14 Oct

Snowden, Omelas, Terrorism, and Privacy

It’s not much of a stretch to say that Edward Snowden, whether you think of him as immature or dangerously idealistic or idealistically heroic, was one of those who walked away in the parable of Omelas–and right into a┬ácomplex dystopic saga. Uncovered, the NSA’s actions could have the same impact as an act of terrorism (where the T’s are the NSA and other agencies who surveil without serious oversight)–generating paranoia or helpless complacency or fear of repercussion within the general public. The federal sector–where it overlaps the small piece of the defense industry that employs me–shrugs off the surveillance with an “It’s been going on and will continue to happen regardless of public outcry. If we’d left it alone, we could have carried on feeling secure instead of fearful.”

We’re a comfortable, conservative country, willing to shout our fear, indignation, and anger via intertwining streams of personal and public media, than rise up in revolution. We’ve seen government response to physical public displays in our cities and other countries. That looks pretty uncomfortable.

So where can I get an affordable, portable TSA-like gateway to pat down in- and out-bound packets?

28 Sep

New Home, New Name

I’ve relocated my site from Webfaction to No Support Unix Hosting (for $1/month) and renamed the site to Wist (on a whim that feels descriptive and prescient). I like the new default WordPress “Twenty Thirteen” template enough that I’m not going to reimplement the Genesis template (even if it can bring Spock back). The new default is cheery, easy to use for now, loads fast, and plays well on mobile devices and browsers.

Moving the site was almost trivial (compared to the last time I moved a WP site). I used the WordPress Move plugin and WordPress Export tool. It took less than 30 minutes to migrate all content and plugins and keep the images, dates, categories, and tags attached to their posts and pages. (There are other plugins and methods but this worked for me.)

The tagline? Googling “using Wist in a sentence” produced that–and who doesn’t like a good “for they were sore afraid” line?

Note: Wist is not Whist, although one can know a card game.