Paco Hope My Random Musings and Rants

7Sep/140

Desperate Repair of RHA MA750i headphones

I have found what I think are the most perfect headphones (MA750i from RHA). (Thanks Ritesh for the recommendation!) The cost/performance ratio is great. I paid £90 for fabulously durable headphones that sound awesome. I had them for months and they were great. Then they broke (see below for the stupidity on my part). So I bought another pair. Simply can't live with out them. On my first commute with the replacement pair, I BROKE THEM! I thought I was going to burst into tears in Piccadilly Circus tube station. I didn't even get to the office.

Sadly, I'm a software guy, not a hardware guy. Out of desperation I spliced the two busted headphones into one pair. I can get sound. Nothing else (volume, start/stop, microphone, etc.) works. That sucks, but it's far better than nothing.

3Sep/140

My MacBook, Bluetooth, and Apple Magic Trackpad

When I'm out of the office and running my Mac on batteries, I turn off Bluetooth networking to save power. Then I come into the office and plug in. I use my MacBook with its lid shut. I plug into a keyboard and a monitor. I have a Bluetooth Magic Trackpad. Great set up. The problem is that—with the lid shut and Bluetooth turned off, I have no mouse or pointer control. I need to turn Bluetooth on using just the keyboard.

12Aug/140

Revolution 60 Review: innovative iOS game

I don't review games much. I don't play games much. I follow Brianna of Giant Spacekat on Twitter, and I felt a real enthusiasm and genuine excitement as the game was released. I had to download Revolution 60 and give it a go.

5Aug/141

Alternative Medicine and Software Security

There’s an amusing saying about alternative medicine: “What do they call alternative medicine that has been proven to work? Medicine.” We can adapt this to secure software. “What do they call software that does what it is supposed to do securely? Software.”

This is inspired by a quote I read sometime between May 2000 and May 2002. In my mind I have attributed it to Eric Allman of Sendmail, but I can't find a source to confirm it. The quote I remember¹ is something on the order of "my code is secure because it does exactly what I intend it to do—and nothing else." While that's full of hubris, it's got a certain truth to it. If you really are that good, security is almost an afterthought. Some of the security guys I admire , like Scott Matsumoto and Jim Delgrosso, approach software this way. They get the software right to begin with. And then it's not such a difficult stretch to dot some I's and cross some T's and make it secure.

¹ Do you know what quote I am thinking of? Let me know in the comments.

18Mar/14Off

TfL Oyster: Why I Pay in Person

I have a travel card for London's Underground. I renew it by going up to the machines in the station. Every time I finish my transaction, the machine asks "next time why not renew online?" There's a really good reason: time.

I can get that whole transaction done in 90 seconds at the machine. I tap my oyster, select renew, put in my credit card, enter my PIN, and tap my oyster a second time. Done. I can't even get logged in at the oyster site in that time, using high speed broadband and a fast laptop. And I'm buying a ticket for monthly travel: I'm in the station already.

I would like it so much better if the machine said "wow! You got that done in 75 seconds!" Rather than imply I did something wrong or suboptimal. Let's face it: online is not always better or faster.