More RFID news March 15, 2006

I haven’t written about RFID chips in some time, but the tiny chips are back in the news.

The US government has started issuing passports including RFID technology which stores identifying information, while Dutch researchers have created a proof of concept RFID virus. Nice combination, wouldn’t you say?

There’s no such thing as a girl geek February 14, 2006

It’s V Day and, more importantly, my birthday, so here’s a slightly self indulgent rant about a topic that’s has been needling me for awhile now.

Today, I read an article from the Tyee about geek chic, and why geeks are supposedly hot properties on the dating scene. I knew it was going to be a lame fluff piece, but why not get a little jolt of “I’m cool ’cause some magazine says so” on me-day? But, instead of getting a yay-me feeling, I got crazy-go-nuts mad.

The Google Future February 1, 2006

Business 2.0 has a cute future history of Google, with four potential scenarios that could come to pass for the advertising/search giant, titled Google is the Media, Google is the Internet, Google is Dead and Google is God.

Of all the possibilities, I think “Google is the Internet” is the least likely, and “Google is God” is the most intersting, if fanciful. Though I’m not disputing the possibility of that scenario possibility for a second.

Tech for 2006 (me) January 18, 2006

Here’s the list of technologies I want in my grubby paws by this time next year. My kingdom for a fab lab

Viva Las Vegas January 12, 2006

Las Vegas - the land without time. It’s a glimpse of our past, but with 24 hour baccarat.

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C74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques act November 18, 2005

Do police need additional powers to combat crime on the internet? If so, does Canada’s proposed legislation, bill C74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, meet those needs. This week’s techwatch critically analyses bill c74 and the expansion of police powers to address internet crime.

Guest Podcast by Steven Ensslen

The Golden Hammer: Tech Watch is a proud member of - if it’s tech, it’s here.

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The storage performance Council has reports of manufacturers who are proud to have million dollar storage networks that handle less than half a gigabit per second in the lab. My cable modem is 1/2 megabit, so a state of the art system publisized at the Storage Performance Council would handle fewer than 1,000 customers. That is if it performs as well in the field as it did in the lab. The net is full of stories of people who paid millions for these Storage networks but who see only 10% of the theoretical throughput. My ISP would need ten or twenty times the theoretical throughput, or hundreds of times what people see in the field in order to log all traffic. is a massively distributed brute force attempt to break encryption keys. A 64 bit key took 331,252 computers 1,754 days to break. A 128 bit key is not twice as strong, but 2^64 or 1.8 * 10^19 times stronger. Commonly available 4096 bit encryption is 2^4032 times stronger than a 64 bit key. Those numbers are absurdly large. An simple explanation is if computer power continues to double every two years, it will take over eight thousand years before a 4096 bit key can be broken by 1/3 of a million computers working for 4 years.

Other articles on C74:

The Globe and Mail

Down time November 17, 2005

If anyone had trouble accessing the site recently, that was because the server it’s on (not this site) was the victim of a distributed denial of service attack.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’re back in business now.

Look for an new Tech Watch podcast from guest host Steven soon.

Living cells + silicon chip = “cellborg” gadget October 20, 2005

According to an article in, scientists from the University of Nebraska have created a humidity sensor that uses silicon chips fused with live bacteria.

While this seems in many ways to be a proof-of-concept invention, the resulting sensor is apparently several times more sensitive than previous all-mechanical devices.

The key to good technology - it’s people! August 3, 2005

As products to make our lives easier get more complex, customer service becomes more important than any other aspect of the technology experience. From good information on the packaging to a decent corporate website, to the folks on the front lines of the call centres, the quality of service is becoming more important than the quality of the technology.

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