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.

Security Link Rodeo: Silk Road, the Patriot Act, Alan Turing, and Your Passwords

The man behind the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, received a life sentence after being convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking. It’s estimated that he made around $18 million on the website, which ran as a hidden service in the Tor network. Some of the operators for the Silk Road argue that it was a haven for libertarian philosophy, but does that really excuse the amount of damage they enabled? The Economist notes that since the Silk Road fell, illegal drug sales on the Internet have doubled.
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A Look Back on the History of Cryptography

In May, I taught a class on the History of Cryptography at Portland Underground Grad School. I’m extremely grateful to PUGS for asking me to teach, because I’d never done it before. It was a great experience. My students were intelligent and the discussion was good. I learned quite a few things in the process.
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Now Working with CommerceCollective!

I am now working with my good friends at CommerceCollective! CommerceCollective is a web presence management company located here in Portland, Oregon, and they are great at SEO and social media stuff. They also are really talented web designers. If you’re looking for a full website solution, from design down to the nuts and bolts, we are the place to go.

I’ll be supplementing their services with full-stack web development, IT consulting, and a little bit of copy writing. Read more about our team here!

Good, solid SSL

I’m in the middle of some major migrations and upgrades on the Arnesonium servers. So far, the results have been positive. For instance, the SSL/TLS configuration on my webserver is finally awesome. I’ve also got MaxCDN configured properly, so the entire website is now served via SSL/TLS only!

Here’s what the Qualys SSL Labs checker had to say:

Screenshot from 2015-05-23 19:02:27

The History of Cryptography at PUGS

Portland Underground Graduate School (PUGS) has invited me to teach a class on the history of cryptography starting May 4th. The class will be four sessions and is very affordable: only $40!

We will cover the basics of cryptography, where it came from, and why it’s important. In addition, I will teach you how to use a number of manual cryptographic techniques. I’m really excited about this class, and I can’t wait to share my knowledge!

To learn more and to sign up, please visit the PUGS class listing here.

Link Rodeo: Go Package Management and Boring Technology

Here are a number of interesting topics for you to think about this week.

I’ve been learning the Go programming language recently, and in the process I’ve been having conversations about it with friends and colleagues. Go has a unique package management system that has already caused me a number of headaches. The recommended method for taking care of package dependencies is lacking, at best. Over at Nerdbucket, my buddy Nerdmaster has written a thoughtful piece about it.

While I’m talking about new technology, I’d also like to contradict myself by agreeing with Dan McKinley’s great piece, “Choose Boring Technology.” He argues that a project should be careful about adopting lots of new tools and technologies. It reminds me of a time recently when I was looking for a Node.js programmer, and one of the replies I got back was, “For us, Node.js is glue. Its ecosystem is still too young to support anything long-term. Libraries and packages move too fast to build a product that will need actual maintenance.” I’ve had the same feeling about many technologies I’ve wanted to try, such as Ocsigen for OCaml, which has a build system and API that is always several steps ahead of its documentation.

This post’s featured photo is courtesy of Flickr user MunicipioPinas.

Random Link Rodeo

Hawthorne BridgeI’ve been working on a few projects, but nothing I can share publicly. However, I’ve also been out in the world of the Portland tech community, which has been excellent. If you haven’t heard of Calagator yet, go check it out.

Last week, I went to a meet-and-greet for developer evangelists from Google Cloud Platform. After talking to one of the Google devs, I was convinced to give Go a try. He told me that Go has type inference, and while I was dismayed to learn that it only has type inference on variable declarations, it still looks like a good language. I’m playing around with sawsij and Google App Engine and should have something to share in a few weeks.

Last night, I went to a PDX WordPress Meetup, where I saw Kronda Adair of Karvel Digital give a presentation called “5 Common Website Owner Mistakes and How to Fix Them.” After the talk, there was some interesting talk about website optimization and the “noisy neighbor” problem in cloud computing.

Next week, I’m looking forward to the PdxDevOps meeting, mostly because I’ve realized that this is what I do most of the time. When I build websites, I tend to handle everything from hosting and system administration through software development.

I’m really impressed by how full and rich the Portland tech community is. So far I’ve met a lot of great people in it, and I look forward to meeting more.