New UnBlog System

I've switched from a mailing list driven system to a wiki based one for this UnBlog. It's less weird than the mailing list setup was, but it's not exactly moveable type either. It offers RSS feeds and subscriptions, though through entirely different mechanisms than the list did. I think I've moved everything over well enough that there are no dead links into the old space. I ended up using my WikiChump thing modified to handle attachments and create comment pages to populate the data.

Brute Forcing My Own Password

I try to maintain good password practices -- total random gibberish, never use the same password for two things, change them monthly --, and the EBP lite from certainly helps.

Last night, at about 3am I was doing my monthly password change and somehow I typed one password wrong in exactly the same way three times. Today when I tried to add my ssh private key it just wouldn't unlock. I tried the "right" password 10 or so times and no luck. I then started trying slight variants on the password: fingers shifted, missed shift key, similar looking characters, etc. After 30 or so of those tries with no luck it was time to script.

Ten minutes later I had a list of 27,648 (4 * 3 * 4 * 3 * 3 * 4 * 4 * 4) possibilities and ten seconds later permutation number 2308 proved correct. Whew. One would think this would teach me to be more careful, but really it's shown me that so long as one has strong script-fu close-enough is good-enough.

Oldenburg Survey Results Released

I went ahead and aggregated the survey results related to this previous entry about starting a social club:

The results can be found at:

Sadly, I've been forced to conclude that there's just no way to start something like I'd hoped for without a good year's worth of operating expenses in the bank. You need members to gather dues, need dues to open the club, and need the club to gather members.

I still believe the basic idea is tenable, and that operating finances wouldn't be out of line with expected revenues, but barring a grant of some sort I just don't see a way to do it.

Time For Another Key Signing

It's time once again for that marriage of mathematics and paranoia that is a cryptographic key signing. I'm organizing another for Thursday, January 20th, 2005. Details can be found at: Results from my last key signing can be found at:

If all that's gibberish to you, check you my much better explanation last time I did one of these:

Thanks once again to the ACM for letting us use their room.


glad to see a new posting. i was getting concerned your new non-geek pursuits were interfering with your true purpose. -- Kate Bauer

Dead Pool Update

I've got the entries and current scores posted for the Dead Pool at . Thanks to those who entered. I was planning on hitting everyone up to join at the Halloween party, but then I got distracted and forgot. O'well six people, two of whom already have points, is good enough.

Best of luck to the entrants,

The Hierarchy of Pretzel Sins

I eat pretzels like Darwin would have. It's a constant survival of the fittest competition. I select two pretzels, eat whichever is most flawed, select another, re-test, and just keep going from there. At the end I've got the best pretzel of the whole bag left, which I then eat.

Admittedly it's not an actual test of the pretzels' fitness to survive -- the pretzels with inferior qualities aren't dying off due to failure to feed themselves and attract mates. Really it's just their ability to conform to my invented notion of the master pretzel, but if you go around saying you eat pretzels like Hitler people back away slowly.

Here then is my criteria for the most fit pretzel presented by defining what makes a pretzel bad. Earlier sins are more severe than the later sins, and the pretzel with the most severe sin gets eaten first.


  • broken - pretzels must be closed figures with no open ends
  • bad connectivity graph - pretzels must have 3 distinct, conjoined regions
  • asymmetric - pretzels must exhibit symmetry about the vertical access
  • inconsistent thickness - pretzel lines should be uniform in width
  • overly tall/wide - pretzels should be roughly the same in width and height
  • flawed skin - pretzels must exhibit unbroken golden-brown skin
  • bad salting - salt should be neither too heavy, to light, nor uneven

There, now it's published. If no one refutes it in the next 24 hours I'll assume the world accepts the inverse of that list as the definition of a perfect pretzel.


Well, that sounds like a challenge!

I disagree with your overly tall/wide, in my mind the perfect pretzel should be wider than it is tall, though not too wide!

-- Louis Duhon

Dorm Apology Ad

On Tuesday some friends and I were talking about how we immaturely approached alcohol back in the dorms, and I was thinking it would be fun to take out a full (or half) page ad in the student paper, The Minnesota Daily, like this:



Thank you, Resident Hall Facilities Staff, for your

service above and beyond the call of duty. We're sorry.

[ photo of 5 or 6 people standing soberly and shamefacedly above their name, which dorm they were in, and the years of residence]

I've contacted The Daily about getting a rate sheet, meanwhile there are a few questions to be answered:

  • Is this insulting? Funny or no, I don't want to actually insult the

    fine residence hall maintenance staff.

  • How much would folks pay to be one of the people in the ad?

    Depending on the cost of this thing I might need sponsorship from the other people in the ad.

  • Would you be interested in being in the ad? You could use a fake

    name if that changes anything. Hell, you could sponsor someone else.

So if I could get a little feedback, it'd be great. Is this funny or just a dumb idea I should let die?

AntFlow 1.0rc1 Released

I code for a hobby and a profession, but usually it's only the hobby stuff I can release here. However I'm happy to say and proud to announce that Onion Networks, my employer, has okay-ed the release of AntFlow, a tool I largely wrote.

AntFlow adds hot folder triggers and workflow functionality to the ever popular Ant build tool. It's a great fit and a right good bit of code, so check it out at .

A Clockwork Orange Costume

My Halloween costume this year came out pretty well. I went as Alex from Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange during his brainwashing. I made the head piece from scrap metal, some syringes, galvanized steel wire, rubber tubing, and a lot of rivets. The actual actor was temporarily blinded during the filming of that scene, but I went less hard-core on the eye restraints and the only after effects I've got are some bruising and puffiness. All in all better than I was hoping for. See the attached image for a photo. Thanks to the Kromhout clan for the photo.


Dead Pool

I've decided to run a dead pool this year. You can sign up at by guessing 10 famous persons who you think might die during the next calendar year. The younger they are the more points you get, and the highest point total wins. Remember, it's not any more morbid than fantasy football is athletic.