Dwarf Fortress OS: Security through Insanity?

I want to design a new operating system whose entire user interface is based on navigating through an instance of Dwarf Fortress, you know just for fun. It would be like bringing back Norton Commander, but with a user experience designed by George R.R. Martin. If you wanted access to my data, you must be prepared to go on a quest!

Update: apparently someone on Reddit has already begun this critical work!

The goal of course, would be to make it that much more fun for people who want to inspect your laptop at border crossings and other powerless zones within 100 miles of a border.
When asked by an inspecting officer of some kind “What the hell is this?!”, you can then spout bardic verses such as these when describing how to navigate to your sensitive email, documents, contacts and other magical treasure:

“Of easy passage to the prize, I did not promise,” said the stranger. “Through haunted woods we must go, there to find the elf princess to join our quest, then through the savage plains to the dwarf fortress, to find the dwarf champion and learn the location of the final prize. The path will be fraught with danger, for we cannot make this journey alone.”


Discussing New Tactics for Human Rights

This week, I’m participating in a one week online dialog regarding the development of new tools and tactics for the purpose of documenting human rights violations. The New Tactics in Human Rights Project, led by a diverse group of partner international organizations, advisors and practitioners, promotes tactical innovation and strategic thinking within the international human rights community. While there is an amazing list of researchers and practitioners who have been invited to seed the thread, all are welcome to join in the discussion, as well.

Here’s a brief summary of what we’ll be covering:

Join us for this important on-line dialogue featuring Documenting Violations: Choosing the Right Approach from January 27 to February 2, 2010. This dialogue will feature practitioners that have developed database systems to document human rights violations, organizations on the ground documenting violations, and those that are training practitioners on how to choose the right approach and system for their documentation. We will look at options for ways to collect, store and share your human rights data safely and effectively. If you are trying to figure out the best documenting system for your work – or if you have found something that works well, please join us for this conversation to share your questions, ideas, resources and stories!

Featured Resource Practitioners
Featured resource practitioners for this dialogue include (click here for more biographical info):

  • Vijaya Tripathi and Megan Price work with the Martus database developed by Benetech
  • Agnethe Olesen, Daniel D’Esposito and Bert Verstappen work on the OpenEvSys database developed by HURIDOCS
  • Jorge Villagran and Sofia Espinosa of the Guatemalan National Police Archive Team
  • Patrick J. Pierce, head of the International Center for Translational Justice – Burma Program
  • Oleg Burlaca, utilizes HURIDOCS methodology and working on websites for World Organisation Against Torture and SOVA Center for Information and Analysis
  • Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist at Duke University and Seth Shaw, Duke’s Libraries’ Electronic Records Archivist
  • Jana Asher, M.S., is the Executive Director of StatAid
  • Agnieszka Raczynska of Red Nacional de Organismos Civiles de Derechos Humanos, Mexico
  • Daniel Rothenberg is the Managing Director of International Projects at the International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) at DePaul University College of Law

Read on:

Feedback on my TwitterVoteReport Talk at MobileCampNYC3

Eric Mill, of Mill Industries (a personal blog that has nothing to do with heavy machinery), attended my session at MobileCampNYC3 yesterday, and posted a positive note about it:

The first session I went to was awesome, about the Twitter Vote Report, which was actually not just a Twitter thing at all. Via SMS, calling in, Twitter, or native iPhone and Android(!) apps, you could report the quality of your voting experience on election day, even going so far as to specify a rating. In fact, they did an excellent job using hashtags on Twitter such that you could post “Had a #good time voting in #11216 no problems here #votereport” and the Vote Report project would pick up that someone had a Good experience in zip code 11216. Nathan Freitas, a cool guy, and Dave Troy, the guy behind Twittervision, were involved, and they have released as many visualizations and raw data as they can from it. PLUS, Nathan today released the source code to the Android app that he built in a day for it.

I felt a bit negative about the event at the end of the day (see this tweet) mostly because it seemd everyone either wanted to sell themselves or thought i was trying to sell them on something, instead of it just being an open relaxed forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Fortunately, there are posts like this, which let you know people were actively listening, engaged and learning, that help make it all better.

Eric worked for Blue State Digital during the election and is now actively looking for his next gig, so if you are in need of a sharp, energetic thoughtful developer, mobile or otherwise, with political campaign experience, let him know!

Josh Enlightens Us on Perspective

I’m not much of political blogger, preferring to share my thoughts on the direction of our country and government over a beer or the dinner table. However, I do admire those that can and do participate in the neverending great online debate.

One of them is my friend, Josh Schrei, one of the best critical thinkers and eloquent rant writers that I personally know. He has been on a real tear recently on his blog The Schrei Wire. His latest post, written from Florence, Italy, is a continuation of a series of posts regarding the War on Intellectualism that Sarah Palin represents….

Its interesting to be here in the cradle of human enlightenment in the midst of our current debacle of a Presidential race, because, to be frank, it really puts things in… perspective.

So lets put things in perspective. One of our candidates for the highest office there is doesnt believe in evolution. She believes that dinosaurs and people coexisted on planet earth 5000 years ago, which, according to her is just about how old the world is. She believes in Armageddon. She believes that certain thoughts and ideas — in the form of books that go against her particular worldview — should be banned.

According to WikiPedia, “Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another.”

Simply put, Sarah Palin doesnt have perspective. She doesnt have the context that is the very defenition of perspective. Ill go out on a limb and say that she probably doesnt read that much. Shes never been abroad. She probably wouldnt care too much for David or Venus because David has a penis and you can see Venuses tits and she would probably think thats gross and immoral.

the view from Florence

read on here for the full post, and many others…

Update: Matt Browner-Hamlin, the other great political blogger I personally know, has a great round-up pile-on post on this topic, as well: Sarah Palin & Anti-Intellectualism:

Am I piling on in this post? Sure, because Palin’s brand of willful ignorance as is dangerous a force as any other that exists in the United States today. Willful ignorance, anti-intellectualism, and the tribalization of these forces against those who seek betterment through education are the shortest paths to the decline of the US as a great nation.