and to iSync my phone whenever it moves back within proximity of my machine.

    Ideally, I would want to activate the OS X screen saver and enable the password protection when I move away from my computer (out of Bluetooth range), but otherwise I’d prefer to keep the screen saver password off for normal use, as it gets quite annoying when I’m working near the computer to have to continually re-enter my password after I’ve diverted my attention elsewhere for a few minutes (which happens frequently, as often the Powerbook sits to one side of other systems that I’m working with, rather than being in constant use).


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