Tuesday, December 27, 2011

iTunes - Podcasts - DEFCON 3 - Feat. Me

If you are into hardware and software experimentation you might have noticed, with some amazement, that 2012 is the year of DEFCON 20. That's two decades of hacker convention fun and games. I missed the first two but was invited to speak at DEFCON 3 which was held August 4-6th 1995 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. So I was delighted to encounter this link recently: Past speeches and talks from DEF CON hacking conferences in an iTunes friendly m4b format. I took a listen to my session (on Why Hacking Sucks) and was pleased to find it still sounded pretty sane. A helpful interaction is how I would characterize it, at least for me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Will Christmas Kindles Torch the Internet and Evaporate the Amazon Cloud?

I got an Amazon Kindle Fire from my wife for Christmas and I'm a bit worried about the effect on the Internet. I should explain that I got my Fire a few weeks ago because my wife and I like to give each other digital gifts before Christmas Day so that by the time Christmas Day arrives we have said devices fully configured and can actually play with them (I got her an iPhone 4S).

The problem I see is that Amazon has been selling about one million of these Fire things a week and many of them may not be fired up, so to speak, until Christmas Day. Here's what happened after I fired up my Kindle Fire: It gave me instructions on how to put my music in the cloud, and store it there for free, and those instructions were very easy to follow, so my laptop was soon engaged in uploading 6,471 files. Engaged as in "I need to spend several days trying to do this."

When it was done, those files added up to over 30 gigabytes of data, sitting in the cloud somewhere, ready for me to listen to them at the tap of a screen. Now imagine 2 million people getting a Fire for Christmas and accepting that invitation to put their music in the cloud. Suppose they each have, on average, 20 gigabytes of music. That's 40 million gigabytes or 40 petabytes added to the cloud and Internet traffic on Christmas Day. I hope Capacity Planning at Amazon.com has been doing some planning. And those folks who manage the tubes, they better be ready to put out some fires.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mac OS X Help: Specifying criteria in Spotlight

I just updated this post with a Mavericks screenshot, but the basic point holds true for the past few versions of OS X: the Spotlight search tool on Macs can be very powerful, but a surprising number of people don't seem to know how to tap that power (and for a long time that included me).


Apple has a good basic article on Spotlight. Remember that you can always press Command+Spacebar to pop up Spotlight. And you can use the Spotlight pane in System Preferences to change these categories around, their order, and even which categories appear.

You can type calculations into Spotlight and find that 256*2-680 is 168.

You can get the definition of a word by typing it into Spotlight and then checking the Look Up section of the results.

Enjoy!