Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years, everyone! Hope 2014 is a great year! :)

RasPi Internet Radio

I love the Raspberry Pi, and there are so many great projects our there to inspire you. I especially like this Raspberry Pi Powered Radio on MAKE.

Monday, December 30, 2013

10 Best Computer Games, Ever

I just ran across an "abandonware" website and started thinking about my ten favourite computer games of all time. This list was extremely difficult to create because A) I haven't been much of a gamer over the past decade or so and B) there are too many different criteria to chose from. The criteria I finally settled on was how much fun I had at the time I was playing the game. If you feel differently about the list, feel free to share your favourites in the comments. And now, my 10 favourite PC games, in no particular order:

Colossal Cave (aka Adventure)

Commander Keen

Wing Commander


Star Control

Space Quest

Wolfenstein 3D

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy



Sunday, December 29, 2013

New book on my favorite 8-bit computer

There's a new book out on my favorite 8-bit computer, called CoCo: The Colorful History of Tandy's Underdog Computer [affiliate link]. It's definitely going on my wish list ;)

Friday, December 27, 2013

For you, Brandon!

I remember once, at a concert of a buddy's band, you being that guy who yells "Play me some Skynyrd!" regardless of the band's style. So, this if for you, my friend. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope that whatever holiday you might celebrate this season, it's a joyous one :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, to the most wonderful woman in the world! I love you!

Top 10 Geek Books of All Time

Some geeks, myself included, love to read. While reading non-fiction is pretty much a requirement to keep on top of the things I love, this list will be restricted to fiction. Also, my favorite genre is cyberpunk. This is definitely reflected in the list below, even though it also includes other sci-fi and fantasy. So, without further ado, here are 10 of my favorite books, in no particular order:

  1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

  2. Neuromancer by William Gibson

  3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein

  4. The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

  5. Islands in the Net by Bruce Sterling

  6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

  7. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

  8. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

  9. Hammered by Elizabeth Bear

  10. Old Man's War by John Scalzi

I know there are many more great fiction books out there, and these are just some of my favorites. Also, because I went with fiction only, I had to leave out some of my other favorites, such as Wil Wheaton’s Just a Geek.

I also know I’ve done this post before, but it went away when I purged the site of old content. Also, my tastes may have changed slightly since last time, so the list might be slightly different.

Finally, for full disclosure, the links above are affiliate links.

Friday, December 20, 2013


For those on Twitter, you should follow NSA Public Relations. It's the funniest parody account I've seen. Or follow the real NSA Public Affairs Office. It's less amusing, but they ARE following YOU, and turnabout is fair play. lol (Also, follow me as @wintermute740 on Twitter, if you would.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Ever since Google decided to shutter Reader (which upset me greatly), I have been looking for a good RSS reader. I've used Bloglines in the past, and really loved them, but they are not the same as before they were bought out. That's when I switched to Reader, and when they decided to shutter, I switched to The Old Reader, which very reminds me of an older version of Google Reader (hence the name). But I've never been quite happy with it, and then I discovered Feedly. It took a little getting used to, but I absolutely love it. It's cross-platform, and includes a web interface as well, so even if you use multiple devices, you can keep your feeds synced up. That is probably my favorite feature.

So, what's your favorite RSS reader?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I know Technorati doesn't exactly hold the same relevance it once did, but I continue to use it, mostly out of habit. But I'm really starting to wonder if it has any relevance at all anymore. I can't tell you the last time I saw traffic come from there, and their wonderful widgets are long since gone. I wonder if it's time to stop bothering with making sure my blogs are listed there or not. Any thoughts?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top 10 Geek Movies of All Time

Monday seems like a good day to do top 10 lists, and, while I'm sure this post will stir up a little controversy, as any subjective top ten list should, I can make an argument for why each of these movies should be in any geek's top-10. So here they are, in no particular order (affiliate links below):

  1. The Matrix The first one, not the trilogy or the second or third (though, I would argue that the third was better than the second, and could have been better still had the second not happened at all). I haven't watched it in some time, so I don't know how well it held up, but I absolutely loved it when it first came out.

  2. Sneakers This was highly entertaining and has an excellent cast, definitely worth watching.

  3. Hackers This movie is so filled with jokes from the computer underground scene of the time, how can you not love it, despite (or, perhaps, because of) the cheesiness? I laugh my way through it every single time I watch.

