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The Mad Philosopher

Because being mad is all the rage. A personal weblog of Darren Paul Griffith.

Last Build Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 15:41:29 +0000


DNS-based mitigation for Samsung SwiftKey keyboard vulnerability

Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:48:47 +0000

I was just listening to the discussion of the Samsung SwiftKey keyboard vulnerability from Security Now! episode 513, and I came up with a simple DNS-based mitigation that a user could implement to protect themselves. The Vulnerability Without any user interaction, the user’s phone makes a plaintext http GET request to a SwiftKey update server, […]

The Mathematics of Easter

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:23:06 +0000

Why is Lent 40 days long, why is Passion Week 7 days, and why was Jesus “in the earth” for 3 days? Further, why do we celebrate his birth on the solstice and his resurrection on the equinox? This essay by Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains it all, and it blew my mind. Good reading for […]

Backup Your Dropbox Files with rdiff-backup

Sun, 10 Mar 2013 20:30:33 +0000

The Problem Teresa and I use a single Dropbox account to share files between our computers. I also use the same account to store (and sync) plain-text notes on my iPad and iPhone (I use the apps PlainText and iA Writer). In case things go wrong with these apps, the syncing, or with Dropbox itself, […]

Teresa’s Peace River Expedition

Mon, 12 Jul 2010 00:19:14 +0000

Last Thursday, I put Teresa in the water at the town of Peace River to begin her 9-day solo kayak expedition to Fort Vermilion. You can follow her progress by clicking on the map below:

Dell laptop BIOS update using FreeDOS and ISO Master

Sat, 17 Apr 2010 20:56:52 +0000

I recently needed to update the BIOS on a Dell Inspiron 630m laptop. The file, available from Dell support, is a DOS executable named MX51_A04.EXE. I had two problems with this file: (1) Windows would not boot, so I couldn’t run the file using Windows. (2) The laptop had no floppy drive, so I couldn’t […]

A Better Online Dictionary

Thu, 08 Apr 2010 14:02:13 +0000

I like using the online dictionary at because it’s fast and clean. It’s easy to query, also. Just append your word to the end of the URL. For example: It describes itself as offering “free cross-referenced definitions, spelling correction, and word searches from WordNet, Webster’s, FOLDOC, and a variety of specialized sources.” In […]

Which editor should I learn?

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:07:07 +0000

On, Rory McCann asked, “What’s the best terminal editor to suggest to a Unix newbie? i.e. not vi or Emacs.” This answer, which purposefully ignores the original poster’s restriction, says it best: My take is still Emacs or vi. Even for a beginner. Why? Because time invested in learning an editor is productive only […]

Wil Wheaton has a new podcast

Wed, 25 Nov 2009 07:58:46 +0000

I just learned tonight that Wil Wheaton has a new podcast out, called Memories of the Futurecast. The podcast is a promotion of his latest book, Memories of the Future, Volume One, which is Wil’s going-down-memory-lane review of the first 13 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I listened to the first episode of […]