Friday, January 8, 2010

Review of Obituary in Tampa, 1/8/2010

Here is my latest foray into webcasting. I'll admit, I am not very good at it yet. I think I come off a little wooden (I hope I am not this stiff in real life). Anyway, today I talk about my first experience checking out the local Tampa death metal scene and a concert featuring the bands Headless Missionary, Destined to Ruin, Unkempt, and Obituary.



 The more I do these webcasts, the better I think I'll get. If you notice, this is the first time I incorporated some special effects. Anyway, thanks for being patient.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Using culture and patterns to stop cybercrime



While perusing through one of my Florida State University magazines, I found an interesting article on how FSU is one of the leading universities in researching cybercrime prevention and investigating tools.

As part of the write-up on the FSU cybercrime program, there was a side story (sorry, I forgot the official name of these mini-articles) on a super password finder hacker program the university has created. According to the article, the FSU password cracker is nearly twice as good at deciphering passwords than popular open-source programs.

What makes the FSU password cracker different and more effective is that it uses culture, patterns, and probabilities to calculate solutions. According to the article,
Basically, what sets Aggarwal's program apart from all other password crackers is that its algorithms are based on what people actually do when they create a password, rather than what they could do-namely, create a password that is genuinely unique and thereby almost impossible to break.

Aggarwal's team was able to determine the grammatical patterns and a variety of other user habits (e.g. adding a "1," a "2" or a "3" at the end of a four-letter name) that they gleaned from analyzing over 100,000 old passwords amassed from a number of sources. One of the biggest batches they got their hands on was a list of 67,000 passwords that hackers stole from MySpace.com, for example.
I think this is fascinating - using our everyday culture in the algorithms used to predict the codes of criminals. To be honest, I don't think I have ever created a password that didn't follow some sort of grammatical convention.

Hopefully, this technology doesn't fall into the wrong hands, I'd be screwed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bobby Bowden is Florida State University



Yesterday, a fellow FSU alumnus posted a lengthy piece on why he was opposed to people saying statements such as "Bobby Bowden is FSU" or "Bobby Bowden made FSU". He claimed Florida State University would have been Florida State University even if Robert Cleckler Bowden had never stepped foot on campus. According to NoleCC,
It bothers me that players and media alike want to minimize what a great university Florida State is academically and culturally by chalking up the success and fame of FSU to ONLY the football program.
NoleCC uses his own experiences as a student to make the point that because his enrollment was in no way shaped by Bobby Bowden, then no student's was. This is a faulty premise. As a matter of fact, there is even a chance NoleCC is completely wrong. According to NoleCC, "FSU was in major transition with renovations going on everywhere". From the late 1980s to 2000s, what was the university's biggest cash cow? The football team, of course. The Bobby Bowden-led Seminoles were the catalyst that drove the entire university to upgrade in 1990s. From the T.K. Wetherell Building and the University Center surrounding the former Giant Erector set that was Doak Campbell Stadium, to the medical school, to Strozier Library, I doubt any facility was constructed or improved without some contribution from the athletic department.

Think about this, even in its most simplest terms, had the football team not done well, and had Doak Campbell not been upgraded, perhaps the registrar and admissions office might still be in the Westcott  Building. The upgrade in administrative capability allowed the school to handle more students, students who chose FSU over Florida, USF, or UCF. Bobby Bowden is the reason these students were able to go to FSU.

There is no doubt athletically we owe our school's reputation to Bobby Bowden. There is a lot of prestige that comes with being a top-5 football team for 15 years. Without Bobby Bowden, we might have had the crossover talent in other sports that we had. There would have been no Deion Sanders playing baseball or Charlie Ward playing basketball. No Charlie Ward playing basketball means no tournament appearance in the early 90s and the money that brought in.

Although I see where NoleCC is coming from and yes, many students may have chosen to come to FSU based strictly on academics or programs or opportunities or maybe even the beautiful landscape of Tallahassee. But, then again, some also have chosen FSU because Jim Morrison of The Doors went there (ex. the lead singer of Creed). However, if not for Bobby Bowden, the university they enrolled in would be a completely different place. To put it bluntly, it would be a middle-of-the-road university far overshadowed in all but a few areas by other state colleges. Basically, it would have been the University of Central Florida.

Florida State University is the Florida State University it is today because of Bobby Bowden. He is, directly or indirectly, Florida State University.