The Conscience of a Hacker

Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering”… Damn kids. They’re all alike. But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world…

via .:: Phrack Magazine ::.

Interesting piece on how hackers think.

Downloading Older Versions of WordPress Plugins

A while back I needed an older version of the Facebook plugin. Searching brought but a few posts about an older versions link that doesn’t seem to exist in the plugin interface anymore, but it turns out that the plugin version is in the url of the download. All you have to do is copy the download url to your clipboard.
facebook-copy-link-location

Then modify that url to have the version number you want.

http://downloads.wordpress.org/plugin/facebook.1.1.9.zip

Abnormal media query handling in Fire Fox

As of CSS 2.1 you can target your css at specific media conditions, but Firefox seems to handle them strangely. It includes the visible vertical scroll bar in the calculation of the width instead of the actual display width itself. This means that while javascript may return one value for screen width your media queries will receive a different value.

The above image uses a stylesheet with this media query

When javascript returns a window width of 890 the media query receives a value of somewhere around 907, and the styles aren’t applied until the window width is actually 873

Firefox is actually following the W3C specification for CSS2.1 when it does this.

The ‘width’ media feature describes the width of the targeted display area of the output device. For continuous media, this is the width of the viewport (as described by CSS2, section 9.1.1 [CSS21]) including the size of a rendered scroll bar (if any).

This seems like a strange way to handle a query for the window’s display width since to me the scroll bar is not part of the display area. It also makes it harder for designers/developers because scrolbars are sized inconsistantly across operating systems. There is a difference in how this works between my Macbook and my windows desktop. The action that makes more sense to me is how webkit browsers handle this. @media receives the visible with of the browser excluding the scroll bar making things consistent.

There is another odity in Firefox’s handling of width values in @media. On some pages it seems to function like webkit where it renders using the visible content area without the scroll bar. I created some simple test file with this css one file includes it inline and one links to it.

And things function as expected. The media queries are passed the width of the visible screen.

Granted the two sites are very different but so is the behavior.

Drive

Drive is an interesting books that talks about what motivates us. Dan Pink goes through and talks about a lot of the studies on human motivation and behavior. Showing that the main motivation for people isn’t so much the if you do this you get rewarded if not you get punished. It is actually a drive for self control and interesting work to do.

Most of the book is focused on what motivates us in the work place. He makes reference to companies like Google and Atlassian and their 20% time. Which allows employees to spend 20% of their time working on what ever they want with who ever they want. This time actually produces many new products and a lot of bug fixes for existing products.

Dan also talks extensively about how work using this type of motivation is of a higher quality than other types. He makes reference to Wikipedia putting Encarta out of business, and the extensive use of Linux and other open source tools.

[youtube]u6XAPnuFjJc[/youtube]

Ikigai

In Ikigai  Sebastian Marshall talks about life achievement and his philosophies on both. The main topic of the book is motivation. It’s not so much about the Get Things Done type of motivation as it is about the motivation for living the way you do.

Sebastian dives into finding what truly drives your life. To live a great life and be a great person he says that you need real dreams, a strong code of ethics and strength. He also goes in-depth into how to find your code of ethics and what you truly want to do with your life. His main suggestion is to just get out into nature, a nearby coffee shop, or anywhere that you don’t have your normal distractions. Take only a notebook and a pen and just write down the things that come to mind, and over time a pattern will emerge.

I need to re-read the book to get more from it. I know there was more that I didn’t fully understand or pick up on. I’ll post more later but for now these are a couple of my favorite highlights from the book.

The million dollar question … why don’t people take the large opportunities in front of them? Why don’t they allow their dreams to become realities? Because it means you won’t be understood. And we need to be understood, fundamentally, it’s so important to us.
Ikigai (Sebastian Marshall)
– Highlight Loc. 257-62

I think this is actually a really good reason for why people don’t take certain opportunities. I have a friend whose family doesn’t understand his work and don’t think he has a real job. His mother told one of his employee’s “You know this isn’t a real thing right” almost like his successful business would just go away and he would have to grow up and get a “real” job.

They say the law of diminishing returns on money kicks in around $60k or so. I think they’re crazy. They must be thinking only about their happiness as individuals. I want $40 million before I slow down. $40M is enough that you can drop $2 million on building something–a school, a bridge, an orphanage, a shrine, a monument, a massive work of public art–and it’s only 5% of what you’ve got. If you see a deal of a lifetime, you can put $10 mil into it and it’s only 25% of what you’ve got.
Ikigai (Sebastian Marshall)
– Highlight Loc. 303-4

I really like this idea on money. There is no reason to fear money. It doesn’t change you it just makes your more of what you are, and I think that scares people. If you’re able to use it for good and to help out family, friends or society why not make plenty of it.