Thursday, February 21, 2008

IT Conversations - pick #1: Ajax Security

If I had to pick one tech podcast and discard the rest it would be the originator of the species, IT Conversations. This blend of different shows has a wide-ranging remit from biotechnology to web development. They have a number of presenters who interview innovators and leading technologists, and they also put out recorded presentations from top conferences, which can be especially valuable. They’re all free and available via iTunes.

I listen to them regularly, good meaty discussions which can be satisfying in the midst of the other more newsy, gossipy fluff that fills the tech podcast world. Sure, a lot of it is not for me, I usually have my thumb poised, ready to click through to the next one, there’s a lot in the feed so you have to be selective.

But quite frequently you hear something that’s well informed, interesting and current, covering an aspect of technology that you don’t really see discussed anywhere. So I thought I’d point out ones that have ticked those boxes as I come across one. So, that’s why I have a #1 up there in the title, it’s going to be the first in a series.

Today, I heard Billy Hoffman discussing Ajax Security with Phil Windley in the Technometria channel on IT Conversations.

As Ajax spreads and more and more sites become web applications, the hype online is that desktop software is moving out to the web. The reality is that a lot of these sites push code, especially javascript, out to the users machines, frequently with scant regard to security, exposing them and the site to malicious code. Billy Hoffman covers a lot of different examples of poor implementation which will give anyone pause. More entertaining and enlightening than you might have expected from the title.

Technometria on Ajax Security with Billy Hoffman.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Goodbye To All That No.2

Robin Morgan wrote a seminal essay on women and politics in 1970 called Goodbye to All That. As voters in the US debate Hillary versus Barack, she’s been moved to write again. The opening is below but the whole thing is well worth a read, no matter where you stand.

Goodbye to All That No.2

Goodbye to the double standard . . .
—Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who’s emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
—She’s “ambitious” but he shows “fire in the belly.” (Ever had labor pains?)—When a sexist idiot screamed “Iron my shirt!” at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted “Shine my shoes!” at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.
—Young political Kennedys—Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.—all endorsed Hillary. Senator Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort “See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him.” (Personally, I’m unimpressed with Caroline’s longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe’s suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
Goodbye to the toxic viciousness  . . .
Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary’s “thick ankles.” Nixon-trickster Roger Stone’s new Hillary-hating 527 group, “Citizens United Not Timid” (check the capital letters). John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?" with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.
Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged—and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.
Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan “If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!” Shame. 
Goodbye to Comedy Central’s “Southpark” featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC’s vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame. 
Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not “Clinton hating,” not “Hillary hating.” This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison.  Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage—as citizens, voters, Americans?

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