Category Archives: future

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 […]

Insecurity Theatre

Your new password must contain a mix of: uppercase letters lowercase letters numbers symbols symbols that are also numbers illuminati symbols hobo signs occult symbols (not illuminati) old girlfriend’s phone numbers hieroglyphs fragrances H.P. Lovecraft references exotic spices descriptions of that favorite sweater you lost in a breakup that one time secret regrets controversial onomatopoeia […]

The Knife Shop

In Tsukiji there’s a small, open-fronted shop called “Tsukiji Masamoto”, and it’s packed. The walls are lined floor to ceiling with knives in various wooden cases, row after row of every tool you’d need to separate one part of some animal from another. Their shapes were unfamiliar to my western eyes, specialized tools for jobs […]

Architecture For Loners

This has been sitting around in the drafts folder for a while. I’m not sure why I wanted to finish it off tonight, but I want to get all these half-finished posts done. This seemed like a good way to knock off some of the rust. Occasionally when I’m in one of my darker moods […]

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 […]

Dawn Of The First Day

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 […]

Summertime

Aww yeah.