  4. Johnny Mnemonic This movie gets a bad rap, but I think it deserves its spot on the top ten. I love me some cyberpunk, and this movie certainly fit the bill. It's an adaptation of William Gibson's short story of the same name, and my only real disappointment was the replacement of Molly Millions, of Neuromancer fame, due to the movie rights of Neuromancer and related characters being owned by someone else, if I recall correctly. That's a movie I'd love to see made!

  5. WarGames A classic! As dated as it feels watching it now, it's still quite enjoyable.

  6. Tron The original is a classic. Very cheesy, even back then, but that's part of the charm.

  7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail What kind of list of top geek movies doesn't include at least one Monty Python movie? And I'd argue that thus is the best one.

  8. Office Space Yeah. I'm gonna have to ask you to watch this movie if you haven't already. mmmkay? Did you get the memo? This is arguably Mike Judge's best work.

  9. Blade Runner This first adaptation of a Philip Dick story on the list. The granddaddy of cyberpunk, and definitely a classic.

  10. Total Recall The original version (the new one didn't totally suck, though), and the second Philip Dick story adaptation to make the cut. Another classic.

The Net gets an honorable mention. It was out at the same time as Hackers, but was, somehow, way more popular and did much better at the box office. I quite enjoyed it back in the day.

So, what's missing, and what needs removed? Let me know in comments!

Friday, December 13, 2013

One word review of Prisoners

As promised, this post marks the return from my One-Word Reviews. I'll try to make this a regular thing here, because I had a lot of fun with it before. With that said, here's my one-word review of Prisoners (aft): LONG!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The $40 x86 Arduino

Hack A Day has a post up about The $40 x86 Arduino, and, as a fan of the Rasberry Pi, I find this to be VERY cool. It's only a matter of time before someone hacks in some low-cost video card (perhaps by buying two of these and splicing them together?), and then let the retro gaming fun begin!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Because I have been an idiot with outright deleting old content, the only real way to import old archives is by combing the Wayback Machine and manually importing old posts. While doing that over the weekend, I discovered A) that I had some great content mixed in with the not-so great, and B) it is very time consuming. Probably too time consuming to worry about at the moment. If I manage to script the process (or, at least, mostly script it), I'll revisit the issue. For now, I may just go through and continue grabbing some of the gems. That said, I do still plan on grabbing the Ghosts of Ohio stuff manually, but it may take some time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Set up a TOR WifI Gateway

With all the NSA spying and such, those who value their privacy may be interested in TOR, but not know where to start. Or they may want to enable TOR on their network by default. MAKE has a solution called How to Bake an Onion Pi, which many may find useful. My plan is to set something like this up, then having it sit alongside my regular wi-fi router. That way, I decide whether or not to use TOR via which WiFi network I connect to.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm Baaa-aack! (and here's what I've been up to)

It has been way too long since I fell off the running wagon, but it's time I hopped back on. Since my last post many moons ago, I've moved a bunch of times (including cross-country and back) and still been running on-and-off, but mostly off (shame on me!). I figured I'd resurrect the blog in order to make me more accountable, and tip that ratio more towards on. :) Today is a new day, and I have a plan, about which I will post more later. My goal is still to run a marathon, but, again, more on that when I lay out my plans.

Google+ Integration

I have integrated Google+ with Blogger, which is great! Except for a couple of minor annoyances. The first is that the "About Me" section changed to my Google+ profile. But I had preemptively copied the HTML from the original "About Me" block and pasted it into a new widget. The link still goes to my Google+ Profile instead of my Blogger profile, but I can live with that (or create an actual "About" page and send it there instead).

Another issue I have is that I prefer to show my handle to users instead of my real name, though I don't mind my real name being known. A quick Google search led me to several solutions, many of them editing the HTML of the template. But I also found instructions for using CSS to change the author name on posts to a nickname. As noted on that site, it's only really useful for single-author blogs, but it serves my needs just fine for now.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hack a PSU to change output voltage

We've all been there. We need a specific voltage, and we've got a ton of power supply units, but none which suit our needs. Here's how one person decided to reverse engineer a PSU to change the output voltage to fit his project.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I've got some updates coming this way, and have started some updates to the site already.

