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I used to be an industry tech writer and blogger. Due to my current job (and knowing too much about what's going on, and various non-disclosure agreements as well as diplomatic decorum), this is one of the more constrained areas for me. So while I'd like to write more, I'm restrained to very select and generic topics. Or just share articles from decades ago.


2016 MacBook Pro w/Touch bar


There's a lot of whining and complaints about the New MacBook Pro's (MBP2016). Some valid, many overstated but heartfelt. But I think the problem was more about messaging than delivery. For me, and most users, it's a great product.

Apple's Greatest Misses


I'm not an Apple basher, or Apple fanboy. Apple is a company, like any other. The problem is once you're big, you attract attention (good and bad), and the most newsworthy stories are those with the most drama or sensationalism. I hate them both -- the rabid fans and Apple haters. But I do like to document the stuff others aren't. This article isn't into their many revolutions and successes, just a few highlights of technologies or ideas they went *splat*. Not to bash my Fruity Cupertino friends, but any mistake is useful, if you learn from it.

2015 iPad Pro (1st Gen)

A better iPad. It 's better in every way -- bigger, better, faster... and more expensive. OK, better in all ways but price. My Big-iPhone (7 Plus) meant that I was using my iPad's less -- but give me a bigger screen and keyboard that works, and I find that the iPad fills a niche for me, as a great travel/note-taking and entertainment device, when it's not worth bringing out my laptop. And with an App, it works as a second screen for my laptop when I do real work.


Information Age: Interesting Times


These article were first written as BBS posts, in the 1980's or in the 1990's computer forums. Microcomputers (you probably know as desktops) displaced "Big Iron" and dumb terminal, but these battles and questions had been raging for decades back then. Did people want all their data on them, or just be able to access it from anywhere (and any device). And the answer was, and still is, "yes", both please.

Information Age: History Repeating


Alan Kay thought up the idea of the DynaBook in 1968 (which later became laptops, or tablets), by listening to those around him, predicting the same things. History and progress is happening in slow motion. It only seems fast, because we're moving slower.

Information Age: Dueling Futures


What is more import, our physical data or network access to that data? We flipped from timeshared terminals to PC's. The Web, Java and Chromebooks are all trying to return us back to the tether. And remember, there is no cloud, there's just network access to someone else's computer. So who wins? So far, we do, as both are getting better and competing for our hearts and wallets.

Balanced tech company

As an oversimplification, balancing opposing forces in Sales/Marketing, Finance/Operations and Engineering is key to having a well run Tech Company. Throw in some other difficulties like good communication, good focus, and reducing politics, and things will hum along smoothly. But it's like trying to keep jugglers riding unicycles-sticks on a slack-line: while the theory is easy, the continuous shifting makes the real-life implementation hard.

Hollywood Hackers versus real life

Intrusion and prevention is nothing like the movies. Think months to deliver an attack, to get through layers of defenses. And most counter-hacking is computer forensics to figure out what they got, days or weeks after they're gone: following log trails, or decoding some payload. If you know they're there, they can block you -- and they can usually only figure out someone was there, long after they're gone.

Origins of the Internet


Government/ARPA research gave us the Internet the same way they invented the car or airplane. By 1976 (founding of ARPA) we had hundreds of computers networked, by 1993 the Internet only carried 1% of the information traffic (and we had plenty of traffic). But by 2007 that had flipped and most traffic was TCP/IP based, because it was free, standard and good enough. However, without TCP/IP, one of the other protocols would have become a standard, and we’d still have had everything we have today (in some areas, more). The government gave us nothing that we didn’t already have (or wouldn’t have). Politicians (as usual) took credit for other people’s work.

Countdown to Zero Day


My knowledge runs deep into security, but I loved the book: through I wanted it a bit more technical in some areas and a bit tighter overall. Definitely a good book for futurists who want to think about what the future might look like as these hacks and attacks become more common.

Driving by watching the rear view mirror


A common mistake I've seen businesses repeat, over and over again - or more accurately I've seen many companies do once or twice until they go out of business or the idiots doing it are fired, is to "drive by watching the review mirror".

Instead of analyzing and thinking, learning technology (and markets and customers), they decide, "someone else is doing it, and since it worked for them, it'll work for us".

I want to head-smack them.... and then point out the first rule of Italian racing; "what's behind you, is not important". You're not them, they're not you: different timing, resources, talents, markets, culture, personalities, and so on -- so crushing brilliant new ideas (e.g. my ideas) because that's not what someone else is doing, is just stupid. I have no problems being told "no", if you have an intelligent reason for it, and can back it up. But "that's not what everyone else is doing" is called a bandwagon fallacy, and isn't intelligent or support. So, "everyone else does it that way", makes as much sense to me, as driving while watching all the cars behind you. By the time they slam on their brakes or swerve (and you notice and react), it is already too late. I prefer to keep my eye's on the road, and not try to lead by following.

Female Geeks


Why are there so few female geeks? Sexism is a part of life.

Some who don't know me might call me a sexist pig. Not because I think one gender is better than the other, I just think everything in life is about tradeoffs. Genders are not better or worse, but there are differences. I don't just mean different as in input vs. output, or physical differences, I mean that we are fundamentally different in how we behave, what motivates us, how we think, as well as how our environment effects (and changes) us. This helps explain why there are so few Female Geeks.


