Day: January 12, 2007

Gimli Track Info

Great story, brilliantly told. And of course kudos to the pilots.

If a Boeing 767 runs out of fuel at 41,000 feet what do you have? Answer: A 132 ton glider with a sink rate of over 2000 feet-per-minute and marginally enough hydraulic pressure to control the ailerons, elevator, and rudder. Put veteran pilots Bob Pearson and cool-as-a-cucumber Maurice Quintal in the in the cockpit and you’ve got the unbelievable but true story of Air Canada Flight 143, known ever since as the Gimli Glider.

(This page should appear here, but it’s been Dugg so you can access a page without images here. More info on Wikipedia.)

The Gimli Glider

Irish Blog Awards

I’m a sponsor of the Most Humorous Post category in the Irish Blog Awards again this year, albeit with my new company name of Beecher Networks Ltd. I guess this year I’d better actually attend the event? Or should I send a masked man in my place? :)

More on Beecher Networks over the next couple of weeks. Lots of fun ahead!

A new type of spam?

Hopefully Justin or someone else in the antispam community will browse past here and tell me I’m way behind the times, but I’m seeing a new type of spam in the last couple of day, stock shills with dynamically-generated subject lines that appear to come from news feeds. The news items are usually up to date, and the “More” is often appended to the subject to make it look even more like an email feed.

I don’t think I’ve seen it done in this sophisticated a manner before, although the bodies are still woefully amateurish, with the result than most of the messages are tagged correctly as spam and sidelined on the server.

That being said, the bodies don’t seem to focus on a particular stock symbol at all, which makes me wonder if they’re rotated dynamically, and thus perhaps a test run?

I hope not. We really, really don’t want to see spammers get too clever. It’s their relative stupidity that protects us from a real flood imho.

Here’s a screenshot from my quarantine:

Spam subjects

Schneier on Passwords

I’m a big fan of Bruce Schneier, I think he’s probably the best plain-speak security guy around, one that can see past the bluff and bluster to the underlying issues. He calls the TSA and their ilk on bullshit airport security procedures regularly, for example, and watching him out the latest “unbreakable” cipher as complete guff is a wonder to behold.

In this Wired article he goes into how easy most passwords are to crack, including – much to my surprise – passwords that I would have considered relatively secure, such as a pronounceable root with an appendage. I found the comparative frequencies of prefixes and suffixes particularly interesting. Of course, as Bruce constantly tells us, security is relative, so your passwords should be too.

Here’s the critical paragraph, although I’d recommend reading the entire article for context, and just because it’s as well-written as nearly all of Bruce’s pieces:

So if you want your password to be hard to guess, you should choose something not on any of the root or appendage lists. You should mix upper and lowercase in the middle of your root. You should add numbers and symbols in the middle of your root, not as common substitutions. Or drop your appendage in the middle of your root. Or use two roots with an appendage in the middle.

I agree strongly with his recommendation that a password store should be used by anyone needing to deal with large numbers of passwords. Personally I use KeePass, but I’ll be switching back to PasswordSafe shortly because no matter how hard I try, KeePass databases simply can’t be used across platforms.)


Did I post this before? Dammit, so what if I did, it’s the berries!