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Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Subject:Hardware vulnerabilities
Time:10:57 am.
"Child," said Aslan, "did I not explain to you once before that no one is ever told what would have happened?"
--C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawntreader

Apparently, not always so. The Meltdown and Spectre attacks are interesting and clever exploits of speculative execution, a trick we are using to execute programs more quickly.

An internet-connected device isn't like a house: it has to be a fortress, because it is much harder to prosecute attackers, due to the relatively high anonymity and jurisdiction-crossing freedom of online attacks.

This entry was originally posted at https://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/272399.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Subject:Travel, interrupted
Time:11:58 am.
We went down to Virginia to visit [personal profile] diaspora's parents this Christmas. The stay was relatively uneventful, it was good to see folks again and get a break from Ottawa winter, all about as you'd expect.

On the way back, though, we ran into a traffic jam along I-95 around Stafford VA. A couple of cop cars went by on the shoulders, so we figured there would be a delay because of an accident, par for the course, no biggie. A few more cop cars went by, which was a bit weird, but you know, maybe just an overreaction or something.

Then we drove past an accident where it looked like a simple rear-ending, pulled off on the left, with a couple of police cars, and things opened up for a bit, although I suspected that that was a secondary accident caused by an inattentive driver.

Sure enough, traffic jammed up again, and yet more police zoomed by, driving down the paved shoulders at speed with sirens going.

A helicopter hovered in the sky over the highway ahead, and stayed there.

Traffic came to a standstill. Police cars just kept coming. A couple of fire vehicles and one ambulance went by. Still more police, including an investigation unit truck.

We were completely stopped for about an hour and a half. Cars started turning back and driving back down the shoulders. Eventually, a state trooper came and told us to do the same, and then we were directed to cross over to the other side and redirected down a country highway (US-1, the Jefferson Davis Highway).

The country highway was crawling, unable to cope with the huge volume of traffic. We stopped for lunch and gas after another hour and a half, and heard that not just an accident, but a shooting was involved in whatever incident was delaying us.

After lunch, I asked a trooper directing traffic, and he said that the highway was reopened, so we escaped the rest of the detour crawling down US-1. If he hadn't said that, we might well have turned back, because the detour looked like hours more.

We went back to the Interstate, which itself took about twenty minutes, and once there, waited about fifteen minutes more for traffic to start flowing again. A little ways down the road, we drove by the investigations unit truck and a few police cars, and there was spill absorbent scattered across the highway.

We only found out the rest of the story the next morning, because by the time we got back to Ottawa, it was about 4 a.m., about four and a half hours after our expected arrival time.

Googling the news, it looks like a man shot his wife and then led the police on a chase onto I-95, in the course of which he tried to shoot at police. The minor accident we passed first seems to have been a result of one such attempt, where the officer ducked just in time: the bullet was retrieved from the driver's headrest. Eventually, the fugitive hit a guardrail and rolled his SUV, and shot himself. He was taken to hospital by helicopter, but died there.

The police handled the whole thing very well, as best I can tell. No police fired weapons, despite the fact that this person was shooting at them. Only the man's wife and he were killed or seriously injured, and they even tried everything they could to save him. Police don't always live up to their mission--none of us do--but their handling of this incident was a pretty good example of how they can maintain lawfulness even under extreme circumstances.

This entry was originally posted at https://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/272374.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Friday, November 10th, 2017

Time:8:13 am.
I concocted a cocktail last night which tastes remarkably like Rockets candy; this was unexpected, but not a bad thing. Here's the recipe...

5 parts Beefeater 24 gin
4 parts Southern Comfort
1 part Galliano
several drops DSB Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

This entry was originally posted at https://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/271329.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Time:2:14 pm.
Physio for my arm seems to be working well; the nerve test is this Friday, and hopefully it will show that things are okay, so I have hopes of going back to aikido classes next week.

My new boss has started, and I am gradually handing over the reins of various management-y things. We get along well; I hope that she will steer a safe path through the political challenges of being the hardware manager in an increasingly software-oriented group.

Despite the often wet weather, [personal profile] diaspora and I have been getting out for a few walks, looking at assorted birds and other things, and generally enjoying outdoor time together. This year, we discovered and explored the High Lonesome Nature Preserve, where we pretty much never encounter anyone else except occasionally around the entrance. It's a very nice trail system, although there are a couple of wet bits (at least this year), but the mosquitoes were heavy during the summer.

This entry was originally posted at https://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/270848.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Friday, September 29th, 2017

Time:4:09 pm.
I've been off the mats, away from martial arts, for a month, due to what we're pretty sure is a pinched nerve in my arm. It's not doing great things for my sanity to be away from aikido in particular, but at least the weather has been good enough for me to spend some time outdoors.

Physiotherapy is in progress, and sometime next month I should get a nerve conduction test; hopefully, I will be free to go back to practice before too long.

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/270321.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Monday, August 21st, 2017

Subject:This weekend's reflection
Time:6:03 pm.
Reflection for 19-20 August 2017
Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28.

