Ben Tasker's Blog

It's funny how times change

Over the past few days, I've been going over the old Benscomputer.no-ip.org archives and have republished some of the content.

What's struck me as funny though, is how times change, but a lot of the issues remain exactly the same.

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Republished: Phorming Relationships

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 06 Jun 2008

Most people have heard of 121Media, although they may not be able to place where they heard the name. Well 121Media are back as Phorm, and so far they've created quite a stir. They are pushing a new style of Targeted Advertising whereby they place some hardware between your computer and the Internet and analyse the pages you access in order to serve you with 'more relevant' advertising. Unlike many other online advertisers, Phorm will not just base adverts on partner pages that you have previously accessed, but will actively analyze the contents of almost every page you view.

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Modern Feminism is Dangerous

I'll start by clarifying what I mean by feminism - I don't mean the right to equality, equal pay etc - at this point those should really be considered common sense, even if we're not quite there yet. To me modern feminism appears to be far more fundamentalist than that and it's an incredibly dangerous path to follow.

The campaign 'Lose the lads mags' (backed by UK Feminista) is an ideal example of this. I can completely understand the sentiments being expressed, and yet the focus seems to be solely on magazines aimed at blokes. 

In this post, we'll be looking at what the campaign group seems to be missing, and why it's so dangerous for them to be attempting to force their views onto others. Although we'll be using this as an example, the aim is to try and ensure that all points raised are applicable to most of the current 'feminist' topics.

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My Volvo is Dead

It's been a sad week, on Monday I took my Volvo 440 for its MOT, knowing I'd get a few 'must fix' items back - emissions being the usual headache. This year, emissions passed with flying colours, but it was noticed that the sills have seen better days. Or as the garage I took it to for a confirming opinion said - if we remove the plastic covers to check, you won't have sills anymore!

So after 3 years of hard service, my car has finally gone to the scrapyard. I only ever expected it to last a year, so it's done well, but it's still quite sad to be left with nothing but spares to sell, especially as it was otherwise mechanically sound.

Still, on the upside, at least I'd gone in knowing there was a chance of a fail so it wasn't a complete shock. Life goes on, and cars don't last forever (parts were getting a little scarce too), though it's going to take quite some time to find a car that drives quite as well, something that's going to bug me for quite a while on my daily commute.

 

Why You Shouldn't be using SHA1 or MD5 to Store Passwords

There are a lot of badly coded sites out there, and far too many sites still seem to be falling prey to SQL Injection vulnerabilities resulting in a lot of high profile leaks of user data.

I wrote quite some time ago on The Importance of Salting Stored Passwords And How To Do So Correctly, but whilst the underlying message remains correct, the techniques for doing so have been outpaced by technology.

Although still widely used, checksum algorithms such as SHA1 and MD5 are no longer sufficiently secure.

In this post we'll be exploring why you shouldn't be using MD5/SHA1 and how you should be storing passwords.

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