The coming bugpocalypse

It’s a common trope in SF for a society to get too reliant on technology (especially sexy alien technology) and then get into trouble when it’s taken away. In fact this seems to be a key tactic of sexy aliens. But there’s no need to invoke aliens for what is a real problem. Any use of technology comes with it a “disaster recovery” (or DR as they say in the business) plan. If you regularly drive a car to work, what...

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Best reads of 2014

Playing with the statistics on Goodreads. Apparently I read 115 books in 2014, 14 of which I rated as 5-star. Fourteen books that changed my life and/or I will definitely be re-reading at some point. I’m working on formulating some more stats based on the data. Goodreads doesn’t do much in the way of breaking out the data for you. But of the 14, exactly half were non-fiction. The rest were: A Treasure of Modern American Poetry The...

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The worst security breach of 2014

Here’s a prediction. The worst security breach of 2014 isn’t something you’ve heard about. Yet. I just got word that Chick-fil-a is investigating a potential credit card breach that goes back to 2013. Yikes. ‘So, Lone Star, now you see that security crackers will always triumph because people are dumb.’

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Top Technology Failures of 2014

Difficult to rank, as there were so many. Here’s one attempt, focused more on innovation failures. Personally, that seems a bit harsh. Holding innovation to a predictable timeline is usually a bad bet. More serious issues for day-to-day life come from outright failures, like countless data breaches, widespread security flaws, and other things that undermine confidence in shiny things. But that’s why we have fiction, right?...

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The amazing sleep experiment

I encourage all readers to try the experiment I did. Every day, for at least ten consecutive days, go to sleep at least 1.5 hours earlier than you usually do. Wake up as usual, or when you naturally wake up. I’ve read before that most people are in a state of sleep debt, and let me tell you, being paid off feels like nothing else. I wouldn’t exactly say I woke up feeling refreshed, but after the initial morning fuzz, I felt alert...

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Unicorn hunting

It’s become a trope: the super-smart hacker, faced with a highly secure system, frantically hammers on the keyboard for a few seconds (if it’s a really tough job, with a few pauses to show a¬†thoughtful face) then another burst of activity, and they’re in. What is the factual basis for this trope? Only the tiniest grain of truth. In the end, knowledge is power. There are some long-dormant bugs out there, called by at least one...

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Re-learning to type

I got a new gadget called either an iGrip or alphaGrip (both names seem to be used somewhat interchangeably). This gadget is described as an ergonomic keyboard, though careful to avoid any specific claims about being less likely to cause, say RSI. Indeed, it lets you lean back in your chair and keep your hands in a game-controller-ish position. It uses rocker switches on the bottom for pinky + ring + middle finger, plus a little more mobility...

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Micah Joel

Purveyor of things geeky