Archive for March, 2015

Minnesota Tax Incidence 2015

The 2015 Minnesota Tax Incidence study is out. Since I last posted about this two years ago, not much has changed. Details below:

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Splunk Reporting: Port Scans

It’s been a while since I’ve done some Splunk work on my home network, but lately I’ve been thinking about port scans, specifically about reporting on port scans against my environment. I’m not terribly worried about people scanning my network since it is quite locked down, but why not check on it to see if anything interesting is going on? Before too long I had a new dashboard; details below the jump.

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Crypto 1

I’ve been taking my first MOOC via Coursera, Crypto 1, taught by Dan Boneh. I’ve just finished up the final, and it’s been a fantastic experience, something I’d recommend to anybody with an interest in the subject.

This course is more about theory that how to implement crypto in the real world, but the theory is very important and shows exactly what drives a lot of the implementation decisions that implementations make. A lot of people think that MOOCs are easy classes, and this one is certainly not: it’s a fairly technical course, full of things like number theory, but it it doesn’t require a deep mathematics background. It also doesn’t require any programming knowledge, but if you do code, there are a number of extra credit assignments where you can put what you learn into practice, doing cool things like breaking RSA. It’s programming-language agnostic, but the examples are all written in Python so I used this course to try to pick it up, and managed to complete all of the programming assignments.

Crypto 1 focuses on symmetric-key crypto and hashes, with some asymmetric thrown in at the end. There is a sequel to this course, Crypto 2, which focuses more on asymmetric-key crypto. I’ll take that one eventually. I’m also going to go through the Coursera catalog and see what other interesting things I can take. Sure, I don’t get official credit, but I love learning.