Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Austin

Scott is at SXSW and I'm insanely jelous. I miss Austin, and I've been wanting to go to SXSW for a couple of years now. Hopefully next year.

Doesn't make me feel any better about missing it this year, though.

MI

back from Michigan. It was good to get a chance to see my family, and espically my grandmother who I haven't seen in years.

Finished Ross Anderson's excellent "Security Engineering" on the way back too. It's a book I bought when I still lived in Austin at the end of last summer and I've been stealing moments to read bits and peices of it ever since, and I want to say that this is a fantastic book. Even if you're not a paranoid like me, this book is both engrossing and clear. If you have even a marginal interest in security of any assortment, you owe it to yourself to read this book. And no, you can't borrow my copy, it's already claimed.

Suck

My life as told by Suck

Broken Windows

Ok, I'm way too lazy to re-type this, so I'm pulling this from an email I sent to a good friend today. The following relates one of the odder things to happen in my life in the last couple of months.


So 2 nights ago I went out to get something to eat because at about midnight it struck me that I'd completely forgotten to eat that day. Anyway, I went to get some fast food (I know, I know "bad Alex!") and as I pull up to the window thing I discover that they are closed. But not before I roll down my window. And that's when my problems started.

Realizing that taco-hell was closed, I drove off to find the grocery store which I new was open, but halfway there it came to my attention that my window just didn't want to come back up. Fine, I thought, I'll just put some alcohol in the switch tomorrow and it'll clear right up like it always has.

Me and my youthful idealism.

So last night I took it over to a friends house. A couple of my friends live there and they are handy guys (a couple of EEs and a car wonk).
Figuring that it was the electrical system, we set out to fix it. After trying to clean out the switch to no avail, we tried to bypass it several different ways. Note that this is all happening out on the street at midnight and it's windy and cold. Anyway, after spending roughly an hour on that approach and finding that it didn't work, we were at our wits end. I just needed the window up because a storm front was moving in and if I could get the window up, everything else could wait. We decided to see if we could pull the window up by what small portion of glass was still exposed. Grabbing some vice grips, we attempted to lift the window, and for a second we thought we had some sucess, but both of the grips slipped off the window. Matt and Eric (my friends) decided to have another go at it. No sooner had their grips slipped again than an incredible crashing noise sounded down the street and echoed back through the hollow night, soon to be followed by a string of explatives. Mostly mine, I think.

There's something kind of surreal about the whole thing. I'm still not
quite sure what caused the window to shatter the way it did, and frankly I'm not sure I want to. I don't even want to think about what it's going to cost to get it fixed either, since it's money I probably don't have.


Since it's been both cold and rainy the past day and a half I've been car-less but my friends have been good enough to do things like ferry me to interviews and the like. Feels oddly like high-school, only I have to pay my own rent now.

Bummer about that.

Handouts

The handout for my Unix short course is up.

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