9 Jun 2002 raph   » (Master)


Yesterday was Alan's last day at school. He was very emotional about saying goodbye to his friends and teacher. But that evening, we went to sushi to celebrate his graduation from kindergarten, and ran into one of his classmates. He worries a lot about making friends, but he's actually very social, much more so than either Heather or me at his age.

Max is going through another great leap forward in language development. As I blogged recently, he's working on irregular verbs. A few days ago, he said, "I broked it. I broked it. I broke it." You could read it on his face - "not quite right. Nope. Aah, nailed it!". This evening, he said "I dropped my bottle. Put it over my legs." And, touching the scotch tape I used to repair our copy of Goodnight Moon, "something sticky." It's only been a couple of months or so since most of his utterances were single words.

He's also very advanced physically. He can now kick a soccer ball well, in the direction he wants and with some force. Also, he blew my away by announcing "circle", then folding his collapsible sunshield into precisely that shape.

Alan had a similar language burst at almost the same age (25.5mo). Actually, we have to be very careful about marvelling at Max, because it makes Alan feel jealous. We reassure him about how smart he is, and how proud we are of him, but he still expresses a lot of doubts.


Wes briefly forgot his ThinkPad's BIOS password. This kind of thing happens all the time to real people. I commented on the need for far more sophisticated rituals for guarding keys, with both social and technical aspects. It's a hard problem, and it clearly can be done in both peer-to-peer and centralized flavors. Governments and evil corporations have a lot of motivation to pursue the latter. I'd like to see more thinking on decentralized approaches.

Of course, at the heart of the problem is the fact that it's all but impossible to securely store a key on a general purpose PC. Ry4an Brase pointed to a really neat toy. This particular model is a bit limited (in particular, if you lose or break it, you're hosed), but I think more specialized hardware like this will play an important role.

Cheap parts

A few people have expressed interest in getting a dual Athlon system similar to spectre. One question that came up: is generic RAM actually any less stable or reliable than the "name brand" variant? I really have no idea. If you were going to get a gig or more, the price difference could be significant. I chose not to take the risk, but I have a feeling that it's probably mostly a marketing strategy on behalf of the "name brands." For example, I know that Apple SDRAM, at $150 for a 256M PC133 SODIMM, is no different than Crucial's at $69.99 (including shipping). The question is whether it's any more reliable than the $38 part from Pricewatch. (side question: why the hell did Apple put a SODIMM socket in the iMac?)

Again, I think this would be a killer app for a trustworthy metadata system. What if almost all generic parts were good, but there were a few suppliers that weren't. Wouldn't it be cool to actually know that? Also, if people had a good place to report stuff like drive failures, I think information about lemon products would disseminate much faster.

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!