ContactCon 2011.

As you've no doubt guessed, the reasons for my radio silence have been many and multi-layered, and now things have calmed down a little. I've been scrambling with the rest of the development team to get Project Byzantium in such a state that it was ready to show off at ContactCon. ContactCon, held late last week, was an unconference dedicated to showcasing and networking the developers of next-generation communication technologies that was driven by the attendees presenting their work rather than gathering to listen to people speak on stage. Most of us who attended are working on technologies that are …

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Wikileaks, Cablegate, the media, and you.

I've been waiting to put together an article about Wikileaks and Cablegate (the gradual release of a quarter-million diplomatic cables written and archived by the United States diplomatic corps). Mostly, everyday life has prevented me from doing so: the holiday season is here once again and, all things being equal, work and cleaning up the apartment with Lyssa have taken priority. I also didn't want to vent my spleen on the Net without having a coherent idea of what I was going to say. Turing knows, enough of that is happening right now and I won't fall prey to it …

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Maybe I've been watching True Blood too much.

If I am ever the unlikely hero, I will not try to keep important secrets from my associates ("It's for your own protection.")

I will explain to them exactly what's going on so they understand the stuff happening around them better; at least they'll have context for two city blocks suddenly exploding in neon yellow enamel. They'll probably be able to help more effectively and thus get all of us out of whatever's going down.

Chances are if things go pear-shaped the bad guy will kill them along with me, anyway, so there's really no more bad that can come …

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Information exposure in Google Buzz.

Regular users of Gmail have no doubt noticed the new entry just below their Inbox tag called Buzz - if you haven't yet, chances are you will soon. From what I can tell it seems to work a lot like Twitter and Facebook status updates do: there's just enough room to post two or three sentences, links to other pages, comments on Buzz posts, and other stuff like that. It also hooks links to other sides listed in your Google Profile (if you've set one up) so that if you update one of them, it automatically posts a link in your …

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Wardriving new parts of NOVA.

When I first started driving I taught myself how to navigate Pittsburgh by filling up my car with gas, picking a direction to drive in for fifteen or twenty miles, and getting thoroughly lost. I’d then spend the evening trying to get back home, or failing that, someplace that I recognized and could navigate from. I was thinking about that this morning as I attached a GPS puck to the roof of my car and ran the interface cable through the window. It’s been a long and busy couple of weeks, so while Lyssa was out and about …

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What hath the fabulists wrought?

It’s long been said that science fiction predicts, or at least inspires some of the things which we take for granted every day. While the exact origins of the genre could be debated until the cows come home (and they most certainly are in some circles), it was some time during the 17th century c.e. during the Age of Reason in which people really began to write stories in which the advances of the time were their inspiration. Great voyages by sailing ship and fanciful aircraft were taken to regions of the globe which had only been seen …

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Conflicker information and links - distribute widely!

As you have probably heard on the news a new beastie has been making its rounds on the Net, infiltrating Windows machines and awaiting the coming of the first of April - April Fool's Day. Unfortunately, like Y2k and the Michaelangelo virus, there is an incredible amount of misinformation out there making this worm out to be The End of the Net As We Know It - to hear some of the chatterbots talking heads, the milk in your fridge could curdle and your cat will marry your dog if your workstation gets infected. To be fair, nobody's sure of what Conflicker …

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Just when you thought it was safe to make your data safe...

A common procedure at many companies is to send the backup tapes offsite, on the off chance that if the building burns down or something, the computers will be lost but the data can be restored to replacement hardware and business will pick up apace a day or two later. In the industry, this is referred to as 'disaster mitigation planning'. At smaller companies, either the tapes never get taken offsite (common) or one of the sysadmins takes the tapes home to put them into a safe or strongbox (a bit more common). Larger companies and organizations with more rules …

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