Microsoft and Quantum Computing

Microsoft recently announced they are developing a new programming language designed for Quantum Computing.  This (still unnamed) language will come with full Visual Studio integration as well as a Quantum Computing Simulator and will be available before the end of 2017.

Microsoft is also going to release *two* versions of the Quantum Computing Simulator. One version will run locally, the other version will be powered by Azure. The local version of the stimulator will offer up to 32 qubits and will need 32GB of RAM. Each additional qubit doubles the amount of memory required. The Azure version will scale up to 40 qubits.

This is fantastic news for anyone interested in Programming or Technology in general.  I’ve been very impressed with Microsoft over the last few years, their Visual Studio development tools, their SQL Server database product, Azure etc.  I’ve signed up to the Quantum Computing preview program and am looking forward to playing with their offering in due course.

Quantum Computing

More information on Microsoft and their Quantum Computing efforts can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/quantum/default.aspx

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Magic Cipher Video: Steganography (Hiding Data in Images)

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Magic Cipher: Usage Scenarios and Examples

Example 1: One to One Private Communications

Bill and Ted are ready to start making plans for their next Excellent Adventure. Knowing that their email discussions could be intercepted and easily read, they use the Magic Cipher Shared Secret Generator with it’s Strength Meter to create a Shared Secret they can use together.

They type their discussions into Magic Cipher and email the contents as encrypted text directly from within Magic Cipher. They are now secure in the knowledge that no­-one can obtain access to their plans and attempt to put a spanner in the works!

Example 2: One to Many Private Communications

Bill and Ted decide they want to involve the Historical Babes in some of their plans, but not all. The four of them agree a Shared Secret and now Bill and Ted can communicate between themselves using their own Shared Secret and if they wish to include the Historical Babes they use the second Shared Secret previously agreed between the four of them.

Example 3: One to Many Private Communications over a Public Medium

Frodo is setting off on his next adventure and as is the fashion nowadays he wants to update the world with his travels via an online blog. With his new Macbook Pro this will be easy enough, however there is certain information he wishes only to be read and understood by Merry and Pippin who are holding the fort for him back in Hobbiton.

Before he sets off the three of them agree on a Shared Secret and as Frodo updates the world via his blog he uses Magic Cipher to append an encrypted entry on the end of his posts, in a separate paragraph, knowing that the world can see but not read or understand his instructions, which are only for the eyes of Merry and Pippin. Frodo uses the built in Virtual Keyboard to add a little bit of extra security to his posts.

Example 4: The Benefits of Cross Platform

Unfortunately, small, slim and gorgeous though it is, the Macbook Pro is just a little bit too big ­ and let’s face it, expensive ­ to take across Middle Earth, what with the danger from the Orcs and other dark forces.

At the last minute Frodo decides to switch to a small Linux notebook which he obtained free of charge with his mobile broadband card. Luckily Magic Cipher works as well on Linux as it does on macOS or Windows, so Frodo has no need to change his plans, or his choice of encryption software.

Example 5: Magic Cipher, Not Just for Men

While Frodo is off on his travels his wife, feeling lonely, takes a lover. Knowing that the local Hobbiton ISP takes quite an interest in emails to and from the villagers, they both use Magic Cipher to arrange their rendezvous. Even hobbits need loving.

Besides it was rather selfish of Frodo to disappear like that for months at a time ­ and who knows what he got up to with Sam on that epic journey?

Example 6: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words …

Sat on his sofa safe back at home several months after his epic journey to Mordor, Frodo dreams of his next challenge. With Sam on board, who now lives several miles away in Bree, Frodo and Sam use the Steganography features of Magic Cipher to enable them to swap ideas and plans which they have hidden in pictures which they upload to their Facebook pages.

With no evidence that their pictures are anything more than rather boring pictures of Sams garden or Frodos wine collection, nobody has any clue that there is another adventure being planned. In fact nobody has any reason to suspect Sam and Frodo are even in communication regularly. Problem Solved!

Magic Cipher Video: Text / Email Encryption

http://www.magiccipher.com

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Xojo Generic Listbox Export: Tab, CSV and JSON

The following piece of code is written in the Xojo language (highly recommended by the way) and is a method that takes two Parameters, a List Object, and a Descriptive Type which is a String that can only be one of the following values:

  1. “,” – Comma, Standard Comma Separated CSV
  2. “;” – Semicolon, Alternative CSV
  3. chr(9) – Tab Character, Tab Delimited
  4. “JSON” – JSON Structure

Click Here to Download Code

GenericListBoxExport

The contents of your specified ListBox will the be output in your chosen format 🙂

Xojo Building Blocks from chol.technologyLooking for an App creating for your Windows or Mac Computer? What about an App for your iOS or Android Tablet or Phone, or A Web App? Bespoke, Custom, High Quality Applications. Contact Us

Software Licensing and Software Piracy: Part 1

Your favourite piece of software was created by someone, or many someones, who used their time and hard won expertise to build something useful or enjoyable, or both. With the exception of Free Software or Open Source Software, that someone is entitled to, expects and deserves to be rewarded for their efforts.

If a price is attached to the software and you use the software without paying the price that is asked, then that is Software Piracy. Many would argue that it amounts to nothing less than theft.

If I sell physical products, lets say Widgets, then if I have 10 and you take 10 without paying for them, then I now have 0, you have 10 and hopefully a guilty conscience as well. That is theft. If however you use my software without paying for it then I am not directly affected by it. I still have it. Would you have bought it if you couldn’t have obtained a pirate copy ? Maybe. Maybe Not. In my opinion that is why Software Piracy differs from traditional theft. What you have actually done is taken away my chance of receiving income from you for that software sometime in the future. It just isn’t clear cut either way, with laws, policies and attitudes being firmly rooted in the ‘pre digital media’ 20th century.

Having established that there is a cost to producing software and that the developer does deserve to be rewarded for their time and efforts, it stands to reason that we have to have a mechanism in place that makes this possible. That mechanism is generally known as Software Licensing.

I’ve been developing software for financial reward for nearly as long as I’ve been using computers, getting on for thirty years, and I have never wavered in my belief that whatever form of licensing you use, you should never punish the genuine, fee paying customer for the actions of the Software Pirate.

Seriously, I have bought software in the past that had licensing schemes so restricting or complex or time consuming (or just plain ridiculous), that I have saved time and effort by downloading a cracked copy of the software and using that instead, all the time cursing the software developers for making me waste my time and effort. In effect punishing me for my honesty.  As a Software Developer or Software Publisher that’s not an experience you want for your customers.

Whatever Software Licensing mechanism is used, there will always be some who do not like it and resent it being used. If as a developer you have done your best to minimise the impact on the genuine customer, whilst making some effort to thwart the Software Pirate, then you have done all you can and any customer who is going kick up a fuss about your licensing mechanism is unlikely to be a customer you actually want. Most customers would actually like you to stay in business and realise that to do that, it is necessary to be paid for the work you do, and / or the products you sell. Sacking your customer can sometimes be a good thing. But that’s a subject for another blog post 🙂

So what is a fair software license, for both the supplier and the customer ?  What is it fair to expect your customer to do to license their copy of your product, and so help protect your product, your sales, your livelihood and the future investment and development in a product that is important to both you ?

Part 2 Soon …

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