Ramblings & ephemera

Talk about Markdown to SLUUG this Wednesday

I’ll be giving a talk to the St. Louis UNIX Users Group next Wednesday night about Markdown, a tool I absolutely love. You’re invited to come. Please do – I think you’ll definitely learn a lot. Date: Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 Time: 6:30 – 9 pm Where: 11885 Lackland Rd., St Louis, MO 63146 Map: […]

Speaking at SLUUG: Amazing, Stupendous, Mind-Blowing Apps for iPad2

Jans Carton & I are delivering a talk at the St. Louis UNIX Users Group at 6:30 pm this Wednesday, 8 June 2011, titled “Amazing, Stupendous, Mind-Blowing Apps for iPad2”. We’ll be demoing iPad apps live for everyone. If you want to find out more about the iPad, or discover some awesome new iPad apps, […]

Unix: An Oral History

From ‘s “Unix: An Oral History” (: ): Multics Gordon M. Brown … [Multics] was designed to include fault-free continuous operation capabilities, convenient remote terminal access and selective information sharing. One of the most important features of Multics was to follow the trend towards integrated multi-tasking and permit multiple programming environments and different human interfaces […]

Reasons Windows has a poor security architecture

From Daniel Eran Dilger’s “The Unavoidable Malware Myth: Why Apple Won’t Inherit Microsoft’s Malware Crown” (AppleInsider: 1 April 2008): Thanks to its extensive use of battle-hardened Unix and open source software, Mac OS X also has always had security precautions in place that Windows lacked. It has also not shared the architectural weaknesses of Windows […]

How to run a command repeatedly

You can use the watch command, but it unfortunately isn’t available for Mac OS X. At least, from Apple. Sveinbjorn Thordarson (great name!) has a version of watch that you can download and compile on your OS X box. It’s available at http://www.sveinbjorn.org/watch_macosx. Or, you can use this shell script: while true ; do foo […]

What actions change MAC times on a UNIX box?

From Holt Sorenson’s “Incident Response Tools For Unix, Part Two: File-System Tools” (SecurityFocus: 17 October 2003): Various commands change the MAC [modify, access, and change] times in different ways. The table below shows the effects that some common commands have on MAC times. These tables were created on Debian 3.0 using an ext2 file system […]

Differences between Macintosh & Unix programmers

From Eric Steven Raymond’s “Problems in the Environment of Unix” (The Art of Unix Programming: 19 September 2003): Macintosh programmers are all about the user experience. They’re architects and decorators. They design from the outside in, asking first “What kind of interaction do we want to support?” and then building the application logic behind it […]

Cultural differences between Unix and Windows

From Joel Spolsky’s “Biculturalism” (Joel on Software: 14 December 2003): What are the cultural differences between Unix and Windows programmers? There are many details and subtleties, but for the most part it comes down to one thing: Unix culture values code which is useful to other programmers, while Windows culture values code which is useful […]

Unix specs vs. Windows specs

From Peter Seebach’s Standards and specs: Not by UNIX alone (IBM developerWorks: 8 March 2006): In the past 20 years, developers for “the same” desktop platform (“whatever Microsoft ships”) have been told that the API to target is (in this order): * DOS * Win16 * OS/2 * Win32 * WinNT * WinXP * and […]

Unix vs Windows: NYC vs Celebration

From David HM Spector’s Unfinished Business Part 2: Closing the Circle (LinuxDevCenter: 7 July 2003): The UNIX world is the result of natural evolution, not the outgrowth of a planned community. UNIX is a lot like New York City: dynamic, always reinventing itself, adapting to new needs and realities. Windows is a lot like Celebration, […]

The inventor of UNIX on its security … or lack thereof

From Dennis M. Ritchie’s “On the Security of UNIX” (: ): The first fact to face is that UNIX was not developed with security, in any realistic sense, in mind; this fact alone guarantees a vast number of holes. (Actually the same statement can be made with respect to most systems.) The area of security […]

A brief history of backdoors

From Network Magazine: Ken Thompson, a designer of the Unix OS, explained his magic password, a password that once allowed him to log in as any user on any Unix system, during his award acceptance speech at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) meeting in 1984. Thompson had included a backdoor in the password checking […]