Monday 29th March 2010

WASTE: secure file sharing for the extremely intelligent

guys, i have something to share with you. you'll love it, and if you don't love it, i won't love you.

WASTE is a program that allows you to make selected data available to a small, trusted group of other WASTE users, and to transmit that data in a pretentiously secure manner. the bits flow directly, using really hefty encryption to keep people in the middle from listening in. (it's RSA. it's the top-shelf stuff. it's what secures your online credit card transactions. everyone knows everything about it and it's still unbreakable.)

intrigued? you should be. read on.

take note: if you don't mind your isp, the government, the mafiaa, and/or rogue wombats listening to your internet connection, or if all you're doing is sending your family members some pictures of your daughter, there are more appropriate systems that save you the considerable overhead introduced by the encryption. on the other hand, if you're transmeeteeng ze seecret deejeetal meecrofeelm, or if you just look good in a tinfoil hat, you will find WASTE to be 100% cromulent.

still intrigued? here's how to make it go:


1. install WASTE!

the official WASTE project hasn't been actively developed for a few years, but the program still works as advertised. officials familiar with the investigation confirm WASTE can function in windows 7. furthermore, there are a few project forks in the wild (such as WASTE again) but this blurb is only concerned with the original. help yourself to the installation files by clicking on this link with your favorite pointing device.

assuming you're using windows, drop the installer into C:\Program Files\WASTE, and run that sucker.


2. find your power numbers!

the WASTE installer will help you find two big, big numbers (keys) that fuel the encryption. one key is public. you hand this one out to your pals (hence, 'public key'); they can use it hide information inside a bunch of nonsense and send it to you. the other key is kept private, and you use it to turn the nonsense back into the original information. anyone with your private key can unlock anything ever sent to you, so keep it secret (hence, 'private key'). the private key will be stored locally and wrapped up under a further password. if you forget the password, you have to start over. (you can have WASTE remember the password, but only if you're absolutely sure your spouse works for the KGB.)


3. connect to other humans!

log in to your router, and tell it to forward port 1337 to your local ip address (the one that looks like 192.168.XX.XX). this is important, but obscure, and if you've gone through a full WASTE installation and you're still unable to connect to other people this is a likely culprit.

several things have to happen in order to form a connection between any two users:

a. both users have to join the same WASTE network. (preferences > network > password)
b. each user has to have the other's public key. (preferences > public keys)
c. at least one user needs to know the other's ip address. whatismyip.com knows it, even if you do not.

make these happen, and you one user connects to the other's ip (under network status). anyone who connects to anyone else in the mesh will instantly be able to talk to everyone else who is connected to the mesh.

say alice, bob, and carol are all in the same WASTE mesh; alice has a direct connection to bob, and bob has a direct connection to carol, but alice does not have a direct connection to carol. data can still flow between alice and carol, but it will be piped through their mutual connection to bob. the mesh will use the most efficient route between users, and we know by the triangle inequality a direct connection will be fastest.

you should tell WASTE to automatically try connecting to a list of ip addresses when it starts. in (preferences > chat > perform), use "/connect host 12.34.56.78:1337", no quotes, for each ip of friends in the mesh.


4. share..

pick some folders, any folders (preferences > file sharing > sending). your friends will be able to browse the contents of these folders, wantonly sampling their delectable bits. those gluttons.


5. ..and enjoy.

now your friends can see just how refined your taste in digital goods really is, and you theirs, and the rogue wombats are altogether cut out of the loop.


posted by mAtt @ 22.40 (gmt+0000)
to /geek/internet
tagged

Thursday 19th November 2009

these are the things that are broken

ordered list, i choose you:

  1. the car thing that's supposed to save the world. you see, those awesome batteries occasionally die. and apparently they're awesomely expensive. but i have some good news! i just paid a bunch of money to someone to basically let me keep using what i had already paid for.
  2. the iphone. though at&t doesn't know it's an iphone, and that's kind of at the root of the problem. in order to avoid allowing them to ream you on the data plan you have to perform some digital magic, among other steps. but this magic has certain side effects, including people can't call you. ask your doctor if ultrasn0w is right for you—i should have.
  3. the roof. it has holes. in it.
  4. the stereo of my other vehicle. a long time ago i turned the ignition in my truck a certain number of clicks so i could listen to the radio or whatever, but went one click too far, and then back a click, all in rapid succession, and this let the magic smoke out of the shiny lights of the faceplate. and magic smoke, as any scientist will tell you, is hard to put back in a device after it has escaped.
  5. the nail of my left index finger. and now every time i use it it's like the terrorists won their war against the kittens.
  6. the dog. i've made clear my thoughts on the matter of sub-sentient life forms. they exude smelly substances and totally ignorant of this fact. they whine for attention. and not one of them has a job.
  7. the internet. conservapedia.com will eventually become skynet.
  8. my liver. and i have the other items in this list to blame.

