Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guess everyone is in Hawaii this year for xmas

I saw this pict and I recognized it immediately. The Obamas are staying a block from my Dad and step mother. Mele Kelemaka Obamas!

I then got on twitter. Apparently Lance is doing the Ironman in Kona this year. Good luck to him!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stating the obvious

This story about insurgents pulling out unencrypted feeds from the Predator attack drones is interesting. Apparently some russian programmers (there are alot of them, and they seem to have no morals) have developed software to decipher wireless communication from satellite feeds.

This quote from the developer is pretty 'no duh' for me.

"But generally speaking, this points to a large security gap that the American military has missed."

Any time you have stuff going over the airwaves, it can be captured and exploited by anyone. Luckily with todays technology of authetication and encryption its harder to do that. Turning OFF the encryption during MILITARY operations is just...not bright at all.

What is more interesting to me is the commercial standpoint. WiMax is a new technology that allows broadband like speed wirelessly as long as there is a WiMax tower within 5 miles. So its like cell phones but much faster. Now I think this will be revolutionary IFF the price is decent (and it looks like that to me, the usual $30 or $40 a month). If you think about it, you could get this for your home network and be able to travel around town to some degree and use wireless. Not only that but set up is a bit simplier than wired networks, you dont need a router or switch or anything.

But here's the thing. Now there is going to be alot of traffic over the airwaves, at very large diameter of operation (whereas WiFi only goes a few hundred feet, WiMax goes for miles). So the possibility of somebody sniffing out your signal jumps exponentially. I think our current standard of encryption is pretty good, but think about if alot of people started using WiMax and you could some how get access to that data. That's tens of thousands of credit card transactions and so forth. Again, i think the encryption is pretty good right now, but is a sobering what if as we push more and more into the wireless space.

80% APR?

So when the credit card reform got pushed through, there was a cap on fees to 25% of the maximum balance. And to cope, the credit cards decided to raise rates to 80% APR of balance. It seems like alot but keep in mind the max balance on these is only $300. Still, the numbers baffle. The Foxnews story has more.

I guess what I find so unsettling is that these companies exist by preying upon the poor. I think the problem is two fold. One, they probably have alot of people who dont pay their bills. Two, due to this, they need to raise their fees to exculpatory highs to maintain their profit margin. I doubt they are making money any more so than the big guys.

But still, a $75 fee per year and 25% APR is just unconscionable to me. I guess some people just love preying on 'morons and suckers'.

passed CCNA

Long time no post. So I got my CCNA certification yesterday. I essentially quit science 6 months ago when my fellowship ended and the guy I was working with wouldn't fund me to wrap up the work, nor really even try to help me get it published. Yet then insisted on either me working off the clock on it, or quiting so I can continue working on the manuscript, again without any help, so he could get a publication out. So, I decided that science wasn't going to happen for me. After 3 years of trying to get a real job I either 1) don't have enough people skills to get a sales job or 2) don't have the scientific strength or interest to get a research job. When that happens your options are very few; continue doing postdoc to postdoc, jumping around labs, hoping for the big break so you can go teach somewhere, or quitting altogether.

Its a hard choice but I found that I didn't really care about science to the extent I needed to, with 60 hour a week commitments for very little pay for indefinate periods; forever putting my life on hold.

Anyway so I did jump ship and took a semester of classes to finish up my certification training, and I took the exam yesterday. I was very very worried about it being too hard (the practice exams were killer), but I sailed through with a 900 out of 1000.

So now what. Well some internships are in the works but who knows if they will pan out. Now I can go on the job market and start to get job experience. My plan is to get employed, start working, then work on the next certification, CCNP, then finally maybe CCIE. I am probably one of very few in the field who has the intelligence and academic strength it would take to succeed with the CCIE. However, I'm not sure its even relevent.

One thing i have learned is that academia is a BUSINESS. This is why they dont kick you out even after straight Fs. They are taking your money, they don't really give a shit if you pass or not. Actually, for fields like biology, they rather hope you didn't do well because that's competition for them. Certifications may be required for employment, but have no illusion, all these degrees and pieces of paper, they may open some doors but its far more important to network and have job experience than any worthless degree.