Why I speak at conferences

Among the essential reasons I continue to make presentations at various conferences is that the preparation required to deliver good content forces me to learn and comprehend a topic in greater depth. I always try to talk about the stuff I am working on: the commitment to explaining what I am learning in public forces me into a higher level of knowledge. In the past few weeks, I have spoken about OAuth2 at two different conferences, and OAuth2 has been precisely the subject of my work for the past few months, and it still is now....

April 11, 2024

Quoting snakeyjake

I wish I was morally bankrupt enough to be a productivity guru. I could, like, charge $50k to stand behind a podium in a hotel ballroom and spout nonsense at desperate people in an attempt to get them to buy my book and planners. It would be awesome. – snakeyjake

April 6, 2024

Timeline of the XZ open source attack

The so-called “XZ attack” is all over the internet these days, and for good reason. Over a period of over two years, an attacker using the name “Jia Tan” worked as a diligent, effective contributor to the xz compression library, eventually being granted commit access and maintainership. Using that access, they installed a very subtle, carefully hidden backdoor into liblzma, a part of xz that also happens to be a dependency of OpenSSH sshd on Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and other systemd-based Linux systems....

April 2, 2024

Listening to purchased music is the way

Happy Easter, everyone. This morning, I completed the long-overdue move of all my ripped CDs from my old 2012 MacBook Pro to the new one and, then, to my iPhone. I’m using Doppler on both devices. I like Doppler, a simple yet elegant MP3 player app with few well-thought-out features. I am increasingly convinced that returning to purchased music is the way. I’ve been listening to streaming services for so long that I almost forgot the accomplishment of listening to music I own....

March 31, 2024

ChatGPT is the perfect Linux assistant

I spent the day doing remote maintenance on multiple Linux machines via ssh. The revelation is that ChatGPT is the bomb for these tasks: What does that command option do? I am trying to remember. What syntax is to install that peculiar and rarely used package on Debian? I am getting this locale configuration error; what was the fix again? All this stuff is answered much sooner than searching online, no matter the search engine....

March 29, 2024

William Adams: english advisor to the Shogun

I am not a fan of TV series. However, I have been following the Shogun miniseries with a fair amount of interest, mainly because I am intrigued by the setting and historical period covered. As is always the case with modern TV series, it started very well (the first two to three episodes). Then it slowed down, getting stuck in the main characters’ fanciful and improbable personal affairs and agendas, straying from the main plot, essentially muddling along until, I assume, the last episode of the season that will end with a bang....

March 26, 2024

From Bocconi to the Twin Mountains

Yesterday I went for a walk in the mountains. This tour starts from Bocconi (on the road to Muraglione Pass) and the nice humpback bridge that is just below the village (I think it’s called “della Brusia”). Ponte della Brusia, Bocconi (FC) It is a nice hike, with the ascent that becomes quite challenging in the final part, towards the ridge tops, which, once reached, you’ll follow for a long time, partially on a forest road, before plunging back downhill, initially following a lovely descending ridge da makes most of the descent quite pleasant....

March 18, 2024

Quoting Alice Rohrwacher

In a beautiful essay published in Waiting for God, Simone Weil reminds us that study serves to develop attention, and almost no matter what is studied, even a mathematical exercise that turns out to be incomprehensible is fine. “Without feeling or knowing it,” Weil writes, “that seemingly sterile and fruitless effort has brought more light into the soul. One day one will find the fruit of it (…) in any sphere of intelligence, perhaps entirely unrelated to mathematics....

March 16, 2024

Cannibalism as a way to honor the dead

As it appears, cannibalism was much more widespread than previously thought, and perhaps for more complex reasons than we think. To honor the dead, for example. Our ancestors have been eating each other for a million years or more. In fact, it seems that, down the ages, around a fifth of societies have practised cannibalism. While some of this people-eating may have been done simply to survive, in many cases, the reasons look more complex....

March 16, 2024

Quoting Frank Herbert

I wrote the Dune series because I had this idea that charismatic leaders ought to come with a warning label on their forehead: “May be dangerous to your health.” One of the most dangerous presidents we had in this century was John Kennedy because people said “Yes Sir Mr. Charismatic Leader what do we do next?” and we wound up in Vietnam. And I think probably the most valuable president of this century was Richard Nixon....

March 14, 2024