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The Friday Post

Date:  8th October, 2004

Tags:

White Knight cockpit and engines

In the first of what will hopefully become a regular series, I would like to introduce you to "The Friday Post" - in which I aim to end the week on a high note...

“the way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started”

First of all, I'd like to congratulate everyone involved in the SpaceShipOne project for capturing the X Prize. Once the preserve of national efforts, space travel has become a corporate enterprise. The next, logical step, is for it to evolve into a private endeavour. I hope I get the chance to partake.

This week also brought the sad realisation that my beloved FreeCache service is no longer available! However, Coral is a similar service - with an ever-growing number of nodes - operating from the New York University. I have made extensive use of Coral recently and it certainly seems to be up to the task of taking over FreeCache's crown. I asked Michael J. Freedman, Coral's main author, about Coral's future - would Coral suddenly be "deactivated" like FreeCache, or would it have a prolonged lifespan? Michael told me:

"Our hope is to have Coral as a permanent project, moving into the open-software realm; we are not planning on restricting any access after the "beta" period is finished, and there is no plan to commercialize and thus restrict access to Coral."

That's good to know. Thanks Michael.

The Arts

Reading:

I bought Cliff Stoll's "The Cuckoo's Egg" this week. Once I started this book I couldn't put it down! To quote from Amazon:

"Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75-cent accounting error alerted him to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system. The hacker's code name was 'Hunter' - a mystery invader hiding inside a twisting electronic labyrinth, breaking into U.S. computer systems and stealing sensitive military and security information. Stoll began a one-man hunt of his own, spying on the spy - and plunged into an incredible international probe that finally gained the attention of top U.S. counterintelligence agents. The Cuckoo's Egg is his wild and suspenseful true story - a year of deception, broken codes, satellites, missile bases, and the ultimate sting operation - and how one ingenious American trapped a spy ring paid in cash and cocaine, and reporting to the KGB."

Gripping stuff eh? Cliff Stoll has also published an abridged account of the affair, "Stalking the Wily Hacker".

Interesting Fact: Robert T. Morris, Jr. created and launched the first Internet worm in 1998. His father, also called Robert Morris, was Chief Scientist at the NSA at the time (how embarrassing the Morris Worm must have been for him). What's interesting is that Morris (junior) received an email from a friend of his asking for, "any news on the briliant project" around the time of the worm. That friend was none other than Paul Graham, author of so many essays on defeating the bad guys of the Internet!

Watching:

I enjoyed a great movie last night, "The Butterfly Effect." Loosely exploring Chaos Theory, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film with a clever plot - although the ending is relatively predictable. If you're up for a Quiet Night In™, The Butterfly Effect will entertain and intrigue you. I loved it.

Inner Peace

I'll conclude this post with the funniest email I've received this week:

I am sharing this with you because it has definitely worked for me... and at this time of year we all could use a little pick-me-up!

By following the simple advice I read in an article, I have finally found inner peace... The article read:

"The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started."

So I looked around the house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished... and before coming to work this morning I finished off a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white, the Bailey's, Kailua and Wild Turkey, my Prozac, some valium and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how good I feel now!