March 2022

Replace Spotlight search with an extensible app

I don’t have any arguments against the Mac’s Spotlight search – it’s a very capable product. But when I came across Raycast (https://www.raycast.com/) with its plugin capabilities, coupled with the fact that its extensions are Open Source, I was sold. The free plan is more than sufficient for me and the clipboard history extension has allowed me to get rid of a single purpose app I was using. Manual at https://raycastapp.notion.site/Raycast-Manual-d5c85a7694dc4e4088b8b93557ea6d2d

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COBOL for the masses!

That;s right – a free COBOL front-end to gcc so you can grab one of those lucrative mainframe COBOL programmer positions (I’m not kidding! Some companies are desperately looking for COBOL programmers to keep their systems running!) See the announcement at https://lwn.net/ml/gcc/20220314163437.54ed696e0499d0875743a0f3@schemamania.org/

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Integrating Red and Blue InfoSec teams

InfoSec typically divides some their people into Red (attack) and Blue (defend) teams. While I agree with the general idea, I’ve often thought it wasn’t sufficiently granular and left a lot out of the InfoSec equation. Up comes this article (https://danielmiessler.com/study/red-blue-purple-teams/) which really digs into what’s missing and how to tie things together. A Purple “team” integrates and facilitates communication between the Red and Blue teams. Further, a Yellow team (builder) and then the combination of the various colors in the Build Attack Defend pyramid, leading to Orange and Green teams, in addition to the Purple team.

WHile it ay overly complicate the picture, the idea is sound, I think – encourage, faciitate, and integrate communications between the various teams/groups. Share knowledge and use that sharing to build a stronger security posture.

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An hub and incubator for food startups

Yeah, that’s right…food startups! I don’t even know how to categorize or tag this but this article (https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/03/14/food-innovation-hub-kitchentown-grows-impact-driven-bay-area-startups) explains the concept pretty well. It’s been in operation since 2014 and is helping some pretty interesting startups. You can get more info from the source at https://kitchentowncentral.com/.

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3 new (to me) linux (mac, android,windows) tools

I’ll cut right to the chase, Copyq, syncthing, and tldr.

Copyq, at https://hluk.github.io/CopyQ/, is a clipboard manager for Linux, Windows, MacOS, AND ChromeOS in the Linux environment! It has a GUI as well as a command-line interface and in the ChromeOS environment, captures clips from BOTH Linux and ChomeOS! CHeck out the docs.

Tldr, at https://github.com/tldr-pages/tldr, provides a cheat-sheet-like summary of command options. It’s not as full function as a man page but can often provide just that one bit of info you need. It provides info on Android, Linux, MacOS, Windows, Sun OS(!), and a set of common commands like 2to3 (convert python 2 code to python 3), adb (Android Debug Bridge which can be installed on many different platforms), and atom (a cross-platform editor).

Syncthing, at https://syncthing.net/, is an open source, multi-platform, authenticated, continuous file synchronization program with communications secured by TLS. It works on MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android among many others.

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Understanding (?) time crystals (?)

Yeah, sure. If you can follow everything in this article you’re a better thinker than I am. Nonetheless, I found it a “fun” read (yeah, I have an interesting definition of “fun”). Nonetheless, check out https://nation.lk/online/10-easy-steps-to-half-understanding-time-crystals-173866.html and see if you think it’s a fun read.

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A step closer to a quantum internet

In essence a team of scientists have made great strides in helping two distant quantum computers to become entangled, which is one of the steps necessary to reach a quantum internet. Read more at https://phys.org/news/2022-03-giant-quantum-internet-bell-state.html (but not too much more…it is an article for us normal folks),

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Proof of work vs proof of stake

Energy, in the form of electricity, is how bitcoin and ethereum transactions are validated today. The faster a “miner” can solve a math problem to approve a transaction, the more likely they are to be rewarded with some of the cryptocurrency. And they do that by using a bunch of computers all working together – hence, using electricity. That’s called “proof of work” and is the original idea behind the whole crypto thing. But there’s another idea that’s been catching on – proof of stake – and one that Ethereum has been planning to adopt for quite a while (there are other cryptocurrencies that already use this method). In proof of stake, a prospective validator puts up a stake (a given amount of the cryptocurrency) then one of the prospective validators is chosen algorithmically to validate the transaction. Once validated, another group (“attestors”) confirms and accepts the validation. This is an asttempt to rein in the massive electricity use.

Read more about it at https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/03/04/1046636/ethereum-blockchain-proof-of-stake if you’re interested.

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