Monday, February 06, 2006

Fighting Bandwidth Throttling

I really love my iPod Shuffle. I just loaded it with all kinds of stuff (The Roots, Kanye West, Incubus, etc) and hit the "shuffle" button in iTunes a few times until it was shuffled just right, and just plugged in my iPod to fill it up. I can't get over how easy it is to use and how cool this mix of music will be. Anyway, today's topic is a bit nerdy, but I'm talking about it because it coincides with what we talked about in CS 337 (Theory in Programming Practice) class today. Being the bad computer nerd that I am, I didn't know about RSA encryption until Dr. Misra's lecture today, and it seems really fascinating to me. In a nutshell, it's a way to send data so that anyone can send it (by applying a public function), but only those with a special key can decrypt it. Hence, you can send data just fine, but you can't translate what other people sent using that same function (don't worry about how). In BitTorrents, they're running into the problem of ISPs enforcing bandwidth throttling to limit torrenting activity significantly, and some want to solve it by using a special key protocol related to RSA where two users can exchange a secret key even over an insecure connection. It makes me wonder how hard this stuff is to write, and it really makes me wonder how smart the people who came up with these concepts originally must've been. The creator or BitTorrent isn't thrilled about this, but there's probably not much that he can do about it. I personally think that it should only be implemented as an optional extension to the current protocol rather than totally restructuring it.

Some site called ShortFlip has compiled their predictions for the future of the iPod, and it seems to basically compile the stuff we know about Apple and the top speculation up til now into a nice, neat package. While I think the WiFi and the enlarged screen are definitely valid, it gets a little far-fetched in the end in suggesting an all-in-one device (cell phone, PDA, music, television, etc). Still, I guess anything could happen; even a complete switch to flash memory. If you're a techie like me, then you'll really want to see this list of the top ten highest paying tech jobs with their hourly wages. If I was making that kind of scratch I think I could have a lot of fun with my money, but work is about more than just the money, of course. Do you ever write comments and then forget to check up on them? The idea of CoComment is that you can keep track of these comments and be notified of follow-ups to them in case you're carrying on a conversation through commenting. It's still in beta, but I think it's a real cool idea. Lastly, I mentioned a couple of Super Bowl ads yesterday, but there are many more up for your viewing pleasure at Google Video. Make sure that you watch (or re-watch) the "magic fridge" one, because it's so awesome.

Click to enlargeI've really got to get to bed soon (I fudged the time to keep it Monday, sorry), so I'm going to breeze through the movie news. To your right is a picture of Salma Hayek, looking as great as ever, at the premiere of Ask the Dust. If you crave more of her, you can see a short clip here, and more pictures here. There's a poster online for Winter Passing, the next in a series of a random Will Ferrell movies, and this will really test whether he'll continue to be typecast or not since it's a movie that takes itself more seriously than most of his previous work. There are wild rumors that an Alfred Hitchcock biopic is in the works, but it really doesn't sound too unlikely since he was a very well-respected filmmaker and biographical films seem to have become a trend in recent years. Lastly, we also have more rumors on Topher Grace's real role in Spider-man 3, though this could just be to throw us off again.

Now for some Monday Madness:

True or False (and feel free to elaborate)

1. I consider myself to be very organized.

True, though I could stand to be more organized.
2. I tend to get more done when I'm pressed for time.
True, though that's only because of necessity precluding any distractions.
3. Multi-tasking is something I do often.
True, because my computer has become an appendage.
4. I might be a perfectionist.
True, because I've slowly become chained to my GPA.
5. I enjoy Mondays as much as I enjoy Fridays.
False, because recovering from most weekends usually takes a couple of days.
6. If I didn't make a list (or hang a post-it note) I'd forget what it is I need to do.
True, because sometimes I'll have way too much going on to remember half of it.
7. I have no problem asking for help when I don't understand something.
True, because I'd rather ask than screw it up.

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