Quick and dirty guide to (slightly) better Internet security

Posted December 14, 2010 @ 10:21 am | Filed under: Geekery

After offering some advice to friends about security pitfalls of Internet browsing, I decided to write up a list of steps to take to make being on the Internet a little bit safer and more private:

  1. Use Firefox for your web browsing. Other open-source browsers (Chrome, Opera, Safari to a limited extent) are okay too, but Firefox has the added benefit of being extendable with add-ons developed by savvy privacy-conscious users. I’m sure the other browsers are quickly catching up in this area though. Definitely stay away from Internet Explorer (the default browser on all Windows machines); While IE8 is much better in terms of security and privacy compared to previous versions, it still lags behind open-source offerings.

    Once you’ve started up Firefox, go to Tools > Add-ons and search for & install the add-ons described in the next steps.

  2. Read the rest of this post »



Tube Screamer clone kit from BYOC

Posted November 16, 2010 @ 5:24 pm | Filed under: High Fidelity,The Workbench

I recently built a clone of Ibanez’s Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, from a kit made by Build Your Own Clone. I also did a tremolo pedal kit, but I didn’t take any pictures of the building process.

There’s not really much to tell, because I was just following their directions– yeah, I’m a hacker-wannabe. It turned out to be a really enjoyable project though, and it only took me two evenings to do. The tremolo only took one evening, I assume because I knew what to expect and it’s a simpler kit. Hopefully these will open the door to more “personalized” DIY guitar projects in the future.

Oh, and how do they sound? Amazing, I must say. I’d post a sound clip but then you’d have one less reason to come to a YLS show. :)

Read the rest of this post »



iLok FAIL

Posted October 31, 2010 @ 10:36 pm | Filed under: High Fidelity

A few years ago, I purchased a Muse Receptor for use with my band. I’d consider myself somewhat of an early atopter.. I was fortunate enough to have an idea for the band’s live setup (namely, a hardware box that ran software synths) that someone had already implemented. I enjoyed using it for a couple years, though it tended to be not the most reliable piece of equiment ever.

Recently, the plugins I had purchased stopped working on the Receptor… I suspect because the Pace iLok copy-protection USB-stick no longer functioned correctly. So today I finally signed onto the iLok web site to see if I could get my authorizations transferred to a new iLok. All perfectly within legal parameters — We open-source advocates typically try to play by the rules, and contrary to popular belief, we’re not trying to get something for nothing :). However, to my dismay, I was presented a message that stated iLok.com was only supported on Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Read the rest of this post »



Antique Radio Computer Build

Posted October 12, 2010 @ 3:46 pm | Filed under: The Workbench

Over the course of the past six months or so, I’ve been working on rebuilding an antique stand-up radio console as a gift for my girlfriend. Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

Hardware setup

  • First, we got a five-ish foot radio console from an antique store. We thought the price was pretty reasonable.
  • Once I got it to her house, I removed all of the internal components. This included a big old tube-driven radio tuner and amplifier.
  • Read the rest of this post »



Amplifiers.

Posted August 2, 2010 @ 10:13 am | Filed under: High Fidelity,The Workbench

Si, Jon, and Andrew of Amplifiers have ‘released’ the 3-song EP I recorded for them this past winter/spring, which you can check out below. Be sure to also check out their recently revamped MySpace page. Brian Schultz, Bill Smith, and I also made appearances on the recording.

  • Error (Nothing’s Perfect)
    Audio MP3
  • Formations
    Audio MP3
  • Redemption Song
    Audio MP3


They have some more songs in the works too, hopefully they (and I) will be ready to record again sometime in the near future.

Read the rest of this post »