Codifyre
#15 - Our Devices Listening?

#15 - Our Devices Listening?

March 6, 2019

...or is it "are devices listening" to you?

Well yes. There's always a simple answer to these questions and it's yes. Breaking it down to the basics, pretty much all of our devices are listening because we've enabled Siri or Google or Alexa or… to respond to a keyword command like "Hey Siri" such that they can present us, in the case of Siri, with a spooky HAL 9000ish blob to indicate it's listening (because it wasn't before honest) and ready to perform our bidding.

Sometimes things can go amiss...

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#14 - Mobile Security: The Inside Job

#14 - Mobile Security: The Inside Job

January 2, 2019

This was going to be a comparison of major phones, breaking down some of the exploits and weaknesses.  I was potentially going to compare IOS to Android and throw fuel onto an already raging fire amongst smart phone enthusiasts which is, if you’re listening to a podcast, all of us.   Maybe you’re not a geek or a gadget nut but you’re probably far more dependent on that device that you may realise.  You’ve probably never really put a great deal of thought into how much of YOU is locked up in that phone.  You might even have a Kanye-West style pin code like 000000 to unlock it (if you didn’t see the article I posted on the Codifyre Facebook page about the worst passwords and pin-codes of 2018, it’s worth a read.  Kanye tops the bill.

Let’s start with what’s in your phone.

 
 
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#13 - The Rise and Fall of Crypto

#13 - The Rise and Fall of Crypto

November 7, 2018
Last year at this time Bitcoin was going haywire!  It was on what seems to be the never ending rise to THE MOON!   Until it stopped just shortly into 2018.  Totally unpredictable behaviour.  Stupid bitcoin!  Or is it?
 
There is a pattern.  Ok a few patterns but this one struck me as interesting.
 
If you check out the blog article or this podcast on Codifyre.com you’ll see a few graphs of bitcoin over the years.  The all time price isn’t really that interesting because the big 2017 Christmas spike kind of skews the whole thing but the idea is that it’s generally going up with basic awareness.  That doesn’t give it real value so much as real potential value.
 
What IS interesting is the behaviour of the price when the media gets involved and starts hyping it.  Part time thrill seekers get into the crypto band wagon and shit gets crazy.  In fact if you think last year was a bizarre anomaly, and do check out the price graph for Nov 4th 2017 to Nov 4th 2018 to get a feel for the signature of that crazy….
 
but then, let’s go back 4 years.
 
In fact I’ll even go back to the exact same dates Nov 4th 2013 to Nov 4th 2014.  That was the last major Bitcoin hullabaloo in the press.
 
If you check out the graph, although the pricing is almost exactly 20 times smaller, the shape of the graph can almost be overlaid on the graph from 2017/18 and it was even the exact same time of the year as Christmas approaches.
 
Driven by media and speculation, people react almost exactly the same and it appears that 4 years is the magic amount of time for us humans to totally forget that we already did it once and, just go ahead and do it again.
 
Let’s get away from Bitcoin for the moment… and talk about some of the other big ones like Ethereum and Litecoin.
 
I like Ethereum and while I don’t entirely understand Litecoin's purpose yet it’s definitely got a good following.
 
The reason I like Ethereum is it has a leader (who is real), it had a plan and it has one really critical differentiator that I think a lot of people will like and that’s the Proof of Stake system it’s got in its roadmap for the future.
 
Before I get into that though, the other reason I like Ethereum is because it’s not a straight up cryptocurrency.   It’s a platform for the creation of Smart Contracts.
 
 
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#12 - Staying Relevant in a Tech World

#12 - Staying Relevant in a Tech World

June 20, 2018

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.

This is one of those podcasts which isn’t the offspring of late night research, countless hours of trial and error tempered by seminars, articles and other people podcasts. This one is coming from real life… whatever that means.

This one is coming from real life… whatever that means.

If you’ve found yourself working in the technology arena it can be as exciting as it is challenging. Sometimes these are one and the same and sometimes they could not be farther apart. Being a GenXr myself I was there at the beginning of the home computing boom. I remember the rise of Steve Jobs, and when Bill Gates was the young genius instead of Mark Zuckerberg except of course when he famously said “640k is all the memory anyone will ever need” or words to that effect. Ok fine he didn’t say that but, thanks to the post-truth world I think it’s probably perfectly ok to attribute that statement to him or anyone else for that matter. Even better if you turn it into a meme!