posted by mAtt @ 20.15 (gmt+0000)
to /humans/unhappiness
tagged

Friday 13th November 2009

discretion

i beg you to follow me again down the rabbit-hole of my thoughtcrime. in this episode, i argue that at some point far in our future, original creative endeavor will have been exhausted simply because it's all been done.

to illustrate what i mean, take a piano. any piano. then pick a key on that piano and hit it with some amount of force, and hold the note for an arbitrary amount of time. there, you've composed a bit of music. a very simplistic bit of music, but it'll serve.

now repeat the experiment above, but this time adding another tone—either in parallel or in series—again arbitrarily. the complexity of our musical composition has increased by some factor due to the larger number of options (number of piano keys, plus the volume and duration of the incremental tone) we have added with the additional strike.

continue in this manner, evaluating with each additional strike of the keys whether the piece (a) continues to build toward, or (b) has achieved a "sufficiently artistic" (definition t.b.d.) end. if neither, alter something about what you've done or add a new note. if (a), repeat. if (b), halt. see? it's an algorithm.

you must agree with me that there is some theoretical maximum human endurance for absorption—four hours? ish?—of a single musical work, no matter its beauty, and given the limits of the number of keys available on a standard piano (most have just the eighty-eight), of human fingers both in quantity (most have just the ten) and in key-striking speed measured in notes per second (fifty at a sprint? shot in the dark). also, we must assume that to human ears there is neither an uncountably infinite spectrum of volumes (you can't tell the difference between 76.393 dB and 76.394 dB no matter who you are, you pretentious audiophile) nor an uncountably infinite spectrum of tone durations (ibid., 38.08 ms and 38.09 ms).

if you grant me my assumptions, it follows that the theoretical number of works of music that can be composed is countable, which is to say, given a sufficiently long amount of time and a sufficiently large amount of humans willing to slog through them, we'll write them all. sooner or later, any interesting tune you can hum will have already been composed, and you'll be in violation of someone's copyright.


posted by mAtt @ 21.02 (gmt+0000)
to /geek/unhappiness
tagged

Sunday 14th June 2009

self-sacrifice

the idea of using an internet-enabled device to list and sell itself on ebay seems really sad to me. do you think your iphone or whatever is aware at some level of the depth of your betrayal? i do, and this is how it makes me feel.


posted by mAtt @ 12.47 (gmt+0000)
to /geek/unhappiness
tagged

Thursday 11th June 2009

what i learned in that place where i went

we say things like it's a small world without feeling their full meaning.

the world is small only in comparison with such things as the rest of the galaxy, which is itself only small in comparison with such things as the local supercluster. we're to the point in our development as a thinking species where we can observe objects that emitted some bits of light near the beginning of the universe, and the light is only now reaching us. and light is fast, dig? if my calculations are correct it takes light approximately one year to go one light-year; do you know how long it would take you, even taking the entire journey at the fastest speed any human has ever gone? beyond the scope of supercluster one could take two, maybe three meaningful (however gargantuan) steps up, and half a dozen or more on the way down. we live near the bottom, and on the scale to which we are accustomed, the world is pointedly—almost arrogantly—large.

thank you for following so far; it's important you understand where i'm coming from if you're to understand where i'm going. it's a matter of using the appropriate scale. though it's not saying much, the difference between (1) the immensity and permanence of the rock we're all floating on and (2) my own unimportance and brevity is more than the meat between my ears can process. and yet it is precisely this difference that made each bite of greek food, each sight of stacked ancient marble, each step taken on age-worn stone, each smile on the face of the girl i love—all so small when taken individually—so large when viewed through the lens of what i'm used to.

this is what i learned: we're each so small, and each so temporary, but because of this each moment and every inch we have just becomes that much more meaningful. where we are, everything matters except you. you are exactly as self-important as you think you are; it is just your scale that is wrong.

i'm sorry, what was your question? … 'how was greece?'

pretty frakking swell.


posted by mAtt @ 19.07 (gmt+0000)
to /composition/happiness
tagged

Saturday 30th May 2009

okay, not a greece post

i justify this entry by saying i discovered this while on the nine-hour leg between seattle and heathrow, courtesy of british airways' in-flight entertainment.

the empyrean, by john frusciante. if you can afford it, buy it; if not, beg/borrow/steal it.

this album is style with substance, effing sublime, and—as he claims—is best served loudly in a dark room.


posted by mAtt @ 15.41 (gmt+0000)
to /entertainment
tagged

Thursday 19th February 2009

should this please me?

hummer drivers get more tickets.

to be sure, it does; i'm just not sure whether it should. i believe i'm so enmeshed in my personal philosophy of 'hummers bad' that anything bad that happens to hummer drivers is good. then again, if i were an elf living in the days of the memory of the trees, anything bad that happened upon morgoth would be happy news indeed; this means either i am a good person, or (that is to say, 'and/or') i have lately been reading the silmarillion.

obviously, it is both.


posted by mAtt @ 20.39 (gmt+0000)
to /happiness
tagged
older posts. »