Typing Chinuk Wawa in Emacs

Olympia typewriter - German keyboard layout

Back in 2015, I took a course in being an ally for local Native American communities from the Portland Underground Grad School (PUGS). One action that was suggested during the course was learning the local language, but it proved difficult to find opportunities. When the pandemic forced school closures, though, Lane Community College began offering classes online. I found out about this thanks to the excellent Kaltash Wawa blog, and this fall I signed up to take a remote Chinuk Wawa class through Lane Community College.

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Slides on a Stick with Raspberry Pi Zero W

If you give presentations often, you will know that one of the biggest headaches is managing slides. You have to figure out software, hardware, and connectors. I’ve usually resorted to bringing a USB thumb drive with my slides in PDF and ODP format, but then I came across an even better idea: the Raspberry Pi Zero W (or RPi0W).

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Driftwood Public Library Follow-Up

Driftwood Public Library is great! I had a wonderful time in Lincoln City speaking about secret societies and cryptography. Links to my slides are below.

Secret Societies in Fiction How Computers Changed Cryptography

For a bibliography for “How Computers Changed Cryptography”, check my notes for my OMSI Science on Screen talk.

Also, I would like to thank the ‘D’ Sands Condominium Motel for sponsoring the talks and providing me with a really lovely room.

My view was great.
This is the view from my motel room balcony at the ‘D’ Sands.

Raspberry Pi GPIO with Erlang

Raspberry Pis are super cool. One of the neat things about them is that they have a ton of general purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, so you can use them to control all sorts of external devices. Unfortunately, most of the examples and applications are written in Python. I know, a lot of people really love Python, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

Enter the Erlang πGPIO library by Paolo Oliveira! This is a simple, straightforward library that implements the RPi GPIO stuff for Erlang. Using it, I have created an Erlang library to control a 28BYJ-48 5V stepper motor with a ULN2003 controller board.

Check out the library here.

OMSI Science on Screen Wrapup

Zimmerman Telegram

My talk at OMSI last night, “Computers and the Dawn of Modern Cryptography,” went really well. It was a great crowd and there was a good Q&A session afterwards. I’m going to keep this post really brief. First, there will be slides for my talk. Following that will be a brief bibliography if you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating topic.

Click here to download my slides.


  • Singh, Simon. The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography. Reprint edition. New York: Anchor, 2000. This book is the best resource I’ve found for a logical breakdown of how cryptography and cryptanalysis worked for WWII cryptology.
  • Boone, J. V. A Brief History of Cryptology. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 2005.
  • Copeland, B. Jack, ed. Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park’s Codebreaking Computers. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. I can’t wait to explore this book more! It is a massive collection of articles and papers from a wide array of authors.
  • Drea, Edward J. MacArthur’s ULTRA: Codebreaking and the War against Japan, 1942-1945. Modern War Studies. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas, 1992.
  • Wilcox, Jennifer, United States, National Security Agency/Central Security Service, and Center for Cryptologic History. Sharing the Burden: Women in Cryptology during World War II. Fort George G. Meade, Md.: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 1998.

In addition, almost all of the photos and information on individual cipher machines can be found at Crypto Museum. This is a rich and bountiful resource for those interested in the internal workings of modern encryption.

OMSI Science on Screen: The Imitation Game

On March 28th, I will be giving a lecture called “Computers and the Dawn of Modern Cryptography” at OMSI as part of their Science on Screen program. I’ll be speaking and answering questions just before a screening of The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. I am really excited about this opportunity! Please come down to OMSI for an informative lecture and an excellent film.

Buy Tickets Here