I imagine for most people, a file server is not the sort of thing that you have warm and fuzzy feelings about. But hear me out. Continue reading
(Corrected thanks to alert reader Jarek Markieta who pointed out that 1, 4 and 9 are squares of the first three counting numbers, not cubes.)
(Not one but two alert readers immediately pointed out my mistake about the metal from which the top of the Washington Monument is made — aluminum and not gold. See comments below. I have corrected this.)
What word may correctly be used to describe this object? People call it a “monolith”. That’s wrong. People call it an “obelisk”. That’s wrong. What can we call it? Continue reading
I was puzzled and intrigued to learn about something called “the nasal cycle”. Maybe it will turn out that most of my readers already knew about this, but I certainly did not. It turns out that in all mammals, including humans, there is an autonomic mechanism by which a first nostril’s breathing path constricts for a while and the second nostril’s breathing path remains open. Then after a while the second breathing path is the path that gets constricted and the first breathing path opens up. In most healthy humans, this back-and-forth constriction usually takes place in a cycle of about five hours, with two and a half hours during which one nostril gets preference and another two and a half hours during which the other nostril gets preference. Or, maybe I am just making this up! Could there be such a thing and people would not already know all about it? Continue reading
The time is 5AM Mountain Time on a Saturday. I post a new blog article How long it takes USPTO to issue a patent these days. Is anyone else awake at this hour? The answer to this question turns out to be “yes”. I know this because my blog has a “Site Stats” page that tells me how many times a blog article has been viewed. And what I see there is that within two minutes of when I clicked the “publish” button, more than twenty people had already viewed the article.
So I think it can safely be said that the hive mind never sleeps.
It is ingrained in our behavior that if we are going to take a step toward calling someone on the telephone, we need to ask them “what is your telephone number?” It is is ingrained in our behavior that if we are going to make it possible for someone to call us on the telephone, we need to be able to tell someone “our telephone number”. This world of “having a telephone number” and “calling a telephone number” is the most prominent aspect of the Public Switched Telephone Network (Wikipedia article). One way to think of the PSTN is that it is a collective effort by governments and post offices and landline telephone companies to collect money from people who “dial telephone numbers” and who receive telephone calls from other people who “dial telephone numbers”.
The rise of the Internet has prompted many efforts to find ways that people can talk to each other without paying money to the PSTN. One of those ways is the SIP URI (Wikipedia article). Continue reading
Recently Oppedahl Patent Law Firm LLC migrated from a physical local PBX to a cloud PBX. What prompted us to do this? What are the pros and cons of such a migration? How might one go about selecting a cloud PBX service provider? Continue reading
I think the best identifier to use with a messaging app is a VOIP SMS telephone number.
The identifier that Signal uses is a cellular telephone number. I am very glad to tell you, however, that you don’t really have to use a traditional cellular telephone number. For example for my Signal service I don’t actually use a cellular number, I use instead a VOIP number that happens to have SMS service enabled. That VOIP number is not linked to any SIM card. My VOIP provider (VOIP.MS) uses two-factor authentication and, because it is not a cellular provider, is not going to fall prey to a SIM swap attempt. (See Being smart about SMS two-factor authentication.) This protective step costs me only 85¢ per month. I recommend it for all of your SMS two-factor authentication and I recommend it for your Signal service.
Four years ago I recommended to you (blog article) that you should start using Whatsapp. At the time, it was the best game in town. But things have changed. Whatsapp is now owned by Facebook. I have trust issues with Facebook. And there are several national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp.
Now I recommend Signal (Wikipedia article). Signal is end-to-end encrypted, but instead of using proprietary software the source code of which only Facebook gets to see, it uses open-source software. It uses PFS (perfect forward secrecy) meaning that when a session finishes, both ends discard the encryption key that got used. This means that even if an eavesdropper were to decrypt some past message, the decryption solution would be of no help in decrypting any subsequent message. I am interested to see that most of the national-border firewalls that block Whatsapp nonetheless permit passage of Signal traffic. See a Forbes magazine article entitled WhatsApp Soundly Beaten By Stunning New Alternative.
You can use your regular cellular telephone number as the identifier, which would be fine, or you could use a VOIP SMS number as the identifier, which I think is a better way to go, as I describe here. But no matter how you set it up, I recommend discontinuing all of your other ways of messaging, and moving your messaging to Signal.
If you’d like to try messaging me with Signal, drop me a note at my email address with your Signal identifier telephone number and I will fire off a Signal message to you.
Have you tried Signal? What do you think of it? Please post a message below.
Okay three’s a pattern. Now we are up to the third time in recent days that I am writing a blog article directed to some particular word that I think is interesting. We talked about “regolith” and we talked about “orthostat“. Today’s word is “anosmia”. Anosmia is a word that we sort of wish we did not need to be reminded of in these difficult times the summer of 2020. But that can’t be helped. And it is a word that relates to the thing that is in the box in the image at the right. Here we go … Continue reading
I guess two is not quite enough for a pattern, we need three for a pattern. But here is a second word that has something to do with rocks. A good word to save up because someday, and I promise this, life will be back to normal and there will be cocktail parties and salon dinners and stuff. We already talked about a word relating to rocks, namely “regolith” (blog article). Here is another good word to save up:
What is an “orthostat”? Continue reading