Sunday, October 16, 2011

A new privacy tool for social sites and email

Want to decide what privacy rights you have for yourself, instead of letting Facebook, Twitter or Google decide for you? Then this could be the app for you!

Available soon for download under (some version of) the GNU Public License, this app is powerful AND easy to use. Messages are broken into chunks which can even be posted on Twitter. Here is an example of its use:

The UI on the left opens up and you enter a passphrase used to generate encryption keys. Type your message into the Plain Text edit box and it will appear encrypted into Twitter-sized chunks in the Cypher Text box. These can be posted, either in one big chunk or in separate chunks under 140 characters in size.

Message recipients will need to know that passphrase; the message cannot be decoded without it, except possibly by the NSA or GCHQ.

Some features:
- Decryption code doesn't care in what order the message chunks are entered
- Decryption code puts a placeholder where chunks are missing
- Encryption is done with NIST standard algorithms

Drop me a line if you're interested...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Three Cheers for GeekGirlCon!

An event that I've planned on attending for about a year, GeekGirlCon, just ended. It was a terrific experience and I eagerly anticipate attending next year as well.

GeekGirlCon's them is encouraging female geekiness but my experience of it has been more along the lines of encouraging geekiness in all those who have that tendency, irrespective of gender. As a guy, I didn't feel the least bit excluded from any of the panels or events and the panels I attended all spoke to me. As it happened, I attended GeekGirlCon with my wife and my BFF Lisa but I would've felt comfortable and welcome attending on my own. But this way was much more fun.

The experience wasn't quite what I expected but it was still overflowing with awesomeness. I had planned to attend with my daughter (a 17 year old engineering junior at UW who wants to switch to graphic design/art), was sad that she didn't attend. She would have had a great time. I purchased tickets with her attendance in mind, which meant that I passed on Saturday's fare, rife with awesome Whedon, Star Trek and musical content.

But Sunday rocked as well. The panels about finding a geek niche (particularly as a parent) rocked and the merchandise for sale was really delightful. I unfortunately missed meeting a couple people I really looked forward to meeting (e.g., Bonnie Burton) and then ended up having an impromptu and delightful chat with Chase Masterson, a star from Deep Space 9, arguably the most well-written and realistic of the awesome Star Trek series.

I look forward eagerly to flying the GeekGirlConflag over the next year and probably participating in planning and volunteering events for the 2012 event. Well done, geeks!