April 18, 2016

What's in a good software library?

Programming can be thought of as a form of communication with computers. There's even an AI theory that says that intelligent computers are merely ordinary computers that can be programmed quickly and easily. So what makes computers easy to program? Or in other words, what makes programmers productive?

July 12, 2015

Cookie law is not just broken, it's thoroughly evil

Lots of articles have been written about practical difficulties with the EU cookie law, but something much more serious was worrying me as I explored the topic. Do you remember Asimov's three laws of robotics? Do no harm to humans, obey humans, and preserve yourself, in that order. While the laws have weaknesses that underlie the plot of Asimov's novels, they are fundamentally right in one thing. They don't care what the robots can or cannot do. They only care why robots do things. They focus on ethics, not mechanics, of actions.

June 16, 2015

Tresorit still crazy expensive

I've previously recommended Wuala, but its gotchas are pressing me to look for something else. Wuala was acquired by American company, which makes it no more safe than SpiderOak, for example. Wuala is reportedly using convergent cryptography, which makes it even more questionable as a privacy service.

May 10, 2015

Spam at the core of our security problem

Spam is not commonly considered when dealing with security, which is generally reduced to encryption, digital signatures, and uptime in the face of DDoS. Yet spam is key here. Email and chat servers function as electronic secretaries. They weed out spam so that we don't have to. End-to-end encryption blinds these electronic secretaries, which results in encrypted systems being overrun by spam, which causes people to abandon them and revert to unencrypted alternatives.


I use ad-blockers. I rev them up to maximum settings. Normal people don't even blink about that. But people in the media would say that they have to earn money somehow. They support their families with the money. They even go as far as calling ad-blocking a form of piracy or stealing. Poor souls. They don't realize what force are they facing.

May 6, 2015

Can I trust your app?

Probably not. But is it even possible to trust anything these days? What would it take to make computers wholly trustworthy?

May 5, 2015

Who needs partition tolerance anyway?

Nobody takes the CAP theorem seriously anymore. Except a couple dozen NoSQL database vendors who justify their core architecture with it. The theory goes that in choosing two out of three, RDBMS would traditionally sacrifice partition tolerance while NoSQL databases would sacrifice consistency in the name of availability and partition tolerance. I however suspect that partition tolerance in NoSQL is motivated by ease of implementation more than by consideration of application requirements.