6

Windows – The Universal Code Breaker

by Alexandru Lungu 17. februarie 2011 23:47

 

Because both the system's privacy and the security of digital money depend on encryption, a breakthrough in mathematics or computer science that defeats the cryptographic system could be a disaster. The obvious mathematical breakthrough would be the development of an easy way to factor large prime numbers# (Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, 1995)

Actually, there is no need for breakthroughs; Bill Gates/Microsoft can “defeat the cryptographic system” by themselves with the simple formula:


Windows
+ Distributed computing = No cryptographic system##

 

Almost 90% of the world’s computers have a Windows version installed (which is more than ONE BILLION computers). All of these individual machines can be guided to a common goal by distributed computing implemented in Windows (which isn’t a hard thing to do).

And this can actually be done without you knowing. Because Windows is not a common application, it is an Operating System (a closed source operating system). And what it does inside it’s out of your reach.

Moreover this extends to updates also; 99.99% of Windows users have no idea what every update is supposed to do; and those who have, have no certainty that the update is exactly what Microsoft says it is.

So, Microsoft has the possibility to harness the power of almost all the computers in the world. 

Does it do it? And if it does, what for?

 

___________________
# To factor prime numbers is trivial (no matter how small or large they are). Gates probably meant to factor the product of large prime numbers (which is used in asymmetric cryptographic algorithms).

## I expressed the same idea more than five years ago on my previous blog in a post called “The” Code Breaker. I considered to be the time to reiterate the idea after reading this article: Debate Over Internet Backdoors Heats Up in Congress and in Court.

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4

New Chapter in the Search War

by Alexandru Lungu 4. februarie 2011 23:19

 

Google to Microsoft: Cheaters!
Microsoft to Google: Is this the way smart guys are called today? 

The above is my personal interpretation of what started with this post in which Google say that they have proved that Bing copies their results, by making tests with some unusual words. Microsoft responded here and then the entire web went frenzy.

Let’s look from the Bing user perspective.  He wants to get better results so he agrees to let Microsoft get what it needs to improve its service. And Microsoft gets user’s data stream; if the user searches something on any search engine Microsoft records what the user has chosen and improves Bing. It records user preferences.  

But, for those preferences, Google (or any other search engine) helped with good search results. Maybe better than Microsoft's, otherwise the user would have used only Bing.

We all learn from our collective customers, and we all should, say the Bing Team. “We all should” means Google also, as it has also a browser and a toolbar and can do the same, but Google didn’t think of it. Maybe because this isn’t convenient for the number one on the market with the engine still considered the best; the competitors have more to learn from it than it has to learn from them. So, it wants Microsoft to stop.

I don’t think Microsoft will stop as there doesn’t seem to be anything illegal. (If it were, we would’ve probably already had a law suit). The PR war has started and the impression on user might be surprising – the copy thing might be a two edges sword – the user might interpret it this way: if we search with Google we have the Google engine, if we use Microsoft’ service we have Bing + Google engines together which sounds better so we’ll chose the latter. But, most of them couldn’t care less what Google or Microsoft does.

In my opinion Google saw themselves as the winners of the search war too early. Microsoft didn’t give up. They got more specialists, more innovative ideas and lately the results are starting to be seen; their search engine if not outperforms at least caches up Google’s.  And Google is off guard; and will try  everything to undermine Bing; this time by inducing the idea that if Bing improved so much is just because it copies Google’ search results.

Hopefully the war will never end; this way, we the users will have the most to benefit.

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5

Overcharged Because You Are Successful

by Alexandru Lungu 17. ianuarie 2011 09:40

 

From time to time I see products (latest: SharpKit) for which the developer company can charge you for who you are, not for what their product worth.

So,  you see their product on the website (or you can even try it) and if you want to buy it you’d have to fill up a form or send an email to the producer selling department, telling them who you are and what intend to do with their product, and they will reply you with the price.

I have nothing against paying for software, but I think it is normal to see the price policy that applies to everybody.

