1. DRM: When you absolutely, positively need to get screwed because your home media system is too good.

    03 January 2008

    DRM: Digital Rights Management. A technology which uses strong crypto to control whether or not a particular computer is permitted to decrypt and play back a particular media file. The idea is that unless a given box has been outfitted with a particular certificate, it doesn't matter if the files are shared or not, only the system for which the certificates were issued could play them back, assuming that the company that provided the certificates didn't decide to revoke them or something.

    The 'or something' is the operative part of what screwed one Davis Freeberg not too long ago: An …

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  2. Ransomware: Pay us $35us or be forever locked out of your box!

    03 January 2008

    Ransomware, malware that forces the user of an infected machine to pay a sum of money to Someone Out There in exchange for regaining access to their data isn't exactly the most common thing going around but it seems to be catching on, and I can't think of a reason why it would slow down. Earlier strains found in the wild did things like finding and encrypting all Excel spreadsheets on a machine and demanding that the user wire money someplace in exchange for the utility that would decrypt them, but now the stakes are a bit higher on both …

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  3. Let's try this again from the top.

    01 January 2008

    Second try: I tried to post from Laurelinde's place but her wireless access point bounced me halfway through the process, so it never made it through.

    Happy New Year and welcome to the year 2008 of the common era!

    Laurelinde and Lyssa, both off yesterday, spent much of the day getting ready for the shindig at Laurelinde's place last night while I was at work. Unfortunately, I didn't get back to the apartment until nearly 1900 EST5EDT due to a last minute project that I had to see through to the end. I actually left the office around 1800 EST5EDT …

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  4. Sometimes the only thing you can do is look on in horror and hope that the shrapnel doesn't reach you.

    31 December 2007

    It's the last day of the common year 2007, and between the rain and low temperatures (hovering near but not quite at the freezing point as of 0730 EST5EDT) roadways in the DC metroplex are, in short, treacherous. I nearly slipped walking down the steps from my apartment building, and my car was limned with a thin sheet of frost that had to be melted away before I was going anywhere. After getting underway, however, I discovered much to my chagrin that patches of Lee Highway in northern Virginia were sheets of ice that gave the ol' anti-lock brakes a …

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  5. When sufficiently motivated by boredom, there is no limit to what I can accomplish.

    30 December 2007

    I've spent most of the day hanging out at Laurelinde's house with Lyssa and the family, and after fixing my watch fob, practising with my new fountain pen (thanks, Laurelinde!), eating dinner, opening gifts (a walking stick with a handle depicting what appears to be the Roman deity Janus, a copy of The Doctor Who Pattern Book, and a copy ofFlame Wars edited by Mark Dery), and doing a bit of reading, I decided to try to install some of my favourite games on my new laptop - yes, my addiction to Infocom games has reared its ugly head once …

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  6. Thursday on the town: The Dresden Dolls!

    28 December 2007

    How about something far more cheerful in my life these days - like Lyssa, Laurelinde, and I going to see the Dresden Dolls last night?

    After arriving home from work yesterday afternoon I hurried into the bedroom to change into more suitable attire for attending a concert put on by what is best described as a punk cabaret duo, namely Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione. I traded my jeans for black linen trousers, black elastic braces, threw on an electric blue necktie, and pulled my Victorian-cut tailcoat from the closet. I traded the USB key on my watch fob for a …

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  7. I should have expected this from a trip to the dentist's office.

    28 December 2007

    Early this morning was my final trip to the dentist's office of 2007. I figured that, seeing as how I'm on the road so much I should get a checkup and cleaning before New Year's to make sure that there's nothing pressing in the immediate future.

    I could stretch this entry out and make it look interesting or even entertaining, but frankly I'm not in the mood for such creative writing at the moment.

    I'm looking at four crowns, one of them ASAP before the cavity bores completely under the bicuspid's filling. I'm probably looking at four more root canals …

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  8. A blast from the past: Heathkit is back!

    27 December 2007

    Children of the 80's will no doubt remember the company Heathkit, which was famous for selling all sorts of kits for the hobbyist, most notably a personal robot called HERO-1. They're still not down and out after all these years - in fact, they're going to be selling another personal robot kit called HE-RObot which will be based on industry-standard Wintel hardware. An advance release of the specs shows that HE-RObot's processor cores will be Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs on a mini-ITX mainboard, 80GB hard drive, USB-based machine management system (whatever that is), CD-ROM drive, multiple infrared sensors, a webcam …

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  9. State of the Time Lord: I never could stay put for very long...

    23 December 2007

    I'm writing this update from Lyssa's parents' house once again - the holiday is here once again (however you happen to celebrate it), and this year we've gone back to visit our families. We left around 1200 EST5EDT yesterday in an attempt to beat the traffic rush headed to points north, west, east, and everywhere but the southern half of the compass rose. Traffic, weather, and being worn out from staying up far too late the night before being what they are, we pulled in around 1730 EST5EDT, a respectable timetable for leaving at noon.

    The fairest thing you can say …

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