1. It's open season on laptops at the border.

    23 January 2007

    There's been another disturbing development pertaining to the Forth Amendment recently, in that laptop computers may be seized for inspection without a warrant. This isn't the first time this has been in the news, but now a couple of precedents have been set in court, which is doubly worrisome; this was from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (United States v. Ziegler), and upholds statements in employment contracts that state that you have no privacy whatsoever if you're at work and using their equipment, and most of the time you don't have any privacy if you're using your own equipment …

    Read more...

  2. Ballistics array one, satellite constellation zero.

    23 January 2007

    It wasn't an Earth-shattering kaboom, but it was China using a ballistic missile to take out one of its old satelites in orbit around the planet. The decommissioned weather satellite was orbiting at an altitude of 535 miles above the Earth, and thus made a perfect test target. This was, it is said the first successful knockout of an orbitting satellite in over twenty years. The rest of the world sat up and took notice when the Chinese government confirmed their intelligence reports because satellite constellations are critical to the infrastructure of the twenty-first century, and are involved in everything …

    Read more...

  3. You said WHAT?!

    23 January 2007

    This Saturday past, the Pentagon took a major leap sideways when it had to distance itself from one of its senior officials, one Charles "Cully" Stimson. Stimson went on the record during a radio interview as saying that US companies should boycott legal firms that employ lawyers who represent Guantanamo Bay detainees that are US citizens. He then went on to recite a list of a dozen legal firms that should be boycotted. When last I checked, if you were a US citizen you had the right to legal representation under the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Lieutenant …

    Read more...

  4. Artifically constructed extension nerves!

    22 January 2007

    New and interesting developments in the field of neuroprosthetics! Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are culturing living data cables by stretching nerves! Because nerves do not mix well with nonorganic structures unless they are coated with organic compounds and practically grown there, the most ideal way of growing nerves is to take a section of viable nerve tissue, culture it in a growth medium, and slowly stretch the section of nerve. The idea is that the neurons are stretched away from one another, so the neuronal bodies and axons will lengthen to fill the space. Interestingly, nerves will stretch …

    Read more...

  5. Scratch another Betta.

    22 January 2007

    We lost another fish sometime today. Sidhe, the betta that used to live in the library, had taken ill late last week, swimming in an irregular manner (or should I say corkscrewing through the water crazily) and ignoring his food. This happened a couple of months ago with Ghost, who used to live in a bowl on my workbench in the office. This weekend he took to floating upright in the water, as if standing straight up on the tip of his tail. He still wasn't eating by the time I left for work this morning.

    When Lyssa and I …

    Read more...

  6. Snow and the premiere of __The Dresden Files__ (review, mild spoilers).

    22 January 2007

    It snowed pretty much all night last night. I made the mistake of going out again for some last minute groceries, a jaunt down the block that wound up taking a solid hour, most of which was occupied by my trying to nagivate the TARDIS safely over frozen roads with no traction whatsover, and horrible visibility due to the huge snowflakes and Virginia drivers who think that high beams are perfectly acceptible to use in an environment filled with highly reflective particles. I got home and stayed home.

    Last night Lyssa and I watched the first half of the second …

    Read more...

  7. OpenBSD: Source tree updater.

    21 January 2007

    This is a shell script for OpenBSD that will automatically update the source tree for your systemware as well as the ports collection from a public CVS server. This file must be edited to configure the $CVSROOT variable as well as the branch of OpenBSD that you're following (for example, OPENBSD_3_8). It must be run as root, and I'm too busy right now to add a check to make sure that the user running it has root privileges. Use your brain: Put it in /root, mode 0700.

    update_source_trees-1.0.sh

    Read more...

  8. Signature Generator v1.1

    21 January 2007

    This utility was designed to convert information about someone or something into a form better suited for magickal operations. It's written in Perl and outputs an MD5 message digest suitable for use in sigils, mantras, chanting, or what have you. Documentation is built in and displayed with the command signature_generator-1.1.pl --help.

    The utility requires the Perl module Digest::MD5, which is included with most any copy of Perl these days.

    signature_generator-1.1.zip

    Read more...

  9. Gematria v1.0

    21 January 2007

    This is one of my first technomagickal experiments written in Perl, a utility that converts words written in English or Hebrew characters into numbers for use in gematria, a process used to discern concealed patterns and relationships between words, and thus their associated concepts.

    I originally developed this utility with Perl v5.6, and it runs under v5.8 and later without trouble.

    gematria-1.0.pl --help will print the online help.

    gematria-1.0.pl --how_to_supply_hebrew_words will explain how to pass Hebrew characters to the utility.

    gematria-1.0.zip

    Read more...

  10. Shell script: burn_dvd v2.0

    21 January 2007

    Here's a shell script that makes it simple to burn DVDs on a *nix machine. Requires cdrtools v2.00.0 or greater and a reasonably up-to-date set of dvd+rw-tools. I use v5.19-1.4.9.7 on Leandra. Make it executable with the command chmod 0755 /path/to/burn_dvd and invoke it with burn_dvd /dev/dvd_burner /path/to/files-to-burn.or-iso-image. I've only tested it as root. If this script blows up in your face, it's not my fault or my problem. The script will output usage information if you don't supply any command-line arguments and is well-commented.

    burn_dvd-2.0 …

    Read more...

203 / 207