About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Writing manuals is a very special and privileged task in a computer company, for in the process of writing them you are forced to go over every detail of the hardware and software the company sells in an attempt to make it understandable and usable in our extremely broad customer base. In the process a conscientious writer will discover nearly every good and bad feature of the system, and can provide valuable feedback to the designers and implementers.

Jef Raskin



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 7/16/2018

Totals
Posts - 2509
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,063,655

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 375

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 10:04 AM Pacific


  04:44 PM

I'm reading Bruce Schneier's Beyond Fear, which concerns "thinking sensibly about security in an uncertain world," as he subtitles it. He talks generically about security -- not just computers -- and describes a framework for thinking about security in many contexts, like protecting the home, the car, your bank account, and the nation.

There's lots of thought-provoking stuff in there, and the book is recommended. Before I take it back to the library, I wanted to type out this little passage. He's talking about the security arms race that has occurred in the animal and plant kingdoms:
It's no accident that insects provide such interesting security examples. Over the eons they have tried just about everything. The techniques of attack and defense that proved to work were repeated, and the techniques that failed weren't. Because they tried them at random and stopped at the first workable solution they found, they tended to arrive at interesting and surprising solutions. It's not unusual to find insect countermeasures that are nonobvious, but effective nonetheless. Insects are good at cheating.
Here's just one way:


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