1. It's amazing what a couple of pots of coffee can do.

    06 March 2009

    It's been one of those weeks where I've got nothing I wanted to get done accomplished, but a great deal that I needed to do got taken care of.

    Wednesday afternoon was my rescheduled root canal for tooth #31, the next-to-last molar on the bottom right side of my mouth. Unlike previous times, this tooth wasn't actually too badly off; the nerve, I'm told, wasn't as heavily involved like the other couple of times so it was a pretty straightforward task for Dr. Brian Suh, the grand master of endodontics, to drill it out and start carving away. As before …

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  2. Shmoocon 5 pictures are now online.

    02 March 2009

    I've finally put the pictures I took at Shmoocon 5 online.

    I should note, persuant to the photography policy of Shmoocon, that all people I photographed gave explicit permission for me to do so. Shmoocon doesn't permit photography in any of the presentation areas, and they don't like you taking pictures of people anywhere else unless the subjects give the OK. Taking pictures of inanimate objects, however, is permissible.

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  3. Winter in DC sneaks up on you.

    02 March 2009

    All day yesterday the weather reports threatened a snowstorm which was predicted to shut down the DC area. As a former resident of Pittsburgh, my attitude toward such things consists of "I'll believe it when I see it," carefully enculturated through years of school delays and cancellations due to snowstorms which never seemed to materialize. The snow started coming down late last night, and around 0130 this I was awakened by the sirens of a pair of UPSes in the office signalling loss of power. As near as I can tell, ice forming on the wires knocked out power to …

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  4. I should really find something interesting to write about one of these days.

    02 March 2009

    My bronchitis appears to be almost gone. I've finished the antibiotic carpet bombing of my lungs, and as a result I'm only occasionally coughing up things that I'll not describe to you for decency's sake. The deep, hacking cough that makes bystanders wonder if I should be put in an isolation chamber hasn't reared its gravelly head in twenty-four hours or therabouts, so I should be in the clear. I'm still kind of worn out from the combination of drugs I'm on so I haven't had much of anything to write lately which hasn't consisted of either bitching about falling …

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  5. That coughing you hear isn't from consumption.

    25 February 2009

    At first scratch, it would appear that respiratory troubles are fast becoming part and parcel of my winters in the DC metroplex. Two weeks ago I was fighting off a cold, and rather successfully, or so I thought. Last week I developed a persistant dry cough that now has has my cow-orkers wondering if I have tuberculosis, keeps Lyssa awake at night (even if I sleep on the couch), and busily ties knots in the muscles of my neck and stomach. It isn't one of those coughs that clear your lungs and sound disgusting, but at least mean that you …

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  6. Practical whole disk encryption, or, how to frustrate data forensics.

    23 February 2009

    When you get right down to it, the best way for an attacker to get hold of your data is to shut the box down, pull the drive, and rip a sector-by-sector image to analyze offsite. It might not be quick (depending on the speed of the hard drive, speed of the storage drive, and a number of other factors) but if you're not there when it's done you might not know that it ever happened. However, if you encrypt data at the level of the drive, they can copy the drive all they want but they won't be able …

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  7. Odd Gnome problems, or, what happened to my icons?

    20 February 2009

    While upgrading Windbringer's systemware yesterday, I suddenly ran across a rather odd problem: all of the icons on my Gnome desktop suddenly turned into the default Gnome "blank page with a corner folded down" icon, which meant that Gnome wasn't able to figure out what sort of file a launcher really was. Even more oddly, the names of the launchers themselves turned into (for example), "gtkpod.desktop" rather than "GTKpod", which meant that double-clicking on anything resulted in the contents of the launcher being opened in a text editor. Everything inside of the Gnome application menu could still be executed …

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  8. TARDIS repairs complete.

    20 February 2009

    After a surprisingly short period of time, I found out what happened to my car when it broke down a couple of days ago.

    As it turned out, the thermostat which regulates the cooling system went bad. What happened was that the thermostat erroneously decided to start reading MAXTEMP (which would mean that the engine block was about to melt down); it dutifully sent these messages to the microprocessor controlling the engine. The CPU erroneously decided that the cooling system had fouled up in some unspecified manner and commanded the water pump to start feeding coolant to an overflow bottle …

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