1/22/09

Will this White House have the first network security breach?

The Washington Post is reporting that Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages.

The article says that "Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts."

I won't repeat the rest of the article already states. I will point out one thing. A new administration seems to often (always?) be upset with the state of the information technology when it arrives at the White House. (See my blog entry Will Another President Call?) It makes sense, but still it seems that they were surprised that a move from the non-government-controlled campaign trail to the Oval office has IT security implications.

They will just have to figure out how to do what they think they need to within the constraints of the existing security policies and infrastructure. or they need to follow the policies that spell out how to change them. (And, regarding "security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts," I just wonder if no one remembers what happened to Sarah Palin using Yahoo Mail.)

I'm no fan of the Windows Operating System. I am a fan of good-enough security and doing things in order. Perhaps the systems there are running "old computer software" because someone locked them down and it would be foolish to upgrade if they did the job. You secure it, you make sure it stays secure, and you change it only if you have to.

I work in a university lab. I cannot bring my personal PowerBook from home and plug it in to the lab's inside network. I cannot use FaceBook or a handful of other applications that come with security risks and are not deemed related to the mission of the lab. It is not my home network. It is not my corporate network. It is the lab's and fit's the lab's security policy.

Welcome to the big leagues. (Maybe future transition teams will add this to the checklist: look into IT infrastructure and security policies to determine impact on operations.")

We also read Obama to get 'super-encrypted' BlackBerry. Yeah. Can it be secured? Sure. Will it be? We'll see. Unless they slow down just a very little I suspect that this White House willhave the first network security breach.

1/17/09

Publishing from iCal to Google Calendar

I thought that what I want to do should be easy. Straightforward even. I want to publish my iCal calendar to Google Calendars. But in days of "Googling," I cannot find a straightforward solution. I find others who want to do the same thing and answers that tell them how to use a 3rd party product or intermediary site. I find the question asked—"How do I publish iCal calendars to Google Calendars"—to find answers discussing syncing calendars (how you can, how you cannot, and, again, other products to help).

I posted the following on the Apple Discussion groups:
I want to do something that apparently few others do. I have 6 calendars in iCal. (In iCal use them as other calendars use categories.) So, I have Personal, Birthdays, Meetings, School, etc.

I would like to publish them to Google Calendars. I want to use iCal (and the Calendar in my iPod touch) as my primary calendar. I want it mirrored on Google.

I looked at the "Life Hacker" blog pointed to in http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8360980&#8360980. There was one comment from someone who wanted to do what I want to do. The instructions create 6 (in my case) Google calendars. I don't want that. I want to publish my iCal calendars to Google.

When I try to just publish Meetings, for example, to Google, I select a Calendar (Meeting) and select publish on a Private Server. I give the URL https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/fred%40avolio.com/user (which is my default calendar on my Google Apps account). I click Publish. The blue progress line goes left to right twice and then...

Publish failed for calendar "Meeting." Calendar https://fred%40avolio.com@www.google.com/calendar/dav/fred@avolio.com/user/Meeting.ics could not be found.
No answers yet.

I have a few calendars I want to publish so I can see them on Google Maps (and so others can), As I said, I want iCal (and Events on my iPod Touch) to be where I create events. I don't need to sync calendars (except between my Mac and my iPod).

Now, I thought that I could publish directly to Google Calendars. In the mean time, I am publishing to iCal Exchange, run by a a guy running a free calendar sharing service. Publishing there worked flawlessly.

Then, in Google Calendars, I added each calendar I published to iCal Exchange by selecting Add by URL. It works fine. But, I didn't think I should need an intermediary site. I believe I should be able to publish directly to my Google Calendars.

I'm waiting for an answer. I got an answer that works. See the comments, below.

1/13/09

iPod Touch Wishlist

Recently in post on the Apple iPod discussion list, I included a "wishlist" for what I think is missing from the iPod touch. (Recall, I am using using my iPod touch as a PDA.)

The list I came up with off the top of my head:
  • Copy and Paste. My reasons should be self-evident. I am using it as a hand held computer. I want to create calendar entries with text from e-mail or web pages. I want to send text from a web page in an email message.
  • Mail should recognize calendar event attachments. I can click on a JPEG, Word Doc file, PDF, etc. and have the iPod touch do the right things. I want it to help me create an event.
  • Memos/Notes synchronization. I have a lot of Notes. There is a 3rd party app that will do this, but I think iTunes should handle this. Not a killer as I found an app that was free to demo that I could use to move the many Memos I had on my Palm into Notes on my IPT.
  • Task Manager. There are some in the App store. I don't want to spend the money (though they are not expensive) as I think it should be connected with Calendar. So, I will wait for Apple on this as I think it is an obvious enhancement.

1/5/09

More in Antivirus and Macs

In what seems like a long time ago, 2006, I said, "Good-bye to AV," and I gave my reasons. Recently, it seemed that Apple was suggesting otherwise. Because, Apple was suggesting otherwise.

The reason I am bringing this up, is because I recently read Verizon Business's take on it (this is the old Risk Intelligence Team from TruSecure then Cybertrust, and the originators of the sorely missed "Hype or Hot" rating).

So, I am just pointing to this interesting analysis series: