Category Archives: misc

Underwhelmed by Apple

During Apple’s “underwhelming” event yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of these words from Ecclesiastes 1:8:

All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

Apple’s greatest gift to us may end up being the clear demonstrationĀ that the most beautiful gadgets in the world simply cannot satisfy our unquenchable thirst for more.

And we never will.

Tim Cook, writing on privacy:

Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Given the threat of fines Yahoo faced in 2008, this is a bold statement.

When Your SVN Username Is Different…

Here’s a quick tip for git-svn users struggling to find the perfect Google-foo for git-svn usernames.

If your svn username doesn’t match your local machine username, update the ~/.subversion/servers file to look something like this:

repo01 =
username = thaddeus.ternes

Also, here’s a little hack I put together for cloning an svn branch with git without pulling the entire repo history.

Can FBI Get iPhone 5S Fingerprint Data?

Now that the iPhone 5s is in our hands, the public FUD about its new finger print scanner (branded Touch ID) has begun. This piece from Ars raises the following questions:

(1) Is it possible to convert locally stored fingerprint data into a digital or visual format that can be used by third parties?

(2) Is it possible to extract and obtain fingerprint data from an iPhone? If so, can this be done remotely, or with physical access to the device?…

Likely answers: yes and yes. To the first question – the fingerprints are stored in a digital format on the device, since it is, a digital device. That data could be harvested from the device, if it was convinced to reveal the data it is storing. Assuming it’s a one-way encryption,1 it wouldn’t be trivial to break the encryption,2 but you could also intercept the data coming off the reader if the hardware has been compromised to that point.

Here’s my question: who cares? Is getting my fingerprint data from my phone easier than just grabbing something I throw away at the mall? Why not snag my credit card from the waitress when I pay for a meal? There are lots of other ways to get this data, and they don’t involve invoking the Patriot Act.

  1. The data is stored encrypted, and when swiped, incoming data is encrypted. The two encryptions are matched for validation.
  2. Obligatory encryption-breaking joke about our government here

HTTP Codes In Alfred

Florian Friedrich built a really nice Alfred workflow for It takes my original idea and makes it even easier to use. I love it.

Download the workflow from Florian’s post, or directly.

ffried Well, here’s the Alfred 2 workflow for @thaddeus
It’s very simple to use. Just type ‘http’ followed by the http status code you want some info about.

HTTP Status Codes

I recently wanted a quick way of looking up HTTP status codes while working with a REST service. I thought it would be great to type this on a command line:

~ $ http 301

and receive a response:

301: Moved Permanently

   The requested resource has been assigned a new permanent URI and any
   future references to this resource SHOULD use one of the returned
   URIs.  Clients with link editing capabilities ought to automatically
   re-link references to the Request-URI to one or more of the new
   references returned by the server, where possible. This response is
   cacheable unless indicated otherwise.


So I builtĀ

To get the handy shortcut in your terminal, you should add the following to your .bash_profile (or application file for your preferred shell):

function http(){

The app sniffs User-Agent headers to determine if plain text should be returned. Otherwise, a rough HTML page is returned for browsers.

The data is built from the RFC with a really primitive scraper. All of the code is written in php, since I wanted to run the site on the cheapest hosting I had available at the time.

If there’s interest in improving the app, I’ll post the code to GitHub. Ping me on ADN or Twitter if you’d like to contribute.

Update: check out the source on GitHub.