Theatre Review: Magic Goes Wrong


Poster for Magic Goes Wrong. A magician in a top hat holds a goose.

There was a delightful end-of-term feel to this show. It was few days before the last performance and the cast were clearly having a lot of fun heckling back at the unruly audience. If you've seen any of the "Goes Wrong" shows on TV, you'll know exactly what to expect. A group of over-enthusiastic but…

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Book Review: Information Warfare and Security by Dorothy E. Denning


Book cover showing a CRT monitor behind barbed wire.

I found this book while following a citation trail for my MSc. Published before the 21st Century (fuck, I'm old) it's a run-down of this new-fangled thing called Information Warfare. It covers electronic attacks, espionage, computer security and more. In the last 20 years, depressingly little has changed. If you removed the mentions of ActiveX…

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What does it mean to run your own servers?


A pet cat typing on a computer keyboard.

I used to be a member of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Flickr, etc. But I felt guilty because I didn't run my own servers. OK, I could host content with them. But I had a severely limited way of curating what I saw and how much I could customise what people saw…

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Book Review: Constance by Matthew FitzSimmons


Book cover for Constance. A fingerprint with an infinity symbol embedded.

Pure pulp sci-fi - and I loved every page of it. The best sci-fi, in my opinion, doesn't dwell too long on how the magic box works - but spends time exploring the consequences of opening it. The premise is great - cloning is real and you can back up your brain. When you die,…

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Book Review: Ira Aldridge - The African Roscius by Bernth Lindfors


An African American man in a 19th Centrury portrait.

Ira Aldridge -- a black New Yorker -- was one of nineteenth-century Europe's greatest actors. By the time he began touring in Europe he was principally a Shakespearean actor, playing such classic characters as Shylock, Macbeth, Richard III, and King Lear. Although his frequent public appearances made him the most visible black man in the…

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Where are the U2F Rings?


Photo of an NFC ring, taken by Rain Ashford.

The FIDO specification defines a form of Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) when users log in to a system. Rather than relying on one-time codes sent via SMS, or displayed on a phone screen, these are physical hardware tokens which are used to supplement passwords. When used with websites, this technology is also known as WebAuthn.…

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Guide to flashing OpenWRT on a Wavlink Quantum D6 - with screenshots


The normal screen with lots of options.

Notes for anyone who wants a more detailed guide than the one on the official Wiki. Download OpenWRT Download the initramfs firmware file Rename the file to WN531A6.bin Download the sysupgrade file Download the original firmware Check the model number on your router. You can download the firmware from Wavlink directly. They have a specific…

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What's the lowest positive integer for which there are no Google search results?


Google search page showing no results.

I found this rather humourous Tweet in which a computer issued a cheque for £2,324,252,080,110: Thank you for our compensation payment @Northpowergrid for the several days we were without power following #stormarwen Before I bank the cheque however, are you 100% certain you can afford this? #trillionpounds pic.twitter.com/z5MNc2Nxl1 — Gareth Hughes (@gh230277) February 12, 2022…

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The existential terror of LinkedIn


People on linkedin wanking themselves dry over how clever they are.

Several years ago, I applied for my dream job. Not quite ice-cream tester on the International Space Station, but pretty close. I was astounded to get a first interview, and crushed to flame out at the second round. That's the way it goes sometimes. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried…

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Book Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi


Book cover featuring a gigantic monster.

Oh! But this is ridiculously fantastic fun. An unemployed sci-fi geek escapes the pandemic by going all David Attenborough with Godzilla. Yes, it is an exercise in nerdy wish fulfilment. But who among us wouldn't have rather spent the last two years being chased by giant scary monsters rather than cowering away from a microscopic…

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