Air travel essentials for long flights #
20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones||Avoid noise fatigue||+++++||Next to water, the single most important in-flight item in my opinion.|
|Flight Spray||Avoid dry nose||++++||Much more effective than the damp washcloth I used formerly.|
|No-Jet-Lag||"For the relief of tiredness and jet lag associated with flying"||?||Despite taking as directed, not really sure if this had any effect, though there are plenty of positive reviews on Amazon.|
|Source Naturals NADH 20mg||"Helps relieve drowsiness and restores alertness and energy"||++++||Definitely seemed to help keep me awake when needed.|
|Herbatonin 3mg Plant Melatonin||"Helps support normal sleep patterns when disrupted by travel and changing time zones"||++++||Definitely seemed to help get me to sleep when needed.|
|Vitalsox Graduated Compression Socks||Possibly help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism||?||Did not really feel any difference, but also did not develp DVT (not that I ever have).|
|Memory Foam Neck Pillow||Doze in relative comfort||-||Despite hours of research (and a slew of positive reviews on Amazon), this did not work for me at all - gave away after landing. The vast majority of reviews are overwhelmingly positive, however.|
|Water||Avoid dehydration (and in-flight meals)||+++++||A must.|
/misc | Jun 26, 2015
Time to replace traditional password managers like KeePass, 1Password, LastPass, et.al.? #
is a stateless password generator. It doesn't store, collect or transmit any secrets. It makes them ubiquitously available, on-demand, depends on nothing but your private master password, and is fully open source.
How Does It Work?
The user is expected to remember the following information:
- Their full name (eg. Robert Lee Mitchell):
This is a salt for the master key generation.
- Their personal master password (eg. pink fluffy door frame):
This is the secret for the master key generation.
- The site name (eg. apple.com):
The user chooses a name for each site. The bare domain name is an ideal choice.
- The site's password counter (default: 0):
This is an integer that can be incremented when the user needs a new password for the site.
- The site's password type (default: Long Password):
This type determines the format of the output password. It can be changed if the site's password policy does not accept passwords of this format.
In practice, the secret master password is the only extra thing users will actually need to remember. Their full name, they'll hopefully remember regardless. If the site is always named after the bare domain name, it needn't explicitly be remembered but can be found in the browser's address bar. The counter and type need only be remembered if they are changed from their default values."
- GitHub project page
- The Master Password Algorithm
- Discussion board
- Platforms include iOS, Android, OS X, Java, *nix (terminal app written in C), and web (beta)
- Discussions on Hacker News and reddit, including potential pitfalls and important considerations
- A few similar projects:
- Cassidy "is an open source password manager that doesn't store passwords."
- hash0 is a "synchronizable PBKDF2 based password generator."
- hashapass "automatically generates strong passwords from a master password and a parameter."
- One Shall Pass "is a browser-side service for calculating strong, site-specific passwords. It is open source. In contrast to other password services, 1SP does not save your passwords or universal passphrase anywhere."
- PasswordMaker "is a small, lightweight, free, open-source tool for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, iPhone, Opera, PHP, Windows, OS X, Linux, Flock, Yahoo! Widgets, Android, Python, and many other platforms & systems. It creates unique, secure passwords that are very easy for you to retrieve but no one else. Nothing is stored anywhere, anytime, so there's nothing to be hacked, lost, or stolen. PasswordMaker has been around since about 2003 and so is a mature, stable, popular solution."
- PwdHash "generates theft-resistant passwords."
- SuperGenPass "uses a hash algorithm to transform a master password into unique, complex passwords for the Web sites you visit."
/misc | Jun 26, 2015
Cross-platform, ad hoc, recursive file transfer via HTTP #
Recursively copy desired_dir located on server to current directory on client without having to fool around with usernames, passwords, config files, FTP, NetBIOS, Bonjour, etc:
On server: cd desired_dir && python -m SimpleHTTPServer
On client: wget -r -np http://server_ip_address:8000/
- SimpleHTTPServer's default listening port is 8000. Change by specifying desired port, e.g., python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8192
- Python 3 syntax: python -m http.server [<portNo>]
- A few interesting wget options:
- -r = recursive
- -np = don't ascend to the parent directory
- -nd = don't create directories (i.e., merge / flatten directories into one. WARNING: filename collisions are not handled; files with the same names will be overwritten)
- -A doc,pdf = accept only files with the extensions doc or pdf
- -R doc,pdf = reject / ignore doc and pdf files
- While both tools are preinstalled in most Linux distributions, Windows users will need to grab wget and/or Python first. OS X includes Python, but not wget; here's a binary I compiled of the latest version. Compile your own or install via Homebrew or MacPorts.
- Under Windows, the Python executable is installed to C:\Python27\ by default. Add this directory to your PATH variable if desired to make it easier to call: setx path "%path%;C:\Python27"
- A tiny, stand-alone web server like MiniWeb or HFS (HTTP File Server) will be faster and easier for Windows users who do not have Python installed already. And, though it's not tiny, OS X users may want to check out the beautiful and simple Fenix Web Server ("Finally, a simple static desktop web server. Because simple stuff shouldn't need Apache, IIS, or nginx."). Fenix review.
- Two wget alternatives for Windows:
- Ipswitch WS_FTP LE ("Transfer files over FTP, SSL, SSH, and HTTP/S transfer protocols") Copies recursively, but flattens directories without handling filename collisions.
- HttpCopy ("A command line utility that lets you copy a web file or web page to a local file") Appears to only copy individual files.
- Netcat (and the newer, more powerful Ncat) can also be used for ad hoc file transfers across the network, but it does not handle directories on its own.
- Thanks to this anonymous poster.
/nix | Jun 21, 2015
Ramana Maharshi on thought #
- "The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress."
