All posts by cryptosmith

Writer, educator, and consultant in cyber security; author of three books.

When we visit San Francisco,

…these are the two restaurants at which we always try to eat.

  1. Pacific Cafe on Geary St near Land’s End for seafood.
  2. House of Nanking on Kearney near Columbus for Chinese.

We first visited the Pacific Cafe about 30 years ago and it’s still terrific. I love the scallops. We ‘discovered’ House of Nanking only 6 years ago and I still dream of their spicy calamari.

Both serve fresh, simple, and tasty food atreasonable prices.

Pacific Cafe, Geary St, http://www.pacificcafesf.com/mhome.html; and House of Nanking, Kearney and Columbus, http://houseofnanking.net/ . Both serve simple but tasty food at a reasonable price.

Time to end “Above Top Secret” ?

Radio intercept marked Top Secret UltraAt the start of World War II, Britain set up a large and highly secret codebreaking operation. Every document related to the project was “above top secret:” they were all marked “Top Secret Ultra” and handled by separate security teams from merely “Top Secret” military information. This strategy seems to have kept the activity secret, at least from the general public. Military adversaries seem to penetrate such measures more quickly.

The intelligence community’s arrogance about secrecy grew from the Cold War. Very few intelligence agency secrets leaked to the general public back then, regardless of whether they had leaked to adversaries or not. This has had a profound political impact.

No one discusses or questions the intelligence community’s value proposition.

Given the recent dumps of classified information into Wikileaks, newspapers, and everywhere else, I think it’s time to kill the “above top secret” idea. History shows it hasn’t really worked that well anyway. There are much easier and cheaper ways to restrict access and control sharing. We also need to share more information with the public so we can judge the true value of our intelligence community.

Continue reading Time to end “Above Top Secret” ?

More Thanksgiving Rhyme

My friend Tim provided me with some additional Thanksgiving items:

Because you and your family fully appreciates “My turkey, ’tis of thee,” I thought you and they might also enjoy two additional celebratory Thanksgiving pieces. The first is in some editions of “The Four Leaved Clover and Other Poems” but not in others, and because it’s not in the edition you mentioned in your Smatters post, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. I attach it below. The second is new, produced by my brother Chuck, and I must warn you, is something of an earworm. (And its basis will be unfamiliar to many in the current generation.)

Have a great Thanksgiving, and pass my love along to everyone there.

Tim

Incidentally, I can’t read “The second” link above either. I’m guessing it’s a turkey-themed version of “Mr. Sandman.”

Continue reading More Thanksgiving Rhyme

Candidate Roads not Taken

The first Clinton-Trump debate was last night. I think both candidates did about as well as I expected. Here are two arguments the candidates could have made but didn’t:

  • Clinton: when Trump said “we should have taken the oil” while in Iraq, Clinton should have called him on it. Such “taking” would require war and long-term occupation with lots of our own troops.
  • Trump: when Clinton called for an “intelligence surge” in the context of ISIS-inspired domestic terrorism, Trump should have called her on it. Her surge requires expanded spying on American citizens and weakens national cybersecurity.

I could not have done a tenth as well in the debates as either of them, but these are arguments I wanted to see.

Continue reading Candidate Roads not Taken

Tech-choking Image of History

Excerpt of Adams SynchronologyThere’s something charming about Adam’s Synchronological Chart or Map of History, even if I am a secular scientific type. It shows the history of the world following (more or less) Ussher’s chronology which famously begins everything at 4004 BC. Adam’s chart begins in biblical times, and tracks the “flow of history” mostly in terms of prominent European rulers. The first edition ended in 1871. There are claimed to be editions updated through the 21st century.

I haven’t seen a version displaying dinosaurs.

Continue reading Tech-choking Image of History

Ecobee Air Conditioning Update

Ecobee 3 thermostatIn honor of the bouncing seasons, I turned on my air conditioner a couple of weeks ago. In Minnesota that means you remove the wintertime weather covers from outdoor compressors and then turn on the dusty circuit breakers.

Fortunately I had performed a best-effort wiring of the AC into my new thermostats. All I needed to do was tell the Ecobees to look for AC, and to turn it on. It worked.

AC and heat in our home are completely different systems: while all air conditioners use blowers, not all heating systems do. Our heat uses hot water radiators. I set up a separate “comfort setting” in the Ecobee so that heat sensors wouldn’t confuse the AC system.

Continue reading Ecobee Air Conditioning Update

My favorite meme from 2015

A neighbor has a variant of the Gadsden Flag flying under his American Flag. Instead of yellow, it’s black, but it has the snake and the “Don’t Tread On Me.”

I haven’t found anyone on the Internet who offers a Gadsden Flag with the “Send Snacks” motto. I’d buy one in a second.

This is also a “test posting” – WordPress has a “featured image” setting and “image post” format. I’m wondering what they do.