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Carlos Fenollosa

Carlos Fenollosa

Engineer, developer, entrepreneur

Carlos Fenollosa — Blog

Thoughts on science and tips for researchers who use computers

Link roundup for 2019-08-25

August 25, 2019 — Carlos Fenollosa

I tried to start a link roundup last year. Let's see if this time I can post more than once a year.

Tiny terminal multiplexer

mtm (via) is the Micro Terminal Multiplexer, which is written in about 1000 lines of code.

I have been a screen fan for a long time and recently tried tmux, which I ditched because I just can't get around its windowing metaphors and scrollback behavior. I will try mtm for sure.

Nostalgia trip to the 90s

Poolside FM is a website that simulates a Classic Mac desktop environment playing 90s music and video clips.

Definitely give it a try!

On plaintext email

Use plaintext email (via) and its open reply, stop gatekeeping email are part of an eternal discussion on whether email should be pure plaintext or not.

I'm personally a big proponent of plaintext email and even launched a startup around it, but I can also see the benefits of rich text email.

In the end, email is a tool, and as such it should be used as conscientiously as one can.

Recaptcha is evil

There is no evil like reCAPTCHA (v3) argues that Google is weaponizing reCAPTCHA.

My feeling is that reCAPTCHA is now more of a bother to the "good guys" than the "bad boys" and, as such, we need a replacement for it.

I personally use a heavily secured browser to browse the internet (blocking js, ads, and more) and, therefore, I encounter a lot of reCAPTCHAs daily. Sometimes they are so difficult to solve that I even wonder if I am the robot.

Warshipping Wi-Fi devices

With warshipping, hackers ship their exploits directly to their target's mail room (via) is an astounding tale of how clever techniques can bring a virus into your literal doorstep.

The researchers developed a proof-of-concept device — the warship, which has a similar size to a small phone — into a package and dropped it off in the mail. The device, which cost about $100 to build, was equipped with a 3G-enabled modem, allowing it to be remote-controlled so long as it had cell service. With its onboard wireless chip, the device would periodically scan for nearby networks — like most laptops do when they're switched on — to track the location of the device in its parcel.

"Once we see that a warship has arrived at the target destination's front door, mailroom or loading dock, we are able to remotely control the system and run tools to either passively, or actively, attack the target's wireless access," wrote Henderson.

Software should be fast

Fast Software, the Best Software (via) provides important argumes as to why software should be fast, and not just because

A typewriter is an excellent tool because, even though it’s slow in a relative sense, every aspect of the machine itself operates as quickly as the user can move. It is focused. There are no delays when making a new line or slamming a key into the paper. Yes, you have to put a new sheet of paper into the machine at the end of a page, but that action becomes part of the flow of using the machine, and the accumulation of paper a visual indication of work completed. It is not wasted work. There are no fundamental mechanical delays in using the machine. The best software inches ever closer to the physical directness of something like a typewriter.

Well-formated, royalty-free ebooks

Standard ebooks (via) is a compilation of royalty-free ebooks with proper formatting.

There's not much to add. Great job!

AMD is making a comeback

AMD lands Google, Twitter as customers with newest server chip (via) is just another step in the Intel chip debacle.

Hobbyists and armchair experts have been expecting this for a long time, but for an important company like Google or Twitter to make the switch means the tide is truly turning.

I don't hold any animosity towards Intel, besides being unhappy with the crap thay have been doing with their chips (bugs and ME). In any case, competition is good, and the x86 server market was in much need of it.

Bicycle for the mind

Bicycle for the mind (via) explores the not so famous Steve Jobs' quote that "a computer is a bicycle for the mind".

This article is excellent, providing not only the original video, but also looking for the original research text that Jobs was referring to in the interview, and complementing it with other videos and marketing materials.

As a Jobs fan, I spent more time on that page that I'm willing to admit. But we have to admit that "bicycle for the mind" is one of the greatest metaphors of our time.

Why are switches clicky?

Switches are Clicky; Here's Why (via) is an extremely cool video about how electricity works, and why we have switches at home.

Again, electricity is one of the topics that fascinates me the most. Read below...

The Electricity FAQ

ELECTRICITY FAQ is a very long document that you should read if you'd like to understand how electricity works. Heck, I'll even say that you should read it even if you think how electricity works.

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