November 29, 2007

Bulk view

With five years of blog posts, there’s a lot to discover

Okay, I have a seriously souped-up blog now.
Enjoy the random posts and the retrospectives on the WordPress
interface to this blog. If you click on a post, you’ll see links to
other posts I made on the same day in different years.

Why am I doing this?

Might be a little crazy to think about it, but I know I’ll get a
lot out of seeing where I’ve come from.
If I stumble across
questions I’ve asked or things I’ve reflected on, maybe I’ll stop and
think a little. If I can make more of my blog content available to
Google, maybe I’ll come across my old notes when I’m searching
for something I don’t even know I knew before. And who knows? Maybe
I’ll even figure out how to get this nicely sorted into a printed book
for my mom. ;)

What about other people? What would you get out of this? Maybe
random clicking around will help you get to know me.
Maybe you’ll
like the things you read, maybe you won’t. It’s a chance I take. But
if you’re randomly clicking through slices of my life, you’re probably
friendly. =) And who knows, maybe one of these entries will make
you think,
and that thought will turn into other thoughts, and
then you come up with a wonderful idea. Randomness is like that.

And if, while reading, you should happen to stop on an entry that
catches your eyes, you may notice how different things are year to
year, and how much stays the same.

=)

I wonder what the next five years will be like. Let’s find out!

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Random Emacs symbol: gnus-inhibit-mime-unbuttonizing – Variable: If
non-nil, all MIME parts get buttons.

Prying eyes privacy

Ted Roden uses ROT13 to protect his secrets from prying eyes, which
comes in pretty handy when you’re keeping gift lists on a shared
computer.

My boyfriend would probably be stumped by that for all of two seconds.
See, my significant other is a geek, and can spot ROT13 a mile away. I
wouldn’t be surprised if he could decode them in his head, as we used
to do cryptograms over meals. Morse is also easy to recognize and
break. If he were really determined to find out my secrets, that
wouldn’t help at all.

Nothing but strong encryption will do. Fortunately, Emacs makes this
very easy. I keep sensitive account information in a text file called
“numbers.gpg”. Following the instructions on
http://www.emacswiki.org/cgi-bin/wiki/AutoEncryption , I’ve set up
automatic GnuPG encryption for files ending in .gpg. When I open the
file, I’m prompted for my passphrase. When I save the file, the data
is encrypted again.

If I want to encrypt just bits of a file, like the way I sometimes do
encrypted sections in blog entries, I select the region and use M-x
pgg-encrypt-region. This replaces the text with something like this:

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)

hQEOAzQ6c9jHW5SMEAP/dJi8sc9wEqfODOxULzCJYtEY0CKqCIJmlP6jMUFcXmzk
o/C2HSEl0wQ39r6+D85EH4AhMrFCDLuW70S+etcbeJKF03PKrb5PjdShQdO3v4vu
0YokWEIZWdF4a/5bI+lcNz+YMv14ScsFjSLPRwz+OPXOX+rTQH/wxvYC5dLwUS8D
/2/ermrKuis0RCTpYy7LXIARNB5Sji8gMqVuidmRh9UFwyukRIJZPcgZt9nXGlZe
3HXvuWTh8Y36gsCa1iY/tN23yJel94d22hIzWdnqsWo31IsuLqquQ59mdgZjTu5a
Wpvd8AFEy69J2WKdFEInYc2tjf/KtYFYb4mXDnv/exFC0kkByzM4+TBzCUGuC5Dj
I0lwZnGOMTPvkW88Uru6gxfFEasQnMQeoDABOkMA+8PrX6ALSZJeNZG60Lallhu8
Vmh+u9aBWcYO7DKP
=++8d
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Granted, my secret key is on the hard disk, but I use a strong
password for that one.

All of this is overkill for holiday shopping lists, of course, as my
boyfriend would never think of snooping in my files anyway. But hey,
it’s always a good idea to keep some parts of your life hush-hush. If
I were _really_ paranoid, I’d think about something like OrdoEmacs in
Cryptonomicon. (Of _course_ it had to be OrdoEmacs. OrdoVi would just
be an abomination. ;) )

Ah, Emacs. You try doing _that_ in Microsoft Word! ;)

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Random Emacs symbol: eshell-deferrable-commands – Variable: *A list of functions which might return an ansychronous process.