1. Hurricane Gustav incoming.

    31 August 2008

    If you haven't been paying attention this weekend (like me, actually), hurricane Gustav is headed toward the coast, and Louisiana is once again squarely in the line of fire. I've heard that Gustav is currently a category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, and it's expected to hit category 4 at some point.

    You know, there isn't a whole lot that I can say on this topic because someone far more erudite than I said them far better than I ever could. However, I'm collecting links to resources that I hope will be of help to everyone.

    First and …

    Read more...

  2. Engineering and re-engineering over the long weekend.

    31 August 2008

    If you normally browse my website directly (i.e., not using an RSS feed aggregator of some kind) you'll see that I made some major changes to the front page late last night. For the past couple of days I've been profiling load times and such like, and discovered that I could improve the code and structure markedly with some changes. I've been using the Firebug and YSlow plugins to see where the bottlenecks were, and as a result I removed a half-dozen or so badges from weblog directories that did little else but add to the page loading time …

    Read more...

  3. Now I get the hype about the NIA.

    29 August 2008

    A couple of months back there was quite a bit of hype (which vanished rapidly as people forgot all about it when the next new thing came around) about the NIA brain-computer interface from OCZ Technology (which is also known for its build-your-own-laptop kits). Ostensibly, it's a consumer-grade, non-invasive EEG that you strap across your forehead and jack into a small interface unit which then plugs into a USB port on your computer. The unit comes with drivers that can map certain inputs from the dermatrodes (good call, Mr. Gibson) to keyboard and mouse events defined by the user.. the …

    Read more...

  4. Work progresses on the sonic screwdriver.

    27 August 2008

    One of the main reasons that I've been hanging out at HacDC lately is the fact that they've got a pretty well stocked electronics lab in the loft. There are shelves on the walls holding parts for sale and parts that have been salvaged from discarded equipment, boxes and boxes of spare everything you can imagine, and a couple of racks of power tools and other sundry equipment... in short, all stuff I don't have at my apartment.

    More the point, the HacDC loft is a place where I can safely work on projects and not mess up the environment …

    Read more...

  5. Getting down to the wire.

    25 August 2008

    Time's getting down to the wire and there's no escaping it. The wedding is now two solid months away and Lyssa and I are scrambling to get our plans in motion. Last week the invitations came back from the printer, the directory of local hotels came back from Kinko's (I'll mirror them here to make it easier), and the custom printed stamps that my mother had made up for were put to use. Last week, parts of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent writing names and addresses, stuffing envelopes, and sticking things together. I spent a goodly amount of Friday …

    Read more...

  6. Busy times.

    23 August 2008

    I haven't been writing much about what's been going on in my life lately because there's been so much of it. Working out wedding plans, picking out tuxedos, trips to the HacDC loft to work on stuff, hanging out with Zapheus from Brass Goggles, shopping, keeping the apartment picked up.. I haven't had time to write about things like that. Most of the posts I've been putting up lately I actually wrote offline over a period of days in a catch-as-catch-can manner and then cut and pasted them into entries.

    I haven't forgotten anyone, and I'll get posts up as …

    Read more...

  7. Passwords, passphrases, and practical use.

    21 August 2008

    One of the most annoying things about the modern world is that pretty much everything you're likely to use these days, from your network login at work to your webmail account to your bank's website requires a username and password before you can actually do anything. Way back when this functionally didn't used to be such a big deal - people chose easy to guess passwords for their accounts and left it at that. Later on, admins discovered that crackers probably wouldn't spend hours on end guessing passwords, they'd spend a few hours writing software to do it for them (which …

    Read more...

  8. Privacy, anonymity, and security, part the first.

    19 August 2008

    Longtime readers of my weblog are no doubt familiar with my preoccuptation with security, which lead to my working in that field of endeavour, and also my interest in personal privacy. A couple of weeks ago, some of my readers asked me what they, as computer users who aren't experts but aren't starting from square zero either could do on a personal level. I thought and thought for a couple of days and put together a list of things, and then realized that making all of it make sense would take much more than a single post because it's not …

    Read more...

  9. Preparing for the End of Time so soon?

    18 August 2008

    While browsing the newsfeeds a couple of nights ago, I came across an interesting article from ABC News about people dropping out of workaday life and preparing for the end of the world. From the United States to France to the Russian Confederation, stockpiles of crop seeds are being built, water purefiers are vanishing from the shelves, and basic knowledge about farming, medicine, and engineering is being crammed into many a brain. Normally, this isn't a very interesting phenomenon because people have been doing this for literally centuries - the end of the world as we know it is a hot …

    Read more...

133 / 207