Choosing a memorable but difficult to guess password is bane of our lives. The requirements for a good password get stricter as computers become more powerful; however, the tougher these requirements get stricter the ability to remember these passwords diminishes. Moreover, passwords should really be unique for every service that we use. Truly, passwords suck.
I will propose a solution which provides enough protection against password cracking, without having the usual difficulty of not remembering passwords. Ultimately what I propose will be deterministic password generator which does not save the output.
Last Updated (Thursday, 10 September 2015 20:09)
Creating a computer program which can determine if another program will halt is impossible in general (for all inputs and all variations of code). This can be extended to cover the impossibility of creating a perfect detector of malicious software. I go on to suggest that this implies that it is impossible, in general, to detect all malicious human behaviour.
Last Updated (Thursday, 03 September 2015 16:18)
In this article I present a simple formula for risk quantification and provide in detail why I think the formula is badly abused. The problem is not really with the formula but with the data that goes into the formula. Risk data is always backward looking yet everyone talks about the risks of future events. This is a common problem which is made worse by the misuse of data in such a simple formula.
While I provide heavy criticism of the formula I also outline why this does not prevent business from progressing, why risk quantification is not necessarily a waste of time, and why jobs are not necessarily lost from poor risk quantification.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 02 September 2015 20:12)
In a previous article on the other side of my blog I argued that the creative industries have a convex payoff. In short: anything creative work which is for sale is subject to wildly unpredictable payoffs where maybe people get nothing or little, but those who make it get an incredible payoff. This is essentially a positive outcome for a tail event. See previous article for some notes on tail events.
Last Updated (Monday, 31 August 2015 17:16)
Tail hedging is about buying insurance to protect against catastrophic uncertain events. In this article I will outline why I think it is impossible for everyone to do so. The underlying argument is that someone has to eventually pay the piper (be it the claimant, insurer or re-insurer) and that for catastrophic events there isn't going to be enough money to cover all claims. Some tail events can be insured and "easily" covered in isolation, but when all claimants try to claim at the same time then is likely to fail. Moreover, the cost of such insurance will increase when the general sentiment is that of fear.
Last Updated (Monday, 31 August 2015 16:26)
The recent Thunderstrike 2 attack on Macs and the debate surrounding which operating systems are the most secure. The problem here that neophytes have missed is that the attacks demonstrated attack the computer a level lower than the operating system. It is at the firmware (device) level and so it is to an extent independent of OS.
Part of the "buzz" surrounding these attacks (plural, not just the Mac based one) is that Macs have been attacked which is rarer than for Windows, and that users appear to be more complacent because malware is less prevalent.
Which leads to many touting Macs as being more secure than Windows, and in this case it does seem that Windows computers are probably affected worse. The articles are focusing upon Mac because of the rarity despite the lessened severity.
Last Updated (Thursday, 06 August 2015 16:09)
This article addresses the security of information on social networks: it discusses some basic and fundamental common problems as well as discussing some defenses to these problems. The title is obvious give-away as to what the article entails. Moreover, the suggestion of decentralisation can be extended beyond social networks to any organization looking for a more secure way to store data.
It is worth noting that in a previous article I outlined that there is an over-saturation of social networks; in short, I believe that there was and still is too many social networks which have over-lapping functionality.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 28 July 2015 00:05)
In this article I explore he notion of financial independence. The idea being that if you have enough money invested in some asset then the income derived from that asset should be enough to fund a modest lifestyle perpetually. The last point, on perpetuity, is the underpinning notion of independence: no reliance on any outside source of finance. I outline one particular strategy here, but it makes the naive assumption that you have the money to begin (or a plan for getting the money).
Last Updated (Saturday, 25 July 2015 16:07)
In this article I outline some thoughts on investment prospects that I've been following with interest. I don't make any real comment on timing but rather on situations. There is a vague element of value here.
This article does not constitute investment advice.
Last Updated (Monday, 20 July 2015 00:21)
This article outlines some security recommendations for anyone who is writing an app. I make these general recommendations to anyone who is creating an app. Some of the points will be more tailored than others in order to fit with the purpose of the app.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 14 July 2015 23:56)
I found myself to have some spare time this summer and decided to find and try a method for rapid language acquisition. The target is to hit around 3000 words which is supposed to be about 90% of everyday spoken language (i.e fluency); obviously this isn't a hard rule but rather a target for where I'd like to be. It is high enough to be challenging but low enough to be reasonable achievable within a few months.
Last Updated (Sunday, 24 January 2016 17:31)
One thing I haven't mastered is the ability to speak, or fully understand, another language. At various points you hit a wall and give up, at least if you try to do it on your own. Clearly it is possible to learn several languages as there are entire countries where people speak three or more languages. This article is on the back of something I saw on YouTube, specifically one of the TedX talks. The speaker outlined 5 principles and seven actions. Here I will outline those facts and add some extra commentary.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 14 July 2015 00:11)
This book covers Rogers’s millennium car trip around the world. He tells the tale with an interesting mix of travel dialog, pictures, thoughts on local politics, and investment prospects. The first three are what you would expect of any travel diary, the last point is unique to Jim. Part of the recounting of this tale involves the comparison with his previous trip around the world when he went by motorcycle in the late 80s.
Last Updated (Monday, 13 July 2015 22:38)
Aptly summed up as a self-help book from the 1930s. Published in '37 but apparently constituted 25 years of research into the top leaders of the USA at that time and was a project undertaken at the advice of Andrew Carnegie. He studied them and discussed with them what made them successful in life and also what made them successful as leaders. The end result was Hill's 16 laws of success (how to achieve it) and 13 principles for personal achievement.
