Not good at UI but good at UX

Is there a difference?

I am a software developer, engineer and a consumer.  I am never good at the front end UI especially when designing a UI.  But as a meticulous consumer and an enthusiast of gadgets and technologies, I can say I am good at UX and providing inputs on how consumers think.

The best UX does not necessarily have the best UI design

Take Google for example. Their search engines, gmails, every part of their product does not have a massive UI design, but a very simple direct to the point UX.  Apple’s website doesnt have a very good UI, in fact one can argue its simple enough to provide good UX.

A good UX always comes from the consumer’s point of view

I believe anyone can be good at providing UX (user experiences).  UX is how the consumer would intuitively use your designs.  Being a consumer myself, means I am more direct to the point of what I want to do with the product itself, website for example.  It should provide clear way of navigating things, of doing things, and of transacting things.

If its an ecommerce website, it doesnt have to be misguiding the user about different products aside from what the user searches and offering the alternatives.  The alternatives should be intuitive enough not to divulge over other products.  The user would just love to hate that, if you always offer another alternative different from what he searches.  Its not meaningful.

Also, the user would love a clear workflow from search until the end, and not misguided by some other offers in the middle. Ads perhaps.

UI supposed to simplify things

Like craigslist, it doesnt matter if the consumer is presented with all text.  As long as its simple, easy to understand, easy to perform transaction with.  With too much information nowadays, theres a trend to getting as much UI printed in a visually appealing way but non-sensical.  UI is supposed to simplify things, not complicate it.  My rule of thumb (being a developer and not a good UI designer) is just to present the website full of text, in a simple manner like Google does, and also to simplify the presented text further using UI if you cannot get away with words.  That way, you minimize the text presented, and minimize the visual infomration presented.

To summarize this, consumers usually go for all things simple. In text as well as in UI. If the text is simpler to present, use text. If the UI is even simpler, use UI. Do not overuse text and UI. Do not overuse Ads, do not over present a misleading information when the user are searching.  Always take the least effort to make the website, the straight line (the direct path) is the shortest path between two end points.

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Who will be the next drop-out billionaire?

According to Peter Theil’s foundation, here’s a list of his class mentorship that could be the next drop-out billionaire.  The foundation is giving away $100,000 provided you have a good vision and grit, and you drop-out college as well.

  • Caroline Beckman, 20 — Health and Wellness Products
  • Cathy Tie, 18 — Genomic Sequencing
  • George Matus, 17 — Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Harry Gandhi, 22 — Wearable Medical Technology
  • Jason Marmon, 17 — Real Estate Technology
  • Jeremy Cai, 19 — Software, Human Resources
  • Jihad Kawas, 17 — Sharing Economy
  • John Backus, 21 — Software
  • John Meyer, 19 — Media, Crowdsourced News
  • Kieran O’Reilly, 19 — Animated GIFs
  • Rory O’Reilly, 20 — Animated GIFs
  • Liam Horne, 19 — Software, Retail Real Estate
  • Max Lock, 18 — Supply Chain Logistics
  • Ocean Pleasant, 17 — Media, Social Good, Technology
  • Olenka Polak, 21 — App-Based Software, Linguistics
  • Patrick Coughran, 21 — Logistics Software
  • Simon Tian, 20 — Wearables, Consumer Electronics
  • Stacey Ferreira, 22 — Technology, Entrepreneurship
  • Zach Latta, 17 — Education, Nonprofit
  • Zoli Kahan, 19 — Mobile Games, Software

These areas may be the next big thing. We can use this to brainstorm any ideas for these areas.

Moving or Upgrade Old Mac HD to a New Mac HD

Okay. Moving or Upgrading from an old Mac HD (including its partition, boot, installation, recovery) to a new Mac HD (maybe because you want to increase the capacity to a higher HDD) is relatively an easy task.  The hard part is just for the preparation on how you want to partition your new HDD.  Here is my story.

I am coming from an old MacBook (early 2009 edition – the white one) and my latest maximum Mac OS X version that I can install is the Mac OS X Lion 10.7.  Since I am a developer, I increased the RAM capacity to 4GB – the maximum it can get.  Now I am planning to increase its internal HDD size from 120GB to 500GB since I have a spare 500GB HDD that I am not using anymore.

As I am writing this blog, I am also doing the upgrade at the same time.  Here goes:

Partition Planning

My old Mac HDD (120GB) have by default 3 partitions – a MacBook partition is the primary bootable partition and this is where the Mac OS X Lion is installed and this is also where I am installing any apps I might have.  My second partition is the Data partition which is where I am storing my data (unencrypted – since I hardly connect to the net from the Mac) – data includes my huge collection of music files (Hey, I love music!)  The third partition, is the mandatory Mac Recovery partition – which is named Mac OS X Base System.  This is where we will boot just in case anything goes wrong and we want to re-install the Lion again.

First, get your Mac OS X Lion DVD and boot from it. Holding Option key when the Mac is starting up.  Then open the Disk Utility.

