How a Bunch of Lava Lamps Protect Us From Hackers

Remember lava lamps? turns out, they’re like tiny universes. After the bulb’s heat distributes fully throughout the lamp’s interior fluids, spherical globules in various pastel colors and sizes begin to move slowly and silently about exactly as the natural laws of physics and fluid behavior require. Smaller globules coalesce into larger ones, then disassemble and separately join with others. Some globules at the base stretch languorously upward, merging with random spheres hovering at the top, and then both reform into a single, larger sphere, and then break apart and reform yet again. Some small globules independently slide around in the fluid, occasionally bumping into one another but bouncing off and traveling on independently.
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The paragraph below describes how Cloudflare uses lava lamps to generate random numbers.
“Every time you log in to any website, you’re assigned a unique identification number. It should be random, because if hackers can predict the number, they’ll impersonate you. Computers, relying as they do on human-coded patterns, can’t generate true randomness—but nobody can predict the goopy mesmeric swirlings of oil, water, and wax. Cloudflare films the lamps 24/7 and uses the ever-changing arrangement of pixels to help create a superpowered cryptographic key. “Anything that the camera captures gets incorporated into the randomness,” says Nick Sullivan, the company’s head of cryptography, and that includes visitors milling about and light streaming through the windows. (Any change in heat subtly affects the undulations of those glistening globules.)”
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Google search [The Lava Lamps That Help Keep The Internet Secure]:

Swift Selection Search — Firefox Addon

I do a lot of searching on the internet, and  Swift Selection Search makes my searches easier and more enjoyable. When I select text on a webpage, SSS opens a popup nearby that gives me a choice of —

  • Copying the string,
  • Using the selected string as a link to open a webpage.
  • Searching for the selected string, either via a search engine (think Google, Bing, etc.) or via a website’s own search function (think Ebay, Amazon, NYTimes, etc.).

Swift Selection Search’s summary description simply says “Swiftly access your search engines in a popup panel when you select text in a webpage. Context menu also included!”, but that doesn’t really give a clue as to how good it is. You’ll get a better idea of SSS’s capabilities by reading the fuller description farther down the page

SSS is customizable. You can add or remove items and rearrange the order of items. I found adding items a bit tricky until I figured out that I needed to include  the string [={searchTerms}] (without the square brackets). You can get clues for formatting your entries by closely examining the items already included in the list presented when you click “Options” in SSS’s panel in FF’s Addon Manager tab, and by looking at the format of results when you directly manually do the search you want to add into SSS. It is a learning experience, but the result is worth the effort. I’ve found that 13 items is about as many as I want to include in my SSS popup window.

Happy SPAUG 2019

We are starting 2019 with a double header.

The January 2019 SPAUG meeting will feature two separate lectures by SPAUG President Maurice Green:

  1. Tips and Tricks for Video Editing – Maury will demonstrate some of the special effects which can be achieved with a video editing program like Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Premiere. Topics will include exposure adjustment, lower third titling, combining stills and video and producing animated gifs.
  2. So You Want to Build a Website – This lecture will be the first in a series of lectures for the long anticipated WordPress class. We will discuss the evolution of websites from simple HTML to modern day mobile responsive CMS systems. The lecture will cover the basic elements of a website, setting up a local web server on your computer and installing the  WordPress system.

The meeting will be held at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. We will be meeting in the Library/Card Room across the hall from the Lodge Room.

For those who enjoy the schmooze, we will have the no-host pre-meeting dinner st 5:30PM in the Bistro Café on the first floor.

And for those of you who have difficulties traveling or for whatever reason can’t join us at the Elks Lodge, the meeting will be broadcast as a live video conference using ZOOM software starting at 7:15 PST.

To join the Zoom Meeting

One tap mobile
+16699006833,,768496111# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 768 496 111

The WordPress class which will follow later in January, will also be presented as a video lecture on Zoom. Details will be provided to registrants for the course. The sessions will be recorded and will be available on the WebDesignSIG website for those who miss the lecture.

And for those of you interested in meeting other WordPress users, from novice to expert, Maury will be leading the newly formed Palo Alto WordPress Meetup. Details on the first meeting will be announced soon.