Kilo mega giga tera

Here is a summary of memory size names and their corresponding address sizes. Many people memorize this type of information naturally through working with computer technology over time or during a professional career. Practicing with QuizletIf you want to memorize these values, there are flash cards and other self-training exercises on the Quizlet page. The page... Continue Reading →

Memory Sizes: kilo mega giga tera peta exa

Here is a summary of memory size names and their corresponding address sizes. Many people memorize this type of information naturally through working with computer technology over time or during a professional career. Practicing with Quizlet If you want to memorize these values, there are flash cards and other self-training exercises on the Quizlet page. The... Continue Reading →

GUIs: Control, Conveyance, Continuity, and Context

I'm a sucker for basic principles distilled into pithy prescriptions. A freelance writer, Brian Boyko, has distilled the basic features of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) into four principles: Control, Conveyance, Continuity, and Context. He uses them to structure a well-reasoned though shrill critique of Windows 8. I've just checked a few of my favorite usability... Continue Reading →

A really simple Drupal 7 example module

I developed this module back when I managed my self-hosted Drupal system. Since then I've found that there's more to life than managing your own web site, and that it's cheaper and more effective to do it through WordPress.com even though I retain a fondness for Drupal. Yes, it's ironic that this Drupal example is... Continue Reading →

Boston University’s RAX Library

(circa 1973-8) Boston University (BU) developed its own timesharing system in the 1970s for its IBM 360 and 370 mainframes. The system was based on the batch-oriented Remote Access Computing System (RACS) developed by IBM. McGill University also participated in RAX development, but their version was renamed "McGill University System for Interactive Computing" (MUSIC). Although many of the... Continue Reading →

Pragmatic Security: the history of the Visa card

I've been looking at the evolution of electronic funds transfer (EFT) and payment systems recently. My research uncovered a gem: about two years ago, David Stearns completed a dissertation that looks at the early evolution of the Visa card (originally "Bank Americard") in the context of other evolving electronic payment systems. Stearns' work is both... Continue Reading →

Boak’s Puzzle: Disposing of Classified Trash

Recently I was skimming through the NSA's "classified history of COMSEC" (Volume 1 and Volume 2).  This "history" is a transcription of lectures by David G. Boak, who liked to explain NSA-related topics from a historical perspective. He clearly inspired a generation of NSA's employees. The last "real" page of the document contains a humorous story... Continue Reading →

Real-world document encryption

I've been reviewing histories of cryptography recently and here's an interesting thing about pre-computer encryption: it's almost entirely used for communications security. People encryptedmessages, but they rarely encrypted documents. I've finally found a few real-world cases: encrypted diaries. BBC did a short segment on them last summer. But I'm still looking - there must be... Continue Reading →

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