Now, I got my external USB drive, and then change the HDD inside into my spare 500GB drive.  Inserted it. Erase *all* of its partitions from the Disk Utility.  Then setup my own partition, which goes like this:

Partition 1: MacBook – main bootable partition to which we will clone our old previous installation into this.  I set this into 200GB.

Partition 2: Data – my data, and music partition – 200GB

Partition 3: Reserve partition – to which I am planning to install Kali Linux and CentOS for experiments (developers love to experiments) – I assigned 98GB for this.

Partition 4: Recovery partition – Mac Lion needs 2GB of space for this.

When all is said and done, click Apply so that your partitions will be saved.  Also be sure to backup first your data before doing this since changing the partition WILL erase all your data from your new HDD.

Cloning

There are ants crawling on my computer, I hate them now.  Anyway, the second process is to Clone your previous partitions into your new partitions.  Cloning is the right term since basically it will copy ALL files, boot, permissions, folders, from your old HDD to your new one.  It doesn’t matter if the size of both HDD is different.  Theoretically since I am upgrading to a higher size HDD, I have no problem.

Now, to clone the main partition from your old HD to your new one, click the main partition and then click the “Restore” tab.  You will see that there are input fields labelled Source: and then Destination.

Drag the main partition into the source, and drag the new main partition into the destination field, and then click the Restore button.  This will copy everything from the source to the destination; erasing everything from the destination.  It will just ignore the free spaces, so it should have no problem if your HDD have different sizes.

Do this for the (1) main partition, (2) data partition, and (3) recovery partition.

Then you are done!  If you have more data, then the process will take longer.  Please wait until finish.

Checking

To check, restart your Mac, and hold the Options key while booting.

It will display a list of bootable partitions to which your Mac can boot.  At the minimum, it should display: (1) Old main partition, (2) Old recovery partition, (3) New main partition, (4) New recovery partition.

Once you see this 4 partitions, you are good to go.

You can then open your MacBook and then remove the old HD, and replace it with your new HD.  And when you boot, holding the Options key, you would then see the 2 partitions from your New HD (the main, and the recovery)

Different kinds of Tor attacks and how to combat those

Different kinds of Tor related Cyber Attacks and ways to combat those attacks.

  1. BIOS attacks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNYsfUNegEA
  2. Man in the middle attack – eavesdrop through listening of unencrypted traffic at end nodes of network.  Can be protected by SSL and end-to-end encryption.
  3. Confirmation attack – if both ends cooperate to attack you passing information from you, and then confirming information from the other end through correlation. Tor protects against traffic analysis such as the man-in-the-middle, but cannot protect against traffic confirmation.
  4. Metadata of images that may contain information such as date, time, GPS coordinates when the picture was taken, brand, serialnumber of the device, thumbnails or the original.  Use the Metadata anonymisation toolkit to remove the metadata.
  5. Different tasks must have separate contextual identities by restarting Tails because Tor uses the same circuit relays (allowing to easily identify you)

Increasing your privacy and anonymity through Tails

According to Tails, it is a live system (Linux live system that can run on USB or CD) that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity by masking your online presence with Tor and I2P.

Whats good about it is that since it comes with a live system, it therefore allows you to bring your media (USB, SD) so that wherever you go, your bring anonymity with you.  Plus it has its own of software suite that you can use like a browser, a messaging client, email client, office suite, and the like.

Another benefit of Tails is that it uses the Tor framework. Tor is basically an open distributed network (no single point of server – in fact every Tor node is a Tor server) that masks (encrypts) and bounces the traffic between those nodes.  The benefit of this is that your location is not seen as well as there are no man in the middle attacks between these bouncing of traffic between Tor nodes.  You however, should still use GPG or SSL as encryption for end to end communication because Tor does not encrypt the traffic after passing the Tor end node.  Another benefit of Tor is that you can consume services or see websites available only in Tor as .onion domain.

The I2P technology that Tails uses is an anonymity overlay network.  It is an additional layer (simple encrypted layer) above the TCP/IP (unencrypted) which make sures that your end-to-end connection tunnels are secured.  Basically it protects you from your ISP and your local proxies from spying on you.

That having said, you as a user still have to make sure to use all the tools incorporated with Tails so you can be totally secured.  Some guidelines include:

  1. Encrypt your USB sticks
  2. Use HTTPS instead of HTTP
  3. Encrypt and sign your emails and documents using OpenGPG
  4. Use the OTR to encrypt instant messaging channels
  5. Secure delete your files and clean your disk using wipe.

With all said and read, here’s how I installed Tails.