First, you may have noticed that the "Technorati tags" line looks a little different. That's because, when I started using them, I had to manually make that line a part of each and every post. Well, Blogger has long since implemented "Labels," and it was a simple matter of changing a single line in the template. After you'd turned on labels and moved them where you want, simply find a line in your HTML that starts

a expr:href='data:label.url' rel='tag'

and change that section of it to

expr:href='"http://technorati.com/tag/"+data:label.name' rel='tag'

and you're set.

Second, I'll be moving this back to www. instead of blog. (edit: done)

Finally, as part of that, I'll be importing all of the "Ghosts of Ohio" posts into Blogger. (edit: in progress, but a very manual process)

Oh, and I may hit up the Wayback Machine to find some of my old posts and start importing them again. From now on, I'm not deleting a single thing ;) (edit: in progress, but an extremely manual process)

edit: Oh, and obviously I'm off my anti-Google kick ;) So also expect the feeds to be changed back over to Feedburner soon. (edit2: done)

edit2: And look for a return of my one-word move reviews (which will, obviously, contain affiliate links).

Best Firefox Extensions

Another list from Lifehacker, this one the best extensions for Firefox.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lifehacker's Best Linux Apps

This is a bit old, but every year Lifehacker puts together a bunch of lists of great apps. Here's this year's best Linux apps according to them

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Raspberry Pi Emulation

There are lots of RasPi emulation machines out there, but here's an interesting portable version.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers. I am most thankful for my wonderful wife of 15 years.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Resistance decade box using DIP switches

Over on Hack A Day, there's a very nice resistance decade box using DIP switches that would be perfect in any electronics hobbyists toolkit, and looks like a great project. Check it out!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Welcome back

Since I re-purposed my main site as a "Ghosts of Ohio" site, I thought I'd create a sub-domain for the personal blog, and drive it with Blogger. Imagine my surprise when I discovered some old content was still here. Should I leave it, or delete it? Hmmm...

At some point, I'll consolidate designs and maybe drive everything with the same software, but for now, I just want to be able to write. I thought about using my Journal at h2g2.com, but for some reason it felt a little restrictive. Maybe it's just me. Regardless, I'm home now, so welcome back.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I recently ran across two seemingly incompatible copyright notices on a website:
The Write Agenda by The Write Agenda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on all work at thewriteagenda.wordpress.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com.

© The Write Agenda, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from The Write Agenda is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Write Agenda with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by The Write Agenda (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Please contact The Write Agenda for sample attributions.

Hmmm... Isn't the point of the CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license that it gives us permission to duplicate the work, as long is it is non-commercial, not modified, and attribution is given? The copyright notice says express written permission is needed. Which is it? I think The Write Agenda may need to re-think this a little bit, as they can't have it both ways, or is the CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license considered "express and written permission?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Which Star Trek Character are you?

Your results:
You are Jean-Luc Picard

Jean-Luc Picard


An Expendable Character (Redshirt)


Mr. Scott

Deanna Troi

Will Riker

Geordi LaForge



Leonard McCoy (Bones)


Mr. Sulu

James T. Kirk (Captain)

Beverly Crusher


A lover of Shakespeare and other
fine literature. You have a decisive mind
and a firm hand in dealing with others.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I am currently working on bringing the BBS back. Currently, I have Synchronet running on a laptop, but I really miss my WWIV days. I have several conflicting ideas, starting with what package to use. My options are WWIV 5.x, WWIV 4.x (I still have my reg code), Synchronet, and Major BBS. All of them are trivial to run under Windows, but I'm seriously considering Linux. I kinda want to gut an old external modem and put a Raspberry Pi inside of it. I could even repurpose the modem LEDs for different indicators. My favorite idea is to use WWIV 4.x, but because each node would need it's own instance of DOSbox, I'm not sure how viable it is. Filesystem caching is easily overcome by telling it you're mounting a floppy disk (but it never reports that there's more than 1.4MB free space, even if you have gigs), but DOSbox itself it a bit resource intensive for the Pi. I'm not sure if it can be tweaked enough to get several instances to run at once. Maybe if I tell each instance it's a 286 with text-only video? For the record, I also have a proof-of-concept single node running on my Pi, but DOSbox has not been tweaked. Maybe I'll do some tweaking before deciding for sure.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tiny Tiny RSS

With Google Reader going away, I've been looking at alternatives. If you have a web server with PHP and MySQL, Tiny Tiny RSS might be a viable option.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Build your own VR headset

I've been interested in VR for a long time now, and it looks like it might finally gain some traction with the Oculus Rift shipping soon. If you don't want to wait, here's a guide for building your own VR headset.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Links and such

Sorry for the missing week, and for the abundance of links instead of original work. I started a new shift at work, and have a backlog of stuff I wanted to share. Original essays will be forthcoming :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pi gives Amiga new life

I've been considering doing something similar with a Tandy Coco as this Amiga. I'd really want to emulate some of the Coco hardware, too, and maybe find a way to build a cart reader as well.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

NAND Gate Computer

I love all the action going on in homebrew computing. Kinda reminds me of the early days. And here's another one, using nothing by NAND gates.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Link changes *after* user clicks on it!

