October 2007 Archives

Bruce Schneier told delegates at the RSA security conference in London that "For every supplier with a good product or service, there is at least one more out to make a quick buck before customers find out"

The over statement of particular types of threats and the use of your heart i.e a hunch rather than your head can result in the wrong product being selected. Even when the right product is bought the use of default or minimal configuration means that the product is not performing its role properly and the user has a false sense of security.

Mother Nature's free thermal imaging service

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With the frosty mornings you can now assess how good/bad your attic insulation is. Just look at a piece of the roof that is in the shade and determine how icy/frosty it appears. If its devoid of ice, the chances are that you have poor insulation.

You really need to carry out this assessment before the morning air starts to heat up ideally before 8.15 a.m.

I took the oppurtunity to assess the insulation levels for my house thus morning, I have identified one or two problematic spots that need addressing.

Aldi enter the online photo printing business

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Aldi have entered the online photo printing business with an agressive pricing structure. They charging 9 cent for a 4" x 6" photo plus 1.99 for post and packaging. Canvas prints start at 39.99. I have no idea as to their quality and customer service levels but I intend to find out.


3rd Dec - Update John wonders if used the ALDI printing service. Thanks for the question John, its a reminder for me to post some info about the quality. The photos arrived within 5 working days and were of good quality.

I opted for the digital camera size rather than the traditional 6 x 4. This meant that the photos were 5 x 4. The prints are glossy and printed on decent paper. In comparison to the Kodak printing service that you would find in an Irish town the ALDI paper is thinner.

Personally speaking I would have preferred a matt finish and thicker paper, but I can't fault the quality of the printing.

Upperchurch Hill Walk 2007 Programme Launched

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The Upperchurch Hill Walking Festival will take place from Fri Nov 9th until Sun Nov 11th. Full details are provided on upperchurch.ie.

Hill Walking Programme

Bill Gates is predicting that the days of the company PBX are numbered. Integrating software with phone calls and using your corporate broadband connection makes fiscal sense. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to bring about change is the possibility of reducing your costs. If a business can eliminate line rental which is about 25 euros a month for a domestic Irish user and save on international calls then straight away you have their attention.

Microsoft are touting the fact that they can integrate the other kill app i.e. email as well as instant messaging, presence, voice and video. In effect Office Communications Server 2007 is a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based server that can route and switch IP-based voice traffic, as well as IM and Web conferencing sessions.

Bill used a good analogy when he compared the PBX to a mainframe. These were all in one devices that lacked flexibility and often tied you in to very expensive support contracts. Like all new technology this one will slowly appear in the comms room and PBX will be phased out.

Microsoft plan to integrate their Customer Relationship Managment software with the OCS platform. This theme of integration is one that is likely to become the marketing call and justification for upgrading to new technology platforms in the future.

Press Release - Bill Gates and Jeff Raikes - Unified Communications Launch

Securing an embedded Linux platform

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Hadi Nahari and Jim Ready have written an excellent article which outlines an approach for securing an embedded Linux platform. It came as a surpise to learn that 70% of new semiconductor devices are Linux-enabled; this high growth rate is accompanied by inevitable security risks, hence the requirement for hardware-based trusted and secure computing environments. Their article offers practical guidelines.

Employ a secure flavor of Linux

Writing secure c/c++ for your embedded design

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Robert Seacord has an informative article on embedded.com. This article which outlines the Systems Quality Engineering process that should be adopted for writing secure c/c++ code for your embedded design.

How to write secure C/C++ application code for your embedded design:

The greener home scheme in Ireland is inferior to the scheme in Northern Ireland and the UK. It does not address the following issues.

Wood Pellet Central Heating
The complete cost of a wood pellet system includes items such as a 4 tonne hopper tank, 5000 litre insulated tank, 4 inch supper insulated pipe. These are are not covered by the grant

Solar Water Heating

Does not cover the cost of dual coil stainless steel tanks (associated labour). The same grant applies to both panels and evacuated tube even though evacuated tube is more efficient and occupies less sq meters.

Wind Energy
There is no grant available for the generation of domestic electricity. Regulations prohibit the selling back of excess energy to the grid. A domestic house would need its meter changed from mechanical to a smart meter to support selling excess units to the national grid.

If we are serious about renewables we have to offer a financially feasible alternative.

WIMAN 2008 Call for Papers

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The Second IEEE International Workshop on Wireless Mesh and Ad Hoc Networks (WiMAN'08)
Beijing, China, June 20, 2008 in conjunction with ICDCS 2008

Submission Deadline: December 7, 2007

ENASE 2008 Call for Papers

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3rd International Conference on Evaluation of Novel Approaches to Software Engineering http://www.enase.org

Funchal, Madeira, 4 - 7 May, 2008

organized by the Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication (INSTICC)

Full Paper Submission: November 9, 2007
Authors Notification: January 4, 2008
Final Paper Submission and Registration: January 25, 2008

ENASE 2008 will be held in conjunction with WEBIST 2008

Cluster Computing which allows parallel processing of data is a skill that I had to learn as part of my PhD research. Google and IBM are advocating this practice as both companies exploit this technology. Academia however does not have the substantial resources that are needed to examine this topic in great detail.

A solution being pioneered by Google and IBM is to allow internet access to a new dedicated computer cluster. This will allow students to test their parallel programming course projects.

The two companies have already dedicated several hundred computers to the initiative — a mixture of Google's gear, IBM BladeCenter and System x servers. They plan to expand this to 1600 processors.

The Beta testing group are the University of Washington, Carnegie-Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, The University of California at Berkeley and the University of Maryland.

The Register - Google and IBM push cluster computing on colleges

The 2007 Nobel prize for physics was awarded to Albert Fert of France and Peter Grunberg of Germany. Their research was lauded as being both practical and relevant to industry.

Their discovery powers devices such as mp3 players. The phenomenon is called "giant magnetoresistance", in which weak magnetic changes give rise to big differences in electrical resistance.

The knowledge has allowed industry to develop sensitive reading tools to pull data off hard drives in computers, iPods and other digital devices.

The discovery was initially made in the 1980s and allows large amounts of data to be read and written to hard drives.

BBC News Article

Employee Well being Programme

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My employers are in the process of implementing an employee well being programme, Scott Adams has an alternative take on employee well being programmes and how they are valued and perceived by your employer.

Scott Adams Employee Well Being

Media Centre Box available from Maplin for 215 Euros

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Maplin in Limerick are stocking a shiny black media centre case with 3.3 Ghz processor and PSU. It has an integrated NIC and 4 usb ports as well as 2 PCI slots. The form factor is nice and the build quality seems good. The addition of RAM, Hard Drive, DVD Writer and TV card would mean that you could install Linux and Myth TV and record and watch your favourite programmes.

Sprite Specs for Iconic game

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I am looking at the sprite specs for one of the most iconic games of all time. All will be revealed shortly on www.xna.ie. This event will unite young and old and will take place on March 13th 2008 in Thurles.

Nokia are aggressively embracing location based services with the announcement of their acquisition of Navteq who provide digital maps to car manufacturers and GPS manufacturers. Unstrung.com report that some analysts believe that this purchase about restricting competition. If Nokia's OVI initiative takes off they will be well placed to exploit this asset. The era of location based services is poised in my opinion to really take off now that smartphones such as the Nokia N95 are integrating GPS with standard hand held technologies.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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