Category Archives: Technology

Ordinary Extraordinary Things

There’s a widely accepted principle about technology adoption. When a new technology is introduced, people are aware of it and   learn how to use it. After a while, people come to embody the practices of using it well and are no longer aware of it. It is just part of our world. We no longer notice how we ever lived without it. Some say this principle is characteristic of the computer age. However, this did not originate with computers. It has always been the case with revolutions in daily life. Those who see the revolution taking place are unlikely ever to forget it. Those who see only the effects of the revolution often don’t fully recognize and appreciate it. I call examples of this phenomenon “extraordinary ordinary things.” For me, the most undervalued extraordinary ordinary thing is the elevator. Continue reading

Is Computing in Reverse the Next Big Thing?

As Moore’s Law runs out of steam, and fabrication of Boolean circuits on silicon appears to be reaching its limits, some computer scientists and physicists are looking beyond the limits of current computing to “reversible computing.” That is, instead of one-way circuits that produce a deterministic output from given inputs, reversible computing works both ways: Inputs can be obtained from outputs by running the circuits in reverse. Generally speaking, computation runs in one direction, producing outputs from inputs, without the ability to run backwards and compute inputs from outputs. Continue reading

Insider Attacks Are A Bigger and Harder Threat?

There is a new trend apparently emerging to defend against data loss and data damage as a result of external hacking. Some organizations have been removing their sensitive data from the Internet or isolating such data on “private” networks. This trend reminds me of Willie Sutton’s answer when he was asked, “Why do you rob banks?” His answer was, “Because that’s where the money is.” If this trend is real and if it spreads further, expect the hackers to simply move from external hacking to insider hacking. If you ask a hacker, “Why do you rob computer systems?”, he or she would likely answer, “Because that’s where the data is.” I doubt hackers care whether it requires an external hack or an insider hack. As you will see later, removing or isolating sensitive data from the Internet has apparently not stopped the CIA from being either the hack-er or the hack-ee. Continue reading