Getting back to the 80s and 90s when technology was “young” and when air-quotes were first invented (I was thinking some as I typed “young”). Back then I learn to program in C language, I could disassemble my PC and fix it myself, even over-clock the CPU to get more gusto from it and I was building linux kernel I got from Linus Torvalds (the OS namesake) himself because that was the only place you could get it. I will return to Linus as a flagship example of staying relevant in the technological age as he one of the most influential people in our technological era.

Let’s talk about that era. We are currently in a phase of advancement which is to say the least, complex. 

Check out the full blog at 

https://codifyre.com/tech-skills/staying-relevant-technology-world-editorial/

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#11 - Hacking Hackers and their Hacks

#11 - Hacking Hackers and their Hacks

May 23, 2018

Is it cast aside teenage wunderkinds who can seemingly dissect all things computer with the crack of a laptop to create designer chaos?  They are portrayed smoking cigarettes, roller blading and always have media savvy branding!  Too cool!

Any time a major breach is announced, the media conjures up their classic image of this hooded jedi-like figure in a dimly lit room with 0s and 1s swirling about. Film and TV has done a superb job of portraying our favourite computer hacker as the stereotyped quirky yet heavily crafted indie kid who wields the required dexterity to power-type at a moments notice, anywhere on the planet and inject themselves straight into anything from corporate servers, to traffic light control systems to Dinosaur based fun parks. It usually involves some superb visualisations of neon landscapes and swirling equations.

In the episode I unpack hacking and what it really is, with a few notable examples from the past few years.   

Warning! I may debunk Hollywood's sexy portrayal and expose hacking for what it really is... good ol' fashioned elbow grease.

The shownotes for the episode are here.

https://codifyre.com/coding/hacking-hackers-and-their-hacks-2018/

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#10 - Machine Learning ( Real World Applications )

#10 - Machine Learning ( Real World Applications )

May 9, 2018

Machine Learning

I’ve heard the phrase Machine Learning banging around the media more intensely over the past few years and you know what that means… I’m not happy until I know what is really means.

TO THE BAT-MOWER!

My first conjured image is of course a lawn mower in a classroom trying to fumble its way through the shakespearean sonnet.

It seems I wasn’t far off! Ok I was pretty far off. But there is a smart lawn mower that learns how to cut you lawn which is in fact machine learning. It’s the word machine which I find distracting. We’re not accustomed to speaking of computers as machines or machines as computers although the latter is quickly becoming so and hence the phrase.

A few podcasts ago we discussed Self-Driving Cars and machine learning is definitely at the core of their success. We have all driven cars and would unanimously agree that no two routes are the same even if you’re driving the same route every day. There is always some element of surprise. These cars would not exist if not for some very clever learning algorithms which prioritise success paths over failures in order to adapt their reactions and even their default behaviour to new situations. Just like us human learners.

What about other non-driving based applications? The mower is essentially a tiny little self-driving car that works out your lawns shape and the best route while having the luxury of not having to contend with human driven lawn mowers, drinking and just mowing all over the place.

Machine learning and AI (Artifical Intelligence) are peanut butter and chocolate, ham and cheese, bacon and…. everything. What’s the point of learning if you aren’t going to use what you have learned? I could dive deep into the inner workings of machine learning algorithms but that would be a serious snoozer to the non-enthusiast and as complex and fasinating as it is, it’s more fun to try to derive the gist of what it all means by looking at the applications because without application there is no learning.

Are we surrounded by learning machines who will eventually take over the world? Yes!
But how? Let’s have a crack at a top 5! 

Check out the podcast for the list.

The shownotes for the episode are here:

https://codifyre.com/technology/machine-learning-are-you-smarter-than-a-toaster/

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#9 - Social Media versus Data Privacy & GDPR

#9 - Social Media versus Data Privacy & GDPR

April 18, 2018

I was a late adopter waiting until about 2007 before getting onto Facebook. Back in the 2000s I remember my brother calling Facebook a platform for narcissists. Just over 10 years later and 2.3 Billion narcissists later he and I are both active participants.

