Just finished watching Divergent

It was a reasonably good movie.   It was predictable, but it had good action and it held my attention.   In the aftermath, I’ve been musing on what faction I’d be a part of, should I live in that world.   I’ve settled on the faction of Erroneous.  We would value mistakes, particularly mistakes that result in physical comedy, like you see in those humorous YouTube videos of people hurting themselves on trampolines or trying to do Parkour.



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The Powershell equivalent to grep

I’m posting this mainly for my own use, since I keep forgetting the syntax. To search for a string in a source code tree, the command would look something like this:

Get-ChildItem -filter *.cs -recurse | Select-String -pattern "SearchTerm" -casesensitive

Plus or minus options, of course. You can also specify a base path for Get-ChildItem if required.

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Hacking and Hollywood

This is an old and well-worn example of a television attempt to incorporate IT security into a plot-line

It amuses me that Hollywood writers seem to believe that hacking and IT Security are some form of online, multi-player “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.”   The portrayals tend to revolve around a scenario that goes something like this:  “Oh no, our firewall is being hacked by an elite typist!  He must be hacking at 90 words per minute, or more!   Our only chance to block him is to type EVEN FASTER!”

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The TSA does something that makes sense!?

I am both shocked and pleased.   They will allow small knives on planes again.  They never fail to give me something to complain about however, and in this case, it’s the just-small-enough-to-not-be-useful  2.36” maximum allowable blade length.   They should have gone back to the pre-9/11 limit, which if I recall correctly was roughly 3”.  Regardless, this is a finally move in the right direction to focus on real real security rather than security theater, so it’s an overall positive.

Story here: http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/tsa-allow-passengers-carry-small-knives-planes-1C8700194

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New Beer Review–Dogfish Head Hellhound on My Ale

I’ve got a new beer review up on OpenCraftBeer for Dogfish Head’s Hellhound on My Ale.   It’s another Jazz-themed offering from Dogfish Head, this time in tribute to Robert Johnson.  Read it here:  http://opencraftbeer.com/dogfish-head-hellhound-on-my-ale

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Watson becomes a doctor

It started out as a master bedroom sized beast, and its first task was to beat two world champions at Jeopardy™.  Once it had handily mastered that task, the fine folks at IBM scaled it down to the size of a pizza box (while increasing its processing speed by 240%) and taught it to assist in making medical decisions.   I’ll let you read the full article from the Forbes here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/02/08/ibms-watson-gets-its-first-piece-of-business-in-healthcare/

The bottom line as I see it is there there is an amazing opportunity here to add a sanity check to health care decisions, reducing the cost of medical mistakes by billions of dollars, and also to extend health care knowledge to regions that are lacking skilled practitioners.   As its abilities are fine-tuned, and costs go down, this could lead to a sea change in how health care is provided.  

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Quick Nexus 7 Review

I’ve been thinking about a tablet for awhile now, and I’ve finally just recently acquired a Google Nexus 7.  These are my thoughts on it after the first couple of weeks of ownership. 

  • At $249 for the 32GB version, the price is right.   It’s WiFi only, so I don’t have the luxury of being connected anywhere like you would with a 3G or 4G device, but I don’t have the monthly bill that goes along with that capability either. 
  • The 7” screen form factor is super handy.  It’s easy to hold, easy to pack around, just the right size for working with apps…I really like it.  It’s significantly more convenient  to me that the 9.7” screen on my wife’s iPad. 
  • The down-side of the 7” screen is that it’s a bit to small for general web browsing.  I end up either holding the tablet too close to my face or having the zoom in on the text too much of the time.  The larger iPad is certainly less work for every day surfing.
  • The processor speed is amazing.  I never have to deal with lag.  Everything is fast on it, all the time.  The difference between the Nexus and my HTC phone, which also runs Android 4 (albeit 4.0, and not 4.2, like the Nexus) is night and day. 
  • The built-in keyboard is horrendous.  It’s fine for entering passwords, but the auto-correct was so terrible it became virtually unusable the first time I tried to type anything longer.   It was bad enough to immediately drive me out looking for a third party keyboard replacement.  A friend had recommended the Adaptxt keyboard for Android phones, and I saw that they’ve come out with a tablet  version as well, so I decided to give that a try.  I’ve been happy with it so far. 
  • The only other thing I think people might miss (I personally don’t) is a back facing camera.  It’s got a front-facing camera so you’re fine for Skype, or Google Hangouts or what have you, but you can’t take pictures with it easily.   I’m content to use my phone (and my actual camera!) for that instead, so it doesn’t bother me. 

So for me so far, it’s been a great tool.   It’s significantly reduced the amount of time I spend on a regular computer for non-work stuff, and it’s really a pleasure to use.  I definitely recommend it. 

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New Beer Review – North Coast Old Stock Ale 2012

My review of North Coast’s Otushi Old Stock Ale for 2012 is up on OpenCraftBeer.

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Xanderland Relaunched

After the better part of a year as a black hole on the web, I’m re-launching Xanderland.com.   I’m using a new blogging engine, so the content from the previous blog hasn’t automatically come over.   I’m going to bring the bits that might still be interesting to readers, or search engine users over, and add them to an archive category as I find them time, but most of the content is either no longer relevant, or wasn’t that interesting in the first place, so I’m going to let it rest in piece.

Here’s to hoping I a do a better job keeping the site fresh this time around.


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Flying the SR-71 Blackbird

This is just awesome.

“I pulled the throttles to idle just south of Sicily , but we still overran the refueling tanker awaiting us over Gibraltar.”

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