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Richard Silverman
Lives in New York, NY
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Richard Silverman

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“It’s encrypted — it must be secure!”

I just received a confirmation from my insurance company, Travelers, for a change I made to my policy. I received it via email, with a PDF attachment. The email reads, “Your Travelers PDF is encrypted for your protection… Enter your mailing ZIP code when prompted for a password.”

There are, obviously, only 100,000 possible 5-digit ZIP codes — considerably fewer if one considers only those codes currently in use, apparently only around 43,000. A computer can try all of them in a few seconds at most, and decrypt any document they send out. They might as well say, “The password is no more than eight characters, and is the name of a species of tree,” or for that matter, “the password is a number between 1 and 10.” This is ludicrously stupid and ineffective.

The mailing appears to be handled for them by a company named Striata (http://striata.com/), which specializes in electronic document delivery. Someone needs to be severely beaten with a clue stick.

In addition to sending a strongly worded letter to Travelers, I’m going to drop a note to the technology reporters at a few major newspapers. Someone with an audience needs to ask these people some rather pointed questions.
Unlock great content & learn more about Striata’s paperless solutions - document delivery, electronic messaging and marketing communications
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Richard Silverman

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Set Bach Free!

Last year, the Open Goldberg Project produced a professional recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations with pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, along with a new score in digital format — all in the public domain for everyone to use and enjoy. Another project is now underway to do the same for the Well-Tempered Clavier. Consider contributing to the Kickstarter campaign, and in any event enjoy the music!

Open Goldberg recordings: http://open-goldberg.oankali.net/

Open Well-Tempered Clavier project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/293573191/open-well-tempered-clavier-bah-to-bach

video of recent live performance by Ishizaka: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/40458043
Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, without copyright: a new recording, digital score, and braille edition for blind musicians.
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For my geeky friends: a short, funny video about the wonderful tools we use to build software these days.
Wat. A lightning talk by Gary Bernhardt from CodeMash 2012. The sarcasm in this talk does not represent anyone's actual opinion. For a more serious take on software, try Destroy All Software Screencasts: 10 to 15 minutes every other week, dense with information on advanced topics like Unix, TDD, ...
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Nice video of a young guy playing the first movement of the Dvořák B-minor cello concerto (on the same model cello as mine, as it happens).
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“We believe every child should have the opportunity to learn computer science, from primary school up to and including further education. We teach elementary physics to every child, not primarily to train physicists but because each of them lives in a world governed by physical systems. In the same way, every child should learn some computer science from an early age because they live in a world in which computation is ubiquitous.”
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True. The article advocates providing the “opportunity” to study CS; perhaps the comment about physics should have read similarly.

I suppose this means there are legions of Americans who believe that heavy things fall faster than lighter things, and that atoms are tiny solar systems…
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The American Family Association, promoters of hatred, bigotry and intolerance for decades. Someday soon, I hope, our children will look back on these people in the same way we now look back at slavery and women’s oppression in America — with a mixture of curiosity, disbelief, and revulsion.
Donald E. Wildmon’s American Family Association is thrusting itself into presidential politics by putting on Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer rally in Texas this weekend.
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Richard Silverman

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My most recent O'Reilly book, the Git Pocket Guide, is included in their current "5-Star Review" promotion.
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Amazon’s system for keeping track of what I’ve ordered and recommending related useful things is generally great, but there are certain corner cases it’s just not set up to handle. Like continually recommending that I buy a book I wrote.
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I think you can mark recommendations as "I already own this".
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My new book, the O’Reilly “Git Pocket Guide,” was published on Thursday. Digital versions are available, and paper ones will appear in a couple of weeks.
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You’re welcome, Darrin. I hope you find it useful! Comments and questions are welcome.
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I logged in, and G+ is displaying at the top of the page a great animated GIF of the Lincoln Center plaza at night, with the fountain in motion. Did it do this because it “knows” that I live nearby, and am a musician? Google is both cool and scary…
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“The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lerne.” — Chaucer, “Parlement of Foules” I often have to fight a sense of despair at taking on anything new, considering how little time I have left to get it right. I wonder if other people have this issue.
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After a hiatus of several years, I am dipping my toe back into the world of commercial writing: I will be doing the "Git Pocket Guide" for O'Reilly. (I have links to the other books I've written for them at http://qoxp.net/.)

If there were need for further evidence that I am genuinely certifiable, this would be it...
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Have him in circles
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Dan Dougherty's profile photo
Ian Turner's profile photo
angelitta reynolds's profile photo
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Katie Pollock's profile photo
Lisa Greenstein's profile photo
Cana Williams's profile photo
Josh Bluestein's profile photo
richard willey's profile photo
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