Headlines for Thursday:

  1. Prying eyes privacy (325 words)
  2. With five years of blog posts, there's a lot to discover (288 words)




1. Prying eyes privacy: 18:08

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:

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)


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! ;)

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

2. With five years of blog posts, there's a lot to discover: 21:57

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!

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