Commodore 16 and Commodore Plus/4

Dan Bowman kindly pointed out to me that former Commodore engineer Bil Herd wrapped up his discussion of the ill-fated Commodore TED machines on Hackaday this week. Here in the States, few remember the TED specifically, but some people may remember that oddball Commodore Plus/4 that closeout companies sold for $79 in 1985 and 1986. The Plus/4 was one of those TED machines. So was the Commodore 16.

What went wrong with those machines? Commodore miscalculated what the market was doing. The TED was a solution to too many problems, and ended up not solving any of them all that well. Read more

Curious conspiracies… or maybe just progress all at once

In the wake of Truecrypt’s sudden implosion, someone sent me a link to this curious blog post. I can see why many people might find the timing interesting, but there are a number of details this particular blog post doesn’t get correct, and it actually spends most of its time talking about stuff that has little or nothing to do with Truecrypt.

What’s unclear to me is whether he’s trying to say the industry is deliberately sabotaging Truecrypt, or if he’s simply trying to make a list of things that are making life difficult for Truecrypt. His post bothers me a lot less if it’s just a laundry list of challenges, but either way, the inaccuracies remain. Read more

Bethlehem Lutheran Church sacrificed its sanctuary for a greater good

If all (or even a slim majority of) Lutheran churches were like Bethlehem Lutheran Church, I would still be Lutheran. Since they aren’t, I’m not.

But I’ve gotten ahead of myself, and made this way too much about me.

Late last week, there was a big boom at the corner of Salisbury and North Florissant in the north St. Louis neighborhood of Hyde Park. It sounded like a truck wreck, but it turned out to be the wall and roof of a 120-year-old sanctuary crashing to the ground. Read more

I am not in jail.

The bank vice president apologized for calling the police on me.

That’s neither the beginning nor the end of the story, but it seems to me that police involvement of any kind is a sign that your real estate deal isn’t going as well as it could.

It all began with a Citibank loan officer named Aaron who promised me a smooth closing. In my view, being questioned by a uniformed police officer has no place in a smooth closing. And that wasn’t even the worst part of it, which troubles me.  Read more

The trouble with routers

I see the advice going around, again, to disable the Windows firewall and rely on an external router, the justification being that it makes your computer “invisible.” It doesn’t. Only IPV6 can do that–and then, only if you don’t use it for anything.

The trouble with that advice is that there are botnets targeting routers. Routers are nothing special; they’re small computers running Linux on an ARM or MIPS CPU, typically outdated versions with old vulnerabilities that can be exploited by someone who knows what to look for. One example of this is the Aidra botnet. Typically Aidra is used to attack outside targets, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility for an infected router to turn on and attack the machines it’s supposed to protect. And if you’ve turned off your firewall, then you have no protection against that.
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Who are the 10 people you’d call if you were laid off tomorrow?

I found some good advice on Lifehacker today about building a professional network. Not just having 500 connections on Linkedin, but having a real professional network made up of people who help one another advance their careers.

I stumbled into this completely by accident. Read more

Java’s been updated again. For the fifth time this year.

Seriously, Java and Flash and Acrobat have been updated so many times this year, you could almost make a drinking game out of it. Java is on update number five for the year, and it’s only the first week of March.

Of course, if you uninstalled Java, you don’t have to worry about 0-day vulnerabilities or the patches that come afterward to prevent them. If you installed Secunia PST, you don’t have to worry about the updates; they come down automatically. The ideal thing is to do both.

Coming soon to Monoprice: WQHD monitors

Monoprice dropped a bomb at CES this week: a 27″ IPS LED monitor with WQHD 2560×1440 resolution for $390.

From what I understand, there are several Korean manufacturers who make monitors from surplus or rejected panels intended for Apple displays, then sell them for under $400.

This looks like Monoprice signed on to distribute them in the United States, which seems less risky than buying them from a small importer or exporter off Amazon or Ebay. These monitors are popular with enthusiasts, but I imagine with Monoprice distributing them, the following will only increase. Monoprice is a bit of a secret too, but I heard of Monoprice long before I heard of Korean-made WQHD monitors.

Monoprice estimates they’ll be shipping them by March.

SSDs are below $1 per gigabyte

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting easier and easier to find SSDs priced at or below $1 per gigabyte. You’ll generally have to buy at least 120 GB of storage to hit that price point, but at this point in time, that’s about the smallest drive I would consider anyway.
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