Monday, April 21, 2008


I'm taking the day off to unwind after our weekend trip to Virginia, so naturally I'm playing around on the 'puter. ;)

Anyway, today I installed Tor on Rohan the MacBook Pro. As described by its developers:

Tor is a software project that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world use Tor for a wide variety of reasons: journalists and bloggers, human rights workers, law enforcement officers, soldiers, corporations, citizens of repressive regimes, and just ordinary citizens. See the Who Uses Tor? page for examples of typical Tor users. See the overview page for a more detailed explanation of what Tor does, why this diversity of users is important, and how Tor works.

To make using Tor easier I downgraded Firefox from the latest version 3 release candidate back to v2.0.0.14, and installed the Torbutton extension, which hasn't yet been updated for FF3. Torbutton allows me to "Torify" my Firefox traffic with a single mouse click, and to disable it just as easily.

Compared with going directly to the Internet, web traffic through Tor is markedly slower. Since you're routing your traffic through a network of onion routers to obscure your trail, that stands to reason. So, I don't plan to use Tor by default.

However, there may be times when I need to research or relay sensitive information, on behalf of myself or others. Tor will help me do that in a more secure fashion. Another reason for me to try it is to see how Tor traffic looks on a LAN, so that I can recognize it (if that's possible).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Checking In

I haven't been posting much here lately, though I have posted some over at the Survival and Emergency Preparedness Blog. Time to drop in here with some comments. This will be a bit rambling.

Not much interesting on the work front, except that last week I got my biannual CPR/AED refresher training. (I get this training because I am a floor captain.) This time they also included a section on choking. As someone who has personally had the Heimlich maneuver performed on himself (when I was a kid), I thought this was a great idea. I would like to see first aid training added as well.

I had a bit of a nibble for some legal work a couple weeks ago, but the matter apparently got resolved without my intervention.

Last week well and truly sucked. Judith and both the girls got sick. Alexandra had to stay home all week. I was feeling a bit under the weather a couple days, myself. Everyone is feeling much better now, thankfully.

The weekend had its own share of problems. Gory content follows.

While cutting the container off some flowers I was planting out front, I managed to perform an avulsion on my right index finger. I.e., I cut myself and removed all the skin from a spot on top of the last joint of the finger. So I now have a 1/4" hole where I can see what's supposed to be covered by skin. This was the result of getting careless with a very sharp knife, a Victorinox Explorer Swiss Army Knife I picked up last month, on which I had touched up the already sharp blade with a Spyderco Sharpmaker. I felt just a bit a pressure as it sliced through -- no pain. It's a very clean cut and no dirt got in it. Any dirt that might have gotten into it would probably have been flushed out by the copious amounts of blood, anyway.

I stopped the bleeding with pressure and elevation, and kept it bandaged with gauze pads for a day and half until I felt comfortable covering it with just a Band Aid. For the first couple days I cleaned the wound and surrounding skin with a benzalkonium chloride antiseptic towelette each time I changed the dressing. I also put triple antibiotic ointment on the Band Aid before I wrap it around my finger. I let the wound air for awhile each day and it appears to be healing. So far there are no signs of infection, and it doesn't hurt unless I apply pressure to the wound. I haven't done anything this stupid with a knife in about 25 years. At least I'll get a nifty new scar out of the experience. ;)

Sunday I was supposed to get together with a friend from TRP to do some shooting, which would've been very therapeutic. I wanted to wring out my stainless Ruger Mini-14GB, on which I've replaced the rear sight and put it back into the factory stock. I also wanted to try a 1944 Underwood M1 Carbine and a Polish TT-33 Tokarev pistol, both of which I bought last year but have yet to fire. Unfortunately, when we got to the range we discovered that it was closed until 13:00 due to an archery event that was being held. Insert pic of banging head against wall here.

Monday night I had to clean corrosion from the battery terminals on my truck, because I had a few incidents when it wouldn't start until I jiggled the negative cable. Not a big deal and it gave me a chance to get my hands dirty. ;) To protect my finger with the cut, I bought a box of finger cots. These look like extra-small sized rubbers, and go over a bandaged finger to keep it clean and dry. I'm using them when I shower, do dishes, or anything else which might result in contamination of the wound. For a few bucks, they are an excellent addition to one's home first aid kit. In an emergency you can use duct tape over the bandage, but the finger cots are much more convenient.

This coming weekend we'll be driving down to my uncle's in Arlington, VA for Passover. We're planning to take the truck, in which I had a new Yaesu FT-7800R ham rig installed a couple weeks ago. I am using the same Diamond MR77 mag mount antenna I used with my VX-5RS handy talkie, but the difference in Rx between the two radios is dramatic. As expected, the FT-7800R is a much better receiver, and the controls are much easier to use. I have it programmed with about 230 repeaters located in PA. I've created a repeater list for the trip to VA and need to get that uploaded before Saturday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Numerous Updates to The Shooters' Bar(SM)

Tonight I made several updates and additions to The Shooters' Bar(SM), the Internet's oldest list of pro-RKBA attorneys.