Basics of BASIC


Because I was a programmer, many people ask me, "How do I get started programming?" There are many choices, and it really depends on what you are trying to do. There is programming Applications, scripting, Web Programming, and so on. The bad news is that each of those choices will alter which language or tools you should choose -- and most people don't know this in advance. The good news is that when you get the concepts, many of them can follow from language to language and tool to tool. So the most important thing is to just show no fear, dive in, and start learning; some knowledge will be throw-away, but most you'll carry with you for years to come.

Binary, OCTal, HEXadecimal


Counting in Computerese: The Magic of Binary, Octal and Hexadecimal. Computers deal in the mystical numbering systems, like Hexadecimal, Octal and Binary. People get concerned over it sounding complex, but they are really quite simple. If you can read this article, you should have a really good understanding of what they are, and how they work.

Big or Little Endian


What is Endian? How do you like your eggs? Big or little end up? If there are two equally valid ways to do something, then odds are that two different companies will chose to do those things differently. This is Murphy's law in action -- and it applied to different chip designers and how they ordered data in memory.

Enterprise Tools


Enterprise, Opensource or Commercial tools, which is better and why? Of course the answer is, "it depends": different tools are better for different things. Now I know that doesn't sound revolutionary, but that does seem to perplex some people. People don't understand the different tools or market segments they fit into, or what they are good for.


Network Basics

Network Basics: What is a network? A "network" is just a way to allow many devices to talk to each other, via a shared connection. Each person on the network, agrees to alternate between sending a chunk of data, and listening for anyone talking to them (based on an address they are given), so that everyone gets a chance to talk/share data in little chunks (blocks). There's a lot of little details, but it's just like a conference call, where everyone agrees to not dominate the conversation -- or a moderator only lets each person speak for a limited set of time.

What is DNS?

How the Domain Names System (DNS) works. Networks only understands addresses, and humans want a name to talk to another machine (or website) by name (like DNS is a server that translates what you type by name (iGeek), into a sort of phone number (IP address) that the network can understand. That is all.

Network Casting and Subnets

What is Network casting and subnets? They're ways to send to many people at once, but not everyone.


The Origins, history and evolution of eMaill, forums and live chat: basically we wanted ways to send things to others, and others wanted ways to not be interrupted and read at their convenience.


Hack, Crack or Phreak

What are hackers, crackers and phreaks? This is the basics of how the terms evolved. They don't really mean what they meant when they were first used. So people date themselves with how they use the terms..



Cracking is the black art of removing copy protection from other people's programs. There are many "pirates" (people that use software without buying it) -- but far fewer crackers. Cracking requires enormous dedication and patience. It was far easier in yesteryear (systems were simpler) -- but now days there are better tools, so in some ways that makes it easier.

Cracking is often a battle of wits and patience, where the cracker removes all of the copy-protection code or figures out ways around it. At least it is a game for the cracker -- the companies that have their software cracked find it far from "fun" or "amusing".

Easter Eggs


What are easter eggs, and where do they come from? And I'm not talking about the physical ones in springtime, I'm talking about hidden features or credits in software.



What is a FireWall? In a structure or a car, the firewall is something that protects one area from another - usually in case of a fire. The firewall stops or at least slows the fire from spreading by being a physical barrier. In computers and networking it basically does the same thing, but the "fire" that it is trying to slow/stop is an intruder or security leak.

The network administrator turns on or configures this network barrier (firewall) between one network (or area of the network) and another. The firewall blocks everything, except for what it is configured to let through. This can seriously hamper intruders and increase security. To understand this better, let's get a little geeky.



It is not that hard to hack into a network/machine - far easier than people realize, yet far harder than the movies make it seem. It can get very complex -- but there are usually "easier" in's that the hard brute force methods. There are many levels to a break in -- from the ballsy "impersonating an employee" and just walking around a company (badges are easy to create, and don't slow most people down) -- to stealing network traffic and analyzing it. There are thousands of ways to get in, and the more complex the counter measures, the more potential holes there are (but the harder they may be to find).

How Secure are you?


How secure are your devices from intruders? The answer is "it depends", on a lot of things, like what machine you have, what you do, and so on. The short answer is in order of safety (from least secure to most), you'd go: Windows, Unix, Mac, Android/Chrome, IOS. And the OS's are more secure than the Apps you run -- so iOS running only Apps from their Store is going to be a lot safer than a machine that's running software downloaded at random from the Internet.



The reason there's so many annoying password requirements, is because passwords are so instrumental to security (and human nature is so predictable). That being said, most of those annoying password requirements are doing it wrong, and just annoying customers.



Privacy and the web: how safe is your info?

The other night I was watching a Television show that discussed computers and privacy, and like a geek, I was getting annoyed and talking back to the show; it seems that Hollywood needs to get better technology consultants instead of terrorizing the public with misinformation and calling it entertainment. If I didn't know better, I'd be paranoid too. But I'm not, so it's more mock-worthy than helpful.



Are you out of your phreaking minds?

Phreaking is when people (hackers) figure out how to break the phone companies security, to get access to control the phones. Most often used to make free phone calls, or get operator powers. Network hacking is breaking in (usually looking around without doing harm). Cracking is defeating copy protection in someone else's code. But there is far less moral ambiguity about phreaking -- almost all phreaks get free phone calls, and that is something the law (and the phone company) frowned upon -- seriously. The phone company dedicated resources to countering phreaking, and hunting down phreaks. It became the blackest of the black computer "arts", and through improvements in security, and commoditization of long distance phone call costs, it largely doesn't exist any more.

Virus, Worms, Trojans


Virus, Worms and Trojans, some various hacker terms/attacks explained (simply).