I don’t think he was wrong! To a degree of course. I think Facebook, to take a positive spin, provides an outlet for many people to express themselves without directly expressing themselves.  Kind of like wearing a Nike t-shirt. Do I like sports or do like to look like I like sports? Hard to know and you’d need a larger piece of the profile to figure it out but the point remains, I’ve made a statement without having to say anything.

Facebook allows people to ‘share’, ‘like’, or ’emoji’ to provide indicators of their feelings without the risk of direct criticism to direct messaging. In fact don’t we find it a bit annoying sometimes when somebody breaches the unwritten rules and posts something blatantly opinionated… I mean come on people… allude to your feelings damn it, don’t provide direct feelings, we are not capable of coping with that!

So why the analysis… there is a point and that point is the what has happened over the past few weeks with Facebook and their handling (mishandling) of your data.

Social Media Privacy

Is that a contradiction or oxymoron?  What can we do about our privacy and what regulations will change the face of how our data is handled in the future?

The shownotes for the episode are here in addition to some great tips and links on cleaning up the privacy of your digital presence!

https://codifyre.com/culture/social-media-versus-data-privacy-gdpr/

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#8 - Self Driving Cars (Robots Rule!)

#8 - Self Driving Cars (Robots Rule!)

April 4, 2018

Robots will rule us all. I feel that’s already been established by more sci-fi writers than can be credited in one podcast.

You may have recently seen that an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian in a headline grabbing frenzy that re-awakened the humanity in all of us.

Questions like

What if… insert dystopian human based car fiasco here where AI (artificial intelligence) is deciding the fate of human lives with alarmingly regularity. During my recent discussions I found some common themes where these infinite ethical conundrums often came back to the questions of responsibility. Who do you blame if AI kills one of our humans AND… assuming the AI is forced into making a decision which means one life over another how does it make that choice? Heavy stuff folks. Fasten your seatbelts.  Or don't.

Doing my best and simplifying my position, I’ll start with defining for the curious (hey that’s why you listen to podcasts isn’t it!) how self-driving cars work and then we'll start talking philosophy and how we are trying to tackle those tough questions, or, ask ourselves if we're just being too darn human.

Read the notes at

https://codifyre.com/culture/self-driving-cars/

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#7 - Part 2 - Browse This! (Browser Security)

#7 - Part 2 - Browse This! (Browser Security)

March 21, 2018

The internet browser, which began as a simple visual interpretation of a "markup" language used to create a textual representation of visual elements is now a dangerously functional run-time environment potentially comparable to our host operating system. 

In this episode we talk about known exploits in the browser from how file types have tricked the browser, and the OS, into giving away credentials to hacked browser extensions, to crypto mining to the potential for trusted websites to undermine our confidence and off up malvertising and lead us off the safe path.

In short... it's a quick, learn from the mistakes of the past, cautionary tale about browsing the internet in the modern (2018) world.  I would be worried that I was dating this podcast but, as it's a tech podcast, it'll be dated faster than you can say Betamax.  So go listen now!

Read the notes for Part 1 & 2 at

https://codifyre.com/tech-skills/browser-shopper-shoplifter

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#7 - Part 1 - Browse This!  (Browser Security)

#7 - Part 1 - Browse This! (Browser Security)

March 7, 2018

Let me go back to the beginning. 1990!

Shortly after the earth cooled and life began,  Sir Tim Berners-Lee just decided to invent the world wide web.  This was approximately 1990 give or take any prior research and general acceptance of the idea. He also put together the first browser confusingly and yet inspirationally called "WorldWideWeb".

Well now you know how that all started and why it's called what it is. For those of you who were toddlers or perhaps not even born yet a world without the web sounds like a time when everything was in black and white, lit by open flame, the notion of evolution was exciting and new and tablets were made from stone.

Since then things have evolved. The browser which began as a simple visual interpretation of a "markup" language used to create a textual representation of visual elements is now a dangerously functional run-time environment potentially comparable to our host operating system, more than you might expect. 

Read the show notes at...

https://codifyre.com/tech-skills/browser-shopper-shoplifter/

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