January CTO Breakfast Report

We talked about the recent SHA-1 hack and the MD5 exploits that are available. Lockcrack (a password cracking program) apparently has a table of pre computed hashes now installed that make cracking many hashes a job of just a few seconds.

There's a pattern in some technology start-ups where there's a brilliant technologist who has an idea that many others can't quite understand. They attract some money and generate a lot of hype on the basis of their brilliance, but eventually fail because they can't explain what they do.

We got into a discussion of phones and convergence. Richard Miller mentioned GrandCentral.com. They are a "one number for life." That's weird since I used to review them when they were a Web services routing company. Not sure if this is the same company repurposing their technology or someone who bought the name. I also mentioned Equals, a similar offering that I wrote about last September.

Of course, you can't Scott Lemon reported that he's playing with AskteriskNow and TrixBox. They're much better to install than plain old Asterisk. AsteriskNow seems very polished, but it will just wipe out whatever box you boot with the install CD in, so beware. Jared Smith, author of the Asterisk book lives in Draper Utah. We need to invite him to the CTO breakfast--I guess I just did.

We had a small discussion of living software and intentional programming. I really like this idea of building systems that build applications rather than building applications themselves. I think the popularity of Rails has something to do with this idea. Rails is just a taste of what's possible. Lisp macros also play into this idea as well. I've been thinking of how we could redesign CS330 (Programming Languages) in terms of domain specific languages and there's something in this whole living software idea that I'd like to have in the class.

Phil Burns brought up The Truth Machine, a book about a future where everyone has to tell the truth because of a new technology that will let people know you're lying. Scott mentioned KishKish, a lie-detector plugin for Skype.