Sheep or sheepdog?

So the first step in becoming a sheepdog is to simply decide to become one. Don’t take this decision lightly. There are heavy moral, physical, emotional, and psychological costs that come with it. When you decide to become a sheepdog, you’re also deciding to live a life of service to your fellow man, to run to danger when others flee, and to stand up for right despite the cost. Are you ready to accept those responsibilities and risks, and the consequences that come with them?

~ Brett McKay, from Are You a Sheep or Sheepdog?

Disclosure: I do NOT think of myself as a “sheepdog”.

I think the whole “sheep versus sheepdog” mentality discuss is much more useful  as it speaks to enlightening the sheep. Are you a victim going somewhere to happen? …or are you a mentally strong, open minded (in the sense of being flexible to your environment) human being? Are you seeking and buying things? …or are you seeking happiness?



I’ve not the least recollection of this horsey ride; But clearly, it was a thing.

Also: Not all babies are actually cute. This one is clearly “questionable.” (Yes, this is me.)

If you had to hand-saw 34 MILES of planks

sawbookIf you had to hand-saw 34 MILES of planks, I bet you’d be REALLY good at sharpening saws:

This is a reprint of a 1909 booklet by the premier saw sharpener of his time. Johnson was a legend in the Pacific Northwest for sharpening hand saws that were used to rip 34 miles of planks for a giant box flume commissioned by a local power company. Johnson’s improved saw filing methods are detailed in this 60-page volume, out of print for more than a century, but resurrected in 2008 by Dan Donaldson and Ellis Walentine and now available in this exact facsimile of the original work.

The 105-year-old book is once again available, over on Wood Central.

Heartbleed: For want of one nail, the kingdom is lost

The Heartbleed OpenSSL problem is big news ( if you’ve been under a rock ). What’s wrong?

In short, Heartbeat allows one endpoint to go “I’m sending you some data, echo it back to me”. It supports up to 64 KiB. You send both a length figure and the data itself. Unfortunately, if you use the length figure to claim ”I’m sending 64 KiB of data” (for example) and then only actually send, say, one byte, OpenSSL would send you back your one byte — plus 64 KiB minus one byte of other data from RAM.


~ Matt Nordhoff, from How Exactly Does the OpenSSL TLS Heartbeat (Heartbleed) Exploit Work?

So this one, tiny-looking problem brings our entire sand-castle Internet kingdom down. “Secure” web sites turn out aren’t necessarily secure. Worse, they haven’t been secure for some uncertain amount of time. So, anything communicated insecurely, during some uncertain time-frame… is, uh, possibly snooped, stolen, etc. The system admins have to patch the fix in, then redo site certificates, then everything everyone has put to/from those sites, (your login and password for example!) has to all be considered stolen/tainted and has to be reentered.

Bonus: it’s even worse than I’m making it sound: Try this on…

Also, people didn’t know to click on images

I distinctly remember:

  1. When inlining of images happened; The first time it was possible to put an image directly INTO the page. And JPEGs man. JPEGs where coooooooooool.
  2. Also, tables. Today, everyone loves to whine about how bad it is to use tables to layout pages. NOT having tables was much, much worse.
  3. And image-maps; The idea that WHERE exactly you clicked on an image, could take you to different content. I won’t even get into what we had to do to make it work… (but it involved: convex polygon mathematics, C code, a compiler, and a DEC Alpha work station.)
  4. …and we had to TELL people, “A lot of images in Skew are links… Click at will!” when we started e-publishing a magazine in December 1994. (Remind me what you were doing in 1994?)

So yeah, back in the day we had Mosaic. Then these guys hit it out of the park with:

Navigator was the way millions of people around the world were introduced to the web. Many web technologies and standards, such as as SSL, Java, Javascript, open APIs and support for online media, were innovations that Navigator made mainstream.

~ Brian McCullough, from On The 20th Anniversary – An Oral History Of Netscape’s Founding