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.

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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. :)

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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.

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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.
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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.

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