Withdrawl from Tech

I’ve just come back from illness and it was a lot of time spent not being able to log in. Initially I was too out of it to connect, but after being admitted to hospital and getting the appropriate treatment I found that the cannulas in my arm caused me a distinct inability to type. This meant for 5 days I found it extremely difficult to type or even use the mouse. Five days of not logging in found me sleepless at night wondering how many emails were piling up and what issues may be creeping into my server configuration. Fortunately for me the emails were simple enough to deal with and the server configuration is robust enough that it lasted the five days. I’m really not sure that I want to have to live without my connection again. I might even go so far as to say it was the worst part of the illness. Are you the sort of person who can’t go without logging in ? How long have you been away from the net before you’ve been compelled to check you email, Facebook or Twitter feed?

DARPA seeks to free the world from passwords | ExtremeTech

Trying to remember complicated “secure” passwords may be a thing of the past if the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) gets its way. The research arm of the US military is putting a call out to developers to begin work on software applications that will allow a computer system to identify a user by analyzing the way they type, instead of using the traditional password method. A novel idea that has its roots back when Morse code was the de facto standard for communications across the world.

In the early twentieth century, experienced Morse operators had distinctive traits to their signaling, called their “fist,” that would help to confirm their identities to people familiar with their style (i.e. Allied or German forces trying to crack radio communications). Think of it as handwriting identification for sounds. For example an operator could by habit elongate an individual character or word, or hang for a certain amount of time between words. Just like your middle school teacher could tell when you forged a note from home, Morse operators could tell when a message was coming from a person they usually dealt with or from a new person in the loop. This was also used to rate an operator’s transmitting skill. If they had clean messages that were easy to copy they were called a “Good Fist,” but if they transmitted poorly and made life hard on the receiving operator they received the label “Bad Fist.” DARPA is looking for a similar identification method for computers; it wants terminals to be able to identify your fist and use that as a pass phrase rather than having you create insecure passwords that are easy to remember.

The idea’s theory rests on the study of something called “keyboard dynamics.” Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have observed people’s typing habits, and have identified that the methods of motion we have developed are not controlled by deliberate thought, but through learned motor controls. Their studies conclude that a potential hacker or thief would have a difficult time cracking and emulating your style, and that it would be more than capable of providing secure access to sensitive services.

Fingers on keyboard… (to buy Cyber Monday specials)The problem with passwords in this age of high connectivity is that phrases that are considered secure are usually very hard for a person to remember. “6tFcVbNh^TfCvBn” is an example of a password that passes DARPA’s security check, but would be a nightmare to try to commit to memory. This leads users to either create simple combinations of numbers and letters that are significant to their lives, or to put the complicated passwords on paper. Of course, both methods are incredibly insecure, but add in the fact that the average user uses the same password for everything (you do have unique passwords for all your services right?) and you have a security nightmare on your hands.

While I am all for creating a way that I don’t have to remember every single password for all the services I use, I am a bit skeptical about how long this method will actually stay secure. In my experience, there isn’t a security scheme in the world that hasn’t been cracked or duped in some way. Take for example the famous Life Lock case, where the CEO put his Social Security number on billboards around the US, claiming that no one could steal his identity. It took about two months for several individuals around the internet to crack and harass the man with junk mail, credit card applications, and Viagra samples. My question is how would this identification system stand up to a simple keylogger? It’s pretty simple to be able to record keystroke timings over a long period of time for analysis then emulation, so what kind of security would be applied in conjunction to make sure that it’s you and not some other punk trying to get your info?

A password perhaps?

Read more at The New York Times or DARPA

via DARPA seeks to free the world from passwords | ExtremeTech.

SOPA: Jan 18 Blackout

I was perusing Facebook and a friend found the following site that had collected a list of sites confirmed for the Jan 18 protest blackout.

Confirmed Sites

The list is very long and containsStop SOPA many notable sites. Several of these sites are regularly visited by myself. These include the Mojang, reddit.com, GOG, the Cheezburger Network and Boing Boing.

If you’d like more information on the SOPA blackout check out the following article;

Sopa blackout set for january 18th. Heres all the info 2012 01

and make sure you contact your political representative.

 

Broadband users are two- screen champs | The Australian

Broadband users are champions of the second screen, with three out of four people with home broadband surfing the internet while watching TV according to a study.The global study by telecommunications analyst Ovum found that more than half of people using an internet connection while watching TV used it to chase up further information on the content they were viewing.”38 per cent said they use the net to discuss the TV program on social networking sites such as Facebook, an element of the so called ‘social TV’ phenomenon,” the report said.

via Broadband users are two- screen champs | The Australian.

Search YouTube Videos Without A Browser With Desktube TV

So, I have been searching though the Make Use Of articles and I’ve found another beauty. I enjoy searching through youtube for classic vids but I also like to have a few browser windows open. In Firefox this can get a little painful as the memory footprint goes up with every new tab. A good way to combat this is to not open another tab. Open Desktube!

With all of the things that I do in my browser, the last thing I need is to open yet another tab in an already busy and cluttered browser session. When it comes to YouTube, I personally use the popular video service for four or five different purposes, including embedding interesting video content into my blog, researching information and sometimes just to sit back and watch random and entertaining videos.

To do this, I usually just open up yet another tab in my browser and start doing a YouTube search. However, it would be really useful to have a desktop app to just search YouTube and access everything from the site that I could access from my own YouTube account. Back in 2006, Aibek actually reviewed an app like this called FireAnt, but this and other apps we’ve covered at MUO are mostly intended to download YouTube videos to the local computer.

There are lots of cool desktop video programs out there, such as Hulu Desktop which Stefan covered. But since I spend most of my time pouring through YouTube for cool content, I was really excited to discover Desktube.TV, which is exclusive to only YouTube videos.

via Search YouTube Videos Without A Browser With Desktube TV.

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