Reversing the Cloud

I was just noticing that the eBay photo uploader does something pretty unusual -- it offloads a compute-intensive task to the browser.

When you edit your photo and rotate it, it rotates the photo on the client (the browser) and then uploads the result to the server.

This is a departure from the pattern in web-server dev for the past decade or more, where the more compute-intensive tasks were performed on the server. I get the feeling that we'll see more of this in the future.

Why were these compute-intensive tasks on the server?

GoDaddy InstantPage Gone :(

I'm kind of bummed out. GoDaddy's free web page builder, InstantPage, isn't being given out with the domain anymore. I thought it was going to kill the website building business (meaning something I do for money) but the prospect of a nice page done in an hour or less, hosted for free, was just too awesome.

Maybe the free product was cannibalizing sales of their other products.

Erasing Hard Drive Data

The "gold standard" in this category is "Darik's Boot and Nuke" or DBAN (pronounced D Ban).

DBAN is a tiny version of Linux, usually run from a diskette, that contains a program that will erase any hard disk on your computer. It has several different methods, many which are used by the military to securely erase data.

No Wonder My PulseAudio Stopped Working

The microphone stopped working on my computer. Based on my reading, the problem, I think, is that I'm using an older motherboard from around 2010s, an add-on card that does TV, and Ubuntu with PulseAudio. The mic input on the sound card just stopped appearing in PulseAudio.

It's still visible in ALSA.

Infographics in Inequality for All (Robert Reich film)

I had to spend time logging a video. It's always a little bit of a pain, and always takes longer than just watching the thing... so if you care about inequality, and want some really pretty graphics, and risk some potential copyright violation (though I suspect that Fair Use allows it), here you go: List of Infographics in Inequality for All.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

I'm working on this at work - using CSS to alter Salsa's rigid layouts. :/ Yeah, it's here because I wasn't in on the issue of building backlinks.

Inviting Pope Francis to Los Angeles

Creating Email Messages with Clickable Links that Add Events to Your Calendar

This is a research node to find out the best ways to create email messages that contain event information, so that the user can easily create a calendar item.

The stock advice is to use .ics files, yet I don't see many event publishers using .ics files. Instead, I see people using well-formatted text, which gets automatically linked by email clients. I'll look at both methods.


I Was Robbed of Bitcoins at MtGox: Good Passwords and Site Trust

Enforcing strong passwords is a good policy, because it increases users trust in your site. I think the same applies to 2-factor authentication.

A Long Explanation of Character Encodings and UTF-8 and the IMC Software

This was posted as a correction to a note I made about some character encoding errors that appeared on the LA Indymedia website. It's poorly written. If you need me to edit and clarify, send an email to

It's ISO 8859, not 8890.

LastPass Rocks

I just lost my bag, and in that bag was a sheet with all my slightly obfuscated passwords and usernames and website urls. My trick was to make the information incomplete, so that it's hard to use.

Parity in Computer Data, What is It?

Parity, in computer data, is a bit that's set or unset so the total number of bits is either even or odd. It's an extra bit, and it's added as a check on the data. So, if the parity is not correct, you assume the data is bad.

It's often used in data communications, and was a very visible feature during the old modem and BBS days.

Even parity means that a bit is added so the total number of "1" bits is even. Odd parity means that a bit is added so the total number of "1" bits is odd. So this:


With even parity, is: 10101001
With odd parity is: 10101000

FEC on WiFi... sure... but on disks?

[Security Now has commented on the original article (which I found through Hacker News). It's coming at it as a debunker. I guess that's okay - because FEC *doesn't* increase bandwidth - it just reduces retransmissions, helping to prevent waste. It's also not a huge breakthrough when the basic technology was used in CDs back in the 70s and 80s... and it was pioneered in 1960. [...though you could say the same for the PC or iPad.]]

Jennifer Lynn Aaker on Social Media (good talk)

This is a good 10 minute presentation about how to use social media. I got it from a podcast I listen to.


Takeaway points:

That 70s Computer: The People's Computer Company

The first computer book I read was "Teach Yourself Basic" by Bob Albrecht. It wasn't a really good book - at least not for a child - but there it was. Mr.

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