In which Ironphoenix wanders through the Gospels a lot...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/269440.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Subject:Smartphone, dumbperson?
Time:1:16 pm.
A recent study demonstrates that having a smartphone within one's sphere of awareness is distracting, reducing one's ability to concentrate effectively. From the Discussion section of Experiment 1 (p. 146):
[T]hese results suggest that the mere presence of one’s smartphone may reduce available cognitive capacity and impair cognitive functioning, even when consumers are successful at remaining focused on the task at hand.
It seems that it is best to leave the phone out of sight, and preferably even in another room, when doing anything which requires intensive thinking.

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/268646.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Subject:Last weekend's reflection
Time:8:13 pm.
Reflection for 24-25 June 2017
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Romans 5:12-15, Matthew 10:26-33.

Read more...Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/268077.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Subject:Good to be back
Time:4:24 pm.
After a hiatus of a few weeks, I'm back to my martial arts practices. The break was enjoyable in some ways, but it's good to see everyone and catch up, to move that way again, and to experience (and contribute to) the energizing effects of the space and practice.

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/267938.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Subject:Phishing warning (yes, another one)
Time:9:27 am.
Google Docs shares may not be what they seem; exercise caution, and if you have gotten caught, revoke permissions to the fake app and change your password ASAP.

Telegraph article

Wired article

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/267235.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Saturday, April 15th, 2017

Subject:Phishing warning
Time:11:21 am.
There is a unicode hack which can make a link look like a trusted site while actually sending you to a phishing site in Chrome or FireFox. Actions to fix this are described in the article.

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/266336.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Subject:Leather jackets?
Time:10:54 am.
Mood: okay.
Since Danier has closed all but 4 stores, where does one go to get a good leather jacket in Ottawa? Recommendations?

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/265970.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Subject:Pictures of the flood
Time:9:48 am.
Mood: awake.
Pictures from the flood mentioned in my previous post; cellphone camera, click to biggify.

floodwaters over road, with little waves breaking

floodwaters over road, with sign warning of possible water on road
The sign is a warning of possible standing water on road in spring or after heavy rains.

floodwaters partially covering trees and shrubs

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/265613.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Monday, April 10th, 2017

Subject:Halloooo DreamWidth!
Time:2:23 pm.
Mood: chipper.
It's great to be here tonight, folks! Or at least, that's what two-thirds of LJ's userbase seems to think right now!

This should still crosspost there; I'll keep my LJ alive for a while, but I've ended my automatic paid account renewal.

In other news, I had hoped to get to Quebec City for a martial arts seminar (aikido and iaido), but got hit last week by the flu that's going around town. I spent the weekend in town with family instead.

[personal profile] diaspora and I got out to the Cobbs's Creek and Bearbrook Creek spring floods yesterday, where we saw more water than we usually would, and consequentially fewer geese. We did still see a decent number of Canada and Snow Geese, and quite a few Pintail Ducks. We also saw more muskrats than I've seen in one place before, including some young ones--very cute.

The water was high because of recent intense rains, which flooded not only the creeks, but our basement, via the window. Fortunately, the main casualties were empty boxes, which went out with recycling this morning. We'll have to get the back yard regraded, as the root cause of the flooding is subsidence of the ground around the foundation. We'll probably recaulk the window too, and get some insulation replaced to head off any mold issues.

Yes, I'm trying to be a bit more vocal on here... maybe we can get some energy back into a decent social platform!

This entry was originally posted at http://ironphoenix.dreamwidth.org/265430.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Subject:Welp, that's a thing.
Time:11:20 am.
This may be my last direct post on LJ: I'm importing everything over to DreamWidth and will figure out how to crosspost from there. It's been a long time, I created this account in 2004. When DW got started, I reserved my username, but didn't really do much else with it, but I'm glad I did that much!

Given the recent ToS changes here, the flock is moving, and social media is all about the flock. Interestingly, the ToS update stated that it did not apply to paid accounts, but it didn't say what the status of paid accounts is.
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Friday, February 10th, 2017

Subject:Company news
Time:5:27 pm.
Export Development Canada (EDC) prepared a video featuring the company I work for; check it out (under 4 mins). No CGI, all real footage at a volcano where we actually have instruments deployed.

In related news, we're hiring; see our careers page. If you're interested, let me know, and I can forward your resume; as at many companies, there is a referral bonus, and I'm the sharing kind.
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Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Subject:Helping refugees
Time:12:31 pm.
Fellow Canadians, please join me in signing Petition e-800 (link is to Parliament petition website). This petition is to remove a regulation which would prevent Canada from considering refugee applicants refused by the USA. Until recently, this regulation was useful in preventing abuse of the refugee applicant system, but the current US President has violated the treaties which underpin the Canada-US Agreement on which this policy was based.
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Friday, January 13th, 2017

Subject:PSA: Google Accounts phishing
Time:2:14 pm.
When asked to log in to Google, always check that the padlock icon is green and locked and the first text in the address bar is "https://[service].google.com/".
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Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Subject:Please don't text and drive.
Time:2:56 pm.
And not just because you'll get caught, but because if you're reading this, I probably prefer you alive.
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Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Subject:I'm imagining what led to this, and it can't be good
Time:10:55 am.
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