- "You need not aspire for or get any new state. Get rid of your present thoughts, that is all."
- "The method is summed up in the words 'Be still' ... All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that?"
/misc | May 10, 2015
The Oracle of God #
Yet still there whispers the small voice within,
Heard through Gain's silence, and o'er Glory's din:
Whatever creed be taught, or land be trod,
Man's conscience is the oracle of God.
(via Gentle World)
/misc | Apr 08, 2015
iPhone: Resize photos before texting via Messages #
While the Mail app in iOS offers to resize photos before sending (Small, Medium, Large, Actual Size), the Messages app does not; in fact, there is no built-in method for resizing photos before texting them, resulting in unnecessarily large files being sent. Even the popular photo editor Snapseed does not offer a resize option. Searching the App Store was (as usual) an exercise in futility, but a too-lengthy (i.e., over 30 second) Google search turned up the aptly-named Resize Image, which makes resizing photos and then texting them (or posting to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) a breeze.
/mac | Apr 01, 2015
"Restore Failure #
Could not validate source - Operation not supported" kept appearing in Disk Utility as I tried unsuccessfully to restore a bootable USB flash drive image to a new USB flash drive. The asr workaround did not work either, returning Source volume format on device "/dev/disk3" is not valid for restoring. Could not validate source - error 254.
By happy chance, I stumbled onto Max's answer which credited drgeoff's reply, which linked to PureDarwin's Disk images page. The secret was to convert the image format to raw before writing with dd (attempting to restore even the converted image via Disk Utility returned the same "Restore Failure" error above).
Here is the process I used to backup my DiskWarrior bootable USB flash drive and restore it to a new flash drive:
- Insert USB flash drive to be imaged
- Open Disk Utility
- Click root of USB flash drive
- Click "New Image"
- Select desired Image Format (tested restore of "read-only" and "compressed (bzip2)" images successfully)
- Save image to desired location
- $ hdiutil convert /path/to/image_created_above.dmg -format UDTO -o new_image.img
- Remove the .cdr extension that hdiutil automatically appended to new_image.img
- Run Disk Arbitrator and set to "Block Mounts"
- Plug in new USB flash drive (WARNING: all contents will be erased) and note the assigned device name in Disk Arbitrator's Disks Window (e.g., diskx)
- $ sudo dd if=/path/to/new_image.img of=/dev/rdiskx bs=8192
(Pipe through pv or use a dd alternative like dcfldd to easily track progress.)
In retrospect, it might've been better to avoid Disk Utility altogether and simply use dd to create the image:
$ sudo dd if=/dev/rdiskx | bzip2 -9f > usb_image.bz2
obviating the need to convert with hdiutil before restoring:
$ bzip2 -dc usb_image.bz2 | sudo dd of=/dev/rdiskx
UPDATE: It appears that dd/bzip2 creates a more faithful image than Disk Utility's compressed (bzip2) format does:
- The image created using dd and bzip2 was 810.7MB vs. 626.6MB for the compressed (bzip2) image created by Disk Utility.
- The MD5 checksum of the USB flash drive differed based on which image file was restored to it, so the difference in file sizes was not merely some difference in the compression algorithm (which should have been the same anyway).
- When the dd-created image was restored and the USB flash drive plugged in, it mimicked the original DiskWarrior flash drive's behavior (only the /Volumes/DW Finder window automatically opened).
- When the Disk Utility-created image was restored and the USB flash drive plugged in, Finder windows automatically opened for both /Volumes/DW and /Volumes/DiskWarrior Recovery (unlike the original DiskWarrior flash drive).
For Disk Utility to achieve similar results as dd/bzip2, one would need to select "entire device" as the Image Format and then compress the image afterwards in Terminal: $ bzip2 -9f usb_image.dmg > compressed_usb_image.bz2. And, before restoring the image, it would need to first be converted with hdiutil as shown above. Back to dd for imaging disks!
/mac | Mar 19, 2015
Monodraw makes me smile :-) #
Monodraw brings ASCII diagramming into the 21st century, eclipsing even vector diagram tools like Visio and OmniGraffle in ease of use and speed:
Those who have struggled with the exisitng ASCII diagram options for decades will appreciate what a radical leap forward Monodraw represents; it's like going from black and white to color TV.
Free during beta and currently available at a 40% discount. Refreshing licensing policy for a Mac shareware app: "Each license is assigned to a single person and it can be used on multiple Macs owned by the licensee. Monodraw does not use activation or any other form of DRM. We have complete trust in our customers."
(Full disclosure: I've been alpha testing Monodraw the last few months; bought the software today at the same beta discount available to everyone. Sadly, I have no stake in Monodraw, financial or otherwise - just an ecstastic and grateful customer. I must also admit to being a fan of their whimsical illustrations.)
/mac | Mar 04, 2015
Concatenate multiple HTML files into a single EPUB file #
Since Kindle e-Readers inexplicably do not support EPUB, users can convert the generated EPUB file to MOBI with calibre:
- "File" > "Add" > "Existing Files..."
- select desired HTML files
- "File" > "Save As..." > set filename and destination for EPUB.
- "Add books" > select desired EPUB file
- "Convert books" > Output format: "MOBI" > "OK"
- After conversion, right click title > "Open containing folder" > copy MOBI file to Kindle
UDPATE: Combine multiple HTML files into a single PRC ebook
/eink | Feb 26, 2015
Mount USB drives as read-only in Windows #
via a quick registry edit (no reboot required - tested in XP SP2, 7 SP1, and 8.1). Simply save the following text as an .reg file and double click to merge:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
To restore mounting removable disks as read-write, just change "00000001" to "00000000", resave the file, and double click to merge. Not as sound as a hardware write blocker like the Forensic UltraDock, but might come in handy for less sensitive work.
/windows | Feb 17, 2015
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