Archive for May, 2005


Hennepin County Library RSS

The Hennepin County Library system has RSS feeds, including personalized feeds for items out and holds. Great! Now I don’t have to write this myself. See? Laziness pays off once again.

And by subscribing to their news feed, I discovered that they’re offering Firefox on library computers now. I’m telling you, someone there is paying attention. I should track them down and shake their hand.


Quick Links

A few recent items of note from my links that I think merit calling out.

Damien Barrett writes up a few quick reviews of Mac OS X antivirus software. ClamXav looks good.

Michael Howard writes about his recent spyware experience. Which reminds me: please, please don’t always be logged in as an administrative user. This is true no matter what OS you’re using. If you’re using Windows, here’s some advice on how and why. I recently paid attention to my own advice and took away admin rights from the account I usually use on the iBook. Haven’t had any trouble.

PZ Myers, one of my favorite bloggers right now, calls out the National Center for Science Education’s answers to the sadly misleading Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher.

OWASP.Net, OWASP with a .NET focus.

Catalyst, an MVC framework in Perl. Cake, a framework in PHP. Rails is having such an interesting effect.

At some point I might just get off my duff and combine my RSS feeds. It’ll take all of 10 minutes, for crying out loud.


Yet Another Conference I’m Missing

I finally came to grips with the realization that I won’t make it to YAPC::NA this year, which is a damn shame because it’s incredibly cheap (US$85 for 3 days! decent rooms at CDN $79/night!) and would be a great chance to go to Toronto, and I do so terribly miss living and breathing Perl. That’s bad enough.

Then, what arrives in the mail today? A brochure for a week-long workshop on studying medieval manuscripts up at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library .

The Minnesota Manuscript Research Laboratory is a project developed by the Center for Medieval Studies (CMS) in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota ― Twin Cities, in collaboration with the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University, Collegeville.

The Laboratory’s objective is to make available to interested and qualified graduate and undergraduate students and others who are interested an orientation to the study of medieval manuscripts and their contents.

To this end, the Laboratory is developing a coordinated sequence of learning materials, which it proposes to make available on-line: for example, through websites maintained by CMS and HMML.

During the week beginning Sunday, June 5 and ending on Friday, June 10, the Laboratory will hold a workshop to help its designers test the pedagogical effectiveness of various new materials and to give participants a practical, hands-on introduction to the study of manuscripts.

This is the sort of thing that leaves me hyperventilating with excitement. Seriously. And I can’t go. If I had more than a month’s notice, if I’d budgeted for it this summer, if I weren’t years out of touch with this sort of study, if I didn’t think that a week away from the family were a bad idea so shortly on the heels of 4 days away, if I weren’t so good at making up excuses, then maybe I’d go. But alas, it’s not in the cards.

I really have to plan to do something like this next year. The Center for Medieval Studies is always putting on cool events like this. And YAPC. Gotta remember YAPC.


Web App Security presentation

My web application security testing presentation at the MnSCU IT Conference last week went alright, though not as well as I’d hoped. For all I know I’m the only one who was disappointed, though, and that’s because I had too-big plans for it. It could have been improved by cutting about 20 minutes of content and planned for more audience interaction: stepping through a threat modeling session, for example, or tried live pen-testing. This was indeed what I intended, but it didn’t pan out. I spent a lot of time preparing for the talk — reading, thinking, hacking — but in the end gave inadequate preparation to actually prepping the talk itself, especially being ruthless about what did and did not end up being included. At least I had handouts this year, although I’m already catching heat for my refusal to share the presentation slides. I maintain that the slides are useless outside the context of the talk itself, though that may just be arrogance on my part.

Out of this, two resolutions:

  • In my Copious Free Time, I will put together presentations to have them ready and to give myself time to hone their delivery. I already have a list of topics, so I’m on the way.
  • I will write more about security here, starting by turning my presentation into a couple articles. Expect them in a week or two, depending on how often I can wrest the laptop away from Kiara.

I expect that I can make good on these without too much trouble.

The conference itself was good. No breakout sessions really stood out as fantastic, life-changing events, which is a shame. The best part was probably long conversations with colleagues, something for which there’s never opportunity at the office. (It’s funny how talking about early Christianity and the process of how texts enter the canon tends to drive others from the breakfast table. :)

I came back from the conference exhausted and a week behind in my reading. Somehow I expected to be able to sleep and read a whole lot more than turned out to be possible.

Update: I’ve posted my presentation notes.


No Tiger, no Hitchhikers, still okay.

Tiger was released Friday, but I don’t have it yet. Soon. Owen and I did drop by the Apple Store at Roseville, though, to take in the hubbub. The line was longer than what Garrick saw but still nothing like at the Mall of America store — which is a large part of why I was not at the Mall. I’ll go there for midnight releases to take part in the excitement, but not one that doesn’t feel any different than just dropping by the mall. We in line were still subject to strange looks from people who just can’t understand. Heh.

And Hitchhikers. I fully intended to be there opening day, but realized too late that Kiara was working Friday night and we hadn’t arranged a sitter for Owen. So I think it will be next week before we see it. Sigh.

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