Monthly Archives: February 2011

Steganography

File encryption is something that has interested me for almost as long as I have been interested in computers. The biggest problem with encryption is the weakest link is usually the person who knows the password.

The real trick to encryption is hiding the fact that there is encrypted data at all. Steganography is the act of hiding encrypted data within a perfectly innocent media file. This morning I read “Real Steganography with TrueCrypt” on how to do this using TrueCrypt, which is a fairly easy to use cross platform file encryption program.

Actually, this whole post was just an excuse to repost one of my favorite XKCD panels.

Sorry for the long silence

Life has not been good for me the last couple of weeks, I am sorry, I should have posted something earlier and at least indicated I would not be posting for a while. I should be back to blogging next week. I am sure all 3 of my loyal readers will be excited about that.

Review: Roku

For those of you who don’t know, the Roku is a small little box designed to stream internet video from sources like Netflix and Hulu. Previously to get these services to my TV set I had an old laptop hooked up to my TV set through S-Video, needless to say, this was a bit of a pain to deal with. The idea behind the Roku, is to make this as easy to do as using a Tivo or other DVR device. I went ahead and bought the top of the line Roku, although my TV can not take full advantage it, figuring at some point I will be replacing my 5 year old big screen rear projection TV.

My first thought when I picked up the Roku, was the extreme small size of the device, it is a mere 5x5x2 inches and weighs less than my Kindle. When I plugged it into the TV and turned it on I had to go through a short set up to get it connected to my wireless network and link the device to my Roku account. Once that was done, I had to link my device to my Netflix and Hulu accounts, which was pretty easy. After that I was able to stream all the content I use to run through my WII and that old laptop. The biggest advantage being a remote control instead of a trackpad/keyboard of the laptop or the wanky WII remote. Additionally, it was pretty easy to get YouTube access on the Roku, through a third party app channel.

I think this little box could theoretically replace cable TV. Right now I pay about $25 a month for basic cable, which gives me about 20 channels, of which I consistently watch three. My Netflix account costs me $9.99 a month, Hulu Plus costs me $7.99 per month. The big problem of course is there is no CBS content on Hulu, so I can not get shows like The Big Bang Theory. Of course even those shows eventually makes it to DVD and I can cycle it through Netflix as a DVD rather than streaming. Another nice feature of streaming video is I am not tied to my TV set, because I can stream both Netflix and Hulu to my computers as well, something that is a pain in the ass for broadcast or even cable TV.

While the Roku is neat little contraption which makes watching Internet streams easier to deal with and I think it is an evolutionary step in watching TV, I do not think this will have the impact the Tivo had. The functionality of the Tivo was so powerful the cable companies had to integrate DVR functionality into their cable boxes where they retained control of the content. The Roku on the other hand simply makes something that is mildly annoying much easier to do.

If you already use Netflix and Hulu, the Roku is a nice way to access that content and I highly recommend it. On the other hand if you are a traditional TV watcher, stick with your Tivo or whatever DVR you are using, unless you are looking to cut your cable bill..

I have a bad feeling about this

My anxiety levels are up through the roof. There are things happening in my life that are causing a lot of agitation. I have not slept well for several days and even when I do sleep, I have anxiety dreams. I don’t want to walk away, I want to RUN away. I really desperately need a mega dose of prosaic, barring that, I need to smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink enough gin to shut my conscience mind down for a good solid 12  hours.

Funny 70’s pictures

Here is another picture of me from the history books. I think this was my 7th grade school picture. I have two thoughts when I look at this picture. One, “God, when was I ever that young ?” and Two, “I wish I still had that T-shirt, I could probably sell it for $500.”.

 

I am Slacker, Hear Me Snore !

Here is my biggest problem with American life. We Americans confuse standard of living with quality of life. To put it more clearly, we have this puritan work ethic that forces us to work longer hours, take fewer vacations and generally work our selves into an early grave just so we can afford a bigger TV than the Jones down the street. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else, but I don’t like it. If you want to see why so many of us are stressed, hate our jobs and hate our lives, there is the reason right there.

Sadly, this shut down half of Texas

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The Ages of RPG’s: The Silver Age Part II

I have received some feed back on my estimation of when the Silver Age occurred. There are those who feel the 1990’s were not the Silver Age and if not a dark age, then definitely a time of shadows. The 1990’s were marked most heavily by the decline of Dungeons & Dragons and TSR generally being in self destruct mode. While there were other RPG’s that were popular, by in large the 1990’s were bereft of innovation and nothing of significance occurred. While I see this point of view, I am not certain I agree with it. There a lot of action going on in the RPG hobby, with TSR and D&D on the decline, it opened the market to other possibilities and allowed Vampire: The Masquerade to out sell D&D for a short time. The idea the 1990’s were completely without merit is only valid if you make the assumption that RPG’s and D&D are hard linked together and I am not convinced this is the truth. You may be able to convince me the Silver Age did not start until 2000 when D&D3E was released, I refuse to acknowledge that the 1990’s were a cultural wasteland for our hobby.

I am actually hoping the decline of D&D in the last couple of years sparks a new era similar to the 1990’s where D&D isn’t dominate and other game systems are allowed their time in spot light. As I have said in previous posts, I can easily see a future where D&D is nothing more than a gateway game published as some sort of evergreen game similar to Monopoly. In this future, D&D still extremely popular and is the game most people start with, but is not the best selling game or even the most popular game. In this near future we may see Pathfinder become the frontrunner, but replaced within a few years by GURPS 5th edition or something entirely new. This would not be a bad thing at all.

It’s Cold Outside

I think it is an understatement to say it is cold outside, it is actually MOTHERFUCKING COLD OUTSIDE !!!. Seriously, god damn it, I left Montana because of this shit. The only saving grace is it has not snowed yet. I whole heartedly thank the flying spaghetti monster that the temperature is suppose to climb into the 60’s this weekend.

A funny thing happened the other day

I posted this as a comment on Facebook in response to something my niece posted. I amused myself so much, I was compelled to reprint it here.

The devil came to me and wanted to play a game for my soul, I asked if I got to pick the game and he said yes, so I agreed and pulled out my D&D books. 12 hours later his 3rd level Thief died after he failed a save vs poison. I had never seen a major theological figure cry like that. It was sad really.