Tom Olzak

MIT Report Troubling

In Business Continuity, China, Cyber-warfare, Government, Risk Management on March 1, 2013 at 18:17

In a recent report (MIT Report: U.S. Manufacturing Hits a Wall When It’s Time to Scale), Curt Woodward writes that a group of MIT researchers discovered an almost impassable chasm when looking for investment dollars.  The investment dollars were for needed for 150 production companies wanting to move to full-scale production, and they were only available from foreign investors or if moved off-shore.

Why is this a security issue?  Because it has been clear for a long time that no one wants to build manufacturing plants in the US.  I’m not talking about steel mills; rather, the 150 companies (many started or supported by MIT students, professors, etc.) focused primarily on hi-tech products.  Just what we need… move all hi-tech production–the kind of production that is crucial to our economy and our national security–off-shore or make it vulnerable to the whims of foreign investors.

I don’t care whose fault this is; we spend far too much time in this country pointing fingers when we should be sitting down together to solve problems.  China is laughing is collective butt off as it steals our intellectual property and increasing builds our technology.  I just don’t think it’s that funny…

The death of text CAPTCHA? I hope so…

In CAPTCHA, Computers and Internet, Security Management on February 22, 2013 at 20:25

In a Yahoo article posted yesterday (Internet advertisers kill text-based CAPTCHA – Yahoo! News), Mike Wehner writes about possible changes to text CAPTCHA hell.  Yes, I said hell.  I am nearing my sixth decade of life on this planet, and I sometimes have to give up and make a phone call when trying to use some of the inane CAPTCHA  implementations I encounter.  I am willing to suffer a second or two with ads to select.

I am not alone in my journey through the CAPTCHA quagmire.  According to Wehner, negotiating a CAPTCHA takes an average of 14 seconds.  Some take much, much longer.  This is leading some companies out of the swamps and toward ad-based verification.

Solve Media is the big player in this space, and the graphic below demonstrates how ad-based CAPTCHA works.  Instead of typing meaningless drivel, she enters text related to the displayed product.  Easy and designed to drill product messages into our heads.

From Solve Media Video

From Solve Media Video

I know.  Just one more way to commercialize the Web… but I don’t care.  If I can cut CAPTCHA frustration while helping vendors carry out Turing tests, I’m OK with this.  How about you?

 

 

IDCATU strikes Google, Apple, and Microsoft…

In apple, Business Continuity, Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Safari on February 21, 2013 at 20:47

The Register published an article today describing Adblock Plus angst over Google seemingly trying to take down their ad blocking software on Android.  See Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak • The Register.

While reading the article, I began to get the feeling that Google is intentionally blocking Adblock because it interferes with Google store functionality.  Interesting…

This is one more reason I am very pis… uh… angry this week.  When I first purchased my iMac last year, I was able to do 99% of what I could do on my Windows 7 laptop.  Today, Google Chrome for Mac is significantly crippled on many sites.  Further, I have to use IE 10 on my Windows 8 laptop to have access to several features I use during research.  We seem to be going backward.

When I started in IT (1983), I encountered a score of different standards from the same number of companies.  It was a compatibility nightmare until business simply accepted the IBM PC and MS-DOS as the de facto standard.  Vendors got on board or went out of business.

During the growth of the Internet, browser choices had gotten to the point that I could use the browser of my choice–the browser I felt most comfortable with–and I could be fairly confident that I would be able to be productive.  This was until recently…

Speaking only from personal experience, I believe I am suffering from a disease spreading across Microsoft, Google, and Apple: IDCATU syndrome.  As it spreads, market share and out doing the competition become more important than user productivity.  Those suffering from I-Don’t-Care-About-The-User use double-talk to assuage the unwary into believing incompatibility between solutions is for their own good. BS.

I am seriously considering moving everything to open source.  The problem is that IDCATU also forces the big players to force the creative and unafflicted to the sidelines.  Some people are simply getting too uppity for their own good… and ours.

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