DefCon 23: The Writeup

Well, I'm back from DefCon in sunny and hot Las Vegas, Nevada and more or less reinserted back into my everyday life. I'm just about caught up on everything that happened at work and finally finished the notes that are going to comprise this article. I'll type up the notes I took during the talks at DefCon in a couple of days; they've voluminous and I want to get the experience out of my head and into external storage before the memories fade much more. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to any of the villages so I don't have anything …

Read more...

2014.ev!

Happy New Year, everyone.

I rang in the new year with Lyssa and Amberite at the Cat Club's 80's Dance Party, with special guest DJ Kurt Harland from Information Society. A wonderful night was had by all. Unfortunately, it also completely wrecked our sleep schedules...

I haven't been posting much here lately because, outside of working I've been head-down doing research for either a paper or a series of articles, and there is a lot of information to organize. When it's ready, you'll know it.

Birthday weekend wrap up.

Rather than stay home for my birthday (which I've done for the past few years) I decided to make things interesting this time 'round the sun. Sitwon and Haxwithaxe had secured a hotel room and passes for Shmoocon in downtown DC last weekend, so I threw my hat into the ring more or less at the last minute. Shmoocon is an excellent hacker conference, don't get me wrong, but I don't ordinarily get much out of it. It is, as they say around here, above my pay grade. That said, I decided to go solely to see what I could …

Read more...

DC cracks down on silent dancing.

If you've never heard of a flashmob before, it's when word gets out somehow for everyone who finds out about it to gather at a particular place and time, count down from five, and then do something weird. There have been flashmobs where everyone opened an umbrella for precisely 23 seconds, made chicken noises, turned their shirts inside out, had a pillow fight, and even briefly created a supercomputer. About five years ago, there was even a silent disco held in the stations of London's subway system and 1,000 people gathered for a flash rave in Union Square in …

Read more...

Photographs from Chinese New Year 2011.

I didn't get a chance to post about it at the time, but Lyssa, Keely, and I went to Washington, DC's Chinese New Year Celebration downtown. Once again, I went in cold because I was curious about the experience, mostly because barely-remembered memories of television shows about Chinese New Years from my childhood aren't really anything to go on. I knew in some hazy fashion that fireworks were involved, but I hadn't realized that they'd be unrolling gigantic strings of firecrackers - Black Cats, we used to call them. Specifically, they were strings that, when coiled up, were about three feet …

Read more...

EDIT: All-ages goth night starting in Virginia.

While talking with Lori-Beth at Spellbound last weekend she brought up something that had been bumping around in the back of my head for a while, which was that northern Virginia and Washington, DC had some great club nights for older folks - Spellbound, Midnight, Umlaut, what have you - but nothing for the younger folks who aren't of legal age (regardless of whether or not they want to drink). These days, it's harder to sneak into clubs when you're still in high school because most every club really does check ID these days. Not that I'd know or anything...

Starting at …

Read more...

EDITED (20081101): Lyssa and I are now married.

To preface what I'm about to write, I never thought that I would have missed so many details pertaining to what happened a few days ago. Shortly before the wedding, Lyssa gave me a piece of advice from her friend Michael: stop every few minutes to take a mental snapshot of what's going on around you, so that you'll have more to remember from your wedding. I didn't really do that until after the ceremony was over, and thus much of what happened was lost to the peculiar entropy that steals moments of our lives from us as we grow …

Read more...

Saloncon 2008: Adventure! Excitement! Romance! Sleep deprivation!

I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last Thursday night due to getting ready for Saloncon 2008 and general problems getting a decent amount of rest these days. I think that part of it's the unusually high pollen count in the DC area right now and part of it's the air conditioning filter in the apartment (which Lyssa is having fixed today due to the fact that we can't get into the locked room in which the air conditioner is installed). Also, wedding stress is starting to mount with the end more than an month away. At any rate …

Read more...

Microbot dance recital at Duke University.

The field of nanotechnology just took a hop, a skip, and a jump past a xenon atom stick figure and mechanical gears microns in diameter. No, researchers at Duke University didn't take up country line dancing, they created microscopic robots microns in size and caused them to dance across a one square millimeter floor. The microbots are shaped more like spatulae with guide rods attached to them than people, but they capable of interacting with each other as well as shimmying across the miniscule dance surface, propelled by oscillations in an electrical field... which happened to have the same rhythm …

Read more...

Title restored - so how did I spent my weekend, anyway?

Unfortunately, I spent much of last Friday asleep, recovering after a routine filling went south and turned into an emergency root canal. I don't know what does it about the procedure, but it wipes me out completely - it might be the body reacting to having a part of it removed with what amounts to tiny drill bits, or it might be the knowledge of it. For all I know, it could be the aftereffects of multiple injections of local anesthetic that happens to contain epinephrine, which would logically bring about a fight-or-flight reaction as the syringe-loads naturally leaked into the …

Read more...