Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

"You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means"

Jul 18, 2016 GMT

Recently I was in a book store and saw two books, both related to "hackers". One was "Hacking for Dummies" by Kevin Beaver and the other was "CEH: The Certified Ethical Hacker Practice Exams" by Matt Walker. I posted pictures of these two books on my Facebook page, and for the second one used the classic quote of "Inigo Montoya" from the movie Princess Bride:"You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means". Shortly after that a friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook:"In the school I am teaching there are at least two "Certified Ethical Hackers". I stand in awe about it. Never heard about it,...
A nice place, a warm summer's day, and Lua

May 26, 2016 GMT

Last year I was in Rio de Janeiro, and a couple of friends and I were just finishing a delightful day in the botanical gardens. Etiene Dalcol was a student at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC) there, and very much interested and involved with Lua, a language developed at the university, and often used in embedded systems and games.She lamented to me that there had been several international conferences about Lua but all of them were held outside of Brazil. In an offhanded way, I suggested she start a conference. As sometimes happens with things that I say in “an offhanded way” to various people, Etiene took this to heart.Last week I found that the conference will...
I give my heart to you

May 15, 2016 GMT

Hello my friends,Please forgive me for using this method of telling you what has happened to me this past week, but since I have been writing about Free and Open Source Software and Culture in this blog for many years, I hope to reach most of those people who care about my writing and actions through this medium. For those of you who feel that only technical issues should be discussed here, I promise not to write about my health issues any more.About 2100 hours on Sunday, May 8th I had a bad case of stomach gas that I attributed to food poisoning. I had a pain in my chest, but every time I burped (and released a huge amount of gas) the pain subsided. I went to bed but kept waking up to...
Brazil: Free and Open Source Culture Is Economics, Not Politics

May 05, 2016 GMT

Over the years people have accused Free and Open Source Culture (FOSC) as being a “religion”. Other people have used FOSC as a political tool, assigning the advocacy of FOSC to one political party; usually the “left”, “liberal” or (as some people call them) “progressive” party.FOSC is none of these. It is an economic model just like “Communism”, “Socialism” (yes, those are two different things) or “Capitalism”.People also tend to forget that economic models are usually never “pure”. One of my favorite sayings is that “unbridled capitalism is almost as bad as unbridled communism”, and that typically a good mix of economic models is better than...
Raspberry Pie Zero: Just chill a bit.

Nov 27, 2015 GMT

My friend Álvaro Justen showed me yesterday the announcement about the Raspberry PI Zero (hereafter just known as “Zero”), which is selling for 5 USD, and is actually included for free on the MagPI magazine that sells in Great Britain.I take off my hat (again) to the Raspberry Pi people for creating such a computer at such a low price point, and while they have already manufactured "tens of thousands" of the units, in most cases the Zero was sold out "over night" (or in some cases, even faster).Everyone hears the words "five dollars" (like "Free Software" or "Free Beer") and they are flabbergasted with the small price for a reasonably...
Design a Micro-Data Center: Win 10000 US dollars

Apr 09, 2015 GMT

For a couple of years now I have been interested in small, low-power, single-board computers. First they were interesting as “Thin clients” or “Media Centers” or other stand-alone uses. I used units like the Beagle Bone Black, the UDOO, and others, testing out their capabilities.Then along came the Raspberry Pi and a whole world began to open up of people building different things. One of the projects that interested me was building a “high performance computing (HPC) system” out of Raspberry Pis.Unfortunately I did not think the initial Raspberry Pi Model B was that interesting for “HPC”. The processor was single core, fairly slow (by HPC standards) and the overhead of...
"Open" is as "Open" Does: Parsing an announcement

Feb 23, 2015 GMT

One of the great things about studying compiler theory is that you learn a lot about avoiding ambiguity in language. Computer languages should not be ambiguous, since there is little time for the compiler or the computer to come back and ask “did you really mean that”?Unfortunately this is not always the case with native languages, particularly English, as can be seen by the simple phrase:“96Boards is the first open hardware specification....”which appeared on the webpage. Immediately someone in the Open Hardware community pounced on this and declared that the first board that met the specification was not “Open” because the manufacturer had not published the...

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