One of the most common pieces of advise we give is to be careful what you click on, right? Apparently, someone made that piece of advise moot, as there is a way to change the link *after* it's been clicked.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A portable C-64

Have an old Commodore 64? Want to make it a portable C-64? Great article over on Hack-A-Day is just what you need!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remember the IBM M keyboard?

Anyone else have fond memories of the IBM M keyboard? Apparently, there's a company that makes keyboards with the IBM M keyboard feel. Personally, I'll just keep trolling the thrift shops for an actual IBM M keyboard and save the cash ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Going Google-free

So, Google has decided to kill off it's popular RSS tool, Google Reader. As a result, I've decide to stop using Google services, as I cannot trust them to be around when I need them. As such, I've stopped using Google Analytics for the blog, and only use what's built into the Jetpack plugin. Also, if you're reading this via Feedburner, please subscribe directly, as I will eventually kill the Feedburner feeds completely. I'll also be pulling the Adsense ads from the site as well. Not sure what I'll replace them with yet. These changes are similar to the changes Bruce Schneier made to his blog (though he did it for privacy reasons, which is also a motivating factor here as well).

On the non-blog side of things, I will probably go back to using Bloglines for my RSS feed reading, though it's changed drastically since the last time I used it. I'm also using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine. I haven't decided on e-mail yet, as Gmail offers the most convenience. I may go back to hosting it myself, though, and using one of the many wonderful open-source webmail interfaces for it. The other Google services? I can live without or find other replacements that are more privacy-respecting than Google is.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Weevely is a stealth PHP web shell that provides a telnet-like console. It is an essential tool for web application post exploitation, and can be used as stealth backdoor or as a web shell to manage legit web accounts, even free hosted ones.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Great homebrew computer

I don't know how I missed it, but this has to be the greatest homebrew computer ever! Some of the features:

  • MC68008 CPU, clocked with 10MHz

  • 4MB DRAM, 512kB dedicated VRAM

  • Yamaha V9990 Video Display Processor

  • dual SID stereo

  • IDE/ATA and floppy disk interface

  • RTC

  • 10base-T Ethernet

  • PS/2 compatible Keyboard and Mouse ports

  • Two Atari style Joystick ports

  • RS232 and parallel ports

  • 32KB EPROM with IDE/ATA Boot Code

  • Enhanced Basic 68k

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Disconnect - Protect your browser from 'side-jacking'

Disconnect is a browser add-on that helps keep you safe from "side-jacking" and "widget-jacking" and the like.

Monday, March 11, 2013

All of Roy's shirts from The IT Crowd

The TV series The IT Crowd is one of the greatest things to come out of the UK, which is saying a lot, as there has been tons of great stuff coming out of the UK. And here's a site with all of Roy's t-shirts.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bill proposed to ban traffic cameras statewide!

From my hometown newspaper, the state of Ohio has a bill in the works that would ban traffic cameras statewide! This is good news for a variety of reasons, not the least of which (and cited in the article) is the inability to face your accuser in court. This has always bothered me about traffic cameras, even if there were no other privacy concerns with them.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Something old is new again...

Just a quick note to let everyone know I found a cool feature of Google Reader - it keeps the last 1000 posts for a given feed! This means that I am importing posts all the way back to 2006 into the current iteration of the blog. The sad part? I have to do it by hand, as the importers don't handle the file properly.

$12,000 Bitcoin Heist

Wow! Hackers apparently used poor security and DNS hijacks to steal $12,000 worth of bitcoin. Incredible story about the bitcoin heist.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Free online crypto course

I love schools that put coursework online for free. Here's a free online cryptography course. The next session starts March 25th 2013 :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Stats for February 2013

Being the first Monday of the month means one thing - time for a quickie stats update.

