slash blog | a collection of thoughts and hacks


2 minute read Published:

This weekend I took the opportunity of some downtime and the fact that I’ve deployed a new primary VPS (with the wonderful iocoop) to migrate my blog source to use hugo, leaving behind the Octopress setup I’ve had for a while. Why? Well I’ve been on a small Go kick recently at $DAYJOB and elsewhere and having played with some of the other utilities developed by spf13 such as cobra and admiring their ergonomics and simplicity I was keen to give hugo a try.

No more snowflakes

2 minute read Published:

Administrating a single server that’s your sole responsibility isn’t that much of a hassle but anyone who’s shared this responsibility with others or inherited machines manually configured by others knows without documentation will quickly tell you it’s a pain to work backwards from the finished server and maintain it going forward. Getting bitten by this once or twice is OK, but as I get more involved in certain projects it’s becoming a stronger anti-pattern, and so I’m making a pledge to stop it.

Running, reading, blue hair, and orbital mechanics

4 minute read Published:

I’ve lapsed yet again in the weekly writing requirement of the Iron Blogger project at Noisebridge and so feel compelled to give a core-dump type post to recount the happenings of the last two weeks. I made a real breakthrough in my running in the last two weeks, after picking out some advice from /r/running on Reddit. I was absentmindedly browsing looking for training plans when I came upon a “beginners guide” of sorts which I scrolled though.

Rust barcode scanner v0.1, Freecon, and exercise

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This week I finished the first version of the barcode scanning flow I’ve been working on for Noisebridge. It’s a very simple Rust CLI that listens for input from a specified input device, and outputs only valid ISBN13 codes that it receives. Today I’ll work on a small Go program to take the ISBN numbers, looks them up and records the books in a PostgreSQL database. The next step after that is a small web service which allows people to search the books and see what we have at Noisebridge.

Breaking radio silence

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It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and write a nicely thought out blog post, but in the complete absence of any rhythm in recent postings I figured I’d write down some thoughts about the last 2 weeks. I’ve been making slow (mostly due to time commitments), but good progress on the USB barcode scanner project I’ve been hacking on for Noisebridge. One of the frustrations in choosing Rust for this project was the lack of API stability in pre-1.

Linux Fest North West & Hackers on a Train recap

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I’ve been neglecting my weekly blog post the last few weeks, but I’m back! The last few weeks and weekends have been busy with fun stuff. The workshop I gave on Data Security for Journalists at the CPJ conference was really wonderful fun. It was great to meet Cyrus and Micah and hang out with them teaching journalists how to use security tools to protect both themselves and their sources. The workshop itself was a great success, with all attendees walking away with both a working knowledge and a suite of tools to help them in their daily work.

Thoughts on teaching crypto to journalists

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Last Saturday I gave a workshop on Data Security to a small group of Bay Area journalists at Noisebridge. The workshop was a small-group test of the same material that’ll be used at a larger workshop I’m helping to lead at the Committe to Project Journalism’s SF conference later this month. Overall it was a great success and a really awesome experience, with 4 journalists walking away with a fully functional email encryption setup, as well as a good working knowledge on the concepts underpinning it.

Cycling bikes is fun

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I started riding my bike to work the other day, and it’s very enjoyable. I’ve been feeling a bit sedentary in recent times, so a more active morning and evening commute is a really welcome change. I’d kinda forgotten that nice feeling you get post-exercise, and it’s made me realise that I should do this more often. I find it easy to fill time with non-exercise related things, so coupling exercise with my daily commute will hopefully facilitate this becoming a habit.

Anti-pattern checkin week #3

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It’s been 3 weeks since Noisebridge’s Iron Blogger kicked off. While I’m happy to have kept myself to a schedule of writing at least once a week, I’m still trying to beat the anti-pattern of scrambling to write something last thing on a Sunday evening. Thankfully, I have a few things I’m working on that I’d like to write about in more detail. I’m hoping to flesh out a few post stubs to keep on hand during the coming weeks such that I’ll never be short of ideas about which to write.

Don't lock your data in proprietary products: Or, why I'm replacing my Drobo with a FreeNAS box

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PSA: Don’t trust your valued data to proprietary products. When they break you’ll be up a proverbial creek without a paddle. The Drobo FS honeymoon period Back in 2011 I bought a Drobo FS with the intention of using it as a home backup solution. The features it offered were exactly what I was looking for: some RAID-like setup promising single parity as well as a neat ability to setup network Time Machine shares.