Summer 2009: Research and jobs

May 24th, 2009

I decided not to go home to Charlottesville for the summer after the spring semester ended. Instead, I am staying up in Boston until school starts again in the fall.

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[solved] Is there a laptop keyboard that doesn’t suck?

June 27th, 2008

Update: Found one!

I'm in the market for a new laptop, but I can't seem to find one with a decent keyboard. I'm a programmer so these are keys that must be easy to hit without looking:

  • Esc
  • Enter
  • All the arrow keys
  • Tab
  • Home, End
  • Del, Backspace
  • Alt, Ctrl

Most laptop keyboards, unfortunately, have one of the following problems:

  • A stupid little "Fn" key as the lower right key, making it nearly impossible to hit left-Ctrl without looking
  • No space around the arrow keys, so I can't feel which button I'm touching
  • Little or no consideration for the placement of the Home/End keys, rendering them unusable without hunting (or that blasted Fn key)
My modified Acer Aspire 3500 keyboardMy modified keyboard

I've modified my current laptop keyboard to add space and remove annoying keys:

Victims include: Tab, Scroll lock, Ins, Context menu, and some proprietary dollar and euro keys nestled in with the arrows.

I'm not looking for a fancy machine with an amped-up graphics card or fingerprint reader or other such nonsense. I just want a basic laptop with standard hardware and a keyboard that doesn't suck.

Anyone want to recommend a manufacturer?

Cross-posted to LJ and the Neon Guild mailing list.

Proper implementation of friend groups: Request for input

December 17th, 2007

In my quest to bring the features of Livejournal (and other proprietary social networks) to the open, public internet, I'm stuck on how to properly implements friend groups. Friend groups determine which users are allowed to see your more sensitive blog entries. I've pulled together a description of several alternative models, and I'd like some input.

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Why I’m using Windows nagware on my Linux box

April 26th, 2007

When I switched to Linux a couple of years ago, I was able to find excellent replacements for most of the software I used on Windows. In a couple cases I had to use Wine to run my favorite Windows-only programs until I was more comfortable with the replacements, but there was one that I never gave up: Textpad.

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Towards anonymous currency transactions

October 8th, 2006

Anyone can create and maintain an anonymous online identity through the use of Tor and carefully chosen browser settings, but a difficulty soon arises: How does one pay anonymously for services? Some hosting and email providers accept digital currency (usually e-gold), but the process of getting e-gold in the first place is a bit trickier. Every reputable-looking digital currency exchange service that I've seen demands some proof of identity in a bid to prevent money launderers and financial fraudsters from using their system. There used to be a service that allowed anonymous digital currency transfers (YodelBank), but it closed when the operator became weary of running it. Where does this leave anonymity-seekers? I have a proposal for a system that could allow (though not guarantee) anonymous, blind transfers without opening avenues for money laundering.

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