For the month of February, there were 73 visits from 41 unique visitors. By far, there were more visits from the US than anywhere else, but I had a visit from each of the following countries as well:


Also, three visitors are listed as "Unknown location."

By far, the most polular browser used was Chrome, followed by IE, Firefox, Safari, Android Browser, IE with Chrome Frame, Opera, and Uzbl.

The OSes of my visitors were Windows, Linux, Android, OSX, and iOS (in that order).

Until next month...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Analysis of how Bitcoin is used

This is a few months old, and I meant to share it when I found it, but it's a paper on how bitcoin is actually used. Very interesting reading.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tor proxy

I've been a big fan of Tor since the beginning, so I was excited when I stumbled across this tor proxy, which allows me to access tor hidden web services without having tor installed.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

for loops

I read this over at TheDailyWTF and promptly had to clean coffee off of my monitor. This has to be the greatest for loop ever written!

$i = 0;
for (;;) {
if ($i >= 15) break;

Now go clean whatever beverage you were drinking off of your monitor, and don't blame me! I warned you!

(and for those non-coders reading, the entire thing can be replaced with for($i=0 ; $i < 15 ; $i++) { ... })

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I hate the TSA

Great article titled Why I hate the TSA. The people who read me might be interested to read as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

How to thwart TSA "security"

A couple of weeks ago, the TSA found a plastic dagger via it's virtual strip-search machines. In the picture, the dagger appears to have a four-inch blade. In the comments, several people (rightfully) take TSA to task for this find, as it is not a threat to aviation. Our point is that it is not worth the liberties and the money to find something so insignificant, but some anonymous person seemed to want an answer as to why we were not focusing on the intent of the person trying to smuggle it on. My reply exposes several "weaknesses" in TSA security, so I doubt it will get approved. But here is my basic reply (I did not save a local copy, so I don't have it word-for-word:

The intent of the person carrying this dagger is irrelevant, as it is not a threat to aviation. If he had ill intent, here are some other ways to get past security:

First, make the checkpoint itself the target. I'm not sure how much damage you could do with a 4" plastic blade, but you'd be just as big a threat to aviation there as if you managed to get it on the plane, what with hardened cockpit doors and passenger awareness and all.

Second, place the blade in the scanner's blind spot. See point one as to why, even if successful, you're still not a threat to aviation.

Third, take a pair of scissors, which are allowed, instead. Once past security, separate the blades. Now you have TWO weapons instead of one. See point one as to why this does not matter, though, and why I suspect the scissors are allowed to begin with.

Fourth, go through security and find a place inside the "secure" area to have a nice steak dinner before your flight. Pocket the steak knife before you leave the restaurant. You're still not a threat to aviation, but at least you had a nice meal before the other passengers on the flight took you down when you started trying to take over the plane with a steak knife.

Finally, fly first-class and opt for the in-flight meal. Then you can wait, in the comfort of first class, for a flight attendant to hand you a knife. Again, at least you had a nice meal (with the bonus of a comfortable seat on the plane) before the other passengers took you down.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Why are comments moderated?

I just realized that, as an advocate of free speech, I thought it might be wise to post an explanation of why comments are moderated here.

The explanation really is quite simple: spam. I moderate comments so that I can keep out the spam. If you are a human posting a comment, it will get approved. If it does not get approved, it must have appeared to be spam ;) Sure, I use a ton of anti-spam measures both on the blog and on the forum, but by requiring moderation of your first couple of comments, I add myself as the final anti-spam measure. After you've been approved twice before, your comments should be auto-approved. The restrictions on the forum are the same (two approved posts, then auto-approval kicks in), and, unfortunately, approved comments do not count towards posts and approved posts do not count towards comments. The only other difference with the forum is that off-topic posts will be moved to a more appropriate location, but will not be deleted.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The download page for Homeland is ready! :) Or, you can still buy a copy (affiliate link) ;)

Monday, February 18, 2013

TSA abuses child in wheelchair

The following video makes me so angry that I present it without comment:


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Privacy and open source

I just ran across an article titled "75 Top Open Source Tools for Protecting Your Privacy" that looks promising, and thought I'd point everyone over there. If nothing else, everyone should check out number one on their list, the Tor Browser. Tor is a wonderful project, which I hope to post more about later, which makes your online activity anonymous. The Tor Browser makes installing and using Tor for web browsing a snap.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Never debate a TSO