  1. Download and verify its ISO image file
    1. Windows: https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/index.en.html
    2. Mac: https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/index.en.html
    3. It is preferred to use Torrent since it automatically validates the ISO.
  2. Install the intermediary Tails on your first USB
    1. Windows: https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/index.en.html
    2. Mac: https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/index.en.html
    3. Follow instructions above to install on Windows or Mac.  This intermediary Tails is needed in order to install Tails using its own live system, which ensures that all are secure.
    4. What I did with my system is that I burned the ISO image into a DVD since I don’t have a USB boot on my old MacBook laptop.
  3. Install the final Tails on your second USB
    1. Windows: https://tails.boum.org/install/win/usb/index.en.html
    2. Mac: https://tails.boum.org/install/mac/usb/index.en.html
    3. Install this final Tails on a higher size USB as this will contain your Tails live system, as well as your encrypted documents, emails, configuration, etc.
    4. Once done, you can delete the intermediary Tails. Intermediary Tails is just a pawn to install Tails into a more usable final version.  What good does it have, if Tails cannot store your documents in it securely.
    5. This final USB then can be booted from any computer that boots from USB.
  4. Create an Encrypted Persistent Storage
    1. Start the final Tails
    2. Go to Applications > Tails > Create Persistent Storage
    3. Select Personal, then click Create
    4. Restart

 

Accessing Tails using Administrator

Tails is still in the buggy stage since it is still being developed heavily.  It just started to be conceptualized since 2013 and some of its underlying framework i.e. the I2P are not yet mature.

CAUTION: When you enter Admin mode, it may update itself and if you cannot connect to the Tor network, it may hang leaving you no option but to restart.

Also, when you restart or shutdown, you may encounter a hang after the screen goes black that says attempting to wipe the system memory; and that if the system does not power off automatically in a few seconds, it may mean that the memory wiping has failed.  But the system hangs and doesn’t proceed after this.  This is a known issue in Apple MacBook systems.

Best Hacker Movies

For your viewing pleasure.

  1. War Games (1983)
  2. Hackers (1995)
  3. Antitrust (2001)
  4. Reboot (2012 Short Film)
  5. eXistenZ (1999)
  6. Swordfish (2001)
  7. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
  8. TRON (1982)
  9. Takedown (2000)
  10. 23 (1998)
  11. Sneakers (1992)
  12. Cyberbully (2015 TV Movie)
  13. Open Windows (2014)
  14. Hacker (2010 Documentary)
  15. The Net (1995)
  16. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999 TV Movie)
  17. Freedom Downtime (2001 Documentary)
  18. The Code (2001 Documentary)
  19. Code 2600 (2011 Documentary)
  20. Revolution OS (2001 Documentary)
  21. Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012 Documentary)
  22. The Matrix (1999)
  23. Untraceable (2008)
  24. Half the Rent (2002)
  25. Hackers Are People Too (2008 Documentary)
  26. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists (2012 Documentary)
  27. The KGB, the Computer and Me (1990 Documentary)
  28. In the Realm of the Hackers (2003)
  29. Hacking Democracy (2006 Documentary)
  30. Hacks (1997 Documentary)
  31. Hackers: Outlaws and Angels (2002 Documentary)
  32. .hack//Roots (2006 TV Movie)
  33. The Lone Gunmen (2001 TV Series)
  34. Real Genius (1985)
  35. Foolproof (2003)
  36. Firewall (2006)
  37. Gamer (2009)
  38. Office Space (1999)
  39. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
  40. The Core (2003)
  41. Virtuosity (1995)
  42. Golden Eye (1995)
  43. Enemy of the State (1998)
  44. One Point O (2004)
  45. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
  46. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  47. The Score (2001)
  48. Wierd Science (1985)
  49. Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
  50. Disconnect (2012)
  51. Minority Report (2002)
  52. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)
  53. Disclosure (1994)
  54. Eagle Eye (2008)
  55. TRON Legacy (2010)
  56. Citizenfour (2014 Documentary)
  57. Hackers Wanted (2009 Documentary)
  58. Hackers: Wizards of the Electronic Age (1984 Documentary)
  59. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013 Documentary)
  60. The Fifth Estate (2013)
  61. The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996 Documentary)
  62. Secret History of Hacking (2001 Documentary)
  63. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014 Documentary)
  64. TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard
  65. War for the Web (2015 Documentary)
  66. Terms and Conditions May Apply (2013 Documentary)
  67. Indie Game: The Movie (2012 Documentary)
  68. Downloaded (2013 Documentary)
  69. Steal This Film (2006 Documentary)
  70. Steal This Film II (2007 Documentary)
  71. We Live in Public (2009 Documentary)
  72. Google and the World Brain (2013 Documentary)
  73. Download: The True Story of the Internet (2008 TV Series)
  74. Good Copy Bad Copy (2007 Documentary)
  75. Code Rush (2000 Documentary)
  76. Home Page (1998 Documentary)
  77. Talhotblond (2009 Documentary)
  78. Startup.com (2001 Documentary)
  79. Deep Web (2015 Documentary)
  80. DEFCON: The Documentary (2013 Documentary)
  81. The Singularity (2012 Documentary)
  82. DSKNECTD (2013 Documentary)
  83. Halt and Catch Fire (2014 TV Series)
  84. WhoamI (2014)
  85. Black Hat (2015)
  86. ALGORITHM (2014 Short Film)