In front of a black background I try to find the words to spill onto the inter webs. The sounds around me are blocked out by comfortably sitting in ear headphones, who, with their ergonomic cushions form an airtight seal. My head is filled with the sounds of Hans Zimmers soundtrack for the Da Vinci code. A spectral harp rolls like a spring shower over a chorus of unseen voices. My attention is focused on the new words that arise in front of me, all-though the notification of a new incoming email tempts my attention like a digital siren on the shores of diffusion.
I ignore it, an act of will, and type on, valiantly trying to make the very point I’m writing about. Hooked up to the Internets
in our modern lifestyles it is hard to find focus and concentration. It
is hard to keep your focus pointed at one window, one topic, one tasks
as we tread carefully in-between the various rat-holes that emails,
twitter, facebook IM’s or RSS
feeds can take us down. The more we tie into this omnipresent and
endless source of information, the more powerless our actions seem to
become. I zero in to the task at hand, for I would like to speak to you
to about evolutions in Simplicty.
Let me give you the practical example of my pod-casting studio. Over the years it has grown from humble beginnings (a lapel microphone hooked up to my ipod
via a "voice recorder" add on) to what it was a few weeks ago. What
started in simplicity quickly evolved into an ever more
"professional"collection of Microphones, Mixers, boom arms and more.
One replacing the other where one became obsolete and the other "more
advanced" where one setup was more elaborate and complex then the
previous. Soon I had quite a bit of "gear" (or Clutter, you decide)
sitting in my office. An office that started to both sound (and look)
like a recording studio. That was until I got rid of it all.
The logical evolution of my "home recording" installation would have been the addition of a second boom arm, a more powerful
mixer, better microphones and what have you. Yet, 99 percent of my kit
has been posted on a local auction website and was sold within 2 days.
No more Behringer C1 condenser Microphone, No Boom-arm
with a professional windscreen, no Mixer to tweak and tune the sound.
All of that was replaced by one single device, the zoom H2 microphone.
those of you who don’t know the device, the Zoom H2 is a digital
recorder , with a good microphone included and is mostly used for
interviews, recording ofperformances and the occasional ‘weapon of choice" for the podcaster.
In a bold move to hot wire
the evolution of my recording studio into something more simple , I
made the bold move of throwing out the ‘old and known’ and getting just
the H2 mike to do everything. I must say : the little device sounds
great and the fact that it is easy to use both in the house and on the
road is a bonus. Where I used to be "location dependant" on the place
where my studio gear was setup, I simplified and mobilised the whole
setup by condensing it into one device. Now I can go sitwhere-ever I want when i want to record something and no longer need to drag Nyana towards the studio when we need to produce something for the podcast.
major pitfall with geeks is that they add more and more gear to their
collection and end up needing massive collections of complex stuff in
order to get things done. But sometimes you need to make a bold move
and chuck it ALL out in favor of something different. Remember Apple
saying "NO" to the integration of the floppy drive into their Imac G3 models ? Everybody thought they where mad, yet they where far ahead of their time.
so it is with personal technological evolution. It does not mean that
you need to add the newest to the older stuff, sometimes you need to
look one step further and see how technology can further simplify your
life instead of making it even more complex. This means makingchoices, well thought off
choices on what to keep and to let go. But if you analyse your current
situation, your needs and your requirements carefully, and look for atechnological solution to answer
them..it is possible. But never forget the delicate balance of where
you start working for technology instead of having technology … work
The great thing about listening to podcasts
is that you can learn a lot from your peers. People speak from
experience and suggest new ways of solving old problems and so forth.
The downside of thisequation is that people are not always right. This
week I was listening to the listener feedback episode 83 of Going
Linux, a great instructional podcast on using Linux that i’m subscribed to. Larry and Tom are two great guys who put together several shows a month, talking about several linux-related
topics for novice and advanced users. Once every three weeks they do a
listener feedback shows where they deal with listener questions and
In this episode Tom tried to point out the
security of his Linux system by pointing out he had hooked up his
system directly to the Internet (without a nat router) and had given out his IP address on the air to challenge
people to "come and see" how secure his system really was. I found this
a bit of a bold move just to point out how secure a Linux system is,
but it was his own machine, thus his ownprerogative . I also doubt the
fact that the listeners of the show have many "high level hackers" in
their ranks, and aside from the obvious "knocks on the door" of some
closed up services, Tom’s pc was not at any high risk to be hacked.
did however take issue with his second, even more bold then the first
one, where Tom mentioned he was "running his wireless router without
any security" and was "leaving it open as a public service".All tough this point was made to once again stress the security of his linux workstation in his own network, Tom overlooked OTHER obvious dangers to leaving your wireless network open.
Leaving your home wifi network open exposes you to so-called "sniffing" attacks
that use the shared wireless medium as an attack vector. Every packet
of information on a wireless network is received by every computer that
is connected to that network. If everything works the way it should
only the computer who the packet is directed TO, responds and accepts
the packet, while the other computers on the network ignore them. BUT
if even a simple script-kiddie hooks up to your "open wireless network"
using a simple program like "ethereal or Wireshark" he or she can sniff every package that goes across your wifi network as long as its not encased in a https or ssl tunnel. This means that things like Tweets, Msn chats, POP3 email and more can be easily read by a third party, without you knowing about it.
second danger that might arise is the fact that people may "piggy back"
on your connection and use it to download illegal content, and for that
YOU are held responsible because it is your IP address.
So just looking at two of the possible risk factors, leaving your Wifi network open is considered a big nono, for your own safety !
understand why Tom wanted to use this method to point out how "secure"
his workstation is, but this is a naive an risky way of doing so. You
don’t leave your front door open at night because you have a big dog ?
Security comes in layers and its not because you ‘think’ that your
workstation might be secure, you can leave everything else wide open.
But as a podcaster you have a responsibility for the things you say on the air, and if you are not completely knowledgeable of the topic , there is no shame in saying so.
me it was important to write up this little article, rather then
sending it in as feedback to Larry and Tom because its important that,
if ANY Of you are not using WPA2 encryption on you wireless networks, its about time you start .. NOW !
You can find the great Going Linux podcast HERE .
Just as a bonus i’ll show you a little video on how it is done .. Ironically , using LINUX.