Neologism: DC AC

DC AC - noun phrase (humorous) - The primary mechanism of air conditioning inside the DC Beltway.  Notionally, the movement of air due to revolving doors caused by the never-ending cycle of contractors becoming civil servants, civil servants becoming lobbyists, and lobbyists forming startups and becoming government contractors once more.

Why I dislike loud parties.

Generally speaking, I dislike loud and busy parties.  I find that my senses become overloaded in a very short period of time - all the voices, all the background sounds, all the random noise, the echoes from hard surfaces... it's very unpleasant.  After a short period of time in such an environment, my vision is all but useless.  The fog, the mist, the random colors.. on top of that, my tactile sense goes nuts.  Being rubbed down with wet and dry sponges, fans blowing on the front and back of my head at full blast, my legs vibrating backwards and forwards …

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A random USB port in my hotel room.

When I was in DC a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the lamps in my hotel room had USB ports in them, presumably for plugging in smart devices to recharge in the event that the traveler did not bring a power strip. Most hotels aren't known for offering a surplus of power outlets.

Seeing as how I was back in Washington, DC, called by some The City of Spies, I couldn't help but wonder how such a thing could be used offensively. Let's say I wanted to gig somebody's smartphone with some canned exploits and a malware package …

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A trip to the International Spy Museum.

A couple of weekends ago Lyssa, Laurelindel and I did something that we've wanted to do for months, which was visit the International Spy Museum in downtown DC. This year their big thing is a 50 year James Bond retrospective, where they had props and models from the movies on display in addition to their other exhibits. Unfortunately, my camera was in macro mode the whole time so not all of the pictures I took came out the way I'd hoped. I kept the best of the photographs.

Here they are.

Talking about the Spy Museum over dinner, we made …

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The DC Cryptoparty was a success!

A couple of weeks ago I announced that a cryptoparty would be held at HacDC in the first half of October. If you haven't been watching hashtags on Twitter, a cryptoparty is a party where people get together to eat pizza and learn how to install and use strong cryptographic software (like GnuPG and Truecrypt) safely. These parties began in Australia as a result of the government there passing a bill which requires mandatory recording and storage of all net.traffic, just in case someone living in Australia is doing anything illegal. Almost immediately cryptoparties began springing up around the …

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ISOC-DC: A White Hat Perspective on Cyber Security & Other Internet Issues

From the Internet Society of Washington, DC's official announcement:

The term "hacker" is often used pejoratively. In reality, a hacker is someone who finds a clever and creative solution to a programming problem. Hacker culture typically advocates free and open source software and community based thinking. Malevolent hackers or "crackers" or "black hats," are the ones that we need to worry about. Thus, the distinction between white hat and black hat hackers.

HacDC is a community organization in DC dedicated to the collaborative use of technology. HacDC is part of a global trend in amateur engineering clubs that have come …

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Catching up on everything else.

I suppose I should talk about work a bit.

I don't ordinarily do that, because I think there's a conflict of interests between writing in a personal blog and talking about things I get paid to do, but sometimes it can't be helped. The last couple of weeks have been spent preparing for a fairly major server migration (e-mail service for a couple of offices and a couple of dozen employees), which for once didn't involve significant hardware wrangling (though that's going on in other areas) but does take a fair amount of time (most of it spent writing documentation …

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