Category Archives: digital

Candy For Children

My impressions of Android 5 are excitingly career-limiting, as you might have guessed from the title, but what the hell. A few weeks of using it has not substantially dulled my initial impressions, so I might as well share them with you. Would you believe there are positive bits here? You’ll have work for them, […]

Social Engineering

I gave this talk at FSOSS last week, in which I try to reclaim the term “Social Engineering”, so that it stops meaning “get the receptionist to give you their password” and starts meaning “Measuring community growth and turning that into processes and practices that work.” I thought it went well, though listening to it […]

Rogue Cryptocurrency Bootstrapping Robots

I tried to explain to my daughter why I’d had a strange day. “Why was it strange?” “Well… There’s a thing called a cryptocurrency. ‘Currency’ is another word for money; a cryptocurrency is a special kind of money that’s made out of math instead of paper or metal.” That got me a look. Money that’s […]

Vocoder Duet

You can think of them as the Fry and Laurie of malevolent synthetic intelligences that are going to murder you. In a fortuitous coincidence, this video – a collection of communications from SHODAN, antagonist of the classic System Shock 2, and this video, of GlaDOS‘ spoken dialogue from the first Portal, … are both about […]

A Glass Half Broken

A friend of mine has called me a glass-half-broken kind of guy. My increasingly venerable Nokia N9 has been getting squirrelly for a few months, and since it finally decided its battery was getting on in years it was time for a new phone. I’m going to miss it a lot. The hardware was just […]

Citation Needed

I may revisit this later. Consider this a late draft. I’m calling this done. “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” — Stan Kelly-Bootle Sometimes somebody says something to me, like a whisper of a hint of an echo of something half-forgotten, and […]

Algorithmically Marginalized

I wouldn’t have thought that mathematics or signal processing would have a cultural bent, but I just sat through a conference call where everyone was reasonably clear except for one guy, with a pronounced central-African accent, whose voice was getting audibly butchered by the noise cancellation algorithm on the line. The beginning of every sentence, […]

Crypto Is Not A Panacea

I was going to write this to an internal mailing list, following this week’s PRISM excitement, but I’ve decided to put it here instead. It was written (and cribbed from other stuff I’ve written elsewhere) in response to an argument that encrypting everything would somehow solve a scary-sounding though imprecisely-specified problem, a claim you may […]

How Does Anyone Work In These Conditions

A little while ago, the espresso machine in our office broke down. This doomsday scenario is, and I say this without the least bit of hyperbole, the most catastrophically dire situation that can exist in this or any other possible universe. If the intertubes felt slow for you the last few weeks, that’s probably why. […]

Lightweight Notepad In A Bookmark

So, this is a cute trick that’s been making the rounds: In Firefox, right-click your bookmarks bar and pick “new bookmark”. Call it “Quick Notepad”, and in the Location box, put: data:text/html,<html contenteditable> and now when you click on that bookmark, your browser window will basically become Notepad, a very light text editor. File -> […]