Recently, I've been debating a TSO over at the TSA Blog in various different comment threads. I took TSORon to task for some misstatements that were made regarding TSA's performance. I asked an anonymous TSA apologist for proof that the screeners on 9/11 were poorly trained and that the TSA were any better. TSORon responded saying to read sections 9.1, 9.2, and 13.5 of the 9/11 commission report. So I did, and they to not speak to this. At all. So TSORon said to read a different section. Dude, if you're gonna cite sources, cite them correctly the first time. In another thread, I pointed out that the TSA is not any better at screening, as they have an approximate 70% failure rate. TSORon again took the opportunity to fire back with false information, stating that the information was from a 2004 report about 2002 screening. True. I have never claimed otherwise. However, he claims this number is irrelevant, but refuses to acknowledge that in a Congressional report in November 2011, it was stated that, while the actual failure rate is SSI, it has changed very little over time. What does this tell us? It tells us that if we have the TSA's failure rate at any point of their existence, then we know that it is roughly the same. Since the TSA admits the 70% number was accurate at one point in time, does it not follow that, given the Nov 2011 statement, that it is still roughly the same? Not a single TSO I've debated this with has even acknowledged this statement, and the debate abruptly ends any time I bring this fact up. Wonder why?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Expanding features

As you may have noticed, I've been busily expanding features. First, you may notice in the sidebar that you can donate either via Bitcoin or PayPal. Also, I found a phpBB style that I like, so the forums are about ready to go. There's also a new Chat feature. Finally, I've also added a Links section.

I've considered adding a Wiki as well, but I'm not entirely certain how useful that would be. Feel free to suggest other features as well :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dark Lord Day

A friend of mine attended Dark Lord Day a few years ago and brought a bottle back for me. That was an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. This year, Dark Lord Day is April 27. Tickets sold out in about 2 minutes last year, so if you're planning to be in the Chicago area this year to attend, you'll hafta be quick. Anyone know when tickets go on sale this year?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mentor's Last Words

Another manifesto, this one titled The Conscience of a Hacker:

File: archives/7/p7_0x03_Hacker's Manifesto_by_The Mentor.txt
==Phrack Inc.==

Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10

The following was written shortly after my arrest...

/The Conscience of a Hacker//


+++The Mentor+++

Written on January 8, 1986

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me...

Or feels threatened by me...
Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found.

"This is it... this is where I belong..."

I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

+++The Mentor+++

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

I have been struggling to find a way to pay proper tribute to Aaron Swartz, whom I never met in his too-short life but was certainly aware of. Then I stumbled across the "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto" and found it to be a better tribute than anything I could come up with. So here it is, in its entirety:

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You'll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It's outrageous and unacceptable.

"I agree," many say, "but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it's perfectly legal — there's nothing we can do to stop them." But there is something we can, something that's already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It's called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn't immoral — it's a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It's time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that's out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we'll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we'll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

-- Aaron Swartz (1998-2013), July 2008, Eremo, Italy

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monthly Stats

Something I did years ago, which I think I might start doing again, is post my monthly visitor stats on the first Monday of the month. I used to use Webalizer years ago to pull the data from my raw Apache logs. I may just use data from tools already running on the blog (specifically, Google Analytics, but I believe I get better stats from the logs. Regardless, I'm skipping January because it was a partial month. I'll revisit the issue at the end of February :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Little Brother

Just a quick note to tell everyone to read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (affiliate link, or download for free) before the release of the the sequel, Homeland (affiliate link), on Tuesday, February 5. I think anyone reading my blog will probably enjoy this book, and I cannot wait for the sequel :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My first thought on seeing xkcd's take on the tar command was "Is he creating an archive or extracting one? And is it gzipped?" ;)

The second thought was "Wow! All those years of compiling from source have payed off!"

(for the record, "tar -xzvf <filename.tgz>" will extract a gzipped tarball, but because of the first two thoughts, took slightly longer than 10 seconds to recall)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Automatically wake a Linux box

How-To Geek has a quick tutorial on how to make your Linux machine wake automatically. This comes in extremely handy for a machine which simply does backups at a preset time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Welcome back

Welcome back to Nitemare Cafe. The site is currently a work-in-progress (when hasn't it been?) as I modify phpBB's theme to match the colors of the theme that I'm using in Wordpress. Thanks to WP-United, the logins are integrated again :) After the theme is updated, it's time to integrate chat and wiki functions as well.