Content moved; you can now find my Kerbal Space Program adventures on Kromey Kaerospace’s web site.

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XCOM: This is why we send the rookie first

This is a post I first wrote on a forum almost a full year ago, about a particularly exciting recent mission in the stellar game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I’ve just recently come across it again and have decided to share it with a wider audience. Enjoy!

In Earth’s continuing struggle against the alien menace under my leadership, the latest assault on their war machine turned out quite exciting indeed.

It started as your typical UFO assault — our spy network identified a landed UFO mutilating cattle (seriously — when my guys landed the landscape was littered with mutilated cattle!!), and not wanting to know what perverse pleasures they we were being used for, I immediately dispatched 6 of my best soldiers to protect Earth’s precious cattle. Continue reading

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Plugged in, not charging?

Weird issue. Tonight I noticed that, despite having plugged it in quite a while ago, the little system tray indicator still suggested I had very low battery charge remaining. Hovering over it revealed something even more troubling:

Next to the available charge was the ominous phrase: “plugged in, not charging”.

Well, that doesn’t sound good! Continue reading

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The Myth of Data Remanence

Data Remanence, n.
The residual representation of data that remains even after attempts have been made to remove or erase the data.

It’s a well-known fact that simply deleting a file on your computer doesn’t actually delete the data that was in it from your hard disk; in fact it’s rather trivial to use software that can automatically discover and reconstruct often a surprising amount of data you’d long ago deleted. To really remove that data from a disk (e.g. to safely discard, sell, or otherwise give it away), you have to go a step further and wipe it away.

It’s only a slightly lesser known fact that to properly wipe a file from your hard drive, you have to use software that overwrites it numerous times; popular methods today include the Schneier 7-Pass, NIST, DoD, and, perhaps most famously, the Gutmann 35-Pass Method, with most modern software implementing at least a few of these different methods.

But with multiple passes comes increased time, and with increased time comes a decrease in people’s willingness to do it. So it’s worth exploring a critical question, namely: Is it really worth it?

The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, “No.” Continue reading

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Running a Minecraft Server from a RAM Disk

RAM is fast. Very fast. Very, very fast. If you were to think of your hard drive as a Ferrari, your RAM would be a tachyon — a theoretical particle that moves faster than the speed of light!

That’s great, but what does it have to do with Minecraft? Well, everything, actually!

Minecraft sees a lot of hard disk I/O, especially if the players on your server like to wander or explore. But we already know that your hard disk is slow. Wouldn’t it be great if we could upgrade from that slow little Ferrari and instead ride the tachyon?

Well, you can! Continue reading

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I’d played and loved the original Deus Ex. Had bought Invisible War (the sequel), but only logged a couple hours before another game was released, and never got back to it; oh well, everyone says it sucks in comparison to the original.

Had completely forgotten about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the prequel to the original, which I had pre-ordered back in March. Until Amazon sent me an e-mail last week proudly announcing that they had shipped it.

This. Game. Is. AWESOME! Continue reading

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Dynamic DNS with Linode and CloudFlare

Linode is a great provider of Linux-based VPS — this site is running from one right now, in fact! To help support it, and for a tad of extra security, I also use the free CloudFlare service, which provides a security-centric CDN aimed at protecting your site from bots.

Both of these services have their own included DNS managers. And both provide an API that lets you manipulate those DNS records programmatically.

This brief post will show you how to leverage these services to quickly and easily roll your own dynamic DNS service. Continue reading

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Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Times Out on First Connection Attempt?

A bizarre issue solved today:

On one server, we’re running two (named) instances of Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The first one, using the default instance name, runs just fine with no problems. The second one, however, had a bizarre issue: The first time any application tried to connect, it would simply time out, but if you re-tried without closing or restarting that application, it would immediately connect successfully!

What could possibly cause that sort of intermittent error? Continue reading

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Move an SVN Repository From One Server to Another

There’s certainly no shortage of sites offering quick instructions to move your SVN repository from one server to another. About 3.3 million (at the time of this writing) of them, it seems. So why do I have to make it 3.3 million and 1?

Because they all seem to leave off an important step: What to do on the client side after you’ve moved the repository on the server side. Continue reading

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World IPv6 Day

It’s today. And while this blog is by no means a major player on the internet stage, it is nonetheless on native IPv6, thanks to, my host.

So, are you on IPv6 yet? Will you be ready when it comes time to finally make the switch?

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