Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wiping Solid state drives - it doesn't work!

If you have to dispose of sold state drives be aware that conventional data wiping techniques do not work properly. The techniques developed for hard disk drives are not fully effective on solid state memory. Here's an interesting article.

Note the same applies for USB memory sticks. So make sure the data held on them is encrypted.

If you want to be sure, send them off for shredding into parts no larger than 7 mm diameter.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cinderella project

I've been involved in many trading floor and data centre fit out projects, quite often these have been from the bare concrete of a new/stripped office building. It is at this stage you will see an essential part of the building facilities that are essential to the operation of a large IT environment. I'm talking about pipework for building services such as water, air conditioning coolant, fuel and gas.
As the fit out work progresses all off the pipework gets hidden and forgotten. However it is critically important that the pipe work is properly installed and not subject to any kind of failure. Any leaks could be catastrophic to the continued operation of the business. In my travels I've come across a UK manufacturer who produces a handy range of plastic pipes for building infrastructure work. They are called Durapipe. In many cases the plastic performs better than the usual metal pipework. The plastic pipes are also cheaper and quicker to install. It is worth looking at their website to discover their range of products.
One word of warning. Remember to think carefully how you'd deal with any plastic pipes which traverse the fire resistant walls of a data centre or techology rooms.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

A scheme to combat SPAM email.

This scheme works on the basis of pre-payment for email to registered clients. The internet postage fee amount would be tiny, but would be sufficiently significant to deter the high volume SPAM generators.

For the sake of argument we propose $0.01 per addressee (or cc). Any funds raised would be used to help fund the United Nations after deduction of operational costs.

The pre-payment idea is not new, but opponents to the scheme argue it would be too difficult to have central servers tracking the “Internet Tax.” I’ve personally had that debate in public with the gentleman who is one of the driving forces behind Spamhaus.org. It is deeply ironic that the spamhaus.org servers and data are used by many email servers to validate the IP address of individual messages.

Concept No: 1 – Client registration

Individual users, or support personnel on their behalf, send an electronic message to a central registry to request a public key identity associated with their full internet email address. That public key is then registered as part of the email details on the software email client or on the ISP mail servers or on the public email provider such as hotmail.

Concept No: 2 – Pre-purchase of Internet Stamp

Any person validly wishing to send an email to an individual buys an email stamp for one cent, from a Registrar service, in advance of sending the email. The “stamp” will be encrypted on the basis of the Registrar key and the public key of that email address.

The one cent cost of the stamp will be deducted from the account of the sender at the time of purchase. The stamp will be valid for 24 hours. Users will be able to purchase credit for their directly from the registrar.

The encrypted Internet Stamp will also contain the identity key of the person/organisation purchasing the stamp.

Concept No: 3 – Transmitting Email Server embeds Internet Stamp in message.

When the message is transmitted either the client email software or the ISP server will embed the encrypted Internet Stamp in the headers of the email message to the selected user.

Concept No: 4 – Destination Email Server decrypts Internet Stamp.

When the email message is received by the destination email server the embedded Internet Stamp is decrypted on the basis of the email addressee and their pre-stored public identity key. If the stamp is valid the email can be accepted and forwarded to the target client.

Of course there is nothing to stop the server accepting other messages if the registered user has no objections, but no doubt having taken the opportunity to register the majority of users will choose to block mail from unknown or unfunded originators.

If organisations sending unsolicited email choose to send funded email bearing a genuine Internet Stamp it will greatly increase their costs. The public will also have the opportunity to report unwanted unsolicited emails by virtue of the originator key embedded in the Internet Stamp. The central registry will be able to apply sanctions against that account in the event of a significant level of complaints.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Australian diamond mine under attack by Bugs Bunny

I earlier mentioned about an "excellent" investment opportunity. Now, you might say I've had my doubts about these people who've called me out of the blue, but this week's developments caused me to choke with laughter. They called me back. Unfortunately for them I was in a lunch break so had plenty of free time. After 30 mins of chat on the phone I asked them to send some terms and conditions.

Today I received a pack of documents from them. They'd underpaid the postage so I had to pay £1.15 (bad news for them), but I almost died when I read one of their pages. I reproduce it here in pdf format. It seems that the Australian Diamond mine produces 30 million carrots every year. Given that rabbits are endemic in Australia I'd have thought there must be great problems in protecting those vegetables.

Hey guys - I think the term you are looking for is carats (wiki explanation).