Downgrading to Flash 9 for Mac OS X

I have a great G5 iMac.  It has been my main machine for years now.  I recently upgraded Flash to version 10 and performance began to suck.  The new, supposedly high performance version of Flash made whole sites unusable.  Last night I downgraded to Flash 9 and life is good.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Download the Flash Uninstaller from Adobe – here
  2. Fix Disk Permissions via the Disk Utility
  3. Download all whole slew of versions of Flash 9 – here. If you are just looking for the seemingly latest (as of November 2008) go here, but be warned I had problems with both the Universal and PowerPC installers.
  4. Fix Disk Permissions via the Disk Utility
Things seems to be working a heck of a lot better now.  Guess I’ll have to wait for a rev’ed iMac before I a) give this G5 up and b) upgrade to Flash 10.

Chains of trust, questionable origins

If I wanted to print US Dollars at home, I’d need the printing equipment, the paper stock on which to do it, and the magical ink.  To thwart me, the government controls access to the printing plates, blank paper stock, and ink.  This, of course, hasn’t stopped people from trying to print money, but their produced fake money can be detected as fake because they do not have access to the real plates, stock, and ink.  Because the government tightly controls access to the original materials and the flow raw materials into the printing process, our money can be trusted.  (Financial crisis and the government’s predilection to just print heaps of dollars not withstanding.)

The government has not implemented the same model in the case of identification systems: passports and REAL ID driver’s licenses.

Consider this article from the Washington Times.  The raw materials to make a new RFID passport, namely, the blank covers with RFID chips in them, originate in Thailand.  They are then shipped here for printing and binding.  The control over access to this supply-line seems to be very weak.

The new RFID passports are part of a chain of trust.  Border Control allows me to re-enter the country if the passport is trustworthy and valid.  Cloning passports has been demonstrated to be a trivial process.  So one trustworthy passport can become an infinite number of trustworthy passports.  The chain of trust extends from me and the INS at the airport, back to the passport issuance office, to the State Department, to Thailand, and back to Europe where the RFID chips are made.  If any link along the chain cannot be trusted, then the entire chain of trust breaks.  And this seems to be the case.

This is similar to REAL ID.  In this case, municipal Departments of Motor Vehicles are responsible for protecting access to blank REAL ID stock.  That, in and of itself, isn’t any different than what happens today.  By transforming the driver’s license from a piece of plastic that says I am allowed to drive, into a proof of citizenship, REAL ID extends the chain of trust in new ways.  DMVs have been and are relatively weak targets.  This breaks this newly extended chain of trust.

The government, if it wants to establish and extend chains of trust, it must control the flow of raw materials into the process and must ensure that each step is trustworthy.

And if you think I am picking on the government, here’s a third example that doesn’t involve the US government.  It appears that credit card readers we altered during their construction.  These altered readers were indistinguishable from their unaltered peers.  These altered readers sent account data to unknown people in Pakistan.  Swipe a card to pay for groceries and off your data goes.  In this case, the last stop in the payment card chain of trust was effected.  If I cannot trust the card reader not to send my account information to someone I do not know, do not have a relationship with, and inherently do not trust,  then I will stop swiping my cards and just order things online or pay cash.

A system designed to broker trust must consider the extent of its chain of trust.  Each link in the chains must be fully vetted and strengthened.  Until I see evidence of that, I am still going to keep hold of my non-RFID passport.

This week’s installment of security theater

Jeffery Goldberg of The Atlantic tries to get arrested at a variety of US airports… and fails.  He even traveled with Bruce Schneier and you’d think by know that Bruce’s picture would have been handed to every single TSA employee with a caption like, “Known security expert.  Known to claim that Kip Hawley isn’t wearing any clothes.  Assume everything he tells you is a lie.  Assume he knows your private key.”

Now if someone can produce a mashup of people mocking security theater and  John Hodgman’s SPAMasterpiece Theater over on boing boing TV, that would be awesome!

Finding the “ah ha” moment in an “oh crap” world

Safe to say that these are extremely turbulent times.  The mixture of wars, financial crisis and meta-crisis, election cycles, and a looming global recession have combined to form enough angst and fear that it makes emo seem like Elmo.  And it is in these times that one could easly just pull the covers over your head and go back to bed.  But in doing so, you’d miss some amazing opportunities.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I think that the “oh crap” moments are far more inspiring and lead to better, more useful innovations.

  • Oh crap! There’s more information about everything available in ways I cannot even begin to count.  How do I get to the good stuff?
  • Oh crap! To compete, I’ve got to get more out of the bright people working for me.  How do can I take their creative efforts and merge them into our core business?
  • Oh crap! I thought I knew how to start a company but between all of this web 2.0 mumbo-jumbo, VC scare tactics, and the financial crisis, I’m just not sure anymore.  What can I do?

It is a real “ah ha” moment that can break you out of the paralysis that an “oh crap” world so easily create.  These moments come from seemingly unrelated conversations and random thoughts.  These moments come from things like Defrag.

Eric describes Defrag as:

Defrag is the first conference focused solely on the tools and technologies that are leveraging the “social” aspect of software to accelerate the “aha” moment. Defrag is not a version number. Rather it’s a gathering place for the growing community of implementers, users, builders and thinkers that are working on the next wave of software innovation.

What Eric is really doing at Defrag is to build a crucible into which is poured a combination of very smart peopleinnovative vendors, and curious attendees.  Turn up the intellectual heat through meaningful keynotes, panels, and Q&A and “ah ha” moments are forged.  These are moments not to be missed.

Having seen what Dick is cooking up at Sxipper and having just built my chi.mp site, bethu.mp, I am really excited to see what other fascinating stuff is waiting for all of us at Defrag 2008.  Come join the fun and have an “ah ha” moment or two in the midst of this “oh crap” world.