1. Secure deletion and sanitization of storage media.

    24 December 2008

    EDITED: Added Creative Commons license block. Other content remains the same.

    Long ago, in the days of DOS and OS/2, deleting a file meant that it was gone for good. How file systems worked was a mystery to just about everybody, and so we were told to back up our data often lest a mistake or drive crash wipe out something important, leaving us up a certain body of water sans propulsion. Years passed, as they are wont to do, and someone discovered that data didn't really evaporate when it was deleted, it was just renamed in such a …

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  2. Synching the wild Palm Treo...

    24 December 2008

    I'm a big fan of the open source pilot-link package to back the contents of my smartphone up to offline storage on the off chance that something goes wrong and I need to buy a new phone or restore data from the last backup. Ages ago, someone figured out the protocol implemented by PalmOS for uploading and downloading data from handhelds and worked it into a command-line app that does it all for you: it backs up, restores, installs, uninstalls, and basically does everything but let you make phone calls from your laptop (though there is other software available that …

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  3. Remember when I said "'tis the season?"

    22 December 2008

    Lyssa took sick last week. On Thursday she woke up having trouble breathing while I was in the shower, which threw our plans into a tailspin. I took a sickday and drove her to urgent care (where I seem to spend far too much time in the waiting room these days), only to discover that she has a sinus infection. Lyssa spent the bulk of the weekend in bed pumped full of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, with the odd sortie to get food in some form or go shopping.

    This also meant that I was running solo when I went …

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  4. One to beam up.

    18 December 2008

    Majel Barrett Roddenberry, widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, died today of leukemia at the age of 76. Majel was best known to fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the other new-gen series as the voice of the ships' central computers, the occasional guest appearance as Lwaxana Troi, and she even had a small role on Babylon-5 as Lady Morella.

    Fandom has lost another icon.

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  5. 'tis the season once again...

    16 December 2008

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sapient lifeforms of all ages: welcome to the holiday season. I just wish that it didn't involve so much road rage in the DC metroplex, let alone being greeted with an upraised middle finger rather than a wave of good cheer. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but wasn't this traditionally the time of year to be good to one another (if no other time) and practice random acts of senseless kindness, especially during a season that seems to be blowing through like a nor'easter this time 'round. I think I've had a chance to blink …

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  6. Two warmup posts before I try to set my head straight.

    14 December 2008

    I'll spare everyone my usual apology for not posting anything lately and jump right into a catch-up post as a warmup for a longer, hopefully more interesting entry later today.

    First of all, earlier this week a cultural icon passed - Bettie Page, queen of the pin-up, died of pneumonia at the age of 85 following a heart attack suffered earlier this month. Page was well known for her line of 'naughty girl' photographs, which featured nudity, lingerie, implied lesbian trysts, and even light bondage (the latter two scandalous for their time). Page stopped modelling in 1957 and all but disappeared …

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