My book on Security Engineering is now available online for free download
I have two main reasons. First, I want to reach the widest possible audience,
especially among poor students. Second, I am a pragmatic libertarian on free
culture and free software issues; …
I’d been discussing this with my publishers for a while. They have been
persuaded by the experience of authors like David MacKay, who found that putting
his excellent book on coding theory
online actually helped its sales. …
OK, this is one that everybody can attend. On September 14th I’ll be playing
a show in Second Life (the show starts
at 5PM SL time, aka West Coast time). Yes: a virtual show in a virtual
world with my virtual self, Yonatan Coalcliff.
Alas, the show starts way past my bedtime over here in PT+8 land, so I’ll just
have to hope for some good recordings by people who can be there “in person”.
Just as well, really, my
Monkey avatar is at the cleaners.
My friends and colleagues The Magicians built a beautiful and immersive Second Life shared space for the Strong Angel III event this year. I say “they” because my own contribution was very minor this time round. I did get a chance to tour the completed island the other day, and I made a video which may give you some idea of the place. The cheesy intro is courtesy of iMovie but the lack of sound is entirely my mistake.
You can see from the video that the build has a kind of calming idealised
ancient Greek feeling, and includes several meeting areas with the ability to
display video or still images. The centrepiece includes a model of the area of
San Diego that Strong Angel are using for the real-world event. There are many
imaginative touches; you’ll see an oracle and a sheep-eating Cyclops in the
video, and unfortunately only a passing glimpse of a nest of tiny dragons (I
should go back and re-shoot that part). In my opinion, it’s details like these
that turn a potentially sterile virtual meeting room into somewhere with a real
sense of being a place.
Strong Angel itself is a recurring “integrated disaster response demonstration”. It allows disaster responders to get together with technologists to explore techniques and technologies that could be used in future disaster and humanitarian relief efforts. Although it will be a while before tools like Second Life can be fully integrated into that kind of response (bandwidth is pretty thin on the ground in most of these situations) the response from the other Strong Angel participants was very positive. Rather than go into that in any more detail, I’ll refer you to Sanjana Hattotuwa’s excellent article on the subject and to his podcast interview with Kimberly Rufer-Bach, the Magicians’ Head Honcho.
[Updated 20060830: more videos of the island: one, two [2018-03-05: link removed].]
Another bonus of advanced age is the accumulation of generally useless
knowledge that is nonetheless impressive. After about the age of 40 you start
hearing a lot of “How did you know THAT?” If you sum up all of the facts in
your head plus your awesome powers of inference plus your exceptional skill at
bullshitting, you look like a psychic to anyone under 20.
Everybody loves Eric Raymond is a pretty weird web comic to start with, combining as it often does obscure open-source in-jokes with the premise that Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond and Linus Torvalds all live together in a flat somewhere.
Today’s episode jumps over into the even more obscure realm of crypto in-jokes, with the even weirder premise that Bruce Schneier is actually a cryptographic Chuck Norris.