The biggest take-away from this book is to think positive; nothing can be achieved in life by being negative and stuck in a rut. It is obvious that those who are stuck in a rut and never try to leave will always be stuck there. Negative emotions and thoughts show outwardly which unintentionally throws up a barrier that disincentivizes other people interacting with that negative person.
Last Updated (Monday, 13 July 2015 21:54)
Been a while since I last posted. Decided to do a spam clear out and nailed a lot of spam accounts. Not many comments to moderate, fortunately. Published a few comments too. It seems my article on Scottish words which are similar to Scandinavian is very popular. More so than I expected. :-)
I wonder what people search for to find it.
Note that comments are saved for moderation rather than being auto-published. This means that people tend to hit save 2 or 3 times before giving up. The comments are saved but not displayed automatically.
Last Updated (Sunday, 28 June 2015 00:29)
Is this book about hedge funds? Sorta. Will it help you to find / analyse / trade in hedge funds of the markets? No, not at all. The author is been in the industry for decades and has been involved in a few hedge fund ventures as well as working at Morgan Stanley.
Last Updated (Saturday, 17 May 2014 17:10)
Reconciliation with phenomenology: Transcendetal Phenomology vs Stochastic Phenomenology.
In this article I discuss how to reconcile my previous thoughts on phenomenology with the thoughts of Nassim Taleb. In a previous article I shunned the use of phenomenology and in particular unwitting use of phenomenology in order to justify morality (or opinion in general), I see it as an egregious error by those who consider themselves scientists. While I admit that we don't have all the answers to the universe and that (dis)proof of god is currently not possible I do not recommend using phenomenology as a justification for anything. Taleb, on the other hand, is in favour of accepting phenomenology. As I'm fascinated by his work and way of thinking then I find myself troubled by the (prima facie) lack of reconciliation between his ideas and my own with regards to phenomenology.
My contention is that phenomenology appeals to transcendentalism which is not scientific by definition. Science is about understanding the universe through methodical investigation of natural processes which are accepted to be entirely endogenous (no external action required to explain what we see). Nassim Taleb is a strong proponent of a universe which is deep in mystery with unknowable inner workings. Many natural mechanisms are not predictable or well understood, and hence implicitly accepts exogenous processes. However, in t his article I will outline how I think it is possible to reconcile our disparate views.
Last Updated (Sunday, 11 May 2014 13:56)
This book is fascinating and enjoyable. It pushes the reader to consider that most financial models are too simple or otherwise wrong. The writing is casual but the ideas are clear and well illustrated with examples The downside is this book is too short; or perhaps, it is great that the book is short in order to entice people to pick up on these ideas but there really needs to be a sequel with far more detail. Unfortunately, this will not be possible from this late author.
Last Updated (Sunday, 11 May 2014 13:44)
My faith in Joomla has slowly evaporated over the years. I was fine using Joomla 1.5 when I first created this website but there was no easy way to upgrade to Joomla 2 when it came out. Then Joomla 3 came out not long after (at least that's how it seemed). During this time I've felt happy with the development in Joomla and found it easier to get started and continue with Wordpress. This is a complete reversal of my opinion previously.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 23 April 2014 21:41)
The central idea is that there are things that improve from being harmed. The opposite, fragile, is easy to understand and is one that we are already familiar with. The fragile are things which are analogous to coffee cups on tables, they are prone to be knocked over and cracking. A fragile parcel is one that should be handled with great care, while a robust parcel is one which doesn't care. An antifragile parcel would be one that wants to be abused.
The author also continues the theme that humans often over-plan and under estimate the severity of harm. He illustrates that trying to predict future harm can be very difficult and that the usual methods of error estimation are often of no help. Errors and poor design can be further compounded from large sizes and faster speeds, as well as believing that a system can be completely deterministic and knowable. His solution to all problems is to begin with a smart design which is less prone to fragility and is robust to the errors (but not risk-free).
I've read over many other reviews and note a lot of people had difficulty with understanding the book. I actually found the book to be comprehensible so at first I was surprised; however, I have had the benefit of reading his comments on his Facebook page. He posts frequently and has covered all the book topics at length. When you first encounter the ideas they may not make sense because he often uses phrases which are specific to his experience in finance. Once you are familiar with these concepts then it is fine. I appreciate that statement won't bring any comfort to someone who bought this book and doesn't have this knowledge. Therefore, I'd suggest that people may want to have a read over his Facebook fan page (his previous books help too). If you are unsure about terms such as fat tails, fragility, optionality, left tail, convexity, gamma, then I'd definitely recommend getting familiar with those terms as they appear a lot. Gamma is a somewhat strange quantity so I wouldn't necessarily strive for complete comprehension but rather try to get a minimal understanding of it.
If you are interested in risk, uncertainty and randomness then this book is likely to appeal. If you are from a maths or science background then you should cope without too much strain but it may require some background reading. Stephen Hawking wrote a best seller and I'd wager that most readers didn't fully comprehend it but that doesn't make it any less of a great book.
This book is the easiest one to dive into and finish without any headaches. Better yet, this is actually a simpler version of Hawking's book "A brief history of time". So if you have fancied reading that book but were too afraid then try this one first. The great thing about the book is that it covers the history of the key people in the scientific revolutions that lead to our modern day understanding of the cosmos and it covers the history of the Universe as we know it. The book is also a companion to the TV series although I never saw that. Finally, it is full of colourful pictures and well worth every penny you pay for it.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 23 April 2014 21:17)