To me it looks like this: if you’re an obscure garage company will cost you 10$, but if you’re the second biggest company in India for example, or want to develop something that seem to bring a lot of money, you’ll have to pay $1000. 

Can they actually fool anyone?

P.S. One of the most comprehensive questionnaires about you and the product you want to develop is on the Price Inquiry page from the db4o site – of course only to meet your demands best.

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3

Normal Forms: Are They Actually Used?

by Alexandru Lungu 4. septembrie 2010 14:26

 

I’ve been designing databases for more than half my life. And I never thought about normal forms. Actually I’ve heard about normal forms in my 2nd year in college; and I was so surprised that someone actually wasted his time writing about something so obvious. And because I had to learn them I took a little time to look deep into them. A few hours later I reached a conclusion (And I remember the exact words I told to a colleague): A useless set of rules that make me design a database 20 times slower than I normally do. Of course, I was ending up with identical design in both situations.

But, during times, I’ve seen a lot of bad database design; and if asked why it is bad I found to be easier to send the asker to read about the normal forms than to try to explain myself. 

The other days I saw a teacher with more than 30 years teaching experience looking at a small database, taking every table, column, checking dependencies to see if it is in the 3rd form. It took him about 10 minutes to reach my 30 seconds conclusion.

So, why I don’t think “normal forms”? I think that the way I learned programming and databases influences the way I reason.

I began my programming journey with Pascal in 9th grade. Very soon advanced to OOP and I also started creating application that were solving real life problems and of course get to wonder how to store data. I had objects and looking for a way to store them with minimum redundancy.  And I used what Pascal knew - sequential files based on which I created some sort of primitive databases. With Main Key,  Field Key, Link Key with the equivalent of Primary Key, Index, Foreign Key. That’s because I had absolutely no idea about the existence of databases so I had to create my own notions. Keep in mind that I was living in a small city where no computer science book could be found; we had no internet; half of the school year we had no teacher because no computer science teacher could be found; in the end we got an engineer that learned 25 years ago something with punch-cards and didn’t work in the same domain since. Therefore, the teacher was learning at the same time with us. (and the rest of the class were all pupils.) This happens when you’re born in a god forgotten city in a god forgotten country. But our lab had some i386 laptops donated by a US company that didn’t need them anymore as they bought the new i486.

About a year later a colleague came with a treasure: FoxPro and a few month later I went to Bucharest (yes, that’s the capital) where I spent all the money (saved in about a year) on computer science books (actually after looking in more than a dozen bookstores I found a book on FoxPro.

Soon I mastered the FoxPro and this got me a job during high school.

So, how do I conceive my tables? Well, I think it all has to do with objects; as in high school I start thinking of objects and then transform them into tables. Simple; effective; obvious; natural way (for me).

Do you use normal forms?

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5

The Pragmatic Programmer

by Alexandru Lungu 26. iulie 2010 22:24

 

During the SqlServer 2008 R2 launch in Romania (March 10th 2010 - Howard Johnson’s Hotel Bucharest) I've met with an old colleague I worked a few years ago at Totalsoft, Teodor Blidarus. He held a presentation during which he asked the audience "who read the The Pragmatic Programmer" and mentioned that the book changed his life.

Only one people raised his hand from about 100 people. At that time I never heard about the book, but this guy was one of the best professionals I worked with so I was intrigued. I looked for the book and red it. The book is indeed extremely good, but it would've been really useful for me when I was 14 and at the start of my journey. There was nothing from that book that now I don't already know.

Most of the time, while reading it, I was remembering being in situations, or reaching conclusions like the ones presented in the book. Of course it would've been better to learn all of those things from the book than from real life (actually some of them I learn it from other books, some were obvious, but still remain enough that I learned the hard way).

Therefore I've decided to promote this book on my blog.

So, if you feel like a journeyman (or don't feel like Master), take a look at this book. Or at least take a look at their tips.

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1

Hello World, Again!

by Alexandru Lungu 5. iulie 2010 08:56

After a long time, I've decided to start blogging again... and of course this post being the first it was extremely hard to conceive... next ones will probably be much easier…Laughing

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