Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

Who cares about metadata anyway?

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Recently in the news the NSA has been found collecting way more information about people, their doings, and their relationships than they should. I don’t really want to talk about the ethics of this at this point. What I do want to talk about is what they are collecting, and hopefully push everyone to a fuller understanding of what can be done with it.

The NSA says, that what they are collecting is just meta data and that it is no big deal. I assert that this is simply not true. Why?

Metadata is defined as a set or collection of data that describes other data. Why is data about data useful? While listening to a podcast, the analogy was given of a can.

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What is in this can? I bet you can’t guess. There are all kinds of choices and options, you simply can’t tell what is in the can without more information. This is where metadata comes into the picture.

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Now you can guess what is in the can. Beans. Okay, we know beans are in the can, so we can classify the can as beans. After we make this classification, we can further classify this as black beans, pinto beans, green beans.

As you can see metadata turns something that is unknown, into something that is known. Metadata can be a great help.

As you may be aware, I am starting to work on some new family history and genealogy tools that will allow me to find those members of my family that are difficult. Most family history and genealogy sites focus on their record collections. That’s great, but there is a whole new world of data to be opened up and discovered that will allow a more complete picture of our past.

We are using the metadata from these documents to make assertions, assumptions, and ultimately to make inferences about individuals, families, communities, and nations so that we can find with greater accuracy our loved ones, and not simply a bunch of images of records that are hard to prove as related to our loved ones.

SSL Encryption and Flash

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I have written this bad boy several times, and something keeps happening to it. Perhaps I will add some more details in the future. The main point of this is to save other people time. I spend three days trying to figure this out and figure that others would be appreciative of the information.

The symptom: A clients flash game site for children would act like the user was not logged in, even when we just barely logged into the site. (Specifically in Internet Explorer.)

The issue: Turns out that in Internet Explorer (6 and 7 did it, this was before 8 was released) flash (Which I might add is horrible!!!) has a problem with caching XML in combination with an SSL certificate. As a result, it would blow up in our faces.

The solution: Add headers to the code, that tell Internet Explorer to NOT cache the xml. Seems so simple, but once again, the geniuses in Redmond Washington and at Adobe show their mind numbing brilliance.

Did you know that…

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Being as how I ride the bus all the time, I get to sit by a wide variety of people. These people have a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs. I have found it very interesting to sit by certain people that are known as “conspiracy theorists.” One in particular caught me attention a few days ago. He kept talking about how Social Security numbers are the sign of the beast mentioned in the Bible. Really? Last time I checked there were several aspects to the sign of the beast that don’t match Social Security numbers. Such as Revelations 11:13 that talks about not being able to buy or sell unless a person were to use that number, well, sorry last time I checked, I can buy (and sell) stuff with out using my Social Security number, Sorry dude, don’t think it’s that one. It really is interesting to talk to these kinds of people. Do you have any fun stories about talking to someone like this? Let me know.

Jumping over dollars to save pennies

Monday, June 8th, 2009

I have never understood the mentality that a lot of people seem to take. They take a stance of jumping over dollars to save pennies. I saw this when I worked for Subway, owners would complain about giving out coupons, when time after time having coupons continuously showed that sales went up, therefore the store would make more money. Now I get to deal with this with another former employer. I have had colocation for more than a year now at the same place, in fact I have 3 servers that are at day 408 for uptime.

Since I found a new job that would pay me nearly double, my “employee discount” was taken away (without notifying me, which is a whole other topic of discussion) and now that I am calling them trying to get any kind of discount, you would think a loyal customer of more that a year would get some kind of discount, even if it were 10% (even the competition is saying that they can beat them by at least 10%. So instead of giving me a discount, since I was a good employee (maybe they feel like I left them hanging… Which in someways I did, but I gave them 4 months notice, guess what guys, you have to pay programmers what they are worth) and a faithful bill paying customer, that they would give a dicount right. Nope, got to charge full price so we don’t lose any money!

What happens when you lose the customer entirely? Is that worth saving a few bucks. In my book it’s not. But, I guess to each his own, good luck… Hope you don’t lose more customers, but if you treat other customers the way you treated me…. Then they are going to be suffering pretty bad soon.

New and Improved, but is it really?

Monday, June 8th, 2009

So I keep hearing about the “New and Improved” this, and the “New and Improved that… It made me stop to think for a while, If it is new, it was recently created, and has no history, and therefore can not be improved. If it is improved, it is old and has a history and is therefore not new. So where in the world did this oxymoron come from?

World record for Donkey Kong LIVE

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

STEVE WIEBE is attempting to break the world record for Donkey Kong, he is doing it right now live, watch it live http://www.justin.tv/g4tv_wiebecam This guy is crazy good!

100 best movie lines

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Here’s a video I found today. It’s the 100 best movie lines, only in a SportsCenter style where they have a montage of all of them. The entire thing is given in 200 seconds, not bad for the number of movie lines it covers. See if you recognize all of them.

Time machine: Crime In Cascade Canyon

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

I was rumaging around my collection of school projects when I came across this one. My group of friends all had the same English class. In this class we were assigned to make a radio mystery theater. Part of the requirements were that it include commercials. I have compiled the original (which was originally six different pieces) into one nice easy to listen to, assuming you think this kind of thing is easy to listen to, file. You can check out all of our other high school work at www.nikksbasement.com

Click below to listen to the story:

The Adventures of Dixon Hill in Crime in Cascade Canyon

A transcript is available at Nikk’s Basement Productions website.

Fun with telemarketers

Friday, May 8th, 2009

I have always been annoyed when telemarketers call and try to sell me something that I don’t want now, and never will want. As I have grown older my opinion of telemarketers has not really changed much. That said, my outlook on how to deal with them has changed. What in the world does that mean? Well, as I have grown older I have discovered that most people don’t like telemarketers either, so the nicest thing for me to do is to tie up these telemarketers for as long as I can.

At first I started asking them to hold, and then I would walk away. That was an alright way of dealing with the menace, but I figured there was more that could be done. As a result, I started letting the telemarketers give me their sales pitch, and then tell them to hold. Although this worked sufficiently well, I did not really get to have much fun with them.

I then found some very interesting videos on YouTube that show an very efficient way to deal with them. A way that allows me to have fun yet time the sales person up for a long time. How about you watch them for yourself, they are fairly self explanatory.

This one shows the power of a little social engineering and also shows that you need to be careful about what you say.

And here is a fun on that shows how easy it is to annoy a telemarketer. I must warn you it is a little long, but it is funny!

I think that it’s just some good quality fun! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I couldn’t stop laughing while I watched the first one.

Webhosting Upgrade

Friday, April 24th, 2009

I have added a new service that I am offering with my webhosting company. I have started offering colocation. This new service has started to tax some of the companies resources, so as a result modifications had to be made. The goal of the modification was to start measuring the bandwidth that each server/colocation client that is used.

In order to facilitate this change, a new border switch had to be installed. I purchased a Cisco 2924 on Ebay. The great thing about this switch is that it is a fully managed, the previous switch is classified as a web-smart switch, which simply means that it has a web interface. The new switch allows my monitoring server to poll the switch and store usage information about each port.


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