Weekend Reads 030719

Do you really understand Big O? If so, then this will refresh your understanding before an interview. If not, don’t worry — come and join us for some endeavors in computer science. —Shen Huang

The optical transceiver industry, by comparison, is a cottage industry built on fractured design methodologies, captive wafer manufacturing, proprietary packaging and labor-intensive production that limits economies of scale. —Roberto Marcoccia

IoT devices like these are a security and privacy risk to individual users. This can include bad people taking control of your Wi-Fi enabled webcams or internet-connected children’s toys. However, the greater concern for me is when these insecure devices are taken over for the purposes of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) whereby hundreds or thousands of devices are used to attack core internet infrastructure or services. —Jacques Latour

In a new official statement on the Directive (English translation), Kelber warns that Article 13 will inevitably lead to the use of automated filters, because there is no imaginable way for the organisations that run online services to examine everything their users post and determine whether each message, photo, video, or audio clip is a copyright violation. —Cory Doctorow

Opposing parties continue to debate whether WHOIS should stay after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect across the EU in May 2018. While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees WHOIS, is looking for ways to be GDPR compliant, experts from various fields are contemplating the problems pointed out by officials. —Jonathan Zhang

History of Networking: George Swallow on MPLS/TE

Traffic engineering (TE) is one of the most complex technologies used in large scale networks today. George Swallow joins us for a look at how and why TE was invented, and where some of the ideas came from.

Outro Music:
Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Is it Balance, or Workism?

While we tend to focus on work/life balance, perhaps the better question is: how effective are we at using the time we use for work? From a recent study (which you may have already seen):

  • Workers average just 2 hours and 48 minutes of productive device time a day
  • 21% of working hours are spent on entertainment, news, and social media
  • 28% of workers start their day before 8:30 AM (and 5% start before 7 AM)
  • 40% of people use their computers after 10 PM
  • 26% of work is done outside of normal working hours
  • Workers average at least 1 hour of work outside of working hours on 89 days/year (and on ~50% of all weekend days)
  • We check email and IM, on average, every 6 minutes

This is odd—we are starting work earlier, finishing later, and working over weekends, but we still only “work” less than three hours a day.

The first question must be: is this right? How are they measuring productive versus unproductive device time? What is “work time,” really? I know I don’t keep any sort of recognizable “office hours,’ so it seems like it would be hard to measure how much time I spend on the weekend versus during the “work day.”

On the other hand, no matter how flawed they might be, these numbers are still interesting. They do not, it seems to me, necessarily tell of “overwork.” Instead, they tell a tale of spending a lot of time work while not actually getting anything done.

Here is the thing: we already all know the strategies we could use to help bring the productive time up, the nonproductive time down, and “personal time” up. I try to macrotask as much as possible—take on one job for as long as it takes to reach either my limit of being able to focus on it or a point where I need to stop to do something else. During this time, I try not to look at social media, email, etc. There are commercial solutions to help you focus, as well.

So if we know there is a problem, and we know there are solutions, why don’t we fix this?

The first option—we don’t think this is really a problem. For instance, it could be that we don’t understand our own behaviors well enough to realize we are killing our own productivity by checking email constantly.

A second option—We are more afraid of missing out than we are of not getting anything done. Or perhaps we are replacing actual productivity with having an empty inbox, or a caught up news feed. Maybe we are afraid to just delete all the email we’ve not read, or mark the entire slack channel read without actually reading it.

A third option—these technologies are addictive.

Any of these will do, of course, and they are all probably partly. But I think there is another problem at the root of all of these, a problem we don’t want to talk about because it isn’t something you say in polite company. Perhaps—just maybe—the problem goes back to a spiritual ailment. Maybe we are trying to build the meaning of our lives around work.Maybe we need to realize just how much workism has infected our lives—our attachment work as the primary means through which we gain meaning in life.

And that problem, I think, is a bit harder to solve than just installing an application to rule the other applications, forcing you to focus.

Weekend Reads 030119

The tradeoff is that users’ credentials are then centrally stored and managed, typically protected by a single master password to unlock a password manager data store. With the rising popularity of password manager use it is safe to assume that adversarial activity will target the growing user base of these password managers. Table 1, below, outlines the number of individual users and business entities for each of the password managers we examine in this paper.

Imagine that you’re about to give a presentation in front of your entire organization. If you have ever been anxious in a situation where the stakes are high, you’ve probably received well-meaning advice: Calm down. Take deep breaths. Think positively, and you will nail this. —Barry Brownstein

“Photographs furnish evidence,” wrote Susan Sontag in On Photography. “A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened.” Sontag went on to write of how photographs can misrepresent situations. But do they even have to show real objects? —Ben Sixsmith

Scammers tend to be skilled at finding the most vulnerable individuals and turning them into victims. Case in point: Researchers at Proofpoint have been tracking campaigns that prey on those looking for work. The payoff is not a job: It’s a copy of the More_eggs backdoor.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are presenting to your manager or your manager’s manager and you completely flub the opportunity by saying all the wrong things? Me too. It is from such encounters that I started to put together design patterns for handling these difficult situations. —Kate Matsudaira

Payroll software provider Apex Human Capital Management suffered a ransomware attack this week that severed payroll management services for hundreds of the company’s customers for nearly three days. Faced with the threat of an extended outage, Apex chose to pay the ransom demand and begin the process of restoring service to customers. #8212;Krebs on Security

In his 1930 essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek in the 21st century, creating the equivalent of a five-day weekend. “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem,” Keynes wrote, “how to occupy the leisure.” —Derek Thompson

Webinar: How the Internet Really Works

I’m doing a live webinar at Safari Books Online on March 15thabout the operation of the ‘net—

This live training will provide an overview of the systems, providers, and standards bodies important to the operation of the global Internet, including the Domain Name System (DNS), the routing and transport systems, standards bodies, and registrars.

You can register here.