Besides the surface war in the Ukraine, another war is being waged in cyberspace. Both sides have zero-day exploits that they’ve been waiting for the right moment to use and you may be affected by some of the shrapnel. Here tell you some simple ways to be prepared for a personal cyber Holocaust.
Introducing BytePad: simple, decently secure encryption for files
Quite some time ago, I wrote an article discussing the practicability of using a file as a key for encrypting other files. As I am preparing a talk on what can you possibly do if you find your computer compromised, I thought I’d optimize the tool in that article. A couple weeks later, the result is considerably faster and more powerful than the original. At least, enough to warrant a new article. So here it is.
Learning piano not so young: The beginning
New Year 2022 resolution: to learn to play the piano. I’m sure many of you have made a similar resolution, and perhaps abandoned it after a while. I am aware of the pitfalls ahead, and so I’d like to tell you how I’ve gotten started. In this article I review the different learning methods I’ve surveyed, the instrument I chose, my general setup, and some basic ideas about the whole thing. I cannot promise this will work, so stand by for another article a few months from now telling you how it went.
Monkeys, wrenches, and the Drake equation
This is part 3 of the series of posts on the odds that life might have arisen spontaneously, as some people believe. This time I plug the result of the previous calculations into the famous Drake equation, with rather scary consequences.
Origin of Life Part 2
My post on Monkeys, Typewriters, and the Origin of Life has a very active comment stream, but unfortunately WordPress has stopped admitting more long comments, hence this new post where I provide increasingly refined estimates on the numbers of monkeys on typewriters needed to come up with life without anyone guiding their fingers.
Monkeys, typewriters, and the origin of life
You’ve heard it before: “This is as likely as a monkey sitting on a typewriter writing Shakespeare.” It sounds very unlikely but . . . how unlikely, exactly? In this article, I go through the math and use the result to estimate how likely it is for life to have arisen spontaneously out of a primordial soup of chemicals.
Make a 6 string baritone uke
In this recent article, I told you how to make a fairly rare 6-string ukulele starting from a regular tenor uke. Well, you can still buy those, but the 6-string baritone variety is impossible to find. The good news is that it is quite easy to make one, on a very tight budget.
6-string ukulele tunings
Six-string ukuleles are getting quite hard to find, and it’s a shame because they sound particularly ukulele-like, at least to my ears. In this recent article, I tell you how to convert a regular 4-string ukulele into a six-stringer with conventional tuning, but I found that there are a lot more tunings you could use, and some sound just as sweet as the standard. In this article, I go through the math and give you some samples. Read More
Make a 6 String Ukulele
If you do a web search for “6 string ukulele,” you will find that a majority of links lead to the “guitalele,” an instrument the size of a tenor ukulele with 6 independent strings, which is played rather like a guitar. But a few of them will lead to the true 6-string ukulele, where two of its four strings are doubled up in octaves. This one is played like a regular 4-string ukulele, but sounds richer, more uke-like if that were possible (see this video, for instance). True 6-string ukuleles are hard to find, and those that you do find tend to be pricey, but in this article I show you how to convert a regular ukulele into a 6-string uke with a minimum of hassle and expense.
Two very different pickups, one instrument
My latest ukulele is an exercise in versatility: short enough to go inside a suitcase, long enough to be remain playable under heavy capo and, of course, both acoustic and electric. And not just merely electric, but featuring both a passive piezo pickup and a magnetic pickup, which can be mixed in any ratio. I looked for a wiring diagram that could do this, and found nothing simple. They all required a switch to select the main pickup, with perhaps the ability to add a bit of the other, or had something weird about them. Since the two pickups are very different electrically, there was no assurance that they would mix well. I took a guess, and it worked, though theory predicted that it shouldn’t have. Read on for the solution.