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New year, new technology

Posted on January 31, 2010. Filed under: 1, life | Tags: , , , , , |

Well, not strictly new technology for the new year since I actually got the latest toy back in November.

It’s a Palm Pre to replace my venerable Palm Centro which finally succumbed to one too many attempts to fix the keyboard problems I was having with it (took ages to break it properly 😉 )

The Pre is a bit of revelation for someone like me who usually travels with at least one laptop so I can check e-mail and write on the move. As a challenge, I took just the Pre and a notepad on a trip to London a couple of weeks ago. Apart from the battery taking a hammering and dropping rapidly on the train due to low signal strength and too much checking of e-mail and web while listening to Led Zeppelin (yes, iPhone fans – the Pre MULTI-tasks, it really can do several things at once) – it performed pretty much flawlessly. GPS worked well and Google Maps allowed me to find BCS HQ in London without any problems – no wrong turns, no drama. E-mail worked well on GPRS, 3G and in-train WiFi. Phone calls were made by clicking on numbers found on web pages and in e-mails.

This is the device I’ve been waiting for. Finally, smart-phones make proper sense to me. Now, if only they could sort out the battery life issue it would become a device for road-warriors. As it is, for someone like me who tend to stay behind a desk it works well as a portable cloud access device. The Touchstone inductive charger means I can just drop the Pre onto it’s little stand whenever I don’t need it in my pocket and it’s always ready to go. I’ve even found myself using it to stream radio (Motel California on Accuradio mostly) and play video (The Italian Job) in preference to using one of the big boxes that live under the desk.

Roll on WebOS 1.4 which is supposed to improve battery life, enable the GPU for 3D gaming and faster screen access and bring Flash to the mobile world at last.

Now, if I could just control it from my car stereo the way we can with Shirley’s iPod nano…

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Websites and fitness for purposes tests

Posted on November 2, 2009. Filed under: 1, All, forensic | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Websites : new material on the book website – now up to chapter 6 with the exercises! (bet it’ll take me longer to do the model answers though) – see http://www.digital-forensics.org.uk/
Fitness for pupose tests In the last week or so I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the “fitness for purpose (ffp)” requirement that the regulator’s working group have recommended for the digital evidence standard. We’ve been kicking around ideas about how this can be demonstrated. At one level, the vendors could go for ISO17025 or CESG CTM (CTM) certification themselves – but this only really tests the product “out of the box” as they ship it, with no real accounting for how it is used in the field. This is a particular problem, I think, for anything which includes scripting capabilities as each script will still need to pass the ffp test. It gets worse when we start to think about all the really good open source, non-forensic software and tools produced by small companies without the budget or resources for performing their own ffp testing.

I am more convinced than ever that we need to introduce a national ffp testing service which can deal with the complexities of non-standard hardware and software combinations, in-house developed tools and rapid deployment of vital patches.

It’ll be a heck of challenge to get it right, but you know something ? – I really want to try to make it work!

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A quiet week – but new material on the book website

Posted on October 27, 2009. Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , , , |

A fit of conscience overtook me today – having spent the last couple of weeks working on a contract with the University of Ulster (I’m helping to rewrite their distance learning module on Forensic Science and Crime Scene Science) and negotiating my Visiting Academic title, I suddenly remembered that I’ve been neglecting the book website. A new set of exercises for Chapter 3 is, therefore, online. (See http://www.digital-forensics.org.uk/ for more)

Meanwhile – life as an independent is getting interesting. Planning of training courses has moved on and it looks like November will see the start of the first one (on seizure and handling). Calls about the regulator’s proposals are also arriving and my concerns about how to demonstrate “fitness for purpose” no longer seem to be unique to me. There are ways of doing this, but it will required the industry as a whole to get behind the project and agree the mechanisms properly.

And finally – something I can’t talk about – but it’s an interesting one. When this “secret squirrel” job is over, I might hint at some of the details.

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    About

    This is the weblog of Angus M. Marshall, forensic scientist, author of Digital Forensics : digital evidence in criminal investigations and MD at n-gate ltd.

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