Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Shouldn't Computers Create *LESS* Work?

Jess and I have been discussing the failure of computers to make life easier lately. As the above dialog shows, software companies are missing the mark. She has been looking (desperately) for a better workflow than the *four* statistics programs she currently uses for data analysis. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Decline of Vacations

So I had promised to get some pictures up from our trip soon. Then I went back to work.

According to a NY Times article, people are taking less vacations than ever, with 60% of American workers polled having no vacation plans for the next 6 months at the beginning of the summer.

I think I know the reason: too much crap piles up while you're gone!!

So yeah, I still plan to post pictures, but have been too exhausted to really want to look at pictures of a vacation I am no longer on.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What the Terrorists Want

Bruce Schneier has an excellent blog entry on what terrorism really is:

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Guzzling Gas

Some statistics:

Total Miles: 4080.2
Average Miles/Stop: 255.013
Total Gallons of Gas: 207.159
Average MPG: 19.686
Average Gas Price: $3.095/gal
Gas cost per mile: $0.1
Total gas cost for our trip to MN and back: $641.46

Think about that the next time you're complaining about airline ticket prices. Also, if you were wondering, gas was the cheapest in the mighty town of Cokato, MN at $2.959/gal, while it was most expensive in Belvidere, SD at $3.299/gal. Shoulda kept driving past that one.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Whew! I'm back after two road trips and three consecutive weeks away from home.

First I went on a business trip to the mighty annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas (and a single day of DEFCON as well). As if Las Vegas isn't crazy enough, add over 3000 hackers to the mix (over 8000 for DEFCON) and it gets wild. More information coming once I digest all this information.

Second, Jess and I headed out on a two-week road trip to Minnesota, taking the quick route through Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota on the way there and then taking the long route back through South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and finally Oregon. More details and pictures of our trip coming up in a future post.

It's good to be home. And yes, Java is eating again, now that we're home.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Neahkahnie Mountain misty trees

We went on an Oregon Coast hike this long weekend to a place called Neahkahnie Mountain. The hike started dry and sunny, then we reached a certain height and it started raining with this crazy mist, then we broke through to the top and it was dry and sunny again.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Magenta Sky

Caught this one by hanging out the bedroom window.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Death by DMCA

IEEE Spectrum has a very well-written article called "Death by DMCA" describing many of the technologies that have been killed or are in the process of being killed by legislation sponsored by large media conglomerates, the RIAA, and the MPAA. If you own a TiVo, MP3 player, DVD recorder, home theater PC, digital camcorder, HDTV, or any of a long list of other devices or technologies, you should read this article. Even if you aren't into any of those things, you should read this article.

It is interesting to read the technologies that we have all missed out on because of fears of piracy, and then to read the statistics showing how they didn't stop piracy at all.

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." - Princess Leia

Bellagio Fountains - Diet Coke and Mentos Style

This video was worth resurrecting the blog for. Geeks with too much free time and video camera.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Need a reason to buy a shredder? This just might be that reason.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This has to be one of the strangest basketball games I've heard of. Poor guy.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

And Now Winter is Gone (again)

Just the other day it was snowing. And now look at it here.

Captured with Jess' new Canon PowerShot A620, and a beautiful thing it is too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Slogging in a Winter Wonderland

Just in case you didn't think it could snow in Portland in March.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Real-life Simpsons

In case you ever wanted to know what the Simpsons would be like in real life.

Deep-fried Brain

This week I spend Monday through Thursday in all-day class 8:30am-5:00pm on IA32 architecture, which for you non-techies is the architecture of about 80% of computers in the world, including (unless you own a PowerPC Mac or still fuel your computing needs with your Commodore 64) your own. Some statistics for you:

Number of chapters in the class textbook: 61
Number of chapters in the class textbook CD-ROM addition: 16
Total number of chapters in the class textbook: 77
Number of pages in the class textbook: 1744
Number of pages in the class textbook CD-ROM addition: 342
Total number of pages in the class textbook: 2086
Retail price of the class textbook, including CD-ROM: $74.99 (paperback)

That's right, 2086 pages in four days. Fortunately, there is no test. Today was entirely spent talking about the Front Side Bus (FSB), which is what connects the processor to the Memory Controller Hub (MCH, sometimes called the Northbridge), as well as to other processors.

Yum. Tastes like deep-fried brain.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Google THIS

On Thursday night I went to the usual monthly PLUG meeting I go to sometimes in Portland. This time they had Michael Still and Trisha Weir, along with several others, from Google. Michael gave a presentation on ImageMagick, a library and set of command-line tools for image processing. Afterwards, as is customary, we went to the Lucky Lab in SE Portland and while there Google bought everyone a round of drinks. Well, turns out it was a Google recruiting event, most likely because of their new facility in The Dalles they refuse to acknowledge publicly.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

FedEx Kinkos ExpressPay Vulnerability

A new vulnerability was found in the ExpressPay system in use at FedEx Kinkos to pay for things like copies, etc. Basically the vulnerability allows you to get things for free, or even get cash from the system. The problem stems from the fact that the value of the SmartCard in use by the system is stored on the card itself, protected by a 3-digit code. If you can get this 3-digit code, then you can reprogram the card with whatever value you want. Worse yet, the 3-digit code is supposedly the same on all cards, making this what is called a BORE attack, or Break Once Repeat Everywhere. Once the 3-digit code is known (which it presumably already is by now) it can be used on any device. While the initial attack to get the code is complex and requires expensive equipment (a logic analyzer), with sufficient motivation and the potential for BORE someone was bound to do it eventually. This is what product manufacturers need to realize.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Matchbox-sized Projector

These guys have created a projector the size of a matchbox that runs on less than 1.5W of power based on lasers. You have to read this article to see how cool this is. Infinite focus, low power, small enough to be embedded in a CELL PHONE, this could revolutionize how electronics use displays. Instead of trying to watch that movie on your video iPod, how about you project it on the wall wherever you are?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Howlin' Good Time

It's a full moon tonight. At least, off our balcony it is.