Monday, July 18, 2016

Luxurious & Arctic!

What signals success when you walk into an office in parts of Asia? Ridiculously cold temperatures. The blast of frigid air tells you immediately that this firm can afford lots of air-conditioning. Even when the temperature is more than ninety degrees outside, office temperatures are sometimes so cold that some workers use space heaters. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Frosty air conditioning is a way for businesses and building owners to show that they're ahead of the curve on comfort. In ostentatious Asian cities, bosses like to send out the message: We are so luxurious, we're arctic.”

Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (pp. 121), 2010, W. W. Norton & Company

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Zipcode

The United States Postal Service, which assigns zip codes, has issued about 45,000 of the 99,999 possible zip code values. Some zip codes, however, have no residents, such as a code assigned to a single large office building. The United States Census Bureau compiles statistics on nearly 32,000 regions it calls Zip Code Tabulation Areas, distinct areas approximating the boundary of a geographic postal zip code. With a total U.S. population of over 300 million, each tabulation area thus contains an average of roughly 10,000 people.

Charles, P. P., Shari L. P., Jonathan M. (2015). Security in Computing: Fifth Edition (pp. 615). Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Laptops Fly Away at Airports

Ponemon Institute conducted a survey of laptop loss at airports in the United States and Europe [PON08]. At 36 of the largest U.S. airports they found an average of 286 laptops are lost, misplaced, or stolen per week. For eight large European airports, the figure is even larger: 474. Of these, 33 percent were recovered either before or after the flight in the United States and 43 percent in Europe.

Charles, P. P., Shari L. P., Jonathan M. (2015). Security in Computing: Fifth Edition (pp. 691). Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Absolution for Dereliction

Y2K was a classic example of a broken window. Recall from Chapter 3, "The Power of Weaknesses," that a broken window is an element of disorder. Inattention and sloppiness invites disorder. And disorder invites greater disorder, even crime. In the case of software, our systems are broken even before we purchase them. Y2K seems to prove this point in spades. The fact that nothing obvious happened on January 1, 2000, is irrelevant. In fact, plenty happened. As a broken window, Y2K sent a message to everyone in the global networked neighborhood that no one was in control of software. Y2K was a message sent around the world heard by everyone: citizen, officials, and organized crime. Only now are we seeing the results.

In their panic, Congress, instead of grabbing the software industry by its ear lobe and saying, "You are arrogant, sloppy little men, what you wrought," passed the Year 2000 Computer Date Change Act limiting the liability of the software industry. In essence, the Act was absolution for dereliction. It just goes to show that it is rather difficult to grab someone by ear when they have you by the balls.

David Rice (2008). Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software (pp. 189). Pearson Education, Inc. Boston MA

Friday, April 1, 2016

Seneca: On the Shortness of Life

Personal notes collected from Seneca - On the Shortness of Life (Translated by C. D. N. Costa, Penguin Books)



It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.
. . .

People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.
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You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don't notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply -- though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.
. . .

There are many instructors in the other arts to be found everywhere; indeed, some of these arts mere boys have grasped so thoroughly that they can even teach them. But learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die. So many of the finest men have put aside all their encumbrances, renouncing riches and business and pleasure, and made it their one aim up to the end of their lives to know how to live. Yet most of these have died confessing that they did not yet know -- still less can those other know. Believe me, it is the sign of a great man, and one who is above human error, not to allow his time to be frittered away: he has the longest possible life simply because whatever time was available he devoted entirely to himself. None of it lay fallow and neglected, none of it under another's control; for being an extremely thrifty guardian of his time he never found anything for which it was worth exchanging. So he had enough time; but those into whose lives the public have made great inroads inevitably have too little.
    Now must you think that such people do not sometimes recognize their loss. Indeed, you will hear many of those to whom great prosperity is a burden sometimes crying out amidst their hordes of clients or their pleadings in law courts or their honorable miseries. 'It's impossible to live.' Of course, it's impossible. All those who call you to themselves draw you away from yourself. How many days has that defendant stolen from you? Or that candidate? Or that old lady worn out with burying her heirs? Or that man shamming an ilness to excite the greed of legacy-hunters? Or that influential friend who keeps people like you not for friendship but for display?
. . .

Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future weariness of the present. But the man who spends all his time on his own needs, who organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears te next day. For what new pleasures can any hour now bring him? He has tried everything, and enjoyed everything to repletion. For the rest, Fortune can dispose as she likes: his life is now secure. Nothing can be taken from this life, and you can only add to it as if giving to a man who is already full and satisfied food which he does not want but can hold. So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about.
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People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labor or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing.
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The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune's control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.
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So, when you see a man repeatedly wearing the robe of office, or one whose name is often spoken in the Forum, do not envy him: these things are won at the cost of life. In order that one year may be dated from their names they will waste all their own years.
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