It’s ten years since the Apple Newton was officially killed.  (I’d left Apple several years before this happened).

I have to say that the follow-ons to the original MessagePad were pretty slick; I got a 2.0 Newton a few years ago, and really liked the improvements they made to it.

Behind the scenes

Man, there are a lot of critters in these MMORPGs. Virtually everywhere you look there is something crawling, sneaking, flying or swimming around, with its healthy appetite not far behind. You can’t go over the crest of a hill without running into something that wants to take you out and have a snack.

What I want to know is, where is all the poop?

These animals eat something. Whether it’s herbivores munching on incredibly fast-growing grass or carnivores eating said herbivores (and WoW, at least, leans heavily towards meat-eaters in its ecology), it all has to come out in the end, and there should be piles, absolute mountains of poop around. But there isn’t.

There must be some dung beetles cleaning up.  Some serious dung beetles.  There are probably dung-beetle bosses that make the level-70 bosses everyone is used to running raids against look like cute waggly puppies.  But, “… and then we were wiped by an Elite Elder Dung Beetle . . . again” just doesn’t have any sense of heroics about it, so the MMORPG designers hid them away.

Likewise, that poop must be simply laden with treasure: Gold, gems, magical knick-knacks, bits of undigestable armor and other equipment.  It’s not on the land, so it’s gotta be going somewhere.  Perhaps it washes out, down the streams and rivers.  My guess is that the WoW environment is simply stuffed to the gills with heavy metals.  The seas must be absolutely socked with lead, tin, mine tailings, partially smelted thorium waste and Gorbazon only knows what other nasty stuff.

My recommendation is: Don’t eat any Oily Blackmouth fish schooling near a river delta, and stay the heck away from the shellfish in any month containing the rune Krathmal.

Hobbit Hole

A Security Analysis of the SAURON Command and Control System


In this paper we describe an effective attack against SAURON, a distributed, heirarchical command-and-control system with unique user interface features. Given mere physical proximity to the point of manufacture, a procedure is described that allows complete destruction of the entire command-and-control system. No special skills or training are required by an attacker, and N is extraordinarily small (complexity is in single digits, possibly unity). In view of these weaknesses we describe physical and logical countermeasures that should dramatically increase the strength of the system, and we also comment on the unusual decisions made in the design of the physical key containers themselves.

Keywords: SAURON, Mordor, One Ring, Fellowship, Volcano, Thermal Dissolution, Goddamn Stinking Elves Again, Hobbitses, Who Ordered The Damned Thing With Invisibility?!?

Authors: Elron, G. Grey, Baggins, et al.

Them old days

In days of old, when men were men
(The old grey-bearded hacker said)
We chipped software out of rocks
Bent parenthesis into curly-blocks
Synchronized with rusty locks
Had to wind-up all our clocks
Padded structs with dirty socks
Thought GO-TOs were orthodox
(The aged hacker cocked his head)
“Things were so much simpler, then.”